Wednesday, December 28, 2011


This post is for Becca and Shantel for the hugs, the hot chocolate, the conversation, the back massages, and the accidental starfish.

It is also for Drew and Marc for checking on me and for Laura, who would have done whatever she could had she been on the right continent.

There will be no Christmas post.

Listening to: "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette
Reading: TBA

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Orange chicken.

Christmas is tomorrow, and I'm still not in the holiday spirit.

...That's all I really have to say about that.

Tonight, my dad, my uncle, my brother and I rode over to my uncle's favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner, where I'm sure I made the most outrageous face when I accidentally ate a piece of orange peel. I've grown much more comfortable on the back of a motorcycle, though the thought of operating one still makes me nervous. One step at a time.

After dinner, my uncle went home, and the rest of us headed over to Anne's house. There, I made Alan watch Sherlock Holmes because he hadn't seen it, and he needs to if we're to see the sequel next week. I can't in good conscience allow my loved ones to watch things out of order.

I also finally got my phone to install the updates it was freaking out about yesterday. Among them was the newer version of 8pen. Imagine my shock when I opened it up and most of the letters were in different places. My thumb was so confused. Fortunately, there's now a special 8pen typing game out, and it's reconditioning my fingers admirably. The new aesthetic design of the keyboard is actually quite lovely, and I'm already fond of some of the functional changes they've made. The one thing that gets me is the letter placement. I'm sure I'll adapt to it eventually, but I imagine that my thumb will continue to veer off in the utterly wrong direction for a while.

C'est la vie.

Happy Christmas, y'all.

Reading: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman


Today there was a Firefly marathon and a viewing of How to Train Your Dragon and some Uno and a misunderstanding with Papa John's. It was delightful. Well, not the misunderstanding.

Oddly, one of the things that stuck out to me most was touch. Hear me out. I didn't really ever hug non-family members until I was 12. I'm very reserved tactilely. I'm rarely if ever the one to initiate a first hug with a new person. I let others break the touch barrier, as Laura calls it. As in other areas of my life, when it comes to physical contact, I'm paralyzingly timid. Some of you may disagree with that statement about timidity, but it is true, nevertheless. I naturally assume that there are certain boundaries around other people, and the thought of crossing those terrifies me. So, I don't cross them. I let others draw me closer emotionally, confidentially, physically. I fear that this has the tendency to make me seem stand-offish, when really sometimes I crave being close to someone more than anything. I'm just too afraid to demand it or even to ask for it.

That's why a friend leaning their head on my shoulder or playing with my hair or using me as a pillow or leaning back against my knees makes me so happy. It makes me feel enveloped in love. It makes me feel wanted.

I think that other people tend to do these things automatically, unthinkingly. I love that.

I know what it is to be deprived of touch. I'm not saying I was neglected as a child; I've always had my mother to hold me close. But, the world is a very big place, and your family can't always be with you. I know what it is to be isolated, to ache for a hand to hold or someone to hold you.

There are few things in this world as comforting as touch.

To my friends: Thank you.

Listening to: Hank & Katherine Play Super Mario Bros. Wii
Reading: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I don't understand why people get up in arms about fantasy books and decry them as unholy or evil or corrupting. They are opuses of imagination. In reading them, I have not been tainted. I do not believe in hobbits or Dust or Calormenes or that by walking through a wall at King's Cross I can find a scarlet train that will take me away to a school full of sorcery. The unreal in these books does not attack religion. The unreal adds to our pleasure in the story. Reading these books does nothing to my faith. They do not cause me to question what I know. They offer something else. They offer something everyone can believe in, whether they are Christian or atheist or Muslim or Jewish or agnostic or Buddhist or anything else. What I have taken from these books is this: I believe in courage. I believe in hope. I believe in love and friendship and second chances and that people can change. I believe in kindness and creativity and passion, in action and innocence and grit.

I believe in humanity.

Listening to: Hank & Katherine Play Super Mario Bros. Wii
Reading: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

With whipped cream.

Starbucks has decent hot chocolate. Emphasis on the word "hot." Furthermore, the the more time I spend in there, the better I can ignore the overpowering scent of ground coffee.

I still think the only good use for coffee beans is to clear your sinuses at a perfume counter.

The pungent aroma of coffee aside, I spent a pleasant hour at a Starbucks today getting to know one of the girls I visit teach. I don't feel like meeting new people is a talent of mine, so I'm always pleased as punch when a first meeting passes enjoyably. It's not that I have a tendency to dislike new people. Quite the opposite. I just always worry that they won't like me. Yes, I know. I have confidence issues. I'm a work in progress.

In my first linguistics class, many semesters ago, we looked at a case study about the differences between how boys and girls communicate. Boys communicate vertically. They bond by one-upping each other. Girls, on the other hand, communicate horizontally. They bond by highlighting the things they have in common. Personally, I love being a girl. There are few joys to match swapping stories about super creepers and understanding exactly what someone else means when they talk about how tight-knit and familial small student bodies are. (Confession: Sometimes when I'm feeling lonely, I'll put my senior class shirt on, the one with everybody's signatures, and pretend that those people are with me. Well, some of them. The important ones.)

As R. and I stood to part ways, I handed her the reindeer Pez dispenser I'd brought as a Christmas offering. I was actually a little worried when I bought it that she might not like it, but it turns out I fretted for naught. I've never seen someone so excited to receive a Pez dispenser. Christmas cheer done been brought up in hurr.

I blame the internet for my occasionally uncontrollable urge to speak like a gangsta. For shizzle.

Listening to: "The Cowboy's Christmas Ball" by The Killers
Reading: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chocolate mousse.

I spent no more than 15 minutes looking at a computer on Saturday. It was glorious.

In the morning, Bonster was so kind as to accompany me to the post office, where we waited in a line that stretched all the way out of the building. I always get funny reactions to the odd assortment of things I box up and ship to Sweden. Maybe it's the out-of-the-ordinary destination, or maybe there aren't that many people who make a habit of shipping kosher Jello packets and Taco Bell sauce.

Speaking of Taco Bell, after our lark at the post office, Bonster and I adjourned to that fine eating establishment and had ourselves a real nice palaver.

She could only spare a few hours out of her busy day, but after she left, I headed over to Shantel's for the pleasure of her company and of riding her horses. After several hours of doing just that, we capitalized on the Jester'z reservation Shantel's mom had made before realizing she couldn't go. We were joined in this last endeavor by Marc, who never fails to make any event memorable.

There wasn't a single cast member I recognized on this particular journey to Jester'z, but I think I may have found some new favorites. Of course, my very favorite part of the evening was when Shantel, as a birthday girl, got to make sound effects for one of the games. She had the funniest line of the night.

After Jester'z, we got frozen custard. Then, we went back to Shantel's, where we listened to Shantel's dad read a Christmas story, played on the swings out back, and ultimately vegged out to some Eric Whitacre.

After church on Sunday, the Priesthood served the Relief Society the meal they owed us for losing the Home vs. Visiting Teaching challenge. I don't know which was stranger: walking through their weird victory tunnel to get into the cultural hall or winding up with two salads.

That evening, my brother arrived for his Christmas visit. He and my dad have loudly been discussing things like transmissions and handguns ever since.

Today (Tuesday), I went to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with Kylie the Magnificent and a couple of her friends. That's one restaurant that certainly doesn't skimp on the portion sizes. Good gravy.

As a side note, I love that girl so much. She puts the universe to rights.

Listening to: "Sleep" by Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir
Reading: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Miniature golfing on the moon.

Today, a friend commented on how calm I always seem during finals week. I attribute this to my tendency to get caught up in TV show marathons on Netflix every time finals roll around. One semester it was Lost; one time it was Psych. This semester it was Doctor Who. I think that I come across so placid during finals because I balance periods of intense stress and productivity with hours upon hours of mindless procrastination. It's probably neither healthy nor wise, but it works for me.

I turned my last final in on Tuesday. Technically it was due on Monday, but the professor said he wasn't picking the papers up from under his office door until sometime Tuesday morning, so I woke up early and scurried to school first thing to sneak it in with the others. Totally made it. His box was still stuffed with uncollected essays.

After assuring myself that my paper was indeed in his box amid dozens of others, I treated myself to a cinnamon sugar bagel from Einstein's with honey almond cream cheese. I ate it in the group study area of the library while I read The Once and Future King and waited for my Latin friends to arrive. When I started getting drowsy, I looked at the special library display commemorating the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible. Most of the historical bits I already knew from my History of English class, but some of the trivia was new and fascinating. Apparently some people think that Shakespeare helped work on the translation of the Bible. Why they would think that is beyond me. He was a playwright, not a scholar. I sincerely doubt that he knew any Hebrew.

My Latin friends were getting together to study for their final. Since I was in a different class, I had already taken mine. I was only meeting up with them to sign a card for a professor, but somehow I got wrangled into staying for several hours and helping them translate a story about Marc Antony's suicide. Other than the fact that I was exhausted, I didn't really mind. They're a fun bunch.

Once I had disentangled myself from the discussion of what "eo ipso tempore" means, I went home and slept away the afternoon.

The evening was for the Knights. It was Shantel's birthday. In honor of said auspicious occasion (later we should have a discussion about what "auspicious" used to mean), some of us arrived early to surprise her. It was her mother's idea, I believe. When Shantel arrived around 6:30 to set up for her party, it was already set up, and some of us were there waiting to surprise her. She's the most satisfying person in the world to surprise. Imagine the jumpiest person you know, then imagine them jumpier. For the rest of the evening, we did our best to surprise everyone who walked through the door. We missed a few, and some of our friends don't startle easily, but we got enough to make the endeavor worthwhile. We got Laura twice.

We whiled away the evening with gifts and grocery store sushi and cake and singing and Scribblish and dancing and chatting and hot tubbing. After it was time for us to be gone from the clubhouse we were at, we moseyed on over to an uninhabited condo owned by Shantel's parents, where we sat on the floor in a circle and gave each other back rubs, with Drew occasionally calling out "Switch!" and everyone haphazardly rearranging themselves. After back rubs, we moved on to hand massages. The night ended after a very artsy photo, in which we tried to fit as many people as possible into the weird window space looking out over the living room from the kitchen, and a game of human knot resulting in two separate circles. We like to keep things interesting.

I've spent the past few days sleeping in, vainly trying to get past this one level on LittleBigPlanet, and reading. Why is it that my library holds always become available two at a time? Life would be so simple if they would all just politely wait their turns.

Listening to: The Browncoats Mixtape
Reading: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Friday, December 9, 2011


Aaagh. Finals. What's that all about? I know, I know. Everyone's complaining about finals right now. It seems like every other Facebook status in my News Feed is either about finals or Christmas.

I can't really complain. Any issues I have with finals are my own fault for not studying. At the end of the day, my grade doesn't care whether Ocean's Eleven was on or not. It's time to pay the piper.

My grammar final went well yesterday. At one point I purposely labeled "on" as an adjective, and my sentence trees all came out festively festooned with complementizer phrases, but dang it! there comes a time in ever linguistics life when they must take a stand for sanity and logic. I imagine that my time will come sometime in the far future. We want none of your sanity here. Be gone, reason! I kid. I had an awesome reason for deciding "on" was an adjective.

My Latin final this morning... Eee... You know how some towns build dams and flood gates and fancy things to contain natural disasters, and these work to a certain extent but not always entirely? I'm going to call my Latin final a mitigated disaster. I gave the vocabulary a cursory look before breakfast, and in the half hour before the final started, I managed to frantically translate half of the selections we were suppose to translate and study beforehand. In short, it wasn't pretty, but it wasn't hideous, either.

I have two final papers left, neither of which should be brutal, and then I can marathon Doctor Who to my heart's content.

In unrelated news, my mother finally shipped my flute to me sometime last week. Alright, show of hands. How many of you were just blindsided by the knowledge that I played the flute? (This show-of-hands-through-the-interwebz thing is not very effective.) The use of the past tense "played" is deliberate. Until last week, I hadn't produced so much as a note for a good four or five years at least. I'm out of practice reading music, my embrasure is weak, my lung capacity is laughable, my wrists get mad at me if I hold the darn thing up for longer than 15 minutes, and any note outside of the basic staff is not the most gorgeous thing in the world. And yet... As soon as I started playing last week, my fingers glided through a B flat scale as if it were the most natural thing in the world. If I think about the fingering too much, I goof up, but when my brain's not interfering, my fingers know exactly what to do.

Tonight, a few of my friends and I went to Jester'z Improv to forget about life for a while. And the piano smells like a carnival. And the microphone smells like a beer. /billyjoelmoment Ah, Jester'z! I would go into detail, but that place is a perpetual you-had-to-be-there moment. Just know this: There was a group of accountants there for a Christmas party.

I leave you with the following video, because I've had random lines of dialogue from it stuck in my head for two days.

Listening to: "Sharp Dressed Man" by ZZ Top
Reading: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell