Monday, September 30

what mondays should always feel like

Today I wore running tights to school with green shorts and a red jacket. I didn't even bother putting on mascara. The thing is, it didn't even feel like a big deal. 

Today I played soccer in the rain with people who have become some of my closest friends in three years and though we didn't win, it's those moments when we are on the field and someone falls with no one else around them and we all laugh that make a long day of class a thing of the Mondays. Pre-game, halftime, and post-game talks are included in that, too.

Today I saw a flash of blue Patagonia and a phone call later I was at my friend's house with her cat.

Today one of my favorite PEOPLE in the world blogged again. It felt like Christmas morning. 

Today I owned up to the fact that freshmen are beginning to think I live in their dorm because one of my other favorite sisters goes to school with me now so I have a new place to snack and talk and eat brownies. Small price. 

Today I realized I'm more excited than I am scared about the possibility of what something could be. And isn't that just a splendid unexpected thing?


Sunday, September 29

misSOULa

As I adapt back into the routine of being a regular 21 year old college student again in Montana, my time away from Seattle and my life with an "adult" schedule has given me so much more perspective about my life in Missoula.

A month into my summer, I was ready to take a year off of school to establish residency, keep my internship, work like a maniac, and become a permanent "adult". I loved my summer. It was absolutely the internship of my dreams and being in Seattle was undoubtedly the place I was meant to be for where I was in my young adulthood. I have no doubts about why I was meant to be there when I was. 

But coming back to Montana after spending a summer with more responsibility than I've ever had has made me see, too, that the real world is always there. It's never too soon to start on your dreams and I definitely couldn't agree more on that front, but there's also something about enjoying this time in my life that's important, too. I was so anxious to find some sort of direction for myself and felt such a strong urgency to get started on some sort of idea of what I wanted my future to look like. Now that I've gotten that sense of direction for myself and know that the "real world" is there, I don't feel the same urgency to fret about my future. I have everything lined up for myself set in a direction I'm excited about. I'm working the hardest I've ever worked in school because I'm excited about what I'm learning. I value my education more than I ever did, too. And instead of being worried about what happens after college, I'm excited. But I also don't really feel myself counting down the days until it's over or want it to go too fast.

Missoula has been a treat this semester. I've enjoyed this little city more than I ever have in 3 years of living here. I missed the intimacy of this community. Leaving Seattle and coming back to Missoula has allowed me to value so many things about Missoula I didn't see as being a luxury before. Like having a 15 minute bike ride commute to school but still having a Target and a strong music culture. Like having mountains in my backyard to hike at a moments notice. Like a downtown that's small and cozy. Like a group of friends that are fun and easy to hang out with. 

I love this place. I still love Seattle. I still want to move back there. Just not yet. 
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Wednesday, September 25

be a little more messy

I struggled this week to write.

I'm taking an upper level non-fiction workshop this semester, which I chose over fiction after my overwhelmingly wonderful experience in the lower level non-fiction workshop, because I've found that writing from my own "voice" is easier for me than through another characters. Plus, I found that finding MY voice turned me into an infinitely better writer. I have to have my own voice before I can write from another, you feel me?

However, with my first workshop this week, I felt totally out of my element. There was the problem of picking an idea and then there was the problem of writing it. Everything felt forced. Everything felt way to dramatic and nothing came out how I wanted. I listened to my first professor's voice in my head telling me that every word sucked (he really did tell me my pieces sucked sometimes)(and I think you NEED to be told you suck often) and though I wrote and finished it, I didn't feel any sort of emotional connection to it at all.

And though my workshop went much better than I expected, my professor pulled me aside after and said, "Maggie, where are you in this? I don't see you- I see your characters, but not you. Don't be afraid to be a little more messy. I want to see you be messier."

When he said that, it immediately registered to me why I'd struggled. He was right. I told him I had my old professor's voice stuck in my head telling me not to go too far with things and he laughed and said, "But we can trim that down. We can add to it and take things away over and over again! Be messy."

I think I've been afraid to be messy lately - in my journals, on my blog, and in my assignments - because I've been too afraid of being "too cliche". I've been afraid to say the obvious thing on my mind out of fear that it isn't a unique thought. I've been scared to be too honest. I don't really know how to go back to the days when I could write without any restraint, but I think I need to try. I need to try in all regards to get there again, even if it's not something that's not obvious to people that read it, because I know when I'm "there" or not. I looked through my old notebooks today and found a quote from my old workshop professor who said that cliche is only cliche if it feels forced. Everything is a cliche. What makes something unique isn't the story or the experience, but the voice behind it. It doesn't need to be unique. It needs to be mine.

Here's to being messy and unafraid.
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Monday, September 23

monday list

I can't decide if my life more closely resembled the Bachelorette this weekend or the Hunger Games. I think the winning tribute might be the one who said his favorite book, without my saying anything first, was The Fault In Our Stars. On top of a mountain. It was one of those moments that was almost too movie-like to be real.

I had to say goodbye to my best friend via Facetime last night for 18 months. The first blog friend I ever met in real life and the one who has become a real life best friend I talk to every single day. However, how excited am I to say that I have my own missionary!? So. Freaking. Excited. Snail mail will commence for the next 18 months. 

I am crossing my fingers for something truly great and perfect to happen this week. 

I am almost certain I ate too much cake this weekend and didn't do enough homework. I mean, I did enough, but I didn't get ahead on my homework is a weekend norm. Usually.

I am almost positive that I'm having an identity criss. I am positive that I have no idea who this procrastinating, social-every-single-night, man hunting, money saving person is anymore. But I'm positive that I'm enjoying it, I am just freaking out over it because it's not really what I'm used to. I am positive that I am still "me", I'm just exploring and experiencing life. I'm living, man, and it's pretty good.
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Friday, September 20

TedXUMontana!

Have you ever heard of a thing called Ted Talks? Maybe? Perhaps?

Yesterday I got to attend Montana's Ted Talks hosted on my own very own campus, the first of its kind here! At the end of the summer, all of the university students got an email saying that the event was very small and tickets were given out lottery style- completely random. Well, low and behold, I was a lucky chosen ticket receiver! Even though my biology major was downgraded to a minor, I still obviously harbor a deep love and appreciation for the sciences. As I should, since being a science writer is my end goal. Anyways, it was such a great and inspiring night. We heard talks from a professor who studied the correlation between language and improved memory, a professor who studied cultural anthropology and spent time in Nepal observing polyandrous marriages, a professor who established local organic farms here in Missoula, and a professor who studies the beetle kill issue in North American forests. Every speaker was hilarious and fascinating. It made me feel so lucky to go to school with such innovative and awesome thinkers!

I think my favorite part of the whole event was seeing how these scientists and researchers were able to communicate their work to be interesting and intriguing to many people in the room who didn't have backgrounds in science. Obviously, a few did, but the event was also broadcasted throughout the state of Montana. I know not everyone is science brained as not all people are english brained and we all have our own respective areas of interest but the fact is many of the topics covered are things that when communicated the right way could be interesting to even someone who hated biology. I think that's why I love Ted Talks in general. All of these things are applicable on some level to everyone and are things that should be talked about and shared. I think out of the experience I gained insight about how pursuing some sort of career as a science writer is actually important to communicating these awesome ideas to the public and well, just freaking cool. 

Also, there were complimentary cookies and wine. 
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Wednesday, September 18

bikes and dates

On the list of things I never thought could be used to describe me are two things I have seemingly become this week. These things include (a) being a biker (b) being a dater.

*GASP*

No, I can't say anything more. But I sort of have a few quasi-dates that actually barely count as dates this week and if I talk about it anymore I will back out right now by sheer force of anticipation and pressure. (Spoiler alert: I don't think I'm going to be a good dater.)

I will say that becoming a biker this week has solved so many problems. In the area of appearances, in particular, makeup is suddenly irrelevant. Put it on in the morning before my 2.5 mile bike ride and by the time I walk up the two flights of stairs to Spanish after my ride, it's like a just got out of the shower with a freshly washed face. Except, those aren't beats of water. In the area of being a newly reformed frugal college student, there is no need to spend money on gas! You mean not spend forty dollars every 17 days on gas!? By golly, I can't imagine anything better. In a month, that's like a month of groceries!

This week, my friend wanted someone to go with her to do her field research homework assignment. She was like, "There's a cool abandoned homestead with old barns and you have to have a code to get through the gate and I have it!" Sold. So naturally we brought a puppy and I explored some really neat abandoned barns. I actually remembered to bring both my battery charger AND SD card, too, so I could prove I was there.

Wish me luck! That I.... don't flip upside down on my handlebars. Or hit another curb and fall over sideways on bike. Or jam my gears again. And, wish me luck... on those other.... things....

Lastly I feel like I should mention this is the exact spot where Kate Bosworth got married last weekend. You heard it from me first.
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Monday, September 16

cheap entertainment

The thing about Seattle is that it's expensive. Sure, I could spend my whole life there and never get bored going to museums, zoos and aquariums, soccer games, and eating out every other meal but there's no denying that by the end of the summer my bank account was emptied almost entirely of its savings.

Worth it? Yes. Because of museums, eating out, zoos and aquariums, and soccer games. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to do everything I could in a city after never spending any time in a city. Plus, #yolo.

But the thing about Missoula is that it is CHEAP. My bank account feels full and happy. Entertainment is found by sitting on the steps of the City Hall building and watching squirrels get in wrestling matches. Entertainment is driving five minutes to your nearest conveniently located mountain and within 20 minutes gaining 1,000 feet of elevation. Entertainment is going to Walmart on a Sunday night that starts with dinner and a side of homework and a, "Hey does anyone need to go to Walmart? Cuz, like, I do. I need a bike lock."

Entertainment in Missoula is the people you find at Walmart on a Sunday night. Men older than my grandfather checking out the Sex and the City DVD collection wearing Tweety Bird pajama pants, a camo hat, and questionable facial hair. Ladies in stilettos asking the single Walmart employee where the lubricant is (I really could NOT make that up - I blame my friends for abandoning me and not being with me at that present moment to die over Neutrogena face wipes with me.) 

Entertainment in Missoula is your good friend Danielle saying for all to hear at 10:15pm in Walmart on a Sunday night, "Blistex is on sale! I'm buying some for my nose! Do you want me to grab you a stick?" 

Because for a week, you've both been sick and there is some serious skin damage to your tissue blowing counterparts. 

Sunday, September 15

Moscow to Missoula

My parents just rolled out of Missoula right onto I90 heading home.

Unfortunately, I was mostly sick the entire weekend. Fortunately, the only thing I want when I'm sick is my momma and some quality cable time in a King sized bed of a Best Western. Thankfully, I got plenty of television time with my momma and a snoozing dad who can't keep his eyelids open past 9pm to watch a movie. (Have you seen Parental Guidance yet? As he pointed out, it's like a cheap version of Uncle Buck to which I had to agree but also it was good for some laughs.)

My parents. How I miss them.

I remember just before leaving for Seattle this summer I was taking an Intro to Literary Studies class. We were reading something I can't even remember the name of and we were asked to respond to the question, "How do you feel about home?" I remember receiving my paper back with a bunch of red marks and a comment that said, "Oh, that's quite sad and depressing." I didn't write what I think to this day was bad, I just wrote the truth. Home for me is sort of just that: it's a place wrapped up with all of those warm fuzzy feelings of lying on my living room carpet watching Lizzie McGuire with my sister and falling asleep in a twin sized bed in the adjacent room to my parents every night. But aside from it being the place where I grew up, I've found I have less and less of an attachment to it. I'm proud of my background but also sort of done with it at the moment. I don't really WANT to go home these days. I didn't even hesitate to not spend a summer there and all things considered, I didn't really miss IT all that much this summer. I just missed my family. I didn't really realize what a big change that was to the girl who started writing this blog as a senior in high school who was sad to leave home and came home far too many weekends her first semester of college. I wrote a little bit about that before I left for Seattle, too, but now I think I've come to see as well that my life IS in Montana now. I have been so happy and content in Missoula as the semester has started and it feels like my home right now. 

Anymore, I'd MUCH rather have my parents visit me than the other way around. I love showing them my life and I love introducing them to the people who make me want to stay in Missoula on weekends rather than go home. I love showing them where I eat brunch, my favorite place to run, and my favorite place to find greek yogurt on sale. Missoula is sort of the place that has raised me from teen adolescent into young adult. We skyped my little sister who is in Virginia this morning and by the time we said goodbye we all sort of sat there in a fog observing that where she lives now, too, is sort of the place that's raising her. She's growing up. We're both growing up. We're both past the LIzzie McGuire days. 

Thursday, September 12

pizzzzzzza

Have you ever seen me eat pizza?
No.
Okay.
Let's proceed.
DSC_0031 DSC_0028 Untitled-1 DSC_0024 DSC_0021 I don't have an extremely broad food palette. It's broadened into eating asparagus, yams, and the occasional salad but it's usually fruit and carbs for me. The couple who I lived with called me the "bird eater". 

But when it comes to pizza, I turn from bird eater to grizzly eater. I. Love. Pizza. I could eat it every day of the week. In fact, I'm pretty sure there was a time when I lived alone this summer that I made pizza leftovers last a few days before buying a new one when the old one ran out. Honestly, pesto pizza is my favorite main dinner dish. 

The first time I came to Montana to check out the University of Montana, I wasn't completely sold. I loved the campus- but Montana? I was convinced I couldn't live anywhere more desolate than Idaho. Then I came to The Bridge purely by accident on my way home and it wasn't just the pizza, but it was the atmosphere. It was in that moment I "got" Missoula. It's where college students, families with croc wearing babies, hipster conjoined lovers, and the 1960's secretary glasses wearing older ladies come together. And then, because of scholarships and the campus under the mountain and of course- The Bridge! that I decided to go here.

I love going back here because it's one of the only places where I can remember Missoula from before I moved here. Most of my opinions and memories of Missoula were formed after. I don't have a lot of first impressions of Missoula from a purely objective standpoint. And whenever I eat at The Bridge, I sort of remember that high school senior who crept in here with her dad and wondered what it would be like if I moved here. Who would I meet? Would it feel like home? Would I ever eat here again? Would I hate it? I had no idea that this life would be mine and that it would become everything I wanted in so many ways I didn't expect.

Tuesday, September 10

I bet in the 3 years I've blogged, I've talked about being sick every time I've been sick

Today I learned that English professors are a lot more afraid of germs than Biology ones. Today I remembered how much I hate having a cold and especially one in the summer- what freaking gives!? Today I took two quizzes, one of which I most certainly did not do well on because even though I took three years of Spanish in high school, four years later I couldn't remember how to conjugate an -ar verb. Today I was sick and complained about it a lot to my mom.

And then I had frozen yogurt and apple juice for dinner. And all was well again.

(And hopefully I myself am well tomorrow. I hate being forced to stay in bed. However, when not forced, I love staying in bed. Explain this to me, please.)

Sunday, September 8

weddings, Saturday nights & Sunday mornings, and favorite dresses

There's something about waking up at noon on a Sunday on your living room couch. There's something about the contrast of thundering pummeling rain and the sounds of a friend snoring softly next to you on the floor. Call it some sort of contentedness or warmth of being surrounded on all sides by LIFE and the noises it makes after a Saturday night of board game playing and thunder storms- but it was the most contended way to wake up.

So, I'm ombre again. But this time I'm a blonde one. I know ombre quit being cool months ago and it's not even worth my time to try to defend the two second decision I made to do it or act like it was really hard to go against the masses here in Montana telling me ombre went out a long time ago. Boring brown mop no more, I say!

On to other things, yesterday I woke up at 7am, loaded up a buttered english muffin and protein bar for the road, and drove 100 miles to a part of Montana I've never seen completely on my own in my little Subaru. How have I never really noticed how BIG and expansive and huge and pretty Montana is? Because I've only gone as far as Missoula, that's why. Which is a darn shame. There was this splendid moment where the sun was coming up as I crested the pass going 45mph without another soul on the road that the chorus to Pompeii began that seemed almost too perfect to be something not contrived by my imagination. Then, after arriving at a big red barn that is an actual historic landmark, for four and then some hours I got to shoot my very first wedding with another photographer in Missoula and I had an adrenaline rush the entire time. Is that possible? I'm saying it is. Were my fingers and wrists sore after holding up a six pound camera for that long? They're still sore today.

I guess that's all that's new for now. I really enjoyed blogging almost every day this week and lugging my camera around felt less like lugging for once in the past three months so it could just be that I'm feeling blog inspired again. No promises, but I hope it's here to stick. 

OH, and this is my favorite dress. I know everyone was wondering. Also, it's definitely still summer. I'm not over summer yet even as I sit here with a pumpkin spice flavored tea.
Untitled-1 DSC_1189 DSC_1111 Also, this is Danielle. Who I managed to steal from our old stomping grounds in the Palouse to go to school in Montana. She makes me laugh like no other and is prettier than the sea and you'll probably see her a lot for the next two years.

Thursday, September 5

The night I was a dead hipster

Last week, on a THURSDAY nonetheless, my friends and I went out on the town. Mark going out on a school night as things I swing as an English major that I could never do while being pre-med. I swear, it's a whole different life- and by that I mean, there is a life to be had apart from the papers due every two weeks! In Missoula there is this well known thing known as the "Dead Hipster" party at a club downtown which I suppose does attract the occasional hipster and to my dismay, I discovered that in fact a hipster is not sacrificed to the Gods nor is there a dead hipster at the center of the dance floor. So. Whatever. It was actually quite the evening and a fair introduction to the 21 life in Missoula. Boys shorter than you asking to go to the bathroom WITH you when you try to get away from them, shots expelled from the stage straight out of the bottle, a dance-off with your very homosexual friend witha boyfriend that created a circle of people around you chanting- exactly the kind of scene you'd expect me to be at, I'm sure. Maggie!? At a club?

Here's the thing: I'm somewhat confused by the fact that it seems like most bloggers can't mention the words "alcohol" or "drunk" on their blogs (unless it's a fancy twee drink or something). Am I any less of a blogger and/or person because oh em gee, I may have drunk before and I go out semi-frequently? Why is this such a taboo topic? It doesn't mean it's a main source of blog content that I should talk about weekly because it's obviously not something I do frequently enough to make up a big part of my life but even so, I would hope even that choice could be something a blogger could be respected for if it was less of a hush hush topic. Not that I want to read about it constantly, either, but there are exhausted topics I get sick of and sometimes I wonder what these bloggers do on Friday and Saturday nights. For what it's worth, I respect everyone equally no matter how they decide to spend their weekends. 

So, yeah. I'm very intrigued about this general topic in the blogging world. And since this is a blog about my life, I should think that one post representing the occasional night I go out won't kill anyone.

Anyways, I had a blast with five of my favorite people in Missoula that I met through my Intramural soccer team as freshmen/sophomores. These are people I've been friends with for almost three years now and played casual soccer with for that long, too. One of the things I'm so glad that I did as an underclassmen was get involved in the Intramural program on campus because I never would have met these people that were outside my major otherwise. 

I can't believe it's senior year. College flies. One second you're a senior in high school and then you're 21 and blogging about drinking. Oy vey!
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Wednesday, September 4

It just felt like a Wednesday today

I don't care that this dress might make me look shapeless. I don't care that I spent my day off job searching indoors. I don't care that after running up a mountain I hung out in my sports bra in the living room with the blinds accidentally open. I don't care that I was too lazy to wash my pan so I asked my friend if she wanted to have dinner with me/let me use her pan to make a grilled cheese. I don't care that my life has revolved around Orange is the New Black for a week. I don't care that the only thing I seem to read right now is James Patterson and the Women's Murder Club. I don't care that I like mugs more than cups so I only buy mugs and drink my apple juice from them. I don't care that my coffee maker will be brought to me in three weekends- I want a Keirug now! I don't care that in these pictures I've forgotten all personal style documenting etiquette completely.

I DO care about the state of my bedroom and to my absolute pleasure, guess who took the Target plunge? I gave in, I just gave in. And I won't feel any shame because I emailed a solid dozen people about dressers that were only okay and too much money. I mean, the dresser I purchased with a 30% off coupon on top of the 20% off home sale makes me feel no shame at all. I just couldn't live off my floor anymore. And I care about the fact that if I don't stop procrastinating on my literature reading this second, I will do poorly (again) on my four problem quiz tomorrow. Which doesn't sound hard but let me tell YOU, four specific multiple choice questions from fifty pages of reading requires some in depth reading to do well. Also, I do kind of care about the fact that I ran up a mountain and it about killed me. I'm serious. A deer watched me keel over in the grass afterwards. I probably need to get in better shape and run mountains more. Hear that, mom?

Also- I was serious about this return to blogging. I'm back! And, uh, hopefully I come around again and quit making faces like these. 
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Tuesday, September 3

cat sweaters and english professors and banana costumes

If ever there was a picture to describe me at the ripe blossomed age of 21, this would be it. photo (1)
My life is kind of coming together in a more organized fashion. I need a new dresser and I'm trying so hard not to go the Target route because I know something WILL pop up on Craigslist and I just need to wait it out. In the meantime, all my clothes are on the ground. Finally, Target restocked their planners so now I can write tidy to do lists of my homework by day so I actually feel at rest with my daily agenda.

Alas, this is the first semester I am 100% English Major. I am in three literature classes so that I can knock out all the pre reqs in one semester so that I can graduate in five years and not a day more. Nothing like some immersion into the English world like being thrown into fifty pages of assigned reading PER class PER night, I guess. I'm getting through it. It's still better than organic chemistry and physics so all is well that means well. And, by freaking golly, English Majors like me! They might choose questionable recreational drugs to use in their spare time and they might think that they are writing the next great American novel but they seem to like my not-so-ironic love for cats and tea when they ask what I like to do. They also don't know that I prefer Taylor Swift's lyrical poetry (not ironically) to Walt Whitman yet, so that's the only explanation that I can think of. (Just kidding, I'm warming up to dear old Walt). And, I even love my professors! On the first day of class, my American Lit teacher said that we were to have NO friends outside his class and spend NO time on the internet or "that Tumblr thing- which I've been on and is pretty fucking awesome, but you will not use it". I felt like I was in my niche.

Otherwise, my body still aches from dressing in a banana costume and dancing harder than I dance alone in my bedroom on Tuesday nights (Taylor is on the brain, ya'll) but no surprise, my concert weekend was the best weekend possibly ever. There's a reason I will never be ashamed of loving pop music and pop concerts and it's because of how unapologetic a pop music fan can be at a concert. Squealing, screaming, screeching- it all goes. And in my case, wild thrashing. Amen.
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