An Annual Refresher

If you pay any attention to astrology or the phases of the moon (believe me – I do) you’ll know that we’re opening 2014 with a New Moon. According to,

New Moons are a great time to set intentions for things you’d like to create, develop, cultivate, make manifest.

Add this to our yearly practice of writing New Year’s Resolutions, figuring out what to do with this blank slate we’ve been handed, and we’ve got quite the metaphysical, manifestational powerhouse!

I’m still undecided on most of my Resolutions for 2014. I, admittedly, did not accomplish as many of 2013’s as I would have hoped, but 2013 has more than made up for it in other ways.

I moved across the country (twice)!
I’m one step closer to accomplishing my educational goals.
I spent the entire year in the company of amazing, inspiring, supportive people whose friendship I cherish.
I have a rad boyfriend, whom I adore to distraction.
And Sherlock’s 3rd season premieres tomorrow. (ABOUT DAMN TIME).

There’s so much more than I want to experience in 2014, and I have a wonderful feeling that this will be an awesome year. ♥ I hope everyone is having a blessed, fun, and safe New Year. Happy 2014 from Tiny Quails!


Knit, Purl, Hurl (from Sheer Excitement)

As I mentioned in my last Things I Love Thursday post, there’s been some great opportunities and exciting news in my life as of late!

Firstly, I’m so excited to announce that a local shop in Old Town, Wild Women in the Garden, will be carrying some of my hand-knit items this fall and winter!


The short version of an otherwise long story is…sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to ask! My first trial order with the shop should be completely knit up and delivered very soon, which means my fingers have been flying.

Offerings will include fingerless gloves/wrist warmers, and my favourite thing to knit, hooded scarves. Between this and Christmas gifts, if you see me without a pair of knitting needles in my hand, there’s something terribly wrong.

The other bit of exciting news I found out recently: After visiting a campus counselor I mapped out that, if I hit the books hard for the next two semesters, I’ll graduate next year! As an off-and-on student since 2009, this is so exciting – especially considering I’ll not only be getting an AA-Transfer degree in History, but another unexpected AA in Liberal Arts. So begins my gleeful collection of degrees….As Oscar Wilde said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” (Needless to say, I am ecstatic to somehow be both.)

Naturally, it’s time to start looking at universities. My ultimate dream is to study at Berkeley’s (legendary) Dwinelle Hall…but the thought of tuition makes me break out into hives. In the meantime, my interest is caught between UC Davis’s history department, which has offerings such as “Christianity and Culture In Europe from 50-1450” and “Medieval and Renaissance Medicine.” Their medieval studies courses seem much more varied and well-rounded than other UCs, though I am very tempted by UC Santa Cruz’s class on “Saints and Holiness in Medieval Europe.” What’s a poor, indecisive student to do?

Finally, (and this is more personal, and probably less exciting), autumn is here at last! The air is crisp, my collection of cardigans is now being worn on rotation, and pumpkin goodies adorn the shelves at Trader Joe’s.  I was lucky enough to attend a Mabon (Autumn Equinox) festival last Sunday with my friends Karl and Katrina, and had a wonderful time despite getting a gnarly sunburn. We participated in a circle ritual, went metaphysical shopping (my wallet was safe from the crystals, but I did walk away with a teeny bottle of Full Moon incense that I can’t wait to use), did a spot of yoga (tip: yoga poses in a dress is not easy), and wrapped up the day with delicious sushi and frozen yogurt. It was a great experience, and I am so grateful they invited me along to share it 🙂

Things are still busy here at the New Nest. Life is steadily humming along, despite my tendency to stick my fingers in my ears and pretend I don’t have anything going on – a major failing for someone who wants to graduate next year, no? There are so many big things on the horizon for the remainder of the year, and I’m eager to experience and share them with you.


Feathering the Nest

As you may know (seeing as how I am unable to silence myself for any long period of time about it), I’m in the middle of a huge transitory period. Moving out from my childhood home and being – accordingly – festooned in the trappings of an Official Bona Fide Grown Up – not only that, but being comfortable with being an Actual Adult for the first time in this new space!
I thought the transition from my childhood home would be uncomfortable and awkward and send me into screaming fits of panic, but I’m surprising myself at the ease with which I’m moving.


So far I’ve had a lot of fun going through my possessions, culling what I don’t need any more, and figuring out the direction that I want my new digs to go in.
It’s not easy…between going to class four days a week and still living out of boxes, sometimes all I want to do when I get home is roll straight into bed when there’s still unpacking and cleaning to be done and household chores to take care of!
My general rule for keeping vs throwing away is “If it’s not beautiful or useful, then why hold on to it?” I’ve been able to put so much stuff that I was afraid to get rid of in the trash/Goodwill box by applying these rules! Not only does cutting down on your personal belongings reduce clutter, but it also clears out stagnant energy – and allows you to make room for a flow of new, fresh energy into your life, whether it be money, friendship, or health. And I’m ready for all of the above!


Though I loved my room in my beautiful old home, I realize that it was only a matter of time before I had to outgrow it. And even though this new room is much smaller, I’m completely in love with it. Not only does it make me think critically of what to take on this physical journey through life, but it also presents me with a blank canvas for this new stage of my life.


Here, it feels like I do magic.

Such a Clever Grown-Up Miss: Things I Learned from my Disney College Program

Now that my Disney College Program is over (and because I am quite possibly insane) I am considering doing the whole process over again. However! For the second time around, I would definitely make some changes. The first Program was a learning-on-my-feet experience, and now that I know what to do – and perhaps even more importantly, what not to do. Here’s some basic advice that I’d like to offer to anyone who is considering or preparing for their own College Program:

Invest in some easily-reheatable basics to always have on hand for meals – hot dogs, a big bag of frozen veggies, canned soups, and so on. Depending on how long your program is, you’ll get sick of mac & cheese and ramen really fast. I’m a fan of Michelina’s frozen meals, which I can get for less than a dollar each at Wal-Mart’s grocery section.
Always bring your lunch. The staff cafeterias are pricey! I paid $2.50 for an aforementioned frozen meal (which, again, costs around a dollar if you buy it and bring it in) on one day that I forgot to bring in my lunch.

If you can, get a crockpot. Not having to worry about making dinner after an eight-hour (or longer!) shift will take a lot of stress off of you.

One of the major drawing points of the Disney College Program is the lure of “You’ll be able to go to the parks for free on your days off!” What people neglect to mention is black-out dates. Some parks have more black-out dates than others – Magic Kingdom is particularly notorious for being filled to capacity on certain occasions like Spring Break. This year on the 4th of July, MK hit capacity around 10 in the morning! Utter insanity. Others, like Animal Kingdom, have less black-out dates.

Use your common sense and courtesy: If you’re under 21, follow the rules regarding alcohol. Regardless of your age, follow the rules regarding drugs. Don’t be that person who is up banging and stomping around at 3 in the morning when your neighbors or roommates have to get up at five for work. If you have to come home drunk in the small hours of the morning, don’t shout or scream as you’re walking between the apartment buildings because people can hear you and they probably won’t react kindly. Clean up after yourself. Don’t eat food that belongs to your roommates, seriously, that’s just rude. And, for the love of god, don’t call in sick and then go to the parks or sell your main gates. You will get termed. 

Don’t be afraid to pester Maintenance. This is especially applicable if you live in the older apartment complex, Vista Way. My apartment’s garbage disposal and dishwasher were completely busted, and it took several requests, each less patient and kind than the last, for them to come by and fix it.

Due to the mild winters and subtropical climate, Florida is the land of giant bugs. If you start seeing bugs in your apartment, let the front desk of your complex know immediately so they can schedule pest control to stop by ASAP. You do not want to let a bug problem get out of control.

Generally, it’s a good idea to keep your place tidy so you’re not scrambling to clean up the entire apartment the night before inspection. If your roommates are unhelpful, keep your own personal space tidy at the very least. This doesn’t mean you should be a doormat and clean up after everyone – a little negotiation goes a long way.

Stay hydrated. Again, this should fall under ‘common sense’ but I can understand the appeal of knocking back energy drinks before your shift after a long night out. Keep a water bottle with you. Florida is hot and humid and you’ll dehydrate faster than you think.

Be wise where you shop. A certain superstore on the bus route is arranged to cater specifically to both tourists and college program participants, so the ‘savings’ aren’t that great for the quality. If you have a car, or know someone who does, there are several grocery stores in the area which, while also catering to tourists, have rewards card programs that you can sign up for. Even if you don’t end up saving a lot of money at these grocery stores, I find the difference in the quality of food to be worth the price.

Depending on your job, your pay might not be as stellar as you thought it would be. I notice that Cast Members working in more retail-oriented roles (such as Merchandise, Food Service, etc) tend to have more work days or longer shifts, and subsequently, higher paychecks. Working in costuming, I learned this the hard way after several three- and four-day weeks and less-than-awesome paychecks. Talk to your coworkers and see if there is a facebook page for your department so you can set up shift exchanges or pickups.

Generally, it’s very useful to keep a little bit of cash with you (at home) at all times. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just about $15, in fives or tens. You never know when you’ll have to refill your laundry card or tip the pizza delivery guy.

Make a point to visit the Cast Connection store. It’s great for finding deals on gifts, apparel for yourself, and has great prices on basic groceries that you’ll definitely want to take advantage of.

Get an umbrella or a waterproof poncho ASAP, if you didn’t bring one with you. Depending on when your program is, a pair of dependable rainboots is also a great idea. During the summer months there are pretty dependable thunderstorms and torrential downpours if not daily, then at least once every few days. You will get tired of getting wet.

Utilize the Disney Learning Centers at the parks and at Vista Way. The selection of books (for resource, self-development, and recreational reading!) and movies is amazingly vast.

Pick up a PAC shift at least once. Then be grateful that you never have to do it again if you don’t want to.

If you’re ever unsure about something, ask. The staff both at the apartment help/learning centers and your coordinators/managers at work are knowledgable and, more often than not, want to help set you up for success. You will always get some conflicting answers, but it’s better to suss out how things work than remain in the dark. Your College Program success will, overall, depend largely on your ingenuity and determination. Don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand.

And finally, each and every college program is different. Do the best that you can with what you have, work hard, and don’t forget to have fun along the way!

When You Wish Upon a Star…(originally written 8/2/2013)

As I write this a child screeches a few rows ahead of me and frigid, recycled plane air is slowly dehydrating myself and my fellow passengers. Luckily, this flight’s short. If you wrung me out like a sponge right now, you’d get nothing, not even a single drop of the coffee I drank without tasting this morning with one foot already in the shower.

(I am an adult, just not a very good or efficient one.)

The state of transit is a funny one. Rather preferring a state of introspection than deal with the prospect of talking to the poor couple next to me (‘Hello, sorry I smell, this is only for an hour anyway and I am a nervous flyer, care for an almond?’), I instead turn my mind to the past eight months and what they held, as well as the future and what lies, undiscovered, just beyond the horizon.

Though my program itself was only six months long, it took up a major portion of my time and energy and anxieity since I got my acceptance email all the way back in November. Back then, I didn’t know what I was getting into.

All I knew is that I wanted an adventure. I fancied myself taking after Belle from Beauty and the Beast – I want adventure in the great wide somewhere/I want it more than I can tell…

And adventure I got. In spades, even.
So, in the early chill of February, I packed my bags and set off into the wild blue something. I didn’t know what to expect, other than an adventure. And when I got to Florida…oh, where do I even begin?

I was so blessed to be placed with the best group of roommates a girl could ask for. Communal living has its ups and downs – more,I think, than the Tower of Terror, and the lows are just as horrifying and jarring to boot. I would like to thank you for, well, everything – your generosity, the support when I needed it, the fun. I am so lucky to have gotten to know and live with such strong, funny, hardworking young ladies.

Work for Disney is never just work, especially in the entertainment family. There were torrential downpours, working till 3 in the morning, screaming matches, breaks where I laughed so hard I wanted to cry…and of course, working alongside and getting to know so many different people. Working with all of you, too many to name in this blog post, was such an amazing experience. Even when the work itself got tedious and frustrating and I was two steps away from quitting on the spot, working with such fun and passionate people kept me going.

Finally, my ohana. I’d like to go on the record as believing that family is more than blood, and for that I’d like to let my friends as well as my kin know how much I love them and how special they are to me. Thank you so much for supporting me – financially, emotionally, spiritually – for the past six months. For being the best cheerleaders when my spirits were low. For tough love and making me see past my own bullshit. For pushing me to go out and do more when I was afraid and unsure. For your wisdom, and for your love.
To those members of my family I haven’t seen in half a year or more, I miss you more than I can say. I can’t wait to see you again.

I can’t say for certain what the post-DCP future holds. After this taste of adventure, I’m ready to return home with my new perspective and make the most of everything that I’ve learned in Orlando. But first….I think I need to get off this plane and eat some real food.

A Very Personal Post: The Tabula Rasa

My situation has changed forever and while it makes me sad, I’m going to view this as the right time for me to begin anew. While my slate isn’t completely wiped clean I do have a fresh start, of sorts, for when I move back to California.

And what do I want to do with it? I am thrilled at all of the possibility. The list-maker in me is wringing her hands and sharpening her pencils with glee.

I want comfort and creativity and enough space for both. Bowls of flowers. Ornate picture frames, knit quilts, loaded bookshelves, flower fairy lights on my headboard.
I want to study with reckless abandon and know exactly where I’m going with my education.
I want to wake up with excitement and energy. Each morning I want my toes to hit the floor and my spirit to fill the room with excitement and gleeful anticipation at the possibility that a brand new day will bring.

I always feel so run down and weary, and I can’t get out of bed in the morning. Maybe if I change my mind – I have energy! I wake up with vibrancy! – I’ll get it. Because that’s what I want my life to be. Energy and excitement. Everyday life filled with productivity, love, learning, and happiness.  I want energy. I want to know my life is going places.

I want to dress after the fashion of my soul. I want to walk around campus like I mean business. When people see me in passing they need to think, “Damn, I better either get out of her way or join her!” I want to kick ass at maths. I want to meet like minded people and form great connections while having great conversations, founded in truth and knowledge and similar values.

I want time and energy to pursue what I love and make it look effortless.

I want to look good and feel awesome. Every day. Even on the weekends where all I’m doing is putting on sweatpants and walking the dog and putting something in the slow cooker for dinner.

As for the rest of the year…
I want an Indian summer of lazy sunsets and warm afternoons and minty iced tea. I want nights of chilled wine and salads and talking about everything. I want a summer vacation exploring a place I love, learning new things and finding the space to breathe.
I want an ethereal Halloween. A fall of comfort and being utterly in-tune with the shift in seasons. Eating seasonally and locally, touching my environment as it changes. I want to take walks in the rain and wear tartan and boots and have the smell of crushed fallen leaves and tea be my perfume.
I want holidays of chant and polyphony music. Ornate, jewel-bright baubles. Thoughtfulness. Joy. Writing letters and sending cards to everyone I’ve met here in Florida, as well as the far-flung friends I’ve made all over the world. I want brightness and baking, knitting, planning for 2014.

I get all of these wild hairs about “what I want my life to be like” and never act on them. They’re all ideas and they feel so close it breaks my heart, if only because I don’t know how to get from my current reality to what I want my life to be like. That’s dumb. I need to act! Every day, I need to make the choices that will push me toward this beautiful life. What is it – Abraham said something about using your emotions as a guide to attune yourself to what you want to be aligned with vibrationally.
And, well, I want to feel good all the time. Even when I’m not sure what I want…all I know is that I want to feel good. That’s what I want from my blank slate: Beauty, knowledge, and feeling good.

Pardon My Pixie Dust

The whole life of man is but a point in time; let us enjoy it.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ve been extremely, mind-bendingly unhappy lately.

The thing about unhappiness like this is that it isn’t dissimilar to quicksand. Walking along, nothing will seem amiss save for a gradual downward slope – and before I know it, I’m up to my neck and can’t haul myself out. It takes a lot of energy just to keep my head above it. Treading water requires a tremendous amount of effort.

In short, I’ve lost “it” – “it” being pixie dust, zazz, joie de vivre, whatever you want to call the happiness and energy that I first experienced upon moving out here. My weekly Gratitude Lists have sputtered out spectacularly. My friends and family, bless them, have been putting up with a constant litany of homesickness and self-deprecation from me for the better of three weeks now, and I’ve all but stopped singing at my work. A Disney Princess, I am not (at least currently).

I’ve figured out the secret of most College Programs and why they only last about four months: If what I’m going through is any indication, at around the three-month mark, we get sick of this and want to go back home! It takes a very special and driven sort of person to want to stay with the program or, god forbid, extend and apply for the professional internships.
I am not a very special and driven sort of person; all I can think about is my cat, my garden, the flowers I want to grow and the beautiful things I want to cook, the clothes I want to sew, the classes I want to take and the things I want to learn. You had better believe I’m making a list of all the things I’m going to do when I get back to California!

Along with the homesickness, the thought of self-terminating has been constantly running at the back of my mind – especially on the days where I’m tired and sore beyond belief, my coworkers are infuriating, and my shifts are unbearable. (I am not too proud to admit that on a recent shift I was sobbing hysterically the last twenty minutes before I clocked out, one step away from barging into my manager’s office and quitting on the spot.)
What keeps me from self-terming is a strange sort of masochism, my awesome flatmates encouraging me to stay strong and live it up while I’m here,  a determination to not disappoint myself or anyone else, and the knowledge that I am supposed to be here and I am supposed to be learning from this. If I can’t enjoy it, then at the very least I can learn from it, right?

The Plutarch I quoted at the beginning of this post appeared to me out of the blue a few nights ago. A very well-timed fragment of serendipity, I’ve been ruminating on it for the past few days – however brief and understated it is, it is comforting to keep in mind.
To be honest, I’m not sure what the point of this post is. Perhaps it’s to get these thoughts off of my chest, as though exorcising them thoughts will improve my situation – or at the very least, my peace of mind. Early in this blog’s infancy I promised myself I wouldn’t dump nonconstructive whining here. (Is constructiveness in the eye of the beholder, for lack of a better term?) Or perhaps this is productive and constructive – perhaps this is to be a public record of my thoughts and feelings; a reminder for the future that this unhappiness is only a very brief moment in the entirety of life.