Wednesday, January 1, 2014 | By: Brianna

The New Year

Today, I stumbled upon my prompt box.  The one with the pretty strips of paper all folded up and full of interesting prompts upon which to write.  Well.  Things to think about writing about.  Because you know what, I'm going to end that sentence with a preposition...and everyone's going to like it.  So there.  Anyway, I pulled a prompt:

"Turn to an entry in your journal or diary from a year or more ago.  What has changed and what has stayed the same since then?"

Naturally, that brought me to look at this beauty from a little more than a year ago.  As far as attitudes go, I'm pretty much in the same place.  I relish the idea of growing old versus growing up because it makes my brain hurt in a not quite unpleasant way.  And I wholeheartedly agree with Past Brianna that I would much rather grow old.  There will be no growing up here.

As far as life goes, this time last year, I was living in Florida.  I was packing my bags to get ready to come back to Illinois.  I had no job prospects, and no idea what I was going to do with my life past move into my childhood bedroom in my parents' house.  I was newly single, I was irrationally bitter, and I knew that I was going to miss the support and friendship I found in my flatmates.  I had also just finished off a tiring week of work, and was excited to get to a more normal work schedule for my last week.  I was also writing angsty and/or conflicted poetry, some of which turned out well.

This year, I still (unfortunately) have no idea what I'm going to do with my life.  But today I'm at home in Illinois temporarily because come Saturday, I will be driving back out to Nebraska where work has taken me.  I have a job, I have my own place to live (rent-free), and I have excellent co-workers who I'm looking forward to getting to know even better during the next couple months of 2014.  I'm staying in touch with the majority of my flatmates, as well as classmates from college and high school.  I'm just finishing up a relaxing week of rejuvenating "at home time" and there's a part of me that's itching to get back to Nebraska.  Today I find myself irrationally optimistic when I'm not choked with terror, and making Shrinky Dinks, because that's what a 23 year old does with her free time in her childhood home before she gets back to her "big kid job."  Though I can't classify under a specific heading or genre...I'm still writing poetry that echoes way too much of my current life experiences.

My one conflict with my past "journal entry" is that though I agree with it and want to put it into practice, I'm currently in a job that requires me to act a mite bit older than my true age...because I manage college students.  And I'm no longer a college student, so I can't buddy-buddy with them.  So I find it more difficult to not grow up, or to do justice to my desire to never grow up.  I wouldn't say that I think my soul has died and I'm now an adult, but I will say that I can't run around coloring on walls with crayons or rolling around in the snow in front of my Nebraska home.  Frustrating, yes.  But I'm sure the universe has its reasons for putting me through this.  (Oh gosh, that sounded a lot...I don't know, but I'm leaving it because I'm too lazy to find a way to re-phrase.)

Onward to create more Shrinky Dinks!

Happy 2014, let's make this one a great one!

"When you grow up, your heart dies."
Sunday, October 20, 2013 | By: Brianna

"There's a poem in that..."

I was thinking recently.  About poetry.  Specifically the writing of it.

I've been having difficulty coming up with new ideas for each day's poem, and it's been enough of a struggle that I'm pretty sure I've written about the carpet in my apartment at least twice, and cornfields more times than I can count.  This lack of variety strikes me as disturbing if only because in my first year of The Poem-A-Day Project, I stumbled upon some new topic every single day and that created some sort of variety in and of itself.  Maybe it's because my life has settled into some sort of routine that doesn't allow for exciting poem topics, so I have to make them up myself.

Or maybe I'm just not paying attention.

That first year of my poetry writing, I was surrounded by people who would stop mid-conversation and say, "There's a poem in that..."  Maybe not surrounded, but I definitely spent a good amount of time with the small number of people who would make that observation.  Of course there was a poem in that.  There was a poem in the epic battle between humans and zombies, there was a poem in the dining hall's lack of Sunday dinner, there was a poem in the sidewalk cracks between my dorm room and my first class of the morning.  Sure I revisited some of the same topics over and over again, but the images that showed up in each new poem were different because I was doing something different almost every day.

Now that I'm not physically around people who can make observations about finding poems for me, I'm coming to the slow realization that I have two options:
1.  I can go glue myself to the sides of the people who can find poems for me in conversations and daily life.
2.  I can start paying attention.
Part of my willingness to glue myself to the side of poem observers comes from missing them so much, but I think there's also a level of laziness there too.  So that leads me to conclude that paying attention is really my only option for writing some wonderful poem that isn't about how Nebraska isn't Chicago, because let's face it, that's been done about eighty times, and people are going to start to get bored if they ever read my Project from beginning to end (then again, won't they get bored with parking lot poems or "It's my senior year of college" poems?  Oh well.).

So here it goes, my mid-October resolution to pay attention in order to write more interesting poems.

Ready?  GO!

"Every day you play with the light of the universe."
- Pablo Neruda
Tuesday, October 1, 2013 | By: Brianna


I'm having a problem.

I feel like I depend on other people far too much.  I have a couple examples, but the most glaring example is at work.  Yes, I'm learning how to do things and I'm getting into the groove of things, but I feel like I'm probably asking questions before trying to figure out the answer on my own because it's easier to ask the question first.

I spent a lot of my first semester of my senior year of college asking my boss what I should do in nearly every situation.  Having trouble with a desk aide?  I asked my boss what I should do.  Hearing RA gossip?  Talked to my boss, asked her what to do.  Not sure if it's a date?  Asked my boss.  I'm not kidding.  And every single time I came to her with a question, her answer was, "Brianna, what do you think you should do?"  I don't know if it's because she secretly didn't have the answer, but I like to believe that my boss knew exactly what should be done, but she wanted to see if I could figure it out for myself.  Because that question irritated me so much and because I got frustrated every time I had to tell her, "I don't know..." I started coming into meetings with my boss saying, "So I'm having this problem, I'm thinking of doing this, is that right, or am I missing something?"

This might have something to do with my need to have the right answer.  It's not that I need to be right, it's that I need to get an A on that paper, and get every quiz question right.  For some reason, I depend on the people around me to affirm my actions and pat me on the back.  I'm not sure if this is a normal thing or if it's some form of self-esteem issue, but I'd really like to pretend that I don't have self-esteem issues.

I'm not saying that I don't want people in my life, it's just that lately I'm starting to feel like I put a lot of stock into the opinions of others.

Which feels like a bad thing.

Right now, I have a Post-It stuck to my office computer monitor that asks me: "Brianna, what do YOU think you should do?"  I kinda feel like I'm starting from scratch again here, but I'm hoping that this Post-It and my awareness is going to help me figure things out.  And I know that sounds silly or trite, but there it is.


I'm still doing my Poem-A-Day Project.  This should come as no surprise considering I've gotten into the habit of writing every day, and now it's a habit I haven't yet broken.  Strange enough, I wrote today's poem yesterday.  Which is almost virtually unheard of...but I still feel like I need to write right now, so there may be two October 1st poems.  Unfortunately I don't have a challenge for this month, but I'm sure I could tackle more Halloween poetry if the occasion calls for it.  So yeah.  Poetry.

Lame Brianna.  The end.

"You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy.  So let them go, let go of them.  I tie no weights to my ankles."
- C. JoyBell C.
Friday, September 20, 2013 | By: Brianna

The City Slicker

It was a while ago in the dining hall over plates of lukewarm chicken and waffles (mine with maple syrup but sans the hot sauce because I forgot and wouldn't have known where to find it anyway) that a student staff member asked me if I was writing a blog about myself being "a city slicker in Nebraska."  [This is where I remember that it's Friday and that I could totally do a Poetry Friday thing.]  I told her that I wasn't, thinking that I am writing a blog...kind of...and that was a kinda mishmosh personal blog mixed with poetic things and writing things, all of which no one reads.

So this leads me to the question "Should I start a new blog exclusively for my Nebraska adventures?"

But maybe I should rewind.

A long long time ago in June, I interviewed for and got a position at a college in Nebraska.

Things you should know:
1.  I'd never been to Nebraska.
2.  I'd never heard of this college.
3.  When I looked up the town on a map, there were two major roads that intersected in town and the rest was blank open space.  Presumably, cornfields.

I had three weeks to pack up my worldly belongings, load them into the rickety gray mini van that my brother and I grew up in, get my affairs in order, and voyage to small town Nebraska.  The stress of preparing for my voyage was more personal than it was professional--for instance, I discovered that the only dress pants that I owned no longer fit (because I lost weight).  I also discovered that a very small amount of my make-up was work appropriate.  I had a second stage break-up with the boy, and every single one of my friends made fun of me for moving into the middle of a cornfields.  In fact, my friends wrote a scavenger hunt for me of things that I need to find while I'm in Nebraska.  Unfortunately, I'm not doing very well keeping up with that.  Oops.


When I told people that I was moving to Nebraska, they asked me, "Oh yeah?  Omaha or Lincoln?"  My answer?  "Neither."  For people who don't live in Nebraska, Omaha and Lincoln are the only two names you'll probably know, and both of them are on the far east side of the state.  Everything else (just about) is small towns and cornfields.

So I've been here in small town Nebraska for a little over two months.  Based on my observation that I get restless weekly on Sundays, and the tendency for business establishments to be closed on Sundays, I have begun to learn that the pace of life is indeed slower here.  I'm not pretending to know everything about Chicago, especially since I only just started exploring and meeting the interesting people right before I left the city, but I do know that on a Sunday, it wasn't really a question of "Oh, is that place going to be open?" unless we were talking about Hobby Lobby or Chick-fil-a.  I'm not saying that being closed on Sundays is a bad thing, I'm saying it's different and it's an adjustment for me.

It also occurs to me that I don't really know what a "city slicker" is.  But thanks to Wikipedia, I now know the technical understanding of the term.  I like to think that I don't fit this type.  But that could just be me.

Small town life is interesting.  I'm not 100% enmeshed in the town life because I work at the college, but I do frequent the same grocery stores and coffee shop as the locals, and I like to think that maybe one day the checker at Pac 'n Save will recognize me as "the girl who buys SO MUCH TEA" or "the girl who buys plain yogurt and asks about jasmine rice because she's dumb."  I'll take what I can get, frankly.

For now, I'm still getting used to Nebraska life, but according to the welcome sign on the highway, Nebraska "...the good life."  (and it's also the home of Arbor Day)

"One of these days I'm going to leave Nebraska, cut all those strings and ties and travel to the other prairies of this earth.  I must know if the people who live on those other prairies feel the same way about their horizons as we do about ours."
Saturday, August 17, 2013 | By: Brianna

Les Croissants!

Tonight I was seized by the sudden urge to bake something.  Consulting my Pinterest board that tells me all about the things that I want to learn how to make, bake, and cook, I settled on chocolate croissants.

This necessitated a trip to the local grocery store, Quality Foods, to fetch crescent rolls, chocolate chips, and cheese and salsa.  Just kidding, the cheese and salsa are for something else, but who knows, chocolate and just about everything tastes good, so maybe chips, chocolate, and salsa might be kinda neat.  I also got to stop in at Shopko to get a cookie sheet because I should have one anyway.

I didn't quite follow all the instructions, but they did turn out!

Just look how pretty they are!

These are Brianna-made croissants!
This is really quite exciting because now I have something delicious to eat for breakfast for the next week.  Chocolate croissants and tea, it's going to be absolutely delightful, that's for sure!  And I'm so proud that I didn't burn the croissants or the building!  YEAH!

“Remember the days when you let your child have some chocolate if he finished his cereal? Now, chocolate is one of the cereals.” 
- Robert Orben