Thursday, April 26, 2012

What a year.

My goodness, it's been quite a year. Almost exactly a year ago was prom, but so much has happened since then. Let's recap, shall we?
  • I graduated (and went to the subsequent parties). That was a biggie.
  • I taught VBS to 3-year-olds. Happening again this year? Uh, duh.
  • I partied it up on a houseboat at the Texas-Oklahoma border with the Tallowood seniors.
  • I led my tribe to victory at Camp Tallowood.
  • I traipsed up I-45 all the way to Colorado Springs with my motley crew of a team for a mission trip.
  • I baked up a storm, then met my dad in the kitchen each night to see how much of it we could put away (if only so I could make something else). I'm telling you, summer: nothing quite like it.
  • I was roped into a last minute pit-playing job for everyone's favorite student-produced musical, Floyd Collins. Best decision ever (and I'm doing it again this summer).
  • I said goodbye. A lot.
  • I did perhaps my least favorite thing for a whole month: endured oodles upon oodles of small talk through the death they call orientation and adjusting to life in a new place.
  • I became part of the Symphony Orchestra and the Women's Chorale (never thought I'd see that day).
  • I ate at Alinea, an insanely expensive but equally innovative and delicious restaurant in Chicago.
  • I invented a new method for outlining papers, designed especially for all you visual learners out there.
  • I met up with some friends from high school in Chicago and almost missed the train back to Wheaton...oops.
  • I blogged every day for a month!
  • I went a little nuts with the door decorations.
  • I made it through my first Christmas Festival! And finals!
  • I popped into Philadelphia for a little stay with my sister. Except for all the fun vomiting that went on there, I've been missing that a lot lately. There was a puppy. There was a fuzzy blanket. There was a comfy bed. And there was delicious food. And there was no need to set an alarm for the mornings.
  • Christmas happened! (Brilliant, Margaret. Christmas in December, who would've thunk it?)
  • I switched from the College of Arts and Sciences to the Conservatory of Music. That really was brilliant. No, really.
  • I finally got some classes I cared about. I also made a decision only a crazy person would make in voluntarily taking Inorganic Chemistry. Who am I?
  • I flew home to surprise my friend for her senior recital! Not only was it the biggest surprise I've pulled off to date, but it was the focal point of the first two weeks of my spring semester.
  • I set off to make a recipe for some copycat buffalo chip cookies. Almost there, but that's another post.
  • I shadowed two pit conductors in the big city of Chicago. Fun times, fo realz.
  • I secretly trained to "run" a 10K on April 1. And by "run," I mean "get myself from point A to point B on foot at whatever speed I can muster." And by "secretly," I mean "everyone outside of my family knew."
  • I showed a whole orchestra the wonders of Texas on our orchestra spring break tour to Texas! Made me love my state so much more.
  • I made a couple more doors.
  • I learned to play the flute.
  • I applied for a bunch of things and didn't get them.
  • I applied to be the sophomore class's Conservatory representative and the orchestra's Assistant Business Manager and got them!
  • I baked a million things, and made a list of a million more to make this summer.
  • And I missed all of you. 
Now listen. I'm coming home. But first, a stop in London to become a cultured person, sort of. B&Bs! Buggy rides through the countryside! Eating in pubs! Seeing musicals! Picnics on gingham cloths! By the time you see me again, I'll be interested solely in eating scones and drinking tea with my pinky out. Looks like you'll have some catching up to do. Better hop to it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Surprises, round 2.

Today, I got to pull off my second respectably-sized surprise of the calendar year. In late January, I was told by some people on my floor that I should sign up for the Chi Town Half Marathon, to which I sensibly said, "Ha, no." At this point, I made a deal with one of those people to run as far as I could one afternoon, and if it was more than six miles, I would consider the Half Marathon. And thank goodness, it was not. But it was a good effort at 4.1 miles of a running/walking combo. So I signed up for the 10K instead (6.2 miles instead of 13.1). But for someone with such an impassioned lifelong anti-running streak as I have had, what would make this more fun? Keeping the whole thing a secret from my family, of course. All this for a few reasons: first, because surprises are fun; second, because I wasn't quite sure how it would turn out; and third, because it's just nicer not to have to deal with all the questions about how "training" is going (snerk) and whether I'm nervous about it and whether it was really a good idea.

So I ran just a wee bit at first, taking off for the orchestra tour to Texas, the two colds I had (still not sure how that's fair), and a weekend in Memphis. And although I never really got the hang of running more than about half a mile without walking some, running a mile became not nearly as big of a deal.

And then came the fun part: race prep! Secret trips to Target. Free ("free" meaning "included in the price of registration") quarter-zip meshy shirt thing with snazztastic thumb holes to feel like a real runner. Stealing applesauce, granola, and Chia seeds (wonder-seeds that gel when mixed with water) for breakfast the morning of.

We set out for Lincoln Park on a rather chilly, wet morning at the very early hour of 6:30, and after much to-do about parking, riding the bus, using the port-a-potties, and dropping off bags at the gear check tent (even though I might ask why you would leave your "gear" at the start line when, theoretically, any gear you would have brought would have been for the run anyway). We lined up, started the race, finished the race, kablam.

And at this point, my need for energy is kind of taking over my desire to give you a very factual account of this event. My condolences. Maybe later. But I'll leave you with this thought: peer pressure has never had such positive effects.