Weekend Coffee Share: It’s Not All Rainbows and Sunshine

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that it hasn’t been the best of weeks.  Nothing horrible has happened… things could definitely be worse.  But they certainly could be better.

If we were having coffee, you would know that two out of the past five days have been rainy.  I love, love, love rainy days… there are few better things than curling up in a lumpy sweater and reading a good book.  When you work on a farm, though, rain gets in the way.  We were sent home early twice this week because it was simply too wet to do any of the field work that badly needs to get done. Although the extra free time gave me the chance to catch up on much needed around-the-house tasks, I need the pay. Continue reading

Books Make Bad Days Better

 Maybe reading was just a way to make her feel less alone, to keep her company. When you read something you are stopped, the moment is stayed, you can sometimes be there more fully than you can in your real life.” Helen Humphreys

If you read my last post, you’d know that life isn’t going so well at the moment.  Balancing the stresses of a new job is challenging–the learning curve is steeper than anticipated.  But, when the busy days and mornings finally give way to my one day off, I open a book and everything is suddenly right again.

Ella Enchanted is one of my all-time favorite reads.  It was the first book I ever devoured in one sitting.  I was eight.  When I open it now, it’s less like reading and more like remembering.  When I’m in the pages, the world outside stops and all that matters is the universe in my hands.

What books get you through the bad days?

All Hail Queen Brandi

You know those summer nights that have you grinning from ear to ear?  That was me last night.

The thing about Brandi Carlile is that she’s got a voice that reaches into your soul.  She digs into your roots, unearthing all insecurities and nostalgia and takes you back to a place you thought no longer existed.  She finds beauty in simplicity.  Her music is raw cuts to the bone.

As a graduation gift my older brother took me to see her at The Cabooze in Minneapolis.  It was an outdoor show and couldn’t be more perfect.  The openers were Anderson East and Iron & Wine.  I had high hopes for the later, but they were just too mellow for an outdoor show.

Brandi was such a treat.  Most of her songs center on the themes of home, innocence, and change.  I’m a pretty nostalgic person and her music hit me dead center.  I’ve been to several concerts over the past year, but this was definitely a favorite.  I’d see her again in a heartbeat.

Photo courtesy of my older brother.  Edited by me using the VSCOcam app.
At one point during the show, she strayed from the set list, pulled an eleven year old boy on stage to sing her song “Keep Your Heart Young”.  It was one of the night’s highlights.  Photo courtesy of my older brother. Edited by me using the VSCOcam app.

It’s been a great year for concerts.  My next one is The Oh Hellos in October with a college friend.

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?  Tell me about it in the comments!

Back to the books

Much to our chagrin, classes have resumed at UMM!

Before delving into academic talk… I got new glasses!  It was about time.  The old ones called my face home for almost four years and were falling apart.

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All right, enough selfies.  Now to business.

Here’s what I’ve got lined up this semester:

Intro to Public Speaking:  Although I have extensive experience in the area (four years on the Speech team, competing at the state tournament, and giving chapel talks all summer), my communication minor requires I take Public Speaking.  Thankfully, I enjoy the subject and it’s only for the first half of the semester!

Visual Journalism: Again, this is for my communication minor.  In this class, we will be learning about communicating messages visually.  The first half of the semester will be focused on still images and photography, the second through video.  I have little to no experience in media production, so this class should be enlightening and will give me some useful skills.

Grammar and Language: This is the ultimate English major class where our natural inclination to correct people’s grammar becomes refined and sharpened.  The first half of the course focuses on grammar–sentence diagramming and understanding not only how the English language is constructed, but how it changes.  The second focuses more on history.  We will be learning the complete history of our language, which includes giving recitations in Old, Middle, and Early Modern English.  Basically, come December, we will all be fully inducted members of the Grammar Police.

Victorian Literature and Culture: Ever since I set foot on this campus four years ago, I have been dying to take this class.  I don’t need it for any requirements, but am taking it purely for fun.  We will be reading a handful of novels from England’s Victorian period of literature and learning about the culture of the people.  This semester, the professor is teaching the course from the angle of criminology and punishment.  We’ll be looking at how the rapidly changing world that the Victorians inhabited shaped what crime is and how it was punished.

Most of these are upper-level courses, so they’ll be challenging, but definitely intellectually stimulating.  I can’t wait for all the things I get to learn!