Friday, March 20, 2009


i leave in a week and a half for Utah, and in less than two weeks (but more than a week and a half, or I wouldn't have written that) I enter the MTC, aka, the place where missionaries are whipped into Gospel teaching shape! Bashasm!

on a tangent, bashasm is the new word for the family - well, at least for my dad and me. we (dad and i, that is) enjoy saying random words at, well, random times. this word's foundation in our vocabulary began when Glen wrote an e-mail a few weeks ago and tried to emphasize the effect of something by saying "BASHAM!," but he instead wrote "BASHASM!" Dad and I thought this typing mistake hilarious (please refer to our personalities for our reasons of thinking this). Since then, we use it to emphasize anything and everything. For example, I was sitting on the church stand last week just before I gave my mission farewell talk at the pulpit. I was attempting to look very mature, but then Dad and I locked eyes for a moment and I mouthed "BASHASM" to him, and he sent the message back. Those around him looked slightly confused at our exchange and perhaps displeased at my mouthing anything across the pews of a pious congregation.

anyway, back to where this tangent started: mission! two weeks! i feel this very bizarre mix of terror and glorious excitement! i am not sure what to think of it all, but i know this will all turn out to be a very good experience, indeed. i just hate the thought of the idea of limited (like, twice a year sort of limited) live dialogue with my family. a year and a half may not be FOREVER, but it surely is enough time for people to change, grow-up, move on, move out, move away, graduate, experience great things, marry, have babies, and perhaps even forget.
oh, i don't want to forget or be forgotten, but all I have is a weekly e-mail to my family and snail mail.

but, my purpose as a missionary is to lose myself in the work of the Lord.
however, i haven't entered into this work quite yet, so indulge my vanities.

Friday, March 13, 2009

to my favorite flora

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

The first time I read that poem I was about eight years old. I found it at the beginning of the "Poetry Unit" in my 3rd grade language arts textbook (I never really liked that subject name: "language arts"). It was the first poem I read that touched me, resonated in my innocent heart. Something about its expression facsinated me and strangely (at the time) drew me to it more than any whimsical Shel Silverstein poem or silly limerick could. Perhaps that's so because I've always had an affinity for those branched, leafy giants, thinking them more than just plants that grew to the clouds. This poem made sense to me in that trees contain a real humanity.

Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me? -Walt Whitman

I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snowto keep an appointment with a beech-tree,or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines. -Henry David Thoreau

2:22 am - make a wish!

I have been staying up quiet late recently. I believe that the mere idea that soon my missionary schedule will restrict me from late night internet wonderings and book perusings makes me want to take advantage of the moments these obscure hours provide. Although, they do render me slightly sleepy during the rest of the day. Today, for example, after a late night of reading I woke up, drove Heather to school, came home and slept until 2 pm. That is ridiculous, even for me.

One of tonight's "moments" included being sent this little ditty of 1970's goodness. How I love The Carpenters, despite their cheesy lyrics and terrible outfits. I am immensely grateful to my parents, especially dear ol' dad, for fostering a variety of musical tastes as we grew up by cranking up the classical rock on the radio and playing CDs of bands/groups/individuals (such as The Carpenters) of the 1960's/70's/80's. I mean, even to this day I still know all the words to Elton John's "Crocodile Rock."

On another note (no pun intended), tonight I attended the winter musical at my hometown high school with my good friend Vitaliy. The performance was "The Music Man," and it was an enjoyable show (especially this song - lovely)! I know that I shouldn't wish for the past (because present circumstances are idyl), but while I watched all those high schoolers sing and dance about the stage it made me miss the times when I was up there performing. Those truly were wonderful days in my life, and I have always be thankful that I never pigeon-holed myself during those, my high school years; I tried anything and everything that interested me. I only hope that I have continued and will continue in that same spirit in all that I do now and in the future.

There is one line in particular from the musical that I love and that I remember President Monson quoting at the last G.C. : "You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays." Hence, carpe diem - seize not only the day, but today!

with that thought, goodnight. or, is is good day now?

Monday, March 9, 2009

on the construction of castles in the sky

I just love the whole aspect of goals; I love thinking them up, scribbling them on scraps of papers or in books when sudden inspiration hits, making myriads of lists of them on lined paper and then getting out another piece of paper and writing them all down in neat scribe under categories such as "Fall 2010" or "This Summer." They enrapt and thrill my heart. Goals are these pies-in-the-sky, those future can-be's and what-if's that are solely dependant on me and my workings for their success or failure. They are constant and they are ever-growing. They provide glimpses of the person I aspire to become, the things I desire to fulfill. In life, there are a multitude of things that I have no control over, like the weather or the way Donald Trump will style his comb over, but I do have authority over my dreams and, ultimately, over their consummation.

Elder Wirthlin, that sweet apostle of the Lord, gave an inspirational talk in the April 2007 General Conference in regards to goals: "I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them."

Dreaming up dreams and goals provide real reasons to live and are motivation to ASPIRE. Sure, we may fail, but oh, we may succeed tremendously as well. If there were no dreams, no faith in the future, no hopes for tomorrow, then human life would be empty and thrill-less!
Consider this poem by Longfellow:

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art; to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Friday, March 6, 2009

new love

new way to waste time and get hungry:

following food blogs, like this one.

sunkist gems à la Parisienne at Foquets

macaroons, merci

p.s. this is the cake mom and i made the other night for little madison's birthday. do you see those glorious, inticate sugar wings? yes, i have far too much spare time on my hands. . .

Thursday, March 5, 2009

sugar pie

I have a confession for the world; watch the tragedy unfold:

For the past two weeks or so I have been on a sort of "sugar-fast," avoiding the consumption of blatantly sugared-up items, for personal reasons (mostly just to see if I could even muster such self-control). It was going swimmingly; I victoriously conquered all types of cake, brownies, cookies, candy, and powdered sugared anythings that came my way with unwavering determination. That is, UNTIL mom bought a fat bag of Sunkist fruit gems to decorate a birthday cake with. She used about five of the million circular delights in the bag to add birthday cake flair, and then she promptly left the rest of the bag open on the counter. This was the exposition to the tragedy. When I then woke up this morning and descended to the downstairs kitchen, I meet those candies' glimmery, gemmy, gummy, sugar-coated eyes and I knew I was done for (rising action), because Sunkist gems are pretty near the top of my favorite-candies-ever-list (tragic flaw). Tossing all determination and self-worth to the wind, I snatched the bag, plopped down on my bed, shut the blinds, and devoured every last marvelous gem in that bag (climax). My floor is now riddled with wrappers, and I am feeling wonderfully, yet terribly sick (denouement).

Oh, but they were so delectable! I may have won a few battles, but sucrose won this war.

Needless to say, my sugarless lifestyle no longer exists. Long live C12H22O11 in all its forms and all it's detrimental effects! For now, I still remain one thin and happy consumer.

P.S.1 I find it slightly funny that this whole situation fits quite nicely into Freytag's dramatic structure. Huzzah for literature classes actually serving an applicable purpose!

P.S.2 On another note, look where I'll be going in two days in order to prepare for my mission. I am so excited! Find out more here about this place. :]

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

a heart left in san francisco

I went to the glorious city of San Francisco last week to apply (in person) for a French visa at the consulate there. The consulate was nothing too exciting, but the city was AMAZING! I was there for only a few short hours but the artistic ambiance and eclectic vibes that the city imparted left me unforgettably thrilled. Every corner, every sloping, curved street has stories engrained in them, something happening on them, marvelous secrets waiting to be discovered. The hills were dotted with houses of every color imaginable: lime green, peach, rose, electric blue - but they were not eyesores, no, they added to the vibrant character that radiated into every glance I took in; the whole city was candy for my eyes!

And the streets there - you could get marvelously and utterly lost! I so desire to become lost in that city (just not at night...). Try becoming lost in grided out, cookie-cutter, unmysterious Provo.

Oh, San Francisco. I feel instictively that we will rendezvous again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

a recapitulation

yes, it is still snowing. ever snowing.

in fact, it seems as though all mingling hopes of seeing the sun anytime soon are being thoroughly dashed by this continual atmospheric effort! nonetheless, snow does make for some lovely photographic moments. ------------------------->

well, despite the february weather, this past week has been marvelous! a quick trip to Provo for a few days may have been full of monontonous grey skies, but the days spent there in the company of radiant friends and the university I love best brimmed my cup and restored my soul! The road trip back home with Kellyn and McLean was interesting, as well. McLean has never been this far south and had, consequently, never seen Las Vegas. It was enjoyable to experience his sheer excitement about a place that I have driven through countless times. We decided to eat at the In-n-Out (heavenly!) there and drive down the strip of Vegas instead of just speeding on through (which is what I always do) - now, I have never been the biggest fan of LV, but the strip at night was INCREDIBLE! Plus, I took a picture of the fake "Eiffel Tower" at the Paris hotel, and it may be just a sad replica but it still caused those inner butterflys to dance about. I can't imagine how glorious the real one is! Breathtaking, I am sure.
Fake, but still fabulous.

one piece in a very cool art exhibit at the MOA
by Dan Steinheilber.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

hope is the thing with feathers, indeed

A friend reminded me today of a poem, by thomas hardy, that I had forgotten but do especially love. It was perfect timing to re-read this certain poem because it has been most unsensationally bleak and dreary outside, and it has caused me a bit of mourning for seasons of warmth and life. Winter has always left me with the feeling of entrapment; I am stuck inside and thus I feel as if I am not progressing/becoming complacent because I am not running around with busyness (to me, busy = movement, moving forward, moving towards a goal, etc). I HATE those sentiments; they leave a sense of hopelessness in my soul. Ugh.
Nevertheless, this poem speaks of a thrush that sings out despite the settled, winter gloom that surrounds him and the poet. If the winged creature can sing and thus have something to hope in at such a time, then so can the poet, and so can I.

The Darkling Thrush

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

snapshots of innocence

found a box of old photographs from the early '90's in a forgotten cupboard today. i indulged myself in the nostalgia of my childhood and the early years of the family. the outfits, the hairstyles, the poses, the little bodies, the innocent expressions! they made mine a happy heart! what glorious years I have lived, and what simple, yet dear memories the years have abundantly bestowed upon me!

all i can say is thank goodness for tangible photographs that you can find in a box, hold up, laugh at, flip through and remember. none of that scrolling through the digital memory function on the camera, or clicking to the next one on picasa. this was a vraie experience. huzzah!

how i loved and still continue to love being a child; call me peter pan, but childhood, in my opinion, should never end - for certain joy comes to the one with a childlike perspective on life; to a child, everything is a miracle.

To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.
- Walt Whitman

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

poetic consolation

Billy Collins' poetic waxings below paint the picture of my present feelings about currently not being in Paris (as was planned) with my fellow study-abroadians, and the feelings of slight torment upon seeing all of their pictures at the Arc-de-Triomphe and Chartes and the Garnier Opera House and the like in my Facebook feed. . .
Waiting to enter the MTC is, well euphemistically, patience building.
Fill in the below references to Italy with all things Paris, France.


How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,

wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hilltowns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.

There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon's
little bed on Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.

How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basilica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyes camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?

Instead of slouching in a café ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.

And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car
as if it were the great car of English itself
and sounding my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to Rome, not even Bologna.

Billy Collins

read more about the witty, poet genius that is B. Collins here, and listen to this poem by Collins here or another great one here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

wisdom removed

I had my wisdom teeth removed today, but unfortunately this post only finds me mildly drugged on tylenol and advil and with a partially numbed tongue; nothing too exciting for the posterity to be published today, laddies.

At the place and time of operation, the dental assistants made me comfortable by placing me in a chair, putting a hairnet on me, squeezing my arm for blood pressure, and connecting me to a heart rate machine. Yes, i was completely unaffected by all that. (false! but, they did kindly give me what they dub a "happy" pill to calm the nerves.) When the dentist (who extracted my wise teeth) finally entered and prepared to render me unconscious, the assistant gave me a little of that infamous laughing gas to further ease any frowning nerves that the happy pill did not amuse. For those who may be wondering, laughing gas is gross. However, its name is appropriate. The doctor, trying to locate a vein in my arm, told me to squeeze this rubber hamburger, obviously meant for such occasions. This induced a few uncontrollable laughs and my repeating of, "squeeze the hamburger, hahahaha!" Doctor humored me with a laugh (although I was becoming ridiculous at this point) and numbed my arm and inserted some intravenous concoction that made me completely woozy. Then the doctor commenced in talking about what kind of pets I have and if I like to ski. Before I could get through telling him of my great dislike of ski moguls and how I prefer to instead call them "mongols", I was gone.

I have never had anaesthesia before today. It is a strange thing - even when you are in a deep sleep you are still able to feel the passing/duration of time, right? Not so with anaesthesia. Next thing I knew it was 45 minutes later and the two kind assistants were helping me to the "recovery chair," a nice plush recliner. This is when I noticed that I had my sweater back on - the one the first assistant asked me to remove before the surgery. They must have had a fun time putting it back on me while I was still out. What else did they do? Do I still have both my kidneys???

Good points of the momentous day:
  • Chocolate shakes afterwards with mom. Although, half of mine did dribble down my numbed out chin (clearly without my knowledge). Thanks to mom for leaning over and wiping me clean; I became 2 years old all over again
  • I began a book: Hardy's The Greenwood Tree
  • I was given the four beautiful dental specimens removed from my mouth. I think I'll make a shadow box with them, or something.

Friday, January 23, 2009


It's only been a few days, but the lack of sun and the abundance of rain/fog/wind/cold (thank heavens there's no snow though - *knock on wood*) in this town is bringing me down into a gray well of apathy. Pathetic yes, but it's 5 in the afternoon and I am still wearing my pajamas. Ahhh! Winter is the bane of my existence. It's cold, gray, suffocating, dark, noisy (with all those water drip sounds) and I am far too impatient for it.

Thinking of New Caledonia momentarily dispels the fog though, ah yes. And, who know's, maybe the sun will come out tomorrow. Wow. Did I just quote the musical "Annie?" See how low I have fallen?

Anyway, on a lighter, less lack-of vitaminD-induced-depression note, I have become more excited about the next two months at home. I decided not to go the slavish minimum wage way this time to earn money. I am instead attempting to utlize those skills I have learned at college (yes, my friends, it's possible). I already have two girls to tutor; one high school girl in Spanish, and a homeschooled twelve year old girl whose mother wants me to teach her French. I hope that I won't cause any lasting language defects in these girls. . . Also, an English teacher at the high school wants me to be a tutor in the AVID program at the school. I am very excited about the prospects of that job. In the end, all of this means that I'll be staying busy and thus, staying (mostly) sane.

On a medical note, four very wise parts of my mouth are going to be extracted from their home in my gums next Tuesday morning. Lovely. Maybe I'll write a post right after the event while I am still pumped full of various pharmecutical drugs. It's bound to be quite funny, and something to really treasure up for posterity; "wow, so this must be what your mother/grandmother/great-grandmother really thought of the whole Obama presidency. . ."

Well, the chaffeur (or is it chaffeuse, since I am a girl? french help, s'il vous plait!) has to go drive the musical prodigy sister to piano lessons.