Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Only Man A Girl Can Trust

A lot of people think that they have the best dad in the world. I'm happy for each of them... but I know the truth: Fred Crookston is the absolute best father in history.

I'm not saying that he's perfect, because he'll be the first to tell you that he isn't. What I am saying is that I don't know any other man like him. I don't know any other man who I can respect and trust and love as much as my daddy. I just can't help it -- I'm a daddy's girl. I'm nearly 21 years old and I've lived away from home for three years now, but it's always going to be this way. I always have and always will call him Daddy and I don't care who knows. That's just how it is, and I'm okay with that.

I love my daddy for a million reasons. He is the hardest worker I know, for one. He provides for our family and has an incredible wisdom when it comes to prioritizing -- I grew up knowing that family was my dad's main concern. He would rather spend time and money making memories with his wife and children than buying toys; consequently, our family vacations are among my most cherished memories. I appreciate his dedication to his work and his willingness to sacrifice more than I can possibly articulate.

More than just being a hard worker and excellent provider, my father is the definition of a servant. I have never seen my dad put himself first in my entire life. Daddy constantly thinks of others and he goes out of his way to make life easier for those around him. He is logical and a do-er, not a talker. When he sees a need, he does everything that he can to fulfill it instead of forming committees and having meetings and trying to delegate things that he can do himself. He takes care of everyone.

Because I have grown up with a father who is so selfless and available to me, I think that I took his generosity for granted, but now that I'm on my own[ish], I appreciate it more than ever. Daddy is practical and logical to a fault, yes, but when it comes to taking care of his family, there is nobody more giving. My parents constantly have a stream of guests staying in the house and they are picture perfect hosts. I get to bring friends home for a weekend every fall, and not only is it completely stress free for me, but all of my friends leave loving my parents.

Part of the reason that they love them so much is because of how ridiculous and fun Daddy is. I don't think that he has ever been bored for a minute in his life; Fred Games are legendary amongst the four of us and all of our friends. Daddy has fun in everything, whether we're driving in the carpool answering random questions or sitting around the house on a snowy afternoon.

The thing is, my father is more than just a great man. He is more than just a wonderful husband and a hard worker and a Godly example of faith. Daddy is an incredible father. There is limitless literature published on the importance of father figures in a girl's life, and I am blessed to have the picture of a secure, loving man at the center of mine. Never have I doubted that Daddy would do anything for me. Never have I been afraid of my dad or unsure of my worth in his eyes. He has always treated me like a beautiful young woman who deserved respect and appreciation, and that is exactly what he gave me. For my entire life, I have had women tell me that my future husband would have impossible expectations to reach, but I don't think they're impossible at all. Because of who my dad is, I know that I will end up with someone who will love me just as much as he does, who takes care of me just as well as he takes care of my mom, and who will love our children just as much as Daddy loves me.

For a long time, Daddy used to call me his rock, but the truth is, he is mine. I would be lost without him, and I don't tell him that often enough. So Happy Birthday, Daddy. Thank you for showing me what God created men to be. I love you more than I can possibly say.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Good Bye... Forever.

Dear Friends,

Remember last year when my class schedule threatened to swallow me whole? And I constantly wrote about how busy I was and how I had so little time to write? And secretly in my mind, I thought that my professors were trying to kill me?

Well, I was wrong -- that time. This semester, however? This semester is a very different story. All that I can say is that I now know for certain that my classes are trying to kill me. Trust me -- I am very, very right.

Let's start with my Pilates instructor and her personal vendetta against my abs. First of all, you should know something about this woman: I have never in my life seen anyone who looks like her. We all have those women around us who look so impossibly good that it's sickening, but Claire looks even better than that. She looks like the airbrushed bodies that you see in magazines. You know, the ones that you look at, but always find solace in the fact that nobody really looks like that in real life, right? Uhhmmm...she does. PLUS, just to add insult to injury, the other day she let the fact that she is 50 years old slip. Excuse me?? Don't get me wrong -- a lot of women who are extremely dear to me are in that age range, and I'm excited for the chance to age as gracefully and wonderfully as they have, but I mean, come on. This is just embarrassing.

So her class twice a week is motivation enough to stick with Pilates for, oh I don't know, the rest of my life. It's tough, but it's awesome. I love it. Sometimes I daydream about getting really good at it and owning a studio one day and wearing that pretty, flowy, dancer-y clothing that Claire wears and subsisting on raw nuts and veggies and meditating on mountaintops in my spare time. But that's neither here nor there.

If, then, my Pilates instructor is gorgeous [albeit a Nazi when it comes to my core], my rock climbing instructor can be summed up in a single phrase: OH MY GOSH. Despite his Napoleon complex, he is smoldering. Literally, I get distracted from his "lectures" because he is so ridiculously attractive. I don't know where Grand Valley has been hiding all of these painfully good looking people for the past two years, but Joe is making my goal of dating a professor seem more and more immediately plausible [...just kidding, Mom. I won't date him. He's not really even a professor, and I would obviously want someone far more academic. Plus, like you always taught me, you can't have a conversation with brawn and rippling muscles, now can you? Okay, now I feel awkward...].

ANYWAY, I have run into a bit of an issue as far as the actual rock climbing goes. We were bouldering on the second day of class, which just means that were climbing horizontally instead of vertically and therefore had no harnesses or ropes. I was climbing with a group of kids and I reached for a hold, but lost my grip and fell. It wasn't that huge of a deal, I didn't think... I mean, it hurt my ankle, but I didn't want to be That Girl on the second day of class. Besides, we have to wear the school's rock climbing shoes, which smell like a mixture between kitty litter and butt, and there was no way I was going to let Joe check my injury and consequently get near enough to catch a whiff of my clean feet in those things. So I limped out of class with my dignity trailing somewhere behind me.

Long story short, it's been a month and I'm still limping. I think it's a stress fracture, though, because yesterday [quick update] I was walking off the bus, heard/felt a pop, and tonight it is nearly as swollen as it was in the beginning. It's awesome, I'm really excited about it... plus, it makes rock climbing class really fun. Not. I haven't been on the wall the entire time, due to my sweet injury. I can't move my foot in the directions that I need to be able to climb, so I've been belaying a 37 lb Chinese girl named Ayaka for the entirety of the two hour class periods.

On the plus side, I have gotten so good at belaying that Joe has taken to pimping my services out... but I don't really know what to do with that.

So, I've been wandering around campus with a broken ankle and permanently sore muscles and you'd think that the one class that would give me a break would be boring old science, right? I'm in an honors geology course right now, which is basically watered down earth science with a few third grade activities thrown in to keep us non-science majors afloat. Seriously, I'm not kidding. Last week, for example, we made glaciers out of dirt, ice, and sand, and then graphed the subsequent bodies onto a sheet of paper with colored highlighters to label things like the "water level" and "delta." It's just short of awesome.

As with all earth science classes, though, we had to start with a unit on streams and erosion and other such nonsense. Interestingly enough, Grand Valley happens to be built on a stream system that runs into the Grand River, aka The Ravines. As a super cool class field trip, then, my professor [who apparently wants to be Bear Grylls] led us on an expedition into the uncharted wilderness surrounding Grand Valley. Now, I'm not saying that under the right circumstances [i.e., a cute boy asking me to go exploring and the luxury of a functioning ankle] I wouldn't have enjoyed this. I definitely could have. But to come to the edge of a cliff and have the professor peer over it and say, "Well, it's pretty steep, but just make sure to zigzag on your way down and help each other!" only to bound merrily over the precipice and jog ahead of the class, happily pointing out meander beds and failed sediment traps and terraces and flood plains.... well, I'll let you imagine how thrilled I was to hobble along behind my classmates, swatting at the lethal looking bugs that buzzed around me.

So, in conclusion, I would like to say that truly, literally, seriously -- my classes this semester want me dead. Maybe just suffering...but more likely, dead. You should consider this my farewell should they succeed. I shall miss you all.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Won't Say I'm In Love...But I Am

There are a few things in life that make me unequivocally giddy. Sephora, for one. Don't judge me because it's my homepage. Also, books. I collect books. Oh, and speaking in accents. I loooove speaking in accents. Sometimes, I get so worked up that I start a story in my mind and go around my house, naturally playing my role, and yelling ridiculous things in random's not that I'm good at it, necessarily, I just really enjoy it. Today, for example, I developed some sort of style that I labeled as Eastern European. Why? Was it, in fact, indicative of how Eastern European people speak? I don't know. I just felt that it fit.

As much as I love makeup and books and accents [and fat InStyles, did I say that? Because that is absolutely on the list], there is one thing that completely, literally takes away my breath every time. Ever since I was a little girl, and I do mean young, I would stop in my tracks at the mere mention of this and to this day, I cannot help the joy that spreads through my entire body whenever it is mentioned. My eyes light up, my mouth falls agape, my heart skips a beat, and my entire body breaks out in shivers and gooesebumps.

I have one word: Broadway.

More generally, musicals. I rediscovered a cd called Ultimate Broadway over the summer and it reignited this passion that lies so close to the surface of who I am. For some reason, musicals penetrate my soul. I mean, I was literally raised on Rogers and Hammerstein -- I sang all of "I'm Just a Girl Who Cain't Say No" obsessively at the age of five. Miss Saigon haunted me for weeks after I saw it. The music of Les Miserables practically changed my life. My aunt took Bailey and I to Loy Norrix's production of Hello Dolly! when I was in 1st grade and thereby shaped my relationship with my closest cousin. Mamma Mia and Hairspray have consumed my past two summers. And don't get me started on Guys and Dolls and Phantom of the Opera and Chicago and Wicked, because I have no words.

I don't know what it is specifically that attracts me to musicals. As much as I love the loud, playful, glittery, showy feel of some of the stories, there is something darker and more inherently serious in most of them. Think about it -- though masked in catchy tunes and colorful costumes, they deal with heavy topics like racism, war, discrimination, murder...and the entire French Revolution. So much depth, so little time.

Consequently, I guess it doesn't come as a huge surprise that I am literally giddy at the idea of Glee, the new TV show on Fox. Oh... My... Gosh. It's like this delectable little serialized musical EVERY WEEK. I nearly died in ecstasy tonight during the first show -- ask my roommates. My heart beat faster. I randomly erupted into teensy screams...then bigger, more obnoxious ones. I jumped up on my [not quite yet healed] feet and bounced around, only to pounce on Michaeleen or Jessie and bury my head in their laps, fearful that the goodness was only a dream. Praise Jesus, it's not.

The show is about a high school glee club and there are a smattering of song and dance numbers throughout the hour. The story line is snarky and ridiculous and delicious and the cast has a LOT of talent. After the pilot aired this summer, I was a little skeptical -- it seemed like they were trying to cram too much plot into too little material, but this episode made me see the light. Despite the fact that the female lead reminds me forcefully of a drama queen that I used to go to school with [haaaaaate it], I cannot help but to love it. Seriously. I'm writing this, and I just keep smiling and shrugging my shoulders and smiling again... I look like an idiot. I don't care. I love musicals and I don't care who knows!!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go practice my choreography. I plan to break into a random song and dance by the clock tower tomorrow. It's going to be epic.