Be a Good One

Editor's note: This is a rant. I'm sure in the light of day I'll re-read this and feel fairly embarrassed. But for right now, I'm going to have what I will call my "Jerry Maguire" moment and pretend that these words I've written are marginally insightful and...dare I say it? Revolutionary. Please leave me to my delusions.

My university has two drastically different subcultures. Ok, in reality, it probably has about a billion. But for the purposes of this post, we're going to focus on perhaps the greatest divide on my campus.

My school is most often recognized for its engineering and science colleges. However, a large percentage of our student body is comprised of what we've dubbed the CHASS (college of humanities and social sciences) majors.

Maybe it's because our society values scientists and engineers very highly right now, maybe it's because our engineering school is ranked higher than the social science colleges at the university [that is a factual statement, not a judgment call] - but for whatever reason, the CHASS students tend to get a lot of flack for studying humanities. Mostly from the engineers.

In reality, when someone in college suggests that one major is easier than another, odds are, they're not talking about the rigor of the major. They're making a statement about the students' intellects.

Obviously, depending on how sensitive you are [which I am], that is insulting. And also definitely judgmental.

A certain sect of engineers tend to assume they are God's gift to earth. And that same group is very vocal, at least at my university, about their own supposed intellectual dominance over our CHASS majors. I can understand why, then, a lot of the CHASS majors bristle around us engineers.

 However, I was telling a friend earlier that a major doesn't define someone's intelligence. You are some degree of intelligent or unintelligent, and what you study won't change that.

This friend laughed at me and said, "I'll remember that next time you talk about CHASS majors." What?

Her flippant statement was markedly unfounded  and highly offensive - I have no beef with students who choose to study something other than what I study. Truth moment: I legitimately struggle with pride, but it has nothing at all to do with what people choose to study, and more to do with the high success rate of my blog [...sure].

To extrapolate that I, as an engineer, must think CHASS majors are in some way inferior to me, is reverse-judgmentalism.

Which we all know isn't a real thing. It's straight-up judgmental.

Here's me, being real with you: I don't "talk" about humanities majors. You know why? I don't honestly care what your major is. I've met enough people to know that people thrive when they're doing what they're called to do. If you're doing whatever the good Lord has led you to do, then I am sincerely happy for you. Whether you're analyzing poetry or calculating stresses in cantilever beams. Go forth and conquer. Veni vidi vici. All that stuff.

To quote Lincoln, Whatever you are, be a good one. And do it with the confidence of someone pursuing something she loves.

You do you, let me do me.

Also, in two weeks when I graduate college, I doubt I'll care what you ever majored in.

How many CHASS majors are in this photo?
Oh wait, it doesn't matter.


How Twenty-Something Years of Being My Father's Daughter Prepared Me for Doing Taxes

Oh man. My life. This week has been a series of events that make me roll my eyes at the cosmos and think, typical. Only in bRob's world.

 I just finished filing my taxes, which has put me in the foulest of moods. These taxes have been a laborious and drawn-out process. I only finished them after a ton of whining and pleading with my father, begging him to help me because obviously these things are not meant for me to figure out by myself.

Which sounds  a lot like how the past twenty-some years have gone.

this picture is not a good look for either of us.
but i will remind you that you do not read because i am glamorous.
When my dad helped me move in and out of the dorms [back in the day], we always had this really sweet tradition. He told me a week beforehand, "bRob. HAVE YOUR STUFF PACKED IN BOXES AND READY TO GO." [my dad lives his life in CAPS LOCK] 

And I stuffed about three things into one box and left the other stuff in "piles" [read: exactly where it had been] to be put into boxes. Dad arrived and immediately began CAPS LOCK-ing, "bRob, I TOLD YOU TO PUT THE THINGS IN THE BOXES. WHY DID YOU NOT PUT THE THINGS IN THE BOXES."

And I always responded, "but dad i don't have boxes how do i pack things in boxes when i don't have boxes" [not to go all The Sound and the Fury on you, but that's how a live my life - without punctuation or capitalization].

My dad, all piss and vinegar, stormed around helping me put stuff in the extra boxes he had laying around the house while mumbling, "I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO HELP YOU PACK ALL YOUR NONSENSE", and then we awkwardly carried about 1003 different hairbrushes and pencil jars down three flights of stairs. Then he made me take him to the dining hall for dinner.

Every. Single. Year.
bless his heart.

Doing my homework, from gradeschool to high school, was oddly similar. Pops always got stuck on homework-helper-duty. Each time he began the same way, "HAVE YOU READ YOUR TEXTBOOK?"

No. Who does that?

His inner mathematician would begin somewhere with Aristotle, do some elusive black magic derivations on his homemade chalkboard for about thirty minutes, and then turn to me expectantly.

To which I responded in a voice that might recall that of a banshee's, "iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii don't get itttttttttttttttttttt. this is stupid. i'm quitting. i don't need to know this. this is stupid. that's not how mrs. bradshaw did it. this is stupid. you're wrong."

I don't know how to type so that you'll understand I was whining-screeching, but imagine that in your head.


After a lot of yelling [him], a lot of tears [me], a bit of flailing on the ground [me], and throwing textbooks [me], Dad would inevitably storm out of the room, red-faced and convinced his daughter would grow up to be the sort of girl who throws textbooks at walls and decides she should have been a photographer. It should be noted that he was right. It should also be noted that Mom was suspiciously silent during these episodes. Mom, I know you were in the next room. I could hear you breathing.

Probably thirty-seven minutes later, Dad would, temporarily calmed, come back into the room to find me sulking and glaring while post-sob hiccuping. He knelt down beside me [i had a thing about sitting on the floor], and slowly but surely explained how to factor polynomials and, later on, something about Euler.

I finally understood. He looked over, asked  me if I understood, and I, crinkling my face as sourly as possible, begrudgingly mumbled "kind of only a little."

And that, my friends, is how tutoring in bRob's house worked.

Now, a trillion days later, I called my Dad to help me with my taxes.

Every five minutes during the conversation, Dad states, "WE HAVE A GUY TO DO OUR TAXES. WHY DON'T YOU HAVE A GUY. YOU SHOULD JUST GET A GUY. I HAVE A GUY SO I DON'T HAVE TO DO TAXES."

bRob goes, "Daaaaaaaaad I can't do it and it's your fault because you told me to do this and ...." [fill in the ... with any number of ridiculous reasons]

Dad goes silent on the other line, and I know, by his huffy breathing, it's because he's trying hard not to mentally strangle me. "I GOT A GUY SO I DIDN'T HAVE TO DO THIS STUFF."

"i know Dad but i don't have a guy because i'm poor."


"i started a week ago but you told me not to file yet"

"I HAVE TO GET UP AT 5:30AM TOMORROW MORNING."  [to be fair, it is 1am]

This time there is silence on my line, which I think my Dad figured out was because my lip was quivering and I was about to throw something at a wall. Probably a textbook.

Dad says he'll talk to his guy and call me back the next day.

He calls me back and tells me a bunch of complicated things that require I pull out a calculator, which I try not to do, seeing as I'm about to graduate and all.

"ugh Dad are you sure i have to do all this stuff because taxes are stupid and i am currently getting a federal refund of twelve dollars"


Eventually Dad and I get into a dispute as to whether or not I should enter a certain form. Cue the yelling and waterworks.


"fine! i'll figure it out!" With the most illogical of resolve, I dramatically hang up and carry on with my taxes, which has really just devolved into pouting and scrunching my face at the laptop screen.

My brain chips in, " if the IRS wants to audit me, be my guest! Screw the PoPo, I ain't scared of no PoPo!"

I contemplate crying.

 Just like ten years ago, Dad called me back to once more, and gives me one more redemptive chance as he  patiently explains what I should do.

And just like that, my taxes are filed.

Same time next year, Pops?



Sophisticated Situations

Yesterday, the department treated all the senior girls and a few of our favorite professors to an afternoon tea at a local inn. It was precious. I dressed in my floweriest girliest sundress... Sophistication may not be my forte. To be fair, though, I think this sort of tea is every little girl's dream come true. I should have taken more pictures.

When we sat down, there was a menu with at least twelve types of tea available for selection. I chose a tea called "Tea of Good Tidings" [...seriously] that was a mix of spices and ... other leaves. I chose it because it had rose in the description. 

Our waiter [it should be noted that he had a soul patch] spoke in an extremely affected tone as he described the intricate steeping process for our teas, served in individual tea pots. Chill out,  I'm pretty sure I've been making Lipton tea since I was in the womb. Same thing. 

Full disclosure: I snickered when our waiter brought out our "sweets & savories". His affected manner was just too much, and also I am incredibly appropriate.

I definitely enjoyed the food - perhaps a little too much. When one of the others didn't want her sandwich [excuse me, "savory"], I was quick to snag it. But don't worry, I was super classy about it.

superb photography
I really loved our tea, and I thought it was a great idea. How lucky am I to be part of a close-knit department that celebrates with its seniors?

As much as I enjoyed it, however, I am starting to think that I might not be the most sophisticated person you've ever met. At the tea yesterday...I spilled the tea. At last week's endowment dinner, I threw my roll across the room [mostly...entirely on accident]. And when I tried to joke with the grad student next to me about using the wrong fork, he just gave me a look [...grad students, amirite]. At tonight's department dinner, I told the underclassman next to me to switch seats [i'm a senior, i've paid my dues...] so I could sit next to Steph and keep a running commentary during the speeches.

I'm not sure my loud and obnoxious schtick always translate in sophisticated situations. Also I feel like the fact that I call sophisticated situations sophisticated situations suggests that I am not perhaps the most prepared for sophisticated situations.

But if you ever need someone with whom you can go on a cupcake run, hit me up. This morning I woke up dreaming about cupcakes. Then I went and got a cupcake for breakfast. None of that is a joke.



Awkward Truths: Anecdote Edition [my first kiss]

Here at Conversations, management [bRob] has decided to expand the scope of Awkward Truths to include some of bRob's awkward reel from the past. Enjoy.

My First Kiss 

The summer I turned fifteen, a mere fresh-faced [read: pimply and brace-y] child, my family boarded a cruise to Alaska. That boat would forever change my life. Mostly because Alaska is gorgeous, but also because I got my first kiss.

I spent ninety percent of my time on that cruise with the super-cool teen group [the other ten percent was spent eating. maybe 70-30 would be a more accurate distribution...]. We did everything together. We went to shows, played games, watched movies, flirted in a way that would make my twenty-something-year-old-self cringe. Also, we fell in love. And by we, I mean bRob. Juuuuust bRob.

His name was Matt. His little sister, Maria, and I became fast friends, which meant I should obviously be his first pick for cruise-girlfriend. He had beautifully tanned skin, dark black curls, and a huge calculus book. So mature for his age - studying calculus on a cruise. Enigma, in a word. My fifteen-year-old sophomore self boggled.

Also there was this kid named Chris who flirted a lot. He wore Rainbows before Rainbows were cool. He wrote poetry [read: "poetry"] with questionable grammar. Being from California, he was just so much older [Three. whole. years. Or maybe two? Who knows] and wiser in the ways of the world. Oh, and exotic. Being from CA definitely made him exotic.

My little teenage heart could barely handle all the emotional turmoil. I loved them, to be sure. But whom did I love more? Fate dealt a cruel hand, that week - sending two great loves my way [it should be noted that I have not since encountered this problem nor will I ever probably again]. 

On the last night of the cruise, the entire super-cool teen group celebrated by going to a final dinner together. Then Matt and Maria's parents made them leave early so they could get a good night's rest before debarkation [...seriously. They might've been home-schooled too, now that I think about it.]. Well that was that. No lingering glances, no trembling goodbyes, no meaningful hugs. Matt just left. Also Chris was being loud and obnoxious and disgustingly flirty. Obviously fate made my mind for me. Chris, then, would be the love of my life [read: week]

As all the other kids finally wandered off to go to bed or sneak alcohol from the bar or snag one last dessert, Chris and I wandered aimlessly, like creeps, through the halls of the boat, enjoying what was probably deep and marginally insightful conversation. I was looking absolutely gorgeous, my friends. I wore my cutest red tank-top under a cool, see-through white shirt. Remember when layering was the hottest thing? yeah. sure was. My stellar top combo was combined with light khaki capris that were about the same color as my legs. My hair was tied in two pigtails -two lopsided, mouse-brown pigtails. I even had minty gum in my mouth to hide the post-dinner halitosis. 

Hold onto your laptops, readers, because stuff's aboutta get real.

 As we slowed our walk, Chris flat-out told me he would kiss me.

In what I'm sure I thought was a slightly alluring and teasing voice I replied, "But I'm chewing gum." [This remains a problem even to this day. I am never  not chewing gum.]

He assured me it didn't matter. So manly. So wise.

A million thoughts ran through my brain. Most of them had to do with my gum. Did I swallow it? Side-pocket it? Give it to him? Is gum-sharing a thing?

In hindsight...I don't remember what I did. [which is probably why it's still a problem]. I finally said something super sweet like, "O.K."

And he did it. He leaned in...and stuck his tongue straight in my mouth. I don't even remember our lips touching. He had some kind of aim to get his tongue in without even making lip contact. Call me hard-hearted, but I almost gagged - it felt like I had a dead fish in my mouth. Years of romantic comedies had done me wrong, because this, my friends, was neither fun nor romantic.

I waited for as long as my nausea would hold off [three seconds], and then said, "Alright. That's enough of that."

No. Joke.

Then we awkwardly hug/cuddled [apparently Chris was not put off by the fact I found his kissing disgusting], said a nearly teary-eyed good-bye, and went our separate ways. 

how much puberty can you fit into one awkward photograph?
Both Chris and I are in this picture. I'm not going to tell you which one is Chris - it's more fun if you try and guess. Matt's not pictured. Trust me, though, he was a cutie.

Epilogue: Chris and I kept in touch for about a month via email. His email signature was some short poem about blue eyes with terrible rhyme scheme and an incorrect "you're."

I can never change the fact that I shared my first kiss with someone who had bleached hair tips and can't distinguish between "your" and "you're."


Doing Cute Things with Cuter People

Oh hai, Webs.

 I promised my buddy Stephanie I'd get some pics up and posted of our recent adventure downtown. And by adventure, I mean we went out to eat. But Stephanie doesn't eat vegetables, and as a general rule, I don't park downtown, so it was puh-retty crazy for us, if you know what I mean [of course you don't, that made little to no sense].

Also, two things. First - I have a pop quiz tomorrow. The reason that it is a "pop" quiz is because I didn't figure out that we have a quiz until today. Obviously, I decided blogging would be more fun than studying. Secondly - Because my blogging has been somewhat sporadic [amen?], I've decided to make this post somewhat of a disjointed photo-dump. I'm sorry for all of you readers who come here for the consistency and fluidity of the posts. 

Episode 1: Pie Birds [the downtown adventure]

Oh, I see. They're birds. Like Pie Bird.

Chicken Pot Pie. Just like momma makes. Except better.

Full disclosure: The Chicken Pot Pie was not actually that good. But the honey sea salt pie made up for it.
PS - Steph in the neon yellow. In case you've forgotten what I look like, I'm sporting the hobo-casual wardrobe on the left.

 Episode Deux: My Wall Decorations

I was just really proud of the fact I did something artsy like hammer up an empty picture frame (...).
The bird's really cute, only you can't tell that it's a bird because some artsy person can't figure out her point and shoot.
Also, did you like the nice segue from Pie Bird to fake ornament bird?

Episode Drei: Lady Darcie D. Gets Married in the State of Co and bRob and Monica Come to See
the wedding I mentioned...in February. bRob's a little behind.

Bachelorette Party. Sad though this may be, none of us actually had alcohol at this point.
L-R: Darcie, bRob, Monica

For reference, this is us four years ago (not in the same order...obvi).

My first cake pop!
Full disclosure: Tried to make some cake pops the other day. They stunk.

Darcie's craft yarn is so colorful.

pretty girl
haha look at the flower girl trying to check out Darcie's makeup

first kiss!
maybe photography is my spiritual gift...

you might not be able to see through the blur, but that's Mr. and Mrs. B!

monica is as lovely as she is sweet.
and yes, that's my face.

PS - getting more pie tomorrow. <3
PSS - I've started running [read: jogging] again, so it's ok.


The Fruits of My Not Laboring

Hey Webs.

I should be studying for my a test tomorrow. I went out and bought:
- 4-pack of Starbucks Bottled Fraps 
- an Energy Drink (...my first ever...)
- a bag of gummi worms
- pizza rolls
- a microwavable cookie dish
- soda
and I still haven't worked up the motivation to start studying. [I did, however, crack open those gummi worms.] So I figured I'd use my studying time efficiently and blog instead.

Today is one of those days where I feel slightly sad, for about a billion different reasons. Last week I got a test back - a test on which I thought I'd done well. I received the lowest test score I've ever received before. When I went to talk to the professor today and ask questions about it, he asked me what I'd gotten on the previous test. It was also remarkably low. The professor shook his head sadly and gave me a look of pity - whether because I'm a forecasting/inventory control imbecile or because I'm doomed to failure, I'm not quite sure. Then he said, "Well, I hate that." Oh for SOMETHING's sakes! You hating my horrible test grade on my behalf is like me hating how bald you are for you. It's stupid. Let's just both leave one another with our dignity and not mention how sad it all is. 

That may have been a dumb analogy.

But as I left the professor's office, I broke down in tears. TEARS. Over a test grade. Or two horrible test grades, rather.

It's just one of those days where there isn't  much fight left in me, you know?

And I was thinking about that - about how just mundanely sad I'm feeling right now. Not just about tests or mosquito-bitten legs or the fact that I haven't done my taxes yet [...]. Just a little pathetic-ly sad.

I read Psalm 55 earlier today:
4 My heart is in anguish within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me. 5 Fear and trembling come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me. 6 I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. 7 “Behold, I would wander far away, I would lodge in the wilderness.  
David's got it. Some days I just want to pick up my stuff and head west. 

There's a small [big] melodramatic part of me that wants to stop there and just be like, yeah. YEAH. Headed west, losers.

But I don't think that's the point. Psalm 55, again:

22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. ...But I will trust in You. 
God is good, guys. God. is. good.

PS: My buddy E came to my front door and brought me a cupcake. Whatttt? That girl so bomb. snarked it down in two seconds flat.

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