An Ode to Mornings

Now, I am one of those rare breeds who, get this, actually enjoys the mornings.  I’m not the type of person who dreads the sound of an alarm at 7 AM and subsequently drags herself out of bed, rushes out the door, and unwittingly starts the day.  I am, on the other hand, enamored with the daybreak; smitten with the sunrise; captivated by the break of dawn.

Trying to explain the magic of the morning to a non-morning person can be nearly impossible.  It simply does not make sense to them why anyone would want to wake up before 11 on a weekend.  These are the people for which the 11 AM college brunches were made; the same brunch times that drove me crazy freshman year.  Here I was, 7 or 8 AM on a Sunday, ready to get my day going, and the dining hall is not open for hours.  Why would people want to start their days at 11 AM?  Half the day is already gone!  Or should I say, the best part of the day is already gone.

Here’s my theory about morning people: we like the feeling of opportunity; that the day is not yet started and the best is yet to come.  The world is sleepy, allowing time to wake up slowly and thoughtfully meditate on breakfast before entering the busy world.  Waking up and running in the morning has a calming, almost spiritual feel to it, the bustling world transforming into a peaceful escape for a few hours.  There’s nothing better than waking up, clearing my head with a nice long run on the quiet trails, kept company by the occasional deer here or there, and coming back to my whole day ahead of me.  Or better yet, going out for a pre-dawn jaunt, catching the sunrise while doing a couple laps on the track.  The best part about running in the morning?  If it’s my only run of the day: wearing real clothes.

Arguably the best part of the morning, in my opinion, is the food.  Now this may be because breakfast is the one meal I can say, with confidence, that I have mastered, but waking up to cook breakfast is as good a reason as any to get my butt out of bed.  Anyone that knows me knows about my religious oatmeal habit obsession.  Flexing my creative muscles each day to make a new oatmeal creation gets my brain going, and makes my breakfasts normally delicious (with a few exceptions- coffee oatmeal, not my greatest idea).  And after my morning coffee, I’m pretty sure my productivity hits its high point for the day.

Now that I have started semi-training for cross country, my normally slow-paced, relaxing mornings will be little by little transformed into productive pieces of my day, with a lot to get in before I work at 11, but for now, I am relishing my time to think, eat, and drink coffee in the sunny window in the kitchen.

Peace, love, and oatmeal.

Top 10 Reasons Not to Have a Car in Oxford

Well, as many of you might know, I do not currently have a car at my disposal in Oxford.  So thus far, here are the top 10 reasons not to have a car in Oxford (in no particular order)

  1. Every day is “Bike to Work Day”!
  2. Because everyone should experience grocery shopping on foot at least once.  Walking over a mile to Kroger, buying only what can fit in a backpack, and then walking back is so much fun!  And no, this backpack is not to steal things/hide illicit items; I’m totally just going to class…at 7 PM.
  3. More time to think about nothing in particular- the best routes to take to class, admiring the Miami scenery, trying to avoid the day drinkers drunkenly hitting footballs at you with golf clubs…
  4. I can more fully appreciate everything within walking distance of campus- it’s not like I would want to go anywhere besides Oxford!
  5. Additional exercise- this one is actually serious, since my physical activity level is slim to none at this point.  If I had a pedometer though (what is the point of those things anyway?) it would be blowin’ up all day err day.
  6. Not having to pay for gas.  Screw $3.79 per gallon; I’m fueled by ATP!
  7. Not getting stuck in traffic.  I’m trying to imagine “traffic updates” for the city of Oxford, like you hear on the radio for major cities.  Kind of drawing a blank.  “There’s a horde of drunken sorority girls blocking traffic on High Street”?  “Use caution when approaching major roads out of Oxford: everyone is leaving”?  Or the classic, “Slow-moving tractors blocking a major roadway; expect delays”
  8. Planning ahead every time I leave the house- because everyone loves leaving for work 30 minutes early.
  9. Becoming very familiar with the Google Maps walking directions tool.
  10. No parking tickets.  And after just yesterday seeing a cop writing a ticket on Tallawanda and then a booted car next to King Library, I am kind of glad for that!

Originally, that was supposed to be persuasive/sarcastic so that I could guilt trip my way into getting a car here somehow, but I feel like it actually ended up positive (?).  Maybe being a perpetual pedestrian/cyclist/runner is not so bad for now.  Hey, if anything, I am experiencing the small town life to its fullest.  Living like people used to live, before the age of everyone owning a car and Miami ticketing everything that moves.

Maybe I should look into some car alternatives:

Because I have some sense of self-respect. If It’s good enough for the OPD, it’s good enough for me.

Because it is Oxford, after all.

It’s faster than my bike? See, even this dog is living “Life in the Fast Lane”

Or I could just multi-task and try running everywhere.  If it worked for the Kenyans, it could work for me?

Recap of the first 2 weeks: What I’ve learned

So before I say anything else, the title of this post is courtesy of the one and only Mattie.  If your blog happens, sorry I stole the title for this post 😉

Anyway, in my first 2 weeks of living in a house, on my own, with this thing called “personal responsibility,” here’s what I have learned:

  • My housemates are pretty great.
  • Working is tiring (especially with mono, but don’t you thing that anyone would be tired after having to lift heavy items and set tables for hours?)
  • Meat is expensive…should I consider becoming a vegetarian for the sole reason of saving money??
  • Sunscreen is also expensive– who would have thought it would be almost $10 per bottle??
  • One more- when did coffee get so expensive?  …This could be a problem.
  • You kind of have to buy food every week to avoid eating cereal for dinner on a daily basis.
  • Peanut butter = survival
  • Parties are messy .
  • If there is something sticky on the kitchen floor, don’t ask questions.
  • The water in Oxford makes clean dishes look disgusting (and mandates polishing every piece of silverware used at the Shriver center)
  • How to turn on the AC in the house.
  • How to clean a bathroom.
  • How to cook chicken.

Slowly but surely getting the hang of this whole deal.  And Mattie, I hope you are learning lots (just like we are).

Breakfast and Quotes

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Gettin’ fancy for breakfast!

It feels so nice to finally have our house in some sort of working order.  I guess I have done the moving thing several times, but I never really appreciated how much work it took to get a house organized and put together!  This morning we had a real sit-down breakfast with all three of us housemates, and we kind of went all-out.  Melissa tried her hand at making an omelet, which she had never done before– she cracked the eggs into the pan and goes “Oh, whoops, how do I make an omelet?”  The “undomestic goddess” figured it out, though.  Only she would find a way to have veggies at breakfast.

I erred more on the side of fruity, and went for the French toast.  I used whole-wheat bread, dipped in an egg, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and then grilled it in a skillet.  I topped it with a Greek yogurt, honey, and cinnamon mixture and finished it off with sliced strawberries and sliced bananas.  And of course served with lots of coffee.  I have seriously been loving using the kitchen, and have been deemed the “domestic” one of the group.  Even Melissa commented about what a good wife I would make (for a feminist).  Pish posh, I’d say I just like to think of myself as independent.

It feels like I have so many stories to tell about our life in Oxford, and I have nowhere to start, so I’ll just throw down some quotes:

“Uhhh…Melissa, that’s a red light”

Me to Melissa on our way to WalMart for one of our many trips there.  We are just about to roll through a red light at a major intersection before I caught it, and the always-prudent driver just goes, “Oh, I thought it was a stop sign!”  So basically we almost died (not really, it’s Oxford in the summer).

“I’m soooo hungry- let me see if I can catch some feta cheese in my mouth”

Melissa in cooking lab.  This class is three hours long, and it’s dinnertime (5 PM dinners at Martin are no more).  Lucky girls that we are, we got to cook pizza on whole grain crust in class, and decided to do a supremo pizza, with turkey pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, olives, mozzarella, parmesan, and feta.  As we are attempting to prepare the toppings, Melissa says this to me, and I go for it, and she makes a spectacular catch, followed by a celebratory cheer, looked upon questionably by our professor.  We attempt to explain ourselves by using the “we are starving college students who haven’t gone grocery shopping yet and thus we’re really hungry” excuse.  Don’t quite know how that was received.

“I don’t think the washer works.  Or the dryer.”

Oh so many Melissa quotes.  She had never really used the type of washer that we have in the house, so the first time she tried to do laundry it was kind of a disaster.  Long story short, she ended up with clothes that weren’t completely washed (detergent does not go in the bleach dispenser), clothes that weren’t dry, and a bra that completely broke in half.  Like it was two pieces.  Not completely effective any more.

“I just thought it was funny that you put a rack on her rack”

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#socollege

Day 1 #realworldproblems

Waking up on the first day of our lives as real adults, we were off to a rough start.  Okay, rough is subjective.  Let’s recap.

I get back to the dorms, and Melissa starts ranting about how dehydrated she is.  She showed me this disgusting Martin coffee cup full of water next to her bed and just goes “I was going to drink out of that.  That’s how dehydrated I am right now.”  So after we had showered and become closer to looking like human beings, we get the bright idea to walk to breakfast.  Now, a little background, we had to be out of our dorms by noon.  Time check: 11:00.  By the time we walk to Morning Sun Café, this delightful little place about a mile away from the dorm, it’s around 11:20.  We order our food, down some water, down some coffee (around 3 cups each, nbd, we don’t have a problem or anything).  It’s 11:30.  We still don’t have our food.  Yikes.  We finally get our food, scarf it down (a literal feat for Melissa), and it’s almost 11:45.  Being that we were in a tired, confused state still (“Doesn’t my nail polish look like Ohio?” “No, it’s more like Wisconsin”), we have another bright idea to use our running skills to run back to the dorms.  It’s raining.  We’re also wearing flip flops.

So picture this: two girls, running down High Street, barefoot, flip flops in hand, in the rain, continuously blurting out things along the lines of “What are we doing?   We are idiots!”  As the Bell Tower chimes, Melissa spits out a gem. “I feel like Cinderella trying to get back before 12!”  Theme of the day.

We did finally make it back to good old Symmes Hall before the noon deadline, just in time to open our door before our keys stopped working.  At this point, alarms are going off all over the place, people are running around, our stuff is still not packed, and we just start throwing stuff in boxes.  Long story short, we are not out of our dorm until 1 PM.  So much for that deadline.

Now the rest of the day is spent attempting to unpack and make some sense out of our house.  After moving stuff in all day, I am exhausted.  At one point, I literally just laid on whatever I could find and just flopped down, exhausted.  All day I was just like “Why am I so tired?” and Melissa had to keep reminding me “It’s probably because you have mono…”  Whoops.  #monoproblems

On this first day, I also discovered Melissa’s impeccable sense of direction.  As we are leaving to get random stuff at WalMart (the first trip of many), she turns down Bonham road “This goes to WalMart, right?  I want to take some sweet country roads!”  I tried to tell her that it actually was the opposite direction of the way we wanted to go, but I just went with it, trusting she kind of knew what she was doing.  We ended up taking a 7 mile detour on Death Loop (a running loop  that tends to be pretty hilly) and trying to cut through some neighborhoods, running a stop sign on the way (“Townies are gonna hate me.”)  Eventually, we got to WalMart, but by then, I knew that if she turned the wrong way, it wasn’t because she knew a nifty little shortcut I wasn’t aware of, but it was because she literally didn’t know where she was going.  “Never….Eat….Soggy…Waffles…we’re going the right way!”  “…No Melissa, that’s actually West.”  And picture all of this with John Mayer playing in the background.  Yup, story of the day.

By the time we get back from WalMart, we are hungry, tired, and ready for bed (maybe that was just me).  So we hit up Fiesta Charra, usually a hoppin’ place in Oxford….at 4:30.  We are literally the only ones in the restaurant.  At least we got our food in like 10 minutes!  So over the course of the day, all we really ate was breakfast and dinner- both feasts.  Taking this rest week seriously.

We head back to our house, which still doesn’t have power (minor detail), flop down on the couches, and crack open some drinks we stole from the house next door.  Being as tired as we were, we turned in around 10:30.  But really, after about 3 hours of sleep the night before, we needed it.

That’s all for now…I’m sure we’ll eventually get the hang of this whole responsible adult thing.