Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dallas langue francaise

Bear with me here folks, I've got a special treat just for you. I just finished a special poetry project and want to share it with the world! What started as an annoying trip to the grumpmonsters of the library's Special Collections room has now become a surprisingly cathartic exercise in creativity.
And who new my French would come to good use again!

Part I. The Original

Del coc raconte qui monta

Sour un femier et si grata

Selonc nature porchaçhot

Sa viande si come il sot

Une chiere geme trova,

Clere la vit, si l’esgarda

“Je cuidai,” fait-il, “porchacier

Ma viande sour cest femier,

Or t’ai ici, geme, trovee:

Ja par moi rien iers remuëe.

S’uns riches om ci vos trovast,

Bien sai que d’or vos honorast,

Si acreüst vostre claret

Par l’or qui mout a grant beauté

Quant ma volenté n’ai de toi

Ja nule onor n’avras par moi.”

Autressi est de main te gent,

Se tot ne vait a lor talent,

Come del coc et de la geme,

Veü l’avons d’ome et de feme:

Bien ne onor noient ne present,

Le pis prenent, le mieuz despisent.

(That's French from the Middle Ages, ladies and gents)

Part II. The Translation

“Of a cock who found a gemstone on a manure pile”

This is the story of a cock who made a discovery

On a manure pile while he scratched

As cocks do, searching

For his food on the ground as he had always done.

He found a precious gemstone

And saw it sparkle.

“I believed,” he said, “that I had found

Food on this manure pile.

But it’s you I’ve found, gemstone.

I will not touch you.

If a rich man had found you

I am certain that he would celebrate you as gold.

And note your clarity

As gold of great beauty.

But because you aren’t what I desired,

I will not celebrate you.”

There are many people

Who, when things don’t go as they wish,

Act like the cock with the gemstone.

We’ve seen these men and women:

They don’t value what is good,

And they vilify and despise what is best.

Part III. Imitation/Response

“Of a girl who found love in her heart”

This is the story of a girl who found promise

In her heart, while she smiled

As girls do, laughing

With her friends as she had always done.

She found a precious love

And saw it sparkle.

“I had hoped,” she said, “that you would come

When I was ready.

But you’ve arrived early, love.

I cannot keep you.

If a stronger girl had found you

I am certain she would have expressed endless joy.

And noted your perfection

As love of great worth.

But because you aren’t what I expected,

I will not keep you.”

There are many people

Who, when love comes to leave its mark,

Act like the girl with her guarded heart.

We’ve watched these men and women.

They don’t trust love for what it could be,

And fear it for what it sometimes is.

Hope you enjoy!

Au revoir,
Mademoiselle Kels.

Dallas kind of beautiful.

The way I see it, days after nights with little sleep can go one of two ways. Either you're so sleepy that you can't form coherent sentences, or you float around on a cloud of blissful relaxation and rely on coffee to keep your eyes open. And as the Java House employees could tell you, Kelsey was a very happy camper after she had her Mint White Mocha in hand.
It was a wonderful Wednesday, drifting through my class schedule wearing my favorite Aztec scarf. There were some embarrassing moments, such as when my sleepy self ran me right into a set of doors that were most definitely meant to be pulled and not pushed, but mostly it was the usual rundown of my Iowa education, complete with avoiding note-taking time to write a Christmas list.
So as promised, here's another collection of everything that I'm thankful for on this wondrous Wednesday, November 17:
Being outside after 2 a.m. when the world's asleep
Crazy dreams between when your alarm goes off and when you actually wake up
Whipped Cream
Plain bagels
Learning what makes a person nearsighted
Ridiculous raps
Running into doors
Mantastic sports economics
Professor Blake Whitten
Calculator battles
Teddy (bears)
Ginger beards
"Damn, it feels good to be a financier."
Catching people off-guard with positivity
Clicky-clacky keyboards
Carrying hot chocolate purposefully on a brisk winter night
Checking Summit off my IC bar list
Supporting a Cabbie doing stand-up!
Deciding to go on an adventure at the last minute
Lifetime movies about junior high drama
Learning to live with complications
Feeling valued
Being called "pretty"
Falling back in love with myself (awkward...)
Smiling at people from across a room
Imagining a multitude of possibilities
Being invited places
Having people say "I miss you"
Learning to love growing up.
Cuddling up under the covers after a very long day
Remembering French words that used to roll off my tongue
"I want to go to Greece during thunderstorm season so I can say 'Grease Lightning' without getting weird looks"
Finding out that my blog inspires other young women
Being one day closer to Marsha, Lyndall and Buddy Earl Dallas.
Hebrews 13:2

Another heart-wrenching love quote just for you,
"You give me the kind of feeling people write novels about."

Peace, love and Harry Potter puppet pals,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dallas does...the watusi.

Hey party people, and welcome to my third blog post in as many days. Life is feeling good as my week works its way toward Thanksgiving break.
The assignments are scarce and free time is plentiful as I prep for a week of Turkey Tournament basketball games, school life recaps with friends, working hard for the money at ALMH and all-around hilarity with the rest of the Dallas clan.
This past weekend, my Iowa ace gang and I put together our own Thanksgiving warm-up event, with Hyvee rotisserie chicken to boot. Sugarless failure of a pumpkin pie aside, it was a great meal and arguably a large part of the reason my mood has experienced such a drastic turnaround after the dismal valley of last week.
As we sat around a rummage sale table on chairs coming from all over the apartment (the words 'dirty step stool' come to mind), it was very clear that we could have been making an entire meal of Alain's precious Spam and still be having a great time. Eight very different college student minds were centered around one very important idea: the overwhelming amount of people, events and possessions we had to be thankful for.
Thanksgiving. A day meant to be spent with family and friends saying prayers and spreading gratitude that we have the ability to gather around a table piled high with turkey, ham or maybe just Chinese take-out and be together instead of alone somewhere worrying about everything pulling on our shirt sleeves trying to tug away our smiles.
And so this is the first of what I hope will become a series of posts detailing what I am thankful for as I prepare my heart and soul for the beautiful celebration that is Thanksgiving.
On a foggy Tuesday, November 16, I'm thanking my lucky stars for...
My ability to type capitalized letters using my nose and tongue (I)
Monica Reardon Java House Tuesday extravaganzas.
Crossword puzzles asking me to name bands that I actually recognize
Horoscopes that tell me "love is on the rise'
My brand-spanking new CPR certification
Capuchin Monkeys
To-go coffee cups
My 70-year old professor's tales of love and loss
A+ Macroeconomics tests
Cold weather that is still brisk and enjoyable
Gma's obsession with the hunt for cleaning ladies
My dad's weather man skill set
Ridiculous techno music by Metro Station that I listened to for an entire summer
Ridiculous girly pop music by the Backstreet Boys that I listened to for an entire five-year period
Aztec scarves
Sharing smiles
The crazy sweater of the parking garage attendant
The look on the parking attendant's face when I complimented his crazy sweater
More specifically, McDonald's Cinna-Melts
Bagel Wednesday! (jumping the gun on this one...)
Facebook notifications
Making people laugh
My nice winter peacoat
Satellite crushes
Seeing my blog on a huge computer monitor as if it was really something
Pretending that printing a reading off is the same thing as reading it
Prince William getting engaged to a commoner...who will now be a princess!
Feeling sunny again
The idea of being 70 years old someday and having my own stories of love and loss to tell
Giving the Jimmy John's driver a huge tip
When the ridiculous TV couple you care far too much about finally are together and happy
Phone calls home
Embarrassing amounts of time spent on
Realizing I've seen a Gilmore Girls episode about ten times and continuing to watch it
Studying at the IMU
Bumpy Ride
Quotes about love that put into words the things I already believe.

And finally, this random quote that just struck me as I worked to pick out today's thought of the day:
"Her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering."

Peace, love and princesses,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dallas does...let's talk about love, baby.

It is ridiculous that this is the way in which my newly returned swagger has chosen to express itself, but here is quote after quote about love... These things make me ridiculously happy.

"It's hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but it's harder to give up when you think it's everything you want."

"To have a broken heart is to know you've tried."

"I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together, in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane." John Green, Looking for Alaska

"I'm thinking about you like teenage boys think about the birds and the bees, and the bees think about serving the queen, and making honey, and honey, I'm thinking about you like crazy."

"There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Nietzche

"Dear Baby, I hope someday somebody wants to hold you for 20 minutes straight and that's all they do. They don't pull away. They don't look at your face. They don't try to kiss you. All they do is wrap you up in their arms and hold on tight, without an ounce of selfishness in it." -Waitress

"Sometimes you have to let go to find out if there was anything worth holding on to."

"I wish that you couldn't figure me out, but you'd always wanna know what I was about...And I wish that without me, your heart would break." -Kate Nash, "The Nicest Thing"

"Thou art the star for which all evening waits." -George Sterling

"Never regret something that once made you smile."

"You make my heart smile."

"In case I forget to tell you later, I had a really great time tonight" -"Pretty Woman"

"Do not love me because I love you. Love me for loving me."

"Sometimes not being in control is the most beautiful thing in the world."

And the grand finale!!:

"It is a risk to love. What if it doesn't work out? Ah, but what if it does."

Love, love and love,

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dallas does...uncorking.

The fact of the matter is that I was destined to have a happy temperament. For one thing, my laugh is loud enough to echo. Due to a love/hate relationship with orthodontia, my teeth are unable to touch making me a one-woman open-mouth smile machine. And, if we're being honest, my cheeks don't stretch far enough to create a frown.
I'm also hugely expressive. I have been known to bounce up and down in chairs when I get excited about things, and sometimes my hand motions get so out of control that I smack random bystanders in the head. (Whoops.)
I feel like I've become someone that people can count on to be happy. Someone they can call or text when they need a ray of sunshine to get them through the day. And it's great.
Yes, I have to do a lot of listening, but I love that people trust me to find the silver lining of their crappy situations.
Over the past few years, I've done a lot of growing up. Coming to college in Iowa meant that I was on my own to find out who I was, and I'm proud to say that it's been a very rewarding experience.
If you can remember back to the beginning of these blogs, you'll recall a girl that was absolutely bursting with a zest for life. She couldn't get enough of the simple pleasures of each and every day.
That girl is very much still here. If I didn't have pesky homework to deal with, I could probably devote a blog a day to the hundreds of reasons I have to smile.
But that doesn't mean that life is all rainbows and marshmallows as one of my best guy friends likes to say. In fact, this has been one of the most emotionally trying semesters I've ever had.
You won't notice a change on my report card. And few of my friends would report any difference in my upbeat ways, but I feel like that unending sunshine bursting out of me has been tempered by life realities that have been very hard to face.
In September, my grandpa passed away unexpectedly. Though one could hardly call us close, for a girl who went 19 years without losing a single relative, losing two in less than a year was painful and unsettling.
And during a visit home in October, I received further bad news that has been weighing on my mind even from 200 miles away.
But, as I said, I'm not designed to be unhappy. Swept up in my busy schedule of student org meetings and unending assignments, I could easily pretend that nothing was on my mind but the latest excitement in my romantic adventures or unexpectedly great movies.
I became so absorbed in continuing to be the sunshiny girl that the people in my life were used to that it was impossible to let myself cry or yell or just take a day to lay in bed watching my favorite movies and thinking about where all this pain swirling in my soul was really coming from.
This past week, I gathered up the courage to discuss, in-person, a situation that was distressing me far more than it should have. And I was so incredibly proud and relieved to finally have it out in the open. And having jumped that hurdle, I became convinced that smiles would return naturally and that all the other scary troubles inside of me would dissipate with time.
But then today I went to a Voices of Soul concert with one of my best friends, Nora. It was one of my first gospel choir experiences and I was in awe as raw emotion filled the room and Nora's eyes teared-up during almost every song.
I found it beautiful, but these emotions were separate from me. I was all smiles at the wonderment of it all, but stubbornly unaffected by the power of the message.
And then came the next song- a song about how everything is going to be okay. A rich tone telling me that things are going to get better.
I felt a wave of emotion sweep over me and turned to Nora just as the choke reached my throat. Suddenly, I started sobbing. All of the emotions surrounding worries from home hit me all at once and Nora and I were laughing at the absurdity of the tears rolling down my cheeks.
Sobbing but smiling. Smiling because it felt so good to stop bottling up everything that was dragging me down.
It wasn't hard to figure out why that song got to me. Even Nora said that she knew those lyrics would get me.
"Things are going to get better."
As an eternal optimist, these last few weeks have been tearing me apart. Without fully working through everything on my mind, without talking through everything with family and friends, I had let myself stop believing that everything was going to be okay. That things would get better.
Far from the girl bursting with joy and leaping happily from one adventure to the next, I had been tiptoeing through my life, scared of what would hurt me next.
And as I sit writing this with tears in my eyes, I continue to worry about what emotional turmoil lies ahead in the coming weeks. But as silly as it sounds, that one song has taken away the true fear that I was carrying.
Because there's a spark that has returned- a spark that brought me back to a truth I hold most dear. Life is not meant to be easy. But it's still beautiful.
And no matter how many tears have yet to fall, I know my smile has returned.
Things are going to get better and everything is going to be okay.

Peace, love and pumpkin pie,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dallas does...breaking your own heart.

As an economics major, I've heard an awful lot about what it means to make a rational decision. Whether it's making sure marginal cost equals marginal benefit or using past experiences to verify that you won't regret what you're about to do when you wake up tomorrow, it's fair to say that most humans are ruled by the need to make decisions that are the best for them in the moment the decision is being made.
Notice that I say "most." This has less to do with fly-by-the-seat of your pants people and more to do with outliers who do crazy things and call it rebellion.
So allow me to state that a large majority of the human population wants the decisions they make to be regarded as sensible. And to be decisions they won't look back on later and regret.
But if we are all operating on this desire to do things the right way the first time, why are we constantly throwing our arms up in defeat? We can't possibly be that misguided, right?
Well...quite possibly we really are that misguided. First off, we're clearly not all economics majors who have four years to perfect finding equilibrium on a graph. And secondly, there's some sort of underlying tingling in our mind that craves the drama of disaster.
You've heard it before, right? That women are crazed lunatics who go from lovely young ladies one day to psycho maniacs the next? Well, I'd hate to concede to some arguments I'm currently in regarding this issue, but I'm afraid women are guilty of this 'drama is delightful' mentality a lot of times, many of which occur within the boundaries of relationships.
So why exactly do we do what we do? Whether it be screaming that he was 'making eyes' at the stacked blond walking passed or just insisting that there was something in his answer that implied you do, in fact, look fat in those jeans, women certainly start their share of idiotic disagreements.
Maybe it's because we want to feel something. We seem to have a hard time just existing problem-free and happy. That's not to say you don't feel the love shared each day you're in a strong relationship; it's just that many people would agree that nothing burns deeper than real and true anger.
And there seems to be some sort of unspoken agreement that that type of emotion can jolt you back into the level of passion that you were craving.
But all of those women tricks aside, I return to the issue at hand: decision making, especially within the realm of romance.
It has been shown that decisions are also governed by the penalties received if you choose the wrong answer and the incentives available if you succeed. And I think we can all agree that dating decisions offer results that are pretty much polar opposites. You're either launched into romantic paradise or sailing into singlehood.
And so we're faced with high-pressure quandaries at every turn. The consequences of which are constantly felt.
If you've found someone you like- really like- you don't want to do anything to mess it up. You start over-analyzing everything you say, everything you text, everything you laugh at. And it becomes one gigantic headache. But it all seems to be okay because the end result is exactly what you want: love.
But what if the decisions become so much more than whether or not to invite him to come watch a movie with you?
What if weeks have passed, you're meshing well, you feel like he's meant to be in your life, but there are constraints to the situations that not even the most romantically-minded of us are ready to face?
Well, the thing is- no matter how overwhelming the situation- it's still decision-making. It's still asking yourself before a 'yes' or 'no' is uttered whether marginal benefit outweighs marginal cost.
Lately, I haven't really felt like the same Kelsey when it comes to love. For so much of the last year love has been, in my mind, the epitome of human relationships. And exactly what I wanted. Because no matter how many sad stories I heard about it, I was going to do it right. I was going to make my own fairy tale and show the world that love could still be what it is in Pride and Prejudice and the like, in a truly honest way- not in a stick your fingers in your ears and ignore the train wreck you're creating kind of way.
But in recent weeks I've just felt worn down- worn down by each and every day that love doesn't go the way we want it to. By the number of times situations we want to be easy turn out to hurt.
And yes, I think I'm 2o years old and being unfairly dramatic. But I'm also 20 years old and heartsick.
Heartsick from bad news from home and heartsick from complicated situations here. And I don't have that same lighter-than-air feeling that ruled my summer and early fall.
Today on one of my favorite websites there was a graphic that had a brain holding a leash wrapped around a heart. And the brain said "Don't go that way! You got hurt last time."
Our brains are insisting that we make decisions wisely. But our hearts are tugging at the lead wanting to feel something more than just rational.
So what am I supposed to do?
I'm supposed to pick myself up from this valley and be the resilient Kelsey I know in my heart that I am. I'm supposed to decide if this path I'm following is still going to take me to the same place I wanted to go two months ago. I'm supposed to take care of myself in the present tense, not worry about who the Kelsey of a few days or weeks ago would have said.
Situations change and we have to do our best to change with them.
And while it may not be the most glamorous goal at twenty years of age, we have to remember that there's nothing embarrassing about being rational.
It's self-preservation.

I'm not sure if this is appropriate to the subject of the blog...but your thought of the day comes from the movie The Way We Were:
Katie: "If I push too hard it's because I want things to be better, I want us to be better, I want you to be better. Sure I make waves you have I mean you have to. And I'll keep making them till your everything you should be and will be. You'll never find anyone as good for you as I am, to believe in you as much as I do or to love you as much."
Hubbell: "I know that."
Katie: "Well then why?"
Hubbell: "Do you think if I come back its going to be okay by magic? What's going to change? What's going to be different? We'll both be wrong, we'll both lose. "
Katie: "Couldn't we both win?"

Peace, love and self-preservation,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dallas does...Reminders

My grandpa reminds me of Hank Williams,
though I can't say I ever met him.
Or Hank Williams for that matter.

But there's something in the way Hank sang that makes me think,
"Yes, there's something there that was in Ken Jenkins, I reckon."
Something about the way Hank Williams existed in country music that reminds me
Of who grandpa was to the women in his life.
Women we have in common.
Women who were entirely different people to him than they are to me.
Marsha, his daughter, a little girl on ponies and a college girl just an hour away
Marsha, my mother, busy with schoolwork and raising two kids
Evelyn, his wife, putting partner on the golf course and mate of many years
Evelyn, my grandma, baker of perfect cookies and laundress of so many tiny loads.

"What's cookin', good lookin'," Hank Willaims asks,
And I answer, "Frankly, Hank, an awful lot,
For I really do think he's there in your lyrics for me to find."
There, also, in the stories my grandma tells
And in the way my mom's eyes still get misty on his birthday.

"Who was Ken Jenkins?" I ask myself.
Knowing that he's still here for me to find.
Gone before I was even an idea,
But here in the memories of the women I love.

"Was it scandalous, loving grandpa?" I ask grandma for a laugh,
Knowing that age differences were a different matter back then.
She loved him, I think,
In the kind of way that meant making his favorite desserts
that she didn't even like herself.
And waking up early for work together
And still missing him over two decades later.

"Grandma never got a boyfriend," mom says,
"Because she wanted to be there for you kids."
But I know that's only half the truth
Because there isn't going to be another Hank Williams
And there wasn't going to be another grandpa.

I like to think that grandpa would have liked me
The way I grew-up looking just like childhood photos of his daughter
The way I laugh more than I cry
And have plenty of love to go around.

I like to think that I took over for Ken Jenkins
Taking care of his women
Giving them someone to worry about
And someone to bake for.
Someone to dream big dreams to share with them
Someone with big hugs and big joy.

My grandpa reminds me of Hank Williams,
though i can't say I ever met him.
Or Hank Williams for that matter.