The sun peeked through the blinds today around 6:30. The idea of missing my alarm was rushing through my head all night long; twisting, turning full of squirming. I expected to look out the window and see rain covering the cars and the asphalt a deep gray, to my surprise it just looked like another glorious Tahoe morning. Today was the first day of school...maybe that explains the early morning wake up with out an alarm. As I drove to my house I thought about a picture that was taken when my family used to live in Vermont: first day of school (ever...) I was in a navy blue sailor like dress with pink trim, head band, lunch box. I stood there under the tree in the front yard not even imagining that 15 years later I would be getting ready start in on my final year of college. Gosh, I probably didn't even know what college was then; much less did I know what High school was...I was just excited for PE class where I could play under the giant multicolored parachute with my other young classmates.
The first day of school always seems important. You were going to see old friends, share your summer stories, show off your new outfit, see all the new students, go to all new classes. It is almost like a new start. Today I did not care about the outfit I was wearing, I did not want to be noticed like I used to, I wanted to be comfortable, in my element, be me. That is true comfort and self security. I tossed on my favorite jeans, a tee shirt and some flip-flops and out the door fashionably late as always. Today was the first time I drove from Truckee to school. I knew that I needed to have a cup of coffee and since it was the first day of school I could be a few minutes late. I jetted into Truckee bagel and filled up a large cup of Sumatra for a $1.75...okay, now my school year could officially begin.
I headed on to the on ramp of 80, east bound...to bad I wouldn't actually be going a few thousand miles east; today I would only be going 30 miles down the road. It was like reverse from what I have been used to for the last four years of my life. As I got down into the canyon, I realized there was road construction. Oh well, I'll be fine. The drive down reminded me of the semester that I took at Western State College in Gunnison, CO. That drive in the morning was awesome, a great way to wake up and get yourself thinking. When I reached my exit for school I had just missed the light. The cars lined up behind me, they were too probably returning students to the university. Nothing has changed. The sororities are covered in "welcome" signs, my old apartment still looks the same, bums still walk the streets. Reno is still Reno. I turned down 10th street, the one that I turned down many times a day all last year...drove passed my old drive way and dipped down into the only public parking that is around campus...right in between two grave yards, lovely. I parked and pulled my townie out of the car. I could already feel the dry Reno heat beating down on my shoulder. I was in for a long day of hot weather. Other students filled up the parking lot, many of them had a coffee mug in hand too; looking barely awake, or terribly hungover from the previous night of reuniting with their friends probably. There was no one I knew around, I enjoyed the peaceful two block ride to school alone, being extra careful not to spill my coffee before I had the pleasure of having the first sip of the day. I rode through crowds of new students. There they talked to others about how their first class was, or how they saw the boy from the other night, or complaining about how heavy the books are. I smirked, remembering the days I probably spent doing the same thing 5 years ago if I was not on the phone with my mom telling her how much I couldn't deal living in Reno. I remember how excited I was to be rushing, and playing dress up all the time, and partying without any rules, and all the goodies that come with being a freshman in college. Well, now it has been 5 years. Obviously you change a lot over those years. It amazes me to think back to those days. I rolled cautiously to my first class making sure I didn't hit any oblivious people and to see if any of my old friends might be slyly making their way around school too. No one. First class, English 321 in Fransen Humanities. The same building that I have had at least one class in since I was a first year. Never this classroom though. Maybe the teacher won't show, I tried to convince myself that I could have possibly came down a little later and forced myself to sleep in. I must have jinxed myself because just then an older lady by the name of Elizabeth Francis strolled in, manila folders exploding out of her hands. I can only imagine what she will be looking like at the end of the term, perhaps she will have one of those little buggies that some teachers tote behind them...weird. Class flew by, it has been at least two years since I had a 50 minute class; normally I am in 1 hour + classes. Syllabus's were handed out, just another normal first day in school. Then next class was all the way across campus. Luckily, the cup of coffee that I managed to chug during the last intro class was starting to kick in, I felt like a million bucks. I thought WOW only 264 days until I will be in a cap and gown walking across the quad getting the diploma which was not foreseen by many people when I graduated from high school. Now look, I am one of the ONLY students in my graduating class that is still enrolled and actually graduating in due time from college and looking at furthering my education even more. My second class was held in a building called the Edmond J. Cain Hall, or ejch. It looks like a giant cake, or something aliens planets on our campus. It is the most confusing building an architect could have produced, shame on the people that thought this was a good lay out. No matter who you are, or how long you have been at UNR you are bound to get lost every time you walk through one of the 12 front doors which will magically put you on the floor you most likely didn't want to end up on. The building is almost like something out of Harry Potter. After looking at two different maps I kind of figured out where my class was. Normally, when you are lost in another building you can just look around and find another kid that looks lost and most likely you are headed in the same direction; not in ejch...everyone including the teachers wonder around looking like lost puppies. I found it. Opened the door and was delighted to see that I would be sitting through an entire semester in a class without windows, perhaps you should picture a protection bunker of some type, and well, that's the class room right there...okay, now fill it with 30 or so desks turn the A/C on full blast to even an Eskimo would get chicken skin and that is EJCH 251. The class I was there for was English 345, another class about minorities in the U.S. and it just so happens that it is taught by the teacher that I have been taking a year old class from all summer, on essentially the SAME subject. Because of this I shoved myself secretly into a back corner trying to not look obvious, but knowing he was probably able to easily pick me out. He went through roll and sure enough, no question about it, he found me. Zitkala Sa, Malcolm X, please teachers...do you ever think about switching your material? I have already read these books about 4 ga-zillion times. Okay, only 50 minutes...I can get through the embarrassment of the teacher already knowing me. Why is this such a big deal? Mr. Calabrese quickly put on his back pack and was out of the class room faster than any of us once he dismissed us....hummmmm someone is anxious. ha. No it should be fun, he hails from Truckee as well...so no sick or missed class days when the snow starts to come I guess. Shucks! Being is his class reminded me that I needed to get a start on a 5 page essay that I need to turn in sometime soon to him. I had an hour long break, perfect time to ride around campus, go find out how much my books are going to cost and chat with friends. It didn't take me long to find my great friend Marcus we strolled up to the parking garage that I used to park in 2 years ago. It reminded me of how almost every morning that I had class I would be accompanied by Marcus down to my first class and we would talk about the previous night if he had not been over at the house with all of us girls watching Nip/Tuck or being part of the "Mookah" shin-digs or family dinners. Wow, that seems like forever ago. 3 years. I lived in what could have been considered a "multiculturalism" of sorority sisters house... 2 pi beta phi's, 1 theta, and 1 delta gamma. We basically had all the sororities on campus living under one roof. ha! That house was full of estrogen, but, man did we have good times. Most of those girls graduated last spring, they have all moved, but, occasionally I get funny facebook messages from them or random texts, always having to do with old tunes or needing a recipe. Marcus grabbed his wallet and we headed to the bookstore so he could get two accounting books which ran him $400. Wow, thank god I am not an accounting major! I bid him adieu only to quickly find my roommate Erickson sitting on a bench people watching outside the library. We never see each other because we have opposite schedules, so I hung out and people watched for a while. I have been friends with his younger brother for ages, and now I am roommates with him...funny how that works out. Another friend came up and said "what up" ohhhhh non-standard English, ha ha ha! Gosh, if I would have stood around there all day then I probably could have seen hundreds of people that I had met over the years. I found Erica and Drew walking to class. Drew and I talked about how hot and yucky Reno is (she is from Incline) and Erica was totally caught up in being sororitied out on her phone, saying hello to everyone. I used to be like that. Drew and I just laughed. We all went our ways, and then I ran into a girl that skis, and my roommates brother! These are true friends. Friends that I still have year after year. We all have one common ground and it is winter time loving. I am so lucky to have found these people and formed relationships with them. When I think about the semester I spent in the sorority I know I wasn't myself, and I know that most of those girls were fake. I am me, and that is who I should be. I had to head back to the ejch building for my final class of the day: Biology 100. Yep, 1o0 level class. How on earth did I get stuck in this. I went in through the cake building knowing that I could find this class room with no problem only because it was the giant lecture hall that housed 300+ seats, where the teacher is on a microphone and no matter who you are or what your major is when you were a freshmen you had a class in this room. Ugh, I was about to be surrounded by freshmen. I used to be one, I am sure that 4th and 5th years thought the same of my class when we entered the University back in 2005. A great friend of mine said 2 years age (and it always is mentioned at the start of every term as a little joke) "you can always tell the 1st years because they look like they are going out to a night club when really they are going to class", I looked around sure enough; his statement is still true this year. The teacher had a blue man group music video playing. Voices echoed in the lecture room. A mixture of coffee and sweat gave off to strong of an odor. You could hear people settling into the plastic seats around, gggeezzzeee these seats are uncomfortable. Last time I had a science class in this room I normally didn't bother staying because the teacher rambled on about her power point slides. I soon figured out that this class would be no different when the teacher mentioned the need of the dreaded "clicker". A clicker is a $50 handheld device that never works but supposedly takes attendance, if you have a darning teacher they normally make you take your tests on this personal handheld machines because they are to lazy to grade a paper test...but with my past experience the clicker never works and so you have to do the test on paper as well. yah, sorry teachers that is a waste of my time and yours too. When the teacher also started to explain what a "syllabus" was I knew this was going to be a long semester, a great class to get other homework done in. Okay, so yah learning about ecology might end up being sort of cool. This is potentially the LAST science class I will EVER have to take. The good thing about 100 level teachers is they know when the students are getting restless, and well, for freshmen that doesn't take to long, so she let us out early because nothing was being established. I met up with Casey and we reflected on how we made a decision 5 years ago to move to UNR together. It was between here and MSU, for some reason UNR was the final decision. He was the one that kept me sane all those times that I couldn't take Reno anymore, he comforted me when I was homesick, he listened to my stories about boys, he was always there to let me in the dorms when I would forget my key somewhere, he was the one that made me go down to the DC and eat the food. He was my main support through that rough first semester. I changed a lot while I was at home, as he did by staying at college. Sadly, we grew apart from each other. After the dorms we were neighbors and gave each other rides occasionally, watched ski movies together and then our friendship just randomly faded even more. In the last year we have been able to salvage what we had and have become the "Casey and Bud" show again slowly. It is so nice to have him back as a friend. Casey and I knew each other through ski racing, we spent some eventful seasons together. I never ever thought that one of my best friends in high school would be from Michigan. I used to sit in my room late at night talking on the phone to him before we went to school together, if it was extra late and I knew my mom was asleep I would sit in my laundry basket in my closet and close the doors so she couldn't hear me as much...come on...she probably could, she is a mom. They have super powers and know everything. Casey and I adventured all over Colorado together, Minnesota, and who knows where else. He was the person that termed shoes "pairashots"...it sounds like parachutes, but is really a new pair of shoes. ha! Back around the two blocks to my car. It must have been about 90 degrees. It was hot, a person parked close to my back bumper, but a friend had parked in front of me possibly noticing this and left me room to get out. It felt amazing to turn on the A/C, crank some Notorious and zone out for a little. I soon hit the road and was headed back home. School day # one over. 264 left. Ice cream sure did sound good, no time for that, get to Truckee as quickly as possibly. Paper to write, bed to lay in, food to eat, time to run, sit ups to do. As I got towards the top of the canyon smoke filled the air, it is fire season. The sun sets are beautiful, full of colors, but land and homes are being engulfed in flames, acres and acres being ruined. The temperature still at an all time summer high of 88. Its August. Really? Into the driveway, turn the car off. I am home. Windows open, heat filling the house. Did the boys turn on the heat? Nope. I opened the window and lay down, ahhhh a successful day. Later on after a run and a trip to the store the house if full of creepy cold air. The sun is hiding behind the trees. It was a race to close the windows and have the house naturally heat itself again. Voice of roommates coming and going with smiles and plans of the night being shared. Gosh, I love it here. Turkey meatballs, broccoli and potatoes for dinner. I would say this day is complete. Silence has filled the house except for the tap-tap-tap of my fingers on the keyboard and the faint sound of my music shuffling from song to song to keep me company in my safe place: the kitchen. I have grown up. The little girl that started 1st grade years ago is not here anymore, now I am a somewhat grown person mastering the art and concepts of becoming an adult. Although I would like to be like Peter Pan and live in Never land. Think about your life and how much you've changed. I bet it will amaze you. For all the negative parts of life there there is a sweetness there to make everything better. A learning experience. A way of surprising though who never thought you could do it.


When you wake up in the morning and you've got nothing to do...

You brush your teeth...

ORRR try and brush your hair.
Normally I straighten it everyday, but this summer I realized how AWESOME and crazy my natural hair is!
I start school 2mrw, as in Monday! I am so excited! It should be really fun, I have a pretty hard schedule a head of me, but I can do it! When I paid for my tuition the other day it was the most amazing feeling giving the cashier the check...ONE MORE SEMESTER! 10 more months! Less than 260 days left until I will be prancing down the aisle in a cap and gown!

Well time to get ready for class! Dinner time, shower time, laundry time! Relax time!


Just a reminder...

"it is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly" --Henry David Thoreau


Back to reality.

We arrived back home safely tonight. Both Chris and I are pretty exhausted, we both slept on the flights back out to Reno. I finished my book "Commencement" by J. Courtney Sullivan...I loved it, I ran by book store in Reno before heading up the hill and fetched "Accidental Billionaires" by Ben Mezrich. I had a great time at the beach and wish it didn't have to end so quickly. I have one of the most amazing family's on the face of the planet and they make me so happy. Hopefully, I will be close to everyone soon enough. Below are some pictures from our adventures on the beach. I wanted to find a good poem to go with the idea of the "beach" but I couldn't find one that I felt fit my mood...sooooo I guess that my funny picture captions will have to work. Well I am exhausted, so I am off to bed because I have to work in the morning. Back to reality...

Three generations.
My family, the most supportive, amazing, lovable people on earth...yes, including Banx.
Bat dog.
Cruising on the beach cruisers.
Putt-Putt. We tied. I was supposed to win. J-Lo had 3 hole-in-ones!
Waiting in line for putt-putt. This was serrrrrrrious game.
Gigantor and I pedaled the cruisers up and down Ocean Blvd.
Sarah has grown up to be an amazing young lady, she has worked so hard to be where she is today.
Let the truth be told.
Wright Bros. Memorial...for those of you who don't know that is where the first plane was successfully flown by Wilbur and Orville Wright on December 17, 1903. Before building planes and gliders they owned a BIKE SHOP!!
Jockeys Ridge. A big huge sand dune. The tallest on the Atlantic coast.
Bodie Island lighthouse. They say the light house was called "Bodie" because it was the last name of the lander owners, but also because of all the bodies that washed ashore from all the ships crashing. One of the 4 notable light houses on the island. The first one was built in the 1830's, and the second light house was rebuilt in 1859. And the final (still standing) light house was erected in 1872 (which was moved towards the Oregon inlet). Is is about 160 feet tall, and turned to the use of electricity 1932.
Rolling down Jockeys Ridge. I was COVERED in sand and wasn't feeling to swell by the time I was done rolling.

Sooooo overall I'd have to say it was a successful and WICKED FUN trip.



North Carolina, come on and raise up...

Welcome to the good life...
Went crabbing, caught a dozen or so
(I caught the largest one...of course....)
Chris was the designated "netter" for a while since Sarah couldn't net the crabs and my mom was taking her turn at crabbing
Team work
Indoor paddle ball
The Wright Bros. Memorial
Flew on the Wright Bros. plane
(good way to end Shark week...)
ahhhh, yes! DD coffee!!! YUMOOO

The Outer Banx has been amazing. I think we all have had a great time. The first day it was hotter than heck out! We played on the beach all day, took a walk towards the Army pier (didn't make it the whole way), dinner at Black Pelican (or as Chris calls it Black Seagull)...yes...Shrimp! Seafood pizza! Crab cakes! Calamari! Carolina Blondes! All the goods! Day two I showed Chris Jockey's Ridge, Bodie Island light house, and Oregon inlet, with more beach playing! Day three was a day of relaxation and rain on and off...small adventures such as Chris taking the sea kayak all the way to the Army pier and back, our normally DQ stop (which we learned they do not have CHOCOLATE ice cream down here...weird!) and Wings. I bought Sarah a hermit crab with a very colorful shell which she named "Martin". Martin is not to action packed, it just sits there in its terrarium poking out of its shell every now and then. Sarah was so excited about it, so it was nice to see her so simply pleased by something I could give her. Kate made dinner...it was spaghetti pie! Soooooooo good! I was beat in Connect-4 by both of my little cousins, Olivia and J-Lo....Addison probably could have beat me too! ha! Sarah, Chris, my mom and I played Apples to Apples last night an it was a kick in the pants! We got laughing SO hard! Such a great game! Hopefully we will play again tonight! Its a pretty hard game when it comes down to it...you have to be really smart about your decisions...We all came up with really funny answers. This morning Chris and I hit up DD, and then went to the Wright Brothers Memorial. It was really neat to see it again after such a long time. It was kind of a yucky overcast morning but we made it fun. We all hung out on the beach until the rain moved in this afternoon. Chris and I kicked butt in paddle ball (our top count was 260...my mom and Kate's was something like 157...pshhhh), I tried to fly a kite...that didn't work to well. Note to self: you need WIND in order to fly a kite. Seafood extravaganza tonight at Pelican Perch! Crab Cakes, Shrimp, fresh salad, good company, an amazing night! It could not get much better! There is potential for some putt-putt later on! But....for now I am going to hop in the outdoor shower with a blue moon while Mom and Grand mom work on dinner, Chris takes a nap and Sarah pedals around a cruiser!


PS...don't fret there are MANY more pictures to come!

From Squaw to Eagle Rock

The top of Granite Chief
Pretty hike up Squaw
Eagle Rock over looking the lake
Mike (with a recovering/re-occuring broken ankle) causing trouble
Actually this was wicked fun!

Just before I left for the beach Mike and I went on a hike all around Squaw, up towards the Granite Chief chair, and then down the tram, hopped in the truck and drove out to eagle rock and then a quick break and followed by moon groove at the base of Squaw. It was really fun. The hike was really pretty...I would love to get out and do more stuff like that more often the rest of the summer (well at least until school starts. I finished my class schedule today and found out that I am going to have a VERY busy school schedule...and then add in work....woooowww!). The places that we ventured to were so pretty and it made California really show its beauty. There is so much to do in the lake Tahoe area and since I am living there why not use the area to its fullest (aside from ski season... ha ha ha!)


skun-skreen (sound it out..)

So I am slowly getting ready for North Carolina and I cannot even explain how excited I am. Ahh, my home away from home....but seeing I don't really call any place "home" right now I guess that doesn't make much sense! ha.
If you know me, then you know that I have some crazy allergic reaction to Banana Boat sunscreen. I recently found out that it is actually a pretty common thing, and that most of the time the reaction is caused by the inactive ingredients. Well, just my luck at work they supply us with endless amounts of sunscreen...and what did they order in bulk? Banana Boat! ha, so all summer so far I have been living off my own hidden supply of Coppertone and other brands that work for me. Luckily, they did the re-order and got some other brand...but I am nervous to use it.
Soooo, everyone has become somewhat curious as to what the deal is with Banana Boat and why I get these giant rashes (Yep...trying to be a nice co-worker I thought that only putting it on my hands and washing it off really quickly wouldn't hurt me....well...lets just call that a blonde moment!). One of the girls that I work with has Celiac disease (orrrr she is just gluten intolerant) so she gets special magazine that take about allergies and give tips and recipes (essentially it is the "Real Simple" of allergies) in a recent magazine she brought in it purposely for me to flip through there was an article about sunscreen! Ohhh boy.
I found out that:
-Most likely I have a reaction to PABA (Para-amino-benzoic acid). This is actually a very common ingredient in sunscreen. PABA's can damage your DNA and can increase your risk for sun cancer. So looks like there is a slight catch to the world of sun screen!
-When applying sunscreen you should be using about 1 ounce per application...so yes, that would only mean 8 applications per bottle if you are using the typical sized bottle. Yes, it is expensive, but...you could also be saving yourself from sun cancer. AND you will still get tan. I used to never believe in sunscreen until I started life guarding this summer and now seldom do I go out without it....the best part is I am the tannest I have ever been. ha!
-SPF 30 essentially blocks the same about of UVA/UVB rays as SPF 70 does. It only deflects about 3% more rays and is much much much more expensive...so next time you are shopping for sun screen think about that. As long as you apply about every hour or two you will be fine.
-The new hot thing on the market is the aerosol spray cans of sun screen right? I know that Chris buys it all the time. It is VERY convenient if you don't have someone there to help you reach the hard spots BUT did you ever think about how much you are polluting the earth? Think about global warming (if you are one that believes in this notion)...by using the spray can you are adding to the problem....so help the earth out..use the lotion...it is as simple as that! You don't have to wear the sun protecting clothing, just be nice to your body and put some sun screen on!
-Remember to put your first application on about 15-30 minutes before you plan on being out in the sun because it needs to get into your skin...and ACTUALLY a study shows that before 10 am and after 4 pm is a good time for you to be out in the sun without sunscreen....okay, ya this probably sounds funny after I have been preaching about wearing sunscreen right? Well actually sun creates vitamin D, so by being out in the sun 20-30 minutes a day during the above mentioned times you will he helping your body get the right amount of vitamin D it needs! For people like me who cannot get it through diary products and are not a fan of vitamin tablets this a great way to make sure you get that important element!
-WEAR SUNSCREEN! ZINC ON YOUR NOSE! COVER UP! There are so many great brands out there that cater to all the different skin types that we all have..so there is a type of sunscreen out there that is right for you. It is way more important to wear it than to space it while you are out in the sun for the day! A little tip for buying zinc oxide (since I have had to...and god forbid they have normal zinc here..) you can find this ingredient in large amounts in diaper rash ointments! Yep, really! It works great!

Sooooo be nice to your skin!