Month: March 2017

New Room in the House!

I live in a sorority house on campus and I love it. You are never alone and can seek company whenever you like. You can go to the lounge, sit on the back patio listening to music with earphones, or go from room to room to see who is at home. You have “sisters” galore and loneliness is not an option. You can invite family and friends any time you like during visiting hours. The rooms are spacious and well equipped. All you do is bring your clothing, a pillow, and a nice quilt. They supply linens, towels, and the rest. Each room has curtains and a cute colorful rug. It is as good as your room at home. You can fill the walls with posters, photos, artwork, or whatever you like. You take it down when you leave. Sometimes at the beginning of the school year, we change rooms. Some people want a roommate or a different window view. New pledges are arriving and we must accommodate them. Usually it is a matter of random luck what you get. If you know the house well, you can make a request. That’s what I just did. One girl was leaving to go for a semester abroad and she had a huge room at the end of one hall. It had a double bed which suits me fine. I like to stretch out. I wanted this room and put in my dibs for it.

I prevailed and found myself moving my stuff one afternoon. I first had to go out and find a highly recommended mattress protector in just the right size. This may be silly, but I didn’t like the idea of sleeping on the same mattress as a hundred other girls who had once lived in this room. I know they change them now and then, but who knows how long it had been. If you don’t bring your own mattress (and who does that?), you take what you can get. So, what if there are sorority sisters of yore who haunt the room with their memories. I will take care of the mattress with my new protector. It is easy to slip on and zip up and it is made of waterproof fabric vinyl. This means that it is soft and comfortable. No dust mites can ever slip out from the old mattress. You are assured of no risk to your health. They don’t cost a fortune and are essential for anyone who lives in an old boarding house. Isn’t that what a sorority is?

The mattress protector fit perfectly and I could slip over the top my bottom sheet without tearing it in the corners. My quilt was a tiny bit small but I also bought a cut lace bed skirt so it looked fine. The pillow shams are in the same cut lace so it looks like grandma’s room at home. With the rug in this new larger room (much bigger and more attractive than my old one), it makes for a welcoming space.

Think of the Parties We Could Have!

My job in the sorority is to plan the events, large and small. Fortunately, the girls like to party so we have lots of things always going on. We have had a formal ball with a couple of fraternities, a Halloween bash in costume, a Christmas gift exchange, numerous barbecues and pot luck dinners, and of course a Valentine’s Day sweetheart dance. I just keep thinking up things to do to socialize and have fun. We go on hikes, beach outings, scavenger hunts, and picnics. We are a very active group.

I doubt if I will run out of ideas but just in case I asked the house mother to put in a large, sturdy inflatable above ground pool in the empty backyard. It is not being used for anything except our patio barbecues. There is a ton of space and all future sorority members will love it. I did some research online and showed her the prices and models. She said she would check the sorority funds that had been collected over the years from dues. We could also have a fund-raising party and invite former members who wanted to keep the fun alive. Our alumna keep in touch so this would be an excellent way to proceed once the house mother approves. We measured the space and looked for a pool that would be large enough and not be mistaken for a kiddie size. When I say inflatable, I mean high-quality vinyl on a movable frame. There are even steps that descend into the water for easy access and retreat. There can be a heater and an automatic cleaning system so no one will have pool chores. You can use chemicals if you like and we would buy the most non-toxic. I am getting very excited thinking of the parties we could have. When we entertain on premises it is always inside and we miss the opportunity to enjoy ourselves on balmy nights.

The pool would be an asset to the sorority and it could serve for private use apart from an opportunity to invite guests. There is nothing like a cool dip to enliven the senses on a really hot summer afternoon. It may not be for swimming as there would be no lanes, but you could bring kids over and splash about. As one of our sorority do good projects, we visit a local children’s club and they don’t have a pool. It is more about daycare than anything else and they need volunteers. Some of us go on a regular basis and having an above ground pool would be a real coup. I am begging the house mother and she seems to be coming around.

Pool update: it is two months later and the pool has been installed. It is a beautiful azure blue with deep purple trim around the edges that is in lieu of the tile you find in permanent in-ground pools. The girls give me all the credit and are excited about the inauguration party I have planned. You are all invited.

So Proud of Daphne

As we progress through college from freshmen to senior year, change is imminent. Some of the girls leave to go on for higher education to become teachers, doctors, lawyers, or accountants. One of my sorority sisters, Daphne, has been accepted to her preferred nursing school. I am so proud of her. Always the event planner in the group, I am going to throw a party. It will have a medical theme and the decorations will reflect it. It is hard to be amusing with hospital items, but I am going to be funny with a heating bag (so old-fashioned, but we all know it and associate it with ailments). The bag will hang over the table and small flowing flower will shoot out from its sides like floral liquid from punctures. There will be party favors consisting of candy pills in plastic bottles. The place mats are those waterproof cloths they use in hospitals. I just have to cut them in half. I will not, however, serve hospital food on trays, but that would be hysterical. It would spoil the party as what you eat and drink at a party is everything.

The girls are all chipping in to get a really good stethoscope and they can cost a pretty penny. We want her to start out right. We got a 3M Littmann 27 inch electronic ambient noise reduction model. This brand is tops in the business. Not knowing the details, I checked out the specifications. The new technology for this item cancels out on average 85% of background noise that is known to interfere during auscultation. It stores 12 second tracks onboard as well as a ten-second comment to notate the sound. How fabulous is that! I like the idea of the snap tight soft-sealing eartips. It should make for better comfort while the tight seal takes care of ambient noise. It has to have a state-of-the-art sound sensor. With a stethoscope, that’s what it is all about. It is akin to a high-end cardiology model. It has great sound amplification and is highly rated by users for trouble-free operation.

One sorority sister who knows her way around stethoscopes, having worked as a teen in her father’s office, added that it has a USB drive and comes with free software for heart and lung sound visualization. I can see that we are getting our money’s worth. I am flabbergasted by the ability to store sounds in patient records or transfer them to doctors for analysis. You can select the type of head and tubing you want and I am glad that my sorority sister knew just what that meant. Who knew that a stethoscope can have Bluetooth features to transmit sounds. I didn’t know that it mattered that a stethoscope be lightweight and comfortable to use. A real bonus is that you can have your name printed on the tubing so it is visible to patients. What a gem hanging around a nurse’s neck!

Midterms Suck!

No one likes midterms even though it means that the semester is half over and we are that much closer to our life goals. We love school and being in a sorority and find it all a wonderful way to pass the time to full adulthood when we are responsible for ourselves. Being on your own seems far away as I think about it and now is the time to make most of communal fun. We can beat mid-term stress as a group by having a diversion. Nothing that would take us away from our studies, but an activity that would be fun and a stress buster. I vote for a children’s style party in the backyard, complete with a cotton-candy machine and an inflatable bounce house. Of course, there will be great food and drink and we will invite our neighbors in the adjacent sorority houses. It will be a big bash.

The bounce house was the most fun because while we have had outdoor parties, we never had this accoutrement. It is not just for kids. We all loved jumping up and down inside and hiding among the rubber colored balls. We weren’t completely hidden like tots are, but it was silly fun. We laughed so much that our stomachs hurt. We spent all day outside on a glorious sunny day. We took lots of photos to put on Instagram which would help us recruit new members come next fall. We certainly look like we are having a super good time. We only had to pry one girl away from her books. The rest of us preferred the diversion and got back to studying later that night after a fabulous barbecue. It was simple far, hotdogs and hamburgers, but perfect for a childhood theme. Do you remember those bounce houses that your patents rented for birthdays when you were a kid? We all associate them with the freedom and laughter of childhood.

It was hysterical how two or more people in a bounce house can crash into each other. These inflatables are designed for small kids. They come in themes like boats, castles, spaceships, and animals. You can put whatever you want inside on top of the balls. They are a nice cushion, but you might want more inflatable vinyl as the floor. You can hide candy and prizes and have a scavenger hunt. We must do this more often, but midterms come but twice a year. We won’t fear them if we know we can associate them with some group fun. Our sorority has the reputation for special events that are unique and satisfying. No boring frat parties with too much warm beer for us. We can blast music from our sorority house speakers to attract those near and far. We let the world know that this is an exciting time of life for those in our age group. It is said that you never forget your college years. I know I won’t.

Another Successful Fundraiser for Charity

Most people don’t think too much of the greek life. They think that we are a bunch of drunken, stuck-up rich kids who basically sit around hazing each other. That is very untrue. Sure we have parties and the like, but we are college students. There are always social events going on here put on by the greeks or by someone else. While we have our share of bad apples and get bad press sometimes, so do lots of other student organizations.

But we aren’t just about parties.Most greek organizations, especially those with national headquarters, have a philanthropic cause. We actually do good things! Some organizations work on a national level (meaning all the chapters around the country work with the same charitable group) and others work within their communities. Either way, greek organizations donate money, time, and their talents to benefit others on a regular basis. It was one of the reasons I wanted to join greek life in the first place! My sorority focuses on raising funds and awareness for women’s heart disease (because it is actually the number one killer of women). Because it is such a widespread issue, we can work it on two fronts—locally right here around theschooland on the national level. We went to a few women’s groups and taught them the early warning signs for heart attacks in women, and we also do fundraisers and other events.

And that is where I come in!

I decided to throw a sweetheart dance (get it?) and sell tickets. I chose a night after a big game here at school so that there would be lots of people around looking for something to do afterward. And to further the campaign, we made it a Go Red For Women event—meaning instead of putting on your little black dress, we asked all the ladies to wear a red dress instead. I had a catering menu of heart-healthy foods that everyone loved. Lots of elegant fish, grilled chicken, and steamed veggies.  Believe it or not, there were hardly any leftovers! We also had a donation table at the door, as well as some signs made up by some of my sisters who are nursing students with some reality-check information on it about women and heart disease. We sold a bunch of tickets in advance but we had even more at the door, which was great. We ended up with a lot of money to donate to charity. People kept telling me what a great time they had. Both of those things made all the energy and thought I put into this dance really worth it. It is one thing to have a packed house full of people having a good time and it is a whole other feeling knowing that they are all together because of something you thought of and knowing that it is helping a worthy cause.

Well, time to get this makeup off my face and then I am off to bed. Night!

Sometimes Being Away at School is a Real Bummer

I adore my parents and really miss them sometimes. I am particularly close to my dad. We spent so much of my childhood together playing his version of football (alas, he had no son), learning to swim, and hiking in the woods. We camped every summer and he taught me to light a fire to cook our dinner. We had an inflatable kayak for runs down the river. I have so many fond memories and tons of photos to prove it. It is hard to grow up and leave for college. You give up these special childhood times and it is never the same when you go home. You are now an adult. You sometimes dream you are still learning how to dive on the high board with dad or are getting help from him with your homework. I helped him celebrate every birthday and it breaks my heart that I must miss the upcoming one. My mom is having a party and I can’t attend as I have finals. I do have a special gift which I am sending. I decided on a really good quality automatic watch that will keep better time than his old one. He never buys things for himself. I feel so bad that I can’t be there to see him open it.

I got a stainless-steel round watch as he is not a gold tone kind of guy. He likes practical things as a rule and nothing fancy. The watch, however, is state of the art and has all the latest bells and whistles. You never have to wind it and it automatically changes twice a year at daylight saving’s time. How fantastic. He always used to complain about being late for appointments. My mother had to remind him or someone had to call him a day ahead. Now he will have no problem making these important dates. The dial is easy to read: black against a white background. The date is visible below the center point. It has Swiss watch making ingenuity. That means top functionality and design. The materials are excellent. It has a sapphire crystal, a see-through exterior and is totally scratch resistant. I love the polished brush finish. While you can spend up to a thousand dollars or more for a self-winding watch, for half that amount I got good value. I know he will love it and think of me every time he looks at his wrist.

I got a phone call from Dad the day the gift arrived. It hit on his birthday so he opened it at once. He told me he was beyond thrilled. I was so thoughtful and the perfect daughter. What more could an offspring want to hear? I had indeed put a lot of thought into the present knowing his needs and taste in mind. I didn’t need to reach too far to prove we were still close. Of course, we still are.