TGIS! (Thank God It’s Summer!)


“Nobody who says, ‘I told you so’ has ever been, or will ever be, a hero.”
Ursula K. Le Guin

It would be an understatement if I were to say I’m glad summer break has finally arrived for me.  My last week of the term consisted of a 20 minute presentation, a 12 page ethnography, and a 15 page final term paper; not including the slew of various other reports I had to write leading up to the end. I have no one to blame besides myself, however, as I decided to take some of the toughest courses I could during the summer, in order to prepare myself for a smoother school year – and I can honestly say that I’m glad it’s all over. I just checked my grades as well, and somehow (I don’t even know how), I managed to pass both classes with an A-. My overall GPA is about a 3.5 so those two A’s will hopefully bring my GPA up by a smidgen amount.

Last Friday I had a 5pm deadline on my 15 page final term paper, but also had plans to meet with some friends for a sewing class/tutorial, taught by my friend Taran’s grandma, in La Center. Thankfully I finished my report early, and was able to be the first person to show up for her class. To be quite honest, I never would have thought I would even remotely want to learn how to sew, but I’ve always wanted to learn how to make a quilt. My friends and I asked Taran to ask his grandma if she would teach us, since she’s renowned for being a master seamstress, and she was, suffice it to say, very enthusiastic (as were we to have her teach us). She came all the way down from Arlington (a little north of Seattle) and had planned for us to learn how to make several different items: a quilted place mat, a napkin, and a coin pouch. Although she’s retired, she still teaches people how to sew and much to my surprise, she charges about $75 an hour! She mentioned that she has contemplated raising it a bit as she has clients willing to pay her more for her expertise, so naturally, I felt all the more privileged to be taught and learn from her at no cost what-so-ever.

Prior to meeting, she had us go out and purchase our own fabric for the event. Besides the fabric and thread we purchased, she provided us with everything else that we possibly could have needed. She even provided us with some incredibly high-end sewing machines that range from $700 and more. Not only this, but she was there, teaching us and showing us the ropes for at least five hours. It was a rocky road in the beginning, but after learning some simple techniques we required less and less supervision. Learning how to sew turned out to be a lot easier than I had originally thought it was going to be, and it was an incredible experience to share with some of my closest friends. As the night drew on, I managed to complete the task of making my own place mat, as well as a reversible napkin (shown below):


If you look closely enough, (you can click on the image to enlarge it) you can see that the sewing machine I used had this really awesome honey-comb stitching that I used on both of the pieces. I really like how it turned out. In the course of five hours, these were unfortunately the only pieces that I was able to make. Learning everything that I did, I’d like to eventually quilt a blanket as well as quilt myself a scarf for winter, as well. Robin told me that I can borrow her sewing machine, so I will most definitely take advantage of that when the time comes. I still have a lot of fabric left over too, so I’m looking forward to the next time Taran’s grandma comes to town to help teach us some more of her tricks and lend us her expert advice. Thanks again, Taran, and many thanks to your awesome grandma for teaching us!

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
Mark Twain

In other news, months ago my PS3 kicked the bucket and after my third time trying to repair it – it didn’t start back up again. To remedy this, I decided that I needed a PS3 to replace it, so I splurged and bought myself a replacement PS3. There was only one PS3 that I could think of that I really wanted, so I hunted it down on and decided to reward myself for my summer-term efforts with the crystal white, ultra slim version of the ps3; Which also included a one-year Playstation Plus membership.


Although I already have a slew of video games that I have yet to unwrap and even play, I couldn’t resist buying the game Ni no Kuni 「ニノ国」 for my own guilty pleasure. I also cracked open Vanquish just to ensure that I kill two birds with one stone. I’m sure that I’ll be writing my own personal reviews on both of them when I beat them, but I’m very tempted to go about renting The Last of Us as a third game that I’d like to play and complete before the fall term starts back up for me on September 30th.

In other news; with my 30th birthday fast-approaching, I also received a birthday present from Kessa and Ryan in the mail, today. I’m certain that they managed to get ahold of my Amazon wishlist from Robin,  as they got me two items that I had on it. The picture doesn’t do them much justice but the pen is spectacular and so is the hard-bound, spiral, Cambridge notebook. Ah, it’s the little things, I tell you… I’m contemplating about keeping this as my alternative journal, as I don’t quite find enough time to write all of my thoughts and ideas onto my blog. This is especially true when I’m away from a computer. I thought that the WordPress app on my phone would help stimulate me into blogging more, but the fact that it’s somewhat difficult to gauge how much I’ve written in a paragraph makes me all the more hesitant to trust what I can post via that app. While using the app, I almost posted a blog that contained two to three sentenced paragraphs, because on my phone the paragraphs appeared to stretch on for ages. Regardless, this was a thoughtful present and I’m delighted to be able to start using it.


Aside from all of these things, I’ve also been caught up working in my backyard and in my garden. This year, I’ve only been able to yield a somewhat large amount of tomatoes. Granted, I didn’t really plant much else, except I’ll be able to harvest a good amount of potatoes and garlic which I had planted last year and earlier this spring. The backyard has undergone the greatest amount of change after I sectioned the chickens off to a particular part of the yard. The area the chickens are in is still very-much barren with little to no green growth. The area the chickens no longer have access to, however, has grown exponentially.

Before, before
Before: Right after sectioning the chickens off.  (7/3/13)
Before: Re-enforced the fence and planted some plants (7/6/13)
After: Plenty of growth has occurred  (8/22/13)

There’s still a great deal of dirt all over the backyard, but the various types of mosses are growing, and I’m hoping for most of the ground to be covered with Spanish moss, golden baby tears, blue star creepers, hens and chicks, as well as some Irish and hypnum moss. I also managed to harvest some salvia and wildflower seeds that are growing in my backyard so that I might plant some in more strategic areas for next year. I still have a few more bulbs and seeds to plant back there, too. By this time next year, the backyard will look pretty outstanding in my opinion. If you know of anyone getting rid of their bulbs or plants, feel free to let me know because I’m more than willing to take them off of their hands for the sake of my backyard! Time will tell how my backyard will turn out, though.

“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it.

But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.”
Lauren Oliver

As far as my plans go during summer break, my birthday is coming up this Monday, so I’ll be hanging out with some friends on Saturday as an early birthday dinner/get-together. We also have plans to have a final star-gazing/s’mores making night at my friend Savanna’s sometime within the upcoming weeks. Next weekend, I will also be taking my little brother out for his incredibly belated birthday dinner. He hasn’t decided where we’ll go just yet, but there’s still plenty of time to try to figure that out. My cousin, Jasmin, and I also have an annual hiking trip that we always go on near and/or after our birthdays, so I’m looking forward to our 14 mile hike into the Gorge. On another note, I’d also like to find time to head up to Seattle sometime to see Kara before the fall term starts back up again. A trip to the beach is also in order, but not to Seaside or Lincoln City… Maybe to Coos Bay? Lastly, if I can manage to arrange it, I’d also like to plan a trip up to Vancouver, B.C. Aside from these things, my regular weight training and speed interval/tempo runs should carry me on into the fall as well.

“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.”
Zig Ziglar

To help keep me sane, however, I think I need to at least complete if-not start up a new art project. The piece I worked on during the summer term still requires several more hours of TLC before I can label it complete, so I believe I need to come up with some finishing concepts for it before too long. I’d say that if I were to devote two solid days to that piece, I think it’ll finally be finished. Next time: I’ll definitely be coming up with a sketch and concept before I just let my imagination run wild.

Regardless, I’m stoked about my summer break. Although I’m sure that I’ll keep myself so occupied that the days will fly by – I’m just glad that I can enjoy a break from classes and not only spend my time with people that I love, but also spend my time doing things that I thoroughly enjoy. I hope you all are enjoying your summer.