“Sometimes you gotta run naked”: Thoughts on the Gilmore Girls Fan Fest

It has been well established on this blog (and my Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram…) that I am a huge “Gilmore Girls” fan. And this past weekend, my mom and I got to partake in something pretty special: the Gilmore … Continue reading

Under Pressure

Well, it’s been a long time.

As to be expected, life started interfering with this little ol’ blog around a year ago. And when I say life, I mean the sheer amount of grading I was dealing with on a daily basis. And while I still have a whole lot of grading to deal with on a daily basis, I have managed to discover a slightly better work-life balance over the past year. I’ve figured out how to make time to read (for pleasure), to see friends on a regular basis, and to basically take some “me” time. (And, of course, I continue to have the time to watch the 130454234 shows I’m usually watching on a regular basis, which I always made time for. Priorities, y’all.)

Anyway, to get to the point, I’ve been feeling the urge to write lately. Ever since getting my MFA two years ago, this urge comes and goes in waves. Not being “required” to write for workshops anymore is a double-edged sword: on one hand, I don’t have to pressure myself to finish a story in time for others to read it. And then, on the other hand, I don’t have the pressure of needing to finish a story in time for others to read it…in other words, I have discovered that I seem to operate well under pressure. (Cue Queen.) This doesn’t come as too much of a shock, as most everything else in life that I consider myself successful in involves pressure in some way. I grade on a schedule because my students need their papers back. I run on a weekly basis in order to do well in whatever race I’ve signed myself up for (side note: I’ve noticed that running long races is probably the craziest thing I do). I even turned re-watching “Gilmore Girls” for the 1234983520954 time into a thing of pressure–I pushed myself to re-watch the whole series before attending the Gilmore Girls Fan Fest and by golly, I did it.

Anyway, the point of this post is to be open about my writing and how I find myself yearning to write. I find myself still creating characters and stories and listening to conversations around me for inspiration. However, when I sit down to actually put these ideas on paper (or rather, computer), I face a brick wall. The process breaks down. I don’t feel a sense of pressure; therefore, it becomes easy to continually put off something that is usually such a large part of my identity.

Last Fall, I had pretty much decided that my blogging days were over. Blogging was taking up a chunk of my time and not that many people were reading it, so what was the point? But now, as I harness this desire to write, I see that readership and receiving a million comments is not the point, especially when you are blogging because you love to write. So I’m hoping if I return to blogging, I’ll not only be writing, but perhaps find that sense of pressure that is apparently a necessary part of my writing process.
Plus, at least I’ll be writing in some capacity .

 

 

Instagramming India

Last time I was in India, I failed to update my blog on a regular basis with updates and pictures about our adventures. I promised this time that I would be better about updating and, well, you know how those … Continue reading

Swanson’s Got Swagger the Size of Big Ben Clock

This past Thursday, I was able to spend ten glorious hours in good ol’ London town. My last flight to India was direct, but this one had a layover in London. And I have to say, I give a big … Continue reading

#lastminutenycadventure

I love living near D.C. In fact, when I found out I was going to be going to school right outside of D.C., I told people I was moving to D.C. instead of Maryland because 1) it’s more recognizable and … Continue reading

India, Here I Come!

The countdown is on. I leave for India in 15 days. Actually, the countdown has been on for quite a while, I just haven’t gotten around to sitting down and writing this post. I meant to do it a month … Continue reading

Gettin’ Crafty With It

I’m not the most artistic person in the world. As of late, I have begun painting my nails with some interesting and fun designs, but I don’t really think that counts. Two Christmases ago, I painted a pretty spectacular (as in my definition of spectacular) painting of a tree at an Art by the Glazz class. And I think that I have put together some pretty crafty gifts for Rahul, but for confirmation on that, you’ll have to talk to him.

So when my friend Anna offered to teach my other friend Rachel and I how to quilt, we took to the idea quickly. Anna taught herself how to quilt over a year ago, and now makes an impressive amount of quilts, pillows, gifts, and more. The girl is an impressive machine when it comes to quilting, and makes some really beautiful stuff. So who better to learn a craft from than from someone who knows it backwards and forwards, and won’t get frustrated when you accidentally de-thread her sewing machine a thousand times. I’m not saying that was me, but….

Anna, Rachel, and I before participating in a Case Study Competition last week.

Anna, Rachel, and I before participating in a Case Study Competition last week.

The trip to the fabric store was completely overwhelming, but we left with some beautiful fabrics for our quilted pillows, which was our first undertaking. Rachel and I picked some pretty complicated patterns for our pillows–well, complicated for first-time quilters–so the process is still in the making. We had to make 64 half-square triangles for our pillows, which involved a lot of cutting, pressing, and matching. But, even though the process is long, being able to witness a creation come together–and know that you’re the one making it–is an experience unlike any other. Take that, store-bought pillows! You have a new competitor in town.

My first fabric purchase!

My first fabric purchase!

The chevron design I am using for my own pillow.

The chevron design I am using for my own pillow.

My fabrics cut into squares!! The process has begun!

My fabrics cut into squares!! The process has begun!

Meet Jane, Anna's sewing machine!

Meet Jane, Anna’s sewing machine!

After sewing a color piece to a plain piece, the pressing comes next!

After sewing a color piece to a plain piece, the pressing comes next!

Cutting the pieces into smaller sizes.

Cutting the pieces into smaller sizes.

And voila, the pattern begins to take shape!

And voila, the pattern begins to take shape!

More of the pattern.

More of the pattern.

The patterned rows sewed together!

The patterned rows sewn together!

Our next project, after the pillows are completed, is the Giant Star quilt. Check out Anna’s blog for this pattern, as well as her wealth of other pictures and design tips. She is definitely the expert here! I’m excited to take on this next step in the learning process, and have the fabric ready to go. Picking eight fat quarters from this selection for the quilt is not going to be easy….

Fabrics galore.

My latest fabrics purchase. So pretty!

My latest fabric purchases. So pretty!

Fabrics galore!

Quilting fun.

Quilting fun.

The countdown begins….

I’ve made some changes to my blog lately, one of which is the “Milestone” widget. You’ll notice it at the bottom of the page. When I first saw this widget, I immediately liked it, but couldn’t think of any use for it.

But wait! I entered the lottery for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in D.C. in December. And made it through the lottery. So now I have this race in a little over 2 months that I have to prepare for. I’ve run one half-marathon before, but that was two years ago and if someone asked me to just up and run 10 miles tomorrow I would throw up at some point during the run.
When my friend Rachel, who’s also doing the race, saw my widget, she sent me a text that said “Terrifying. Wanna run Saturday?” So maybe the little countdown widget will cast some magical spell over us that makes us constantly motivated to train.

That being said, I’ve created a detailed (and stolen from Hal Higdon) 10-week training schedule to get me up to speed. It starts off pretty easy (2 mile runs), so it was not hard to commit myself to it. Plus, I wrote it in my planner so now I have to do it.

I’m not going to obnoxiously post about my progress or shove it in your face that I’m training for something by posting pictures of my running shoes clad feet with a tag like “killing it.” Instead, I’ll post one annoying picture here of my now-I-have-to-do-it-because-it’s-in-my-planner race prep. And I’ll get excited as the countdown grows smaller and closer to the date.

This makes it real....

This makes it real….

Also, please take some time to check out what I’ve changed on the blog!

A Tale of Two Li’l Sebastians

One Li'l Sebastian + One Li'l Sebastian = TWO Li'l Sebastians!

One Li’l Sebastian + One Li’l Sebastian = TWO Li’l Sebastians!

No, you’re not seeing double. There are two plush Li’l Sebastians in that picture.

Let me explain…my boyfriend and I love the TV show “Parks & Recreation” and watch the new episodes together when they are available. So, when our 2-year anniversary rolled around, I was looking for things to get him that would be representative of our relationship. Since we have given TV-show themed gifts in the past, I decided a “Parks & Rec” gift would be a perfect idea. So I ordered him a Li’l Sebastian and had it delivered to my house. Only to find out…

Enjoying some downtime under some lovely plant shade.

Enjoying some downtime under some lovely plant shade.

he got the same thing for me! So now I have two Li’l Sebastians. We have our theories for why one is a little darker, scruffier, and thinner than the other, but so far they seem to enjoy spending time with each other and haven’t caught on to the fact that they’re exactly the same.

In their free time, they enjoy touring around to small towns to participate in county fairs and have people fawn over their size and adorableness.

Watching some "Parks & Rec" together.

Watching some “Parks & Rec” together.

In other news….

  • A new school semester has started,
  • I saw Barack Obama at Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson’s concert in front of the Capital Building,
  • The guys are back in the house, making their presence known through leaving the TV on 24/7 and turning the dryer buttons to the noise level,
  • I saw Silver Linings Playbook twice and now wish I had written that story.

Happy end of January, y’all.

IMG_2541

Which one is scruffier…..

My new BFF's.

My new BFF’s.

Lena Dunham, Will You Be My Best Friend?

So a while ago, my friend Courtnay told me to watch “Girls.” And then she told me again, and that I would really like it. And then she told me another time (and probably more times than that). In good ol’ Katherine fashion, I waited until last Wednesday to actually start the show.

And what happened next? I finished the show’s first season in five days, of course.

Not that that’s a remarkable feat or anything. There’s only ten 30-minute episodes. What’s more important here is that I have decided that Lena Dunham should be my best friend.

I won’t go into the many reasons for why I admire Lena solely based on the fact that she created, produces, directs, writes, and stars in “Girls” and she’s only 26. 26! So there’s that. Her crazy achievements at such a young age make all the rest of us feel like the characters on the show make each other feel about their varying levels of success, forehead shininess, and relationship status.

What makes the show so delicious to watch is how amazingly she captures 20 somethings. The dialogue is honest, fresh, and engaging. When her character states “I think I’m the voice of my generation,” that statement can really apply to the author/actress/badass herself. Because—as a member of her generation—I can agree with that statement. As I often struggle with what I like to call my “25-year-old-existentialist-crisis,” I understand what it feels like to question what you’re currently doing in life, question your abilities to achieve your life goals and/or the plans you have set out for yourself, and your ability to actually be an adult. Because it’s hard. And Lena captures all of that in the show, as we watch four very different characters struggle with what it means to be in your 20s.

And as a writer myself? It’s a good reminder that once you find that “perfect” story, once you land on what you’ve really been trying to write all along, your path is laid out for you from then on out. That’s what I feel happened for Lena Dunham, and that’s what I hope happens to me. Someday. Soon? If possible?

That’s why I need Lena to be my best friend. So she’ll read my stuff and then we can go skipping through fields of daisies together. Haha, just kidding—but only on the second half of that sentence.

Watch the season 2 trailer here.