Monday, January 21, 2013

On sowing what you reap.

There was recently a discussion on the radio about the effects of paying for your child's college education vs making them be responsible for it themselves. The argument was that students tend to work harder in their studies when they have to pay for it themselves. My initial thought was "whatever, I WISH I wasn't a zillion dollars in debt. I would've still worked my butt off because I wanted to get into med school." 

However, it got me thinking. I can't say that would be true because I was raised with the sort of work ethic that you get things by earning them. (Disclaimer: yeah, I am an only child, and I am not denying that I was spoiled as such, but the overall emphasis was that if you want something you have to work for it.) When it came time to get a car, I used my own money, and I think in doing so the car meant more to me. It was my investment on the line so I took care of it, and I was proud of it. That was the argument that the DJs were setting forth.

I went further to reflect on the other side. I recently met a fellow medical student whose father is a psychiatrist. He paid for all of her schooling, and bought her a Lexus. She will finish school debt-free! Let me tell you, I couldn't have been more jealous. It would be amazing to not be buried in debt - to not have to worry about spending the rest of my life paying off student loans. Here's the thing though... as the clerkship went on I quickly saw what kind of work ethic she possessed. From what I heard she would arrive late for nearly every shift, sometimes as much as an hour and a half later than the time she was supposed to arrive, and she seemed to think nothing of it. I could never fathom being that irresponsible. 

In all fairness, I can't necessarily say that A caused B in this situation. Maybe she would still be a poor student even if she hadn't received such incredible handouts. There's no way to know. She is who she is just as I am who I am. However, that does seem to be the general pattern: if you get something for nothing you take it for granted, whereas when you are invested you appreciate the things more and put more effort in to maintain your investment. 


Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Christmas Craft

A little something lovely for the holiday season. I don't remember when it was but a while back I stumbled upon this page in People magazine showing some clever and crafty wreaths. (Note: this was published in the December 2009 edition)
 Cute, right? I actually wanted to make all of the wreaths they showed, but I thought the Christmas card one was the most useful. Great way to show off the cards people send you, right? I was sadly dismayed by the lack of instruction. "Glue wooden clothespins to a 10-inch wooden embroidery hoop" is terribly nonspecific. So I played around with it, and this is what I came up with:
I shopped at Mary Maxim and ended up buying a 14-inch embroidery hoop instead of the 10 they suggested. Using a hot glue gun I secured the clothespins in the alternating pattern shown above (I don't know how they positioned the clothespins for the magazine one so I played around with the clothespins before settling on this), and I think it turned out beautifully. Here's the finished product:

Notably, that is last year's model as it's early in the season & most people haven't sent cards out this year. But cute, right?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tell Me About Yourself

With interview season underway, I am forced into a state of self-reflection. It's easy to go on living your life without giving much thought to who you are or why you're doing what you're doing. I've been in that mode of doing what I've got to do for a while now. But alas, those pesky questions are about to be brought up again. So as a helpful exercise I figured I should start thinking about what things I'm going to want to say when the interviews start next month. As a disclaimer, I surely will not be saying everything that I type here, but I'm taking this as a chance to brainstorm. Let's try to remember who I am...

I'm from Michigan. I'm an only child and quite close to my family. I was raised by two full-time factory worker parents who taught me the importance of working hard and the value of an education. They taught me the classics of right and wrong and instilled in me a sense of integrity that seems to be increasingly rare in today's society. 

I believe that my strongest assets are my dedication and determination. Those who know me know that I don't back down from a challenge, and if I set my sights on a goal I throw myself wholly into the mission of accomplishing it. 

My biggest weakness is that I tend to take things too personally sometimes. I have this part of me that cares too much about what other people think, and I have very high expectations of myself. I have to remind myself when receiving constructive criticism that hearing such comments will enable me to better myself & grow because everybody has room to grow. 

In my free time, my favorite hobby is music. I love concerts. I also have a great appreciation for nature and enjoy walking and rollerblading along nature trails and finding beauty to photograph. I enjoy reading and movies, and I'm always looking for a new adventure to try.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Life's Soundtrack

Facebook recently forced me into the new timeline template, and I found this silly little game from 2006 & thought I'd do it again.

So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie

Opening Credits: "Devil Went Down to Georgia" -Charlie Daniels

Waking Up: "Little Goodbyes" -SheDaisy

First Day At School: "Could Have Fooled Me" -Adam Gregory

Falling In Love: "The Space in Between Us" -Building 429

Fight Song: "Nothin' But Cowboy Boots" -Blue County

Breaking Up: "Dancing in Circles" -Love & Theft

Prom: "I'm Done" -JoDee Messina (omg, this should've come one song sooner! haha)

Life's Okay: "These Are the Good Ole Days" -James Otto

Mental Breakdown: "Memphis" -David Nail

Driving: "What Kinda Gone" -Chris Cagle

Flashback: "Isn't That Everything" -Danielle Peck

Getting Back Together: "Numbers" -Jason Michael Carroll

Wedding: "Mala Gente" -Juanes (LMBO ROFL!! Dear God, I hope this doesn't represent my future wedding!!)

Birth of a Child: "I'd Love to be Your Last" -Clay Walker (this is so inappropriate)

Final Battle: "Love You" -Jack Ingram (if you haven't heard this song before, replace "love" in the title with an obscenity)

Death Scene: "Livin' in Paradise" -Jonathan Singleton & the Grove

Funeral Song: "Forces of Nature" -Backstreet Boys

End Credits:"Dirty Girl" -Terri Clark

eh, coulda turned out better, but some of them are amusing.

Friday, June 15, 2012

10 tips for the novice Cedar Point traveler

For those who know me you probably know that I missed my annual trip to Cedar Point the last 2 years and have been none too pleased about this. Well this year after begging & pleading for someone to go with me my aunt finally volunteered, and we hit the coasters on June 2. I figured with my surgery rotation (aka Hell) coming up I should probably take the only guaranteed time off that I had. And now I no longer get saddened by the amusing commercials (though unfortunately I did not learn Chinese or Japanese or any other language on any of the rides. False advertising).

Anyway, I thought I'd use this chance to put together some tips for making a trip to Cedar Point a success in addition to highlighting my favorites about the best amusement park in the Midwest.

  1. Buy your tickets at Meijer if you have the option. You can save about $10 from the price at the gates ($42 vs $52). Sometimes they have deals available online so you may want to check out their website as well. Discounts are also available if you're a member of AAA & buy tickets there.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes. It's a big park that involved a LOT of walking. I prefer flip flops, but those don't offer an abundance of support, and for many rides you have to remove those because they could fly off. So if the idea of walking barefoot on & off of rides grosses you out you should stick with shoes that secure to your feet.
  3. Summers around these parts can get hot, and the days are even hotter when you're walking around the concrete all day. Always always bring & wear sunscreen. Unless you dig the lobster look that is.
  4. Also, drink plenty of water. Heat stroke is not cool. Beverages inside the park are expensive, but if you have a way to carry something with you you are allowed to bring drinks & snacks inside (just no coolers).
  5. Along the same idea: bring a change of clothes or a bathing suit because walking around wet does not feel great. There is a water park next door if you feel so inclined (but be warned that admission is crazy expensive, and I wasn't super impressed the one day I went like 10 years ago), but there are also 3 water rides available in the park itself. Snake River Falls is akin to Splash Mountain if you've been to Disney World, but then there's also Thunder Canyon which is friendlier to a wider age range. That one is like a large inner tube with about 8 seats that rides through some "rapids". You may not get wet on Thunder Canyon, but you may get soaked, it all depends on which way you turn through the water falls. They recently brought back an older ride called Shoot the Rapids, but unfortunately it was closed (& too cold on the day we went this year). Extra clothes are also a good idea in case it rains (Heaven forbid).
  6. If everyone in your party will be riding I've found that the most convenient option for carrying belongings is to wear a fanny pack. Yes, you may look kinda dorky, but seriously, if it's not attached to your person you may not be able to bring it on the rides. Most rides have bins for storing loose items while you ride, but do you really trust the integrity of strangers enough to leave your wallet in a place where people are rapidly grabbing things anyway? There are also some rides (ie Millenium Force) that do not offer a place to leave things so if you have a bag you have to either get a locker or you can't ride. Millennium Force is a blast btw. 
  7. Brand new this year the park now offers the option to buy a pass to the "Fast Lane". You purchase a wristband (in addition to your admission ticket) that will allow you to skip through most of the line for like 20 different rides (I didn't count, but that's what they advertise). I was a little leery at first thinking 'now how fast is it really if everybody buys these passes?' BUT we bought them, and I have to say it's amazing how many rides you can actually ride when you wait 10-20 minutes for everything instead of 1-2.5 HOURS. The only downside to this that I discovered is that all that wait time in line gave my stomach the opportunity to rest between rides before. Now I had to self impose a few breaks. Horrible, right? haha Be mindful that the pass doesn't work for everything however. Here is the official list of the rides that currently have fast lanes: For possibly the first time ever, I went on the bumper cars there. We used to always be in a huge rush to get on our top choices of big, popular coaster instead that some fun stuff had to be sacrificed. The Fast Lane pass also brings the caveat of the price. It varies by day and by how many people are buying in one group, but if you go on a Saturday with only 1 other person you have to shell out a whopping $55 (note that this is more than the daily ticket price).
  8. Bring Tylenol or Advil. Some of the older rides are rough & prone to give you a headache. Of note: the Mean Streak is truly mean. I coulda swore my brain was trying to bust through my skull as we bounced along. Other rough rides include the Cedar Creek Mine (or something to that effect), the Blue Streak, the Magnum, and the Gemini. 
  9. If you decide to bring small children but you still want to be able to go on some of the big crazy rides, make sure you inquire about the parent swap option. (Sorry I don't recall the official name) If you get a pass you can have part of your party wait in the line & ride while someone stays aside with the kid/s, and then when the first riders get off, the parent that has been waiting can get right on without waiting in the line again (and they can bring 1 person with them so they don't have to ride alone). 
  10. And finally: soak it all in. Arrive early, stay late, and just be grateful to have the opportunity to be carefree for the day (or 2). :D

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The concert list

As a follow-up to the last post, here is my complete concert list, divided into 2 sections. The first includes anyone who I’ve seen perform as the main attraction (however the numbers may include festival performances and openers). The next section is mostly made up of artists I've only seen as part of a festival (CMA fest) or as an opening act.

  • 1. Clay Walker (14)
  • 2. Chuck Wicks (11)
  • 3. Luke Bryan (10)
  • 4. Love & Theft (8)
  • 5. Backstreet Boys (7)
  • 6. Keith Urban (5)
  • 7. Craig Campbell (4)
  • 8. David Nail (4)
  • 9. Adam Gregory (3)
  • 10. Josh Gracin (3)
  • 11. Lee Brice (3)
  • 12. Rodney Atkins (3)
  • 13. Terri Clark (3)
  • 14. Tim McGraw (3)
  • 15. Alan Jackson (2)
  • 16. Blake Shelton (2)
  • 17. Heidi Newfield (2)
  • 18. John Michael Montgomery (2)
  • 19. Kenny Chesney (2)
  • 20. LeAnn Rimes (2)
  • 21. NKOTB (2)
  • 22. Rascal Flatts (2)
  • 23. Trent Tomlinson (2)
  • 24. Beach Boys (1)
  • 25. Little Texas (1)
  • 26. Lorrie Morgan (1)
  • 27. Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels (1)
  • 28. Rod Stewart (1)
  • 29. Shania Twain (1)

Only seen as opening act or at a festival:

  • 1. Sara Evans (4)
  • 2. Due West (3)
  • 3. Jake Owen (3)
  • 4. Jason Michael Carroll (3)
  • 5. Miranda Lambert (3)
  • 6. Sugarland (3)
  • 7. Zac Brown Band (3)
  • 8. Bomshel (2)
  • 9. Brad Paisley (2)
  • 10. Darius Rucker (2)
  • 11. Jack Ingram (2)
  • 12. Josh Turner (2)
  • 13. Lady Antebellum (2)
  • 14. Little Big Town (2)
  • 15. Montgomery Gentry (2)
  • 16. Phil Vassar (2)
  • 17. Reba (2)
  • 18. Taylor Swift (2)
  • 19. Trace Adkins (2)
  • 20. Blackhawk (1)
  • 21. Dixie Chicks (1)
  • 22. Chad Brock (1)
  • 23. Gary Allen (1)
  • 24. Gloriana (1)
  • 25. The Farm (1)
  • 26. Edens Edge (1)
  • 27. Thompson Square (1)
  • 28. Sarah Darling (1)
  • 29. Katie Armiger (1)
  • 30. Ashton Shepherd (1)
  • 31. Sisqo (1)
  • 32. Destiny’s Child (1)
  • 33. Mandy Moore (1)
  • 34. The Click Five (1)
  • 35. Williams Riley Band (1)
  • 36. Caitlin & Will (1)
  • 37. Holly Williams (1)
  • 38. Jessica Harp (1)
  • 39. Whitney Duncan (1)
  • 40. The Trailer Choir (1)
  • 41. Willie Nelson (1)
  • 42. Jessica Andrews (1)
  • 43. Kid Rock (1+)
  • 44. Brooks & Dunn (1)
  • 45. Randy Houser (1)
  • 46. Carrie Underwood (1)
  • 47. Andy Griggs (1)
  • 48. Ty Herndon (1)
  • 49. Brett Kissel (1)
  • 50. DJ Miller (1)
  • 51. Ash Bowers (1)
  • 52. Jason Aldean (1)
  • 53. Justin Moore (1)
  • 54. Easton Corbin (1)
  • 55. Chris Young (1)
  • 56. Alabama (2 songs)
  • 57. Joe Nichols (1)
  • 58. Dierks Bentley (1)
  • 59. Eli Young Band (1)
  • 60. Aaron Lewis (1)
  • 61. Billy Dean (1)
  • 62. Jamey Johnson (1)
  • 63. The Judds (1)
  • 64. John Rich (1)
  • 65. LeeAnn Womack (1)
  • 66. Martina McBride (1)
  • 67. Scotty McCreery (1 song)
  • 68. Troy Olson (1)
  • 69. Josh Kelley (1)
  • 70. The Band Perry (1)
  • 71. The JaneDear Girls (1)
  • 72. Clint Black (1)
  • 73. Kevin Costner & Modern West (1)
  • 74. Josh Thompson (1)
  • 75. Craig Morgan (1 – GOO)
  • 76. Andy Gibson (1)
  • 77. Brent Anderson (1)
  • 78. Frankie Ballard (1)
  • 79. Dustin Lynch (1)
  • 80. Kix Brooks (1)
  • 81. Brett Eldredge (1)
  • 82. Jana Kramer (1)
  • 83. The Lost Trailers (1)

Please note that my memory is imperfect & so the list may not be entirely accurate. I may have left someone out or put a lower number than is correct.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Top 5

A friend asked me a while back to compile a list of the artists/bands I've seen in concert. Rather than just throw a list up here & call it a day I'm gonna start with just the 5 I've seen the most of. Coincidentally I've actually met everyone on this short list. Anyway, here goes:

My #1: Clay Walker at 14 live performances:
I saw him the first time on September 10, 1998 from row K at Pine Knob after begging my mom to get tickets. Earlier that year his "Rumor Has It" album was the first cd I bought with my own money. Fourteen years later I still adore him.

2. Coming in 2nd at 11 performances is Chuck Wicks:
I first saw Chuck in 2008 & was hooked by his smooth voice & goofy personality. Now we're still waiting on album #2 to be released.

3. Coming in at a close 3rd with 10 performances is Luke Bryan:
I discovered his music when I first saw the video for "All My Friends Say" in June 2007. His fun, care-free spirit is contagious and I was craving more from then on.

4. Love & Theft takes 4th with 8 shows (6 when they were a trio & 2 after they became a duo):
I first discovered these boys by accident or fate. I bought tickets to a show of newcomers in Flint with the sole purpose of seeing Adam Gregory. When Adam was dropped I considered trying to get a refund, but I did end up going & found this incredibly talented group of guys.

5. And picking up the #5 spot is the Backstreet Boys with 7 performances (2 with NKOTB last summer):
The first came in 1999. My friend Edi introduced me to this group in '98, and when tickets went on sale for this show we were in line outside the Harmony House for hours to get tickets. They moved the line around the building & did some stupid lottery thing where they broke up the line again (trying to make things more random to dissuade people from camping out all night). The show sold out within minutes. Then another show was added, but that one sold out too. Then when we were 3rd in line the 3rd & final show sold out. BUT on the day of one of the concerts my mom & I went to Ticketmaster in the mall & BAM, new tickets had been released & we got 10 rows from the stage in the round.

Maybe tomorrow I'll post the whole list separately just for Kim. Until then, enjoy. ;)