“Here’s To Us” #TFT

“Here’s to all that we kissed and to all that we missed, to the biggest mistakes that we just wouldn’t trade. Here’s to us breaking up without us breaking down, to whatever’s coming our way, here’s to us….”  Here’s to Us, Halestorm

Making our way down the family tree, this week’s Thankful Thursday post is a shout-out to my lovely Mom!

She loves the title song, a lot.  Especially the Glee version [warning:  I am not responsible for any tears resulting from clicking that link].

She’s also one of the greatest people I’ve ever known.

And here’s why, in a section I’d like to simply call “Thank you, Mommy.”

Thank you, Mommy, for driving here and back again twice in a three-day radius.

And for bringing Dunkin' :)

And for bringing Dunkin’ 🙂

Thank you, Mommy, for lending me money that you assure me I won’t need to pay back (yet I will anyway).

Thank you, Mommy, for my Perry pillow 🙂

Thank you, Mommy, for putting up with my incessant phone calls, and only sometimes being annoyed.

Thank you, Mommy, for the endless list of Gilmore Girls references.


Thank you, Mommy, for quoting Twilight with me at the drop of a hat.


Thank you, Mommy, for Weeeeeeeeeeee! and man-children.


Thank you, Mommy, for only sometimes accusing me of being crazy for being vegan.

Thank you, Mommy, for Cooper pictures.


Thank you, Mommy, for Llamas and Charlie and Sausage Cat.


Thank you, Mommy, for introducing me to Ricky and Shania, and Bender and Lloyd, and Rachel and Ross.


Thank you, Mommy, for not making me stick with cheerleading or gymnastics, because I’d probably be long dead.

Thank you, Mommy, for Dunkin’ Iced Tea.

Thank you, Mommy, for polka dotes.


Thank you, Mommy, for the Earl of Lemongrab.


Thank you ,Mommy, for being okay with my strange obsessions.

Thank you, Mommy, for my Fitbit.

Thank you, Mommy, for Post-It notes and paper clips.

Thank you, Mommy, for minions.


Thank you, Mommy, for Servo Selfies.


Thank you, Mommy, for Gettsburging despite being Gettysburg-ed out.


Thank you, Mommy, for appreciating Stupid Ugly Dog’s stupid ugliness.

Thank you, Mommy, for friends.

Thank you ,Mommy, for the Tudor dynasty.

Thank you, Mommy, for penguins.

Thank you, Mommy, for fish.

Thank you, Mommy, for my Desk Reference Library.

Thank you, Mommy, for great music, movies, books, etc..

Thank you, Mommy, for Oying with the Poodles.


Thank you, Mommy, for excessive caffeine.

Thank you, Mommy, for letting me hog your car radio.

Thank you, Mommy, for taking care of my plants.

Thank you, Mommy, for taking care of Keith.


Thank you, Mommy, for not letting Olaf kill me…yet.


Thank you, Mommy, for the literal care package.


Thank you, Mommy, for everything.


“Wishing you were somehow here again…”

“…wishing you were somehow near…. Sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed, somehow you would be here….”  –Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, The Phantom of the Opera

Actually, I don’t.  Not at all, really.  And yet, here you are….

Yes, I’m sick yet again.  Brought to a life of soups, teas, popsicles, and various comfort foods.

IMG_0066 IMG_0070

I’m hopeful convinced it’s allergies.  It did start just as the pretty trees started to bloom.

Gorgeous, but deadly.

Gorgeous, but deadly.

More importantly, that’s why things here at TO&E have continued to be absurdly slow.  I apologize.  Assuming I continue on an uphill journey, I’ll be picking up again soon!

In the meantime, make sure you’ve connected with the various TO&E social media pages— good things to come there as well!

“They couldn’t be goodlier, she couldn’t be lovelier, we couldn’t be happier!”

“Yes, we couldn’t be happier—right, dear? Couldn’t be happier, right here. Look what we’ve got, a fairy-tale plot, our very own happy ending where we couldn’t be happier, true, dear? Couldn’t be happier and we’re happy to share our ending vicariously with all of you…. He couldn’t look hansomer, I couldn’t feel humbler, we couldn’t be happier….” Thank Goodness, Wicked

This morning’s post was a bit sad.  I can’t have all of you lovely readers sad all day, can I?  In return, how about a celebration—the Glinda way!

This isn’t an ending, though, I promise (*spoiler alert* not that the engagement in the song is either….).

We've hit a wonderful milestone!

We’ve hit a wonderful milestone!

The best part?  This only counts those who follow here at WordPress directly— according to the wonderful little box to the right….



Thank you all so much!

Now, like I said, this isn’t an ending— it’s a new beginning!  Think we can hit 50 Facebook likes?  How about 100 Twitter followers?  Or maybe up the Pinterest count?  I think we can!

“Alexi, Mark— Call me a hypocrite.”

This title is a line of “What You Own” from RENT.  That exact line is amidst this amazing split part (listen to it here!), so I can’t blockquote it as I normally would.  Instead, enjoy another lovely part of this song:

“That drip of hurt, that pint of shame, goes away just play the game…. You’re living in America at the end of the millenium;  you’re living in America, leave your conscience at the tone…” –What You Own, RENT

As my frequent readers may know, my dance recital is tonight and tomorrow night.  I’m freakishly excited, despite being in only a small part of the overall showcase.  At the same time, I’m incredibly sad that I’m no longer in my swing number.

I thought I was alright with it (read more [though it’s admittedly still vague, my apologies] about that here).  I really did.  Then I watched them at the run-through.

I got truly depressed, something that hasn’t happened for quite some time.  I can honestly say that, in that moment, I missed it so much that it hurt.

At the same time, though, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride.  I’d watched these couples (some literal romantic couples, others only on the dance floor) come from a simple “Okay, now triple step…” to “Here’sthemusiclet’sbeawesome.”  I’d made friends that were now on stage, and while I was really sad to not be up there with them, I could hardly have been prouder.

Now for the song lyrics:

It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom far from the sea…that my little sister was a dancer.

Such a cute little alien :)

Such a cute little alien 🙂

When I went to see her in the performance after which that picture was taken, I remember a conversation with my late grandfather.  Though it’s hardly verbatim, it went something like this.

Pop:  “Did you like the show?”
Me:  “It was…good.”
Pop:  “What do you mean?”
Me:  “I guess I’m just not a big fan of dance, you know?”
Pop:  “Those dancers put a lot of work into that show, they deserve to be praised.”

Now, I had friends in the show as well as my sister, and I’d loved their numbers if only for that reason.  But I was also a performer—of everything but dance.  I was used to the sights and sounds and words of Broadway, the intensity of a symphony.  In short, everything but a pop song playing overhead while a group twirled around on stage.  I hardly thought it was easy, but I didn’t let myself fully appreciate it.

Fast forward quite a few years, and now I’m the one on the stage twirling pirouetting to 80’s hits.  I absolutely love it (just ask my friends, I’ve hardly stopped talking about it the last few days!).  That conversation with my grandfather has stuck with me, and I can’t help feeling like a hypocrite.

Maybe I’ll pick up on some sort of sign that he understands, that he realizes I’ve changed, that I really enjoy it.  Hopefully, he’ll be watching, and know.

Love and miss you, Pop.  I really hope you're proud.... <3

Love and miss you, Pop. I really hope you’re proud…. ❤

“Let me tell you that I love you….” #TFT

“Let me tell you that I love you, and I think about you all the time…. Caledonia, you’re calling me, now I’m going home, and if I should become a stranger, know that it would make me more than sad;  Caledonia’s been everything I’ve ever had.”  –CaledoniaCeltic Thunder (Celtic Woman’s version is great too!)

In my first #TFT, I talked about my grandfather and all of the wonderful things he’s done for me over the years.  I also promised that my grandmother would soon get one of her own!

She's not a huge fan of having her picture taken, but I've managed to snag a few !:)

She’s not a huge fan of having her picture taken, but I’ve managed to snag a few !:)

Nanny’s the reason I love Irish music.  She’s the reason I want to go to England, to Ireland, and so on so incredibly badly.


She’s supported me in my many endeavors over the years, with anecdotes and words of wisdom.


She’s done some amazing things!

Miss Schuylkill Haven,  1968

Miss Schuylkill Haven, 1968

She married this great guy....

She married this great guy….

And has stuck with him through the years!

And has stuck with him through the years!

She only laughs a little bit when I enthuse about my life plans:  “…I’ll meet Harry and live happily ever after!”


She introduced me to the greatness of NCIS, Midsomer Murder, Murder She Wrote, The Artful Detective, Bones, Castle, and more!


She’s faced countless unnecessary hardships and overcome every single one.

Love you, Nan--- thank you for everything!

Love you, Nan— thank you for everything!

By the pricking of my thumbs….

“Did that really just happen?  Have I actually understood? This weird quirk I try to suppress or hide is a talent that could help me meet the wizard, if I make good….”

The Wizard & I has struck again.  That can only mean one thing….

Academic progress!

Last night, I attended “an informal gathering” with two of my professors and approximately eight other students.  Gathering in a tiny little room, my first impression was “Wait, this view surpasses my current favourite!”

Who knew an even more astounding version of my favourite spot existed?

Who knew an even more astounding version of my favourite spot existed?

From there, my excitement grew when the professors passed out check sheets for the brand new Public History minor.

I know, I know, I’m already crazy busy.  I already have more majors/minors then most people.

This is my current course load.  Busy's kind of my thing.

This is my current course load. Busy’s kind of my thing.

But that’s okay.  I only need to add one class.

One class?? I can handle one class!

Granted, it’s an art class, and I’m not too great at art.  But I can do history, so art history becomes a teeny tiny bit more appealing.

At the same time, I’ve decided that studying abroad for just one semester might not be too terrible.  Since I’m planning to go in spring, I can be in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day!

This morning, we soon-to-be sophomores got to register for classes.  With a bit of tweaking, I managed to get all of the classes I’d hoped for (pushing off the bonus computer science class so I can function this time next year!).

Elphaba has struck again.  Get ready, world:  something Wicked this way comes.


A Life Unheard Of

Today’s been a good day.

Not meh.

Not simply existent.


This day, right here:

Better mark down this date.

Better mark down this date.

Biggest news first:  I’ve been accepted as a 2015-2016 CWI Fellow (yep, same group as the conference I posted about yesterday!  Read more about it here!).  Long story short, I’m doing yet another civil war thing that I foresee loving.

I also found out that I aced a paper I’d been a bit unsure of, which is always a plus.

I had lunch with one of my best friends after not seeing her for a few days, and we got to wander around between classes.

I got rid of the large container of (nonvegan, aka inedible) cookies that had been taking up far too much space in my room.

I ate what may have been the world’s fastest breakfast and made it to class on time (with coffee!).

I came up with some great ideas for my next Creative Writing endeavor (thanks to Mom for additional inspiration!)— the only downside is that I can’t pick just one with ease!

I got a lot of research and presentation materials finished for my Environmental Studies class.  Anyone need to know anything about Emperor Penguins?

The weather’s been absolutely fantastic, which means pretty dresses can be worn.

Overall, I’ve been crazy productive the last few days— I’m (wait for it…..) ahead on my work.  I’m expecting the blizzard to come tomorrow.

Here’s hoping this motivation, productivity, and general enthusiasm continues!

Happy, happy Monday, everyone!