2015 Goals & Dreams



Can it be almost 2015, so soon?  It feels like 2005 was only a few years ago...

Once again, it's time for my list of yearly "goals and dreams."  I have decided to start early this year, instead of December 31.  This is for two reasons:
  1. "early" coincides with Advent, which seems appropriate
  2. the holidays are a tough time to be self-disciplined, and I need the challenge now
This past year was - in a word - eventful.  As it turned out, of all my 2014 goals and dreams, the only one that substantively came true was #4, which turned out better than I could have imagined.  I can't take full credit for it; none of it could have happened without Him.

There was more than could be seen at face value.  That is, there were so many other things, seemingly little things, that happened this year, which are miracles I'll remember ever after.  (And all this, despite my own pathetic failings.)

In terms of plans and expectations, I'm taking 2015 as a "gap year" of sorts.  My goals and dreams are pretty simple:

1)  Become more familiar with the Bible

The past few years brought me a lot of spiritual growth, which in turn has provoked me to reevaluate my general mentality.  I'm finding I really want to study the Bible again, and to be truthful, I have never wanted to read it so much as now.  In some ways, it feels new again, though I've read and studied it since childhood.  It still takes effort, but it's a comforting commitment.

2)  Quit Tumblr (not literally)

I have not quit Tumblr, and I have decided not to.  The meaning behind this goal - actually a decision - is quitting my suboptimal habit, which includes but is not limited to Tumblr, and this habit basically consists of killing time, out of laziness/gloom masquerading as fatigue.

Gradually, I'm getting organized and focused again.  Using a nifty program called RSSOwl, I'm able to just quickly check up on the blogs/media I really care about, all in one interface.  (Any RSS reader would accomplish the same, but this one is extra good for several reasons, including the fact it's a desktop program, visually offline.) This system definitely helps me live more intentionally, something Joel wrote about which really hit home.  More than a consumer, I want to be a contributor, like I used to be, and happily it's not too late to change!

3)  Study American history

History - how to revisit it?!  I had to narrow it down somehow.  This is like #1 - returning to something I already know pretty well, but not inside-out, by any means.

4)  Save money

For the rainiest of days...

5)  Contribute to open-source projects

Not sure when/how/if I will have much time for programming at home, but I hope to work on at least one project next year.

6)  Finish The Infinite Now

I'm bringing this dream back, because it was my Nanowrimo book, and I reinvented it in a significantly better rendition of the original plot/characters.  This time, I'm not setting a real deadline...I just want to dedicate time to it on a regular basis and finish it when it comes to a natural conclusion.

That about sums it up. 

2015 is going to be an interesting year for sure.  Hopefully quiet and full of bookish things.  :)

Origami T-Rex - finished!


Remember this post from, oh, nearly a year ago?

I actually finished folding the T-Rex in May.  For months afterwards, it was nothing but a pile of paper bones in a shoebox, since I was too busy (and equally lazy) to go about assembling it.  Finally, on the perpetual quest to get things done, today I found the motivation to give it a try.  With the big help of my dad and brother, I was able to replicate the display configuration the book suggests, and the creature now fills an empty shelf pretty nicely.


This T-Rex was designed by Issei Yoshino, and it's modular, using 21 pieces of paper (approximately 6" squares).  It's not altogether anatomically accurate, but for origami it's pretty good!  I started this project last winter quarter, as way to relax and de-stress while studying and doing homework.  (It worked wonders helping me stay calm - I wish I had started the habit as a freshman.)  It was also very fun and highly educational.  I felt it took my origami abilities to a new level, because the sequences of folds are so ingenious and unusual.  At the same time, it's not so "impossibly" hard as some other intricate models out there.


Definitely worth a try if you're looking for a larger project.  It's one of those rare ones where you are sorry to come to the end.  As an aside, I can also recommend using old notebook paper, if you have any lying around.  It was the right thickness and very forgiving, plus it gives the skeleton a slightly antique look.  ;)

Going OYO

Just a single gal, not a cat lady (yet ;))
I am a single person (surprise! not).

What may or may not be as self-evident is that I'm single by choice.  I have forgone opportunities to become "unsingle-ized" for several reasons which shall (for the time) remain unmentioned.  I'm happily single, as much as a person could be happily unsingle - that is, having more ups than downs overall.

Being a Christian single by choice is not a topic that gets much coverage on the Internet.  I thought I would try a series of posts about it, with the idea of increasing awareness and opening up conversation.

This first one dives into the ever-popular question: can/should you go places on your own?  The problem here is not safety (assume a relatively safe environment).  The question is, are "date" activities still fun as a singleton?  Here I rate three personal experiences, but of course, there are many more - share your own thoughts in the comments!


Bookstore or Library

With friends, fam, or date:  5 / 5
OYO:  4 / 5

Though I have not gone on a bookstore date, the Internet tells me such things exist (dear sirs: well done!).  My favorite way to visit a bookstore is with my sister, so I rate it a bit higher than going by myself.  If you enjoy babbling on about books, it feels more justifiable if you are talking with someone else.  I also feel that conversations about books, online or in person, are more edifying than just thinking about them.  That said, a bookstore or library is a place you can be single and nobody stares at you for it.  (Let's just say that bookish places are awesome all-round.)


Shopping

With friends, fam, or date:  2 / 5
OYO:  3 / 5

I admit I have a peculiar shopping style.  I approach shopping like a mission, rather than a leisure activity.  OYO gets the edge here, since you can set the pace and take the time when you need it where you need it, without any real or imagined feelings of peer pressure.  On the flip side, nobody else shares any blame responsibility for your purchase decisions.  ;)



Restaurant, Coffee Shop

With friends, fam, or date:  5 / 5 and 4 / 5
OYO: 2 / 5 either way

I spent two years going to Starbucks alone, where I read books, wrote poetry, and surfed the internet.  It was very Romantic...though better than sitting at campus, it was also incredibly boring.  Overall I've found that eating by yourself is best done at home.  As for the date vs. friends/fam aspect, I think a meal is a better icebreaker (and date "format") than coffee, while a chat over coffee is better with family or people you have known a long time.



Movie Theater

With friends, fam, or date:  3 / 5
OYO:  5 / 5

This is perhaps every single person's biggest dilemma.  From much personal experience, I honestly think going to theaters can be better OYO.  There is no chance to talk in a movie, and if there were, the theater would be too loud and your neighbors too annoyed.  Coming out of a movie, I like to take some time to digest my impressions, so I would not be ready for an illuminating discussion beyond "that was great/amazing/stupid/wow."  I'd go so far to say that movies, even if a good experience, tend to decrease conversation afterwards, rather than provoke it, which defeats the intent of spending quality time with people.  (Besides, if I can go watch operas and sci-fi by myself, you can, too.)


So there you have it - a limited selection, but some of the highlights.  If your experiences coincide or contradict mine, do leave a comment!  What are some cool things to do, or places to go, on your own?

A morning person


—if it means staying up until 2 am, and then feeling sleepy, but not quite tired.

In the morning I make sure my new orchid gets enough light.  I keep debating whether it needs watering, but they say you should not over-water it.  Once every 1.5 weeks is probably a good balance for our climate, and this orchid.

This week is forecasted to be much cooler.  I miss you, rain.

I miss my summer reading, too.  Yesterday I did read The Old Man and the Sea, which was short and sweet.  No time for chunksters this summer!  But that was the choice I made, consciously and deliberately.

I spend that time on the workshop I tutor, whether preparing materials for the next session or spending six hours a week leading it / commuting to and fro.  It's been every bit worth it.  I learn a lot from watching the students solve problems, discuss the course topics with each other, and ask interesting questions.  It's a joy to see people have light bulb moments, and nearly everyone has an great attitude (even though it's an extra two hours spent indoors for them).  It's one of the few reasons I'm sorry not to be continuing on at uni in the fall.

I couldn't stay in academia indefinitely, though.  It feels claustrophobic after even a short time.


I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.  I don't mean quantitatively, since there is less time now to daydream. Constructively, rather.  Thinking new thoughts, instead of only the familiar ones.

There is so much more to learn, always.  The learning process is worthwhile in itself, even if you don't find each and every answer right away, or ever.  I don't want to reach that thought habit where I think I know everything.  I've always been motivated by what the mathematicians call the 'unknown.' Even about the 'unknown,' something is known, and this may just be the certainty that it's worth looking for.  That certainty is more than enough for me.

By definition

The next nine weeks are probably going to be the longest yet, of this longest year of college.  Between fast-paced classes, quasi-teaching, and 'social life' stress, there's plenty to occupy my time, and it saddens me to think that blogging will go by the wayside.  (Hopefully not.)

I just wanted to take a moment to digitally scribble some thoughts down, before all that happens.

Yesterday was the first day of summer.  That means spring is over.  Remember I used to talk about "surrendering spring"?  My seasonal affective disorder.   Well, I got through another year of it, and more than that, I did surrender spring.  All three previous years of college, I cried my eyes out at the end of spring quarter, because of seasonal depression, stress, and circumstances-related factors.  This year, thankfully, I did not have that cry.  I still had the same issues, but it was much easier to deal with.  It will never bother me so much again.

I've been thinking a lot lately about nervousness as fear, and fear as something conquerable.  For example, as a child I learned about God's omniscience and omnipresence, and I accepted that as part of Christian belief.  But just recently I started thinking consciously about what that means.  Do I really believe God is everywhere, and knows every detail about everything in the world, down to the smallest unit of matter?  Do I really believe He is with me every moment of my life? 

I believe this, and at the same time, I do not always live by it.  Just for a minute, I'll try to imagine what omnipresence means, and then I see how, in daily life, I have not thought or acted like a person who believes it.  Fear is natural enough, but so much of it could be eliminated if I took more time to be conscious of what I believe.  This is so seemingly basic, yet it could be a turning-point.

In math, they are always telling you to go back to definitions.  It's a good thing to do when you feel a little lost.

Full circle


Finals week.  Graduation in August.  College - how did that happen?

This summer, in addition to taking two classes, I will be running a full-term workshop which supports one of the computer science classes.  I'm still floored that I got the job.  And very excited, since it is the closest thing to teaching experience I will get.  It will be an interesting challenge.

My internship is drawing to a close.  About a week ago, I gave my summary presentation (required), which turned out to be less petrifying than expected.  In fact, it went really well.  I saw how my public speaking has improved and what can still be improved upon.


So grateful the presentation went well, I followed it up with a bit of (non-) logic: got a budget sandwich and my first/last energy drink.  Starbucks Blueberry Acai Refresher...I don't know what I was thinking.  The flavor was good, but it was like a "heavy" soda pop.  Not my cup of tea, in any sense of the phrase.  ;)

Though there are two months of school left, this week really feels like the end of it.  Everyone is talking about job interviews and commencement.  For many reasons, I decided not to do the ceremony.  Which isn't to say I don't feel celebratory!  It's been a long four years.  I've come a long way, from not knowing my hexadecimal ABCs to learning machine programming and algorithm design.
“I could tell you my adventures—beginning from this morning,” said Alice a little timidly; “but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
I'm excited about moving on, as well as a little reluctant to be leaving places and people behind.  Remembering orientation day at university...that morning, I got up and thought, "I don't want to go there, but I'd better face up and be positive about it."  In fact, that fall quarter was very difficult.  But it got better.  I never thought it could be as good an experience as community college; fortunately I was wrong.  The ups outweighed the downs.  Even the downs were so instructive, it's impossible to feel real regret over them.


Now it is summer, and no matter how busy a summer, there must be time for books and art.  Nothing says it like that quote from Hawthorne's "Foot-prints on the Sea-shore"... In our brief summer I do not think, but only exist in the vague enjoyment of a dream.

Same and different


I surprised myself today.  I was at Starbucks, waiting for the bus; there was nothing to do, so I got out the notebook.  In twenty minutes or so, I had scribbled four poems and finished one started previously.  Typing them up this evening, a few things stood out to me:
  1. I've gone back to rhyme
  2. My endings are improving
  3. My tone has changed
  4. I'm writing poetry again. 
That empty-ish file "Poems3" is getting larger, slowly yet surely.

For me, poetry is more therapy than creativity, so maybe this should not be surprising.  If the first words come into my head, I want to write them down.  Usually, the rest follows.  If it weren't for feeling that need to write it, this would be a utilitarian process.  The truth is, the need propels me more than the wish does, and in that need are my best words.

* * *

In other news, I've been pretty tired lately.  The last couple of weekends I've stayed up on half-nighters finishing an Android app project.  Tomorrow is my recuperation day, just pulling myself together in time for Thursday's midterm.

Overall, it's been a splendid quarter.  Some experiences push you out of your comfort zone in a bad way.  In these three classes, it's been a positive thing.  I feel keenly (oddly) conscious I will look back happily on this quarter, in spite of its challenges.  I'll be glad to remember I programmed my first app, wrote decent C code, and heard some excellent lectures in my operating systems class.  It's good to finish up school on a good note.

Future plans, etudes, and Hornblower

"What are your plans now?"  This is what the miserly Uncle Ebenezer says, quite cunningly, to his nephew Davie Balfour in R. L. Stevenon's Kidnapped (2005, BBC).  Davie has a plan, yet little does he know of all the things that will happen to him before it is accomplished.

Cloudscape (2013)
I have one definite post-graduation plan: take my degree and get a job.  It's time to work and start being responsible for myself.  I also have abstract ideas about the future, from as feasible as pursuing another degree to as crazy as starting a newspaper.  That said, having the fortune of prior experience - as well as reading books like this - I've seen truths that are stranger than fiction.  My plans aren't the be-all and end-all, and who knows what will have happened by the time I reach point B.

Before college, I spent a significant part of my daily life practicing music.  First flute, then violin, and off-and-on through the years, piano.  I had to quit music lessons when I started college, because of the time, money, and fatigue factors.  Imagine drinking coffee every day of your life and then one morning, having to give it up!  I later asked myself, what had been the point of those years of practice?  Why had I given so much to something with no future?

The answer finally came recently, and only in the context of recent events.  Inherently, I had never been talented at music; I just worked hard at it.  But it was this discipline and physical-mental endurance that has carried over to the present time.  Those hideous etudes (at which I was particularly bad) taught me something about persistence and will power that college never could.  When you are sawing away for half an hour at double-stops, you are alone in your room, you are failing in your own eyes, and everyone else has temporarily lost all appreciation of your playing.  But you keep going, you keep going, and that's the point.

Since I'm on the topics of will power and BBC TV fandoms, let me segue to Hornblower.

© BBC
Hornblower is a little-known BBC film series from the late 90s/early 2000s.  It follows the start of the career of Horatio Hornblower, an introspective young man who joins the Royal Navy right before the Napoleonic Wars.  For those who love Age of Sail dramas, it's one of the best out there, in terms of plot, characterization, and even cinematography.

Two themes have stuck with me from this series: duty and conscience.   The father-figure character of Captain Pellew is the embodiment of duty.  Then there is Horatio Hornblower himself, who is frequently tested by his conscience.  Together they illustrate the relation between these two points.  That is, if you have a "prime directive," you can't just go flying off into the blue.  You're duty-bound to uphold the principles you have promised to uphold.  The time it is acceptable to break it is when your conscience - or better yet, some Commandment higher than man-made law - tells you you must take different action in order to do what is right.

© BBC
Hornblower's overarching achievement can be thought of as fulfillment first, success second.  You may do the right thing and bad things may still happen.  You may even meet with failure.  Still, nothing can take fulfillment, or a clear conscience, away from you.  And again, who am I to define futility?  Just as with the etudes, there is a reason, a very good reason that things happen the way they do.

I used to dread thinking about the future, but this year is different.

Good Friday


Fratres - Arvo Pärt

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone:
and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world.

Consider the lilies

...how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.



It has been a momentous week.   If all goes as planned, I am practically guaranteed to graduate by the end of August!  (I'm still trying to take it in.)

Until this week, I had been just three credits short of a summer graduation date.  I had been trying for weeks to meet these credits - literally tried three different ways of contacting a certain professor who could then, possibly, agree to supervise independent research over the summer.  For whatever reason, I never heard back from that professor.

However, just this past week, a second opportunity presented itself.  Another professor suddenly volunteered to supervise independent research for this spring, in a different (but equally interesting) topic.  I spent the past few days emailing various people, to see if I qualified to register, etc.  To cut a long story short, everything - from my just barely eligibility to this research class's schedule - everything has come together and fallen into place like puzzle pieces.  I have got my three credits now.  It was not the solution I anticipated, but it could not be more perfect!

* * *

Another piece of happy news - my school's literary magazine will be publishing one of my poems!  This is a first for me, and I'm pretty excited.  For the sake of anonymity, I won't publish the poem here, but those of you who are interested, let me know and I can email it to you.  :)

* * *

I have been so busy this academic year.  I get plenty of sleep, but apparently I don't sleep well, because throughout the day I feel tired.  I'm sure I have enough time to read and write and whatever else I want to do, but the energy is lacking.

With only two quarters left, I have decided to give schoolwork my all.  My grades weren't what I was hoping for last quarter - mostly due to my laptop issues and transitioning to my part-time job.  But I want to try harder than hard to do better.

* * *

And...I have some nice pictures of a magnolia tree I want to add to this post later.  But this is all for now - just had to write it out in the moment (because writing is still my first love).

Spring break


Last Saturday we were in Seattle, and Dad took us to see the cherry trees at UW.  This was my first time on that campus, and it really is worth seeing if you're there at this time of year!


It is extraordinary that something so beautiful can exist in the middle of nowhere (figuratively or literally, depending on your perspective). 


I've been doing about the same as usual, ups and downs.  Finding encouragement in both, which is a good change.

Last week I had the chance to say hi to my first history/poli-sci professor, whose classes made such a huge impression on me two years ago.  I cannot believe it has been two years already - my sister is taking classes from him now.  It was so good to see him!

Also, finals went surprisingly well.  Grades aren't officially posted till tomorrow, but I'm confident I've passed all of them. 

Well, for all that is on my mind, that is all I really have to say.  :)  I hope you're having a lovely week.

Surrender Spring (2)



I started observing Lent last year.  Far from making me feel more self-righteous, it has confronted me with my failures, and how easily, even in the middle of striving to watch myself, I make mistakes.  I need His guidance as much as ever.

This Lent, I decided to take a break from Tumblr, which was exactly what I didn't want to do.  I think of Tumblr - the way I have been using it the past year - as a good thing, rather than a guilty pleasure.  I've met and re-met many wonderful people on there, who inspire and encourage me.  It has not even been a week yet, and though I've been busy enough with other things, I miss it pretty bad.   However, I don't want to become too dependent on it, so the challenge can only be for the best.

You may remember this post from nearly a year ago.  Its title has been my motto lately.  I wasn't quite clear to you what I meant by it, but I can say I both understood and meant it at the time.

Spring to me has not ever been a time of change, but a time of culmination, even disorder.  Spring is my season of discontent.  When I'm "spring-struck" I am bottled-up and cornered in problems invented by either me or society, and it doesn't matter which.  I get lonely and cabin feverish for adventure.  Spring tells me to stay in the cabin and finish school, finish school, finish school...  I have good cries that aren't so good.

Why am I admitting this to the world?  I know there is someone who understands, somewhere.  Not only that, I have to tell you I'm taking this seriously.  I once would let myself get caught off-guard by the predictable.  Not this year.  I'm willing to say that, for whatever reason, it is a difficult time of year.  I'm also willing to do something about it - that is, giving it up.

How do you give it up?  You pray, and you try.  By "trying," I mean you sometimes find yourself literally telling yourself that code phrase, surrender spring.  But the overarching idea is to give up anxiety, as well as give up the feeling that you must make some new decision or control something.   Dedicate time to feeling thankful.  Give yourself the proper sense of dignity, that kind where you let yourself be sensible and logical about things.  Write things out, and down, and into the past.  It feels good to give it up, and don't lose sight of that ultimate feeling.

So I am definitely talking to myself now.  It's part of "writing it out," I guess, to blog about it.  I'll go to bed at last and enjoy the sound of the spring rain on the roof.  :) 

Trees



symbols, meaningless art
without definition of each part;
each caret, tilde, flourished tail
the ink that slips to leave a trail

papers blink through smog trees
entwined absolutely in code leaves;
outsiders, viewers, strangers each
here stopped, then left beyond our reach

what did we say to them,
as an avaricious foe or friend?
our icy hands could not relate
and glossaries have come too late

what will we say today
if an opportunity betrays
a second glance; will we delay
and tell them what we meant to say?

Stopping the silence


Hello, again!  Three weeks of plot twists make a mouthful of silence.  A good silence, thankfully.  I've just got past the tip of an iceberg, rather early in the year.

February has been exceptionally busy.  Seahawks, Olympics, and Downton Abbey, of course.  :)  And having a cold, and a laptop failure, and an internship.  Even now, I should be catching up on homework (due tonight, indeed).

But I had to take a minute to tell you everything is ok, and that your comments and prayers have been a blessing to me.   I've been writing a little bit.  Something is better than nothing.  This past week, I've also found encouragement from unexpected sources.  There are still a lot of questions on my mind, but even in the middle of this, there are answers, and I'm so grateful for them.

We were in Joann's the other day, and guess what started playing after we walked in?

Acceptive perspective


Still fighting the doldrums.  It's a weird situation, which I am trying to turn around by treating it as a learning experience.  How to combat stress...how to not freak out about things.


Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am happy.  Let me explain.  I think of true, substantive happiness as being attitude first and circumstances second.  Both, of course, but in that order.  Circumstances for me are not always perfect, but overall they are good. My attitude, on the other hand, often needs some reminding.

What does it mean to be happy?  For that matter, what does it mean to live?

So many lives revolve around us in the world.  I am awestruck by those who, by choice, stick to one path.  That's self-discipline.  (Where can I get that?)  The irony being, I am one of them already.  Naturally inclined to a single path.  Not too fond of change for the sake of change.  One more irony: I don't see myself that way.  In fact, I see myself as very prone to boredom.

Supposing you are at place - like now, for example - where you are unmotivated and discouraged.  It's not magic, but consciously taking time to adjust attitude helps a little.  I remember fondly a piece of 'anti-comfort' someone once told me, "You have lots to be happy about."  That will ring in my head ever-after.  It is true, of course.

For one, I am inexpressibly grateful I live in this time and place.  As often as college is a pain, I would rather go there forever, gladly, than live in a time/place where there is no option.  If I lived only a hundred years ago, what would I be?  Mostly likely, unhappy in circumstances.  And what have I done to deserve this privilege?

I try too hard, take too much for granted, in general.  There is something greater to live up to, and for better reasons.

Monday at home

{old photo from 2012}

Though a normal week of classes is just two days for me, I'm looking forward to tomorrow off as much as anybody else.  It means no ten hours of sitting for classes or between-classes.  It means getting things done, over more cups of tea than my thermos can carry!


Oh, the day will be short enough, but I do want to get things done.


  • Start algorithms assignment due Wednesday.  I feel I'm doing dismally in this class and since most of it is beyond my control, trying not to care too much.  Just press on!
  • Spend some hours reading - and yes I keep saying that, but I really mean it this time.  Need to catch up with my own read-along, for one!
  • Work on my brother's b-day present.  :)

And if I get as much as all that done, it will be a day well spent!

Today after church, I really didn't do anything except watch a lot of TV programs.  I don't like TV or movie-watching marathons, but when it's on, it's on.  I saw:

  1. Eugene Onegin (Met Opera, Live in HD).  A re-play of the fantastic production I saw in October.
  2. Seattle Seahawks' game, 2nd half.  We won, meaning we're going to Super Bowl, and that's about all I can tell you about it.  :P 
  3. Downton Abbey, S4 E3.  Better than last week's episode, but I'm still unimpressed with this season's plot (the lack thereof).
  4. Sherlock, S3 E1.  A great return to a great adaptation!  I did have mixed feelings on some of it.  You can read my spoilery thoughts from my Tumblr post.

Well, there it is...quite a lot to chew on for this week.  Hope you have a good one!

Gloomy days

off-screen selfie

Two separate talks with two different people awoke me from my long reverie.  This was last Wednesday.  It has come back to perplex me, as I sit procrastinating.

I'd never learned before why they were in computer science.  We've been in the program together since day one of beginner Java...I guess we are just used to each other, like characters in a Conrad novel.  Anyway, it woke me up, as I say, to have these overdue conversations.  He wanted to study political science or law, but decided comp sci was more promising for job prospects.  Her post-graduation plan is primarily mine: to get a job.  The common theme didn't surprise me, but I had a strange feeling, something like deja vu, to know they had other interests, first choices, if you will.  Just like me - right?

This is my last year of college, and it's troubling me.  I have everything working to my advantage.  I like what I am learning and do not regret the choice.  Still, this past fall and this winter, I keep going under the strong feeling that something isn't right.  Listlessness is normal enough for me...procrastination is not.  Pointless feelings of dissatisfaction are not.

I had dreams before college.  I was going to be a music major.  Then I was going to major in computer science, but write books on the side.  As it turns out, I haven't finished any books since entering college.  But it's worse than that, since I write very little at all, and reading has become a chore.  (That's the real heartbreaker.)

Maybe it's because I've come back full circle to my childhood ambitions, where I wanted to read and learn and do a hundred new things.  The difference today is not even so much a matter of time (I have enough free time), but the list of things I want to do is overwhelming (exponentially greater than 100), and starting something new is so painfully difficult - not because learning is harder (it isn't), but my mind is so cluttered.

* * *

I've been hoping to find some reason or resolution for this post, but I guess this is just one of those journal entries.  ;)  Well, it's high time to sign off and do the assignment.  I haven't given up on 'childhood ambitions'; tomorrow, I'll try extra hard.

Origami T-Rex - WIP


Little sneak-peek of a current origami project.  My family has had this book, Yoshino's Origami Skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex, for so long; I attempted it many years ago.  Only now do I actually appreciate large-scale origami models, and find them relaxing!     

Pictured is the head and other "bone" segments scattered around it.  The paper is ex-notebook paper, which I think adds a fun pattern.  I am less sanguine about mounting the finished thing on a stand, but that is the goal.  :)

Monday's meanderings


You might remember this photoset from a year ago.  The first row shows bits and pieces of a "critter pen" simulation assignment.  The source of much grief, happiness, and pride! (And humor, ever after.)

Yesterday morning I was once again, this time intentionally, sitting in a lecture by this same professor, whom I'll call M.  Prof. M.'s classes are both challenging and reasonable.  It might have something to do with his attitude.  He is not lecturing at MIT, but that does not stop him from explaining topics with the clarity and earnestness of a world-class instructor.  I suppose if you go into college with expectations, you expect to have professors like M.  They do exist, if not in great numbers.

My other two classes paled by comparison, yet appear to be manageable, a big relief. 

Between the last two classes, I had my lunch in the humanities building - the most peaceful place to eat.  I sat near the window and by chance happened to see an old acquaintance walking past outside, which, though we didn't get to talk, cheered me up.  Afterwards, I went to the library, a sort of natural destination when I'm tired of sitting. 

The library, particularly the literature stacks, is utterly quiet, the quietest quiet I've ever 'heard.'  I wandered around and found this eye-catching volume:


Then I found my quiet place to sit and read for a bit, though having other things on my mind, I got fidgety.


When I get my own place, I don't mind if the view is gray, as long as I can see a long ways off.

No limit

He heals the brokenhearted
   and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
   and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
   His understanding has no limit.

In January air



The sky is 'such a darling blue'; the world is cold, shadowy, and bright.

Recently, I came across a song called "February Air," by Lights.  (She sometimes collaborates with Owl City; beyond that, I am not familiar with her music.)  It is a little too early to be talking about February, but the wistful, wintry melody fits the weather here very well.


I was bored yesterday, so I pulled out a cardboard box from the closet and found a forgotten surprise.  Dad got me this little porcelain doll when he was in Hungary.  I couldn't put her back!


More than ever, I want to read The Brothers Karamazov, especially as part of the 2014 Russian Lit challenge.  It still intimidates me very much.  I think first I'll re-read Dracula, which my sister just got from Barnes & Noble.  Maybe it will help me transition back to the school year, which starts again on Monday (!).  I suppose I will have plenty to tell you next week!