Part One: Decafé


Fluhr sat in Decafé on a Thursday morning, watching the Martian from across the room. No, it was not polite to stare. She knew that. But did he really have to pick his antennae right in front of her?

She should be in class right now. Her schedule is packed on Thursdays, but she just couldn’t make herself go to class. She tried to drop Ancient Intergalactic Politics after the first week, but there was nothing to replace it with and she needed a minimum amount of units. So instead of taking notes in a stuffy classroom, Fluhr elected to go to her favorite cafe.

It was a strange cafe, that went without saying. She was probably the most “normal” customer in the cafe (aside from her friends who, unfortunately, were good enough students to not skip class). Most regulars at Decafé were strange, not because they were a different…

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Are you there, readers? It’s us, Torey/i.

Readers: this is my 2nd blog (co-run with my friend Tori), check it out!


Two writers, one name, one plan. Torey and Tori, taking on the Internet world to better our writing skills and procrastinate on our reading assignments as English majors. Regularly (we will not specify times, as we are busy and attempt social lives), we will post one chapter of an on-going book. Or short stories – who knows what’s going to happen? It’s a blog. There are no rules. We will alternate writing these chapters, just to shake things up. Talk to you soon, readers.

– Torey/i.

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The Best 3.5 Years of Your Life

I am graduating next December. My graduation plans, having changed yet again, are set for me to end my undergraduate career a semester earlier than I’d planned. And knowing this, recognizing that my undergraduate career is almost over, has sent me into a bit of a… subdued panic, if you will. I run through people’s statements about college in my mind, over and over, about the ‘best years of my life.’ I love college. I do. But I’ll be damned if it will be the best years of my life.

Four years to define who I am as a person, to make the following decades a slow decline? That’s terrifying, and that’s horribly sad. I’m going on to complete a Master’s, to teach, to be a better person. And yes, it is scary to end a lifetime of school. That’s what it is, really – a population graduating after spending their entire lives in school. How do you move on from that? How do you make that transition?

It will be rough at times, I’m sure. I certainly don’t look forward to taxes (gag) and adult responsibilities. But I’m looking forward to the rest of my life, and though this may be the best three and a half years of my life in other people’s eyes, it won’t be the best years for me. I’m graduating to something better.

Here Comes the Breakdown

Being a major in English literature, it may be a bit needless to say that I read a lot. Like, constantly. But living in the 21st century, I am also an avid television and film consumer. Which, to some, may soon be more important than novels or poetry. (Sob.) Long story short, I both read everything I can get my hands on and binge watch Netflix originals.

This somewhat lengthy introduction leads to a core belief of mine: watching or reading whatever is fine, but it means little if you aren’t an active consumer. By active, I mean thinking about what you are watching, analyzing it, discussing it. This act of analysis makes us more active members of society and, honestly, better people.

Recognizing why something or someone in a television show or movie makes you feel strongly is important because you can then analyze those traits, tropes, or various aspects of society. Literature and film is, after all, only a reflection or criticism of our culture. A film like Dear White People is important because you can, as an active consumer, recognize the flaws in our society and how different sub-populations of our society feel about these flaws. A television show like Parks & Recreation, which is phenomenal for reasons that needs its own article, is worth analyzing because you can (like I did) realize how few shows have great, complex representations of women on television. Don’t even get me started on Game of Thrones (literature and film, oh, be still my beating heart).

When the day comes that I am out of school and working as a full-time teacher, I hope I can communicate this to my students. If I can successfully get across the message that individuals in a working, healthy, educated society need to be able to analyze what they consume, I have done my job.

Also, isn’t it just fun to obsess over a show or book?

Calm during the storm

Listen to this: classes from 11am to 3pm, work four (possibly five) nights a week, and a mission to complete 45 hours this semester for my Spanish major. Does this sound like the Semester From Hell, yet? More importantly, does this sound as hectic as your schedule? Deep breaths, reader, and repeat after me: we will get through this together.

When I finish with my shifts as a waitress, I decompress in my apartment by lying on the floor for up to a half hour. Just laying there. Oh, how I wish I were kidding. But after almost twelve hours of nonstop work, I need to lay down and just be for a while. In the middle of the storm, I need to find my calm.

Sometimes, that means lying on the floor. Sometimes, it means a glass of wine while I do my assignments, or forcing my roommate’s cat to cuddle with me for a few moments. It’s important that we find these moments, and recognize them when we do find them. It’s important to acknowledge the breaks in our crazy, over-packed lives, and breathe while we can.

2015: Mountain Mentalities

The new year has arrived, a new year of hikes and mountains and sun. I’ve just returned from my first hike of 2015, an easy and familiar hike that surprised me with abnormally large waterfalls (thank you, winter rains). It truly amazes me how quickly my mentality changes when I arrive in the desert, immediately back in my heart’s home, and then improves so greatly when I’m in the mountains.


It was the push I needed. For my exercise routine (hello, morning runs), for my nutrition, and for my job search. I still don’t have a job here, which, though I know my first job is technically being a student, I hate the idea of depending on money from my parents when they already give so much. I’ve applied to and interviewed for a few places, and so far, no luck, but no matter: I have a page full of places within biking distance of me. Within a month, I’ll have my car, and that range will widen.

2015 is a year of mountain mentalities: keep persevering, and you will reach the summit you seek.

Oh, no, New Year’s Resolutions

I’m sorry for the stereotypical, seemingly washed-out New Year’s post. I’m not sorry enough to not post it, though. While I consider life a continuous opportunity to improve oneself, it’s fun to have a cultural annual date to reflect on what we can or should or want to change. So, without further ado, here are my resolutions for 2015.

1. One cup of coffee a day. I don’t want to cut coffee out of my life. It’s part of American culture and embedded into my heart (that may be the caffeine talking), and I love coffee shop atmospheres dearly. But I drink too much. Yes, I am one of those. During the semester, because of my stress levels, I can drink up to 5 cups of coffee a day (while somehow sometimes forgetting to eat). The amount of money I spend on coffee is shameful. Shameful. So. One cup a day.

2. Exercise four times a week, excluding hiking. This seems like a no-brainer, and is inevitably the most common resolution annually. But why should I need this resolution? I’m an outdoors blog, right? Well… I rarely worked out while in Chile, save the mountain trips and cycling classes once in a blue moon at my university. I’m out of shape, certainly, but my main goal is to so engrain exercise into my routine that I naturally work it in. I haven’t yet reached that, and hope I will this year. (Hope. No. Will.)

3. Monthly weekend trips. I don’t know how likely this will be, given what will of course be a busy schedule and a sadly tight budget, but I want to take a weekend trip outside my city once a month. Not that I don’t love my city, I do. But I’m woefully ignorant of my state and I mean to change that; also, I’ll need the distraction of travel after having returned from a study abroad. I expect and welcome restlessness.

The trouble isn’t making resolutions, the trouble is keeping them. Whatever yours are this year, I hope you find the strength to keep them, and I wish you luck. Happy 2015, everyone.