Halloween Memories

Halloween is coming!! Now, It’s not one of my preferred holidays but it has always had its perks. Obviously, the biggest one is candy; Chocolate, taffy, gum, popcorn and whatnot. And don’t forget that always wonderful chance to dress up and talk to strangers by walking up to their houses and begging for food or threatening to vandalize their house if you don’t get candy. It’s a wonderful concept really…

When my siblings and I were little, my mom made us dress up as Saints. I know now why she did it, but at the time, it was a huge pain. She wanted us to get the nicer side of Halloween, most notably the All Hallows Eve part from Christian traditions and not the undead, monster filled, horror film stuff. (All Hallows Eve starts the celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day which both commemorate all of the souls of the dead.)

So the first few years were totally fine – cute angel costumes mostly – it was an easy time. But, as we got older, cool outfits and in the case of my brothers, badass costumes, were hard to come by. After years spent as various different pious womanly saints that basically consisted of the same nun costume, I decided that I needed a change. One of my personal favorite costumes was St. George. Now legend has it that St. George, for those of you that don’t know, killed a dragon and saved a damsel in distress. It’s a classic knight in shining armor story! Anyway, I decided that this costume was the greatest thing ever and I had to wear it, despite its male connotations, because I was just that cool. So this little plastic helmet, breastplate and shield was my costume for at least 3 years. I was a little bit pathetic but hey I was like 7 years old.

My sisters and brothers went along with the flow and as the years went on we became really creative with the costumes and my mom became more lenient on the whole saint thing. Now our restrictions just said that we couldn’t be a monster, a.k.a. a vampire, devil, zombie, etc. So we instead dressed as doctors and scientists, Olympians, football players, clowns and the always popular pirate. Life was easy and the candy was good and that is pretty much my trick or treating story!!

As for the other aspects of Halloween, I can’t even tell you how much I love pumpkin carving! My ridiculously talented family members have always taken carving very seriously. Of course, it has become a competition, as events between my siblings so often do. Matthew, my oldest brother, is really brilliant in this area and almost always wins our contests. We have carved everything from smiley faces to cartoons, star wars characters to ghosts and animals. And every year, we profit from buying so many pumpkins by roasting seeds and making stew inside of a pumpkin (surprisingly delicious!).

 My absolute favorite part of Halloween is the time of year that it occurs. Fall is my favorite season because of its gorgeous landscapes, colorful shades, cool temperatures and the occasional snowstorm. All in all, Halloween is a pretty fun occasion, enjoyed by tons of people from toddlers to college students (for different reasons) and of course it’s a great holiday to fill in that gap from Labor Day to Thanksgiving. ;)  

Bonus family pumpkin carving pictures! 

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Learning about Sports

At school my work study job is as an athletic training assistant, aka the water girl and veritable piss-on. It requires heavy lifting skills and the ability to not make a fool of yourself in front of many attractive male athletes. Needless to say, I have neither of these skills. I never realized how many different ways there were to make yourself look ridiculous; tripping, spilling water, not understanding what they are saying because of their very strong english accents…not that I’m citing any specific incidents…okay I am but lets stop talking about this.

As a…whatever I should be called, I have to stay on the fields and watch practices for football, soccer, field hockey and the other sports. As a observer with absolutely nothing else to do, I have learned quite a lot about the rules of each sport. While I know a lot about baseball, and a good amount about football, my knowledge of soccer and field hockey is extremely lacking. Until today! Seriously though, even though my knowledge is still pretty small, I learned some new stuff.

My first thought is, how do all field hockey players not have really bad back problems? That shit looks uncomfortable! But honestly, the rules perplex me. I get the whole basic idea – ball into the net, stay in bounds, don’t hit people over the head with sticks – but the actual penalties and rules? I have no idea what’s going on. For example, at the game I worked, play completely stopped for some reason that I couldn’t see and the defending team members all crowded into the goal only to rush back out as the offensive team attacked the goal. After further investigation, I discovered that this is called a penalty corner and it occurs when a player scores a foul inside a certain radius of the goal or does some violent act. Simply by learning this, I tripled my knowledge of field hockey. I apologize to my field hockey friends but this is nowhere near my favorite sport, I think its kind of silly. But I always want to learn new things and I would be totally open to lessons!

As for soccer, I have discovered a new interest. Not only are the players incredibly attractive (no I’m not ashamed to say it), I think the sport is genuinely interesting. Before, soccer was basically just an extremely long game that required quite a large amount of running, which has never been my favorite thing. But now, I can see how interesting it really is. The dexterity required for ball handling and the stamina needed for this REALLY long game is impressive. As a swimmer, I understand endurance (not that I ever really had any) and a soccer practice is just as long and repetitive as swim practice but a little bit less watery. All in all – mad props to soccer players. You guys are awesome!

Overall, training has been pretty great. I’ve gotten lots of health care hours (I need them for school), learned how to tape ankles and wrists (not sure how that will help me in PA life but cool none the less!) and learned about some sports I knew nothing about. Next on the list: Lacrosse, because I know less about it than I know about field hockey, and thats saying something.

Adventures on the Amtrak

Taking the Amtrak train back to school from a break is always a fascinating and beautiful experience. I people watch, as I so often do, and notice that college students chiefly occupy the seats surrounding me. Many of them are from my school who also happen to live in the general vicinity of the train station and will disembark at the same destination that I do. They are doing what college students/young whippersnappers do:

  1. Studying – very halfheartedly
  2. Sleeping – head down on those trays that come from the back of the seat in front of you, quite uncomfortable looking!
  3. Listening to music – loudly, and completely isolated
  4. Playing on their computers – like me!
  5. Texting – each and every one of them takes a break from whatever they are doing to check their phones at least every few minutes.

Others are older couples going I don’t know where, possibly to visit their grandchildren? They seem completely at home on a train, like they have ridden it since trains were invented (and maybe they have! Just kidding no one is still alive from 1800). The only exception is this one couple (probably in their 80’s) that completely disappeared within the first five minutes of sitting down. I kid you not, they got up and were gone and I’m not sure if I should be worried or not. Let us pray that they didn’t fall off the train…Amen.

But my absolute favorite passengers on the train are the people from Lancaster County. You know how you can tell where people are from just by the way they are dressed? Lancaster is one of those places, even though I’m sure it has normal people all over the county. There is an Amish family on the train, actually just a mother and a few kids, and the little girl is ADORABLE. She’s probably about 7 years old in her little handmade dress and bonnet and she has the bluest eyes ever. The little boy, with his stellar bowl cut (honestly one of the best that I’ve seen) is taking up two seats with his napping but no one cares because he is so damn cute. Oh and there is this guy dressed up like a cowboy. Stetson hat, boots and flannel shirt, he is straight out of a spaghetti western. I can’t think of any reason why he is dressed as such, but he’s so convincing that I don’t really care.

The few people around me that are particularly interesting include the guy next to me and the INSANE chick that is behind me. The guy next to me was studying what seemed to be advanced physics, but I can’t be for sure. I learned that he goes to Pitt and he is from New Jersey. Look at me, making friends on the train! Also he seems incredibly smart but sadly, not attractive. 😦 As for the crazy girl, who knows what’s going on with her. She keeps laughing loudly and singing off key. Now, I can’t see her, so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say maybe she’s asleep? But then again she also yelled at someone for looking at her. Needless to say, I’m really glad I chose seat 22 instead of 24. Thank the lord!!

And lastly, the scenery. While I’m sure many people know that Pennsylvania has a gorgeous landscape, you’ve never really experienced it until you ride through a variety of counties in one afternoon. First was Harrisburg, right on the Susquehanna River, which was shining today with early October sun and autumn colors. And then, as the train travels up the river, there are cornfields, farmhouses and little towns and cities that all have the rustic, “been there forever” look about them. Interestingly enough, there are also abandoned mines, sketchy trailers on the river (that could easily house meth labs) and interesting rock formations in the river. Overall, it’s an interesting view of both the people and the places. The car is oddly dead quiet, except for the occasional maniacal laughter coming from behind me and I feel like typing is disturbing people. So I’ll say goodbye for now!

P.S. The train broke down, hence the extensive post because I just had so much free time that I have no idea what to do with, when truthfully, I should have been doing philosophy the whole time.

Hello! My name is…

This may be your run of the mill introduction post but it seems like a necessity for a brand new blog.

My name is Mary and I am Sophomore at a University in Pennsylvania. I am a former competitive swimmer, a former 4-Her (its not all about cows and corn, I promise) and the youngest of 5 children. My older siblings, 2 brothers and 2 sisters, are all extremely successful and good looking and I’m just trying to be the smartest…with questionable results.

You may be wondering, what on earth is a Marbear? and you would be totally justified in that thought. It is, in fact, my nickname, given to me by my friend, Katelyn, within the first 3 weeks of college. It has gone viral among my friends and I can count on one hand how many times I am called by my real name in a week. But honestly, I love it and it’s my first nickname ever, so life is good.

Now life as an Undergraduate Physician Assistant student (NOT Physician’s, my friend Tricia will bite your head off…literally) is no walk in the park. While the freshman year of college for many millions of students across the US is all liberal arts courses, parties and copious amounts of sleeping, my first year consisted of Anatomy & Physiology I & II, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and all nighters (well, almost all nighters) in the 3rd floor study room. I’m not saying life sucked but…..it sucked. Even through all these rough times, I met some of the best people I’ve ever known and they have since become my best friends.

I, along with my PA friends, cannot stop talking about Anatomy. While this may sound completely bizzare, it consumed our lives for about 9 months and every chance we get, no matter how inappropriate the situation, dinner especially, we talk about disorders, diseases and conditions regardless of who is at the table. This can be incredibly distressing for those around us, aka non-medical majors. It doesnt help much that we’re now taking Medical terminology and all of our previous knowledge has been regurgitated and expanded upon. So if any of you normal people out there are reading this, I deeply apologize.

I’m not really sure how long a post should be since I am completely new to this blog thing, but I figure I can’t say everything about me in one post because then what would make you want to come back? While I doubt I will have regular readers, don’t expect a post too often during the school year because I honestly cannot stop studying….its a problem. But thanks for reading all the way through!