August 30, 2011

In Which I Admit to Being a Nerd

You know that feeling you get at the beginning of the school year?  Like you're five and it's your first day of Kindergarten all over again, and you can't wait for it to start?  

Well, that feeling is gone, because of course it is fleeting - it only lasts through the first twenty minutes or so of your first class before listening to the Professor discuss the syllabus gets boring, and your turn to introduce yourself to everyone ("Hi, I'm Kiersten.  I'm a sophomore with a major in English and a minor in Journalism.") has already passed.  

But after that first excitement fades, and you realize that unlike kindergarten, History 150 and Computer Science are going to require far more work than memorizing the alphabet did, comes the real excitement.  The anticipation that follows the end of the first day of classes, when the next day holds the promise of actually learning something, and maybe even an assignment or two!  

Or is it just me?

Either way, tomorrow marks the first actual day of class.  On Monday, all of my professors simply explained their expectations for us that semester and, for the smaller classes, had everyone introduce themselves.  Tomorrow, we'll start learning.  We'll break in the new notebooks and pens, and write a couple of assignments in our agenda books.  And, maybe I'm just crazy, but I'm excited.

How about you, Friends?  Are any of you starting a new semester at school?  Tell me all about it!!

<3 Kiersten  

August 28, 2011

Sunday Morning

...but thankfully the rain is not falling.  At least not anymore, although the wind is still screaming outside of my living room window.  

Last night was my first night back at school, and throughout the night our power went out three times - the first two it lasted for about five minutes, the third time only for a few seconds.  
At one point, we ventured over to our old dorm to visit some friends, but when the building started to rattle as though it may fall over at any time, we made the trip back to our own dorm before the storm got so bad that we wouldn't be able to.    And so for the rest of the night, my roommates and I unplugged everything, curled up into a couple of the beds, and talked while the wind threatened to tare the building down and someone made the announcement that a tornado warning had just been issued for our area.

My roommates are all still asleep, and I have yet to venture outside, but judging by Facebook posts the damage was not too severe.  The front yard of our old dorm flooded, but that happens even in a normal rain storm.  One of the streets in town, the one that the restaurant I work in is on, is partially flooded, but apparently not so bad that the restaurant had to close.  I am still scheduled to work today.   
While I'm sure that the damage sustained in other areas, ones closer to bodies of water was much more severe, we made it through Irene with no real wounds, at least not any that won't heal within the next week or so with a little bit of care.  

How about you guys?  Did Irene hit you hard last night, or are you waking up just fine?

<3 Kiersten 

August 27, 2011

11th Hour Thoughts

Tomorrow afternoon (well...I guess at this point it's technically today)  I move into my new dorm room, amidst forecasts for the worst storm of my life, at least in Pennsylvania.  Everything about it seems completely unreal:  my being a college sophomore as of Monday, the severity of the storm they're predicting (so bad, in fact, that my friend's entire block was evacuated today because of it's proximity to the river), and the fact that this time tomorrow night, I'll be hunkering down in my living room at school with some friends I haven't seen in months.  

Exactly one year ago today, I was lying in bed unable to sleep because I was so excited about beginning college the next day.  And I was so completely ready for it, like in the morning simply wasn't soon enough.  I wanted to have been there for the past four years, because I was so ready to get started on the rest of my life.  This year, it seems like it came just in time.  I spent so much of my time working this summer, that even though it was the longest summer break of my life, it didn't seem quite so long.  And I think I'm still in disbelief that it's already the end of August, and the beginning of another school year.  

I had thought that packing would slap me in the face like reality with a hammer, but even as I'm sitting in a bare bed staring at the pile of things I have packed and ready to go, I still don't think it's quite registering.  Or maybe it's just a different feeling now that I'm going back to something I already know so well, instead of leaving the familiar for something completely foreign.  

What I'm not entirely sure about is whether I like the feeling I have now, or if I'd rather have back the feeling I had last year.  So excited to be going into something I don't even slightly recognize.  And maybe that's the reason why I know that I'll spend so much of my life moving around.  For so many years, changing schools, moving, making new friends was perfectly normal for me, so that now change seems almost necessary.  Like staying in one place for too long might be too painful to bear.  

<3 Kiersten

August 24, 2011

A Break

Hey guys!

So I know that today is Wednesday - time for Write on Wednesday.  This week though, the prompt was to take a walk, and write based on that.  I don't know about you guys, but it has spent the greater part of the last two weeks here pouring rain.  Not really conducive to a nice, long walk in the park.  
I still want to post some writing though, so I'm going to post a short of mine that I'm pretty proud of.  


It was the home I’d grown up in, save for those first few months on Glenlock before we moved to accommodate a fourth person, a baby brother named Corey that I asked my parents to send back when I first met him – “he’s boring”.  It was the house I’d spent my childhood discovering every inch of, every corner, closet, and cabinet until I had it memorized just in case I lost it one day. 

I’d gotten to know the ghosts and the memories that lived in the attic in the back of my closet, and I knew the little boy who used to play in my room before he died, before I was ever even born; or at least I knew the stories my neighbors had told us when we first moved in, and which my parents relayed to me when I was older.  I knew that the house held much more than our nuclear family of Mother, Father, Sister, and Brother.  I knew the whispers that the walls spoke late at night when they thought that nobody was listening, and I knew their secrets in a way that said I had no idea how much they actually knew.  I knew the secrets they chose to tell me, the way I held onto them like tiny treasures. 

I knew which tiles in the bathroom downstairs would come up if you pulled them, and I knew which doors creaked and which ones didn’t.  I knew how many windows we had - fifteen, because a Dr. Seuss activity book my father had bought me told me to count them.  I knew which plank could be pulled out of the walkway in the backyard to hide secret treasures like berries and honeysuckles in the summer.  I knew the area under the porch my uncle had built one spring, and how we sat under there all summer pretending it was a clubhouse, collecting flowers and berries and mixing them to make a salad that neither of us were daring enough to actually eat.  I knew the tree stump in the backyard that Corey and I planned to tunnel our way into and build a secret fort under after the first time we heard the story of Peter Pan’s secret house in the ground, and I knew by heart the dents we’d made in the bark with a couple of shovels meant for digging in the sand, not in tree bark. 

 I knew the McDonalds toys that my mom collected, the way they’d been lined up on the windowsill above the kitchen sink for as long as I could remember – Disney princesses and Pokemon.  But I can’t quite remember a time when they were being handed out with my Happy Meal.  I knew the spices in the back of the cabinet that nobody ever used, but we still owned because “maybe one day we’ll need them.”  I remember the play-dough we made on the stove with a recipe my mom had found in a craft book, and I remember the day it dried up, the way Corey and I tried to fix it by putting it in a bowl of hot water.  I remember when that didn’t work, and my mom helped us make more.

I knew the way that the platform by the stairs turned into a stage when there was a two-woman play, just me and my best friend, and I knew the way it turned into a church when Corey was marrying the neighbor’s little girl in her old white Communion dress.  I knew that I hated sharing a room with my little brother, but as soon as he was in the room next door, the bedroom we’d once shared felt somehow empty and I missed him and the noises he made in the morning, when he was playing imaginary games with himself waiting for everybody else to wake up.  I knew the secret language we invented, made up half by whispers and half by knowing the other better than anybody else in the world that we spoke when my parents were asleep and only the walls were listening, collecting secrets about us for the next generation. 

I knew the darkened stain on the closet door upstairs, where my friend and I had built our club – Girls Only – and Corey had sprayed the door with Lysol in an attempt to get in.  And I knew the baseball cards that Corey and I found stashed in that closet, an entire box of them, unopened that my dad had bought on the day I was born.  I knew the faces on those cards when we opened a new pack each week, even if I didn’t know the importance of that face and who they really were.  I knew the games that we had invented without ever speaking a word about the rules, and I’m sure I could still play the games, but I’d never quite know how to explain them; I have no doubt that he remembers them too.  I knew the fallen toy army men who’d been taken prisoner under the fireplace during one of our made-up games; they finally came back out one Christmas Eve, burnt from the fire they’d caused as their last attempt at freedom while my parents held a party in the other room. 

I knew which neighbor’s dog howled into the night when they wouldn’t let her in, and I knew the stray cats who came to our yard at night to taunt my domesticated house cat Max, who always managed to get himself up a tree but never quite knew how to get himself back down when the squirrels he’d been chasing disappeared.  And I knew which window above the desk in the hall to open to let Max back in when it got dark and he’d learned his lesson, at least for a few hours.  I knew the way that Max and Corey taunted one another for years, the way they always acted like they hated one another.  But I also knew the look in Corey’s eyes when Max ran away one day – the recognition that he’d never actually hated Max to begin with.

I knew the hallway that led to the family room, even in the dark on tiptoes when Corey and I were playing Spy-Kids late at night in the summer, using our Inspector Gadget toys from Rite Aid as props.  And I knew which keyhole to silently stare through to watch Titanic while my parents sat together on the couch unaware that I was crying as the ship sank and Jack lost his grip on Rose.  I knew the shapes that the sponge paint on the walls made, and I knew the almost unnoticeable lines drawn in pencil on that wall, marking mine and Corey’s progressive heights on an erratic schedule I could never quite keep track of.

I knew the neighbors that spent most of their days on the front porch talking, and I knew the neighbors who didn’t want us to know them.  I knew the neighbors who still got oil heat, because one time their shipment was poured in my basement instead of theirs, and we had to move out for a couple of months to an apartment two towns over.  I knew which neighbor was getting older and losing his hearing, because I could hear his phone ring from behind the closed doors of my home.  And I knew which neighbors to go to on Halloween, and which neighbors to never go near even in the daylight. 

I knew the way the stars shined at night, when I was counting them instead of sheep from my bed, and I knew how many windows I had in my room to watch the starts from – five, all too small to accommodate curtains.  I remember the way I felt that first night after my dad finally found curtains to fit those windows, how long it took me to fall asleep when I didn’t have the stars to count anymore. 
And I remember waving goodbye to the poison ivy hills in front of our home where I’d never gotten a rash but my brother and dad did every summer; and goodbye to the stone bench by the garden gate where my dad had long ago given up planting flowers.  I remember saying one last goodbye to the tree stumps that had doubled as picnic benches, school desks, chairs, and dinner plates for the last five years since my parents had had the trees outside of my window cut down for fear of a strong spring storm.  I remember saying goodbye to the staircase that had worked as a classroom for our imaginary lessons, a church for so many weddings, and a stage for all of our last-minute plays.  I remember standing in front of the make-shift closet in my room that led to the attic, finding letters written to a woman who hadn’t lived there in over a decade at least.  And I remember saying goodbye to the shadows and the ghosts and the walls that spoke that I’d built a bond with over the years, realizing finally that I wasn’t really scared of them after all.  

I remember standing at the top of the concrete stairs outside of my house for one last time, staring at the porch swing I’d never sit in again as it moved slightly in the breeze, and wondering if one day I’d have a home with a porch swing and a park bench by the garden gate because I already missed it there.  And the second we locked the door, I missed the creak in the floors and the Crayola drawings on my brother’s bedroom wall, right next to where his bed used to be.  I missed the painting in the dining room that hadn’t been painted for this house, but still looked exactly like it in a way that made me think the artist had been there before.  

I originally wrote this piece for a creative writing class I took last semester, but I'm pretty happy with how it came out in the end.  What are your thoughts on it, guys?

<3 Kiersten

August 22, 2011

Weekly Gratitude (4)

I know I haven't done one of these in a couple of weeks now, but today I really think I need to voice (write?) my gratitude.  So here goes.

** Today at work, we received a call from one of my best friends.  
She was rushing home from work, having just received a call form a friend at the fire department telling her that her home was on fire.  
As it turns out, the neighbors (she lives in a twin) had left a lit cigarette in their bedroom that morning before leaving the house.  When the distress call was put in, my friend was called as well because the houses are connected.  
Tonight, I am grateful that my friend is okay, and that her home retained no real damage aside from some soot on her windowsills, a strong smell of barbecue in her bedroom, and the two destroyed doors which the firemen had to kick down in order to make sure nobody was inside the house. **

** I am grateful that I work in a restaurant where the staff is genuinely concerned about our safety, and where I have close friends who work with me. **

Every so often, I think that it is important for something like what happened to my friend today to happen to all of us.  It forces us to see the important things in our lives, and to be thankful for them.
I have been incredibly stressed over the past few days, and today made me realize that the things I was worried about are nothing that should upset me.  I am incredibly blessed with some very good friends who I know will help me through days like the past few, and who I would do the same thing for no matter what.  
Despite what has had me upset lately (and I'm sure a few of you saw the post I recently deleted from the other night), I have plenty in my life to be thankful for.

So friends, what are you grateful for this week?  Have you ever had something happen to you which made you forget everything you were upset about, and just be grateful for the good things in your life?
I'd love to hear about it, and don't forget to link up at Love, Life, Lace if you decide to make a post of your own!

<3 Kiersten

August 20, 2011

After-Midnight Thoughts

It's 1am and I'm still awake.  
I couldn't tell you why I'm still awake, except that I found old notebooks when I got home a half hour ago.  The old notebooks from two years ago, when I was a senior in high-school.  And now I'm feeling nostalgic for something that I don't remember ever believing I'd miss. 

I'm looking through old "last-minute-before-the-bell-poetry" that I wrote in every class of the day.  Poems that started in second period biology, and finally ended as the lunch bell rang, telling me it was time for the second half of my day.  Poems that I changed and edited, read and re-read on a daily basis for nine months straight.  

And everything's dated - telling me exactly where I was in the year when I wrote it.  Exactly what made me write it, and at exactly what point it tapered off.  A moment I remember, and a letter that marked the end of it.  A letter that's missing now.  And when you look at the dates - I wrote almost every day for months at a time. And I'm sure that on the days I didn't write something new, I was reading what I'd already written over and over, trying to make it fit just right, just the way the voice in my head was hearing it.  

The voice in my head that still screams at me every day to write, but somehow - at some point, I stopped listening as desperately to it.  I still dream of writing one day.  Whenever I pick up a magazine I like, or read an article that really meant something to me, I feel it inside of myself - that overwhelming desire to write something that matters to someone one day.  

It's been a long time though since I've written just for me.  Poetry or short stories that really mean nothing, and that I'll work at for months at a time, just so that I can read them over a year later, and realize that they're still not finished.  

Classes start in just over a week, and with them, the beginning of my sophomore year of college.  And just as soon as I can get the ink on the papers dried, the start of completing my major:  the one thing I've always known and believed I could do.  While I've always second guessed my ability to do anything else, I've always believed in my writing.  Even when I knew I could do better, even when I read an incredible story or a heart-wrenching personal essay and thought I'll never be that good, something inside of me has known that I do have that ability if I work for it heard enough.  And this year, I want to listen to that feeling every day.  I want to remind myself every morning, every time I read something that is better written than a story of mine, I want to know that one day, that article that makes someone smile can be written by me.

Every so often at work, a coworker of mine will tell me that they expect to see that novel one day.  
And one day, they will.

<3 Kiersten

August 16, 2011

I'm Having Brunch

Hello Friends!  So sorry that I've been gone for a bit - I've been settling back into routine since returning from vacation!

However, today I am guest-posting over at Alivia's blog: Brunch in April!!  Alivia's blog is one of my favorites, and I love reading her posts every day.  Normally, she has a featured blogger of the month, however for the month of August she invited her readers to guest-post for her.  

So definitely go check out my post over there, and while you're stopping by, check out some of Alivia's posts!!  She's wonderful - I promise! 
And if you're stopping by from Brunch in April, thanks so much for taking the time to come see me!  Please, pull up a chair, have an Irish Potato, and enjoy yourself.  And don't forget to let me know you were here so that I can stop by your little home some time! :)

And now that I'm finished with announcements, who's ready for some vacation photos??
My mom, brother and I spent most of the week in LBI.  It was my first trip to the island, and as a girl who spent most summers in Wildwood and Ocean City, let me tell you - it was gorgeous.  The beach was beautiful and so clean (not really a factor in Wildwood), and we went biking through all the towns on the island to see the lighthouse in Barnnagut (is that how you spell that?).  All in all, it was a very relaxing vacation, and I'd love to go back next year!!
So without further ado, here are some photos from our trip.
This was a view of the water below from the top of the lighthouse.  My brother took this photo because I'm not a big fan of heights. 
Also the view from the top of the lighthouse
mom and brother in the ocean

So how about you, friends?  How are you enjoying the last few days of summer?
<3 Kiersten

August 7, 2011

Up and Away

Well, technically not up.  But oh well, I thought it sounded nice.
Tomorrow, as a last minute decision on our parts, my mom, brother and I are going down the shore (at least that's the plan for right now).  Over the past few months, our travel destination has changed more times than I can count, and about an hour ago, we finally decided on going to the beach (although we haven't decided which beach yet).  
So Friends, for the next five days, I will be digging my feet into the sand and catching up on my reading - two novellas I picked up at the bookstore last week and haven't had a chance to start yet.  
But I promise, I'll take plenty of photos to bring back and show you guys!  See you in a week!
<3 Kiersten
PS.  Anyone have some blog-design tips?  I'm trying (and desperately failing) to make Love Always look pretty, but I don't have the money for a blog design.  Any thoughts would be awesome!!

August 6, 2011

3 Weeks

Three weeks from today, I will be in my dorm room at school.  
I will be setting up our room, and getting ready for classes in a couple of days.  I will be spending time with friends who I haven't seen in a few months, and possibly thinking up all the things that I will write to my friends back home about.

I will be ordering Chinese food from our favorite delivery place in town (and trust me...that took a semester or two of trial and error to win a place in our hearts), the one that we all have stored in our phones.  We will be putting off eating in the school cafeteria for one more day.  

I will be meeting the people living on my floor, going to an all-floor meeting to introduce ourselves.  
I will be walking to the frozen yogurt place in town to make a diabetes-inducing mixture, and making plans to go to the fair in town later that week.  Because what else does a college-town have to do over the summer other than plan a celebration for the returning students?

I am so. ready. to be back.

<3 Kiersten

August 3, 2011

Write on Wednesday (4)

Hey guys!  So although I'm cutting it a bit close, today is Wednesday and that means my fourth attempt at WoW (and no, I don't mean the interactive computer game...).  If you guys haven't seen my previous posts for this project, or just haven't had a chance to check it out, you should jump right on over to InkPaperPen to check it out.  Go ahead, I'll wait here. :)

This week's prompt was a single phrase:  "The clock winked".  Our assignment was to take this sentence, and use it to write whatever came to mind over the course of five minutes.  I'll be honest:  I spent the first two minutes like a fish out of water, with no idea what to write, as though the art were a totally new form to me.  I'm not entirely happy with how it came out, but I think I'm proud of the general premise of it.  
What do you guys think?  Let me know in the comment box, please!


The clock winked.

Mona was convinced that it had, despite being well aware that her eyes were playing plenty of tricks on her these days, and what was to stop this from being one of them.  But it had winked at her.  In a mocking sort of way too, as though it knew it had full power over her, and intended to use that for all it was worth.

You’re going to be here forever, the clock seemed to say to her.  I control time.  I can stay right here for hours if I like, and there’s really nothing you can do about it.  

But honestly, it seemed as though it had been days already just since she'd sat down on the kitchen chair which, according to the clock, had been five minutes ago.  Something so small as a second seemed to pass over the course of days for her now.  And days could pass as an eternity.  She had no idea as to how she was going to live the rest of her life.

There’d been a time though, when time seemed to go so fast.  When they knew they had so little of it, and that realization only seemed to result in their having less of it, no matter what they did to make sure they spent every moment being happy together.  What had they done wrong?  Why, after all they’d done to appreciate the time they had, did he have to be taken away in what seemed like the blink of an eye?  Or rather, the wink of a clock.  

How about you, friends?  Do you want to give WoW a try?  Link up at InkPaperPen so we can all check it out!!

<3 Kiersten

August 1, 2011

Weekly Gratitude (3)

Hey guys!  
So it's Monday again (already?!), and you know what that means, right?  Time for Weekly Gratitude, a lovely idea from Love, Life, Lace!  If you just love this idea, be sure to link up over at the blog that started it, and let me know too so that I can check your list out!


- Vacation to Wildwood next week.  I can't wait for the time off, and I miss the beach so much!!  
- Finding my ring that I thought I'd lost today at work.  At some point, I noticed I wasn't wearing it anymore, and thought that when I'd taken it off to wash my hands, I'd left it in the bathroom.  When I checked and it wasn't there, I assumed someone had taken it.  Towards to end of my shift though, I found it lying on the ground next to a table.  Guess I knocked it off when I was bussing a table?
-RAIN!  As much as I hated walking home from the bus-stop in it, the flowers and the grass and the trees needed it!


So how about you, friends?  What are you thankful for this week?  Let me know!!

<3 Kiersten