Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gorgeous Teacup Giveaway

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a FREE GIVEAWAY adventure...

So I'm sitting in my office on some idle Tuesday afternoon sipping some home brewed Earl Grey in my favorite blue Dutch Bros. mug when I get an email from The Promotional Team at CSN Cookware. Apparently they want to give my readers some free stuff from Rachael Ray Cookware. Tea literally shoots out of my nose and gets in the keyboard and on the computer screen (don't tell my co-workers).

After perusing the site my caffeine addicted self decided that everyone needs a fashionable means of which to sip their tea, coffee, hot cocoa, or anything else you drink.

How would you like to be the proud owner of a brand new set of gorgeous tea cups?
Think of all the tea parties you could host! These are practical for any occasion, whether you are enjoying tea in the afternoon with a few close girlfriends in large hats or serving coffee to your soon to be mother-in-law after a dinner party. Heck, they would even be a great wedding gift for those couples who are illiterate to the registry world. The possibilities are limitless.

Here's How to Enter:

Simply post a comment to this article and you will be entered in the drawing to win a set of (4) teacups. The Gorgeous Teacup Giveaway starts NOW and will close next Tuesday January 5, 2010 at 12:00pm. I will do a random drawing and the winner will receive these adorable cups in the mail.

Could it be easier? Tell your friends and family about the Gorgeous Teacup Giveaway so everyone has a chance to enter! After all, who doesn't love free stuff?

Monday, December 28, 2009

southwest chicken casserole

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

Winter break has given me seemingly more time to do the things I normally do not have time for. For instance the other night I went to my Mom's to work on my sister Bee's super secret Christmas present and decided to make dinner. Of course everyone else was busy shopping (Mom), out with friends(Abbey), and visiting Sedona (Bee, p.s. I am super jealous) so Emily and I invited my prospective dating future (more on him later) over to help eat the giant casserole I concocted.

I would like to pause here and point out that this is the beginning of a new series I am titling "Queen of Domesticity" cause it's kind of ironic.

After slaving away for forty minutes we ended up with a version of a southwest chicken casserole, Spanish rice, re-fried beans and tortillas. I made Emily and Prospect boy try it first.

*It was delicious*

So here's the recipe:

3/4 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 4 oz can of diced green chilis (the small cans)
1 4 oz can of diced jalapenos
1 10 oz can of cream of mushroom soup (you can use cream of chicken instead, if you prefer)
1 bulb of garlic
1/2 yellow onion (diced)
1lb of chicken
2 cups of mexican blend shredded cheese (or any type of cheese you choose)
garlic powder (my dad says you can't get enough garlic, it keeps the vampires away!)

1. Boil the chicken in a stalk pot (or any pot you can fit it into) until the middle is white.
2. Shred the chicken on a plate (I usually do it by using two forks).
3. In a frying pan combine a little oil with the entire bulb of garlic (crush it either with a knife or a garlic press) and the diced onion.
4. After the onion and garlic brown, add in the shredded chicken and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
5. Add in soup, tomatoes, green chilis, and jalapenos.
6. Stir the mixture and let it sit over medium-low heat for a few minutes.
7. Transfer mixture from frying pan to a casserole dish and cover with cheese (I suggest piling it on so you can't see anything but cheese).
8. Set oven to broil and bake casserole until cheese is melty and brown.
9. Serve with Spanish rice, re-fried beans, and tortillas. Enjoy!

After consuming almost the entire pan the three of us agreed that adding a small can of diced black olives would be heavenly.

Do you have a favorite recipe to share?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

where are you christmas?

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a Christmas adventure...

Just when I think things couldn't become more outlandish and ridiculous than they already are something so terrible happens and I am left with my mouth hanging open and tears threatening to stream down my cheeks. My family will never cease to amaze me. My father called me today to discuss the details of Christmas. I had been prefaced earlier in the day with a text message around 10:00 am proposing the holiday be postponed a mere two days in order to have our entire "family" present. This was code for we haven't finished our Christmas shopping and Jessie (the youngest of the to-be step siblings) is spending Christmas at her Dad's.

Haleigh was repulsed at the idea of inconveniencing the entire family for one person. Emily was visibly upset as well. Abbey inserted our terrible step mother to-be's name in the song "Mr. Grinch" and I was silent. Yes it was unfair to make everyone wait for one person, but I could see both sides. I would want my family to wait for me.

This request was not what left me standing in shocked silence on the light rail platform on Christmas Eve. It was that my Father was going to treat Christmas like "any other day". He did not insist that we all come up and spend the night to wake up and eat a big breakfast together despite having to wait to open presents. He did not even suggest coming to the house to share a Christmas dinner.

Have you ever been not wanted by somebody? Have you ever been unwanted by one of your parents? On Christmas?

The feeling is core shaking and has made me reconsider who exactly my family is and what it means. My optimistic self quickly contrasted the pros and cons of the situation. I would have more time to finish my hand crafted Christmas presents. My sisters would be heart broken. Wrapping paper would be on sale the day after Christmas. I would wake up on Christmas alone.

My greatest fear, not of spiders or heights, but of spending a holiday alone would consume me. I had the sneaking premonition of what may come, but I had not realized that it would come after a short 21 years.

I am disappointed in my Dad for choosing his new family over his old one. I am disappointed in my sisters for not overcoming the materialistic American ideals of Christmas. I am disappointed in myself for not being able to stand being alone.

Christmas cheer and spirit has escaped the Williams family this holiday season.

Can you help me find it?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

let it snow

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a Christmas adventure...

Every year my Aunt Lani puts on a fabulous event at her house called "Ornament Making Night". Each year we make differently themed ornaments, for instance one year we all decorated clear glass balls, and last year everyone made birds.

This year the theme was snowflakes. Each attendee was given a large sheet of colored paper and a pair of scissors. The craft table was covered in glue, paint, and four different kinds of glitter leaving only your imagination and heart's desire to limit the possibilities of decorating your snowflake.

I love this night because not only do I get to spend time with my family, but there are always littles (little kids) running around the house screaming out with delight at the sight of glitter and paint stuck in the dog's hair, sneaking cookies to the siblings who can't quite reach the counter top, and emitting pure joy for the season. Their innocence takes away the stressors of unfinished shopping and to-do lists by replacing my diminished Christmas spirit.

The snowflake decorating was accompanied by Godiva hot cocoa and lavishly decorated cookies from Barbs Bakery. The night came to a perfect close when the group of littles, moms, aunts, cousins, brothers and sisters gathered around the sparlking Christmas tree in the front room to sing Silent Night by candellight. The off-key, off-pitch, slightly sped up version of the song was the most beautiful rendition I have heard yet, leaving me grinning ear to ear for the remainder of the night.

Tis the season to be grateful for the important things in life.

Friday, December 18, 2009

bar none

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

It's hard when a girl becomes good friends with so many exiting seniors her junior year of college. This does however, make that girl extremely excited when they come back for a visit. My dear friend Josh has come to visit for the weekend and I was able to spend my Thursday night in his presence.

In my opinion he is one the most successful of my friends to gradate. Not in the sense that he has a high paying job, but that he loves what he is doing. Josh is an intern for the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and is placed in National Parks throughout America to work as a park ranger and gain experience. Currently Josh is a ranger for Tonto National Forest and despite living in trailers with mice and having to use a 20 degree bag to stay warm, he is living his dream and couldn't be happier.

I hope to be like him when I grow up.

We agreed to meet up at bar called The Horse and Hound to share stories, play shuffle board, and catch up. After a half hour of visiting and filling each other in on jobs, classes, and significant others (and the lack thereof) we found that it happened to be kareoke night at The Horse and Hound. Our group retreated to the shuffle board to avoid the greasy man with the microphone and his ploys to get us to sing. Halfway through our first game I found not only was I rusty at gliding those little pucks across the wood board, but that the bar was reminiscent of my high school cafeteria.

In one corner sat three or four intense looking guys with long hair, piercings, and tattoos. Across from them at another table was a new graduate with her family celebrating her recent victory over academia. Farther away was a group visiting from New York who seemed out of place sporting their Ralph Lauren Polo shirts in the seedy bar. We were all centered around a foursome in the middle of the bar who appeared to be of redneck nature complete with a Jack Daniels paraphernalia, missing front teeth, and a cut off t-shirt. It was indeed a random sampling of individuals, all of whom seemed to be competing for the title of halfway decent voice.

Our group laughed as the songs slowly became more slurred and intense than before. Somewhere between the smoke break after game one and the rendition of Barbie Girl by the seemingly lost Scottsdale girls nearing the end of game two, Josh and I found ourselves dancing along to the off-key music.

It wasn't long before our partners were swaying along with us at the opposite end of the table. As our dance moves became more complex, so did the competition of the high school cliques. It appeared that the New York crew did indeed have talent, whereas the hardcore Metallica kids couldn't hold a tune. Beer shot up my nose as I tried to stifle the laughter when Josh and his buddy Moses began to mimic redneck couple #1 as they sang their first duet.

As fate (and alcohol) would have it we eventually became victims of our own mockery. Josh signed our little group to sing a version of American Pie originally sang by John Denver. The scene is somewhat fuzzy in my head, but halfway through the lyrics I look over to realize one of the girls in our group was dancing on some tables with the Metallica boys in the back, a large American Indian man was wrestling a microphone away from the greasy kareoke regulator, and the New York crew stared in disbelief as Josh and I belted the last stanza as loud as we could to each other despite the large stunned crowd looking upon us.

Quickly after the song ended our group and the other individuals frequenting the bar decided it was time for us to leave. We danced around, paid our tab, and left the Horse and Hound.

On my way home I couldn't help but smile. I guess that's the stuff great nights are made of.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

oh, christmas tree

Hello my name is Aimee and this is yet another Christmas adventure...

It is Tuesday morning and I slept until 8:00 am (that's when I had to move my car from the meters as to avoid being ticketed) and I am enjoying a little Folger's with Splenda and 2%. (I know it's not Earl Grey from Fair Trade but, hey its Christmastime and Miss Aimee is on a budget!) To be honest, I am still recouperating from my hellish weekend. Before going into detail I will just preface you with this little excerpt:

"YOU ARE RUINING MY CHRISTMAS CHEER!!!!" My sister Bee (aka Haleigh) decided it needed to be announced rather angrily and loudly to the household. This statement pretty much sums up the pathetic attempt on my family's behalf to successfully choose and decorate our tree this year.

The plan had been agreed upon the night before. Bee gets done with mass at 10:00 am on Sundays, so she was going to pick me up (assuming I had hauled myself out of bed in time) and we were going to head to my Dad's condo in north Phoenix where my three sisters, annoying stepsiblings, and terrible stepmother-to-be would be picking out our Christmas Tree and decorating it. There would be happy music, hot cocoa, and a fire roaring in the living room (do not fret, Dad has an actual fireplace).

I wasn't exactly ready on time, which was fine because Bee had bought me a surprise mistletoe from the Cub Scouts and needed to bring it in (woot, woot! Thanks Bee!!!). After powdering my nose we set off in the direction of the 51 North.

Of course I was not surprised when we arrived at my Father's house (as agreed) before noon and no one in the house was showered, dressed, or (in some cases) awake. Fabulous. Instead I was given a grocery list and the care of four little girls to take to the store. After a half hour adventure of which included shouting in the produce section, running down two other Frye's customers with the cart, and an in-depth analysis of toothpaste (specifically the difference between Colgate and Crest, which was $0.30) we had the makings of a mid-west chili and disgust of the entire grocery store.

We arrived back at the condo to learn the household (terrible stepmother-to-be) was not ready for the tree retrieval. It was another hour before we set off in search of the nearest Home Depot. We finally got the show rolling and I was optimistic. Once we got to the tree lot, I was sure everyone's mood would improve.

I was wrong.

The girls could not agree on a tree and the resident hottie tree trimmer was not working this particular Sunday. My family finally agreed on a tree after a full half our of bickering, stomping, and whining. It is tradition for my three little sisters and I to take a picture with my Dad in front of the tree whilst it is strapped atop the car. We crowded around Dad smiling our fabulously cheesy grins we inherited from our grandmother on my Mom's side. I was slightly irritated when my Dad insisted the stepsibling (the other one, whom we changed our tree hunting plans from Saturday to Sunday for, decided not to join us) get in the photo. Apparently I was not as irritated as Abbey was, who promptly reminded our Dad that stepsibling is not his daughter and she shouldn't be in the picture. An awkward 10 seconds later we had a picture of my Dad looking pissed off, Abbey scowling, a look of oblivion from stepsibling, and fake smiles from myself, Bee, and Emmy.

Like most stories, it doesn't get much better from here. The ride home was spent in silence and the loud slam of car doors startled the neighbor boys playing outside of the complex. It was 3:45 and I was exhausted from a long night before with only a huge cup of coffee to keep me going. Abbey's poor attitude stems mostly from a condition called hypoglycemia, which basically means that if we don't feed her every few hours her sugar levels drop causing a wave of crankiness to wash over her. Evidenced by the scene at the Christmas tree lot, I was not the only one in need of something to eat.

Dad started making a pot of chili while my sisters and I huffed and gruffed about not being able to put the Christmas tree in the living room. An escalated conversation later my Dad was even more upset than he had been, I was at my boiling point, pine needles covered the living room floor, and our Christmas tree sat slightly leaning in the front room. Reluctantly I began to wrap the tree with white christmas lights. This has always been my job, since I am more anal about having the perfect amount of light on the tree than anyone else. Traditionally I end up wrapping the tree about two and a half times, the first time I wrap it upside down so the plug is on the wrong side, then it takes me re-wrapping half of the tree to realize I am wrapping it on the wrong side again. Finally, I successfully wrap the entire tree and gather a crowd to watch the lighting of our tree.

I had no patience this particular Sunday for rewrapping a tree we wouldn't even be opening our presents underneath. I put Bee and Abbey in charge of testing the lights and after checking and re-checking the plug several times, I began to wrap the tree. Half an hour later it was intricately laced with white lights. The girls gathered around me as I plugged in our tree. We stood back and all was silent. I squinted and cocked my head to the left. Six strands of white lights and the tree was still not illuminated to my standards. Six usually does it for a 7-foot tree, I always use six. Something was not quite right.

Upon inspection I found that half of three different strands were not lighting up do to broken bulbs. Apparently this slipped by my light-testing duo. I was able to salvage one strand of lights, but could not find replacement bulbs for the other two. I was almost in tears and had no energy to attempt to find working lights, dismantle the tree, and re-wrap it. I walked out of the room as my sisters attempted to convince me to re-do it. My family was bickering, I felt awful, and we couldn't even put the tree where we wanted because my Dad (terrible stepmother-to-be) said no: my Christmas spirit was crushed. It was at the sight of me moping around the kitchen that Haleigh felt it necessary to shout to the entire household that I was indeed, ruining her Christmas cheer.

We rode home in silence and all the while I could only think of years past, in which there was no bickering or fighting but excitment. I vowed to myself that I would never let Christmas be so unhappy again.

Pray for me as I undertake Spreading Christmas Cheer Part II: Christmas Cookie Baking and Decorating this weekend.

Friday, December 11, 2009

mistletoe for one

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a Christmas adventure...

Cheery songs are on the radio, twinkly lights brighten up Mill Avenue, and somewhere in the background I am certain I can hear jingle bells. For it is Christmastime, the most romantic time of the year.

I can't help but get caught up in the jewelry commercials and Mariah Carey's ever popular, "All I want for Christmas Is You". Then it suddenly dawns on me: this year I am single for Christmas. I am committing the second ultimate sin according to my old fashioned family right behind going stag to a wedding (which I did in March. I thought my cousin was going to have a heart attack.)

As I struggle with the idea of not being kissed underneath the mistletoe on Christmas Eve, I assure myself that I cannot be the only single girl for Christmas. But where are all the other head strong women walking through December without holding someone's hand? Movies and music tell us true love will find you on Christmas, even the ten year olds in the JC Penny commercial have someone for Christ sake.

I did a little research on the topic and to my dismay I found that not only will my family spend the holiday's pitying individuals like myself, but that society in general does not approve of the declaration of freedom from a man. Articles such as How to Survive Being Single at Christmas from eHow list ideas for ways single people to spend the holidays. Not only are we single, but now we don't have any friends or families to spend the holidays with? A single person's guide to surviving Christmas: The bar-room bloke is an article that warns men of becoming too intoxicated and hooking up with desperate, not-so-good looking, crazy, single girls at the office.

I have been shamed by 5th graders, cast off by my close friends and relatives, and degraded by the other single individuals at the office. I cannot rationalize the thought of my self worth melting away simply because I am not half of something.

I am taking a stand.

For all the widows, divorced women, and single college girls:

Yes, we may appreciate the help of a man when atop the roof hanging lights, cutting down trees in 20 degree weather, and retrieving heavy boxes full of decorations from the attic. We are allowed to sigh at cheesy commercials, sad Christmas songs, and invitations to holiday parties of which we will attend alone. We can secretly wish for a boy to hold hands and gaze at lights with, that special someone to kiss beneath the mistletoe, and a significant other to wake up next to on Christmas morning. However, it does not mean we are less of a person because of these things. Hold your head high, ladies. While men may add to our lives, they do not define them. Many of us have already done more deeds of bravery than simply facing our families alone during the holidays.

While others look upon us shamefully or try to set us up with their weird estranged cousin Ed, I recall wise words from Marge Piercy, “A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done.”

I'm wishing you all a happy holiday season from beneath the mistletoe alone.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

the not so grand finale

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

There were no hand written letters of affection or grand gestures of love. No conversation or confession of regret. Not even a fleeting glance. Just as he ambled into my life completely by accident smiling all the while, he strode out.

The final exam was less than 25 questions, and as per the advice of Dr. Barry instead of studying I went to dinner. The exam took a half hour to complete and I flashed back to the first grade when I was the first student in our lecture to pack up my bag for the last time and hand in my test.

I thought things would be different somehow, but instead I find myself on an unknown path headed to most uncertain places. This semester I have learned more in my 402 class than I have in any other. Some things are life lessons and others are tricks to get into grad school, either way Dr. Barry has impacted my life far more than she could ever know.

Here is a list of invaluable things I have learned in the wee hours of a Tuesday morning.

1. I function best with caffeine.
2. With a little prodding, Microsoft Excel and I can be friends.
3. Always do your homework the night before the night before.
4. I am a sensitive, hopeless romantic.
5. Not everyone wants to help an ASU student with their research project by filling out a quick survey.
6. It takes longer than one semester for a heart to heal.
7. If you don't catch the train before 7:00 AM you will be late.
8. What matches in the dark doesn't always match under fluorescent light.
9. If you don't understand the material, you're probably the only one.
10. My program has the most supportive and encouraging staff. How lucky am I?

How can the last 15 weeks have gone by so slowly, yet so quickly. The older I become the more I feel time slipping away from me. He's just another boy, I assure myself. The exception is that being on this side of the heart ache has been the real life lesson.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

the last morning

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

Armed with my 49 page assignment I walk into my final stats lecture of the semester. Everyone is excited, a burden has been lifted from the shoulders of the PRM 402 class. The final hour and fifteen minutes is spent reviewing independent and dependent variables and completing teacher evaluations. The final exam is Thursday morning and then the class will officially come to a close. I reflect on my semester of ponytails, hot tea, and cranky mornings.

Some were better than others. For instance, I actually took into consideration my appearance for the first few weeks of the semester. Actually, now that I think about it I would tease my hair and put on a full face of makeup like it was Panhellenic Recruitment. What the heck was I doing?

And then there was the time on the train when I was reading the end of New Moon, the second book of the Twilight series, and suddenly broke into tears only to look up and notice my heartthrob looking at me like I was an alien. I guess I get emotional when I don't get sleep.

Of course I will never forget Dr. Barry keeping me on my toes in every class because she most definitely knew I was not taking extensive notes in cursive and doodles. What a smart lady.

I finally wised up somewhere in late October and realized no one noticed when I woke up ten minutes before having to leave Adelphi in the mornings giving me just enough time to brush my teeth, tie my hair up on the top of my head, and pull on my pink and gray Chi O sweatshirt. Yes, I am indeed the poster child for Greek life.

My fingers will never be the same after a semester of purchasing tea from Fair Trade Cafe. Having to make the walk from the coffee shop to my classroom in Cronkite with beverage in hand pretty much burned my fingerprints off. Fair Trade: check your water temperature!

As I reminisce about the embarrassing and ironic moments of the semester, I can hear my professor ask if anyone has any questions about the final. For no reason whatsoever I become consumed with the all powerful emotion: sadness. I have spent the better half of my semester in statistics complaining about the starting time of the class, other people, and the quality of the tea/pastries at Starbucks but here I am wishing time hadn't passed me by so quickly. Story of my life.

I will spend the next 46 hours or so pretending to study for the kickoff of my finals. And then it really will be the last morning.

Friday, December 4, 2009

goodbye tonsils

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

After years of putting up with strep throat, tonsilitus, and snoring I decided to do something about it. My physician signed off on a referral to the Ear Nose Throat (ENT) doctor and I was on my way. I saw the specialist for maybe three minutes. He came rushing through the door in a whirlwind with a nurse looking like they lost something and couldn't find it. With a quick look down my throat he agreed that the puffed up, infection-attracters had to go. The date was scheduled and I was on my way.

As luck would have it I was the first scheduled surgery of the morning, meaning I had to be in a hospital waiting room at 5 am. Brutal. My Momma and my baby sister Haleigh held my hand in the waiting room and sleepily waved goodbye when I was called back. After short change into a hospital gown complete with matching socks and a fancy hair net I was set to go. Fortunately I almost made it all the way to my bed without showing off my pale JLo booty in the not-so-modest hospital gown.

The nurses helped me into a hospital bed that crinkled when I moved and started the "prep" work. After a few minutes of tying my arm up and slapping the back of my hand the nurse finally got my veins to cooperate enough to get the IV in. After a million medical questions from three different staff members my Mom, Dad, and sister came back to give me wish me good luck one last time. After a few jokes and awkward silences (my parents still struggle with being in the same room) it was time to go. I was kissed and hugged repeatedly until the nurse prodded my anxious family into the waiting room.

As they rolled me toward the OR I could feel the medication start to kick in. It was all I could do to keep myself from giggling. The happy floating sensation made me grin from ear to ear. Once I was in the operating room my ENT asked if I preferred Nickelback or Britney Spears. I chose the lesser of two evils and in an instant Womanizer was blaring. The last thing I remember is the anesthesiologist and my ENT singing and dancing around the room. I laughed to myself thinking if I never woke up it would be an ironic way to die.

About 40 minutes later I did wake up. Frenzied nurses fluttered around me checking vitals and adding more medication to my IV. Everything was so loud, my ears were buzzing painfully. The anesthesiologist walked by and asked if my throat hurt.

Really? He had just watched a 5'5" balding, Jewish man cauterize the tonsils and adenoids out of my throat.

Just as I was about to make a smart remark an uncontrollable urge came over me. No one had thought about what was going to happen after an hour of continually adding saline solution and medication to my system. I had to pee.

Instead of acknowledging the doctor's ridiculous question I told the nurse to my left that I needed to use the restroom. Puzzled the nurses looked to the dense man at the foot of my bed. He advised using a bed pan since I was still connected to an IV and a heart monitor.

Okay, crazy face.

The nurses started to look around before I started to assure them I could do it myself. There was no freaking way I was going to use a bed pan. I need to go to the bathroom, I said again more loudly than the first time. The nurse in charge informed me once again that I would be using a bed pan.

That was it.

Due to the small capacity of my bladder, when I decide I have to go I have about 120 seconds to get to the nearest bathroom before performing the potty dance. I started to scream. Not five minutes after waking up with the worst sore throat of my life I was screaming at the top of my lungs. Like a broken record I could only repeat two phrases over and over. I have to go to the bathroom, and I am not using a bed pan. The nurses seemed flustered but no one was helping.

I took matters into my own hands and tried to leap out of bed. To my dismay I found that I couldn't move as quickly when heavily medicated, and that forcibly ripping the sticky pads from my chest and back used to help monitor my heart was extremely painful. The nurses finally gave in and started to disconnect me from the many cords stemming from my arms and chest. They helped me into the bathroom and after assuring them I could sit down by myself I was given 20 seconds reprieve from the forceful bunch. I was promptly invaded after I finished and they helped me dress back into the pajamas I had worn to the hospital earlier that morning.

I wasn't allowed to walk by myself, despite insisting I was fine. I was placed in a recliner after the bathroom episode until my parents and sister came to collect me. Haleigh ended up puking at the sight of my demeanor. My matted hair and pale face paired with the nurse ripping the IV out of my arm and splattering blood everywhere (I kind of deserved it...) was too much for her to handle. In an instant I was in a wheelchair and on my way to the car. I tried to tell my Dad how evil the nurses had been, but I was scolded for talking and eventually gave up.

I learned something about myself that morning. Not only can I be extremely stubborn and somewhat obnoxious, I am extremely strong willed. Before going in for the tonsillectomy my Dad had shared with me the story of having his appendix removed. He laughed at recalling how ornery he had been to the nurses. We came to the conclusion that anesthesia brings out who you really are. I'm relieved to learn I am endeared with such qualities, even under the influence of powerful drugs.

I just hope those same qualities will get me through finals week....

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

There is a fine line to walk when dealing with the not-so-popular virtue of selfishness. There are those individuals more like myself who are continually over-committing themselves to various projects and organizations, giving their all to the university, their community, and others. Some individuals, such as the boy on my heart, do not struggle with this. Putting thier needs and wants at the forefront in almost every situation is natural and as a result they come off as inconsiderate of others and their feelings, putting menial tasks before relationships thinking of only one person the entire time: themself.

How can these two very different types of people share a healthy, successful relationship? Lately the balance of give and take has faulted into me giving and my counterpart either taking without reciprocation or just blatantley ignoring the entire situation. Am I forced to muddle through life dating boy after boy worrying whether or not they find playing Call of Duty 2 more important than maintaining a relationship? Is their a healthy balance?

Being objective, I try to place myself in his shoes. Here he is sashaying through life without a care in the world when, for unknown reasons, he is attracted to me. Perhaps my lack of selfishness misconstrued itself into being a pushover; the timid girl with no backbone, one who gets stuck doing what everyone else leaves for her.

In an ideal world everything works out. We have a Come to Jesus talk and learn from each other. I learn to say no and make time for myself and he realizes that Xbox Live isn't more important than date night. We walk off into the sunset holding hands.

Unfortunately, things are not always ideal. The sun is hiding behind the clouds today and he hates holding my hand. I suppose the lesson of selfishness is to find the balance that allows you to do things for others while having time to finish all my homework and get seven hours sleep at night.

Now I am forced to make a decision; continue along this path until one of us drives the other insane or be a little selfish and let him go.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

i wish you fit in my pocket

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

6:20 am: I can smell you on my pillow, but when I reach across the bed to find you you are not there. I felt the warmth of you next to me and heard the in and out of your steady breath but I know it is just a dream when my alarm pierces the air. I am alone and it is still dark outside. Of course you aren't here: it's Tuesday morning.

7:27 am: By some act of God, I have made it to class on time.

7:45 am: My lips are chapped, my throat is throbbing, and my feet feel like ice cubes against my legs through my jeans. A cold front is making its way to Phoenix, something I could feel walking from building to building making my way to the light rail. I am being warmed by the computer lab in which my 7:30 am statistics lab takes place. My feet are still cold. I wish you were here to hold my hand.

8:50 am: Campus is more alive now than it was an hour ago, this is evidenced by students and faculty bustling by in newly dusted off and aired out sweatshirts/jackets/coats. I'm headed to Starbucks to use the last of my gift card until after Christmas. I silently note to myself that I need to inform Santa that I much prefer Fair Trade Cafe. The coffee shop is busy but I don't mind, I hum along to a background melody I have never heard but I immediately like because it sounds like winter and reminds me of Christmas. After scanning the pastry counter I decide on a croissant and order it with an Earl Grey tea. The atmosphere around me is exciting and cheery. Winter makes me happy. I am glad it is finally arriving.

9:15 am: I have decided that there are people who must like hard crusty croissants. Why would Starbucks make or serve them if everyone liked soft ones?

9:27 am: I've just been caught doodling by Dr. Barry and I am now explaining to the class something about my survey. I cannot recall the question so I will continue to babble until she seems satisfied.

9:35 am: My mind is wandering again. I cannot seem to make myself focus for more than a minute. Concentration comes slow when I can feel my classmates questioning eyes on my face. Instead I dream about far away things. I imagine it is Christmas time and it is snowing outside. Twinkle lights are everywhere and nothing but pure love and joy overwhelms me. We ice skate in the park and marvel at the Christmas decorations found all over the city. I wonder if Dr. Barry would consider playing Jewel's version of Silent Night quietly in the background during class for the remainder of the semester.

10:15 am: Relief washes over me. We have been dismissed for another week.

Monday, October 26, 2009

my my mondays

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

The best part of Monday night is staying up late so I sleep through statistics tomorrow morning (Don't worry Dr. Barry I'm just kidding). Normally I have a Monday night ritual it goes like this:

1. Get off the light rail around 5:20ish and book it to Adelphi
2. Powder my nose, pull my hair back, and grab the GIANT book of Chi Omega rules and rush to meeting.
3. Sit through Chapter meeting until 8:00 or so.
4. Walk home with Sara my suite mate and have dinner!

(#4 is always the best part)

but today Sara had to go work on a group project in the library (she's super scholarly) so I'm hanging around in my super cute Target panties with the paper crown on my head listening to my most favorite songs at the moment. It's taking me about an hour longer than it should to write this blog because I am often inspired to jump up and dance around my room.

The lock flipped! Sara's back and that means that it is time to eat left overs from momma's house (ranch hand beef on bratwurst buns!).

This calls for a pirouette!

let's normalize spinal cord injuries

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

This week in my PRM 364 class we are discussing neuromuscular disorders. One topic that has come up is spinal cord injury. Did you know that the average age of a person with a spinal cord injury (SCI) is 28? Seventy-eight percent of these individuals are male and only 25%-32% of all individuals with a spinal cord injury ever return to work. What can we do to change these statistics and integrate individuals with SCI?

First and foremost adaptive recreation information should be given to these individuals upon diagnosis of SCI. We should take into consideration what their interests are and what they did for recreation before their injury to help pursue some adaptive recreation opportunities. Not only should be educate the individual with the disability, but we should educate mainstream society. This can be done by integrating individuals with SCI into leagues or on teams that are not specifically designed for disabled individuals but open to everyone.

Recreation is not the only thing we should take into consideration. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires wheel chair ramps, elevators, and accessible parking (just to name a few) be present in buildings. Consideration for individuals in wheelchairs should not stop there. We should think about the width of walkways and how truly accessible things are. Teaching our youth through example and integration will help them to be more understanding and accepting of individuals with disabilities.

As far as integration into the work force goes, individuals should be required to go through a program that assists with the acceptance of their SCI and helps them locate opportunities for work. Whether or not the individual needs to return to the workforce for monetary reasons, they should still attempt to work a part time job to surround themselves with others. I feel this will help in the healing process and adjustment.

While these are just a few suggestions, acceptance can start now with each and every one of us. I challenge you imagine yourself with a spinal cord injury. What would you change?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

only 7 more weeks...

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

It is difficult to create a series when my professor knows about it. This week in my stats class I was fighting unconsciousness (even accompanied by a croissant and my favorite cup of breakfast tea) while reviewing the midterm. Unfortunately, I had nothing to contribute to the discussion. I know what I got right, I know what I got wrong and I know why. I was overly exhausted from a late night chat session with my suite mate. Lately we've been pondering serious things in life. Like what to do with relationships upon graduation. And less important things like formal dresses.

I found that I have had a difficult time in accomplishing what I intend to. For instance, while formal dress shopping I was channeling Jackie Kennedy but I ended up walking out of the dressing room in enough polyester and sequins to be confused with Cher Bono. Great. Of course my mom insisted I have it. While I have spent the greater part of my week trying to locate accesories for this ensemble, I have yet to find anything Jackie Kennedy would be caught dead in.

I had the same type of terrible confusion as I was at Fair Trade ordering my morning tea and butter breakfast bite. A vision of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly standing in front of Tiffany's with a coffee and croissant flashed in my mind. It was seconds before I was envisioning my own self as eloquent as Holly. My black cardigan made for a sorry replica of her sleek black formal gown and my hair piled on my head was more of a rats nest (as my mother would say) than an up do. In place of her jeweled tiara, I had a jeweled bobby pin. Despite the vast differences I felt uplifted at the thought of ever-so-slightly resembling Audrey Hepburn. I danced up the stairs into Civic Space Park and waited at the light to cross to the Cronkite building. As I was waiting the lightrail zoomed past flashing my reflection back at me and I became all too aware of my appearance. Nothing close to Audrey Hepburn. At all.

Irritated with myself about my ever greasy/unkempt/rats nest appearance is stalked across the street avoiding eye contact with everyone and plunked down in my chair in class. Third row from the back on the right side up against the wall. To punish me for dozing in class Dr. Barry called on me at the most inopportune moments (if it wasn't for her, I may have been snoring in class- embarassing!) but thankfully I pulled it together and only after a few moments of silence I was able to answer the question(s) correctly.

Whew. Another week of statistics down.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

i came, i studied, i applied myself

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

I was unable to doodle in statistics this morning, since we had our midterm. It was a double whammy of sorts, as we had both a lab midterm and a lecture midterm. To my surprise I buzzed through both exams without a doubt in any answer. This is either a great thing, or an absolutely terrible thing. I suppose we will find out later in the week.

I feel as if I have had a fifty pound weight lifted off my shoulders. I completed my last midterm exam this afternoon. Five exams in 26 hours nearly killed me, but thanks to a great lab partner (Derrick, you're awesome!) and Dutch Bros. I pulled through. Now that my shoulders feel lighter my stomach is turning in anticipation of my grades.

I keep thinking about how this is my last year as an undergraduate student at Arizona State University. This is my last fall semester to walk Palm Walk and watch the leaves change. The Fall 2009 Panhellenic recruitment was my last as a Chi Omega in the Psi Epsilon Chapter. I will participate in Homecoming just one more time as a member and president of the Parks and Recreation Student Association. I am influencing the some of the last groups of prospective students as a Devils' Advocate. It doesn't feel like I imagined it would. Perhaps that comes later in the spring. For now I feel overwhelmed and tired. I do not feel ready to embrace the world, and I don't know that the world is quite ready for someone like me.

I try to remember what I was doing last year at this time. It feels as if my outward appearance is still recognizable, but that the girl inside is completely different. I'm not sure which way is up. My unfaltering (and somewhat fickle) faith in all that is good and pure allows me to give my heart away, but my insecurities keep me from wearing it on my sleeve. It is often that I wake up and think "what am I doing"?! Maybe I should go back to junior year.

On the upside, midterms create a lack of homework. I shall spend the week catching up on PRSA/Chi Omega/Blog stuff. And reading The Time Traveler's Wife. And if I get ambitious enough I'll lay in the grass in the Civic Space park and watch the clouds float by.

If you're celebrating the end of midterms or just need a study break we can cloud gaze together.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

i'm 0 for 5

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

1. irrational women should not drive pick-up trucks

2. date passionate men, not boys who pretend to care

3. study before the weekend before the exam

4. give your soul to a cause that will give back

5. count your blessings while everyone else is counting their troubles

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

mermaids and daydreams

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

I am sitting in class sipping my Tazo Tea from Starbucks feeling like a sellout. I gave into the man instead of supporting my local economy. Damn gift cards. The venti cup reminds me of Burger King, as it proclaimes, "We Don't Just Want To Make Your Drink. We Want To Make Your Day. It's Not Just Coffee. It's Starbucks."

Of course, the gorgeous mermaid on the cup wins me over. Her thick curly hair and (what I imagine to be) sparkly star crown line her simple angular face that looks out with a welcoming curiosity. Her wide hips flow perfectly into her scaled mermaid fin looking voluptuous and womanly giving me (and every wide-hipped woman) hope that one day I too can be perceived as graceful and feminine. While Dr. Barry flits excitedly around the classroom buzzing about research projects I can feel my mind start to drift.

Today I am past exhaustion and have no chance of accidentally falling asleep, so I am able to intently focus on my energetic professor while daydreaming. I decide my tea is too strong, a result of Starbucks using two tea bags instead of just one, like Fair Trade does. I also come to the conclusion that statistics brings out my creative side which explains my daydreaming, doodling, and blogging (at least the rough draft on paper). Maybe it's the stimulation of caffeine. Either way I cannot bring myself to look at the left half of the room, for fear my entire strong front will be demolished in one sweeping glance. My goodness I need to get a hold of my emotions.

I start to think about last night, standing in line at an ATM with my vivacious best friend when the cute boy behind us starts mindless chatter in my direction. The tall blond haired boy had a t-shirt and shorts on, making me feel silly for wearing a cardigan. His smile was generous and his eyes kind. The thick blond hair on his face formed a short beard around his lovely features. Just as quickly as he had said hello we were done and on our way to the parking garage. Immediately after bursting through the doors I whispered how cute he was. "He reminds me of that boy you used to see," my confidant quipped. I kept rolling the words over in my head. And it is precisely reasons like these why I cannot look across the walk way.

Without anymore time to elaborate on the subject I am sucked back into the lecture when I feel thirty sets of eyes on my blushing complexion and Dr. Barry looking encouragingly my direction. I continue to write for just a moment more while scrounging for an answer to the question I just tuned out. Qualitative....correlational....ordinal variables.... I know we're discussing our research projects but what was the question?

I want to point to the other half of the room looking for an answer, but I'll just stare back at my professor confused about everything-as normal.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

greasy haired tuesdays

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

As I was crossing central this morning with a latte in my right hand and a toasty Chompie's bagel in the left, I found myself channeling urban chic Barbie. Well, if Barbie had greasy hair and was sporting the same pair of jeans for the third time this week. Nevertheless, the smell of my everything bagel put a bounce in my step.

Lately attending my PRM 402 class has become quite the challenge for many reasons. The first and most obvious being that it begins at 7:30 am downtown, meaning I must be out of my front door by 6:40 am to arrive on time (hence the perpetually greasy hair on Tuesdays). Secondly, the class subject is on statistics a subject I find extremely fascinating yet difficult to grasp. There is also the feeling of being on edge constantly. I feel if I react too quickly, or the wrong word is said tears will come streaming down my face immediately and with no warning. Could this be because I am nearing the end of the Twilight series and I cannot stand to know whether Bella gets her happy ending? Is it because I am over tired thus irrationally reacting to the smallest of gestures by my peers and professors? Am I harboring some feelings of hurt and regret that statistics happens to pull out of me? Despite the reason (we may never know) I was pleasantly surprised to find myself chugging cheerfully along to my lecture.

Of course, all happy stories must come to an end as mine did once Dr. Barry started in on qualitative vs. quantitative research. I looked around the room and realized I was the only person failing to nod in agreement or look enlightened, something I am thankful that Dr. Barry did not notice. Then it hit me; I may not be near as fashionable (or gorgeous) as the never-aging 60 year old but I had become the Barbie of 402. A deep fear settled in the pit of my stomach, and the bagel and cream cheese (the real Barbie would never be able to consume cream cheese) I had so anxiously snacked on was swirling around causing a wave a nausea to wash over me. Not only was I not understanding, but my semester long project was also looking like a lost, hopeless cause. Close to what I must have looked like in the third row from the back, sitting alone.

For the duration of class all I could think was, "Help! Someone get me back to Malibu!!!"

Monday, September 28, 2009

professional interview

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

For my PRM 364 class we were asked to interview a professional in the field, someone who has already received their CTRS. I chose Suzanne Prosser, a recreational therapist that works at the Arizona State Hospital in the civil unit. She specializes in mental health, specifically in adults. One of the things I found particularly interesting was Suzanne's ability to program as she saw fit. Her organization gives her the resources to create many different programs for all types of people. Her greatest joy was working with an individual that other staff members had already been working with, but to no avail. Suzanne finally reached the client through one of her programs and was able to receive a response from her client. "That's what makes it worth it", she told me.

Speaking with Suzanne really showed me the endless possibilities TR truly has to offer. Being creative and really knowing the clients helps her to make a difference in their recreational experience. She emphasized that much of her knowledge she has, was gained in the same program I am in now. I hope to utilize the knowledge as much as Suzanne and make a difference in the lives of others.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

therapeutic recreation process

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life (therapeutic rec) adventure...

The therapeutic recreation process is an overall simple concept, but implementation requires discipline, knowledge, and patience. I like to think of therapeutic rec as a never ending cycle that is continually striving for betterment of the patient. The APIE process is instrumental and the heart and soul of therapeutic recreation.

The first step is to assess the patient. This is the time to take into account their needs, strengths, and interests. It is through these three things that patient goals and objectives will be decided.

The planning process is strategic and extremely vital to achieving set goal(s) and objectives. This is the time to correctly place patients in appropriate programs and settings for rehabilitation. Also if any programming needs to be adapted, this is the time to make those accommodations.

Implementation of the plan is simply that. Putting all the plans into place and working with the patient to achieve the set goal(s) and objectives.

Evaluation is the most crucial part of the therapeutic recreation process. It is the step that continues the cycle and allows for improvement and adjustment. During this step the goal(s) and objectives are evaluated to see how effective programming and implementation are. After evaluation, re-assessment of the patient and their goal(s) and objectives takes place restarting the cycle.

In conjunction with APIE the therapeutic recreation process allows development within patients by focusing on individual strengths and interests. Maintaining a positive attitude and atmosphere are key to improvement and growth.

Friday, September 11, 2009

river rampage expeditions

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

In my PRM 364 class I am taking this semester we are currently discussing the topic of inclusion. Part of this week's assignment was to share a resource or a program with the class that is associated with adaptive recreation. To be honest, I am not currently associated with any organization that does adaptive recreation so I decided to do a little research. Upon visiting the City of Phoenix's website I found several programs offered for individuals with limitations as well as at-risk youth. Many of these programs integrate the two different groups into one.

The program I would like to share is called River Rampage Expeditions. It is a program that allows both at-risk youth and individuals with limitations to spend seven days working together as a team to get down a river. The selection process is unique, as participants are not asked to pay for the trip, but to perform a set amount of community service hours in return. I love that the program integrates individuals from all different backgrounds in conjunction with volunteers to spend a week together working as a team. This truly exemplifies the meaning of inclusion.

More adaptive programs through the City of Phoenix can be found here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

oh, bugger

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

Bad news kids. I think I have caught some sort of sore-throat, runny-nose, itchy-eye, body-aching, head-pounding, sneezing thing. To sum it up I feel terrible, but here I am blogging away. I believe catching this bug is a result of spending almost every waking hour of the past labor day weekend with my Chi Omega sisters and all of the Panhellenic community on the second floor of the Memorial Union on the Tempe Campus recruiting new members. After shaking what seems like hundreds of hands (this is probably close to accurate) and getting no more than 15 hours of sleep the entire weekend I am (exhausted) and proud to announce that we have 50 brand new baby hooters!!! (For those of you with no Greek Life experience "baby hooters" are what Chi Omegas at Arizona State call their new members. They are referred to baby hooters until they are initiated and become an active in the chapter.)

I knew I was starting to become irrational from the lack of sleep, aching muscles, and anticipation on Tuesday morning on the way to class. I was running late (of course, who ever heard of Aimee Williams being on time for anything?) and hopped on the light rail with crazy curly hair from the day before and my bid day shirt proudly exclaiming I was a Chi Omega. Lately I have become enraptured with the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer, so I sat in the first seat I saw and shoved my nose into New Moon, the second of four books. I was toward the end of the book and came upon a part in which I thought was breathtakingly romantic. Apparently a little too breathtaking. My heart sped up and my eyes began to water. I was in shock. For one I couldn't believe that I was crying over a series I had once accused of being "too mainstream" and second it was much to early for me to be contemplating whether or not I would ever meet my Edward.

I hardly had myself composed when I arrived Downtown for my 7:30 class five minutes late. After being greeted by my first name (it's super embarrassing when professors do that, especially when you're late) I took the first seat I could find and tried to swallow the basics of statistics.

This is where I would like to interject the story and bring up the age old question: why do we run into absolutely everyone we know when we look/smell terrible? I can go a week of looking decent, my hair fairly smooth and under control and not super sweaty and not see a soul, but when my hair is bigger than my face and I'm pouring sweat I run into ex-boyfriends, awkward acquaintances, and the super hot guy from the gym. It's absolutely unfair, can't fate ever be on my side?

Not only did my weekend leave me sleepless, it left me homework-less. Apparently I missed an updated syllabus and a discussion board. Turns out I was a proposal and 3 pages of my biology coloring book short. I know I have all semester to turn my grade around, but I can't help but be completely aggravated, especially when I cling to my fairly decent GPA for scholarships.

Needless to say my week has gotten off to a rough start. I'm hoping to get some decent sleep (the doctor gave me codeine!) so I don't fall to pieces every time Edward confesses his undying love. Or when I hear a sad love song on Pandora (cause that happened too).

Friday, September 4, 2009

strength and motivation

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

For an assignment in my PRM 400 class we were asked to visit a website discussing positive psychology and take a strengths and virtues questionnaire. This is what I found out.

My biggest strength is citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty. According to the survey I am extremely loyal to my team and I will work hard for the successes of my team. I think this will be extremely helpful in the field of Therapeutic Recreation. So often job requirements are that the individual attend all staff meetings, workshops, and even staff outings. By being a strong team member I will not only be enthused to participate, but hopefully I can inspire our group to work effectively and diligently with our patients to reach their goals.

My second best strength is what the website referred to as kindness and generosity. The qualities listed in this category are: never being too busy to do a favor, doing favors for individuals I do not know well, and enjoying doing good deeds. I believe it is this quality that led me to Therapeutic Recreation in the first place. I remember when I told my family that I wanted to add TR to my degree they weren't very supportive, especially when I told them I wanted to focus my work in psychiatric wards. My mentality on the subject is that we need someone to work with the mentally ill population and if I'm willing to do it, why not? Individuals in my family have had to be hospitalized in the past and if it weren't for the phenomenal staff, our family would've fell apart. I want to be a support for families like mine, dealing with similar situations.

Assessing my individual strengths has shown me the possible benefits of knowing my patients strengths. By capitalizing on things they love to do, are good at, or feel important doing I can help them reach goals they have set for themselves while utilizing their strengths in doing so. It seems that people are passionate about their strengths. For instance in my case I am a strong group member who likes to do good things for others so I want to work as part of a team to help others reach their goals. If I know what motivates my patients or what they are passionate about, I can help them do what they love while living up to who they want to be.

Friday, August 28, 2009

lovely. luring. lane

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

I know I talk about my family especially the ones that I am biologically related to, but it occurred to me that I have yet to talk about my Chi Omega family. No, these are not the girls I shared a womb with, but that minute detail does not make them less important. Without further ado I would like to introduce my four faithful followers, Arizona State, and everyone else to my little sister, Lane.

Isn't she pretty? This was taken at a Chi Omega workshop (check out our sweet tees!) very early in the morning.

If I were to tell you all about Lane you would just get tired of reading and just want to meet her already, so I'm going to highlight just the tip of the iceberg of this phenomenal young woman I am proud to call my fellow Sundevil, friend, and sister.

The love affair between Lane and I began in the summer of 2005 at Pecos Pool where we both worked as life guards. At first the ambitious, over zealous attitude she exuded struck me as both obnoxious and annoying. Little did I know that just four short years later we would share a bond stronger than any friendship. Over the course of the next four summers I came to appreciate Lane's initiative she took on not only at work, but in her life. In attendance of a friend's graduation I realized that it was Lane's ceremony as well. That night she was named Valedictorian of her class and won her high school award Lady Knight of the Year, one of the highest honors that can be achieved by St. Mary students. Since then, Lane has continually lived up to greatness.

Last spring semester I convinced Lane to join the Greek community and she became one of the best additions to Chi Omega. I was thrilled to find that she upheld the same standards, morals, and ethics of the Fraternity and that she wanted me to be her big sis(!!!!). In just one semester she has espoused Chi Omega teachings and exemplified the ideal member. Classy always, intelligent, loyal, trustworthy, respectable, and beautiful are at the core of my unbelievable little sis. What makes her so unique, is that her qualities aren't limited to a standard list of adjectives that everyone considers themselves to be. Lane is spunky and she makes me laugh. She's not the best dancer, but she get out there and have a good time anyway. She has an old soul, but is young at heart. She is continually on the Dean's List, but always has time for a friend. Without her my Chi Omega experience would not be complete.

I hope everyone has the chance in their lives to meet someone as captivating as my little sis. It is people like her that make life worth living. I love you little!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

looking back

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

As a new school year comes upon us, so does Fall Welcome Week. While I have many mixed emotions about the spastic, somewhat unorganized weekend events every year I get talked into volunteering at multiple events to help our newest ASU additions move in to their dorms, learn our fight song, play games and win prizes, and of course help them find their classes. Despite the sunburn and heat exhaustion I usually suffer from, I always walk away with swelling pride for the old maroon and gold and an obnoxious volunteer shirt. While my heart and tee shirt drawer are bursting at the seems, I find myself wondering if these freshman will appreciate their Fall Welcome experience enough to pass on the tradition to yet another group of confused and anxious individual next fall.

Just this past Friday the StAR's were asked to share some of our experiences with the incoming freshman on the Downtown Campus. We each were asked four questions related to our individual freshmen experiences, and our current programs. I was so excited about this being my first official StAR event that I thought I would share my answers and experiences with you.

What’s one memorable experience that you had as a freshman or new student at ASU?

Actually, to be honest I never had that memorable moment or what others refer to it as a "Sun Devil moment" during my freshman year. It took me to my junior year to realize exactly what I was part of. I will never forget the feeling that consumed me, I felt elated. My hairs rose on the back of my neck and goosebumps covered my arms. A long standing Homecoming tradition at Arizona State is the Lantern Walk, an activity I had never participated in until the fall of 2008. That Friday night I lit a candle and walked with my friends, acquaintances, and other members of the Greek community to the top of "A" Mountain. At the top we had a moment of silence and during the deafening absence of sound I looked out at the people that surrounded me. Next to me were my friends from the Parks and Recreation Student Association and Chi Omega sisters. In the distance Devils' Advocates and Undergraduate Student Government participants could be spotted. The glow of the candlelight lit up the faces of ASU alumnae and their children. At this moment, surrounded by these individuals I felt that I was more that just a number, but part of a close knit community. It felt like I was home.

Think back to when you started at ASU, what do you know now that you wish you knew back then?

When I started here at Arizona State I was an undeclared/exploratory student, so I saw many advisors who all told me different things. One thing they failed to mention was that I had not been taking enough credits to graduate on time. You would think that I would have done the math, (120 credits/8 semesters=15 credits per semester) but I hadn't. I've had to work hard at getting back on track, so make sure you're taking at least 15 credit hours every semester!

What advice would you give freshman on how to succeed as a student?

I always find myself giving advice to prospective students on my tours. The thing I find myself reiterating the most is to become involved. My freshman year I lived at home, so I was unable to meet people in residential halls and I was far too shy to meet anyone in class. (I know what you're thinking, but I really was shy.) To avoid feeling disconnected from the University and my peers I joined the Greek community my fall semester and went out for Devils' Advocates in the spring. I accredit much of my success then and now to becoming involved. I know walking backwards isn't for everyone, but freshman should find something their passionate about and find others on campus who care about those same things. ASU boasts over 700 student clubs and organizations, the chances are that you'll be interested in one of them!

Why did you choose your current program?

Like I mentioned before, I was once an exploratory student so I haven't always been in the School of Community Resources and Development. My path to the Parks and Recreation world was a unique one. I was being pressured by advisors and my parents to declare a major so my cousin suggested taking CED 250, career development. I found the class interesting as it allowed me to explore my interests and who I am as an individual, before I chose my career. Through a series of exercises I found the SCRD and Parks and Recreation Management. The rest, as I like to say, is history.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

Wednesday was the day. I anxiously left work and sped home. I skipped shaving my legs in the shower and let my hair air dry to save time. After applying the bare minimum (concealer and mascara) I shoved a sandwich down my throat and headed for the hospital.

My closest girlfriend from high school had delivered her twin babies two weeks early and after a few days of observation visitors were allowed in to see the life she had created. She met me at the fourth floor elevators and walked me down the hall to the preemie nursery. In two little incubators laid Valerie and Viviana, who were just four days old. She had told me on the phone the babies were both around 4lbs at birth, but I had no idea how small they would be. It was incredible to see my girlfriend beaming over the two sleeping babies. Then it occurred to me, my girlfriend and I had graduated in the same class together; her and I are the same age.

I began to get that very terrified feeling in the pit of my stomach, the very same one I got when I had thrown her bridal shower two and a half years earlier. These life changes forced me to think about where my life is heading. The brave woman on my right was married with two children and I have trouble finding someone to commit to a movie date. I started to wonder, how accomplished am I? Don't get me wrong, I am extremely proud of how far I have come. I am getting ready to start my senior year with plans of graduating next May and have no student loans (knocking on wood) as of yet. So while I am not yet a wife and mother, I have done something fairly productive with my time.

Our two different situations has me thinking about how much the role of a woman has and has not changed in society. While women are now more successful than ever, (read about it at Men's Health, ironic right?) I can't help but feel my worth as an individual reduced because of my life choices. I am one of the only unmarried females I graduated high school with in May 2006, my cousins and aunts ponder out loud at family events why it is that I am single, and my mother constantly reminds me "when she was my age she had a husband and two little girls to care for". I appreciate the concern expressed by my family and friends from long ago, but at what point are they crossing the line from worried into rude?

While my ambitious attitude toward education is being doubted by my family, I'm going to hunker-down this next year and get my Bachelor's degree despite what anyone says. After I achieve success in the education system then maybe, just maybe I'll think about being a successful wife and mother.

flight M0V1N6 0U7 leaving NOW

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

It's official, summer is finally over. Walls are barren, donation bags are sitting by the front door, and there isn't a visible surface anywhere in my Dad's apartment. Yes friends, my sister and I have spent the last week and a half attempting to organize and pack our lives into just a few little boxes that will fit neatly beneath our extra long twin mattresses for the next nine months. As suspected, Haleigh is almost completely packed and has even organized her DVD's and CD's into funky IKEA boxes while my belongings are still heavily attacking the dining room table and surrounding floor space. Tuesday night my younger sister did a brave thing. She sat in the living room with me as I unpacked old shoe boxes full of memories, and attempted to repack them into boxes marked "Adelphi". Being my closest sister, she held my hand through the ugly; handed me tissues through the sad; and laughed at the rest. Although emotional we spent the night saying goodbye to old boyfriends, throwing out old birthday wishes, and remembering the best parts of the past. Even with all the headway made, I still have a long way to go.

Fortunately for me this will be my third (and final) time moving into Adelphi, officially deeming me an expert at maneuvering my black futon up the L-shaped staircase to my room. I must confess how dissappointed I am in myself, as I had but one goal this summer: to have a boyfriend (preferably with a truck) by move-in day so I would avoid a large amount of manual labor. However it seems I underestimated the force of girl power. It is with the help of my sister and vivacious friend that I hope to be moved in by Tuesday.

While this isn't my first rodeo, it feels foreign. I am making the trek back to the place I've called home for most of my college experience for the last time. I know at the end of the year that the goal is to move into my own place as opposed to back into my Dad's. Another factor hanging over my head is my sister Haleigh's transition into college and onto the ASU Tempe Campus. This move seems to bear more finality because of these things. Writing this article, I can't help but be nostalgic. I feel as if I am finally flying the nest, for good.

As I near the decent into adulthood I contemplate the changes of summer and day dream of what the future has in store. Until I arrive I will spend my time making memories, living for the moment, and oh yeah... packing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

i'm gonna make you love me?

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

In November of 1968 Diana Ross and the Supremes joined forces with the Temptations to release the classic love song "I'm gonna make you love me". The song became a success shooting to the top of the charts and landing in the #2 spot on the Billboard 100. I first heard the song when I was 8 years old. It happened to be number 10 on the Now and Then soundtrack, a movie and cassette tape my sister, cousin, and I became obsessed with. Not only did the twelve simple songs on the tape become a staple on road trips, but the soundtrack to our childhood.

Most recently I popped the CD (we had to break down a few years ago and buy the compact disk, as we no longer owned a car that played cassette tapes) to brighten up my day. It was possibly the first time I have ever listened to the words I have belted at the top of my lungs for the last 13 years. I contemplated the meaning behind these short and seemingly simple tunes I had allowed to guide my adolescence. Driving down Pecos Road with sweat dripping down my face and hot air rustling my hair I wondered, can you really make someone love you?

Music legendaries Diana Ross, Eddie Kendricks, and Otis Williams uttered the phrase with such confidence that it seems not only possible, but effortless. Forty one years after the original release of the song I am attempting to answer the inane question of whether love can be forced from an individual.

Being a romantic at heart, I can't help but adore the promising lyrics and hope for a happy ending. I am quickly brought back to earth when considering the logistics of making one fall in love. Was the song simply referring to the process of two people falling for each other through small romantic acts of affection, or does it apply to one individual consciously targeting another?

Either way I was sucked back into the 7th grade once I heard Ms. Ross coo "I'm gonna use every trick in the book, Ill try my best to get you hooked". For it was in junior high that I developed a crush on Ryan Estrada, an unobtainable love; for he had feelings for another girl in the class below us. Despite how much time I spent on my ponytail or that I was allowed to wear clear mascara he never reciprocated my feelings. Painful at first, I slowly mended my broken heart and learned that I couldn't make Ryan love me. Embarrassingly so, I still have a crush on him to this day, something that I will probably never fully get over.

Perhaps the dynamic duo of The Temptations and Diana Ross and the Supremes sang to characterize the uncontrollable feeling of intense emotion felt when two people fall in love. For instance, Ryan made me fall in love with his goofy smile and corny jokes. He didn't purposely or maliciously tempt my heart.

Just recently I experienced yet another unsuccessful attempt at love. Just as my futile tactics failed me in 7th grade, my homework help and baked goods this time around did not win my way to his heart. I guess it's my turn to sit back and let someone else attempt the seemingly impossible. One of these days a boy will come along and sing to my heart....

I'm gonna make you love me. And I just might let him.

Monday, August 3, 2009

a broken home

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure (or tragedy rather)...

I was walking through Michaels on one of my many craft binges and found a scrap booking accessory. It was the word family spelled out in all lowercase letters. The sparkly light green word looked so pretty that I imagined what it would look in a book of memories. Only I couldn't think of what picture I would put on the page with it. Growing up I have many memories of the ill-defined term 'family'. It doesn't necessarily mean the people I am biologically related to, but the ones that matter the most in my life. In 21 years I cannot recall as much change within our family as I have seen in the last year. While this has enabled me to accomplish the most growth as a person I can ever remember, it has also left me feeling empty and alone.

When did the time arrive that I no longer wished to live with my parents but, to only see them on some Sundays and traditional holidays? The individual choices of the people I share genetic matter with have affected the relationships between every person in my immediate family. As a result a chain reaction has occurred forcing me to forge different friendships and comfort levels with people I have known for my entire life and those I have just met. It is more common to find a broken family than one that has stuck out the hard times together. I always liked to think of myself as one that strung her broken family together. That despite the divorce, we could still love and appreciate one another. Now I don't know if I will ever be able to bring our tattered family together again.

Playing the role of "the rock" for most of my life, I have always put the duty of keeping my family together in the face of grief, anger, and fear above all else. My instincts toward my little sisters are maternal as opposed to being a big sister. I have been the go-between for our parents through four years of divorce. Despite receiving grey hair (I honestly hope is a result of genetics), an ulcer, late nights and early mornings I could always look forward to sitting down at the dinner table with all the people I love on Thanksgiving, or under the tree on Christmas. These days I can hardly make it through a phone conversation. I constantly wonder if this is merely a selfish act on my part, or if for the first time in my life things are beyond my control and my worst fear is confirmed: my family is falling apart.

For many, this is an irrelevant topic. Plenty of families are never the same after divorce. The sad thing is, is that ours was. We made it over the hill and through the woods, only to find out we left all of our rock climbing equipment at home. And boy do we have a mountain in front of us.

I've always hated the cliche saying "sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me". The third grader uttering the foolish phrase obviously never felt the daggers pierce their skin after a sideways comment from someone whom they loved. I constantly wonder if this feeling is normal. Is feeling out of control and homeless simply a rite of passage into adulthood? Or am I finally coming into touch with the way things have been for awhile?

I have a reoccurring dream that varies in detail, but always ends the same way. My littlest sister Abbey is constantly in the face of death all the while I panic and spend every waking moment I can with her, the rest of our family hardly notices her worsening condition or my exasperation. Each time the dream ends with her dying in my arms. With tears, wailing, or eerie silence I can never grasp the attention of my father long enough for him to see that he has lost his youngest daughter. The irony of this situation is that it would take death for him to see what he no longer has. Becoming wrapped up in new found interests and a second family has left his first one shocked, alone, and fatherless. What is to become of the letters that once spelled out our family is unknown. What I do know is that they probably aren't green, and certainly do not sparkle anymore.

Friday, July 31, 2009

here to stay

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

I must admit a terrible secret. Despite being the gung-ho, over zealous leader of the Parks and Recreation Student Association I've had this inkling that failure is in my future. I've felt that the PRSA will face the inevitable come May, that we will have to disband our student club and I will let the SCRD staff down. But as if someone could read my mind, an angel was sent to me. His name is Michael, a representative from the Arizona Student Association and as he informed me at Starbucks today he is going to help the PRSA. I don't know much about this charming student advocate, but if he can do half the things he says he can our little student club will live on. Not only will our officers be able to attend leadership trainings and recruitment workshops, but we will learn how to effectively market our purpose to the incoming student body. So baby, with a little hard work, fresh perspective, and blessings from the ASA the PRSA is here to stay.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

the wingman

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

When one is out at a bar, or in any social setting you can always pick them out- the pair of guys working the room. One is putting the moves on a girl and the other is usually hanging in the background keeping her friend preoccupied. This individual is normally referred to as 'the wingman'. He is along for the ride, for better for worse. He can help you rope in the hotties and keep any unwanted company at bay. In some situations the said "wingman" will even take the fall and look like a complete jackass if it means his friend will get ahead with the girl.

I believe that the Coors Light people frame the responsibilities of the wingman perfectly upon release of this commercial.

There is little acknowledgment of the female wingman in the media so I would like to bring to your attention the importance and responsibility of these fearless (and stupid) women. Of course this story involves none other than myself :).

It was fairly early for a Saturday night when my close friend and I returned home from dinner at La Boca (DELICIOUS!!!). Exhausted from the long day we flipped on the TV in her Vista apartment and started to drift to sleep. Around midnight our third musketeer came bursting in from dinner. She had a lovely time, but she wasn't ready to call it quits. She had agreed to meet a cute boy on Mill Avenue (the hot spot for college kids in the Tempe area). Just as quickly as she had blown in, she re-powdered her nose and was off to hail a cab. In a matter of seconds I had made the decision not to send my tireless friend alone in a cab to meet Mr. Right Now, but that I was going with. In this act I had willingly made myself the wingman. Shortly thereafter we arrived at our first bar, I was still half asleep and my vivacious (let's call her Viv!) friend was starting to get nervous. Slowly we mingled our way into the bar and met the group. Mr. Right Now was looking quite cute in a polo shirt, while I started to feel self-conscious about my messy hair, glasses, and sober demeanor.

Two bars, one Silvermine sandwich, and three hours later I laid on a couch in Hayden Square wondering how my night had gotten so random so quickly. In accompanying my adventurous friend I had chosen to act at her mercy. Besides, I could not have let her hit Mill alone with no one to listen for the code word, or hold a ponytail of hair in the case of vomiting (a rare occurrence, I assure you). In essence, the female wingman is a socially accepted way of enacting the buddy system, something my parents adamantly preach about. With the help of a buddy, it is believed that creepy boys will be warded off and everyone will get home safe and sound.

In my case I had done the ultimate duty. I stuck by my co-pilot all night, never leaving her side. I backed up her white lies, and joked about my insecurities. I kept the other group members entertained, allowing Mr. Right Now and Viv to flirt shamelessly through the night. In the end it may seem that I was the one to get the short end of the stick, but I slept soundly knowing that in the big, scary, uncertain world there exists two other musketeers that will always be there for me.

So here's to you and your friends; whether it be yourself or another playing the leading role in your next adventure make sure to stay safe and never fly without your wingman.

Friday, July 24, 2009

i want to hold your hand

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...

As I write this my little sister is four buildings down across Orange Street meeting her advisor for the first time. Haleigh is being cleared to register for classes at ASU for her freshman year. A million thoughts race through my mind as this is happening. For one I am taken back to my freshman year advising appointment, where I felt inadequate for not yet knowing what my major would be. I felt left out for being the only freshman in my orientation room not moving on campus, instead I stayed home to help my little sisters (I have three) adjust to our parents' divorce. I think of how different my ASU experience would have been had I lived on campus. All I can do is thank God and all other higher powers that my parents finalized their divorce in early August of 2005. Had it not been for that act of fate I would've moved on campus, made completely different friends, and maybe never have found the parks and recreation program.

As I am counting my blessings, I am also living vicariously (and shamelessly) through my little sister. My parents never moved me onto campus when I finally made the transition. I didn't have anyone on campus to help me figure out which buildings my classes belonged in and I certainly had no one to guide me on my journey through the Greek system. I know for this I am stronger, but like parents and their offspring I want better for Haleigh. This is why I have done everything I can to help her get paperwork in to move onto campus, register for classes, and of course rush a sorority. I can't wait for her to go to all the football games, find the major that is right for her, and have her "ASU moment".

While extremely excited for Haleigh's life changing transition, I am also nervous and a little sad. Our entire lives I have paved the way for my little sister making sure everything is safe before allowing her to try it. I have managed to do this for possibly the last time in convincing her to spend the next four years of her life at Arizona State. As the summer treks on, I realize that while I'll only be a half mile away on the other side of campus I will not be able to be alongside her for every decision she will have to make. I will not be able to hold her hand on the way to class and drop her off (which I have done all through elementary, junior high, and some days in high school). My baby sister is growing into a breath taking young woman before my eyes and I am going to have to start letting her go to live her own journey.

There is an upside to this seemingly sad, empty nest story. For the next two years (I am hoping to get into the grad program) Haleigh and I will be on the same campus; grocery shopping, meeting for coffee, and late night studying together will become a staple item in my life. I cannot wait to share the Greek life experience with her (as of now I have convinced her to rush!) and show her all of my favorite nook and cranny spaces on campus.

It's ironic that this coming of age tale for one girl is also the same story for another. Letting her go her own way will allow me to grow into mine. I couldn't be more excited and queasy for freshman move-in this year. And if she wants me to, I will hold her hand.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

missing: my bike

Hello my name is Aimee and this is a real life adventure...
(or what I would classify as another disaster)

Just 13 days ago I decided to have a productive Friday and forced myself out of bed around 10:00am to go downtown to work on a presentation project rather than lay in my bathing suit acquiring skin cancer. I hopped on my white beach cruiser (with really neat-o pink accents) and cycled down to the light rail stop. After multiple attempts on my life by oblivious drivers I decided to cut through campus and lock my bike up on one of racks, as there are a plethora at the Rural and University light rail stop (and I have been banned from bringing my bike on the light rail).

I took the train downtown where I had a semi-productive day of working on my presentation while distracting my colleague and wonderful confidant Kellen from his home work, and annoying Dr. Ariel Rodriguez. Luckily for them my partner in crime and fellow blogger Candi was in her office just down the hall. We took an hour and a half lunch break and walked down to Baja Fresh where I purchased a ridiculously large cup and filled it to the brim with fountain Coca-Cola, my favorite drink. When we got back from lunch we pretended to work while we chatted about Candi's secret love and Dirty Dancing II: Havana Nights via ASU Google email chat. When I was no longer bearable Dr. Rodriguez shut his door and Kellen pretended he had a meeting to attend. Candi and I decided to head back to Tempe, as we were exhausted from lunch and gossiping. After swinging by Mojo (we really deserved frozen yogurt) I was dropped off at the light rail stop because I didn't want to leave my bike all alone overnight on the bike racks.

My poor, unsuspecting self hopped out of the car and shimmied (I was listening to Pandora on my phone, officially the coolest thing EVER) across the bus station to where I had parked my bike. I got a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach when I started getting close to the seemingly empty bike racks. I looked left, and I looked right. I turned all the way around, but I still could not find my glorious hunk of white and pink medal that I so shakily had ridden to the exact spot earlier in the day. I continued to look about the scene as my eyes started to tear.

The bus stop weirdo's stared at me like I was the odd one, and one man even tried to help me locate the bus I was looking for. But it wasn't public transportation I was looking for, it was my bike which now appeared to be stolen. At a loss for words and with watery eyes I started the long walk home.

Despite a love struck Jack Johnson serenading my ears I could not shake the feeling of a broken heart. The fifteen minute walk seemed to go on for 15 years as I watched other ASU comrades fly by me on skateboards, scooters, and most painful of all: bicycles. I thought of my fellow PRSA officer Mark, who had his bike stolen just a few weeks before (however his loss was greater than mine, as he is actually good at riding bikes). He consoled me by suggesting our bikes found each other in bike heaven somewhere, or where ever it is that bike thieves take our precious pieces of finely crafted machinery.

I must admit that when passing by a beach cruiser on or near campus I perform a double take hoping that one day justice will be served and my ridiculously heavy and poorly ridden bike will come back to me. In the mean time this cruel act has left me with but one mission. I must find another bike to dodge death upon, spill my coffee on, and take on the light rail (maybe) so next semester I can sleep for ten more minutes before starting yet another adventure.