April

April. proper noun. The fourth month of the year, thought to be named for Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. (Now the whole ring by spring thing makes sense…)

Otherwise known as What I Learned: April Edition.

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

1. April (and heck, this school year) flew by ridiculously fast. I have like 2 weeks of school left. I don’t know what to do with this fact.

2. I have much smaller veins in my left arm than in my right. Apparently drawing blood from them is more difficult (and painful) as well.

3. Further lessons in tea experimentation: Adding lemon to will lessen tea’s intensity. I prefer darker teas in the morning and lighter teas in the afternoon. Cinnamon tea tastes like Hot Tamales, in a bad way if brewed too long and in a delightful way if brewed correctly. Brewing tea correctly while simultaneously eating cereal and finding shoes that match and packing a sandwich and running into class two minutes late is difficult.

4. The record for the longest book domino chain is 2,131 books. Watching them fall in the video below makes me smile every time.

 

5. Loose patterned pants are trendy. Ones that cinch at the bottom are even trendier. You also must be a supermodel or Jasmine from Aladdin to look attractive in said pants. Apparently I fit in neither of those categories. I only know this because in preparation for my trip to China, I am striving to find summery pants or capris that 1. Are more culturally acceptable for a blond, long-legged Westerner than shorts; 2. Are more lightweight than denim; 3. Do not look like they were made for elderly people; 4. Are cheap; 5. Actually fit the aforementioned long legs. With the success I’ve had thus far, I may be wearing skirts for the entire trip.

6. According to a spring issue of Real Simple magazine, guys reduce their walking speed by 7% when walking with a romantic interest as opposed to a just-friends kind of girl.

7. My grandma knows what a selfie is. On their 50th anniversary, she and my grandpa tried to take one. It was apparently unsuccessful. But this celebratory photo turned out nice. (Grandma and Grandpa, I am exposing you on the Internet – I apologize! It’s only because you’re too great for me to keep to myself. 🙂 )

DSC_2951

8. Twinkies have been resurrected, and they are not terrible. On the road trip home for Easter, my road trip buddy and I decided to try them, because you do strange things after driving for 5 hours. We were surprised by how not-bad they were. (My sister was a loser and did not participate. We have sworn to hold this over her head for the rest of her life.)

9. Parks and Recreation is one TV show that both my brothers and I can actually enjoy together when I’m home on break. This amazing, considering they generally like shows where everyone dies. Thank you, Leslie Knope. I’m liking you more and more all of the time.

What did you learn this month?

 

As always, I’m linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky. Click here to visit the site and read about what other people are learning!

Advertisements

February

February. proper noun. The second month of the year, named for a purification feast that used to happen this month. Considered by most to be the last month of winter. (Except if you live in Minnesota, where the weather is crap.)

abb3a99a9c01a0e6cedc0a897d22c67e

Image via Pinterest

Here’s what I learned in February. If you want to see what other people across the Internet are learning, head to the link-up on Emily Freeman’s blog.

  1. By the end of February, I am desperate for spring. I am so dang sick of snow. I want to choose footwear based on factors other than warmth and traction. I want to go outside without putting on a jacket. I want to see colors other than white. I want to not worry about crappy road conditions. Okay, forgive the rant. On to less whiny things.
  2. I am officially going to China this spring! For the girl who has a bit of wanderlust and learned to speak Chinese last year, this is a big deal. I’ll be in Beijing for close to three weeks this May and June with some other students from my school’s education department. Our agenda includes checking out an international school and doing some pretty spectacular sightseeing. I’m pumped.

    9b39dadcf46832e2fd76203d20cc9914

    I will actually get to see this in person.
    Image via Pinterest

  3. Drinking a glass of water immediately before you go to bed is supposed to help you remember your dreams. I don’t remember where I read this, but it actually worked for the week I tried it. However, this gets exhausting when you have weird dreams for multiple nights in a row. For example, one night, a wolf came running at me while I was stuck in a snowbank in my yard. The next night, people sitting around a campfire were whispering about me and taking pictures of me because I was sitting next to some guy. It was very strange. You should try it and tell me what happens to you.
  4. How to make baked potatoes. (It’s not hard. I’m kind of ashamed that I had to Google it first.)
  5. The TV show Parks and Recreation is actually funny. I was anticipating a variation of The Office, a show I don’t like. (Oh, the shame. But it’s true.) I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Leslie Knope is winning me over. Watch this clip and you’ll see why. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0MKUXNzvDE
  6. On a closely related note, I have an obsessive personality where I either never watch Netflix or want to schedule my entire day around watching Netflix. It’s a problem.
  7. These are the traits of highly sensitive people. I think I’m one of them.
  8. There’s this website called Feedly that is free and awesome and makes reading blogs way easier. You enter the blogs you want to follow, and the website compiles all of the new posts for you. I get stressed out by getting lots of email updates and I am not techy (as in I have heard of RSS feeds, but I don’t know what they are or how they work), so this user-friendly website is golden. It is also way more effective than the bookmark-a-million-blogs-and-forget-to-check-them strategy I have used up until now.
  9. You can have a cold for over three weeks. Over this time span, you may blow your nose through at least an entire roll of toilet paper (if you are unprepared to be blindsided by illness) and almost two boxes of tissues. It will suck.
  10. Nice people at college coffee shops sometimes give you hot water for free. This is beautiful if you are sick and carry your own tea bags with you.
  11. Walgreens-brand Sudafed has more cold-fighting power than Target-brand Dayquil.
  12. How to do some swanky new swing dancing moves. I got to take some informal lessons and go dancing a few times this month, and it was swell.
    1540f07363233a0d10ce24275c334a6a

    This is me. Ha. Not. Image via Pinterest

    What have you learned in February?

January

January. proper noun. The first month of the year. According to Google, named after the Roman god Janus, the god of open doors and new beginnings. Nifty.

8338412cccf7dee7dde8eb9c50fbebf7

Image via Pinterest

This marks the first What I Learned post of 2014. (And it’s just as random as the ones from last year.)

1. My college is the sixth coldest in the U.S. according to this website. I don’t know if I should be proud or transfer.

Image via Google Images

Image via Google Images

2. I don’t really get Twitter. I think it’s a little weird. Maybe it’s because I grew up practically Amish, with no Internet in our house until last year and no Facebook until after I graduated from high school and no TV ever. (This is a true story. It’s a miracle I survived adolescence.) But I am now an official Twitface, as my high school history teacher would say. Hip hip hooray. I think. Follow me here if you are so inclined.

3. New noteworthy chocolate discoveries: Lindt Dark Chocolate with Caramel and a Hint of Sea Salt and Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. So. Dang. Delicious. I know, I talk about chocolate in like every post, but this stuff is legitimately life-changing.

4. More pop culture personality quiz results (check last month for additional ones): I am Belle, my favorite classic Disney princess, according to this survey. Yes! And Hermione Granger, according to this one. Duh. And Katniss Everdeen in this one. I didn’t expect this, but the description – nature-loving, needing alone time, and protective of loved ones – fits me. And I get to marry Peeta, so I won’t argue.

5. On another fictional boyfriend note, Flynn Ryder is my true love, according to this. I don’t know if it’s accurate, but I’m totally okay with it.

Image via Google Images.  And how could you say no to that face?

Image via Google Images.
And how could you say no to that face?

6. The movie Frozen is even better the second time around. Also, a Broadway version is in the works. A trip to New York may be necessary in the near future.

7. Writing down every time I work out, the one health-improving thing I decided to do this semester, is actually quite motivating.

8. February is National Breakup Month. Not that this has any bearing on my life.

9. Jim Dale is an excellent car ride companion if you can’t have a physical person co-piloting. Trust me, I listened to five straight hours of his voice in the form of Harry Potter audiobooks on my drive from home to college. He’ll do.

10. Trader Joe’s is a great store. Organic, interesting food that’s not horrifyingly expensive? Sign me up. A favorite find (other than the aforementioned peanut butter cups): Chipotle Pepper Hummus. Yum.

11. Adding salt to pasta water, which I never, ever remember to do, actually does makes pasta more delicious.

12. ISTJs are characteristically hypersensitive to lighting, room temperature, and noises. There are legitimate reasons why I loathe overhead fluorescent lights and find random noises irrationally irritating. People, I now have an excuse for my weirdness. Well, some of it.

13. School is busy. Huh. Not sure how I forgot that. It’s caused me to not have time or energy to fun-write for a while. Don’t give up on me yet – I’m trying to get back in the groove, and some half-baked ideas are bouncing around in my brain. Until then, though, a random accumulation of Internet links is the best I can do.

See you soon, I hope.

December

December. Derived from the Latin word for ten, December is the twelfth and final month of the year. It is also often considered the first month of winter.

b4492d3fc148d6ad793b492fb50f4d52

Image via Pinterest

I’m linking up with Emily Freeman and sharing What I Learned in December. Keep in mind, I spent December preparing for finals. And procrastinating for preparing for finals. Evaluate this list accordingly.

1. I am weirdly fascinated by Internet personality quizzes. Without them I would not know interesting tidbits such as my Disney villain alter ego is Maleficent, who’s power hungry and hates being left out. You should be terrified of me. Also, of all of the Friends characters, I am most like Monica. Translated for the Friends uninitiated, this means, “You’re a little uptight, but you’re a great cook, a great host, and a great friend.”

2. Blasting One Direction is fabulous motivation to finish studying for one last final. I know. I succumb to catchy pop beats and boys with ridiculous hair. It’s official. I have no taste.

one-direction-5

So. Much. Hair.
Image via Google Images

3. Speaking of hair, girls’ hair is gross. To the lovely women who live in my hall: I like you a whole lot, but it took half an hour to cut all of your hair off the bottom of the vacuum. That’s sick. There’s one downside of being an RA that I never anticipated.

4. Knitting is a fabulous hobby. As a preteen, I made one very lopsided dishcloth and have neglected the needles since then. Man, have I been missing out.

DSC_2367

Yes, this is our family’s Christmas picture, and yes, I was actually knitting.

5. Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, uses the adjectives drunk, last-ditch, and lethal more than most authors. (If you’ve read the books, this should not be that surprising.) This information comes from this article, which looks at the variation between words and sentence structures in The Hunger Games, Twilight, and Harry Potter. If you’ve read the books and actually like English, it’s fascinating.  If you think word choice and sentence structure are snooze-worthy, I’ll share one more fascinating point with you: It’s scientifically proven that Twilight is emotional drivel.

6. Netflix is both a wonderful and very dangerous thing. One episode of a show ends, and you have a whole 14 seconds to decide if you will be a productive person or waste your life watching a screen. I am a slow processor! It takes me longer than 14 seconds to make good decisions! Since my discovery of Pinterest, procrastination has never been so easy. It may be a good thing my free trial runs out soon.

7. The creators of Frozen, the cute new Disney animated movie, really nailed the older sister/younger sister dynamics between Elsa and Anna. My younger sister is a melodramatic sweetheart who does not excel at long-term planning, just like Anna in the movie. Of the two of us, I am more likely to be icy and isolated. Though I don’t have any magic powers that I know of.

Elsa-and-Anna-Wallpapers-frozen-35894707-1600-1200

The famous Frozen sisters.
Image via Google Images

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The not-quite-as-famous parallels. Can’t you see the similarities (even though this picture is more than 5 years old)?

8. Methods are survivable! For anyone who is not a “teacher candidate” at my school and has no idea what I’m talking about, methods is the semester of intensive classes that instructs future educators how to teach their specific subject areas. Normal classes all get squished into Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while Tuesday and Thursday are dedicated to observing and teaching in a real classroom. Nasty rumors get circulated about this semester. Younger Ed majors, I regret to inform you that most of them are true. You will be sleep deprived and have little free time and stress-eat chocolate late into night. But you will survive. One of my lovely classmates compared completing methods to running a marathon: you’re always exhausted, everyone is cheering you on but doesn’t really understand the pain you’re going through, and your prize for the months of training that got you to the finish line is a crappy t-shirt. I feel a little ripped off that I didn’t even get a t-shirt. But I did cross the finish line, at least.

This concludes the final What I Learned of 2013! As a learner-type girl, I love tracking my cool discoveries outside the academic world of college (and it makes my random Internet surfing seem much more justifiable). I plan on keeping it going in 2014, so watch for more What I Learned next year, too!

November

November. proper noun. According to Google, the eleventh month of the year, often considered the last month of autumn. Also the code word for the letter N. Originates from Latin, in which it means nine.

Now presenting What I Learned in November. This is part of a link-up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky – head to her blog to see what other people are learning.

Image via Pinterest

Image via Pinterest

 

1. This list just reminded me how introverted I am.

2. The Anne of Green Gables movie is so dang precious. How have I, a lifelong kindred spirit to Anne-with-an-e, missed out on such delight?

3. Holy moly, I nerd out over books. And reading. And English in general. Exhibit A: I got incredibly excited and actually enjoyed my homework when I had to find five picture books that I could use to teach big kids. Exhibit B: I found a blogger who reads a picture book every Monday to his big kids to get them to enjoy reading and to think about something other than texting. Genius. I will totally do this. Exhibit C: Recently, my roommate showed me a badly written sentence in her philosophy book, and I immediately began mentally treeing (which is like diagramming) it to see how it went so wrong. During this conversation, I also uttered the phrase, “That dude needed a better editor.” Exhibit D: I actually believe the statistic in #6. Exhibit E: The fact that I would totally call the author of this awesome note.

4. There is a gene that determines whether you will be a night owl or an early bird. My most productive hours are between 9:00 and 10:30 p.m. I rarely fall asleep before midnight. I make angry faces when I wake up. Guess what I am? However, this is not, as I had previously believed, due to laziness or lacking ambition. This is something I can’t help! I can stay up late and hate mornings without guilt!

5. Catching Fire is an awesome movie. This, I expected. I enjoyed watching it in theaters. This, I did not expect. I am not good at watching intense movies. When I was little, I used to watch the scary parts of Aladdin from behind the recliner in my grandma and grandpa’s living room, claiming I was in the Cave of Wonders. I still pace in the living room when my family watches anything action-y. However, Catching Fire was worth all of the anxiety it caused. Some high points: the movie is incredibly well-done (and this is coming from the girl who is passionately champions that books are better than movies), the existence of Josh Hutcherson and whoever plays Finnick Odair and has those gorgeous dimples, and Lydia from the Pride and Prejudice movie plays Joanna Mason and she rocks it. I am also developing excellent coping mechanisms for intensity. Though there wasn’t a Cave of Wonders in the theater, I only had to pace in the aisle once. I also read the book so I could anticipate the terrifying moments, took strategic bathroom breaks, and hid behind my jacket whenever people started dying. You should go see the movie. Even if you need to pace or hide.

6. This statistic. My personal, highly scientific studies confirm its reliability.

Image via Pinterest

Disclaimer: I have no idea what Read It Forward is, nor have I liked them on Facebook. Your call there. Image via Pinterest

6. I really like teaching middle school. I think the kids are amusing and awkward and awesome. I can also teach grammar to five periods of said kids and survive, though I now understand why my teacher parents need naps after school.

7. Brene Brown is awesome. She researches shame and vulnerability and has amazing insights such as “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” (Think about it. She’s so right.) Her message is slowly changing my life. Check out her TED Talks if you have 20 minutes and want your socks rocked off.

You can also check out her blog.

8. Christmas is coming. I love Christmas. You can bet your Christmas cookies that I’ll be doing some holiday-themed writing. The goal is once a week, which may or may not happen due to this little phenomenon called finals. At any rate, come back soon for a little Christmas cheer.

October

October. Proper noun. According to Wikipedia, it’s the tenth month of the year, whose name was derived from the word Latin word octo, which means eight (since once upon a time, January or February did not exist).

53d8350be9f78f918a69251e9c23cfbd

Image found via Pinterest

Announcing What I Learned, edition October.

  1. Apparently when evaluating someone’s mood by looking only at their eyes, I read flirtation as hostility. Well. That bodes well for my flirting life. Maybe it’s mostly nonexistent for a reason. Otherwise, I am “quite good” at judging people’s emotions based on facial cues. If you have time to waste or are curious about your mind-reading powers, you can take test yourself here.
  2. How to square dance. At a hoedown. Where I wore cowboy boots. It was great. If this whole teaching thing falls through, I might return to my childhood ambition to be a cowgirl.
  3. Even crazy college girls need to read good books (that aren’t textbooks and that actually have a plot). I read an entire one the afternoon before I went on fall break while I was supposed to be studying for a final. Whoops. Books are apparently my version of Netflix. (I still did fine on that final, if you were concerned.) I have recently been trying to keep myself from desperately swallowing stories and words instead the facts and ideas of my homework. Sometimes it works.
  4. My motivation disappears the closer breaks get (see Number 3. And just watch me in the upcoming weeks before Thanksgiving break.)
  5. Group thank-you notes are far more entertaining when written round-robin style, one word at a time, with your mom and sister. Especially when they are written late at night with one person who is sarcastic, one person who has a bad attitude about making decisions, and one person who is an English major.
  6. I love giraffes a whole lot. Especially baby giraffes. I think I feel some sort of tall, awkward kinship with them.
    How could you not adore this little dude?

    How could you not adore this little dude?

    Super excited about this guy. And look! He's even taller than me!

    Look! He’s even taller than me!

  7. As a rule, I get less sleep when I go home for break than I do while at college.
  8. I may need a What Not To Wear intervention soon, since I’ve been creating some kind of wacky outfits lately. Pattern mixing inspiration on Pinterest may have gone a little too far. Can someone tell me – do checks and polka dots actually work in real life? How about floral and stripes? Stacy and Clinton, I need you!

    Cooincidentally, this is at that hoedown from #2. First, apologies to Peter, who was nice enough to go with me and now gets dragged into a blog post about my outfit insecurity. Second, I wouldn't wear the cowboy boots in real life. Okay, that's a lie - I totally might.Coincidentally, this is at that hoedown from #2. First, apologies to Peter, who was nice enough to go with me and now gets dragged (along with the prize fish) into a blog post about my outfit insecurity. Second, I am wearing cowboy boots and mixed patterns here, both of which I may or may not do in non-hoedown life.

    In this outfit, please note the striped grungy hat I stole (okay, took with permission) from my grandpa and the chevron scarf I've had for years. Underneath I am wearing a cardigan in yet another shade of blue. Heavenly days. (But isn't that giraffe cute, at least?)In this outfit, please note the grungy hat I stole (with permission) from my grandpa and the mismatched chevron scarf. Underneath I am wearing a cardigan in yet another shade of blue. Heavenly days. (But isn’t that giraffe cute, at least?)

  9. I really, really hate assignments that are due at midnight on Friday.  They cause me to spend my Friday nights frantically finishing homework rather than doing activities such as watching a movie or having a life. I don’t know whether to blame this issue on my procrastinating or professors who pick terrible, horrible, no good, very bad deadlines.
  10. I am not good about doing this whole month in review time, smack dab on the conclusion of the month. My apologies.

If you’re still with me, I feel like I should acknowledge that this post feels shallow and chatty, like the People magazine version of my life. Maybe I talked about clothes and break too much. Maybe my reserves of depth and insight have been spilled out elsewhere for the time being.

I’m mostly okay with that.

I won’t be like this every time.

And to make up for it, this month, I’m going to be starting something deep and thought-provoking. (Okay, more like random and occasionally intriguing.) Throughout November, I’m going to tackle the topic of thankfulness. I’m sure your mind is blown by the originality of this combination. But still. As I look ahead to a dark, dreary month where the sun has set by 5:00 and where homework loads explode and where the Christmas cheeriness hasn’t hit yet, I think I’ll need a little thankfulness. If you do, too, be watching throughout November!

September

September. proper noun. The ninth month of the year, though its name actually comes from the Latin word septurn, meaning seven. Like that’s not confusing.

e68772bc048ad61d54632a925833baa0

This is how September went. Except I didn’t look quite so chill. And it was generally dark and closer to midnight when I was doing this. Okay, so this is actually how I wish September would have went…
Image via Pinterest

What I Learned, September edition. Scribbled in the wee pockets of free time I manage to steal to keep me sane. Linked up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky. Read and be amazed at how flaky I become once school heats up.

  1. This “What I Learned” business is way easier to do if you keep track of things throughout the month and write them down as they occur. Just sayin’.
  2. I actually like skinny jeans. Everyone who is fashion-forward is wondering what rock I’ve been living under for the past five years. But I haven’t lived under a rock – I had a pair in eighth grade that were cute! And I use them for boot-tucking convenience! And mostly I had self-esteem issues about my thighs and honkin’ feet, and I thought something fitted would make things worse. But I got over that. (A massive sale on extra-longs at American Eagle helped.)
  3. How to manage stress. Emphasis on the learning part – I sure haven’t mastered this one for sure. At least I’ve realized how much needless worrying I do: I freak out when I look ahead to crazy days, and I stress about getting everything completed. But so far, a jam-packed day has never killed me, and miraculously, things always get done. Now I just need to remind myself of that on Sunday nights when I look at the upcoming week in my planner and want to cry.
  4. Belle (a la Beauty and the Beast) was inspired by characters from Little Women and Katharine Hepburn. No wonder she’s my favorite Disney princess.
  5. According to my boss, I use the word super as a modifier almost excessively. (Haven’t taken advanced grammar? This just means I say things like “super stressed” or “super busy.” Apparently a lot.)
  6. Watching Les Mis the movie makes me feel better about reading Les Mis the book. Number one, I knew when to look away so I would not burst into tears. (Gavroche, my favorite little sprite, dies? No sob-filled surprise, thankfully.) But number two, I knew all kinds of backstory that everyone else missed. Like how Fantine ended up alone and with a child and why she’s singing about love never dying in “I Dreamed a Dream.” And why it’s so cool that Gavroche lives in an elephant. And why Marius has anything to do with the Thernardiers. And that Cosette and Marius actually know each other for more than one night before they’re torn apart, swearing eternal love. So now I don’t think reading the book was a total and complete waste of a month’s reading powers. And “I Dreamed a Dream” spontaneously gets stuck in my head.
  7. I am really overwhelmed by big suburban high schools. The one where I’m observing for my teaching classes right now is twice as big as my entire hometown. It’s crazy. Especially if you go in the hallways between classes.
  8. The more you do lesson plans, the faster you get at making them. Your attitude about scripting out every single thing you might say may not improve (actually, it will most likely get worse), but the overall process gets speedier and less agonizing.
  9. How to make rice on the stove. It’s not even that hard! And it’s cheap! And it tastes good! I’m getting so thrifty and domestic.
  10. It is possible to get sunburned in the tail end of September under the right conditions. These conditions include, but are not limited to: attending a Twins game around 1:00 p.m. in unseasonably warm weather, sitting directly in the (blissfully) hot sunshine, and having practically translucent Scandinavian skin like me.

And thus, autumn continues. Stay tuned for next month’s insights!

P.S. What have you learned this month?

August

August. proper noun. According to official sources, the eighth month of the year named for Augustus. According to me, the sweaty summer finale that brings school supplies back to stores and desperation for more sweet summer to me.

A month of whirlwinds and high flying. (Also see number for further relevance.) Photo credit to my dad.

A month of whirlwindy high flying. (Also see Number 5 on the list for further relevance.) Photo credit to my dad.

Remember way back at the end of July, where I linked up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky and recounted all of the random info I picked up during the month? I’m officially making this a thing. Don’t worry, now that school’s back on this won’t become a summary of a month’s worth of book and lecture learning. That would take way too long and be way too boring. This is for the fun and flaky only. On that note, here’s what I picked up in August.

1. Flynn Ryder (of Tangled fame) was originally going to be British. I don’t know how I feel about this. I adore British accents. But I also like Flynn the way he is, as the devilish floppy-haired secret softie who smolders. I don’t know if a British boy could smolder appropriately.

2. The mind spends something like 70% of its time coming up with imaginary situations, perfect or otherwise. This is a random Pinterest fact that I can now no longer find. It may or may not be true. But it is interesting, and knowing it might make you self-consciously analyze your thought patterns.

3. The weather in Minnesota is confused and annoying. 60 degree days during swimming lessons: bad. 90 degree days while in class and training: bad. 60 degree day during the last weekend at the lake: bad. Next summer, Minnesota, please get your act together.

4. This cool company called MudLove exists. They take clay, stamp words into it, and turn it into jewelry. Twenty percent of the profit goes to getting clean water in Africa. And the bracelets ring in at a college student-approved $5. Order yourself one. Or seven. (Although that would negate the college student-approved part.)

5. Paying $3.75 to ride the flying swings at the Minnesota State Fair is totally worth it. They light up and go way higher and faster than any dinky county fair ride. (And if you live my life, one of your brothers might offer to sit by himself and you’ll joke that it’s because he’s hunting for a woman and seconds later a perky blonde girl might sit down next to him and start chatting it up. If this happens, your other brother and you will laugh hysterically. And your dad might take stalker photos. It will be great.)

Little bro Andrew and I on the swings (see the mirthful glee as we laugh about our other brother?) Photo credit to my dad.

Little bro Andrew and I on the swings (see the mirthful glee as we laugh about our other brother?). Photo credit to my dad.

6. I should not be in the military. I get mighty anxious about being shot at when I’m playing laser tag, where the only thing that happens when I get nailed is my talking headband grunts in pain. I would stink in real, dangerous combat with real, dangerous bullets.

7. The following things are not in my skill set: leading large groups where I don’t know anyone’s name, having self control around fried food and Sweet Martha’s Cookies at the Minnesota State Fair, playing Rook (a game of strategy that my dad loves and attempted to teach me and my siblings) especially when paired with my similarly strategy-challenged brother, taking selfies that don’t look idiotic, accompanying for people on the piano after not playing in public for two years, making small talk, and rollerskating.

8. Having a car at college is possibly the coolest thing ever. I can drive myself to Target! I can get a library card! I can do emergency runs to get more paint chips at a sketchy Menards! (A long story about decorating my dorm hall…) The possibilities are endless. (Unlike the parking spots on campus. I’ve parked in Hell – the unofficial nickname for the overflow lot a hike away from the dorms – twice thus far, and I am not thrilled about it.)

9. If you are in the right store (the Nordstrom Rack in the Mall of America) at the right time (a random Sunday afternoon) with the right person (your sale-spotting mama), you can find formerly $70 jeans for $1. I am not joking. I have the tags to prove it.

11. Blogging regularly when you have homework is tricky. I’m going to stick with the monthly “What I Learned” jazz, but I may not write weekly installments for reasons of sanity and scheduling. But I’ll do my best. (Both to write, and to remain sane.) Until next time…