I like. I am. I want to be.

So, if you have looked at my facebook page over the past two weeks, you’ve noticed I’ve been on the go with multiple check ins, status updates, and picture uploads. Last week began with a hard dive into South by Southwest. Tuesday, I picked up my music badge, that’s right, badge, and went downtown after work. Tuesday, I went to Bat Bar and saw Ume and Yellow Ostrich. After 6 hours of sleep and a full day of work on Wednesday, I ended up back downtown. I started off the night wandering around aimlessly. Then, decided to head to Red 7 Patio for Tennis. Yep, they played 2 songs… and were done. So, after paying $20 for a pedi cab to get to Red River and 7th, we hiked all the way back over to Haven, on 5th and Colorado. Once we got there, we didn’t realize it, but we were waiting for Band of Skulls. And… they were awesome. We ended up staying and saw Kimbra who definitely exceeded our expectations. Went home, slept for 4 hours, went back to work. After work, I was back downtown. Do you get the trend? Thursday I decided to have a chill night, so I hit up the free shows at Auditorium Shores. I found a nice little spot on the grass under the trees. I saw Little Hurricane, M. Ward, and The Shins. Good night and I’m glad I called it an early one. Went home and slept for 4 hours, then woke up at 3:30 to make it down to the W Hotel. This year, our station, KGSR, broadcast live from the W, and I wasn’t going to miss it. I only caught one day out of the 4 days of broadcasts. Friday morning was an excellent line up. Starting off at 6:30 was ZZ Ward. Then, Graffiti6, fun., Walk the Moon, Nada Surf, and Charlie Mars. I left early so didn’t see the last band… had to get to work. After another full day of work (plus staying late, and one of the last few people at the office), I headed back downtown! I got to experience the biggest Doritos vending machine ever. Then hung out at Stubbs for another awesome line up. Ed Sheeran, Of Monsters and Men, Delta Spirit, and fun.! Since we got to Stubbs so early, we were about 10 rows from the front. It was awesome, and loud, and a perfect end to my SXSW experience.

I went home and slept for a few hours before waking up to do laundry and of course pack for Las Vegas! I got to the airport and ran into some guys with guitars. I asked if they played at SXSW. They did and said it was a dream. We talked a little about that and Austin while waiting in the security line. Then, they asked if I had time to have a drink before my flight. Jason and TJ were the nicest guys. We drank Guinness in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and they let me listen to one of their songs. They mailed me a CD and I really like their music. Check them out… The Grey Area from Washington D.C.

Living in the music capitol of the world has really broadened my taste in music. I have discovered a lot of really cool bands and made some really good friends. Though I have had no sleep in the last 2 weeks, it was totally worth it, even spending the weekend in Vegas immediately after SXSW. People call me crazy, but it was an adventure, and I’m all for adventure. 

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It Wasn’t Just a Dream

I have a friend who just lost his mother to her battle through cancer. He told a story about how his mother came back to visit him the night that she passed and he could feel her presence. As he laid next to his dad, in his mother’s spot on the bed, he felt the hairs on his cheek raise as his mother brushed her hand over his cheek. His next comment was, “I know this account above sounds just too bizarre or creepy or whatever, but it happened and I remember it.”

I can testify to this kind of experience because I’ve actually had two accounts. It was several years ago but I remember them both as if it were yesterday.

My grandmother suffered three strokes in the last few years of her life. It was the summer I turned 13 when she passed, August 6, 2001. 

Before I go any further, this is not supposed to be a sob story. This is a happy, uplifting story that is supposed to make you feel good!

The night Mama Rene passed away is the first time she came to visit me. I asked my best friend to spend the night with me that night to keep me company. I woke up around 3 in the morning to a very cold chill in the air. Every single hair on my body rose as I realized that Magen and I were no longer the only two people in the room. I opened my eyes and looked around as I lay still in my bed. I saw no one else, but I felt my entire body become embraced by the cold. I knew right then that Mama Rene was there, caressing me, holding me tight. She was letting me know that she was ok and that I soon would be too.

The next encounter I had was very interesting to me. I have never had a dream about my grandmother after she passed. Never. One night, only a few years ago, I had my first dream of Mama Rene. I was older in my dream and about to get married, but I didn’t know who I was marrying. My wedding was at an old plantation, with a 19th century style plantation home, lots of land, and a big, beautiful, white gazebo. As I pulled on my dress and took one last look in the mirror, I told my bridesmaids to go on and that I would be there shortly. I walked outside and found my grandmother sitting in an old rocking chair. She took my hand and walked me to the gazebo. At that point, my perspective changed and I was looking at the two of us, strolling off into the distance, hand in hand. This is when I woke up. My hand was resting on my stomach but it was not empty. I tried to make a fist and I couldn’t. My fingers were stiff. Mama Rene came to me in my dreams and held my hand as I dreamt of the moment I most wanted her to be a part of.

Every young girl dreams of their wedding: the perfect location, the perfect dress, the perfect flowers. I dream of my grandmother being there on my wedding day. You see, my dream was nothing about my dress or the flowers. My perfect wedding is the one where my grandmother can watch me walk down the aisle, marrying the man of my dreams, and seeing me embark on a new adventure in life. Nothing else matters to me.

It wasn’t just a dream. This was Mama Rene’s way of telling me that she will be there on that special day, and every other special day in my life.

I’m not sure what happens when one passes or where they go. I do know that they never leave for good. Some part of them remains to watch over us: to care for us when we are feeling uneasy, to reassure us when we are uncertain, and to love us unconditionally always and forever.  

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Give the Ultimate Gift This Season

I’m a dog person. I always have been. I also will. That’s why I started volunteering as a BRATT (Behavior Re-homing Assessment Training Team). As a BRATT, I get to work with the dogs at the Humane Society. Right now, I’m at the lowest level until I take more training classes. As a green BRATT, I can take the dogs out to potty and play with them inside. Their little faces light up with joy when they are taken out of their kennels for some good ole’ fashioned play time. When I first walked into the canine unit, I almost cried. I literally was choking back tears during my tour of the facility. For only a moment, I doubted myself to walk into the humane society with a clear head and a smile on my face. Then, I remembered- I’m doing this for them. To keep them healthy, happy, and socialized. I realized that these dogs at the humane society are happy dogs. Once you spend time with these animals, you understand what the humane society strives to do each and every day. No animal wants to spend their life in a shelter. The humane society has recognized that and implements socialization and proper play time into each animal’s daily schedule. These dogs are happy now, but imagine how happy they will be when they are placed in their forever homes with their new families.

Having said that I’m a dog person… listen to what I did yesterday. I adopted a sweet little cat named Tony. Our first 24 hours together have been magical. I got to spend some time with Tony yesterday before I brought him home and we instantly clicked. He’s the type of cat that always wants to be next to you. His sweet little face says it all. I know he’s happy to be home and I’m so grateful that I can give him a loving home. I have given the ultimate gift I can give and I hope someday in the future, I can give that gift again. Until then, I’ll take care of my precious Tony and volunteer as much of my time as I can at the humane society. Volunteers truly make a difference in lives of the animals at the shelter. I’m proud to say I’m part of that difference. 

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5 minutes of free style

Writers block. I think I’m getting writers block. I sometimes have problems coming up with things to write. Maybe I just over think things. Not everything I write has to be at the top of the charts. But I wonder if I just sit down and start writing if I will come up with something brilliant. I was going through my tweets and I found some good ones and some that I wonder what the heck I was thinking when I tweeted that. I think that when I tweet, it’s because I want to tell someone what I’m thinking, but there are times when no one is around, so I tweet it instead. That way it’s out there and maybe someone will see it. Oh, I guess that’s what blogging is too. I have something to say and I want someone to know what I’m thinking so I write it down so people can know. Who knows, one day my random thoughts may be bestsellers. Speaking of bestsellers… I’ve been thinking lately. What is it that I really want to do with my life. Oh yeah, this has nothing to do with bestsellers, but I needed some sort of transition. Should I go to grad school? Do I really want to go to grad school? And what should I study if I do go to grad school? Probably something specialized- like engineering or something health related. I’m not interested in engineering. I don’t have the personality to be an engineer. What if I studied psychology. I was looking at programs offered at UT, and their psychology programs look intense. They require lots of individual research. I know being a grad student comes with teaching as well. Even though I’m a communications major, I’m not super comfortable talking in front of large groups of people. I get really nervous, red, and I start sweating. I stumble over my words. Does this happen to anyone else? I have no problem meeting new people and striking up a conversation, but when I have to address several people at once, I don’t even know who I am anymore. I passed the microphone off several times at my Christmas party last night. Even though I work with those people on a daily basis, I still can’t come to make a large scale announcement to them. Even one that is as simple as announcing that the food is ready and is being served in the billiard room. That’s all I had to say but I couldn’t say it. My Christmas party was really fun. We had a photo booth and they brought props. I wore an afro wig. And a Christmas tree hat. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a tacky get up. 

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What is your super power?

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… Superman! Known for his superhuman strength, X-ray vision, invulnerabilities (except for, of course, kryptonite), his abilitiy to fly, and his superhuman speed, Superman is superiorly super.

I attend monthly meetings at work called “The Innovation Group.” This is a chance for our employees to get together with people that we may not normally interact with around the building and innovate together. I look forward to these meetings because it challenges me to think a little differently than I would by just sitting at my desk. This past Tuesday, we broke up into small groups (with people I don’t work with on a daily basis) and we discussed our super powers.

Everyone had some really good super powers. Just to name a few: creates joy, makes people laugh, connects people and ideas, persistent, compassionate, conversationalist. These are fantastic super powers. I had to think about my super power for a while. To me, my super power isn’t just what I’m good at. It’s more than that. It’s a way of life. It’s my purpose. 

My super power is that I’m an insightful problem solver. I’m a good listener and I give really good advice. I genuinely care about people. What makes them who they are and why. How can I possibly make a difference in their life and challenge the way they look at situations. I view problem solving as a way of learning for me. When people come to me with their questions, I am faced with new circumstances and situations. It challenges me to create new solutions and seek new perspectives.  

What is your super power? 

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What would you do with 7 days?

Let’s say you knew you had 7 days to live. What would you do? How would you spend it? It gets you thinking about what is most important to you. I know that I want to fill my life with travel, but I have about 60 or 70 more years to travel to all the countries of the world (maybe not all, but at least over 100). But, if I had 7 days to live, what would be most important for me to see and do? P.S. this was an extremely hard list to make…

In no particular order:

Egyptian Pyramids  

Taj Mahal

Bangkok/Koh Samui/Chiang Mai

Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt  

Ireland

Machu Picchu and Easter Island- I would make this work in 24 hours  

The Great Barrier Reef

It is important to fill your life with the things that make you happiest. In 70 years, I want to have traveled the world and helped to make a difference in the world. Now, it’s time for me to start figuring out how I’m going to do this exactly. Time to start making lists and checking things off. 

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What’s your guilty pleasure?

Alright. This will be a fun blog. You’ll get to know a little more about me… but whoever reads this… I want to get to know a little more about you! So, respond because it will be fun! Facebook me, tweet me, text me… whatever. This will also allow me to gage who reads my blogs and how I can keep you coming back.

Topic of the day: guilty pleasures.

Glee- I own every single glee song they have made… for real.  And, I saw them on tour in Vegas… and I “gleeked” out.

Star Trek- I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a Trekkie, but I quite enjoy it. Live long and prosper.

Facebook- when I post something, I constantly look at my profile to see who has commented or “liked” my post… sometimes… I even look as frequently as every 2 minutes… oy… but here’s a confession… I like Twitter better!  

Nutella and oreos- both are delicious on their own, but once you spread the nutella on the oreo, it’s gooey, creamy perfection  

Comfy clothes- I am very fond of workout clothes and oversized t-shirts because I think they are the most comfortable things ever. I wear them way too often and if I could wear them to work with my running shoes… I would.

Silly, stupid movies- Rat Race, Super Troopers, Dude, Where’s My Car, any Adam Sandler movie

Superhero movies- Spiderman, Superman, Batman, Iron Man… you name it, I love it

Mario Kart- I have nick names for the characters. I am always Yoshi, but I call him Yosh, and I always yell at Chomp when he shows up. Also, I don’t have a dirty mouth until I play Mario Kart…     

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"State Fair of Texas- a friedtastic experience" 

The State Fair of Texas is a 125 year tradition complete with rides, exhibits, livestock, shows, Big Tex and fried food. The first time I went was in 2009 during the Red River Rivalry weekend. I left the game happy. I left the fair… dissatisfied. I decided it was time to go back and do the fair right. I didn’t go during OU weekend this year, sad face, but hopefully next year. Anyway, the State Fair is huge and there is no way you can do everything in one day, but one day is all I had. I decided to at least experience the one thing sacred to the fair- fried food.

I was on a mission. I found out that people really like to read about food, so, I indulged in fried goodness for your viewing pleasure. After showing off the Cotton Bowl stadium and Big Tex to my parents and Halle, we ventured over to one of the many food tent lines.

We tried the legendary corny dog which originated at the Texas State Fair. I had one bite of this thing covered with mustard and I was in corn dog heaven. The corn meal crumbled at the slightest touch, unlike the frozen corn dogs that after you take one bite, all of the dough falls off. It was warm and buttery and the corn meal covering just melted in my mouth. It was sensational.

After the corny dog, we walked up and down the food tents, admiring, and sometimes cringing, at the different types of food. Of course I had to try the fried butter. It sounded gross, but it was delightful! On the outside, we got honey cinnamon sugar. After plopping the entire ball of fried butter in my mouth, the warm melted butter oozed out of the dough mixing with the honey and cinnamon sugar. It tasted like a sopapilla but with lots of butter!

Moving on, we saw the award winning fried autumn pumpkin pie. If you think regular pumpkin pie is good, wait until you try it fried. It was like Thanksgiving in my mouth. It was kind of like a cream puff- crunchy outside, creamy pumpkin goodness inside, topped with whipped cream. At this point, I thought I had found my favorite of the day… until…

I washed everything down with a good ole fried lemonade. You heard me. The fried lemonade was my absolute favorite treat of the day. Talk about an explosion of flavor. It tasted just like lemon cake. And… if you know me… you know I’m a sucker for anything lemon flavored. The fried lemonade sat on top of this delicious lemon glaze and when mixed together made for the perfect fried food experience.

After polling my parents and Halle, we concluded that the fried lemonade was the best thing of the day. Then the corny dog, fried autumn pumpkin pie, and lastly the fried butter.

I had to limit my fried food intake so I wouldn’t drop dead of clogged arteries. But listen to everything else they had. Deep fried Texas salsa, fried pop tarts, fried guacamole bites, fried brownies, snickers, oreos, s’mores, fried frito pie, fried pizza, fried pineapple upside cake, fried bubble gum (which won most creative) and buffalo chicken in a flapjack (which won best tasting).  

I had a great adventure this year at the fair but there is so much more to experience. If you haven’t been to the State Fair of Texas, put it on your bucket list. It’s worth the experience and the calories.    

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When you smile, the whole world smiles with you

I love to just sit and observe my surroundings. Sometimes, I even close my eyes and just listen. What I’ve come to realize is that people are always unhappy about something. We constantly complain about everything little thing. Why do we complain? Are we seeking attention? Sympathy? Companionship?

Here are a few complaints I’ve heard:

Boyfriends not answering their phones

You never spend any time with me

Professors assigning homework over the weekend

Someone didn’t get invited to a party

Too tired to do anything

Life isn’t fair… that’s my favorite…

We are all guilty of complaining. Something will almost always irk us, no matter how small. I learned in a class that the brain tends to lean towards depression. It’s easier for us to feel depressed and sorry for ourselves than it is to feel happy. So, we just need to surround ourselves with positive and happy things. I try to always have a smile on my face. Of course there are times when I don’t. I’ve heard a rumor that it takes less muscles to smile than it does to frown. Maybe this is true, maybe it isn’t, but just go with it. When you smile, the whole world smiles with you.

Here are a few ways I’ve learned to keep yourself happy:

Exercise- gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy. You’ll have more energy and will feel better about yourself

Volunteer- for a cause. When you do something for someone else, you feel like you are making a difference. P.S. you will make a difference  

Socialize- even when you don’t want to. When you surround yourself with people and get out and do something fun, you will have fun. Make new friends or rekindle old friendships. We are gregarious beings. Prolonged solitude and loneliness don’t make anyone happy.    

Laugh- often and at stupid things. Don’t take anything too seriously. “That’s what she said” will never get old.

Learn- something new every day. Read, explore, and innovate. Stimulate your brain with puzzles, quizzes, and riddles. Challenge yourself to think differently and outside of the box. Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. Here’s a great website: www.sporcle.com – it’s an excellent trivia website.

Love- someone and don’t be afraid to tell them.  

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ejmiranda:

Five “nuggets of wisdom” for the post-grad working man

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It’s been exactly one month since I’ve started my post-graduate life.

New job. New people. New state.

I’ve tasted just a slice of the pie many call “The Real World.” It is stressful, time-consuming, and more rewarding than I ever knew possible.

Money is still tight. I have loans to pay. And I’m still trying to accept the fact that I’ve moved half-way across the country - to a city where I do not know a single person.

There are a few “nuggets of wisdom” I’ve picked up these past few weeks. Things that many should know.  But fail to remember until it’s too late.

For you recent grads/first job types, this will probably hit home. If you’re still in school, then take this with a grain of salt. It’s coming. And for my full-time working crowd, I give you my respects. Working life is hard. Rewarding, but hard.

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#1. Review your past. Plan for the future.

It’s important to evaluate the steps taken so far. The good and the bad. One can always learn from everything that has happened. Use that knowledge for the future. Learn from your mistakes. Become a better you.

#2. Never pass up a home-cooked meal.

Chances are, you’re missing home. Even more so the people you care about. Something about a meal made with “L.O.V.E.” hits home. It helps you reminisce of the good times. And cope with your new surroundings.

#3. “Stranger is just a friend I haven’t met. Yet.”

Because you’re in a new area, you have to start over with meeting people. Don’t be shy. People love others with a good story to tell. I’m sure they’d love to hear yours.

#4. Give back. Get involved. Save the world.

Volunteer your time. Help with youth. Do something with your time that is meaningful. It’s easy to get absorbed with all things “work”. But when you look back on your life years from now, you will want to talk about how you made a difference. Gave back. Saved the world one person at a time.

#5. Don’t lose touch. But don’t forget to move forward.

Some people move away for a new start. A new outlook on life. And maybe even to get away from the people holding them back. Tip of the hat to you. You’re in a better place. You’re making a difference. And you’re making a better life for yourself. Don’t forget about those you left. Maybe you can be the one to help them find their path. But never forget to keep going. The past is behind you. Move forward.

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