An escape from the returning madness?  If there is one, I don't see it yet...



I love to listen to music!  So today I'm sharing with y'all some websites and such that I use to fuel my obsession.

First of all, I have iTunes on my computer.  Right here is the website to go to to download it.  You can purchase music from the iTunes store, rip music from CD's to put on iTunes, or acquire music from other outside sources.  I also have an iPod, one of the older versions of the Nano (I'm hoping to get a Classic someday so I can carry even more music around with me!).  You can sync your iPod with your iTunes so that you can always have your music with you!  I generally use my iPod only on trips or if I'm staying the night at a new place.  I'll listen to it as I fall asleep to help me relax and get comfortable.

There are two main places that I download music from.  The first being iTunes, and the second being Amazon.com.  If there's a certain song that I really, really want, I'll usually go ahead and purchase it, usually from iTunes.  To get songs from Amazon you have to download the music downloader thingy they provide (it's free!) but it's very easy to move the music from there to iTunes or where ever else.
Within the past month I've discovered this hand little site that keeps track of free music downloads.  It mostly follows just iTunes and Amazon, but other sites will pop up on there occasionally.  Not all of the downloads are really spectacular, but every now and then, they come up with some good ones.  I just downloaded this free album from Amazon (notice the other free ones at the bottom of the page!).  It's pretty good.  Here is the page where you can browse free downloads.  iTunes has a few free downloads every week and the site I mentioned above does a good job of keeping track of them.  Even of the downloads not available in the US store.

There are a couple sites I go to to listen to streaming music.  I really like Pandora.  You can make an account on there and then choose what kind of "station" you want to build.  You type in a song, an artist, or whatever and it will build an entire station of that kind of music.  It's pretty awesome.  I have Flyeleaf, Patrick & Eugene, The Vitamin String Quartet, Black Eyed Peas, Frank Sinatra, and Joshua Radin stations.
Every now and then I'll go to MySpace to listen to music.  You can search for artists, albums, songs, or certain genres.  It's the actual artists (or the people that work for them) that maintain the profiles.  An artist might have just a few songs available to listen to, or every single album they've ever done.  Here's ones I've been listening to lately:
Sometimes the music will stop briefly or switch to a new song while in the middle of a different one, but that rarely happens.

So yep, that's about it.  But of course, what would a music post be without some music videos!!  Here's two big hits by the group Train.  The first is an old favorite of mine, Drops of Jupiter, and the second is their most recent smash and one of my new favorites, Hey, Soul Sister.


playing hooky

I'm skipping my digital photography class today.  I feel kinda bad for doing so, but it's a lab day, I already know how to do what he's teaching us to do (change color pictures to black-and-white using photoshop), and he said that attendance isn't required today.  A lot of the stuff that he's taught us in that class I already know about.  Granted, it is a beginner digital photography class, so quite a few of the people in there have no idea how to do this stuff.  But it's frustrating for me at time.  It's like, "I'm paying to go to a class where I already know half the stuff he's teaching us... great."  Since I've fooled around with different cameras and photo-editing programs, I have learned a lot on my own, by trial and error.  So that class is kind of boring.  At least I'll be able to get into the advanced class next semester.
Adobe Photoshop was pretty hard and confusing for the first four or five weeks.  We were doing things that I didn't totally understand and I got frustrated with the homework and didn't do my best on it.  But finally last week we began talking about things I understand and have done before.  He handed us the next assignment and I breathed a sigh of relief and said to the guy sitting next to me, "Oh yes! We're finally talking about stuff I understand and already know how to do!"  I know you're supposed to learn new things in school, and I still am in that class, I'm just learning more about things I've discovered on my own by playing around with photoshop.
My film photography class is my favorite by far.  I love that class.  And my teacher is awesome.  I do like all of my teachers, but Mr. Vaughn is the best.  Getting to shoot film and then develop it yourself is such an awesome experience.  I don't know how much film I'll shoot outside of class once school's over, but for now I'm just really enjoying it and soaking up as much as I can in that class.  Mr. Vaughn really likes the prints I've been making.  I really like them too.  But I haven't heard him gush about the other students' prints like he has over mine.  I don't want to sound cocky or conceited, but hearing those comments really affirms to me that I'm a good photographer.  I'm looking forward to entering a print in the student art show in April.  That's going to be so exciting!!!


guten nacht

Last week was quite busy.  I though about several things to post but never got the time to do it and then forgot what I was going to write about.  Oh well.  :)  I've got to keep it short tonight too because I have to get up for school this morning.
I'm going to Fort Wayne over part of my spring break!  It's going to be awesome to see my sister, her husband, and Fred!  I talked to my boss on Friday about taking the time off.  She's excited I get to see my sister (my sister worked there before I did, so my boss knows her).  I told her about Fred too and she's excited about that also.  My boss is so awesome.  She is one of the nicest Christian women I know.  I love having her as my boss.
So any who, back to the subject of spring break.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I am driving all the way there and back.  After checking and comparing how much it would be to fly or to drive, driving will probably be easier.  Plane tickets can be really darn expensive!  And it would take the same amount of time to fly as it would to drive, so I might as well drive there.  It'll be slightly cheaper and I don't have to worry about switching planes or getting to an airport on time or whatever.  So yeah.  I'm kind of nervous about driving for long by myself, but I think I'll be OK.  It'll take about six hours to get there.  I've driven three hours non-stop by myself before, so I'll just take a break half-way there. It should be fine.
I'm looking forward to hanging out with Fred again.  Especially since I won't be all doped up on meds this time. :)
Good night!
MySpace Photography at CharmRoyal.com



i "heart"socks

I feel a bit obligated to mention something about the fact that yesterday was Valentine's Day... So there, I mentioned it. :)
I'm not one of those people that refers to it as "Singles Awareness Day".  In my opinion, that's kind of pathetic.  Whether or not you have a significant other or a "special someone" shouldn't control if you're happy or how you view holidays.  I don't have a boyfriend at the moment, but I didn't use yesterday as an excuse to moan about my existence as a single-almost-twenty-year-old.  True, Fred and I are still getting to know each other (it looks promising), but even if that wasn't going on in my life I still wouldn't have been "depressed" about not having a boyfriend.  Yesterday I went to church (wearing a red dress to celebrate the day), did homework, ate Valentine cookies my Mom made, and went out to dinner with my family.  It was a good day.  I was happy and I had fun.
You can use Valentine's Day to show your family members and friends that you love them.  It's not restricted to just couples.  And showing love to those around you shouldn't be restricted to just one day a year either.  You should do it every day!
I don't think I ever owned a pair of really long socks until after I moved to Illinois.  Or those super thick, fluffy, squishy kind either.  It just wasn't cold enough where I lived in Texas to justify that kind of apparel.  But let me tell you, I am so happy I have them now.  It gets ridiculously cold in Illinois and I don't like it.  I'm not used to this cold weather.  My awesomely warm socks are my closest friend during the winter months.



I've thought about doing this for a while, and now I think I will.  Nearly all of the pictures that accompany  my posts are from several different websites.  If there is a link below the picture, that means it's not my picture, but someone else's.  If there is no link, then it's my own photo.  So, here are the sites I've been borrowing pictures from:
Yep, they're all MySpace layout type sites.  You'd be surprised by the amazing images you can find on sites like these.  Plus, the codes and such are all there for you to use them, so you can't get in trouble.  It's not like you're violating a copyright rule or anything.
I'm really loving school.  :)  I'm so happy!  I'm not stressed out or anything like previous semesters.  I really like my classes and my teachers.  It feels like this is what I'm supposed to do.  It just fits... you know what I mean?
When I graduated from high school I honestly had no clue what I wanted to do.  No clue at all.  Nothing jumped out at me.  I had started working at a daycare at the beginning of my senior year, so I figured that child development would be a good idea.  I've been around kids a lot throughout my life and have done things like teach Sunday school, teach VBS classes, babysitting, keeping track of my younger cousins when my family gets together, and the list goes on.  I figured that going into child development was a logical choice.  My parents approved of it, so that's what I went with.
Transitioning from homeschooling to college was tough.  It was a big change for me.  The transition and just knowing deep inside that this wasn't what I was supposed to do made that first semester really hard.  Several times I came close to having panic attacks.  My classes weren't hard though!  I got an A in all four of my classes!
My first semester of college I had mentioned to my art teacher that I was interested in studying photography some day.  She told me that the college offered a certificate in photography, and that's when the wheels in the back of my started turning.  My first plan was to get an associates degree in child development and then go for photography after that.  My parents seemed to approve of that.
As my second semester of school approached, I began to get really nervous and paranoid that it would be like my first semester.  I talked my parents into letting me drop a couple classes so I wouldn't be dealing with so much schoolwork.  They hesitantly agreed.  The second semester went well, I again got all A's, but I also still felt like I wasn't doing what I was supposed to.
I registered for my third semester keeping with the child development plan, and this time actually getting into those kinds of classes by taking child psychology.  Over the summer and into the fall people would ask what I was studying in school.  I would tell them that at the moment I was studying child development but hoped to move on to photography someday.  The people that didn't know me very well (everyone that knows me well knows that I've worked with kids for forever) all had the same kind of response: If you want to do photography, then why are you studying child development?  Even some of the people that know me well had the same response or just smiled and nodded as if they were thinking, "She has no clue what she wants to do".
This summer I was on an OAFC Travel Team.  I became the designated team photographer and journalist.  It was during the week-long Summer Training and then the ten days of Travel Team that it dawned on me.  I've been taking pictures since I was little and got my first digital camera when I was fifteen.  I constantly take pictures and enjoy doing it.  But that was the first time I realized how much I really LOVED to take pictures and that I was actually good at it.  It was an entirely new thought in my mind.  This notion was further affirmed when I took my friend's senior pictures and heard the glowing compliments and praises of how good they were.
Halfway through my third semester of studying child development, I decided to switch to photography the next semester.  It took me a while to sell my parents on the idea, they didn't think it was the most practical occupation, but they eventually came around.  If I'd had my way, I would have dropped all my classes that third semester because I didn't think I needed them anymore.  But instead I dropped just business (an elective of sorts that I had signed up for but hated) and child psychology.  I kept on with children's literature (because I love books) and my health class (because it'd been forever since I'd taken one).  I got my first B in college in that health class.  I was terribly close to getting an A, but not close enough.
This semester, my fourth semester of college, I've begun studying photography.  I'm loving every minute of it.  :)  I'm soaking up as much information as I can and applying it to my assignments.  It's wonderful.  I've never been so happy with school and my life like I am now.  (Well, if the weather would warm up then I would be happier, but that can't be helped right now.)  I really feel like this is where I'm supposed to be.  This is what I'm supposed to do.  This is what God had in mind for me all along.  It just took me a while to stop and listen to Him.  :)


change of pace

It feels like it's been a lot longer than just Monday since I posted last.  Funny how fast time seems to go sometimes.  And then it's so unbearably slow other times.  But anyways...
It's snowing!  I woke up this morning (actually, it was almost 11:00 when I became conscious; I'll explain in a bit) and saw snow!  Big, huge, fluffy flakes!  Snow is so pretty.  But I wish it wasn't so wet and cold.  That's the only way we get snow though so I'll just have to deal with it.
While I am enjoying the snow, I'm hoping we have at least one sunny day between now and Wednesday.  The first shooting assignment my teacher gave us in my Intro to Photography class involves taking pictures on a sunny day.  We're supposed to shoot things with texture or pattern while our camera is set at a certain aperture and such.  Monday and Wednesday this week would have been perfect days to shoot but I'm busy with school and work all day on those days and therefore wasn't able to shoot during the designated times: before 10:30 AM and after 1:30 PM.  So I'm hoping for a sunny day... we'll see if that happens.  He did say though that he would give up another week to shoot if we weren't able to do it this week.
Why did I sleep in so late today?   Because I was up until 2:30 last night, or this morning rather.  Why was I up so late?  I'm involved in an organization called OAFC and we're celebrating our 40th anniversary this year at our annual Summer Training gathering.  We're having an Alumni reunion during Summer Training and it was discussed that having a slideshow of pictures from the many years of OAFC would be cool.  So I've been put in charge of that.  I've been asking people to send me their OAFC pictures so I can archive them and eventually put them all together in a slideshow.  I was going through pictures on a friend's site last night, picking out the best ones and saving them to my computer.  Later this month I'll be going to Pastor Ruhlig's house to look through his several binders of pictures.  He's been involved in OAFC since when it was started or soon thereafter.  I can't wait to see all of the old photos people send and what Pastor Ruhlig has.  It's going to be fun!
Once again, Facebook has changed their layout.  Good grief.  I logged on during a break in class last night to check for messages and the layout was normal, hadn't been changed at all.  When I got home about two hours later, it was changed.  *sigh*  I wish they would stop doing that.
Fred and I might get to talk on the phone this weekend!  We tried to earlier this week but it didn't happen.  So we decided to try again this weekend.  Developing new friendships is difficult when they're long distance.  I was in a long distance relationship for a year and it was tough.  Granted, I was 16 and he was 17, but it's a hard thing to deal with no matter how old you are.  It's good for taking things slow though.  I think that's what's going to end up happening with Fred and I.  Take things slow, take our time getting to know each other.  I've been too quick and irrational with guys before, and I want this to be different.



Doesn't fall into the "sappy love song" category, but it certainly is one of my favorites.  :)