Monday, November 7, 2011

Sushi Night!

November is speeding right along taking the sunshine and good times with it. I have so many papers piling up and I am beginning to think that my efforts to get them done before Thanksgiving will be in vain. I do keep this thought in mind, however, that each time the semester speeds up and I think that there is no possible way to get all my assignments done... I do. Somehow, despite the height and depth of my procrastination I get it all done (all praise be to God, He really is too good to me :)).

Anyway, amongst the endlessness of homework, papers, and tests I am given small, beautiful opportunities to do something fun and new and out of the ordinary. This week's fun has been brought to me by my incredibly thoughtful sister-in-law and brother. They sent me a package containing almost everything I would need to make sushi for the first time! And make sushi I did. And it was awesome.
I was somewhat nervous about the whole process, but I was able to skype Alisha, my sister-in-law, and she talked me through it. I have to say that I had so much fun! It really isn't hard once you get the hang of it. I love it because there are so many different options to go inside the sushi. I made mine with cucumber, avocado, carrot, cream-cheese, green onion, and salmon. It turned out to be very tasty and even my boyfriend, Sam, liked it (and ate a lot of it). I made enough to share with Sam's sister and brother-in-law. It was really great to just hang out in the middle of the week and eat some delicious sushi. Moments like that are kind of nice; the time when one can just take a break and enjoy good company and good food. It clears my mind and is good for my soul.

So I want to send out a special thanks to Alisha and Rob for completely making my week and giving me a chance to take a break from the monotony and grind of school! You guys are seriously the best!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


There are a million things I need to be doing at this moment, but I am really excited about something. MAIL. I love it all: letters, packages, postcards. It just makes my day.

I started sending letters before I could even write. My cousin and I would color pictures for each other and send them in the mail. When we did learn to read and write, there was a constant flow of Lisa Frank letters and postcards between the two of us. My second most faithful correspond-er is my grandmother. I have always lived decently close to both her and my grandpa, but when I went to boarding academy she began to write to me about everything going on at home. I love getting mail from her. When I received her last letter the thought crossed my mind of how lucky I am to have these letters from her. I love everything about them; the neat,cursive handwriting, the pretty floral stationary, and most of all the fact that I will have this piece of her years from now. How amazing is that through letters we can save conversations, essentially, with people we love in their own, authentic handwriting? I save every piece of mail I receive. Cards. Letters. Postcards. I just have a feeling that some day I will be immensely grateful to have the words of the people I love, written by them, in their hand, on their special stationary. Sure, it is probably more efficient to send an email or Facebook message, but knowing that someone took the time to write you a letter by hand holds so much more value, in my opinion. Or to know that someone put together a package based thoughtfully on the things you love.

Recently I have received such mail: a letter from my grandma, a card and package from my Aunt Michelle containing CHOCOLOVE, my absolute favorite chocolate in life, and a package from my Aunt Corrine containing fresh Wisconsin cheese. Yes, you read it right. Fresh Wisconsin Cheese. And yes, my family is AMAZING.

So here's to snail-mail and its simple, quaint, and beautiful tradition. And thanks to my family for the supplies to get me through college!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gosh, I love da Packers

Last weekend was fall break, and it was quite possibly the best fall break thus far. I took a long, 10 hour trip down to Atlanta with the Hanaway family and my sister. Among the amazing events that took place (which I will save for their own specials posts) was my very first Green Bay Packers game. I was somewhat saddened by the fact that my first game would not be at Lambeau, but it was amazing none-the-less. Here are the highlights in case you weren't able to catch the game:

As you can imagine, they have me pretty worried during the first half, but Aaron didn't let me down! Besides the fact that he is incredibly enjoyable to watch, he is a great QB and really a great guy from what I can tell:

"My goals have changed...I don't really desire any more to be the best quarterback in the NFL because I want to be remembered as one of the best men who ever played quarterback in the NFL." - Aaron Rodgers.

I love you, Aaron.

I have said it before and I will say it again: Packers fans are the best fans. By the end of the game we had taken over the Georgia Dome (so much for defending it, Falcons fans). There were very few Falcons fans who stuck out the whole game; most of them deserted at the beginning of the fourth... and they weren't very happy... or nice.

And of course one of the best things about the game was the people I got to go with! That Hanaways are seriously the best for letting my sister and me crash their trip!


5-0. Read it and weep.

My beautiful sister and I

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What I'm Reading

1. Jane Eyre, By Charlotte Bronte
The first time I read this book I was about 12 years old. About half-way through it creeped me out so bad that I couldn't bring myself to finish it. Give me a break; what isn't creepy about strange laughter permeating throughout a mysterious mansion? Lucky, I was given another chance to read it for Women's Lit. I cannot describe to you how much I love this book. The depth of emotion, the struggle between heart and mind, the tension of moral uprightness in the darkest of circumstances, is incredibly heart wrenching and... brilliant. Read it. You MUST read it. And I dare you to not feel sorry for Mr. Rochester.

2. The Age of Innocence, By Edith Wharton, and A Room of One's Own, By Virginia Woolf
Both of these books were read in Women's Lit. The Age of Innocence gives a remarkable portrayal of Old New York; a topic that I had never read about and did not have much insight on. The descriptions are detailed, but not tedious and they make it easy to put yourself directly in the story; like you yourself are following Newland Archer through the parties, gossip, and scandal of the Countess. While the story-line is somewhat frustrating, the issues about society, class, and the way we perceive people is so timeless and applicable even today.
A Room of One's Own is an essay by Virginia Woolf about women in literature. It is interesting and she makes many solid arguments. In her essay, Woolf imagines that Shakespeare has a sister who has the same level of brilliance and talent, but who is never able to gain a creative outlet because of the constraints on women at the time. Good essay, not exactly leisurely.

3. Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare, and All for Love by John Dryden
What I am told is that All for Love was Dryden's attempt to "tidy up" Shakespeare's version of Antony and Cleopatra. It seems almost blasphemous to think that Shakespeare's work would need fixing, but I am human, so I appreciate the closure that Dryden gives in All for Love. He ties up a lot of loose ends and expounds on some of the issues that Shakespeare doesn't.

4. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
On top of all the assigned reading I have to do in Women's Lit, I have had to pick another book by a woman author and write a report on it. I picked this one because I started it this summer and I know I won't get a chance to finish it unless I make it a priority. If it is for a class, I can justify outside reading. Isn't that sad? Anyway, so far I am really enjoying it. It isn't a very difficult read and it is about a culture that I haven't read much about: China. The story is about two farmers who strive during the good years of harvest and make it through the difficult times of drought. I think I like it because crops and farming are things I can relate to; especially the feeling of having no rain. I haven't finished it yet, but so far I would recommend it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lacked anything.

"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here":
Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
"Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
"My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
So I did sit and eat.
-George Herbert

Friday, September 23, 2011

American Honey

Since summer is officially over, as of today, I feel the need to send it out with one of my favorite summertime songs. I like this song especially because it reminds me of my own up-bringing. And now, because I tend to be wishy-washy, I feel as though I let the summer pass by without truly enjoying its beauty. I guess it can be hard to see the beauty in sitting at a strawberry stand in 87 degree weather; although I am sure it is there somewhere.

Gone for so long now, I gotta get back to her somehow; to American honey.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Celebrity 100

"The men and women on our annual Celebrity 100 list--the most powerful people in the entertainment business this year--earned $4.5 billion over the last 12 months by starring in films, playing basketball, walking the catwalk and more. But they also rose to the top by garnering influence."

Let me start by saying that I like watching movies, sports games, even America's Next Top Model. I like listening to music and going to concerts. It would be pointless and false to say otherwise. But something about the above quote just doesn't sit well in my stomach.

Are we so engrossed in the media that we freely put 4.5 billion dollars into it?

According to Forbes' Celebrity 100 List, the most powerful people in the entertainment business have more than just money. Lady Gaga took first place above Oprah because of her social status, which is built off of her 32 million facebook fans, and 10 million Twitter followers who are known as "Little Monsters."

The astounding thing about this has nothing to do with the moral issues involving the fact that Lady Gaga herself has this much influence (that in and of itself has serious implications about youth in America), but the obvious obsession we seem to have with celebrities in general. We watch their every move and hang on their every meaningless "tweet."

How backwards is it that people in America throw a fit over the amount spent for the protection of this nation, yet mindlessly throw billions of dollars into the entertainment business? And the ironic thing is that these people don't even realize it's a business. We are being sold these celebrities the same way we are being sold food in the grocery store or electronics at Best Buy.

When did simply enjoying something become a 4.5 billion dollar industry? Why must we take fun, even sometimes good, things to the extreme? Maybe we are trying to over-compensate for all the bad. Maybe we think that if we simply smother our depressing lives with entertainment we won't notice the state that we are in. But then we take the good and push it to such extremes that in the end it isn't helping us; it's consuming us. Music, movies, sports teams; they're consuming us.

And I guess the bottom line isn't (solely) that the entertainment industry is filth. I think the real issue is our pathetic attempts of ignoring the pain, hurt, and filth in our own lives. We are taking every chance we can get to escape from reality. But if we don't start keeping things real, we are going to lose ourselves.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Special Guest

Today's special guest comes to us all the way from... wait for it... Wisconsin! She is a 19 year old college student who is taking this semester off to embark on a journey of a lifetime. She has been mentioned in my blog many times before, but today she gets a name and a face. LeAnne Michelle Cunningham is my sister and the youngest of my 4 siblings. She was born on April 9, 1992. With her birth she brought the biggest blizzard of the year.
LeAnne likes to spend her time reading books such as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Kite Runner, The Hobbit and Pet Semetary. Other activities she enjoys are playing "Zelda" on the N64 and watching "The Mighty Boosh." She usually has good taste in music and listens to a wide variety. Some of her favorite bands/artists are: The Smiths, Tegan and Sara, Celine Dion, Jack Johnson, ABBA, Josh Groban, and Fleet Foxes. Her favorite color is blue, although coral is definitely a close second. She also spends her time going to awesome places like Germany, working at her produce stand, and going on mission trips.
LeAnne graduated from Wisconsin Academy in 2010 and spent her first year of college at University of Wisconsin Barron County. Like I mentioned earlier, she is taking this semester off to go on a mission trip to the Philippines with one of my best friends, Allison from The Sisters Hanaway. They will be continuing some of the work Ally and her sister Samantha were a part of during their mission work.

We have always been close growing up, but for more about that read here. This summer we have spent the most time together than we have in the past three years. It was ok, I guess ;)

I think it's clear who got the good-looking genes in our family.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Here We Go Again.

I have been extremely negligent in my blogging this summer. Since I haven't updated for the past three months I'm finding it rather difficult to condense the whole summer into one post. But I will because 1. I am lazy; 2. School has already started and I massive amounts of reading to accomplish; 3. nothing terribly interesting happened this summer. However, it was, over-all, a pretty great summer.To kick it all off my very generous brother and sister-in-law let me tag-along with them on a vacation to Florida! I got to babysit my niece, Morgan, and lay out at the beach.

On the way home I stopped in Milwaukee to spend some time with my friends, Mariel and Allison. Mariel showed us all around Milwaukee. We spend an amazing day together, despite a insistent, not to mention old, business man from "out of town."

I got to spend some time at home, which was greatly needed and always appreciated. My sister and I rode bikes quite a bit.

I had planned on taking a math course over the summer, but it fell through and I was left with nothing to do and no money to do it. Luckily, my friend Ally hooked me and my sister up with a job in Green Bay picking and selling strawberries. It ended up being almost as fun as it looks in the picture. Staying with Allison and her family was amazing. Their hospitality is beyond measure.
The farm we worked on is called Sunny Hill and they really do have the best strawberries (not to mention corn) in the area. Surprisingly, I didn't get sick of eating them.

Josh Groban came to Green Bay. I am seriously at a loss for words to describe how amazing this concert was. He puts on SUCH a great show, and I love him.

Six Flags! It was great, but the older I get the harder this place is on my stomach. Superman was pretty awesome though. Also, why the heck did they get rid of Dejavu (sp?)?!

And now for the "fun" part. Fall semester 2011 has officially begun. Strangely, it feels good to be back. One of my professors went off in class about how much she loves being in school; the structure, environment, ect. While I really want to be done with school (mainly so I can start paying off my loans), I can definitely understand her point of view. After going to school for 15 years it pretty much becomes a comfort zone. What isn't comfortable about this semester is my work load. Below is an incomplete book-list for my two Literature classes. Add Psychology, Spanish, and a religion course chock full of busy work and I have a complete load.
However, I am prepared:
So that's that. And maybe when I feel more inspired I will write more. As can be expected, "What I'm Reading" posts are sure to come.

Friday, June 10, 2011

“Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.” ~Louis de Bernieres

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Communication

I have been home for almost a month. Home is 8 hours away from Berrien Springs, MI. Michigan is where Sam has, and will be, all summer. If you know me, you know that I am a home-body. I love coming home. And I love my family. So when school is out it is always pretty obvious that I will return home for the summer; I'm always excited to be home for the summer. But this time it was different. Coming home meant leaving the one person with whom I really feel at home. "Home" is starting to take on a new meaning for me, I guess. It's weird, really, because I love everything about spending my summer with family, in Wisconsin, cooking, cleaning, biking, walking, doing yoga; but a constant piece of my heart is still in Michigan.

So, here is one perspective on my summer:
Thank goodness we can Skype :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

30 Fotographias

Someone you spend a lot of time with:
Sam Schultz. We spend loads of time together. Though, not much time this summer :(

A picture of yourself:
A random photo of you and your significant other:
We are the coolest people I know.

A picture of something/someone that makes you happy:
Morgan Ruth, my niece, makes me happy quite often.

An old picture of yourself:
A picture of you and your siblings:
All five :)

A picture you have never posted on your blog:
Lookout Mountain. Chattanooga, Tennessee. March, 2009.

A picture of a person who knew you then and now:
Marlyn Santiago. Friends in highschool, roommates in college.

A picture of your favorite place:
Right There.

A person you can tell anything:
Mariel Torres from Mariel's Window, knows many of my deepest, darkest, secrets.

A picture of your everyday life:
The mound of laundry I hauled home for Spring Break. Record of 3 weeks without spending money for laundry. Success!

A picture from a place you love:
Farmland. Country-side. Fields of any kind. Not town.

A picture that reminds you of great times:
Camp Wakonda. Summer, 2009. SO many great times and memories. I used to think it was kind of cheesy when people called it "a place set apart," but that is exactly what it is and I don't think there is a better way to describe it.

A picture of someone you miss:
Always missin' this little girl.

A picture of one of your favorite foods:
Cream of Broccoli soup in a bread bowl. Heaven.

A picture from the best day of your life:
The day the packers won the Super Bowl. *sigh of happiness*

A picture that always makes you laugh:
Well, doesn't it make you laugh?

A picture of your spare time:
Bookstores. Reading.

A photo from a great night:
4th of July, 2008. Three Words <3

The person who knows you the best:
My amazing mother. She was a stay-at-home mom while all of us kids were little and we have stayed close even as I have grown up. I think it's safe to say that she knows me the best.

A picture of someone you always have fun with:
Allison Hanaway. Always having a fun time with this girl.

A picture of your parents when they were your age:
My age is pretty much the average of their ages in this picture. And, yes, they are still together :)

A picture from last summer:
Two of my most favorite people in the world!

A picture of your closest friend of the opposite sex:
This is my first summer at camp, his second, and our first summer dating.

A picture from your favorite vacation:
Spring Break '09. Road trip from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Orlando, Florida!

A picture of an accomplishment:
Highschool Graduation. Class of 2008.

A picture of your closest friend:

A picture from a photo-booth:
Back when Ally came to visit!

A picture that makes you smile:
Cousins are the best. Sisters too.

A picture of someone you never want to let go of:
Never ever. One summer is bad enough.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Swing, swing.

I'm out running (but mostly walking) this morning when I pass by the elementary school in Chetek. Across the softball field I can see all the little kids outside for recess. It takes me a second to realize that the children flying through the air are, indeed, on swings-- soaring through the crystal-blue sky with absolute, unadulterated, freedom and abandon.

Swinging is the best because it's everything in only two simple movements. A swing doesn't strap you in, but it still gives you something to hang on to(oh, the metephors!). Whoever invented the simplistic ease and excitement of the swing was a genius. And that is all I have to say.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Prayer and Praise

At my small church in Rice Lake, WI, prayer and praise could be its own event. Which wouldn't be so bad, when you think about it. Being able to share your concerns, problems, faith, and praise is healing. There is something really great about being able to share, out loud, to people who will take up your burden as their own- who will take your joy as their own.

Last Saturday, my Grandpa raised his hand during prayer and praise. This is so uncommon that I actually had to look behind to see who was talking. When I did I saw my grandfather. Praising God for his family- his wife, children, grandchildren. I heard him praise God for our church family- for being there for him and for praying for him. It was just one of those moments when I was so very happy to be where I was. So happy that I was able to hear those words.