The Creekside by Julie Larick

Taken by Michal Klajban from Wikimedia Commons.

The muddied creek ebbs past,

meeting at a trickle after leaving the sewer’s agape mouth.

It breaks at each pebble pill and grass blade and hanged flower. 

Buxom bushes and baby trees, luminescent and green, line the creek.

They peer down past the side of the bed, wilting as they kiss the timid water. 

Seeping past, the creek water finally disappears into a tunnel buried in the grass:

another sewer. 

No one knows if it’s ever the same water.

 

On rainy days, the water isn’t shy as

the gray sky coaxes out its hidden torment.

The muddy water roars with every raindrop,

drowning the plants, who sway and moan,

their fearful cries drowned by the creek’s ferocious howl. 

 

Sometimes when I walk in the rain, 

I see a jagged rock perched by the creek’s edge.

It has no face, no joy, no sorrow.

Nothing other than its weight, 

and its piercing, jagged edges.

I never notice it in the sun.

Every time I walk by that rock in the rain,

I want to reach my fingers out to its edges,

to scrape my skin across its hard surface,

to see blood, as thin as the creek’s muddy water.

To see it fall down my palm in droplets, 

and the specks of black rock that flake off.

But I only wince, and continue to wander in the rain. 

And then the rock is gone.

 

As I walk, I wonder how the water changes

everytime it leaves the mouth of the sewer.

I look to the luminescent green 

bushes and baby trees,

to the pebble pills and grass blades and flowers hanged, 

and see how sadly they weep with longing and pain.

They wilt to kiss the creek’s fingers everyday, 

its blood on their lips.

I feel a jolt in my stomach, a tug, and regret,

as I have seen that desperation before.

music therapy in action by emilia richter

On a Friday morning, I took some time off from school to go to the Cleveland Clinic. I was about to observe Laura McFee, a certified music therapist, as she visited some patients. I was excited for the observation, but I didn’t know what to expect. This was the first time I was ever going to see music therapy in action.

Laura was very kind and welcoming, and she was open to any questions I had throughout the observation. She explained to me that as a music therapist, she runs around a lot — patients are referred to her from all over the hospital. Usually, they are referred by their doctors, because most patients aren’t aware that the Clinic has music therapy. Many don’t even know what music therapy is. For that reason, some of the patients Laura visits aren’t very open to participating. Luckily, when they are given more information about music therapy and how it can help them, they usually change their minds.

That morning, we walked to several different areas of the Clinic, visiting patients. First, I would stand outside the room as Laura tested the waters — she needed to evaluate how the patient was doing and if music therapy would be beneficial in that moment. If the patient gave the okay, I would walk in and observe the rest of the process.

One of the patients Laura helped was an elderly man who had just left the Intensive Care Unit. He was having some trouble breathing, and he was feeling pretty stressed. Before she could start playing, Laura needed to know more about her patient and his likes/dislikes. She used friendly conversation to evaluate what kind of music the man wanted to hear in that moment.

As it turned out, the elderly man loved marching band music, and exciting orchestral works by Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. Of course, Laura couldn’t reproduce this with her voice, keyboard, guitar, or drums, but luckily she had an iPad with her. After listening to some of his favorite pieces, the man seemed a little less tense, but he wanted to hear more. That’s when Laura used her musical skills to sing a couple patriotic songs, self-accompanied on keyboard and then guitar. The man closed his eyes and truly relaxed.

All in all, I think this observation was an incredible learning experience. I loved getting to see what music therapy in a clinical setting is like in person. I also really enjoyed getting to witness the powerful effects it can have on a sick patient. I’m excited to learn more about this amazing use of music!

Senioritis by Kiara Patterson

Senioritis 

What does it all really mean?

Yes, this is our last year of school but it’s making me scream

Twenty three weeks in, twelve more weeks to go

I don’t know if I love school or hate it, kind of like snow

Remember these moments they say, cherish them, they won’t last forever

But now I don’t care anymore, I wish it was already September

Or even the summer time would be nice so I can finally have a break

The past thirteen years in school have been close to hell for goodness sake

I’m mentally tired, physically exhausted

My brain has been heated and cooled over and over again kind of like ice cream when its frosted

Don’t get me wrong, school has had its upsides 

I’ve received a great education and made amazing friends that will forever stand by my side

The teachers have been charmful, some even daring, but most by far were very caring

Looking back now, at the brink of my high school journey, I don’t have many complaints, I guess I won’t need an attorney

I am in, yet still approaching the prime of my life

The party is just beginning, it will be years before I am a wife

But as every week goes by, it’s the same repetition

Each day it feels like I’m on a mission

For many seniors right now, we are burnt out

For the longest we have been in a drought 

There are mixed emotions about everything right now

To my fellow seniors here and everywhere I have this last thing to say

The harder we work, the better the pay

You’re almost there, don’t give up

Graduation is just around the corner so keep your heads up!

i think the moral is to live in the moment by Julia Schmitt-Palumbo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of people shape you, growing, learning.

The first years of your life based upon stories of old.

You are taught important ideas, experiencing, instituting.

But you won’t remember the letter, only the spirit.

Then you are taught the basics of life, reading, writing.

By teachers who learned just like you, creating a chain.

You connect with new people, meeting, communicating.

But as you age you are told to leave some behind.

You develop relationships, loving, caring.

But fall away from so many others as you go.

You might fall in love with someone, feeling, believing.

And sometimes it works, but sometimes it hurts more than death.

You may be ruled by emotion, screaming, crying.

One day might be the best, the next day, the worst.

More often than not you are healthy, living, breathing.

But the only inevitability in life is death.

When that happens, everyone mourns, weeping, pleading.

And when you’re gone who remembers your name?

Not one person you never told it to.

The Skin I’m In (Literally) by Lindsey Cicero

I consider myself a very confident person. Of course, I haven’t always been the queen of high self-esteem, but for all of my high school career, I have been very happy with who I am and how I look. I know that this is not a very common occurrence for the average high school girl. The weight of society’s views and personal anxieties tends to tear down women young and old. So, you may be wondering how I manage to care so little about others opinions. There isn’t one simple answer to this question. However, one thing I have always attached to my confidence is my skin. Since I was in middle school how good I felt about myself was calculated solely based on how many zits I had on my face. I am lucky enough to have pretty decent skin. I don’t have cystic acne and tend to only get hormonal or stress-related breakouts. Either way, even the smallest zit stays in my mind throughout the day. To combat this anxiety and keep my confidence levels high, I have a skincare routine. I have always loved doing face masks and using other skincare products, it feels so nice to know I am doing something good for my body. It has taken me a few years to figure out exactly what products work the best for my face, and I am going to share them with you now. So, get ready for a step by step skincare routine that you can follow along at home!

*Disclaimer* 

I am not a dermatologist or any sort of medical professional. This routine is just what works for me and my combination skin.

Step one: Preparation.

The first thing to do when you go to wash your face is to tie back your hair. I use my adorable cat ear headband to do the trick. This keeps my hair out of my face (obviously). Nothing is worse than when you get your hair soaking wet while you are simply trying to clean your face.

Step two: Cleanser 

Now that your hair is out of the way, you can do the actual washing. Depending on your skin type use a cleanse that works for you. I use Glossier’s milk jelly cleanser. I have combination skin (some areas of my face are dry, while other areas are more oily) so I don’t want to use a cleanser that is too drying or too oily, but somewhere in between. 

Step three: Toner.

After you have patted your skin dry it is time to tone. Using a toner of your choice wipe it onto your face and neck using a cotton pad. Toners are good for evening out skin tone and minimizing pores. I use Thayers rose petal witch hazel to tone, but other toners exist that work just as well. Just make sure that the toner doesn’t have alcohol in it, that can dry out or irritate your skin.

Step four: Serums.

This step is optional. If there is a specific problem with your skin you want to target get a serum for it. There are serums that brighten skin, moisturize skin, or even help prevent breakouts. This step is optional because a good serum can sometimes be a bit pricey, and they aren’t a complete necessity. I personally use Glossier’s super pure. It is a serum that prevents breakouts and gets rid of redness.

Step Four and a half: Spot Treatment.

This is another optional step. If you have any pesky zits after you use a serum is a good time to use a spot treatment you may have. When I want to get rid of zits fast I use Glossier’s Zit Stick.

Step Five: Moisturize.

Finally the last step. Slap on your preferred moisturizer. Even if you have oily skin you should still moisturize, you just don’t need to use a very heavy one. A big part of skincare is finding what works for you. I use Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer. It has SPF in it so I am protected from the sun, but if yours doesn’t make sure to put on a light sunscreen after you moisturize.

Skincare doesn’t have to be an expensive time-consuming feat. Taking about five minutes out of your day to wash yourself up can make all the difference. With that being said there are a few important things to remember. First, if you are ever trying a new product and it itches or burns, wash it off immediately. I promise itching and burning does not mean it is working. Second, if you are trying new skincare don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work right away. It will take your skin time to adjust to the new products, and you may even break out. Just give your skin some time before deciding if something new is working for you. With those warnings, I hope you can now go and make your zit free dreams a reality.

6 important things to remember in February; Self-Care Edition by Asya Akkus

It’s Valentine’s Day. You’re single. I’m single. So, let’s get excited and enjoy a day of self-care with no responsibilities for anyone except yourself. Relax, it’s not going to be like last year, with its last-minute runs to the store for chocolate, gifts, and roses for your ex who won’t even remember them after the fact!

    1. February is National Heart Month. Take care of your heart and hit the gym, not only to look better but also to help your body manage atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fatty material on the inner walls of your blood vessels. After all that candy and crying over How Harry Met Sally, you deserve it! Studies have shown that even thirty minutes on a treadmill from mid to high intensity can lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk for obesity and the presence of stress-induced symptoms. 
    2. Kick back with a face mask. It’s the middle of the month, so don’t splurge on a professional facial now. Thank me later when you have the facilities to get one on the 22nd of February and the end-of-month broke blues kick in, big man! Face masks are lots of fun. And good for your face. Unless they’re sheet masks. In that case, just don’t use them, please. They’re overpriced and falsely-advertised panaceas, and you’re better off going for a clay mask from Whole Foods or a homemade honey mask straight from the kitchen. If you still want a sheet mask, make your own as I roll my eyes at you.
    3. Nail polish contains toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate. The first looks like the head and neck of a dismembered virus topped with a methyl group. The second calls to mind a warning sign for radioactivity. Dibutyl phthalate makes me think of a flying bat…and, by default, rabies. Not good. No one wants products used as paint thinners, cross-linking agents (PROTEIN MURDERERS!), or plasticizers on their body, even if it’s just their nails! Opt for less chemically noxious nail polish brands like Orly, RMS, and Sundays. While they might cost more, they are better not only for your general health but also the environment.  
    4. Start spring cleaning early, and do it with family! It’s never too late to begin yelling over vacuum cleaners even when you’re zen, listening to your dad tsk over your stash of sugary energy drink cans in your room, and fighting with the rest of the family over which Air Wick scent you should buy for the living room! Sometimes, it’s good to go with what you know best and keep it classic. Spend time being productive with family and friends, checking off something important on your annual communal bucket list. 
    5. Buy discount candy at your local Walgreens with friends on the 15th of February. If you don’t have a sweet tooth like me, just chomp down a pack of white cheddar cheeto puffs in a bubble bath with your favorite song playing on repeat. That reminds me of the fact that I have yet to get a Spotify premium account; nonetheless, my advice still stands. 
    6. Listen to single ladies even if you’re not a lady. Or single.

 

 

 

Summertime and Cocoa Butter by Lauren Sheperd

In the deepest concaves of winter, all I can think of is summer. I’m longing for it. My body is reacting to the lack of sunshine, my fingers are constantly covered in pen ink, and my eyes have circles under them. This longing always starts around now, but quickly subsides as I recognize that I still have a long way to go. Not this year, apparently.

Summer is a time of late night car rides with the music loud and the windows down, terrible tan lines from my guard suit, and my summer playlist (which this blog is named after, because of course). As much as I’d love to complain about school and the struggles of junior year, I’d rather focus on the happiness summertime brings me. So here it is: the ever so fascinating day in the life of summertime me. 

My day typically begins at a cross country practice, sometimes at an unreasonable morning hour. Those aren’t always my best days; I am not even close to a morning person. However, days when cross country starts at a reasonable time, I am excited for them. While I am not a morning person, I am also not a sleep all day person, especially in the summer. After practice, I go home and get ready for work. I go through the process of putting on my guard suit, which is actually much more difficult than one would think. I walk to work, and if I’m feeling particularly generous, grab some On The Rise cookies for me and my work bff, who is obviously incredibly grateful. I finish the short walk to work, put on my classic 100 SPF sunscreen, and begin my first rotation. After an hour on chair, casually saving lives, it’s time for my off. Thirty minutes of pure joy. My BFF and I take turns going off the diving board to beat the 90 degree heat, only slightly irritating the guard on chair. The next eight hours at the pool go shockingly quickly. I leave work and immediately get ready for my plans with my friends. Trying to decide between the same three restaurants is always hard, but we manage. After some delicious tacos and queso, we go to get some ice cream. After a delightful evening of blowing my paycheck, I go home and watch some Friends on Netflix, which I guess I won’t be able to do this summer. I go to bed and get enough sleep and prepare for a similar, yet stimulating next day.

Only 116 more days to go I guess.

The Problem With The Bachelor by Erica Smith

“Shut up! I need to get this homework done! The Bachelor’s three hours tonight!”, I hear from across the classroom. I laugh to myself over this comment and continue on with my work. But then I get to thinking. Wow. I relate to that way too much. I have spent so many hours of my life watching this dumb show. 

Every Monday it’s part of my routine. I get a text around 7:50 from my mom: “Ready to watch the Bachelor?”; to which my response is always yes. I bring homework with me but get way too distracted by the thirty women screaming at each other to actually get any of it done. And then it comes to me.

This is the problem with the Bachelor. No, not the horribly dramatic editing or the over-dramatic cat fights. It’s not the clearly staged arguments or the constant exclamations of, “she’s here for the wrong reasons”. It’s the fact that this horrible show takes away hours upon hours of time that I should be doing my homework or better yet, sleeping. Every Monday the question is posed: Do I work on homework or go watch the Bachelor? And since ABC has a horribly magical way of sucking viewers into this show, I always choose the latter.

So, as I sit in my bed writing this blog post the day it’s due just after finishing an episode of the Bachelor, all I have to say is why do I do this to myself?

Nirvana: Doused in Mud, Soaked in Bleach by Jordan Green

Kurt Cobain: the epitome of grunge and the frontman for Nirvana. With loud, murky chords, heavy riffs and disturbing lyrics, he helped define ‘90s culture by rebelling against everything commercialized glamour-rock stood for.

Although I’m not a huge fan of grunge music, Nirvana is one of my favorite bands. The audible vulnerability in Kurt’s voice almost mingles with the seemingly reckless sounds of distorted guitar and vicious drumming. While primarily a blues fan, I’ve found that the rawness of his voice captures the same authentic sounds as blues greats B.B King and Buddy Guy. His words reach me in a way the lyrics from most other artists can’t— and I can’t help but wonder why. Many of Kurt’s lyrics reflect a rather demented, perverted and sick view of the world. With lyrics ranging from sexual torture and violence (Polly, Rape Me), to questioning God’s sexuality (Stay Away) and engaging with schitzophrenic-like voices in his head (Lithium), Nirvana’s songs evoke pure chaos.

Kurt, as many interviews reveal, wasn’t full of evil, like many of his songs suggest and, in fact, was even an outspoken feminist. Rather, he took an odd (and maybe offensive) approach to critiquing society. His crude lyrics almost seem to provoke society for his own amusement. But I can’t help myself from wondering: what is it about his music that’s so captivating to me?

After grappling with this question, I think I finally have an answer. Truth is, in small doses, I’ve found there’s something liberating about Kurt’s deranged perception of the world. To me, flirting with the idea that the world is one big ball of disorder, where nothing matters and nothing is serious, is freeing. When I’m feeling sad or anxious, Kurt’s raw yet rancid lyrics match my emotions in their duality, and allow me to dissolve my negative energy with the same fury his cracking voice and distorted guitar mimic. With that, I find peace.

The key words here are “small doses.” It would be foolish to fully embody the world view of Nirvana’s lyrics. After all, those dark feelings very well may have led Kurt to acrobatically stick a shotgun in his mouth and pull the trigger at the age of 27. Or, just as likely, the cynical lyrics were a reflection of the emotions torturing Kurt as he pulled the trigger. I think I must caution myself about designating Nirvana’s music as “insightful.” To claim Kurt’s music has some prophetic understanding of the world may suggest that “seeing the world for what it really is” can lead to wanting to leave it. I prefer to take Nirvana’s music with a grain of salt, enjoying the outburst of emotional disaster, but understanding that there is a purpose for me in the world and surely so much to live for. Interestingly, that I can find order from his chaos and direct it inward fills me with a profound sense of purpose. 

One last note about music and peace, which for me have a direct correlation: I listen to music to find peace. The Grateful Dead is another of my all-time favorite music groups (and I don’t think they require much analysis in terms of how their lyrics relate to tranquility). Ironically, Kurt Cobain absolutely despised them. In fact, he even hated playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana’s most commercially successful song. In true grunge-fashion, Kurt rejected everything mainstream, and while I take pleasure indulging in his seemingly “screw everything” mindset and immense talent, I’m wary when it comes to fully absorbing or idealizing the lyrics of his music. Rather, in the depths of Nirvana’s mayhem, I’ve assigned my own meaning to the messages the songs convey. I don’t necessarily respond to the message behind the lyrics, but to the intensity of the emotion I react to them with. And that’s how I derive my own peace of mind from Kurt’s lack thereof.

A Written Journal, Not a Typed Journal By: Bronwyn Warnock

My family is the biggest part of my life – they not only stabilize me, but complete me. I have three siblings, and my youngest sibling is my tiny, teeny two year old sister. For the past few months, I have been writing in a journal that I plan to give to my sister when she turns my age. While I know that I am not the best at keeping a daily diary, I try to write on important days or write when I know I have something to share: whether it be a life lesson or just an update on what’s going on from day to day.

I feel like the year of 2020 has been off to a rough start – from the horrific wildfires to the tragic passing of legends. With each journal entry, I try to reflect on all aspects of my life from the “small” parts like what made me smile that day to the large parts like the joys of getting into a college and beginning to plan my future. My dad once told me to never wish a day away – don’t live life waiting for the weekend or that special day next month – but enjoy each moment because we never know which day will be our last. Life is full of moments and in our fast-paced, technological society we often take our moments granted. By taking this the time to journal for my sister, I have come to be more appreciative of my everyday life. Over time, I have noticed how I start to rely less on my phone (as many people nowadays have their phone glued to their hand). By replacing my phone with a pen, I am able to reflect and live in the moment (as cliche as that may sound) instead of trying to enjoy life through a screen.

Science says that if we type notes in class we don’t often remember them quite as much as we remember our own hand-written notes. Small changes that turn our society away from technology can have profound impacts on daily mood to just plain, overall happiness to wake up each day. Instead of typing on your phone today – go talk to your friend. Or instead of typing your thoughts – go start a daily gratitude journal. Or if you’re like me, start a journal to your sister. 😉

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