“If you try to deny me, I’ll never die….”

“I’m alive, I’m alive, I am so alive— if you climb on my back, then we both can fly.  If you try to deny me, I’ll never die, I’m alive….” –I’m Alive, Next to Normal

First of all:  Little to nothing in this world is as attractive as Aaron Tveit in that role.  Seriously, click the link.

Also:  I referred to myself as a sophomore for the first time today.  Woah.

Anyway….

As regular readers probably know, one of my many jobs is with Mason Dixon Paranormal Society.

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On one hand, this is a great icebreaker.  On the other hand, there can be a lot of rather judgemental responses.  Sometimes, people are great and totally intrigued.  Others…. Well, you can imagine.  With that in mind, here are some fun little FAQ’s about my job as a ghost tour guide and paranormal investigator.

Q)  You do whaaaat?
A)  Yes, you heard me properly.  Paranormal society.  

Q)  How’d you get into that?
A)  Well, I’d always had an interest in the paranormal, which climaxed here in Gettysburg.  Mark Nesbitt’s books intrigued me (in fact, I was utterly starstruck when I met him last year).  For a while after reading them, I strongly considered going into parapsychology.  Though history trumped it, the interest remained.
Early last school year, my best friend and I were walking through town when we came across a stand advertising ghost tours and investigations.  After talking to one of the owners for a bit, we revealed that we’re college students;  he soon asked if we’d be willing to hang some flyers advertising job openings for him.  Within a few days, I called him expressing an interest, and it’s all history from there on out.

Q)  What do you do there?
A)  I’m trained to do the one-hour and two-hour history walks, the latter of which focuses on Abraham Lincoln, and regular and family-friendly investigations.  We also have a popular pub crawl, which I’ll work on next fall (2016).

Q)  How do you do history walks if you’re a paranormal society?
A)  We do both.  As a historian, I enjoy the walks.  With my personal interests, I enjoy the investigations.  It’s the best of both worlds!

Q)  Do you believe in ghosts?
A)  Yes, I do.

Q)  Have you ever seen a ghost?
A)  Not in Gettysburg.  I’ve talked to them here many times, though.

Q)  What’s the weirdest experience you’ve ever had?
A)  Once on Sach’s Bridge, I had a conversation (via the flashlight test, in which spirits can communicate by turning a “torch” on and off) with a young Confederate soldier.  Before I left, I asked if he would touch my hand, and soon distinctly felt a touch.

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So, yes, I do this.  No, it’s not my total career goal.  Nevertheless, I enjoy it.  Yes, it’s unusual.  But hey, it’s a step up from drugs and partying, yes?  Then there’s no need for judgment.

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“It looks like the end of history as we know….”

“Pickin’ up thing we shouldn’t read, it looks like the end of history as we know;  it’s just the end of the world… Back to the street where we began, feeling as good as love, you could, you can….” –Nine in the Afternoon, Panic! at the Disco

As well as being one of the very first songs I learned on the ukulele, Nine in the Afternoon is a perfect song for today’s update:  the rest of my room!

Now, I promise we will be back to TO&E that affect you, dear readers, soon.  At the moment, I’m too thrilled with the outcome to not share (if you missed the first bit, check in here!)!

Chirpy Bird and Dead Cat are making the most of my empty shelf space.  Behind them, we've got my latest mini-project:  Mr. Darcy's proposal from Pride and Prejudice [both one of my favourite books and one of my favourite films] in the shape of a heart (with a tiny coloured pencil heart inside!) in a vintage frame....

Chirpy Bird and Dead Cat are making the most of my empty shelf space. Behind them, we’ve got my latest mini-project: Mr. Darcy’s proposal from Pride and Prejudice [both one of my favourite books and one of my favourite films] in the shape of a heart (with a tiny coloured pencil heart inside!) in a vintage frame….

My wonderful work best friend, Sam, was great and helped me put this pretty curtain (shout-out to Mom for the find!) up over my closet.  I've got relatively pretty clothes, sure, but I'd rather not stare at them all of the time.

My wonderful work best friend was great and helped me put this pretty curtain (shout-out to Mom for the find!) up over my closet. I’ve got relatively pretty clothes, sure, but I’d rather not stare at them all of the time.


Damon & Tianna have teamed up to guard the door for me.

Damon & Tianna have teamed up to guard the door for me.


Lloyd, Audrey, Perry, Ryan, and Rachel have taken over the bed.

Lloyd, Audrey, Perry, Ryan, and Rachel have taken over the bed.


It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but this proves to my mom that I do, in fact, eat.

It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but this proves to my mom that I do, in fact, eat.


More food-proof.

More food-proof.


Along with the food we've got a pretty little shrine shout-out to my dog and another DIY.  It's hard to see in the photo, but the canvas reads "But I keep rollin' on," a L5Y reference (surprised?).

Along with the food we’ve got a pretty little shrine shout-out to my dog and another DIY. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the canvas reads “But I keep rollin’ on,” a L5Y reference (surprised?).



A real desk, too, of course!  Photos of friends, family, and Jack, plus my rather absurd pile of notebooks for my online courses.

A real desk, too, of course! Photos of friends, family, and Jack, plus my rather absurd pile of notebooks for my online courses.


Last, but not least, a testament to my lovely friends and my first year of college.  Here's to three equally amazing years to come!

Last, but not least, a testament to my lovely friends and my first year of college. Here’s to three equally amazing years to come!

“We can not dedicate— we can not consecrate— we can not hallow— this ground.”

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.  We are met on a great battle-field of that war.  We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.  It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.  But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate— we can not consecrate— we can not hallow— this ground.  The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.  The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.  It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.  It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us— that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion— that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain— that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  –The Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln

Today, I’ll be celebrating the quintessential American Memorial Day.  A parade, a picnic, and plenty of red, white, and blue!

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But, as Facebook loves to tell us, this isn’t the real meaning behind the holiday.

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Here in Gettysburg, that’s even more greatly reflected.

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However, as the celebrated President Lincoln spoke in his immortal piece here, we cannot do the dedicating, consecrating, or hallowing— that’s all been done by the brave men (and women) have done so more than what is in our power to do.

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Lincoln’s words all those years ago are true today.

So today, and every day, let’s remember those brave men and women, living and dead, who’ve struggled for our freedoms.  I’ve got military on both sides of my family, within my friends and coworkers.  I’ve got an inherent sense of pride when I think of these loved ones, and everything they’ve done.  Thank you all, for doing what the rest of us truly can’t.

“When finally you come home….”

“When you come home to me I’ll wear a sweeter smile and hope that for a while you’ll stay…. When you come home to me, your hand will touch my face and banish any trace of grey, and soon a love will rise anew, even greater than the joy I felt just missing you and, once again, I’ll be so proud to call you mine when finally you come home to me….” A Miracle Would Happen/When You Come Home to Me, The Last Five Years

That’s right, I’ve returned to Gettysburg!  I’m back to work at both of my jobs, taking far too many online classes (entirely for my own enjoyment and learning), and getting my room up to par.

This room is nearly identical to the one in which I lived last semester, but, without my roommate (whom I miss terribly, but we won’t focus on that at this moment), it’s incredibly spacious.  Though this will be a pain in a few months upon moving into what I’ve lovingly termed “the shoebox,” it’s pretty great at the moment!

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My “couch” (since I only need one bed!) and coffee table [there’s a coffee table book on it, so it totally counts, right?]. I’ve got my DVD’s (alphabetized, of course) and snacks underneath.

BREAKING NEWS:  THERE IS EMPTY SPACE ON THE BOOKSHELF.  Top left is leisure reading, bottom left is books for my Reading Challenge, and bottom right are Civil War.

BREAKING NEWS: THERE IS EMPTY SPACE ON THE BOOKSHELF. Top left is leisure reading, bottom left is books for my Reading Challenge, and bottom right are Civil War.

Emmett's been joined by Linda the blender!

Emmett’s been joined by Natalie the blender!

Of course, a pink fan is necessary.  It gets awfully warm in the dorms outside of summer, so just imagine during....  And it's essentially obligatory that all new additions to the room are pretty.

Of course, a pink fan is necessary. It gets awfully warm in the dorms outside of summer, so just imagine during…. And it’s essentially obligatory that all new additions to the room are pretty.

I’ll keep you updated as I continue getting settled in!  For now, I’m off to accomplish a few more things before dinner and work tonight (and probably decorate some more!).

“For those whom we’d give blood.” #TFT

“Family not only need to consist of merely those whom we share blood, but also for those whom we’d give blood.” -attributed to Charles Dickens

Recently, a particularly special person in my life welcomed a beautiful baby girl into her life.  She and her husband had been praying for what seemed like an eternity, and God has surely listened— little Hattie is proof.

As congratulations and some of the cutest baby pictures I’ve ever seen garnished my newsfeed, a feeling of  elation came over me.  She may truly be the luckiest little girl in the world.  Mara and Chad are absolutely amazing people with so much to give, not to mention their two fantastic fur-children (meet Wiley and Jenny here!).  

Deep down, this happiness extends even past my excitement for Hattie’s arrival.  I can relate to her story in an unusual way, and it makes the feeling so much stronger.  

This could have been me.  I came as a total surprise to my mom, and she nearly died while having me.  My birth father left early in my life, leaving a few scattered memories and a Playstation.  For years, it was just me and Mom, bringing us Gilmore Girls-close.    We met my Dad when I was in kindergarten, and he joined us, with my sister following suit.  

Note that he’s my Dad.  Many people in this kind of situation prefer “stepdad”— I don’t.  Those are too often the same people that have their “real dad” in their life, or hold onto hope that he’ll be back.  It took me more time than I’d like to admit, but my dad took that position over permanently;  there isn’t a chance in Hades of the idiot who left taking his place.  

There was no guarantee of it working out this way.  My Mom could have given me up when we struggled through the hospital in ’95 or given up on single parenting when the going got tough.  She didn’t.  Dad could have balked at the concept of taking on a woman and her six-going-on-sixteen daughter.  He didn’t.  

I wasn’t traditionally adopted and I recognize how unbelievably lucky I am that my mom never gave up.  My dad and I don’t always see eye to eye on things, but I couldn’t care less.  
So, today’s Thankful Thursday belongs to my parents, to Mara and Chad, and to all other parents who, in one way or another, persevere and give their all to these little girls and boys.  Thank you for everything.  

  

“Nice to meet you, where you been?”

“Nice to meet you, where you been?  I could show you incredible things:  magic, madness, heaven, sin— saw you there and I thought, ‘Oh my God, look at that face, you look like my next mistake.  Love’s a game, wanna play?'”  –Blank Space, Taylor Swift

First of all, happy [admittedly belated] mother’s day to the most amazing Mommy and Nanny in the world (check out this post and this post for more on both of these lovely people!) and to all of the moms out there!

I’ve been absolutely terrible with posting lately, and I apologize.  So here’s a quick update, with more to come!

I’m officially done my freshman year of college!

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I’m hanging out with the family for a few days!

Cooper got a lollipop :)

Cooper got a lollipop 🙂

I’ve gotten to see this wonderful little guy lots 🙂

Finals were successful:  whales, slaves, and the lot!

I'm not kidding.  Those were two of my topics.

I’m not kidding. Those were two of my topics.

I’ve moved out of the best first dorm a girl could ask for and (temporarily) away from the best roommate in the world.

We'll be seeing each other soon enough--- August isn't that far!

We’ll be seeing each other soon enough— August isn’t that far!

Soon enough, I’ll be back for the summer!  Life will be filled with work, online classes, battlefield runs (on the rare occasions that the local pollen isn’t trying to murder me), and, of course, posts here at TO&E!

“Everybody needs a little time away….”

“‘Everybody needs a little time away,’ I heard her say, ‘from each other….'” –Hard to Say I’m Sorry, Chicago

Thursday marked the last class of my first year of college. It seems like it was just yesterday I arrived for the first time!

Way back in 2012, the obsession with this building began....

Way back in 2012, the obsession with this building began….

Didn't this JUST happen?

Didn’t this JUST happen?

Whether or not I choose to believe it, my first year is coming to an end.  All that’s left is an absurd lack of stress over finals (accompanied by an extreme lack of motivation), a preposterous amount of packing, and way too many goodbyes.  Temporary goodbyes, yes, but I’ll miss these people like crazy.

On a brighter note, this means getting to spend a few days with these people!

And soon enough, I’ll be back exploring…. I’m staying here for most of the summer!

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It’s not goodbye after all….