Meeting planned to discuss Aspen Heights safety concerns

Meeting planned to discuss Aspen Heights safety concerns

Check out my first article for the Missourian that I wrote with the help of the wonderful Veronike Collazo. We looked into the meeting Aspen Heights is hosting, what has prompted it, and what security measures are in place.


Snow Happies/Sads: #FreeWriteFriday

11:31 p.m.

I played in the snow by myself yesterday.

Lying in the snow is the only time I am completely comfortable with being utterly alone with my thoughts (or lack thereof). I let the snowflakes hit my face and I smile as the cold makes my cheeks numb and tickle my closed eyes. I don’t let anything bother me.


So what, one of my younger brothers wouldn’t come out to play with me, even though I kept throwing snowballs at his window. I scampered around and jumped on my trampoline until the snow took my feet from under me.

The snow in front of my house was perfect. The plows had pushed it up nice and high around my stone fortress-esque block of a mailbox. Perfect enough for me to scale up the mounds of snow and sit atop that mailbox fortress. Hell, I stood on top of that fortress and claimed Greene Ridge Drive as my own.

It was around 5:30, so it was dark and I could watch the cars slide past on the dim street from my roost. I could jump down and lie on the front lawn and make a snow angel and just melt into the snow as if I wasn’t there.

One with the snow. One with the happy.

Today, though, today it rained.

Not just a slight drizzle, but steady, like you are in a car wash, water streaming down the windows, rain, piercing my snow like little liquid knives.

People tell me how they looooove the rain, oh how it is so soothing and relaxing.

This rain, no, this rain just made me sad. It was quite literally taking my happy, starting to eat away at my beautiful snow.

That snow envelopes me and makes me feel safe and free and something about this rain, the clouds, clouded my mind with sads, all the things that kept me caged. All my worries came rushing into my brain just as that rain rushed from the sky to the ground.

My dad came in from being and work and exclaimed, “It is disgusting outside.” Hmmm, close. It is some sort of icky that makes you wonder why the sun isn’t there.

I replied with, “It’s sad outside.”

Sure, maybe it’s weird that I, an almost 20-year-old, played in the snow, squealing and laughing, all by myself. And, sure, maybe it is crazy that today’s weather casted a cloud of insecurity that led me to tears for pretty much no reason.

But, this is my kingdom. And I can’t sit on my mailbox throne if the steps are melted.

11:52 p.m.

New Year’s Miss (Missedletoe)

Another Christmas has come and gone (well, in Disneyland, where I was just a few days ago, it is Christmas until January 6, but that is neither here nor there) and I wasn’t swept off my feet with a kiss under some fated greenery. This movie classic has always been a sort of unrealistic bucket list item for me, unrealistic because I don’t know anyone that even hangs mistletoe in their home (it is nearly 2014, most people don’t even have real Christmas trees). But, movies make it seem so commonplace, that everybody finds some sort of “sweetheart” to smooch on amidst the holly and shiny ornaments.

Christmas is not the only culprit when it comes to moment-specific kisses. There is the countdown kiss of New Years Eve, i.e. today. I will most likely be spending the clock striking twelve snuggled with my girls on a couch in my friend’s basement (not exactly the spot of impromptu romance) if California jet-lag and Cotton Bowl packing don’t prevent me from going. I have experienced the countdown kiss twice in my adolescent career with a long time high school boyfriend, but it has never been an “OMG my crush is at this NYE party… What are tips and tricks to snag him for a New Year’s smooch?” moment that those Seventeen girls seem to frequent.

I guess what I am trying to get at is that our society and culture has almost deemed these romantic moments as necessary and norm, especially around the holiday season, yet they don’t seem to happen as much or how we expect them to. Heck, I heard a commercial on the radio that was trying to get all those poor, single folk with all married friends to all go to a singles New Year’s Eve party. “Are all your friends married? Don’t be lame and alone this New Year’s Eve!” it coos to all the supposed unfortunate souls. If you are in your late teens or early twenties, the holidays mark the season of relatives asking, “Are you dating anyone? Oh, is he your boyfriend?” as the follow up to the typical “How is school?” and “Fine” exchange. My cousin’s fiancé implored why I didn’t have a boyfriend, asking if I “just wasn’t into that right now.” Though I am not going to college to get my M.R.S. degree like many females, I would still enjoy to be dating someone. It’s like people expect me to be in a relationship (or on the hunt for one) or just not interested in it at all.

We live in a relationship driven society. You can’t help but see commercials for things like “Chat with local hot singles,” eHarmony, or, my personal favorite, the rural living oriented “Farmer’s Only” dating site (because us city folk just don’t get it). There are tons of apps that flash as Facebook advertisements to connect you with the love of your life and, the infamous Tinder app that keeps gaggles of girls occupied with giggles and left or right swipes over the glowing screens of their phones. Even my friends and I fall into the trap of “single complaining” when there is overly adorable romantic moments in the movie we are watching.

Sure, there have been articles on how college-aged people have created the habit or trend of just “hooking up” (whatever that horribly vague term even means to anyone) and not creating actual relationships, but as a college student myself; I see it as more of a mixed bag. You have the serial hook-up artists as opposed to the practically (or soon-to-be) married couples that are among casual daters and what seem like typical couples, sort of mirroring high school nuances. Girls and guys alike still feel pressures of the wants, or even perceived needs, to be in a relationship of some sort with some sort of significant other.

Not only do we deal with the eternal battle of “single freedom” vs. “taken happiness” (this simple dichotomy is used for illustrative purposes because all the different opinions are more complicated than that), but we also face uncertainty with our futures with career choices, or lack thereof. A lot of times relationships that lead marriages are proposed as an easy way out for women with the assumption that she is to be provided for, thus adding to the societal pressure to be with someone. I am all for women being a stay-at-home mom as a career as much as I am all for women taking on any other career, I am just against the relationship pressure men and women face.

The revolution of the sun turning 2013 into 2014 probably won’t bring about much change to this relationship driven society, but maybe it will bring change to the mindsets of those that live under it. Maybe we will be all okay with being single or being in love or being with someone and not look at any of the other statuses in pity, jealousy or remorse, even if advertisers and media are telling us to feel that way. Maybe we will enjoy those moment-specific kisses or maybe we won’t take orders from some leaves and shouted, descending numbers. Sure, the most romantic moment this past holiday season brought me was some Quiksilver guy employees in Downtown Disney flirting with me by asking me to say the “Da Bears” and pick out a shirt that would “work in Chicago,” but that doesn’t make me sad. All I can ask for this New Year is to be able to live with my ever-changing emotions, letting in as many people as I want, giving light to those that need it, and not relying on the kisses and the misses to define me.