Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fifteen Minutes

I think Rapunzel would understand this phenomenon. 

Ever since work (and school) started, I have learned something about fifteen minutes.

Time is relative. But it no longer depends on whether or not I'm enjoying it.

You've got to mop the floor and brush your teeth and floss and journal and maybe write or get your room clean and be in bed before 11 pm.

Fifteen minutes is NOTHING. You've barely started, and you're thinking you've gotten enough done to have been working for five minutes. Its been fifteen. 

You're gonna sit down and journal for fifteen minutes, thinking, "I can write a ton in that much time! I'll have time left to grab a snack, and maybe do some cardio exercises!"

Yeah. Right.

You've written the header; date, time, location, and than doodled a little in the margin:


Fifteen minutes up. Time to get going with the day. Sorry!

Time is an illusive rascal. When you're working your tail off, time flies while you're not paying attention. A lull for even a minute, and you're staring the the clock with bated breath.


Maybe this is especially a problem at small town grocery stores where all the costumers hide in the aisles and go "One...two...three....NOW!" and all surge towards the checkout at the exact same time.

That is to say, when you have nothing to do, like Rapunzel, time stands still and no matter what you do to pass it, it just won't budge.

But alas, when you need to do something very important, time roars passed you while you're already speeding, sticks it's head out the window, and bellows: "SO LONG, SUCKER!"

What a creep.

I miss when time passed slowly and sweetly. When it's passing slowly now, its kind of like it's pulling your teeth without Novocaine. 

They say the older you get, the faster it goes.

I'm not that old yet.

You can't make time stop by staring at the clock. Believe me, I've tried.

Fifteen minutes is all you've got sometimes.

Make the most of it....before it's gone. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Composition Essay, Perfect Place to Study

Composition Qtr 1 Week 4 Essay, Perfect Place to Study

            Off into the hidey hole I go.
Somewhere there’s a quiet place. It’s quiet, but not so quiet you feel you’ve been completely swallowed up by your schoolbook and you are now the only human being left in the universe. There is plenty of light to shine through the big window, and outside you can see a weeping willow and a tire swing. Sometimes hummingbirds and butterflies fly past, and when it gets cold, you can watch the cardinals at the feeder while resting your mind and your eyes.
            The walls are a warm, pleasing cream, but not white. White walls make you feel like you’re in a hospital; studying in a white room makes you feel like you’re in a hospital for your brain. But the walls still must be neutral, so you can imagine taking a big, fat Sharpie to them one of these days and pouring everything down on them. Everywhere there is pleasing color, and a beautiful, unique painting or two. Sometimes you need a little bit of distraction; otherwise you’ll lose your mind.
            The floors have soft, thick, deep indigo carpet so you can lay out on it and not get all cramped up as you prop yourself up on your elbows and read ancient Grecian literature. Pillows are strewn about in organized chaos. Little ones. Big ones. Sometimes to effectively learn, you need to build a nest to nestle down in. No bird can hatch her eggs without a nest. No girl can hatch any knowledge without one, either. There is a humongous, very comfortable brown saucer chair, but it mustn’t recline too far; falling asleep while studying is no good. There is a beautiful fireplace and warm blankets and cozy socks because sometimes merely opening up Shakespeare sends a chill up your spine.
            I suppose there must also be a desk, but the rolling chair offers good support, and there is an ottoman to put your feet up on, but it isn’t so high as to drain all the circulation out of your feet and end up hobbling around feeling like little needles are dancing the mambo from your heels to toes. Everything you need is there; paper, pencils, pens, erasers, a computer and printer (complete with access to Google when you get absolutely stuck), and a brilliant and sympathetic scientific calculator named Herv. Herv understands your pain, but disagrees that all algebra books should be burned. He motivates you and is mean when he needs to be. Every procrastinator needs a Herv.
            Finally, up on the wall, right where you’ll always see it, somehow even when your back is turned, is all your inspiration. A crucifix hangs there on the wall, simple yet complex in its beauty and power. It’s easy to forget, but impossible to ignore. When I’m ready to fling myself down and cry simply because I can’t understand, or I’m weary, or I would rather do anything but be educated, I can look up at the cross and find strength. I love you, he silently says. His eyes meet mine, though his head is bowed. He loves me. I must carry on.
            Than out of the hidey hole I must come.
How will we ever learn, if we don’t stop learning for a little while?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Being Organized

Ok, so...that's what my 'being organized' looks like.

Pretty ugly, huh?

But, seriously, that's what I do. I am only sane if I am in a complete frenzy to keep everything under control.

Note I said SANE, not CALM. Or HAPPY. Or NORMAL.

That's pretty much what I do when I'm not organized, too. The two about the same to everyone else.

Its a real shame, but I am a complete OCD control freak.

Just yesterday, my mother was trying to find photographic proof that Carter Oosterhouse was really married, and I stood behind her and said, "Do you want me to do it so it doesn't take five years?"

Needless to say, she gave me a most withering look and came very close to taking away my Internet privileges for five years.

That's a little bit beside the point, which is that I have a ridiculous need to control everything around me.

I read somewhere once that WORRY is a brain mechanism, where you subconsciously believe that if you give something enough of your attention, you can fix it.

I think that about sums up my personality.

But think about the average life of a teenager: school, work, family, extra-curricular activities, sleep, eat, stress.

Being organized helps me to focus on what's important. Unfortunately, for a very long time now it has given me a false sense of control.

I am trying to slowly just give up.


I can't fix everything. I can't do anything but pray sometimes.

God's got it under control.

Just think...if I surrendered, if I stopped trying to 'worry' everything into order, I might someday be so unstressed, I won't need to be organized.

Until that miracle happens, here's to effort, and to doing the very best we can.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The First of Jack Frost

I. Am. Freezing.


It is 58 degrees outside.


I am going to die.

Happy Belated Birthday!

To two of the cutest little brothers in the world! Happy 2nd birthday to twinies Isaac and Jacob, 9/15/11.

Their train cake. We learned that they call cupcakes 'cakies', which is just adorable. Getting so big way too fast! I love you two!

Big sister Clare

Saturday, September 10, 2011

To Meg...

I now owe her my firstborn child.

Thank you VERY much, dear sister, for taking my volunteer shift for our Rome fundraising, as I am sick.

I love you.


Friday, September 9, 2011


A certain college student requested a blog post about my job, so here goes.

My job is not hard, but a monkey could not do it. It involves critical thinking skills (or maybe only if you're me...), intense physical involvement (also, maybe only if you're me...), and constant cheerfulness (again, probably just me...).

The store I work at has the motto, "The Friendliest Store In Town".

Which is pretty awesome, right?

And we're very friendly, if I do say so myself.

We always smile (or...most of us do), we carry out people's groceries, and we offer excellent service.

I typically do one of two things: I either check out, or bag and carryout.

Not typically, I do a lot of other things:

Shelve items, face items (grocery-store-speak for 'make it look pretty'), clean bathrooms, dust/scrub shelves (worst job EVER), help people find stuff, and go into the store and buy things for ladies sitting outside with their dogs (which is VERY not-typical and I've only done it once.)

And one thing that I did for the first time yesterday (besides buying frozen peas for the lady with the dogs) was page someone for the first time.

The head lady of the moment needed to show the girl being trained for the service desk where to put the tills (a.k.a. cash register drawers) at night, so I was gonna be pretty much manning the front solo (eep...). So I was shown how to page someone in case something horrible or explosive happened.

"Push that button."

I pushed down on the page button AND the hang-up button (which HAS a name, I just can't remember it), and a loud, awful SCREEEEEEEECH!! went out over the shoppers heads.


"Just that button."

Thank you, Arla.

"Now say something."


*note to self....people can HEAR YOU WHEN YOU PAGE!!*

But I never had to do it. I DID get to page Matt to come bag for me, which added to the epic-fail-ness, because I pushed the wrong button, and I'm standing there, saying, "Matt to courtesy, please,", WITH PEOPLE WATCHING ME, and I realize after I've said it 1 1/2 times that its not coming out over the speakers.


Ah well.

Work has been a huge learning curve for me, and I've really enjoyed it. I've messed up epically only once or twice, I've been told,

"I like your initiative!"

...but I've also been told,

"Clare! The mops right there!" (behind me...oops)

But they haven't fired me yet.

The end.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wafer Cookies and Quilts

Now, you may be wondering what these two items have to do with each other.

Well, for me, they are the symbols of my great-grandmothers.

I knew two of my great-grandmothers, which is pretty amazing, if you think about it. Let me start with my Great Grandma Kelly, or GG, on my Mom's side.

I didn't see GG too often, but I remember almost every visit. She knit me my first blanket, which was pink and blue, and I'm pretty sure she absolutely loved me. She was blind almost the entire time I knew her, but that didn't stop her from quilting. She couldn't just sit still; she needed something to do with her hands. So my Grandma would cut out and pin together quilt patterns for her, and she would sew them all on her own, blind. That quilt in the picture up there is my favorite one; she made it for my parents when they got married, and she also made one for both of my older sisters. She never got the chance to make me one, but I love every quilt of hers. I asked if I could use that one because it is my absolute favorite! (The quilt on top is one my Mom made for my 11th birthday!)
Every time we'd go visit GG at the nursing home, I was more and more shy. I didn't like to see my GG get all old and wrinkly, but I would always hug her and kiss her, and she'd always hug me and kiss me back. She was such a tough little old lady. Her birthday was 2 days before mine. She died right before she would have turned 102, and I remember when my Mom came upstairs and told me the news. I was sad, but I didn't think about it too much. I was happy she lived so long and had gotten to see all but four of her great-grandchildren.
At the funeral, I found out for the first time that GG's name was not Gigi, as I had always assumed it was, but Kelly! GG was the name she gave herself when my oldest sister was born!
It didn't realy hit me how sad losing GG was until I noticed my mom was crying as she looked at the pictures of GG from so long ago. I realized that GG had been my mom's grandmother, and of course she missed her!
I didn't really cry until my two older sisters got up and tearfully remembered GG's kisses she'd give us on every visit.
I loved my GG. I miss her, but I am so grateful I got to know her.

My Great-Grandma Lorene on my dad's side, I saw a whole lot more often, and I have a lot more memories of her. She lived in her own house for a long time, next door to her sister, Leona. We would visit her every time we were in town, and every, single time, she would give us wafer cookies.
I love those things.
They're disgusting and oily and sugary, and every single time I taste one, I remember being two feet tall standing in Gramma's kitchen, answering her many interested questions about my life and waiting patiently for her to offer me something yummy (which she always did. Without fail.)
She spoiled us all rotten, especially my brother Joseph (Earl), because he was named after her husband (Earl).
I remember when she finally had to be moved to the nursing home, she'd always give one of us (usually Joe) the stuffed animals or candy she won at Bingo. She gave us all the furniture we wanted from her old house, which I loved. She had the BEST chairs : ).
Talking about tough cookies...she was hospitalized because of a serious problem in her digestive track. The doctors told my grandparent's they had two choices; they could make her comfortable until she passed away, or they could operate, which she might not recover from.
Great-Grandma did recover, but she died peacefully in her room a few weeks later of a heart attack.
Great-Grandma's funeral was so hard. I had known her so much better than GG, and she touched so many lives. My dad's cousin cried the most, I remember. I had never met her before, but I could tell right away just how much she loved my Gramma.
Every time I see wafer cookies, I think of Great-Grandma.

I loved them so much. I hold in my heart their love and their gifts and their lives.

May God bless them and may they rest in peace.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Add Water

She absolutely comes alive in the rain.

Its like she's one of those sea monkey thingies . . . dormant until you add water.

Although that seemed like a very poor and rather irreverant comparison . . . contrasting the girl of my dreams with a sea monkey.

Morgan's given up on herself. She's withered from a beautiful flower to a cold, dark mess.

Jack is the only one who can still see the flower in Morgan. If only he could find a way to bring her back to life . . .

The difference between letting go,

                                                         and letting be.

Possible NaNoWriMo idea?

Sunday, September 4, 2011


On Friday, I had my first Oral assignment for English.

I had to give an impromtu speech, meaning I had 5 minutes of prep before actually giving the speech.

To put it mildly, I bombed it.

Ok, ok....I didn't do that bad. I was passionate about my topic (more on that later), I was fairly confident I could do it, and I didn't stand in front of my mom for an hour going "I don't wanna do this!" which is something done very frequently in the past.

But I had no idea how to end it.

So I stood there for a full minute, floundering about like a dying fish, trying to semi-gracefully bring my thoughts full circle so I could just go cry in a corner already.

My mother was kind...she said for my first oral all year (and considering every other year I've completely copped out of it by doing some form of public speaking to appease Mom), it was pretty good.

I still wanted to melt into a puddle of shame and drip through the floor-boards and escape.

No such luck. The floors are carpeted.

But I lived.

Than, surprise, surprise! The next day, the lady who is in charge of our fundraising for the trip to Rome my youth group is making shows up at my house, informing me that tomorrow, I need to speak in church with another girl about our raffle ticket sales to help support the trip.

*heavy sigh*

I was distinctly reminded of the words 'impromptu speech'.

But I kicked myself in the butt and called Kelsey, my partner in this endeaver. It turned out she had even less notice of it than I did, which made me feel only slightly better.

The next day, just an hour before we had to speak, I showed her the outline for what we needed to say, and we decided who would do what. Because I had already seen it the night before, we agreed I should do all the parts that involved adlibbing, and she would just read off the sheet, which seemed more than fair.

Finally, the moment arrived.

I missed my que to get up there with time to spare, so there was this awkward moment of me walking rapidly up the aisle, my little white heels clicking on the tile floor.

I was praying, trust me.

It went fine. I was shaking for about fifteen minutes afterwards, even though I wasn't actually that nervous, but I guess my body figures public speaking is the equivalent of a near-death experience.


Life is annoyingly impromtu.