Wednesday, April 20, 2011

blue headband morning

you know when you find yourself in that strange, in between dream and reality state when you are waking up in the morning and you feel a little too well-rested, a little too warm and you realize with momentary dream-like confusion that it's not your alarm yanking you from the land of Nod but some sort of instinct (for example, the instinct that you are supposed to take a 7am final) that is kicking in a little too late?

as these various elements combine at this precise moment they trigger a common catalyst: panic.

as a little precursory statement to this, my story, be assured that everything worked out and I was still on-time and that the essay was, hopefully, brilliant. however, the moments that transpired from the moment when the clock (silently blaring 6:26) branded its numeric configurations into my cerebral to the moment that I walked into my American lit. final were, now in hindsight, comical and commonly (although, I hope, not too commonly) shared across many a population of university students. Furthermore, they merit the declaration of:
"of course this would happen to me."

oh, and bear with the fact that I ignore writing conventions and write this in both the first person singular ("we") and the second person singular ("you"). I am not schizophrenic.

**************

covers fly to the feet of a bed that is always properly made. this morning such gestures to fold and tuck and smooth and plump are forgotten in jagged, requisite cries of "oh no, oh no, ohhhhhh!" they are muted like a jazz trumpet as not to wake the other co-habitants, though they still profess an unbridled staccato power behind the filter of politeness . now is decision time. it's time to adopt a minimalist mindset: what morning routines have the privilege of remaining and which are jettisoned. okay, we have to get dressed. yes, we did wear those jeans on monday and tuesday, but they're looking pretty good right now. yes, you're right, self, it's important to have BYU pride, thus on goes that old, faded blue cougar sweatshirt - surely wearing it will give us added positive karma during our test (reasoning at moments like this is using faulty and logically fallible). okay, to the bathroom. oh, blast these blinding and merciless overhead lights. hmm. hair goes up. blue headband? yes - cover up these locks' lack of shower as much as possible. moisturizer? yes. make-up? put it in your bag for later. socks? no time. shoes? converses. this day is going to reflect the morning's choices as much as possible. grab the backpack. oh, well since you didn't shower how about a little perfume? yes. great. wait, it's still dark in this room and I can't see if the sprayer is facing our wrist or...OUCH! nope, no wrist; it was facing our face. direct hit to the right eye, commander. let's go wash that out. pink eye much, Laurel? nice. no time to think about that. we'll just close it on the walk/speed walk to school and let the natural tear ducts clean tommy girl out from the irritated pupil. no time to eat (plus we ate enough last night at that indian place to cover whatever caloric intake we might need for today's activities). wait, don't forget to pray!! we need Him more than ever this morning. okay,
we're good now (at least with Heavenly Father). let's go.

what a fine, Spring morning. if only we could enjoy this walk to school, but alas we went to bed only having memorized half of those American Modernist poets and still have the Post-Modernism and Multiculturalisms ones to go. Good morning, Toni Morrison.

hello group of roommates passing us by on the sidewalk on their walk to the temple. we don't know any of you, but by a quick assessment of your bags, choice of clothing, time of day and direction of walk we deduce the goal of your trajectory; there really is only one place you could be headed. wow, do people actually look that nice at this time in the morning?

okay, on campus now and feeling throughly warmed from the descent. voila, here we are in the strangest edifice to ever contain a literature class: the MARB science building. wooh, we made it to class with time to spare. we've got our blue book and a blue pen and a blue headband. blue seems to be a theme. okay, just disregard the strange looks that the other early people are tossing in your general direction; they are just trying to recognize this girl in the ragged BYU paraphernalia, wondering perhaps, with Christian concern in their blatant stares, why you are crying but only from the right eye.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

greener pastures

this is the itinerary that dreams are made of:

friday night - jet set to New York City
tuesday - huzzah we're off to jolly ol' london town
for the main attraction of...
the royal wedding of william and kate on the 29th at westminster abby,
only to then set off for...

lille, france.
but, of course, one can't go to france without at least a day trip to...
PARIS!

this cannot be my existence.
yet
it
is.

only two more finals to go.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

bread.




this is the best first loaf of bread that I have ever made
(though, I must admit that making bread
is not an art that I commonly practiced -
until now, that is)
all thanks to the final remarks in french class by
who is a bread connoisseur.

he explained and showed us
(with unrestrained zest and zeal)
this video and listed out the steps
and abounding, eternal benefits of making this bread.

okay. it was so easy.
and, there are only four ingredients:

1. flour
2. water
3. salt
4. and a pinch of yeast.

and,
5. if you include the
amount of time that it takes to
allow the dough to rise and rest (about 18 hours).
the time is actually essential in the process -
it allows the small amount of yeast
to divide, conquer and break down the
complex carbohydrates in the flour,
releasing their natural sugars without
having to add any.

donc,
naturally perfect in every way;
mary poppins approved.

here's the recipe,
and rest assured, if I can do it
so can you.

No-Knead Bread:

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

les regrets du bellay


Today I am writing a lengthy analysis of how this poem (below) was representational of the French adaptation of Italian Renaissance poetry forms (specifically the Petrarchan sonnet convention in the 1500s) while still managing to branch out into its own interpretation of style and content. Here's a simple synopsis of the background behind this sonnet's somber content: du Bellay, a French poet, was disillusioned by Rome and was basically an unhappy camper during his three year stay there as a secretary to his cardinal uncle. He wrote a series of these homesick sonnets complied under the name "Les Regrets" (the translation there is pretty intuitive).

XXXII

Je me ferai savant en la philosophie,
En la mathématique et médecine aussi :
Je me ferai légiste, et d’un plus haut souci
Apprendrai les secrets de la théologie :


Du luth et du pinceau j’ébatterai ma vie,
De l’escrime et du bal. Je discourais ainsi,
Et me vantais en moi d’apprendre tout ceci,
Quand je changeai la France au séjour d’Italie.

Ô beaux discours humains ! Je suis venu si loin,
Pour m’enrichir d’ennui, de vieillesse et de soin,
Et perdre en voyageant le meilleur de mon aage.

Ainsi le marinier souvent pour tout trésor
Rapporte des harengs en lieu de lingots d’or,
Ayant fait, comme moi, un malheureux voyage.



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I prefer Georgia.

okay. seriously.

who EVER uses the default "Calibri (Body)" size 11 font when they go onto Microsoft Word?

Wonder whose clever idea that was? It was this Dutch guy. So a big thanks to Luc(as) de Groot. Not only am I in an incredulous stupor that you have made a living creating font designs, but I am just as confused as to why there is parenthetical "(as)" in your first name as there is in the "(Body)" after your loathsome typeface.

At least now I know where to address my font frustrations: the Netherlands.


new caledonia

Remember that talk that President Monson gave at the Sunday morning session of Conference? He spoke about the sacrifices that a certain family, the Mou-Tham family, made to go to the temple for the first time many years ago. How grateful I am to have known that family while on my mission in dear New Caledonia.

Here is a recent photo of New Caledonian members who went to the New Zealand temple (the closest one to them, nearly 2000 miles away) on their annual temple trip. They met with Elder Anderson this year. To the left of Elder Anderson is President Gerad Mou-Tham (one of the sons of the Mou-Tham family referred to in President Monson's talk) and his wife.

How I love the members of New Caledonia!

(start this video below at 5:45 for the story)

Monday, April 4, 2011

wise personal investments

I wouldn't consider myself a very aware person when it comes to world affairs and the stock market (I chalk it up to the dismissal of Yahoo! as my homepage), but allow me to make an analogy in an area that I do know well:

Stocks in Mr. X are unfortunately still dwindling from market lows these past few weeks (and this investment appeared to have such long-term potential). However, the increased investment of stock placed in Mr. Y continues to rise at a rapid pace as my attention to the lack of accumulation in Mr. X decreases. Although X is currently free to trade with he seems hesitant to budge and Y is publicly traded on a daily basis and demands constant attention to achieve desired results. Neither seems to know that I'm invested. But, given that Mr. Y is the Harold B. Lee Library, I am confident that he will become aware of my interest in investing in him in these final weeks in the semester; I'll be expending large amounts of personal money for him (because "time is money," right?), and I hope that my sole investment in him (since my investments seems to be currently unprofitable elsewhere) will bring about lucrative rewards.