The Completely True Story of my Last Winter Break

I start school again on Tuesday, and I’m realizing this is my last winter break for a while. “Break” this winter has only been a term relative to school and tutoring, but it’s still strange to imagine that this month-long period next year may not differ at all from the rest of the year.

I started this break by going to my favorite town, Jerome, Arizona, with one of my best friends. Originally, the trip was only to consist of reading our respective books (for me, Zoologies by Alison Hawthorne Deming, and him How Winter Began by Joy Castro; both are incredible, by the way) while taking in Sedona’s red rocks and the San Francisco Peaks. Typical of ghost towns revived by aging hippie artists, though, we quickly ran into a man made mostly of beard–accompanied by his dog– in a saloon who convinced us to join him on a naked bike ride marathon through the town. He said they were raising money for the prospector ghosts who were demanding the town build them a mansion, or they would keep pushing Jerome off the hill an inch a year. The bike ride was alright, and my friend and I managed to raise five hundred dollars for the mansion between the two of us, but the ride was a little cold, and it was a relief to get back to my parents’ home in the temperate, climate-change fashioned winter of Phoenix.

I was there for one day, my mom’s birthday, and then was off on another adventure.


Photo by Cassandra Leone

For another friend’s 21st birthday celebration (the actual date was a couple months ago), I joined her family on a trip to Las Vegas for a few days. That story stays in Vegas (hint: a miniature pony was involved).

I was home again for Christmas day, where I played a dirty game about the bible (my Christmas gift to my family) with my family.

The next day, I volunteered at Camp Sky-Y in Prescott for a week of winter camp. Although I’ve been a counselor for every age group before, most of my experience has been with jr. high and high school age campers. This session, though, I was put with three eight year old girls who transferred their youth to me through some camp-magic form of osmosis. Ever since, I cannot stop listening to, and being in love with, this band called One Direction. I have an overwhelming desire to throw snowballs at trees, and then hug them and tell them I’m sorry. I’m obsessed with building blanket forts. If any camp people know a cure, I’d appreciate it. My roommates are getting annoyed with all my stray crayons and glitter.

I was home for a day, packing, and singing a duet with my mother at our church in Tempe. Then I came back to Flagstaff. I haven’t done much since then, but I did watch the entirety of Peaky Blinders, start this blog, finally practice my ukulele, and go to a punk concert where someone mock gave birth.

Rio de Flag

Rio de Flag, Flagstaff

Although this is the busiest winter break I’ve ever had, I’ve still in loved the opportunity that a hiatus from school affords: the opportunity to travel, to make music, to spend copious amounts of time with friends that homework usually steals me from. I don’t know where in the world I’ll be next year, or what I could possibly be doing, but I know I’ve enjoyed this month and I’m ready to start finishing my undergraduate life on Tuesday.

A Poem

I need to post stuff, because I get the impression that’s what blogs do. Last semester, JK and I used to exchange a poetry prompt every week and give each other the results, before school got too crazy for both of us. I found this one about the death of Brian Friel (Irish playwright) the other day:

lament for brian friel


*Unfortunately, I never did meet Brian Friel, so these photos are taken from Google Images.**
**If you ever have some free time with a friend, I highly recommend playing the game of “what does this author I really like look like?” and Google imaging those great names in literature.

New Year’s Resolution: 2016


IMG_2824This past summer, I spent a night in a “chuck wagon.”

It was at a camp in Oregon, while working  as a counselor,  near the end of the season. We’d caught wind that our campers (of Jr. High age) were planning to sneak out of their cabins and go down to the river that night. Boys and girls. So I slept in the chuck wagon–a makeshift pioneer wagon with a long picnic table in it–in the middle of the cabins to catch and stop any mischief.

Skinny dipping has been a pretty steady ritual throughout my three years as a camp counselor: the body of water ranging from the natural waterway of Oregon’s Sandy River to an irrigation pond, stagnant with sunscreen and bullfrog shit, on a ranch in Arizona’s high desert. Skinny dipping, however, is a counselor right. Permissible only by the arbitrary stamp of some “adulthood” that comes in caring for other people’s children.

For some reason, that night, the fact that the summer was coming to an end and that I would start my senior year of college in a few weeks, hit me. In the middle of acres of nearly untamed, and completely dark forest, I couldn’t sleep for fear of the unknown beyond graduation. A condemnation to “adulthood” beyond counselor rights and our invented  superiority over adolescents trying to enjoy puberty.

Now, I can’t stop looking at 2016 as if I were approaching The End that Henry Ward Beecher’s last words, “Now comes the mystery!”, invoke.

One of my good friends (found here) has been urging me to start a blog for quite some time now. I’m not a stranger to blogging. Inspired by The Clothes HorseConfessions of a Female Drag QueenCali Vintage, and Hannah and Landon, I had a “personal style blog” in high school that, when I checked today, has well over 25,500 views (which is weird?). I did a couple of posts for a blog when I studied abroad in Denmark, but promptly gave it up to, you know, study abroad. And last semester, my boyfriend started a blog making fun of me called Lizzy Does Wine.

The Lizzysaurus, now, is my 2016 New Year’s Resolution (even though it’s the sixth) (and has nothing to with my embarrassment when I published a blog article a few months ago, and when the woman asked for a link to other work, I had nothing). So, here is my totally-necessary public platform for recording this (maybe?) great, post-graduation mystery that will be 2016.

And who knows? Maybe it will help with my chuck wagon insomnia, which is all I’ve ever really wanted.