Why I Stopped Taking the Bus

I haven’t written in so long that I don’t even know how to begin this post, so I’ll just get into it. [You pretend I never left, and I will pretend to be a whirlwind of creative ideas who doesn’t have a twenty five page philosophy paper due next week.]

So I stopped taking the bus to class. I told myself all winter that the only reason I take the bus up the treacherous hills to class is to avoid frostbite and to conserve my energy like a bear in hibernation. I was lying.

I take the bus because who the heck wants to get up early and use their actual legs to go 5,280 feet uphill multiple times a day? Not me that’s who.

But last week the birds were chirping and the sun was shining, and yet again I was jogging to get to the bus stop on time. Sweat dripping down my red face, heart beating faster than a kid at Chuck E. Cheese, I watched the glorious chariot of the lazy whiz by. EIGHT MINUTES EARLY.

It wasn’t fair. I was there on time. How could they leave without me?

And then I realized that it was spring, and if I was a bear I would have woken up by now, so I winked up at heaven where I could hear a giggle.

Then came the hill.

The hill to my class is no joke. I’m talking Kilamajaro here. But I looked up the hill with only fifteen minutes until my class began, shoved my headphones in and pressed “play.” One foot in front of the other, I trudged up the hill like the hunchback of Notre Dame. (I’ve only seen the VHS cover because I don’t watch horror films, but I know I looked like him that’s for sure.)

I prayed for gravity to remain for just a few more minutes to keep me from falling off the earth, and Sia’s words really hit my heart strings:

♫”Party girls don’t get hurt
Can’t feel anything, when will I learn
I push it down, push it down”♫

I pushed my thighs down pushed my thighs dooowwnnn.

With my headphones in, I was in another world climbing this hill as fast as possible, as if my life depended on it. I was breathing so heavily as I passed the Catholic church, that I mistook the cardboard cut-out inside the window as the real Pope Francis, and I gave him a sweaty wink.

Suddenly, I noticed a shadow on the sidewalk beside me. Somebody, God bless ’em, was stuck behind me and my fitness journey. I moved over to the side of the path to let them pass, and let me tell you he must have been a super human athlete because I did not see a drop of sweat on that guy and he didn’t sound like he needed an inhaler either. I could tell that he had a resting heart rate of 35, and you could hear my heart beating like some fortelling drum in the distance. I pretended to be humming along to my music, but really it was like one of those illuminati SOS messages hidden in a song (like in SpyKids): ♫”Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down, won’t open my eyes”♫

As soon as he passed [with judgement] I keeled over and wheezed, with a mirage of the bus in the sky. I heard that little ditty about a Crazy Bus from Arthur ringing in my ears, as I stared up at the big red bus with the driver throwing me a peace sign like Nixon post-watergate.

Ah, the glorious bus. Driver with creepy ponytail…Seats that all face the middle so that you have to make eye contact with strangers right across from you…packed in like sardines because no one else likes to walk…crowds that hoard around you as you try to get off so that they can get on…pushing and shoving…weird smells…

And that’s when I realized that the bus isn’t that great after all, and I was at the top of the hill. Vision blurring, armpits dripping to form a puddle under my chair, with a smile I was in class — ten minutes early. 😉

Like when a mother has a baby and forgets all the pain from childbirth, I decided that maybe the hill wouldn’t be so painful next time.

And that’s why I stopped taking the bus. That, and I’m gonna get killer calves.

If you have any hills you need climb, I urge you to do so! Unless your bus takes you more than a mile, in that case, take the bus.


In Walked the Lady With the Alligator Purse

Sitting on my bed, I was typing away at the keyboard on some paper that was probably due in two hours when suddenly, I heard a blood curdling scream just outside my door. I slapped my laptop closed, as if I was trying to make a ham sandwich real fast and had to smack the ham down before I starved.


Without thinking, I ran to my wardrobe and grabbed my first aid kit. It was fully stocked. I had waited a lifetime for this.


I screamed as I walked out of my bedroom into the living room. A one and a half inch cut stretched up her ankle like a viscous squirrel crawling up the tree, blood-thirsty for its nuts. Three of my roommates were crowded around Marisa who was holding a crumbled up piece of toilet paper over a bloody wound on her leg.

Ugh can we just talk about the toilet paper they provide in college? It’s like half a ply. And then they play this funny little joke on you and feed you food in the dining hall that makes you wish you had some heavy duty stuff. Woo I’m sorry. This post is a little graphic. Let’s just say the toilet paper was just not holding her gushing blood back from anywhere.

This was my moment. I am not saying that the pain and suffering of others is something I prey upon for my own glory, but we all like to be the hero sometimes. Right?


I could feel my nurturing side come out as I kneeled down and started rifling through my Hello Kitty Emergency Kit; i had a few cute band aids, a wipe, and a piece of gauze for a hangnail wound. It just wasn’t enough. I had to pull out the big guns. I grabbed my actual first aid kit for actual emergencies, as I am first aid certified after all (shameless self-promotion).

Marisa’s whimpering and whining went in one ear and out the other as I pushed on her wound with my gauzed up thumb like you keep pushing the elevator buttons so that smelly guy coming from the gym can’t ride with you to the nineteenth floor. Oh boy. Elevators. I’m claustrophobic, and I’m going to have my own emergency if I don’t stop thinking about it.


At this point the bleeding just kept getting worse, but Marisa, a hypochondriac did not need to know that.

“How is it, Hannah? Is it stopping????”

“It’s…well…I’m taking care of it. You just sit there real still.”


Somehow she managed to push past the pain her leg wound had put into her hand and dialed her dad.


At this point, I did not hear the rest of the conversation because I was so focused on making ol faithful come to a halt. It had slowed down, and it was time to clean the wound. It wouldn’t be easy, but it had to be done.

“Marisa,” I told her, “I’m going to need to clean out your cute little cut…with…HYDROGEN PEROXIDE” before I even finished my sentence she was screaming.

“NOOOO no no no. MY LEG I can feel it in my bone, do you think I broke my bone?? I AM DYING I AM going to bleed out. Here I go cruel world. I guess it’s been kind of nice. I did get to eat breakfast this morn—”,

I didn’t let her finish her own eulogy. It couldn’t end like this. There was more to her story. I snatched up the bottle of hydrogen peroxide and poured a few drops on some gauze. It was very cold, and when some fell on my finger, I screamed due to adrenaline. That did not help Marisa. You know, the one who accidentally shaved her legs too hard and was now worried her bone might have broken from impact.

“YOU ARE NOT PUTTING THAT ON MY LEG NOOO. If there’s one thing that hurts it’s stinging!!”

I could not listen to her. I had to do my duty so that it did not get infected. She continued to ramble and scream, and I had to wrestle her like a white water alligator almost to the ground. She squirmed and squealed, but I held down her ankle, and in one strong swipe cleaned the wound right up.

A single tear fell down her delicate cheek as she looked down at me, Nurse Han. I had just broken the sacred trust. But I had also saved her life. She finally sat down on her chair silently and let me put a band aid over her cut. She settled down, as I put my supplies all back in the red bag and took a deep breath.

That must have been the most stressful three minutes of my life. I know I am supposed to be in the Humanities. I have patience, but not for patients.

I picked up my first aid kit and danced into the sunset.

By that I mean went back to my room and took a well-deserved nap.

That Time I Went to the Gym

I stared straight at it. I had to face it head on. That’s the thing with fears: you’re supposed to face them head on with no turning back, right? I’m not good with fear. I crossed the road and went to the buffet instead. I needed some lunch before I attempted entering that sweaty pithole wreaking of cramps, tears, and lactic acid build-up.

I hadn’t been to the gym in two years. There’s just something odd about the idea of going to a building full of metal machines with buttons and lights, and moving your body in ways it normally wouldn’t. There was something I didn’t like about the thought of hundreds of people staring as I tried to do a squat and my face turned bright red as a vein in my forehead popped.

I am not afraid of health. I am, however, slightly afraid of exercise.

Hey, I was on the track team for four years. I couldn’t run very far…or for very long…but they didn’t have cuts, and I was only competing against myself anyway, right? (That’s what they tell the slow people). Anyways, back to my story.

I ate my college cafeteria food as if it was the most delicious, elegant meal I had ever had. I put a napkin in my lap and cut my creamed corn with a knife. Wouldn’t want to choke. I was sitting with a bunch of friends, trying not to let the sweat stains pouring like ol’ faithful under my armpit due to anxiety about the gym harm me from laughing along with their jokes. I could see the treadmills from where I was sitting. I could feel a cramp in my side forming, just as it did every semester in grade school when we were forced to run the *gasp* dare I say it??? Mile run. DUN DUN DUNNNN.

After a whole bunch of negative self-talk and flashing thoughts of the jiggling that would happen when I tried to run, I was at the gym with my friend Emily.

Men. Men everywhere. And all of them had boobs bigger than me. They grunted as they lifted heavy things. Heavy things. The heaviest thing I had picked up in the past year was my cat who has a BMI in the slightly overweight range.

Most of my first gym trip is actually fading from my memory. I remember heavy breathing. And pain.

But I also remember laughs. So many laughs between me and Emily at how silly we looked not really knowing what we were doing. I make it sound as if we’re experts now. I have been to the gym a grand total of 18 times now. Wow, that actually sounds like a lot. I also remember how good I felt when we were done. You have all this stress and energy you can push into your legs, as you watch your body surge through the intense pain of a slow jog.

It’s so hard to convince yourself that the gym is a fun, safe place. But it really is. It’s full of people who are all there to reach some type of fitness goal, and definitely not to judge you. Even if you end up not enjoying the gym, you can enjoy more pizza since you burned the calories. That’s probably 50% of my motivation right there.

If you can get past the smell of the sweaty guy next to you with muscles protruding from every inch of his body, try it some time. I’ve already got my workout planned for tomorrow!

Why I Blog

Disclaimer: This is an assignment for a class I’m taking called “Writing in the Digital Age”. Two assigments actually. I will attempt to squish them together as the resourceful, time-lacking college student I am. It’s actually quite an interesting course, but it may not be as riveting as that post about spoon-butt boy at the froyo shop.

Hey, Dr. Rutherford! This one’s for you.

Alex Reid writes “Why Blog?” to explain not only how frequent blogging improves writing skills, but also how to figure out audience, genre, and purpose for blogging in the first place. In his article, he points out that blogging comes from an intrinsic motivation. This is unlike school assignments which are completed due to extrinsic motivation, such as the pressure for a good grade.

So I’m asking myself this week why I’ve decided to start a blog.

It’s definitely not due to a high level of intrinsic motivation. I haven’t posted in awhile. I’m searching everywhere for ideas. Sometimes I just wish I had a prompt.

When I first started this blog, I wanted a place to experiment and create. I wanted to showcase my writing abilities in a fun way. But most of all, I wanted to make people laugh, and then make them think.

I bet you’re wondering where I’m going to tie in the second reading, “The Multiple Media of Texts” by Anne Wysocki. Well, buckle up because this could be a bumpy ride! (By that, I mean I don’t know if this is the type of risk you’re looking for, but I’m praying it is.)

Wysocki claims that visual elements such as font, colors, bold type, shapes, etc. are placed into texts for a purpose, and can be analyzed.

Why would you want to analyze the visual elements of a text, Hannah??? I’ll tell you one reason, dear reader. So that the text fits into the genre it is supposed to.

Here’s an example:

IMG_3132 (1)

Take a random manual for a toaster oven, and look at its format. Kinda bleh, huh? It’s an instruction manual though. You would expect it to look like this: readable and informative.



Now as you can see, this one is much more exciting. Using the same exact information, I have created a more derpy, yet fun instruction manual using Comic Sans and clip art. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to read, and looks like an eighth grader made it. I wouldn’t trust this toaster oven company.

See what I mean?

It would be the same as if you took a teeny bop magazine and shook all the glitter off of it until it looked like a packet of Constitutional Law. No teeny bopper would read it then. So visual elements do matter.

I’m not sure how to end this post. But it’s chicken parm night in the dining hall, so I’ll go with that.

Hannah out. ✌

Yard Sales Aren’t for Sissies

Whenever I go to my grandma’s, we always have a great time. One adventure that’s sure to please is looking for yard sales on an afternoon drive. Sometimes we even have our own yard sale. You can find such cool junk stuff for your whole family! Here are some things you should know if you’re going to haggle your way to a $1 portrait of Vladmir Putin made entirely of swedish fish.

  1. Look out for bottles and cans littering the road. Grandma always keeps this reachy mcgrabber extendo thing in her car, so she can just pull over and I grab the cans up! At five cents per can, you can fill up your yard sale coin purse before you even hit the sales. I think I’m the only one who still lets my grandma pick up trash from the side of the road. When my uncle rides with her, he smacks a quarter on her dashboard for the next five cans they see before she can even get excited.
  2. Don’t get too excited. Whenever we first pull up to somebody’s house, my palms get a little sweaty and I get really giddy. But grandma is not joking around. You see, you can’t look like you actually want to buy anything. It’s just like getting a boyfriend, or walking past one of those kiosks in the mall with the creepy man with the lotion trying to feel up your hands. So approach the merch slowly, and don’t open your eyes too wide. 
  3. Haggle until you dazzle. My grandma has perfected this trick. Step 1: Ask what they would like for the item. Step 2: Say “I don’t think so”, as you slowly lower the item back down to the table. Step 3: Stare at them until they offer you a lower price. Try reminding them that you can take it off their hands, or they can put it back in their house so you’re actually the one doing them the favour.
  4. Rifle through boxes, plug in electronics, and look over anything you’re going to buy to assure some measure of quality. At a yard sale last weekend, I saw a nice copy of Wuthering Heights, and began flipping through the pages to make sure they weren’t written on or ripped up. It was in great condition, and an envelope popped out of the middle of the book into my hands. It was a Christmas envelope with an old $20 bill inside. This brings me to my final tip…
  5. Be kind. I walked over to the lady running the yard sale, and told her that I thought she should know that there was money in her book before she sold it. As I handed her the $20, tears started streaming down her face, and she hugged me tightly. I was so surprised that it mattered so much to her. She let me take the book home for free, too! My grandma has taught me a lot on our shopping trips, but the most important thing is to be kind. You never know why someone is having a yard sale in the first place. So maybe don’t haggle until you dazzle unless you really think things are overpriced.

Tell me about your great yard sale finds! 

Poetry Corner: August

The ocean is above me, a curtain I could pull

I am not drowning, but I sway to and fro

I have a picture of your face that I pull out sometimes

Your teeth are all showing as you grin and squint your eyes

A foggy dream surrounds me

I hear the rushing of the waves

I cannot move or speak or breathe without worry of the waves

I am not drowning, I am breathing

Breathing with a picture in a frame

You are here, but I am dizzy and the foggy blue begins to fade

We are here, but we are slow

As we move we cannot show the pain and love

And wonder lingers

I see your work inside my fingers

Attached by veins in the bottom of this sea

Flowing, thriving distantly

I could pull it all down

The ocean itself could learn to drown

But here we are

The ocean is above me

A curtain I could pull

I’ll Pretend I Didn’t See That

Have you ever looked over just as someone was doing something really awkward? Or been caught doing something embarrassing? There’s a frantic exchange of looks for a millisecond before both parties remember that eyes can look away for politeness’ sake. You can even keep your eyes from burning to a crisp when your neighbour runs onto their porch in a speedo for the third time this week and it’s only Tuesday.

Here are some things I’ve pretended not to see. But I did see them. And now I will talk about them to make myself feel better about it.

1. Somebody eating a meatball sub. It’s as big as their face, sauce is spewing out, and worst of all — WORST OF ALL — their mouth is open wider than the grand canyon. To get their mouth open this wide, the rest of their face contorts, and their eyes are buggy and squinty at the same time. Some people even close their eyes to bite the large sandwich, which turns lunch into an emotional experience. If you make eye contact, you’ll get this awful feeling in the pit of your stomach that they’re hungry enough to eat you. It’s just uncomfortable.

2. Your mom washing the dishes you just dirtied. Go ahead, just set your dirty ice cream bowl over on the counter, and back out of the room slowly.

3. Someone singing along to the radio in their car. Cruisin’ along with the radio blasting makes anyone feel like a superstar, but when you don’t have the radio on and the car next to you is jamming out, they kind of look silly. If you make eye contact, they’ll probably stop what they’re doing and pretend they forgot the words. It just ruins the mood.

4. Animals getting it on at the zoo. There must have been something in the air the last time I went to the zoo because everything from the lions to the red pandas were procreating. oh wow this fence is really tall that’s a nice fence looks like metal

5. Seeing someone you kind of know in public. Do they recognize me? Should I say “hi?” Oh my heavens they’re getting closer. Ok ok I can do this. Do they even know who I am? *awkwardly smiles and makes an odd grunt-like noise*

6. Someone watching their dog take a crap. You know, this is a tough situation. Watch Tickles take a tinkle? You seem too curious. Look down at your phone? Too self absorbed. Pick a nice bush off to the left. A quick look at your watch isn’t bad either, as long as you don’t seem like you’re in a hurry. That’s just rude.

7. Somebody taking a selfie. Have you ever watched someone take a selfie? It’s weird. You suddenly feel superior to them just because you’re not taking a selfie. (Even if you took one this morning.) You find a need to watch them take it even though it feels like you shouldn’t. It’s just so weird to see someone sitting by themselves with a blank expression, and then when they pull up snapchat, a moment is frozen in time where they’re all smiles about who knows what. Life is good! In this selfie.

8. Somebody paying with boob money. This is just something I wish I didn’t have to see. I make my disapproval obvious as I reach out two fingers for the bill and scrunch up my face. Today I even got a sweaty bill from a teenager’s waistband. My parents and I had a conversation about this at dinner once. We couldn’t decide which would be worse: boob money or armpit money. I vote for none of the above.

Do any of these things make you cringe?

What are some things you wish you didn’t have to see?

Lit Theory Corner: “Interpretive Communities” Explained

In discussions of literary interpretation, one controversial issue has been the question of where meaning comes from, and who or what decides what that meaning is. In his essay, “Interpreting the Variorum”, Stanley Fish maintains that “Interpretive communities are made up of those who share interpretive strategies not for reading (in the conventional sense) but for writing texts, for constituting their properties and assigning their intentions” (Fish 219). In other words, Fish believes that meaning in a text comes from the perception of the reader and their various interpretive communities, or predisposed ideas about the world. This radical suggestion celebrates the fact that every piece of literature has no meaning on its own; the reader holds supremacy as their experience with a text determines its truth.

Interpretation strategies are what Stanley Fish argues “…are the shape of reading, and because they are the shape of reading, they give texts their shape, making them rather than, as it is usually assumed, arising from them” (Fish 218). In making this comment, Fish refutes the claim that one reads a text before interpreting it. Instead, he believes that the act of reading and the act of interpreting are one in the same; he creates the concept of interpretive communities to show where our preconceived notions of meaning are drawn from. These communities are characterized by the fact that they can be shared with other people, and that they are constantly being changed and shaped by conventions such as one’s education, family, friends, or religion. Interpretive communities explain why two people can read a text in the same way: for example, two students in an English class could agree that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has a theme of love, but this is not because the theme can be located within the text itself, but because the readers have been shaped by similar instruction to look for themes within literature.

New critics, such as Matthew Arnold, believe that literature has important things to teach us, and because of its spiritual comfort “…we must turn to poetry to ‘interpret life for us’” (Bertens 6). However, Stanley Fish would disagree that any interpretations or assumptions are found within a text themselves. One of his view’s main proponents is that “meanings are not extracted but made and made not by encoded forms but by interpretive strategies that call forms into being” (Fish 220). The essence of Fish’s argument is that significance cannot be pulled from the words written on a page by an author, but it is created by the way a reader understands a text using their individual interpretative communities, or “writes” it.

Fish does not deny that his radical ideas imply a world with no pure perception of truth. The standard way of thinking about interpretation is that every person can have their own ideas about a piece of literature as long as they can provide proof from the text. In contrast, Fish explores the notion that there is no need for said “proof” because meaning does not lie within the text but within the reader. The problem with this conception is that there is no ultimate truth to abide over all of the interpretations to be made. In a world where any piece of text is up for interpretation, the difference between literature and vernacular no longer exists. One is left with questions such as: What constitutes literature? What is “good”? What is “bad”? Fish squashes this fear of “interpretative anarchy” through the explanation that by being in an interpretive community with others, one can rest in the comfort that others agree with them. Whether or not this justification is enough to forget the ambiguous implications of Fish’s theory is the issue for most critics.

Although some might object that Stanley Fish’s idea of interpretive communities is too radical to be applied in the real world, it is still important to consider his implications in the realm of literary interpretation. Fish’s essay is significant because it criticizes other literary theories’ tendency to place meaning within the author’s intentions, rather than what the text means to its audience. If one were to disregard the more far-reaching parts of his claims, their perceptions about the world would still govern the way they read any piece of writing.

Bertens, Hans. Literary Theory: The Basics. 3rd ed. Routledge, 2014. Print.

Fish, Stanley. Interpretive Communities. Print.

Creative License to Kill

I hated that painting. The one on the left wall. It was so cliché, and every time I passed it, I wanted it gone. A rage came up in the pit of my stomach as I imagined the oils of the painting smearing and melting as its canvas slowly peeled off from the frame corner by corner. The longer I stared at the awful painting, the more ways I invented to destroy it.

A jackhammer.

A backhoe.

Matches could work.

A steak knife.

A hungry pit-bull.

I could even try throwing it so hard that it landed in the bowels of the arctic tundra and disappeared forever.

My hate grew stronger with every passing glance at the thing, but I could never tell anyone about it. That would ruin my dastardly plan to destroy it! I would be the only single person with known motive to murder the so-called work of art; I had to figure out its weakness, and then when it was least expecting it, make a surprise attack.

Among all of this planning something occurred to me; why did I hate the stupid painting so much? It was the colors, the concept, the perspective…it was all just wrong. Totally wrong in my eyes.

But that’s when it hit me: both the idea and the backhoe I had not so intelligently left running without the brake. It was only wrong in my eyes. Who was I to critique a fifty year old painting when I knew nothing about art? (The medical bills from the backhoe accident also helped me come to this conclusion.)

So I just watched it hang there and occasionally gave it a glance. I just couldn’t bring myself to destroy it, so I returned the jackhammer to the construction site that had unknowingly let me borrow it, and I finally fed Sparky, my pit-bull. What if, by chance, some nutball found worth or beauty in the loathsome picture? It was just going to have to stay on the wall.

Old People Leave Me Speechless

I’ve had a lot of conversations at work with the elderly lately. I’ve learned two things: they love frozen yogurt, and they’ll say things that surprise you! I’m not pointing out their age to be rude, but there’s just something about my wrinkly friends that I find necessary to share. They sure can teach you a lot!
(Except Bob* from the nursing home. All he ever taught me was to not wake him up when he won bingo or he’d throw the prize at my face.)


Playing Dead

Me: (To Roshandala) So how are your dogs doing?

-She’s single and her six large doggies are like little kids who keep her busy. Every morning she goes downstairs and makes them go outside and run around for a little bit and go to the bathroom. Their beds are nice and warm and cozy though, so they don’t really like getting up early and going into the cold. –

Roshandala: Mitzy was being especially lazy this morning, even after all the other dogs went outside. So I said, “quit playing dead like a lazy bum, Mitzy!” Mitzy would not budge. I walked over to her doggie bed, “C’mon!!” But it turns out Mitzy wasn’t playing dead. She must have passed away in the night.

Sassy Granny
Me: That’ll be $5.32.

Sassy Granny: What! Can I put some of this yogurt back??

Me: Uhh.. I don’t think that’s possible. *chuckles*

Sassy Granny: Well that sucks ass. *hands me a twenty dollar bill*


Fabio: *looks down at tip jar* I’ll give ya a tip!

Me: Ohhh great here we go. 

Fabio: Don’t play leapfrog with a unicorn!! *cackles*

Me:..good advice sir


A Kind Word 
Me: *stressed out, trying to keep a rush under control*

MaryLou: I can see that you’re working hard, great job!

Me: *speechless*…thank you!

Try talking to an older person today! Or any person for that matter; they all have a story to tell that will surprise you, and make you laugh, cry or smile unexpectedly.
*names have been changed for the purpose of anonymity