Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tell me where's the challenge if you never try

One my goals this year was to read 52 books in 52 weeks, a challenge proposed by Eilonwy.

As of 2:42 AM, this morning, I accomplished that goal by finishing She Went All the Way by Meg Cabot. I finished listening to book 53 (Notes from a Liar and Her Dog) as I was packing just now.


I made this challenge even harder for myself by choosing not to read books I'd already read. I'm a re-reader, and love reading certain books multiple times, so to not pick up one of my comfortable standbys was quite the challenge sometimes.

Instead of re-reading what was already on my shelves, I made use of the new library branch very close to my house, as well as downloading audiobooks to listen to at work. I discovered new authors and lots of new stories. Some of them were pure brain candy - books without any substance but entertainment. Much like Twinkies. But I also read a couple non-fiction titles, something I said I wasn't going to do because my brain was already so overloaded with school work. Of course, I also read everything in between.

One of the reasons I accepted this challenge was because of school. I've always been a voracious reader, thanks to my mom's weekly trips to the library. We were allowed to check out six books every week, and I almost always finished them by the time we went back. I can't tell you how many books I bought at book fairs or through book orders.

However, during high school and undergrad, I slowed down, at least a little. Especially in undergrad, I had so much other reading I had to do, that my reading for pleasure fell by the wayside. I didn't stop reading completely, but if I had countd my books those years, the number was significantly lower.

Then I was burned out. After hundreds of plays and articles and essays, I couldn't read anymore. I hardly remember where I even put my bookcase in my first post-college apartment, and I rarely had books strewn about. When I moved to DC, I started getting back into it more, and was just picking up reading steam when I started school all over again.

So, when Eilonwy proposed this challenge, I figured it would be a great way to not get burned out again, as well as have a way to escape from all the madness.

I was right. Some weeks I read 4 books and I'm sure there was at least once I didn't read a thing for 4 weeks. Still, it all averaged out, and by the end of next week, I'll probably have finished at least two or three more.

I love reading.

As for my other goals, I mostly triumphed as well.

I did buy that book, and I played tourist a few times, particularly when I had visitors.

I took a dance class, but realized it was too far away to make it a habit. So, I took piano instead.

I ran not one, but three 5K races, until I was told not to anymore.

I didn't quite maintain my 4.0, but my current 3.87 is nothing to be sad about.

I also didn't really add to my official personal history, but I did journal every night (except one, as I recall).

Not too shabby!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Laughing all the way

In honor of the Festivus "Airing of Grievances", and to borrow a feature often found on Darin's blog, I now present you with my

List of Things That Must Go - Christmas edition

Reindeer antlers on cars - Your car just looks silly. A big SUV with reindeer antlers on the front windows? Silly. A tiny sports car? Silly. I'm all for Christmas spirit, but your car does not look like a reindeer at all. The jury is still out on wreaths on the front of cars.

Bad Christmas music - It seems that Christmas music falls into one of three categories - Awesome, Bad, and Awesomely Bad (like the Shonen Knife song on my playlist). Just because you are a popular music artist does not mean you should record a Christmas album. 20 other people have recorded an equally bad rendition of that same song. What you should do is find Christmas songs that are appropriate for your voice OR write a totally new song!

Christmas without snow - It hasn't really snowed here yet, so it's just gray and cold, and that's not festive. At least the sun is shining, so it's not dismal, and I'm going home to a place where there is, reportedly, a lot of snow.

Do you agree? Disagree? Have grievances you'd like to air? I certainly feel a lot better, now that I've gotten that off my chest. Merry Festivus!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Grant my last request

Most of the materials requests I get from teachers are pretty straightforward: title, author/composer/artist, call number. It's easy enough, and that's what I ask for when I send out my "how to use the library" letter at the beginning of the year.

Not everyone seems to get that memo, and this afternoon met with some strange requests.

Me: _____ Libary, this is Amanda.

Teacher: Hi! How are you?

Me: Good . . . You?

Teacher: Good, thanks. This is Hugging Orchestra Teacher. (Upon hearing her name, I think first of a former boss, which is unnerving.)

Me: Oh! Hi!

Hugging Orchestra Teacher: I'm looking for one of the Brandenburg Concertos, but I don't know what number. Can you pull all the ones you have and sing them for me?

Me: (without hesitation) No.


Me: I mean, my sight-singing isn't all that great, and it's orchestra music.

HOT: Okay. Can you still pull all of them and then tell me which one starts with 8th notes?

Me: That could take awhile.

We proceeded to narrow down the possibilities. To 50%. I have to tell her at least 5 times that one of them is checked out and that both of the ones I do have start with 8th notes. I answer other questions at least two or three times each. Then, my next favorite:

HOT: So, it's grade three. Does it look hard?

Me: I have no idea. I'm a pianist. (All orchestral instrument music looks hard to me.)

After twelve minutes, we eventually decided that none of the titles were what she was looking for, but she wanted me to send her them anyway. So I did.

Then, an art teacher called.

Art Teacher: Hi, this is _____ at ________. I'm looking for some Frida Kahlo prints I usually check out this time of year.

Me: Okay! Great! Which ones did you want?

Art Teacher: The big ones. They're self-portraits, I think.

Me: (huh?) Great!

Luckily, I found some things fitting her description.

What strange requests have you been asked for?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Making Christmas is so fine!

I told Eilonwy that I wasn't going to be doing a single craft project for Christmas this year. I guess I lied. I thought up this little project for the parents of my "nephew" and it wasn't all that time-consuming. Of course, I had to wait to do it until this no-schoolwork week.

I think it turned out well. I still didn't have time to do crafts or sewing projects for everyone this year, like I have in years past. One day I'll have crafty time during months other than parts of May, August, or December.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Did you ever know that you're my hero?

This weekend and I are not getting along well. In fact, it's bad enough that when I called The Spy tonight and asked her to pick me up from jail, she actually believed me, even if only for a split second.


Regardless of everything that had been happening, I still had to do my final project for my web programming class. The assignment was to take what we learned and do something fun. That's it. No checklist of requirements or anything. When I proposed my project idea, my professor liked it, so off I went!

Why is it always the assignments with the least amount of guidance that end up being the most difficult?

I started this morning (nothing like a little procrastination - it's due Monday). I knew exactly what I wanted my program to do, but, as always, I wasn't entirely sure how to get it to do that.

Enter today's Hero of the Day! Theater Geek!

Of course, he wasn't available the minute I needed him. His power and phone lines were out and his cell phone was dead (I blame my bad weekend for that) so it took a couple of hours for him to get back to me. He pointed out a couple of mistakes and then we discussed how to get the "magic" of the program to work.

The good news? The ideas I'd had on how to do so were correct! I knew what I was doing! Mostly . . .

I still couldn't have done it without Theater Geek. He's the best. And, last of all, he found the semi-colon I was missing that was throwing the whole thing off. Could I have asked my professor or classmates how to do what I was doing? Maybe. But it wouldn't have happened instantly, or been nearly as fun.

So, Theater Geek, thank you! Again! You are most certainly the Hero of the Day.

Now, I'm free until January 15. 4 weeks of sweet scholastic freedom! Next semester? No web programming for me. Oh yeah, and I'm graduating in 20o9!

To see my final project, just play Rock Paper Scissors!

Now, I just hope my weekend improves. Finishing the project certainly should help.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Question existing

When you sneezes, someone else (if they are polite) will say "Bless you", "Gesundheit", etc.

[Side note: In Spanish, the proper response to the first sneeze is "Salud"("Health"), the second - "Dinero"("Money"), and the third - "Amor" ("Love"). My freshman year of BYU boyfriend would always respond to my sneezes in Spanish, and would teasingly get mad when I only sneezed twice.]

If you cough, you, generally, say "Pardon me".

What about when you hiccup? Why isn't there a proper response to that? Instead, when you hiccup, everyone just looks at you like you're insane. The looks get worse the louder or more often you hiccup. It's just uncomfortable for everyone, but the poor victim of the hiccups gets increasingly embarassed and all the other people just get annoyed. That's weird.

Secondly, I'm all for saving the planet and using reusable lunch containers. Also, I love pandas.

These are great - insulated, reusable, unfold into a placemat (also great for cleaning).

But I think the tiger looks mad, the bunny sick, and the panda sad.

Oh, and the placemat looks like a diaper. Who wants eat their lunch out something that resembles a diaper?

Just some "What's up with that?" moments I've had tonight.

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's Christmas, and I want everything

We haven't decorated for Christmas yet. The roommates don't really have anything in the way of Christmas decorations, and I don't really want to unpack all of mine, as I may be packing them AND everything else I own rather soon. So, it's not beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. Since I've been listening to Christmas music (at least once a week) since October, it's only sort of helping me get into the Christmas mood. I'm doing the vast majority of my Christmas shopping online and shipping it to my parents' house, where I won't be until Christmas Eve. It's only kind of snowed, but the Christmas decorations (everywhere but my house) are slowly popping up. So, it's a little strange at some times, but Christmas is, mostly, in the air.

Mom asked for Christmas list again, so I thought I might post it here. As always, I would be happy with just a hug, and blog comments, and knowing that everyone I care about is happy and healthy.

A set of silverware (mine are very cheap and don't match all that well)

Board games (we have a whole game closet at the parents' house, and now I only have a few)

KitchenAid stand mixer (in black or red)

1.5" barrel curling iron

digital video camera

speakers for my iPod

sewing machine

enough tuition money for the rest of my grad school career

a boyfriend

What do you want for Christmas?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holdin' out for a hero

I am introducing a new feature here at The Book Guardian - Hero of the Day.

It's an award I give out on occasion, as a thank you for any number of things, but it usually doesn't mean anything else.

Until now!

Anytime I give someone the "Hero of the Day" award, they shall receive a mention on my blog. This guy certainly qualifies, as do some from this weekend.

I spent most of this last weekend with CorryZahn, who so graciously let me stay with them for the third time this year. However, on Saturday night, I stayed with the brother and girlfriend of the friend who did the driving (the first time I didn't drive to NYC, it was great). We were just all chatting and I realized that this brother knew a LOT about computers and networking.

Now, since about May, my computer has not wanted to connect wirelessly to any network but my own at home. This is highly frustrating as that's kind of the point of a laptop - mobility.

I finally got the courage to ask this relative stranger to look at my compy. He did, and within 15 minutes, I was on the internet again! I was thrilled!

Then I got home Sunday night. And the compy wouldn't even connect to my home network. Great. I left it until Monday, hoping it would magically fix itself (hoping for the old "restart" trick to kick in), but it didn't. Luckily, I had the foresight to email my professor from work to say that I might not make it to class.

By 7:30 (class is from 7-8), the computer wasn't any closer to working and I was getting calls from my FHE "kids" asking what was going on. So, I left, picked up Simon, my new FHE co-chair, and we were off. The subject of my computer came up and he said he might know what was wrong. So a little later, on our way back to his house, we picked it up and took a look at it at his house. This time I watched him so I knew what to do, and once again, within 10 minutes this time, I was back online! I even IMed Alvin to tell him hello from his kitchen.

These guys are definitely my current Heroes of the Day!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I survived the trip home. Apparently everyone else on the Eastern seaboard was making the same trip, so what usually takes 4.5 hours took more than 8. About hour 6, I started thinking about strangling the boys I was traveling with, so I took a nap. And missed the Bon Jovi sing-along. Otherwise, it was a great trip!

Sad that you didn't see my fantastic red coat in the parade crowds? Well, that's because I wasn't wearing it. I was snug and warm in the office building of friends of friends of parents of a friend of a friend that overlooked the parade, just off Columbus Circle. I got to see everything, but without losing feeling in my face.

The rest of the weekend was also lovely. I enjoyed friends both new and old, got a lot of homework done, played Guitar Hero by myself for three hours, ate the most fantastic dim sum, bought a new purse, and relaxed.

Now! It's Christmas time! To celebrate the season, I've changed the playlist to Christmas songs. You may hear an abundance of "The Carol of the Bells", but you'll certainly not hear "Walking in a Winter Wonderland". Or "Let It Snow". I've decided that I don't like those songs. Possibly because I'm jaded and bitter, because even when I've had a boyfriend during the holidays, I've certainly never done any of the things they sing about. Sad, really.

I had a hard time with "I'll Be Home For Christmas" last year. I knew I was going to spend Christmas in Paris with my grandparents and all, but I wasn't going to be home.

I will be this year though, and I'm counting down the days!

Monday, December 1, 2008

This'll be the day that I die

If you see this post, it's because we're still driving home from NYC. Could have gotten on the road late, could be in traffic, could be dead on the side of the road. Hopefully, it's not the latter. Check back tomorrow to see if I survived.

No matter what my fate, I hope you've enjoyed my attempt at NaBloPoMo 2008. I certainly have!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Can music save your mortal soul?

It's no secret that I love music. If I'm not listening to music, I have a song in my head. I deal with sheet music every single day. Sometimes, I'm tired of looking at it, but I still come back every day. I love it's possibilities, sounds, emotions, and everything else that music can be.

This weekend, I'm judging original compositions for the local Reflections competition. I remember doing Reflections when I was a kid, and somehow I'm now old enough to be judging it. The teacher in charge of finding judges chose me because "You're an excellent musician, and you deal with music every day. Who better to be a judge?"

Kinda cool. These kids in this district are quite talented and I'm actually looking forward to listening.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The day the music died

The rule is that you don't play Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving (which is today), right? I've been trying to abide by that rule for as long as I can remember, except for Thursdays.

For choir.

Any other day I need to practice my instruments.

Or accidentally happen upon a radio station that is already playing Christmas songs that I like.

Or when I find songs like this:

At least I don't have to feel guilty about it anymore, but the truth is that I've been listening to or singing Christmas music intermittently since October. In years past, I've even listened to it in April.

I love Christmas music!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The lovers cried and the poets dreamed

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm actually writing this post (and those for the rest of the month) before they're to be posted. I'm spending the holiday weekend with friends in and around Manhattan. I'm sure I'm having a blast.

Today, I'm going to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! Keep an eye out for my awesome red coat!

No matter where today finds you, I hope you're having a wonderful day are surrounded by people who are care about you.

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Did you write the book of love

This is my token NaBloPoMo "I have no idea what to talk about" post.

It's cold in my office. I set the thermostat to 85, just to get it to warm up. No dice. My hand are freezing.

I can't find my scriptures. I really hope I forgot them at church, because that's the only place other than my house I've taken them since September.

Only wearing slacks and skirts these days allows me to dress up fabulously. It's kind of fun. But I am wearing my red Chuck Taylors today with my slacks, and I love it.

December is going to be very busy.

As stressful as the really big things are right now, it was FHE planning that got me emotional this week.

I still love my calling.

I'm going to miss my family tomorrow. I miss them all the time, for one reason or another, but I miss them most on holidays and Sundays.

Still, I'm looking forward to having a great Thanksgiving weekend! Starting in five short minutes from the time I'm writing this sentence!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How that music used to make me smile

My Gmail inbox is almost completely archived. At this moment, I only have 13 messages in my inbox. I found some fun things in there, some of which I will share with you.

This was Easter 2005. My sister and then-boyfriend were cracking me up over who knows what.

A few weeks later at my graduation! I don't look like I have any makeup on. Fran just remembers me being really tired, which is totally true. You don't sleep much when you do 4 years of school in 3.

Halloween 2005. For those of who you were wondering, this is Smalls. I did his makeup and we made his costume.

I have this picture on my desk here.

And my dog. Gosh he's cute.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Drove my Chevy to the levee

It can be quite interesting to look back and see past connections that made it possible for me to be where I am today.

There's a theater closing in Utah at the end of the year. Regardless of how I feel about the quality of their work, they did give a lot of young actors a chance to shine.

Cheeky was one of those actors.

If she hadn't done a show there, she never would have joined a local theatre message board.

If she hadn't joined the boards, I never would have met her.

If I hadn't met her, she wouldn't have found me my job.

If she hadn't found me my job, I never would have moved here.

Or started the grad school program I'm in.

Or met so many cool people.

Or done any number of really awesome things.

All because of a theater I didn't particularly care for.

Who knew?

Monday, November 24, 2008

When the jester sang for the king and queen

I've never been what anyone considered "popular". In school and even know, I've always known lots of people, and everyone seems to know me. Lots of people get along with and even like me. That still doesn't mean I was, am, or ever have been popular. Whatever popular means.

Granted, the Rock-tastic friends I hang out with in lands northward are quite likely the popular kids in their ward. While I am part of their group, even if I haven't seen much of them lately, I still wouldn't consider myself to be popular.

The biggest reason I didn't go anywhere to watch the BYU-Utah game yesterday was because I had to study/program. I listened to the game online and chatted with Eilonwy throughout, and actually got as finished as I could be by the fourth quarter.

The other reason I didn't go was because the viewing party I was invited to was being hosted by a house of the "popular kids" in my ward. I know all of them, and they obviously know me. We're all even kind of friends. But, I'm not really one of them, and sometimes I don't want to try to fit myself into somewhere I don't fit, even if they are well-meaning and genuinely like me.

I can't even define why I don't fit, but I don't, and it's really okay with me. I was missed though, as at least two friends texted me to ask where I was.

In chatting with Eilonwy, I mentioned reason #2 for not going, and she didn't think it was weird at all. The best part though? She had a definition for me.

Children who are sociometrically popular are kind, trustworthy, cooperative, and sociable.

Children classified as perceived popular are athletic, cool, kind (if they are also sociometrically popular) but also dominant, arrogant, and physically and relationally aggressive; these children also tend to be the most influential

So you can be sociometrically popular, or perceived popular.

Based on context, it means you are well adjusted and accepted socially.
Sociometrically popular kids would be the ones that everyone knows but that don't fall in the perceived popular category. *

So, I'm sociometrically popular, which totally works for me. I don't think it's bad to be perceived popular. It's just not me.

And yay Eilonwy for helping me out! She's pretty much The Awesome this week. And always.

*Antonius H. N. Cillessen and Lara Mayeux, From Censure to Reinforcement: Developmental Changes in the Association Between Aggression and Social Status Child Development, January/February 2004, Volume 75, Number 1, Pages 147 – 163

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Man, I dig those rhythm and blues

Saturdays are my favorite day of the week. I always have lots of things I need to do (seriously, you should see the current list, I might just post about it), but right now, Saturday is the only day I rarely ever NEED to be anywhere. I don't have class or work or church rehearsals (at least right now). I enjoy those things, even immensely, but it's nice to have one day a week that I can schedule however I see fit. All activities are voluntary, and if I set an appointment up, it was my choice. By the end of most Saturdays, I feel like I got to do what I wanted to do, on my terms, even if it was boring as doing school work or running errands.

Here's what I've done on Saturdays in November thus far:

Nov. 1 - Slept in, caught up recent TiVo activity. Did some web programming. A quick grocery store trip. Halloween party.

Nov. 8 - Slept in. Ate breakfast whilst watching The Office. First day of jeans shopping. 2.5 hour spa visit - massage, facial, and pedicure. It was divine. The massage was a gift from my parents, and I just decided to make an afternoon of it. Bought a couple new books. A little homework and laundry in the evening.

Nov. 15 - Probably slept in a little. Gym. More jeans shopping. Was asked for my phone number by a hot Israeli. Ward Thanskgiving Dinner/Talent-No-Talent Show. Sang one of my favorite songs.

Nov. 22 (Today!) - No sleeping in. Instead, I got up at my usual time to see a movie about sparkly vampires. I went with Alvin and the Chipmunks and we met a bunch of ward friends there. Overpriced movie theater popcorn = breakfast of champions. Movie = brain candy. Lunched at TGIFridays. Took Theodore and Simon to run some errands. None of us found anything we needed, but we all got a few things we didn't. Once home, I worked on more web programming whilst listening the devastating BYU loss (it should have been a lot closer).

And now I'm here. Lounging in the comfortable papasan (the uncomfortable one is in the living room, because I'm mean like that) with my feet propped on my bed, watching Gilmore Girls.

I love Saturdays.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I was a lonely teenage broncin' buck

With my choreographing, I get to observe high school kids in their natural habitat.

I usually think one of two things. Either something like "Look how young they are! Were kids I went to high school with that young? Not possible. Oh how much they need to learn! How cute and wee!"

Then sometimes they remind me exactly of me. The female lead is also doing the costumes and she has a harp something or other next week. One of my dancers had some field trip last week and had to leave early today for a tennis tournament. My male dance captain is the light designer and was arranging a cappella music and is one of the people in charge of the swing dance club.

These kids are already juggling 25 things and doing really well at it. The high school they're attending is a magnet high school for the gifted and talented. Had I stayed in Texas after middle school, that's the kind of high school I was enrolled in. These kids are brilliant and talented and totally on top of things. They're quite pleasant to work with and they remind me so much of me. I even see myself in the really geeky ones sometimes, though I'm thrilled I mostly grew out of the awkwardness. Mostly.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The marching band refused to yield

I'm a librarian, right? So I love to organize things. LOVE it. I love putting everything in it's perfect, little place so that I can find it easily later.

Unfortunately, there are two things that sometimes hinder this love:

1 - The sheer number of things that need to be put away. My room, for example, needs a lot of help right now. I've been busy lately. I know where everything goes, but there's just so much to put away that I don't do it at all. However, when I do get around to it, it makes me happy to know that all my boots are on the boot shelf, and that my "to-read in the near future books" are in the white bookcase, etc. My system isn't perfect, but it works.

2 - Not knowing how to organize it. I haven't touched the stuff on my desk at home in ages, because I don't know what to do with it yet. (Problem #1 also applies here, and it's just getting worse.) This is why I like LC Classification so much. Someone else already created a perfectly detailed organizational system and all I have to figure out is where an item fits into it.

I had an organizational break-through of sorts today. My work email inbox, on Outlook, got a little messy the last month or so, but I reorganized it today. I added some new folders and put away or deleted a lot. Could do more, but it's good enough for now.

My Gmail account, however, was a different story. I had around 3500 messages in my inbox. YIKES! I discovered the Archive button last week sometime, and had done a little damage control that way. I've also been sporadically using labels for quite some time, but that only makes it easier to find things and doesn't clean up my inbox.

This morning, I probably had 15 labels. (Too much? I don't think so. I like specificity, remember?)

Then, Eilonwy taught me about filtering (which I knew about but never did) and retroactive filtering and automatic archiving! And I figured out how to put my labels on the right, so that I don't have to scroll past my gchat list to see what's new.

Now I have 23 labels, and it only took me an hour to go from 3476 messages in my inbox to 2382. This was just staying on my first page of messages and clicking them and applying my newly acquired skills. I had to stop myself (which took me at least ten minutes) just so that I could write this post before heading to rehearsal. I could easily sit here and archive for as long as it took and not even notice the time change. As it is, I now don't have time to eat.

Totally worth it.

Plus, my Gmail now has a ninja theme.

This week rocks.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

And, maybe, they'd be happy for awhile

The Aquabats concert? Awesome! Thanks for asking! I went with Simon (of Alvin and the Chipmunks) and met a couple other people at the venue. Suburban Legends opened, and I wonder how I missed them for the last ten years. They have choreographed every single one of their songs to give their brass section something to do when they aren't playing. It was so rad. The Aquabats, as always, put on a great live show. I was somewhat enamored with the guitarist, but the whole band is just great. Love their music and them.

I did get my t-shirt, in a size that fits. Also? It glows in the dark! I didn't discover that until tonight. Made. My. Day.

However, the concert went late. So late that Simon and I missed the last train home. Luckily, Theodore was up and actually about and came to get us. Yay!

Good friends. Good music. Good times.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost

It's one thing when Heavenly Father answers prayers you vocalize. It's wonderful and great, no matter what the answer, to know He's listening.

It's even better when He sends help that you didn't even know you needed. I've had four such instances just today.

Our common areas have been a little extra cluttered recently. I'm never home and The Spy just started a new job and The General has been working on a personal project of some sort. The General is hosting some family here next week, so it would get clean sooner or later, but The Spy was having a friend over this evening and wanted to pick it up before then. She, magically, had some time at home this morning to do so.

When she arrived home from her morning appointment, she was tired and annoyed at the clutter and was just about to not do it until this evening when there was a knock on the door. On our doorstep were the sister missionaries from my ward (my roommates are in the family ward) looking for opportunities to serve. I came home today to a house where the common floors were swept, mopped, or vacuumed, the kitchen was clean, the clutter gone, and the everything straight. It was just what we needed! Now, it's worth noting that we are never home during the day, but the missionaries were specifically coming to our house and not just knocking on doors to help us. So, on the one day where our house is a mess AND one of us is home, they're there to help. I am so grateful for them.

The second miracle is even more personal. I originally had a blind date scheduled for tomorrow evening. Regardless of how I feel (which is on the fence, as I know relatively little about this guy, but he's very nice via text) about this date, it was cutting into my school schedule. I keep scheduling my time as if I don't have school, and it looked like this week my only time for school work was going to be tonight and Friday night. I got home from work today exhausted and with a headache (only four hours of sleep last night), and the idea of trying to study made it worse. I lay down in the dark until my home teacher was due to arrive, and then visited with him for awhile, followed by dinner with him, the roommies, and the friend. It wasn't until we were cleaning up from dinner that I realized that I didn't have to do homework tonight anymore. My Wednesday evening was free now and I could spend tonight trying not to have a headache. And blogging. And watching Gilmore Girls Season 4. I'm going to bed much earlier than I did last night. The date will be rescheduled and I'll have time to homework without a headache.

The aforementioned dinner was also something that I didn't realized I needed. I didn't want to cook tonight, but I had some leftovers I could eat. When The Spy offered a well-balanced dinner, I happily accepted. Thanks again!

Finally, my new beret!

I'd been looking for one of these for weeks, and I found it on Etsy. It's beautiful and just what I wanted. Check out her other items here at the Preppy Peach Boutique. We had the first snow of the season today (just flurries, nothing stuck), and it came just in time. I can't wait to wear it with my red coat.

So, life is good, and it's good to know that I'm being looked out for.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I could make those people dance

Everything for my show is choreographed. All the moves are set, the kids just have to get the timing down and clean it up. I'm really proud of them, even if three of them disappeared in the middle of rehearsal to go on a food run, after I'd told them they didn't have time. I was glad I'd packed my angry eyes, but today was the first time I'd had to use them with this group. They were also really chatty today for some reason.

Still, I'm excited. This really does have the potential to be phenomenal, and the kids have three and a half weeks to make it so.

I'm also excited because I'm going to see The Aquabats tonight. I was introduced to them in 9th grade, and saw them for the first time in concert my freshman year of college.

I'm really looking forward to hearing/seeing them live again and to buy a new t-shirt. I trusted a boy to buy me one at the concert I couldn't attend in 10th grade. He was a little smaller than me (and a BOY), so telling the merch guy to give a shirt that would fit a girl about his size was less than successful.

I ended up with a youth medium. I could get away with wearing it in high school, though only barely, and it most certainly doesn't fit any more.

Tell your mom, tell your dad, we were Su. Per. RAD!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Helter skelter in the summer swelter

As one might expect, my personal dialect reflects all the places I've lived. I still say "y'all" from my time in Texas. "Whilst" from my time in London. The list goes on. I'm still trying to figure out if I have any DC phrases. I've also noticed that I've lost one of my trademark Utah phrases. I noticed when someone said it recently and I realized I hadn't heard it in ages.

The phrase?

"Oh my heck."

I really don't miss it terribly. I don't mind hearing it, so if you say it, more power to you. I heard it shortly after we moved to Utah and loved it, for some reason, and adopted it right away. It didn't stick though, and I lost it at some point. Oh well.

I realized today that one of my Utah phrases stuck. "Sluff"

I heard it the first time on my first day of school in Utah. We were reading disclosure documents (kind of like syllabi, that was also something I learned that day) and I kept hearing "don't sluff".

Okay, so what it is it!? I can't avoid doing for sure until I know what it is! By 5th period, World Studies with Mr. Anderson, it was driving me crazy and I was finally brave enough to ask.

To skip or cut class. To play hooky.

Like anyone who wants to learn a new word, I adopted it into my vocabulary and used it often.

I used it today when KT and I talked so long after Sacrament that we sluffed Sunday School. I guess I really needed someone to talk to, since I totally talked her ear off and it was worth missing the second hour for. (Thanks again!!)

Incidentally, sometime in my adulthood, I've realized that it comes from the phrase "to slough off", and the word I've used for almost ten years now, totally makes sense.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I started singing

I am brilliant, and this is my blog, so I can brag about if I like.

The choreography for my latest show is going even better than I planned. At yesterday's rehearsal, I realized I'd choreographed more than I had music for. I asked the dancers to cut from point A to point B. We ran through that bit again and not only was my cut exactly the right length, but the movement worked perfectly with the music. I couldn't have done better if I'd tried. Everything I've done so far looks really good, and it helps that the kids I'm working with are amazing.

Today, I was having some problems with my PHP code. Actually, I've been having these problems all week. I pretty much just stared it down last night, with no luck. I came back today and had the brilliant idea to look up a classmate's code and see what I was missing or doing wrong. I found it almost immediately and my code works! Almost. Still having some other problems, but I'm much closer to figuring it out.

Go me!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm yours

If you count the not-my-boyfriend, I have been awfully fond of the males since I was 14 (though probably earlier). Today, celebrating Eilonwy's wedding to her forever husband, offered that occasional glimpse of why this is all worth it and just what I really want.

Eilonwy and Mr. Eilonwy were just so happy today, but in their way. They were calm and easy going, but obviously thrilled to be husband and wife. They looked lovely and the reception was really enjoyable. I do wish more people had danced, but that's alright. I would have danced, if I had someone to dance with.

My favorite moment was hearing the song Mr. Eilonwy had prepared to sing to Eilonwy - "Somebody" by Depeche Mode. That song describes an ideal relationship, one I think they have found.

If I can find someone as well matched as they, then it is certainly worth the wait.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone whilst fighting the urge to sleep just yet

But I knew I was out of luck

Part of the problem with my clothes yesterday was that I didn't have a lot of options. You see, I have no jeans. Last Thursday, I noticed that there was a rather unfortunate hole in my favorite pair. Friday, I wore slacks because I was going to the theater after work and I figured I'd just go to buy more jeans on Saturday.

I figured wrong.

A few years ago, I discovered that I have a favorite jeans place. You know, the store where you can find jeans that fit you and whatever weird fit needs you have. The place where you can buy multiple washes of various styles and you're set for some time. I'm a curvy girl, and good jeans are tricky, so I was thrilled at this discovery.

Until Saturday. I not only discovered that their selection was now severely lacking, but that their new styles suggested that I had gone up not one, but two sizes. Hello! The pair that was facing their demise still fit! How could I be this other size? That and the jeans were all way too low ride and not flattering in the least.

I gave up. I didn't even actually try on the size I probably would have fit into because I refused to believe I was that size. I left the store without a plan and no idea where I was going to find jeans that fit at a reasonable price.

Sunday and Monday I wore skirts. I don't remember Tuesday. Wednesday I decided that the hole wasn't that big and I'd only be wearing them for a few hours and no one would see me anyway. Shortly after the lunchtime, the jeans split for real and the hole really was that big. I hid in my office until it was time to go rehearsal (wherein I wore my dance pants, naturally).

Wednesday night, I finally found the pair I'd bought at the same time as the dying pair. Same style and size, just different wash. Those only barely fit and since comfort trumps all, I decided to go with my slacks again.

The problem with slacks is that they only go with certain types of shoes. Running shoes look ridiculous, special casual shoes have to be paired with just the right top, so you're stuck with black dress shoes. Well, both pairs of oxfords I have are also dying, and I just did not want to wear socks or boots. Had I had a pair of jeans yesterday, I would have been in hoodie and jeans and some casual shoes and would have been just fine.

Today I'm cool with clothes again. I don't mind being dressed. Still wasn't interested in my dress shoes though (I LOVE that I have the option), so guess what I'm wearing today?

Hoodie over a Sesame Street t-shirt. My happy Nintendo shoes. And the same black slacks I wore yesterday (thank you Febreeze).

I couldn't be more comfortable.

Friday, November 14, 2008

In a coat he borrowed from James Dean

I'm not a nudist or anything, but there are some days that I really just don't want to be wearing clothes. Either they feel too constricting, or they are bothering my skin, or some combination of both. On those days, I pretty much just want to go about my business wearing nothing but my underthings and life would be grand.

Today was one of those days.

I can't really go to work without clothes (though because I work alone most of the day, I wonder how long I could get away with it), so I had to get dressed. I chose my most comfortable slacks and a soft sweater.

The thought of wearing socks today repulsed me, and I figured I would only be outside today going to and from my car. Even though it's November, I rationalized I could get away with wearing a nice pair of black flip-flops.

My feet were loving the freedom, but by golly my office was cold today. I could have sworn there was a draft or something under my desk.

Then my sweater started bothering me. I'd scrunch up my sleeves so that less skin was irritated, but then I'd get cold.

It was a no win situation.

So, now, I'm finally home. In my warm house. My sandals are off. My sweater is off. My hair is down.

I'm finally comfortable.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

You both kicked off your shoes

Occasionally, I can be easily influenced by the opinions of others. In the past, I could be so influenced that I would lie about how much I liked something so that I could gain someone's favor. It wasn't so much lying as it was expressing interest in something that I had no previous opinion on. I've gotten a lot better at that. I'm always willing to try something new, especially if it's being introduced to me by someone I like (friend or family). However, I'm now more willing to say "I've never tried that. Maybe I should!" instead of "Oh my gosh! I love that!"

Still, I have a few rather amusing memories of things I loved only for the duration of a relationship with someone.

My siblings are going to laugh about this one for sure. The boy I "wasn't dating" in 9th grade had a rather particular favorite after-school snack. Plain bread (eaten whilst tearing it into pieces) and a HUGE glass of milk. So the whole time we "weren't dating", it was my favorite after school snack too. I love milk and bread is great, but I pretty much stopped that habit when he wasn't around any more.

The friends I hung out with most the summer after 9th grade (and a little bit into 10th) only liked Pepsi products, rather than Coke. I had very little previous experience in that regard, so for that summer, I loved Pepsi, even when they weren't around. We were also trying to collect all the Star Wars characters they were featuring on their bottles. I held onto those empty bottles for much too long. Once again, this habit quickly died after I stopped spending so much time with them.

What I've learned over the years is that I don't have to pretend to like something more than I do just to get someone to like me. It's way more important to be myself, and I'm pretty awesome that way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We sang dirges in the dark

Elementary level choral music has got to be the most amusing, cheesy genre of music. I find some of the most interesting titles in my library.

Did you notice the mice wearing Mozart t-shirts? Here's a closer look.

Of course, since this library has been around awhile, we have some things from when NKOTB was first popular.

Look how cute and young everyone is.

Finding these things certainly breaks up the monotony of cataloging.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

With a pink carnation and a pickup truck

Some random Monday thoughts:

The only two meals I ate today were from McDonald's. Gross, I know. But I was running late to work (this is fairly typical) and the only thing on the way to work is Mickey D's. Lunch was a pumpkin scone from Starbucks (which could have been a lot better, though I'm not sure how) Then, tonight, I finally had a break wherein I could make something quick, but nothing I had would be quick to make, except cereal and that's boring. The only thing particularly fast and close to my house is McDonald's. I might have figured out how bulimics get their start. At least I let Alvin and the Chipmunks eat my fries. Anyone want to go grocery shopping for me?

This ad.

I lose weight AND my skin color? What a weird product.

Finally, this is my 200th post. Hooray!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Well I know that you're in love with him

A guy I knew in high school recently posted on his blog asking how he should know that the girls he takes out on dates are interested in him. I was going to respond in the comments, but just decided to answer his question here.

It's a good question to be sure. How DOES a guy I'm out with know I'm interested in him? Here's a few things I know I consciously do to try to send that message.

Pre-date - Many of the following things apply to whether or not I like you before, during, or after the date. However, some things I may say before even going out with you should indicate that I'm interested in doing so. "Have you seen/done/been to _________ ? It looks interesting. We should go/I've been wanting to go." Translation: I'd love to go on a date with you and if you pick that activity, the date is planned! "Are you going to be at ward activity/mutual friend's party/etc.?" Translation: I hope to see you there. Also, while I am a very busy person, not every minute of every day is totally packed, and if I really want to see you, I'll arrange my schedule thusly and make every effort do so.

Open Body Position - If I'm sitting down, my legs are almost always crossed, but if my arms are not folded and instead are lightly placed on my lap - I'm into you. I may even try to point my body in your direction. If we're standing or walking, the closer I am to you, the more into you I am. I may even so much as switch my purse to the side you aren't on, so that my hand is available for you to hold. I once spent an entire date with my arms crossed as we strolled around the National Mall. I was NOT into him at all.

Eye Contact - I definitely try to make as much eye contact with someone I like as possible. I won't stare you down, but I will make you my primary focus. If I don't look at you at all, that's a sign.

Conversation - I'm a talker. I like to talk. Would I have a blog if I didn't? We've all been on dates where the conversation is dying or worse, already dead. Uncomfortable silences are just that, so even if I'm not into a guy I'll try to revive the conversation of few times. If I stop even trying, that's a bad sign. The more I'm talking/listening, the more I like you. This is especially true if I take something you said, relate to myself and then relate it back to you or ask you more about it; I'm trying to learn more about you. If I ask your opinion, I really am interested in what you have to say. Also, the more personal information I give you, the more open I am to letting you into my life. I'm not going spill everything immediately, but the more I tell you, the more I trust you. If we're not on a date and I start a conversation with you, that's a good sign.

On my date on Friday night, I broke the cardinal sin about talking about politics on a first date, and asked him what he thought about the recent election. He had voted for a different guy for president than I had, and not knowing what I had done, he shared his fairly strong feelings about why. When he was done, I told him who I had voted for, and he apologized for going off on the guy. I truly didn't mind because I really enjoyed learning about why my date felt the way he did.

Physical contact
- If I touch you, whether that's by putting my hand on your arm, shoulder, knee, etc. (you know, tasteful), that's a good sign. If I shy away from physical contact you initiate, that's not so good. I'm not one to make the first big move - the first time we hold hands, the first kiss, etc. - but by initiating light touches and maintaining an open body position, I'm trying to show you that I'm open to the idea. The more I do it, the better.

Post-date - If I had a good time, I will say so. I will say thank you, regardless, because I'm polite, but if I say "We should do this again", I mean it. If you say it and I say something like "Oh definitely" or "Absolutely" then I mean it. If during a future conversation I say things like what's above in the pre-date section, I'm interested in another date. If I reference our date in front of other people, like "Was that what you were talking about on Friday?" or "Oh! He and I just saw that! We really liked it, right?" it means I'm don't mind that people know I went on a date with you. If I don't say or do any of that, it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm not going to, it just means that it didn't fit the conversation or whatever. No matter what, the more time I am willing to spend with you, the more I like you.

None of these things mean I suddenly want to marry you and have lots of babies, just that I'm interested in you enough to get to know you and go on a date with you [again]. Whether or not I like you will be manifested by some combination of the things above. If they are not all present, it doesn't necessarily mean anything, nor is this list all-inclusive and there may be things I do that I've forgotten about or do subconsciously. I'm an honest person, sometimes to a fault, and I try to make it fairly clear how I feel about someone. I only ask that you return the favor. I tend to back off fairly quickly if there is no reciprocation, but if I'm responding to your advances in any of the above manners, you can be fairly sure that I like you.

Remember that I can only speak for myself. I feel it's a fairly general response, but other girls may have different methods or responses.

So, I hope this helps Kurt and any other single male readers I may have. At this moment I am hesitating in posting, simply because it's a post that's going to leave me feeling very vulnerable. Still, I think it needs to be said, because this dating game doesn't need to be any harder than it already is.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I saw you dancin' in the gym

Browsing the interwebs this evening, I came across an interesting "Would You Rather?"

Would you rather dance or sing in front of people on demand?

My immediate reaction was "Either! I love both and do both in front of people on a regular basis! What a silly question."

Then I thought about it some more and came to the conclusion that if someone came up to me and required that I either dance or sing right then and there, that I would rather sing.

Both, to me, are often expressions of emotion and what I choose to sing or how I choose to dance in any given moment is often related to how I am currently feeling. To do either requires me to open up to my audience, whether it be of one person or thousands, and I am often not comfortable just suddenly bursting into song or dance for fear of being judged, critiqued, or even ridiculed. I am confident in my ability to do both, but humble enough to realize that it's not going to be perfect every time, especially without warming up or practicing.

When singing, however, I am singing someone else's words and either applying them to me personally or a character I am trying to create. It's not entirely my own and, thus, there is still a wall between my audience and my raw emotion. I can create the emotional connection, but I didn't create the words that I am singing, and am therefore somewhat removed from the final product.

Dancing isn't quite that way. When dancing on command, I'm creating it as I go. I can often still recall dances and pieces I've done in the past, but if I were do dance on command, I would create something entirely my own, and it would likely reflect exactly how I'm feeling in that moment. The tempo, the movement, the space, and even the style I choose, would all be coming from my heart, whether I want them to or not. To suddenly do more than just a step or two for someone would require me to completely open up and let go of any inhibitions that may be holding me back. Also, while I've been dancing my entire life, I am not as confident in my dancing as I am in my singing.

Overall, I feel very vulnerable doing either, but I would be more comfortable singing on demand than dancing. That said, if my choreography session yesterday is any indication, I am actually a pretty darn good dancer and choreographer and I ought to give myself more credit. And you should come see my next show.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I admire most

I have my favorite numbers too. My favorite number is 47 - the number of letters in the longest word in the English language. It also combines two of my favorite digits 4 and 7. 5 is also one of my favorite digits.

Why do you ask?

These are my favorite numbers to write.

I like the sharp corners and straight lines. 5 isn't all straight, but it does have corners. It's also another reason that I like Z so much. I've been crossing my z's since Algebra II, when I didn't want to confuse the Zs in my equations with 2s.

These are things that keep me sane in my solitude.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Made me shiver

Recently, I have been pondering the alphabet, and I have come to a conclusion.

B is my least favorite letter.

There are several words that I really don't like. blurb, lube, bulbous, blubber, blob, bob, bet, etc. My all time least favorite word ever is like bob, but has two Os in the middle and often ends with an S. I won't type it here because 1) I really don't like it and 2)I could get some very interesting hits here if I did.

What do all of these words have in common? The letter B. I just don't like the way it sounds.

To be fair, there are a lot of words I like with the letter B. Book, babe, banana, and so on. Even some of my favorite Spanish verbs have lots of Bs. Trabajaba. Hablaba. It's not like could live without that letter, but I don't have to like.

And as much as I love this Dr. Demento song, with the fun words and how they all end up sounding together, the B words make cringe. A little.

On the other hand I think my favorite letter is Z. Zany, Zanzibar, zebra, zoo, Zach. I once planned to name all my kids with Z names, but have since gone back to just having one Z name for a future daughter.

So, Z, welcome to the party. B? Thanks, but no thanks.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I went down to the sacred store

Or library. Whatever. :) I spent a few hours behind the scenes in the Library of Congress today. IT WAS AWESOME. The first hour was in the Music department and I was geeking out the. whole time. I saw the original Rhapsody in Blue and who knows what else.

We also saw some historical newspapers and learned about their general acquisitions and cataloging processes. It was lovely.

More pictures here!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Miss American Pie

I generally don't get out of bed until at least 8 AM, so 6:55 this AM was quite early for me. (Especially since I didn't get to sleep until after 1 AM sometime.) I threw on a hoodie, jeans, and flip-flops (sorry Fran), stuck my frizzy hair in a ponytail, and was off to the nearby high school to vote.

The Spy and The General (my roommates) were already there in line, towards the front, and I texted them to say that we should have planned this better. Little did I know that five minutes from that time they were saying how glad they were that they didn't coordinate with me because the line for their last names were much shorter than mine.

I found the end of the line, scrolled through my iPod trying to find music to fit my half-asleep/ready to vote mood, and settled on listening to Il Divo whilst reading Sidney Poitier's autobiography for the next hour.

I was sleepy, but very excited. This is a historical election, no matter the outcome, and I was part of it. I didn't care that I looked out of place among the well-dressed businesspeople around me. I'm a very tired grad student, and I definitely looked the part.

When the time came to cast my vote, I did just that. I don't care to discuss for whom, or why, but I've done my part.

Did you?

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I went straight back home, showered, and actually got ready for my day. Should be a good one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My hands were clenched in fists of rage

This morning, one of my big projects of the year was due. I actually finished most of my part a few weeks ago and once I got some more information, finished another part on Friday afternoon. As people came to library to help pack all the music and get it organized by school, we discovered I needed to re-do Friday's project AND that I'd forgotten to prepare about 18% of the music.

AWESOME. [/sarcasm]

Between running late, re-doing stuff, the copy machine acting up, and running around like a crazy person, I almost lost it this morning. Everyone was really chill about it, but that's because their hard part was about to start. My hard part was coming to a close until April and I had been working on this, and a similar project, for about two months. I was crazy stressed.

Luckily, it all worked out. I managed to bite my tongue and not say anything, because who would I say anything to? Myself? I was the one that messed up. I did that a little bit, but everyone reminded me that it was okay and they jumped to help me out.

The afternoon was a lot more quiet. I cleaned up after the flurry of the morning's activity and wrapped what I need to do with this project for now.

Then it was time for my piano lesson. I've been taking lessons since March or April at least, and I realized that even with the switch in teachers, I don't have a single piece performance ready. There's an event I want to play for in two weeks, and even the piece I've been dabbling at for four years isn't ready to go. (My transitions and a couple passages need a lot of work.)

My lesson is only thirty minutes, and we never get very far with the stop and start method, I asked her just to listen to the piece and take notes on what I need to do in the next two weeks. I got about half through the piece when I paused and she stopped me.

She explained generally what I needed to be aware of (knowing what sounds/shapes I'm playing) and then chose to go back to the first page of the piece (which I can play with my eyes closed) and illustrate her point.

I was frustrated almost to the point of tears. She's been trying to get this concept across to me the whole time I've been with her (since July) and while it's making more and more sense, she's not teaching it in a way that I retain the information very well. We're not going through a theory or lesson book together and what we talk about this week may not be the same piece we work on next week. Sometimes I'll be playing something and she'll stop me, we'll talk about it and work on it, and then she'll say "Hey, what about this piece?" and I'll sight-read (poorly, usually) it and we'll work on that. I never get more than 2 or 3 pages into a piece with her. So, when I have something I want to work on and perfect in a short time, I thought I made it clear that I had specific passages I was concerned about and we should have worked on them, not the two pages that I feel totally confident on.

More importantly, I should say something. Again. And make it clear that I have specific concerns. I am paying her for her services after all. I am an adult and I need to stand up for myself and what I want. I ended up being mad at her and myself by the end of the short, short lesson.

At least the day ended on a positive note. I'm actually understanding PHP in my programming class, I got to play Guitar Hero World Tour for two hours, and then I Skyped with my parents and then my sister for about almost half an hour each. My sister even made me have the best laughing fit I've had in ages.

I'm glad I'm not going to bed cranky, but I certainly spent most of the day that way.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Them good old boys

Today in Sunday School, we ended the lesson by thinking about that which we wanted most in life. The point was that we could pray for these things and enlist God's help. I don't always go rifling through the scriptures for a blank side of a paper, but I found myself doing just that and considering the things I wanted most. I pondered them off and on for the next few hours.

Tonight, at the CES fireside, Bishop H. David Burton's message was about what we were going to make of our lives and what manner of people we were to be. He offered examples of people who showed at an early age the type of person they were to become when they grew older. Naturally, I was considering these things and applying to my own life. Who was I and what was I going to become? What really mattered? I started comparing my list from Sunday School to the things I wanted to be and tried to figure out they intersect.

Then Bishop Burton made a very interesting point, that those who have goals and ambition are likely to become the type of person their Heavenly Father wanted them to be. I immediately felt reassured that I was on the right track. I have goals and I most certainly have ambition, and I felt in that moment that Heavenly Father approved of the things I am doing and where I am headed in my life.

We often worry what other people think of us. Do my parents approve? Am I pleasing my boss? What do my friends really think? And so on. However, the most important opinions are those of Heavenly Father and myself, and right now, I think we're both happy about me. It's a nice feeling.

The other thought that struck me during the talk was this:

Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings. -- Salvador Dali

I consider myself an intelligent person, and paired with ambition, it sounds like I, and many people I know, are a forced to be reckoned with. That's an excellent thought to start the week with.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Something touched me

My favorite, well, only, Australian reader, Chosha, suggested the song I will be pulling this month's blog titles from. 10,000 sparkles to you!

It's late, and I'm barely getting this under the wire as it is, so here's a recap of my good news for the day.

  • Sleeping in.
  • Understanding a very detailed lecture from my professor about how to do a programming assignment and actually getting ahead of her as I worked on the project. Still missing a bracket or semi-colon somewhere though.
  • Finding out the assignment wasn't due until Wednesday instead of tomorrow.
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Going to the Halloween party I go to every year, but not going solo this time. I convinced a a friend to throw together a costume and come with me.
  • Having people finally GET my costume. I was NOT a princess, thank you very much.
  • Hugs.
  • Seeing a perfectly dressed Jareth, who was impressed I knew his character's name. It. Was. Awesome.
  • Whilst my friend and I were talking in the street after getting back to her house (where my car was), a taxi slowed down as he drove past and complimented us on our dresses. HI-larious, but nice.
  • These little gems.
It was a great day. I need more excuses to wear these boots, which I am still wearing, even if I took the dress off as soon as I got home.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I am like a start shining brightly

Happy Halloween!! I'm writing this late, so by the time most of you read this, it'll be the day after. Oh well. :)

Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday, but Halloween comes in a close second. I have fond memories of Halloween growing up, planning costumes for weeks and months in advance and trick or treating with friends and family. I've been a gypsy, Shmi Skywalker, a witch, a scarecrow, ghost, and several more. It was always great fun.

Here are my Halloween memories from the last six years.

2002 - I was a freshman at BYU. I used my senior prom dress to be a Homecoming queen with my football-loving boyfriend who was dressed as a quarterback. We were both volunteering at a daycare for our service learning classes and it was fun to be in costume with all the kids. That evening, we enjoyed BYU's Halloween festivities, even though I'd completely lost my voice by that point. Darn you laryngitis.

2003 - This was my first year performing the musical Sweeney Todd. It had become a bit of a local tradition and on Halloween night we had both an 8 PM and a midnight performance. Our midnight show was snowed out, so we performed inside instead of at the state hospital "castle". I wore a different costumed during the day, but dressing as a freaky gothic insane person and singing some awesome music was a really great Halloween activity. This was also the first year that I went to a haunted house during the Halloween season with my friend Amilicious, an annual tradition we kept up until I moved away.

2004 - Once again, I was part of the Sweeney Todd cast, the last year they were doing it, but this time I was also a featured dancer and part of the quintet. The boy I'd dated earlier that year came to the 8 PM show, and I may or may not have kissed him hello afterwards. Because of the snow, we had both our shows that night in the tower room of the castle. It was a tight squeeze, but everyone (actors and audience) loved it. After the show, the cast and crew were headed to IHOP, and I dropped by Smalls' apartment on my way there. We'd recently come back into each other's lives and I wanted to say hi. We visited for a few minutes and then I went to the restaurant. At about 3:30 AM I got a text that asked if I would consider dating him again. I was totally surprised, but said "maybe". I went back to his place after I finished whatever meal it is you have at 4 AM, and we talked over the details of getting back together after I'd been hurt the first time. It went well and as I left for home at 6 AM, we had our very first kiss ever.

2005 - Smalls and I were no longer dating, but were best friends. We spent weeks planning and putting together our costumes, and we even dyed our hair. Mine can be seen by clicking here. We spent Halloween evening showing off to friends and our families before hosting a viewing of The Nightmare Before Christmas at my house. Such a good day.

2006 - I was in DC and missing Smalls terribly. I still dressed up, but I could have put a lot more energy into it. I was performing in Joseph . . . on the night of the Halloween parties, but I still made an appearance after. Halloween proper I dressed up for work and just kicked it at my house for the night.

2007 - I was back in the Halloween spirit and dressed up as Aphrodite. I also blogged about it here.
2008 - This year I recycled my elf dress to be Yvaine from Neil Gaiman's Stardust. I found my Power of Stormhold in NYC last month and was excited for an excuse to wear my silver go-go boots again. It's a rather esoteric character, but I loved it. I was in costume all day at work and then spent the evening with the cutest little Eeyore and his American Gladiator mom and his monster father. I met them when performing in Joseph . . . (before Eeyore was born) and knew they would laugh at my use of the boots, since she has the same pair. Little did I know that she would be wearing the same ones.
Tomorrow night, I'll make an appearance at a local party and have one more chance to show off the costume.

I love this holiday. I hope you've had a safe and fun Halloween! I may or may not already be planning my costume for next year . . .

Friday, October 31, 2008


NaBloPoMo is coming up again! I had a lot of fun with it last year. November 2007 was also when I officially started using song lyrics as post titles. I've made an effort to never repeat a song, and so far so good. However, my fellow NaBloPoMo-er, Eilonwy, challenged me to use the same song for a month.

She issued this challenge weeks ago and I just can't come with a good song! So, here's where I turn to you! I need song suggestions. Songs that have some versatility and variety, so I can have 30 days of post titles. I have until Saturday to decide, so please don't be shy!

And, for fun, here's what I'm wearing today. (I apologize for the MySpace-bathroom-mirror-cell-phone-ness of it all.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The cuticle on my right hand pinkie finger tore last night. It didn't bleed much (fingers rarely do), but the skin newly exposed to the elements was quite tender, so I put a band-aid on it. The band-aid remained on today, but it's not a life threatening injury or anything and my finger didn't lose any functionality.

Still, I favored my finger today. Even now, without the band-aid, I'm holding my pinkie finger as far away from the rest of hand as possible. I held it out when shifting gears in my car and a zillion other things I needed my hands for today. In my head, I know that my finger is totally and completely fine, but subconsciously, I seem to be afraid of it shattering or something at the slightest touch.

It's ridiculous, and I'm totally amused.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I've seen that smile somewhere before

So, New Kids on the Block are back. We've discussed this before. I also mentioned that Jordan Knight looks a lot like a bishop I had when I was a young teenager. It's still driving me crazy!


Jordan Knight

Bishop Packard

Is that weird or what? Consequently, I now associate the personality of Bishop Packard with Jordan Knight. I just assume Jordan is exactly like him - family man, friendly, fun, always smiling. I happen to know (thank you Wikipedia) that Jordan is a family man, but when I see him acting like a ladies man in his videos, it just doesn't jive.

Oh yeah. I watch the videos. I listen to the music. I like it and I don't care who knows.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No day but today

Laylabean suggested we blog about a day in the life. Here's my Wednesday, October 15, 2008.

4:21 AM - Wake up suddenly, need to use facilities and get a drink.

4:30 AM - Lie awake for the next twenty minutes wondering why in the world I was dreaming about Muppets and suing people and being sent the wrong movies from Netflix. Decide I should probably stop watching lawyer dramedies before bed. Still no reason for the other two.

7:00 AM - Alarm goes off

8:24 AM - I actually get out of bed. Decide that dreaming about Muppets is much more pleasant than dreaming about torture and walks for random causes. Shower, makeup, hair, dress, make lunch.

9:14 AM - Leave for work. Listen to Fall Out Boy and Shakira on the way.

9:40 AM - Arrive at work. Check email, news, some blogs. Start daily IMing with Fran.

10:00 AM - Make Gingerbread Spice tea.

10:15 AM - Start planning my workday.

10:40 AM - Blindsided by a text message. Details not important, but it was unexpected.

11:00 AM - Back to work. Find the checkout forms the teacher accidentally put back in their boxes and sort them.

11:44 AM - This song comes up on Pandora. I fall in love with it again. I find it on YouTube, make it a favorite, and listen to it intermittently throughout the rest of the day. Very fitting. Wish I was that talented on the piano so I could sing it myself.

12:14 AM - Sorted through the music on the east counter. Wrote (in pen!) on some of it and threw even more of it away!

1:06 PM - Eat lunch (turkey sandwich, string cheese, carrots) whilst watching "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" on Hulu. The carrots taste funny.

1:44 PM - Check mail that was delivered whilst I was eating. Check-in returns.

2:00 PM - Investigate The Golden Key International Honour Society, that I received an invitation to join, by virtue of being in the top 15% of my class.

2:13 PM - Remain officially undecided about joining, but am honored by receiving the invitation to do so. GKIHS is a member of the ACHS, so it seems they are on the up and up.

2:17 PM - In deciding a title for this post, realize I've used a lot of songs from the musical "Rent". Today is no exception.

2:20 PM - Settle in for an afternoon of cataloging.

2:30 PM - Call from sister.

2:35 PM - Download The Second Summer of the Sisterhood audiobook to listen to during cataloging.

3:25 PM - Visit from the same friend as the aforementioned text message. Stressful conversation.

3:30 PM - Orchestra teacher comes to browse the library. Friend leaves.

4:00 PM - Teacher leaves, having checked out some music. Remind myself that next Wednesday won't suck and that some good will come out of me being such a goody two-shoes. Back to cataloging. Or reading blogs that Fran and Eilonwy keep sending me.

4:55 PM - Practice the piano.

5:15 PM - Lock up and head home. Call Mom for daily chat about nothing in particular, but she's on a deadline at work, so it's very short. Try to go to the carwash, but forget (as usual) that it's a left on Maple, not a right. Side street U-turn and discover the place is closed anyway (what is up with that?). Get stuck in traffic I could have avoided if I'd known.

6:15 PM - Arrive at home. Do nothing of any importance.

7:20 PM - Gas up car and spend only $30!! Go to grocery store. Forget why I'm there and buy several things I think I need and a few I know I don't. Forget to buy bread (this was realized today). Pick up dinner at Jerry's Subs & Pizza. Mmmm. Cheesesteak.

8:10 PM - Arrive at home, throw perishables in fridge and make roommates rewind Pushing Daisies (thank you TiVo). Watch whilst eating. Almost choke from laughing so hard.

9:00 PM - Watch Project Runway, accompanied by a bowl of ice cream and talking with the roommates (we don't care about anything but the final collections). Our favorite wins!

10:00 PM - Head upstairs, intending to go to bed. Surf the web, brush teeth, dawdle. Computer is slow, which slows up the process.

11:00 PM - Read scriptures and journal. Apparently I have a lot of thoughts to write down because I'm still journaling when at

12:10 AM - Eilonwy IMs me to look at pictures of her brain. Didn't even know I was still online. Realize I missed an IM from my sister about 30 minutes earlier. Chat with both of them for a few minutes. Finish journaling.

12:30 AM - Lights out. So much for going to bed early.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What does it mean? What does it MEAN!?

Over two years ago, when I was still living in Orem, UT, one of my best friends and I discovered a necklace hanging on his front doorknob. When it was still there a couple days later, he told me to just take it. So I did and I still wear it often. The necklace is a black cord with a Chinese character as the charm.

I'm fond of the Asian culture and have a vaguely Asian decorating motif in my house now, so it's fitting. The only problem? I had no idea what it meant. I was asked by someone one in every four times that I wore it and I never knew the answer.

Until yesterday!

I was talking to couple of friends at church, wearing the necklace, and one of them randomly pointed to my neck and said "What's with mouse?" Suddenly remembering that he spoke Chinese I answered "Oh! Is that what it means!?!?" He replied, "You didn't know? I thought maybe it had some significance like you were born in the year of the mouse or something." "No! I mean I didn't know, but yes! I was born in the year of the rat, or mouse! Or whatever. THANK YOU!" I threw my arms around his neck and thanked him profusely.

Totally made my day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

As time goes by

I finally watched Casablanca tonight. 2.5 years after buying it. I've mentioned that I hadn't here, somewhere, a time or two, so I thought y'all should know. Great movie.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Running just as fast as we can

Monday, I was told by my doctor to stop running. Forever.

I'm not so excited about that. I'm not the best at running. I'm slow and I don't do it as often as I should, but I love it when I do it. I always feel like I've accomplishing something significant and my endorphins run high. I'm especially addicted to racing, though only against myself. I love knowing that by some degree, I beat my previous time. I really dig that it doesn't involve any equipment. I need clothes and my ankle braces, and preferrably my iPod, but that's it. There's something powerful about traveling somewhere using only your own energy and body.

When I told the doctor that's what I do, he winced. Literally. Then he proceeded to tell me that the AMA is now recommending against running. It's too high impact. He brought it up a couple of times throughout my visit, and suggested that I take up biking or swimming instead. With my history of ankle problems, he may be right. I kind of want my ankles to work for me as long as possible.

Swimming recreationally is great fun and is something I've enjoyed for as long as I can remember. However, swimming laps gets boring after awhile, since I don't feel like I'm going anywhere. This is quite likely because, oh I don't know, I'm not! Also, if I were to use my iPod, I would need to get a waterproof case, which I have yet to invest in.

Biking is great and all, and I do enjoy it. Unfortunately, my bike is need of repair AND is in Utah. If I were to get a new one, I have no idea what I'm looking for. Plus, they aren't exactly cheap. I also don't know where I would store it. I've been thinking about getting one for quite awhile though, so maybe it's finally time.

Ideally? I'd be dancing. Every day. If I had time, I would be. I miss it like crazy.

As for running, I have a race scheduled for the 25th. I'm taking it easy right now because of the accident, but once I feel better, I'm thinking of not following my doctor's orders until I've finished the race. I don't know though. Input on any of this is welcome.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans

Ever have one of those days where you end up experiencing the exact opposite of what you expected? I've had one of those weeks.

As most of you know, I love being a member of Mormon Choir of Washington. However, I was beginning to wonder if it was becoming too much and maybe I should next semester off. Then, last Tuesday, I was asked to be the section leader for the second sopranos. After praying and pondering, I accepted earlier this evening. So, instead of no choir responsibility, I now have more than I did, the opposite of what was planned.

I'm the FHE co-chair for my FHE group. Because I have class on Monday nights, my counterpart and I have planned all of our activities through the end of December. So, when we were informed Wednesday of a request that was made of us by our bishop on Sunday for this evening's activity, it threw us for a loop. We scrambled the rest of the week to put it together. I didn't make it until late (reasons below), and I don't know what happened, but apparently the activity still fell apart. A failed, thrown together activity is the exact opposite of a well-planned, much anticipated one.

Then, of course, there's the idea that every commute to work is going to be uneventful. There may be traffic, but that can be planned for. Getting rear-ended was the exact opposite of what I intended. My pretty, pretty car now has a scratch on the rear bumper, and hopefully that's all. We exchanged information and moved on with life. I was shaken and annoyed, but alright overall. The sign at the body shop in the building next to my office said it was open until 6, but when I arrived at 5:30, it was closed. I'll try again tomorrow.

Unfortunately, my back kept getting more and more sore throughout the day. At my dad's insistence, I decided to visit the doctor and get checked out. My piano teacher overheard me make arrangements to miss class and FHE and suggested I visit the Urgent Care in the same parking lot, instead of waiting for hours at the ER.

Had it been any other 30 minutes of my week than the 30 minutes I see her, I would have been stuck for hours. I consider it a blessing and that I was being watched out for. There were no other patients, so I went right in. Urine sample, vitals, reflex check, and some six x-rays, I was told that 1) I was fine, just some muscle pain and 2) to stop running. I'll explain my feelings about that in a future post. I was told to take Advil and given a doctor's note to miss work tomorrow if I don't feel up to it.

So, I'm good. Insurance and everything will still have to straightened out, but at least I and my car are okay. That's life. Always keeps things interesting.