Reason #6: Snow Days

This post is a bit overdue, but I want to make sure I get it in before the end of winter.

Perhaps the greatest feeling in the world is waking up and finding out that it’s a snow day. I think the best kind of snow day is the one that comes when you most need it and least expect it. When you have an impossible amount of work due the next day, when you’ve been working hard for the past few weeks and just need a day to catch up, when you really want to relax in bed with hot chocolate… that’s the best time for a snow day.

I don’t know about you, but when there’s a snowstorm predicted the night before school, I find myself gravitating towards my computer and refreshing the weather page all night… instead of doing my homework. 😛

I can’t really describe it, but there’s this crazy feeling of hope creeping up in your chest, and even though you’ve told yourself that this is it, you need to concentrate on your work because if there’s no snow day you’re going to be in big trouble, even though you know there probably won’t be enough snow, or that they’ll clear it all away in time, you’re still thinking what if? What if there’s no school?

And then you wake up the next morning to find that the world is white, and you can snuggle back down under the covers (or you might be too excited to go back to sleep).

I know it sounds a bit exaggerated, but there’s really a special joy reserved for snow days. And it’s different from having no school on breaks, because that’s already planned. This is like getting a piece of candy that you didn’t have to begin with.

And last year, when we didn’t have a single snow day… well, I guess that’s when I realized how much I missed them. Snow days are a wonderful part of living in Michigan. 😀

PHOTO: The picture above is that of a snowman I made on a snow day this year. Snow days are great for catching up on work, but it’s important to have fun, too!

Reason #5: Tea

It’s about time I talked about my love of tea. Sometimes, I feel as though tea is the only constant in life. Seriously.

My friends think I’m crazy, but I’ve had a habit of drinking tea at exactly 3:27 PM for a long time. It definitely started in elementary school, but I can’t remember which grade. I just remember coming home from school every single day and turning on the TV to watch “Arthur” and then making my cup of tea in the microwave.

Oh, and I can’t forget the cookies. Tea and cookies. That was my thing (and still is).

Now, I don’t watch “Arthur” anymore, but I do read while I drink tea (usually Calvin and Hobbes). That time – from 3:27 to around 3:45 or whenever I finish – that’s my time to relax. To take a break. It doesn’t matter how much homework I have to get done; it doesn’t matter how stressed out I am from school. I have to spare those precious minutes to drink my tea. And the rule is I cannot do anything academic-related while drinking tea! It defeats the purpose entirely. It kills the sacred bond between myself and the tea.

(Okay, I’ll admit that last sentence is maybe taking it too far… with the sacred bond and whatnot. :P)

But honestly. Life is constantly changing, and it’s nice to know that tea is still there. There’s that one quote:

“The only thing constant in life is change.” ~François de La Rochefoucauld

And tea.

Sometimes it’s the little things, you know? The fact that no matter what happens at school, no matter what happens in life… I can always drink a cup of tea. And there’s just something comforting about that feeling you get when you drink something hot – it just warms your body, all the way down to your toes, and it gives you a nice warm feeling inside… almost like hope.

It’s like drinking hot chocolate on a snowy day. Or huddling by the fireplace in a cozy blanket.

Maybe tea isn’t really your thing. But there has to be something. Something small and comforting. A candy that you really like? Chocolate? Maybe it’s not something edible. Maybe it’s just the smell of a rose. Or reading before bed.

I’m not sure what you find comforting. It’s just… sometimes it’s the little things that really make life worth living, you know?

URL for the picture:

Reason #4: Calvin and Hobbes

Bill Watterson commented on this strip in THE CALVIN AND HOBBES TENTH ANNIVERSARY BOOK: “People will pay for what they want, but not for what they need.”

Calvin and Hobbes is one of the funniest and most intelligent creations on the planet. Honestly. Bill Watterson is a genius.

Whenever I’m feeling unhappy or upset, I can always count on Calvin’s witty comments to cheer me up. Sometimes I feel as if I know Calvin as a person… although I suppose if I did, he might drive me crazy!

You know, it must take real skill to be a cartoonist. I mean, a good cartoonist. All you get is a few panels to tell a story. To draw some people and speech bubbles. But to create these characters – Calvin and Hobbes – that have their own personalities, that are so lifelike yet so comical, that are witty yet not annoying… that just blows my mind. I can flip to any random strip and I’ll love it.

It just amazes me. I must admit, when I was younger, I did try to draw my own comic strips. I thought they were hilarious at the time… but looking back, I’m a little embarrassed by them. 😛

I guess cartoonists are just generally underestimated. Comic strips are works of art. Well… if they’re done correctly. I’ve flipped through the funny pages in newspapers now, and some of those comic strips are just horrible! They’re not funny at all, and the art is nothing to be proud of. It’s just a bunch of talking heads. But the artwork in Calvin and Hobbes is amazing. Especially the dinosaurs. And of course, Spaceman Spiff.

And another thing. About Bill Watterson. I am so thankful that he did not allow Calvin and Hobbes to become commercialized. You can read about that here:

Basically, Bill Watterson refused to commercialize Calvin and Hobbes because he felt that it should stand on its own as an art form, and any commercialization or merchandising would take away from the beauty. So there’s pretty much no legal Calvin and Hobbes merchandise.

The reason I am so glad Bill Watterson protected Calvin and Hobbes against commercialization is that he was right: it takes away from the beauty.

The best example I can think of is Harry Potter. I love the Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling is a fantastic writer. But looking at how ridiculously commercialized Harry Potter has become, it’s hard to believe anyone cares about her writing style anymore. Does anyone care about how well-written Harry Potter is? How cleverly, skillfully, and fluently written it is? Or do people get all crazy and hyped up just because it’s Harry Potter?

I don’t know. I guess at the same time, you have to ask yourself: If you were J.K. Rowling and had the potential to make millions off of this stuff, wouldn’t you agree to commercialize Harry Potter? It’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’d be pretty cool to watch the whole world go crazy because of your idea. To be perfectly honest, I might choose to do it too. But… I mean… this is a bit much:

At any rate, this post is getting a bit long, so I’d better wrap it up. If you’re not already familiar with Calvin and Hobbes, then I suggest you head on over to the nearest library or bookstore and go straight to the comic section… or graphic art section… or whatever section it is in which Calvin and Hobbes resides.

Trust me, you won’t regret it.

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Reason #3: The Garden

School has started, so I won’t be updating as frequently as I would like to. But I’m still going to try!

Anyway, I love the garden. My mom is an avid gardener, so our yard is lush and green and blooming during the spring and summer. It’s beautiful.

One of the greatest things about it is how calm and unworried you feel when you’re out there. Seriously, it’s impossible to be stressed out about anything when you sit on the bench and watch the birds and squirrels and butterflies. One of my favorite things to do is grab a book and sit out there and read. (I can’t really do that right after it rains or in the evening though, because that’s when I get eaten alive by mosquitoes.)

It’s also wonderful to sit outside with my laptop and work on my manuscript. (The best part is when the internet is too slow or doesn’t work, because then I have nothing to distract me.) I even do my homework outside sometimes.

And sometimes… sometimes I do nothing. Sometimes I just sit there, on the bench, and look around me, and breathe in the scents of the garden, and just… think. About life. About how wonderful it is to be alive and well. Sometimes I watch the birds in the birdbath or the squirrels scampering around or the occasional rabbit that eats my mom’s hostas. (We also get a lot of deer that eat the tulips, but you never see them during the day. They come by night. Those sneaky deer!)

Anyway, when I sit in the garden like that, it reminds me of this quote from The World of Pooh by A.A. Milne ( an excellent book, by the way- if you haven’t read it already, read it, and if you have read it, read it again):

Christopher Robin has just asked Pooh what he likes best in the world. Pooh says, “What I like best in the whole world is Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying ‘What about a little something?’ and Me saying, ‘Well, I shouldn’t mind a little something, should you, Piglet,’ and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing.”

And then, Christopher Robin says, “I like that too, but what I like doing best is Nothing.”

Pooh: “How do you do Nothing?”

Christopher Robin: “Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going off to do it, What are you going to do, Christopher Robin, and you say, Oh, nothing, and then you go and do it.”

It’s just… so simple and so true. I mean, the best part of Pooh is how simple he is- not a care in the world! All he worries about is his honey. Silly old bear. 🙂

And when I sit out in the garden, it’s sort of like taking a break from life- I can get away from all the hustle and bustle of life, and all the stress from school… and I can concentrate on simple things. Sometimes life is way too complicated… and you just need to stop for a moment and smell the flowers (yeah, I know that was really cliche).

But it’s true.

Reason #2: Friends

Just two of my best friends (along with myself :)). Of course there are many more, and they should know that I am eternally grateful to them as well.

I’m sure you saw this coming as the second reason. Family and friends first, right? 😛

Let me just say that without my friends, I couldn’t live. They always know exactly what to say or do. Whenever I need to talk to someone, they’re always there, no matter how stupid the things I have to say may be.

So, at the risk of sounding really mushy-gushy and cheesy, I feel the need to say I have the best friends in the world.

I’m just thinking about how lonely it would be to have no one to talk to or hang out with… no one to comfort you when you’re feeling low… so just knowing that there are people to turn to makes me smile. I just feel so thankful.

I really think that friends are perhaps the greatest gift the world has to offer. True friends are hard to come by, so don’t take them for granted. Treat them with utmost respect. If you know someone who understands you, who thinks the same way you do, who sees things just like you… well then. You are a very lucky person. Don’t ever forget it.

One of my favorite friendship quotes: “Friends are the most important ingredient in this recipe of life.”

One more- I couldn’t resist: “A friend is like a rainbow. [(S)he] brightens your life when you’ve been through a storm.”

Both of these quotes are from The Friendship Page; check it out if you want to read more awesome quotes.

So, to end on a happy (and hopefully not to cheesy) note, I just want to say thank you to all my amazing friends out there- you know who you are. 🙂

And one more thing- don’t forget, National Friendship Day is the first Sunday in August- this year it’s August 7th!