Some Things Never Change.

Today, my Robotics team moved out of the building we’ve met in since our infancy into a new, larger space. In fact, we also held an Open House on the same day. I was out of my home from 8:30 AM to 9:30 PM. It was a humongous day.

I’m the only remaining member who’s been around since year one. I remember the first time I walked into that building. I sat at a table in the middle of the room. The place was nearly empty. Along the walls, there were giant pieces of paper stuck, complete with scribbles. The members were doing some kind of exercise, but I knew that I wanted to be there.

Over the years, we’ve accumulated a lot of junk. Never been quite so immaculate as that first year. Until today.

I remember when he joined the team; one of two members still remaining from year two. I went to school with him, and I was terrified to approach him and ask his name. Four years of friendship has taken care of that problem.

His first year, we went around and labeled everything in the building that belonged to us. All we needed was a label-maker and sufficient tape. Those labels lasted a long while. Today, as we were marking our territory, things had changed. We no longer have the label-maker. Yet, there he went, printing out signs and posting them with blue tape. I took a few moments to help him. I guess some things never do change.

I got kind of choked up today, as I turned off the lights. Nobody else was. Everyone was happy to be out of that basement space; the regulations and peeling paint. All I could see were the memories I’d had there.

The time that Justin ran backwards down the hall with his glass of tea. Chuck’s coffee cup. Cutting wood in the hallway, and scaring someone with my odd questions. Sitting in the windowsills. The bag of bag of bag of bags. Tripping over a vacuum cord and almost doing a face-plant into the carpet. Pulling out one final chair, and releasing the rest to clatter onto the floor. Labeling tools for hours with duct tape; strategy meetings in the kitchen; silly pictures of drinking hot chocolate. Scouting game shows and improvising with chairs. Sharpie massages, birthday cakes, pounding the bubbles out of a plastic mold set. Karen’s preference for PB&J to a hot meal.

My friend, dancing on a picnic table. Chasing the ducks by the hatchery. Testing our shooters in the yard, while little boys scurried to gather the fallen frisbees. Patrick throwing a ball at my head. Pictures while eating, laughing while eating, sitting together while eating. A little boy’s bet of a Kindle to the winner of an arm-wrestling match. Strategy lessons, reading in the fireplace, trying to sew together our bumpers. Our hushed conversation in the place where the chairs sit. Pizza deliveries; kick-off day buzz; the ring of the doors when they were left open. Standing outside in the bitter cold, while Jared wore his shorts. Pounding on the door to be let in; keys knocking on the windows.

Following my friend for a job to help clean up. Our squirrels, Crook and Nanny, who chased each other around the tree. His promise for the functionality; Josiah’s hiding from the camera; naming everything we ever saw, including Oscar the Spork (who was actually a spoon). Trying not to cry in the bathroom. Vacuuming and vacuuming up sawdust, hoping to keep things clean for only a minute. Our first fight; him cutting in the hallway; my cousin throwing a frisbee just to spite me. Writing notes and notes for meeting after meeting. When she accidentally hit the light-switch and created the perfect lair lighting for filming. Writing stories and articles in the corners of dark rooms. Being hushed; ironing fabric; rewriting lyrics for questionable songs that we didn’t want in our heads. Sitting on the steps, sharing cookies. Silly conversations about boys and dances. Rolling my eyes equally with and at my friend. Vader the puppy and Sable the puppy. Captain Safety scripts in the hallway.

So much of me and my friends are invested in that building. While I’m thankful for new space, I still hurt. The new is exciting, but the old is special.


My FIRST Parody

So, recently, I got the chance to release to YouTube my very first parody. Okay, technically, it’s my very second parody, but it’s the first to make it to YouTube.

This was an exhaustive process. Once I wrote it, I had to learn it on guitar. When my mics came in the mail, I was using all my tech-people resources to help me record the audio in the best quality. I mixed it myself (and that’s actually a great story for another time). I got the lyric video put together. Everything, I did myself, save the input I asked for from others.

And it’s finally here. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to join a FIRST team, I think I’ve captured the essence of the experience in this song. New experiences are scary, but there’s a lot to love about FIRST.

So, if you’d like to check it out, you can click right here.

It would mean the world to me. Getting this song together was so much work, and knowing that someone enjoyed it would be amazing.


My Five Favorite YouTubers

YouTube. I assume you’ve heard of it. It’s that place where people post videos. It can be a dark and scary place. It can be a happy, uplifting place. Regardless, as a twenty-first century teen, I watch videos there. These are my five favorite YouTubers.

1) Blimey Cow.

I started watching Blimey Cow on my thirteenth birthday. My best friend said, “Hey, you have to check out this video about homeschoolers,” and I never looked back. I watch everything they produce, because they make me think. Sometimes, I don’t agree with them. But their videos are never, “Hey, look, this is my opinion as a popular human being; you as my followers should assume this opinion as well, as soon as possible, to remain in my good graces.” They usually argue the opposite. (Also included in this is Jordan Taylor’s channel; since he’s the host of Messy Mondays, he’s technically the same YouTuber.)

2) Katie Gregoire.

Can I take this opportunity to say Katie is one of my favorite human beings I’ve ever seen? She has such a godly, positive attitude in her videos; and even though I don’t know her personally, she makes me feel like I do. She is just a joy to watch, and she’s relatable. Keep it up, Katie. You’re the best.

3) The EntrePUNeur.

Once upon a time, I actually took the time to watch this guy’s videos. I don’t know the last time I laughed so much, and that’s all it took for him to earn a spot in my favorites list. It doesn’t matter what format the video is in: scripted series, a story, a vlog; I just die laughing.

4) Say Goodnight Kevin.

Say Goodnight Kevin used to put out more random content, but I still enjoy the methodical movie reviews he releases now. My best friend and I will forever have inside jokes from his channel, and I enjoy how he makes me think.

5) Studio C.

Studio C is technically a television show, but it’s also available on YouTube, so I say they count. They release such funny content, and the actors seem so kind, I can’t help but enjoy it.

I watch a couple of other YouTube channels, but they didn’t quite make the list. So, who are your favorite YouTubers and why? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks!

(What a YouTube thing to say.)

Cheesy Potato Soup

As a creative person, I use lots of artistic ways to de-stress. For example, last night I jammed out on my guitar before going to bed, even though it was already after 11 PM, because I knew I needed to do something creative before attempting to sleep. (Otherwise my brain would race for another two hours with some interesting idea, concept, or movement.)

Today, after taking my Latin midterm, I decided I needed to cook. Cooking is another way that I sometimes de-stress. So, I spent an hour or two making a delicious broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot soup. As I was pouring in the cheese and stirring, I was reminded of my very first soup adventure.

Whenever my parents would leave the house, they would hire a babysitter to watch me. This went on for several years until I was about nine or ten years old. I don’t remember if this particular night was my first night home alone, but it certainly wasn’t my first time cooking alone. (“Alone” meaning the most basic access to the stove with close adult supervision. No knives.)

Back in those days, I loved canned soup. The grocery store isle with the rows of Campbell’s soup flavors alighted a spark in my heart. Tomato soup, potato soup, mushroom soup–I had become an expert on the subject. You grab a sauce pan. You use a spatula to dispense the concentrated, gelatinous goodness into the pan. You turn up the heat. You grab the milk from the fridge (not the water, because milk gives it better flavor). You fill up the can with milk, and splash it into the pan. Then you stir and you stir and you stir and finally, the two ingredients become one and you ladle that perfect marriage into your bowl. (As a child, I thought a “bowl” of something meant filled to the brim. This could be why I rarely spill things as I walk.)

Back to my parents leaving the house for the evening. I asked if I could make soup for myself, and they trusted me to not burn the house down doing so. (I will put your mind at ease right now: I did not burn down the house.) They said goodbye, kissed my forehead, and pulled out of the driveway.

The second they were out the door, I put in a movie. I honestly have no idea what movie it was, but I’d gather it was probably a Narnia flick or Ella Enchanted. Then I skipped back to the kitchen to make my soup.

I followed the instructions to a tee. Then, because my parents weren’t home, I realized, hey. I could put cheese in this soup. (Children’s additions to manufactured product don’t always end well.) Potatoes and cheese taste good together. So, I opened up the fridge, opened up a pack of shredded cheese, and put some in the pan.

Less of a canned soup expert probably would have sprinkled the cheese onto the served bowl and then, perhaps, microwaved it to make it melty. But I knew better, obviously.

Some interesting part of the movie caught my ears, and I left the stove to watch. I don’t know how long I stood or sat there, but I believe some sort of…burning smell drifted to my nose.

I scrambled back to the kitchen to stir my soup, when I realized that something was very wrong. As I tilted the pan to catch a glimpse of the bottom, I saw a weird, bubbly, burnt mass.

As it turns out, dear reader, the canned soup expert was not quite as educated on cheese. Because the soup wasn’t warm enough to melt the shredded cheese, it drifted to the bottom and effectively burned.

I believe it also ruined the taste of the soup itself.

I desperately tried to scrub the pan. I must have done an alright job, as we still use that sauce pan to this day.

That is the tale of my cheesy potato soup. I am happy to report the following:

  1. I no longer prefer canned soup to that made from scratch.
  2. I now possess the skill to melt cheese into soup on the stove.
  3. I can be left home alone without disaster striking.

Now, I think I’ll go enjoy a little bit more of my broccoli-cauliflower-carrot combo deal creation.