Saturday, August 30, 2014


Everything is all fuzzy in my head. So many young people talk about how they're excited about their futures, but when I try to think about mine I can't envision anything. It's like after I cross that stage in May, all that awaits me is a wall, or a cliff or something. Literally I see nothing; I have so many ideas that my mind goes blank when I try to ponder what's ahead of me. I don't know whether I'm coming or going.

This semester is not starting off well either. I wanted to make this last year about me, but I don't know that I can. There's so much that I need to do and figure out in such a short period of time. I feel like I'm being swallowed up. I just accepted one opportunity just to feel like I was doing something, and now I'm not sure how I feel about it. Then I became aware of another opportunity, something that I've been waiting to come across ever since coming to school, but it seems like too much for me to handle. All the while, my heart's desire, what I want the most in life which also happens to scare me the most, continues to be put on the back burner. Is there really any good to be found on the other side of anything for me?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Outings: Sweets!

Sweets! - Auburn Hills (29 August)
  • Quiet colorful place with natural lighting; at a busy corner of an area that tries to promote itself as a "downtown"
  •  Putting a dent in 60+ pages of reading I have to do for a class
  • Random fact:  I had some of my senior pictures shot here, back when it was a gelato shop and cafe selling natural/organic/vegetarian and vegan-friendly goods
  • Name of the day: "Rachel". Darn. No free ice cream for me.
  • Website said they had soup and sandwiches but that didn't appear to be true; didn't feel like asking about it so I just opted for something sweet
  •  Popcorn cupcake (w/ caramel drizzle and caramel butter cream frosting) + TAZO "Zen" tea
  • Cake was a little dry but its icing and sweet-and-salty flavor combination were on point!
  • Only two people working
  • Customers came in and out or sat to enjoy their treats briefly; I was the only one who'd camped out
  •  Typical (yet no less pleasant) indie music that's to be expected in a cafe
  •  Customers have to ask for the key to get into the restroom; at first I thought it was cute (anyone remember having to get restroom passes from the teacher in elementary school?)
  • But then it just felt silly;  when that gotta-tinkle feeling came around the third time I just took myself home
  • Best. Barbershop. Sign. Ever.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

We've Got a Swimmer

Today was my first day back at the shelter, and my second walking partner for the afternoon was a 3-year-old  Foxhound/Australian Cattle Dog mix named Jem. As you can see Jem is a very large and strong boy. I  had the pleasure of discovering that he's also impatient and stubborn. If it's not what he wants to do,  you can forget it.

Case in point. Toward the end of our route we pass by the pond, and Jem decides that he wants to swim. But given his strength and enthusiasm I knew that he'd pull me right into the water with him, and I wasn't having that. So I kept tugging at his harness trying to get him to turn around, but he wasn't having that. Then he just laid down in the water and pretended I wasn't there. He would try to wade out further, I'd pull him back, he'd try to buck out of his harness, I'd back off, he'd lay down again. Repeat all. This had to have gone on for at least 10 minutes before we finally got back on track. All these dogs that I've walked over the past year and I had not one swimmer. I guess there's a first time for anything, haha! Sure made for a memorable first day, I'll tell you that.

If you think you might be interested in adopting Jem, click here to find more info about him.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Outings: Bubble Island

Bubble Island - East Lansing (25 August)
  • Stood through my fourth and last "mandatory" introductory floor meeting, then booked it to this place
  • My first walk through campus/first outing since moving back
  • Certainly not new to me, but one of my favorite places to go just to pat myself on the back for getting out of my room
  • My first, if I do recall; not the best boba in the world, not the cleanest place in the world, but a an open and colorful place to chill.
  • Usually a classic black milk tea or almond milk tea kinda girl, but this time I try the special: Island Breeze (Calpico/Calpis + green tea + a bunch of fruity stuff + black bubbles per my request)
  • Planned on finishing a book and then working on a 15-page French project due soon; stayed until 20 minutes before closing and hadn't even finished the book yet
  • Returned to my dorm and walked through a boys' floor to get to the elevator; read two messages that made me pause
  • First: An RA's note basically saying, "Here's to another great year, the best year yet!"; mentions some sports/shenanigans/school spirit-related stuff that I don't really care about, but his core message sticks with me since this is my last year
  • Second: An item on a list of wellness tips/try-it-and-see-how-you-change challenges; perfect advice for a can-be-judgmental individual such as yours truly

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Scaredy Pup

Someone decided that she doesn't care for blow dryers anymore, so the kind folks at the vet's office couldn't get her completely dry before I came to pick her up this afternoon.

Then this evening there was a storm, and in the midst of packing for school I had to sit on the floor with someone for at least a good half hour to calm her down.

It used to be that we only had to worry about wheeled, motorized or potentially-intimidating objects like vacuums, brooms, bicycles, and handheld electric fans. And she never liked being picked up, being put in her crate, or giving people kisses, so that's nothing new. 

But now that Madison's in the double digits, we've had to add storms, car rides, and apparently blow dryers to the I DON'T LIKE THIS list. She's lost interest in toys and doesn't even chew bones anymore! She just hides them from us and then forgets about them. As Ma so aptly put it, "It's gettin' to be like she don't like anything."


 Well, I guess sometimes it's like that when you're old?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gifted Prayer

Dear Lord, I know that I've spent most of my life hiding it away, but please don't let me lose it. Please show me which paths you want me to take so that it can be used for your glory without my fear and doubt getting in the way. Please don't let me lose it.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Can't Go Home

...Or at least, can't stay too long.

You know that saying that goes, "you can never go back home again" or something like that? I don't know the original context in which it was said, but I think I'm starting to get what it means in my case.

I've been eating so much and so badly since Thursday that I feel like I've undone the meager progress that I've made the past three weeks working out and counting calories.  Of course, no one's making me eat the way my family does, but when I get around them I just lose my discipline. Hey, I'm spending time with family. I'll only be here for a short time. Why not just enjoy the moment and eat what I want, however much I want? Should be fine. But it's not fine. It seems like becoming reaccquainted with American food these past three weeks and being reimmersed in some of my family's unhealthy habits this weekend is setting me back. And that whole self-discipline thing of mine needs some work too.

I love the people I've got down here, but visiting has made clear to me how important it's going to be to find someplace to take root that's my own. Someplace where I can develop and maintain the kind of lifestyle I want without getting too comfortable or being too tempted to fall back onto old habits that don't serve me anymore. Now if only I could figure out where that place is...

Outings: Cheddar's

Cheddar's - Louisville, KY (17 August)
  • After church; no one had cooked so we all went out to eat together
  • Can you say "crowded"? Apparently everyone and their momma goes to this restaurant after church
  • Table for nine
  • Chilly; they sat us right under the huge fans
  • Chips + salsa/queso for a all
  • Sweet tea w/ lemon + ice water
  • Cousin introduced me to a game app called Piano Tiles (?)
  • Chicken quesadilla + Grilled chicken pecan salad
  • Everything was aight; service was friendly though
  • One of those places where the food reads better on paper and looks better than it is; but certainly not terrible
  • Wanted to go to the State Fair afterward but Ma's hair is allergic to water; everybody went to their respective homes for Sunday post-pigout naps!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Outings: Chuck E. Cheese's

Chuck E. Cheese's - Louisville, KY (16 August)
  • Dropped our bags off at Grandpa's house and headed over to where the rest of the family was
  • Cousin's son's 3rd birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese!
  • No one knew that Ma and I were coming... surprise!
  • Birthday boy and his parents visiting all the way from SC; celebrating in matching green-and-white t-shirts and Chucks.
  • Pizza + cake + pop + screaming kids; reminiscent of my own Chuck E. Cheese party back in 1st grade
  • Typical family banter and "Danielle doesn't eat enough" jokes
  • After-party at my aunt's house: wings, TV, and still more laughter and conversation

Friday, August 15, 2014

Outings (Anniversary Party)

Somewhere in Indianapolis, IN (15 August)
  • Visiting my uncle and aunt in Indy; first stop on our 5-day, two-city "drive-by visit" tour
  • Family gathering to celebrate my aunt's cousin's anniversary; Ma and I crashed even though we're not related
  • Family of social butterflies; yelling and laughter all around; Grabbed a plate and then retreated to the garage
  • Lemon cake that was out of this world! The definition of SLAPPIN'!
  • Chocolate and vanilla anniversary cake
  • Dominoes and card games all around; kids dancing and running around
  • Old school funk, disco, electro, R&B and grown folks' music

Paws to the Pavement

Oh how I miss dog-walking! Took my uncle's family's dog for a walk around their neighborhood this morning and it was so much fun! 45 minutes of bliss and quiet! Made even more blissful by this funny puppy named Cooper.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Outings: Kerby's Koney Island

Kerby's Koney Island - Rochester Hills (14 August)
  • Breakfast with another pair of high school friends
  • Got up at 8:15am and rode my bike 2.5 miles for this! Felt like a champ!
  • No bike racks so I propped mine up against the window of our booth
  • Egg white veggie omelet w/ swiss + hashbrowns w/ ketchup + wheat toast w/ apple jelly + apple juice
  • Another 2-hour round of catching up (getting kinda tired of having to fill people in over and over, but that's what I get for going away)
  • Terrible bosses/directors; career goals; travel plans; the few people from high school that we still keep up with
  • My friends are going places! One is a phenomenal percussionist/future band director, the other well on her way to becoming an accountant 
  • Plans for next week?
  • Parted ways just as the lunch crowd arrived
  • Rode my bike all the way home; that makes 5 miles today! All before 1 o'clock!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Letting go...

"People think that enlightenment is pure bliss... But really, enlightenment is simply having the wisdom to know what to pick up and what to put down in life." 

"Be willing to let go of the idea that you can't." 

-Jonathan, this evening's Slow Flow Vinyasa instructor

The theme of this evening's practice was "letting go", and while we were cooling down Jonathan played this really soulful and moving song called "Let it Go" by James Bay. (No, it has NOTHING to do with 'Frozen'.) Its lyrics are pure gold. This is for anyone who needs to ease some tension today. Be Happy and God Bless. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Outings (Madison Heights)

Thuy Trang - Madison Heights (11 August) 
  • Restaurant named after the actress who played the original Yellow Power Ranger?
  • With Di and Ivy (Mo bailed, with good reason)
  • Rolls + pho (#3, #4, #16 and #20); it was aight
  • Lady at the table directly next to us was blatantly stared at us; I looked her in the eye, smiled and said hi; she just smiled back and kept staring
  • Picking up some tiny cherry candies before leaving
  • High shool friend meeting college friend = success!
  • One more stop for this trio on a rainy day...

QQ Bakery - Madison Heights (11 August)
  • Tiny, 14-person legal capacity
  • So many options! And soooo cheap!
  •  Coconut raisin bun + "crispy tart" (egg tart) + taro paste bun + "chicken cookies" + bite of Ivy's "sun biscuit" + bite of Di's "red bean snowball" 
  • Green tea jasmine bubble tea = Best bubble tea I've ever had!
  • No seating in the bakery and it was pouring outside; retreated to my car for nibbles and chit chatter
  • Ivy went back to hear car and embarked on her long drive home; Di stayed in the back of mine and decided she wanted to be "chauffered"
  • Discussion about police thugs beating and killing our people, and the declining value of black women in the eyes of black men
  • Had to sit through Di ranting about the many reasons why Kim K is undeserving