Monday, May 30, 2011

Every once in a while it hits me how high 19,000 feet is

The tallest mountain in Utah, Kings peak, is 13,528 feet
I tallest mountain I have ever climbed, Horseshoe mountain, is 13,298 feet

No big deal though, I can do this?

Friday, May 27, 2011


I miss the days when people asked me "what do you want to do when you grow up?"
Nowadays, I get asked "what are you going to do with your life?" or "what field do you think you'll go into?" or "what are your plans?"
I love to travel and I love to write. I've always said I could be dirt poor as long as I had enough money to travel. I could be perfectly happy in a 500 sq. feet apartment spending 60% of my income on traveling.
I think I'd like to be a journalist. Not the ones that go to free concerts and write about really good teachers. I'd like to be the journalist who lives in Rwanda or Kenya and writes stories back home.
Unfortunately, getting a gig like that is nearly impossible.
I've been leaning toward dedicating my life to humanitarian work lately. That's probably naive and crazy of me, but I think I could be really happy spending my life working for human rights. Maybe I'm a socialist.
There's this funny dichotomy in humanitarian work.
One one hand you have the organizations. The people like Bono who spend enormous amounts of money and time fighting for change. These are the people who are trying to solve the problems rather than just help those who struggle right now. It's a fight for the next generation being born into poverty rather than those who currently live in deep poverty.
On the other hand you have the individuals. The people who are never famous, but who spend their life in the Congo teaching English to children without shoes. Once that person is gone, the children will not learn English, so they're not really solving the problem, but while they're there, a hell of a lot of kids learn English.
So that's the dichotomy: the course that is more effective in the long run but is ridiculously difficult to be successful in or the course where you help real people, but can't really save the next generation.
What do you think? Anyone? Which route would you take to spend your time and money?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I was an adorable kid

Assembling pictures for yearbook next year.
If anyone saw only my childhood pictures, they'd think I grew up in Hawaii. Apparently, I was only worth documenting when I was in Hawaii.
Pardon the dust on my scanner.
Sam was pretty cute too

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Disaster warning: I'm growing up.

So having this follow my last post is going to leave people thinking I'm bipolar, but hell, it's the end of the year, aka emotional roller-coaster.
I went to school all day on Friday. Last period was physics class. Physics has been my least favorite class all year, perhaps ever. I don't care about learning physics, and the class was so hard that I stopped even remotely hoping for anything above an 87 on any tests.
Anyway, it was last period and it was raining. Most of our class was gone, because the seniors had already taken their final, so they didn't need to be there. However, we all sat in the seats which we had sat in the entire year. I've never had the emptiness of a classroom so apparent.
One lone senior came to class. I asked her why she was there, and she said "honestly, I just don't want to leave." This coming from a senior with one hell of an impressive brain who's going to do amazing things with her life starting with Brown in the fall. Yet, even for her, letting go of everything we've known is almost too hard.
So I sat through physics review pretending to care about kinematics. Then all of a sudden, it hit me.
"This is the last physics class."
As soon as I'd said it, I started crying.
I wasn't sad that physics was ending. I was ready to bid it adiu months ago. But it was in that moment that it hit me this year is ending. I have had some of my favorite classes ever this year. I've had teachers who taught me things I will love forever. And I've figured out a bit about myself.
All that is ending. It's heartbreaking and scary. I'm planning my college visit trips for this summer, meeting with the college counselor perhaps too regularly, and in my spare time, I look at college websites. For a girl who yearns for freedom, this whole growing up thing has taken me by a storm.
A little over a year ago I was leaving for Europe. That experience still feels like yesterday, and yet a year from now, I'll be graduating and my life will be starting.
I'm just not sure I'm ready for that.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The End is Near

Have you noticed the increased frequency of my blogging? This can only mean one thing: the end of the year is rapidly approaching.
Recently, I've discovered how hard it is to go to school. Somehow, I made it through the first 95% of the year without realizing this. Here is a summary of my attendance since for the past week (the regular school day is from 8-3):
Monday: no school
Tuesday: came at 10:20
Wednesday: came at 9, left at 2
Thursday: came at 10:20
Friday: came at 8, left at 9
Yesterday: left at 1:15
Today: left at 12:20
Tomorrow: not going
Friday: we'll see
So what, you may ask, am I doing with all my free time? Well, today I was supposed to go get shots, but I missed my appointment so instead I got my nails done! Nothing is better than a manicure AND a pedicure when it's raining outside and you just can't go to school.

Sometime between now and Friday I have to read 2 more books and write an 8 page paper about Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (should that have quotation marks or be italicized or something?) but I think I'll leave that for Friday morning. This girl's work ethic? It's doing about as well as the North Korean health care system.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hammering Out

Sometimes I don't feel like I'm actually writing essays. It feels more like I'm hammering out something that could at best be called a rough draft. Like I'm trying to just get words on the paper in a plausible order.
Sometimes I'll be writing an essay and realize on the third page I'm not writing about the book. I'm writing about myself using characters' names.
Sometimes I feel like I get whiplash writing essays.
And yet, I do it anyway.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I'm the Waterford school's theater department's mascot. What does this mean? This means my best friend is very much involved with the theater department which means I know all about it. I know all the actors drama, which play we're looking to do next, what the audition packet is, who might get cut, who should have gotten cut, where the costumes are coming from, when the memorization date is, which performance will be the best. I know it all. Hell, I'm even friends with the director on facebook.
The funny thing about this situation is I'm not even remotely theatrically inclined. I was in the fourth grade school play and that's as close as I've ever gotten to acting. I pick reading a novel over a play every single time. I'll pick going to a concert over going to a play. It's one of those things I admire from afar but have almost no interest in.
The other funny thing is that we have a kickass theater department.
We do cool plays. None of that "singing in the rain" junk for us. No, we do shows like Dancing at Lughnasa and Pericles. And better yet, we do them astonishingly well.
So yes, I love being theater department mascot. Not that I have any mascot duties (I am working on getting a Shakespeare costume), but I like being a vague part of what I consider to be the strongest point of our school's arts program.
Oh yeah, and the actors are really cool people too.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Le Photo Book

I've spent the past month shooting, processing, printing, scanning, lightrooming and organizing this book as the final part of my photography class (which, admittedly, has has it's ups and downs (mostly downs)). Check it out. But you have to view it full screen, otherwise you can't see the images as well as you should. I've put enough work into this, you can click the fullscreen button.

Here's my artist's statement (that's the first page that you can't read in blurb preview)

I spent the summer of my sixteenth birthday on a college study abroad. As all good things start, I felt tremendously overwhelmed at the beginning of the trip. On day three, I got horribly lost, but through a little talent and a lot of luck found my way home. That night was the night I decided I wanted to stay because I felt empowered and I had gotten a taste of what it means to get lost.
Throughout that summer, I consciously tried to get lost, in every dimension I possibly could. The thing I discovered, however, is how elusive getting lost is. I would get lost on one street one day, and wave my way home through streets, taxis, subways and streetcars. The next day  I would head down the same street because I knew it had more to offer. But the rawness of being lost was gone. My internal GPS, it seemed, knew that there was a way home. As it turns out, you really can’t get lost in the same place twice.
Upon reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that the value in getting lost is the energy of knowing nothing and defining everything. It’s like everything I know helps me understand where I am, but there are always giant voids I get to fill in whatever manner I want. There is something exceptional about the first interpretation of a place, a building, a person.
These photographs have been taken as I have had the opportunity to experience new places. A few of them are on various travels, but most are taken in downtown Salt Lake City. My general attitude toward Utah is disinterest; it seems that Utah has given me all it has to offer. But I’ve recently started a Sunday morning tradition of going downtown, to the Utah I don’t know, to shoot. I’ve discovered the same exhilaration in getting lost in Salt Lake City as I found in Vienna, because as it turns out, Utah still has so much to offer me. Sometimes I get scared, because the Salt Lake City west of I-15 is different than Sandy. I start to feel conspicuous in my Lexus in a way that I never feel in the Waterford parking lot. I worry when another person walks by, but I have started to learn to relax my nerves, because he’s just getting to wherever it is he’s going. To me, these pictures represent an outsider’s view. They reflect my graceless first reaction.

Eleanor Roosevelt's Nightly Prayer

I love Eleanor Roosevelt. If I could pick anyone to know, it would be here. I'm reading a book about her and in the front is her nightly prayer as remembered by her son Elliott. I'm not an especially spiritual person, but I still know it's the most beautiful prayer I've ever heard:

Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find, forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life. Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far-off goals. Keep us at tasks to hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength. Deliver us from fretfulness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world. Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us and our hearts to the loveliness men hide from us because we do not try to understand them. Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of a world made new.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Nineties

My hair would have rocked the nineties. Lemme tell you.
Once I had realllllly long hair. But then I got really tired of it. So I cut it all off. I should have cut off 2 inches more and donated it to locks of love. Unfortunately, I just cut most of it off and threw it away. Sorry cancer patients. Maybe next time.
When I got back from Europe, my hair was SUPER blonde. So I dyed it darker. Except darker with a reddish undertone turned into pink. There might have been tears. Luckily, a friend saved my ass and got me into another hairdresser, who is awesome, and got rid of the pink.
Now my hair is back to a light blonde, and it's a little shorter with layers. Enter nineties. When my hair is short and layered it naturally flips up, like this:


Fate is so cruel. I would have rocked the nineties. Perhaps even the early 2000s.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finding books

Today I was sick and didn't go to school. I probably could have gone to school, but I'm pretty much down to 1 class that I respect/think I'm learning things in/care about beyond getting a good grade (note: I'm not a terrible student, it's just with APs over my 2 other great classes are essentially finished and my other 2 teachers have pretty much burned out). Soooooo anyway, I slept in until 11:30.
I called my best friend and asked what the English homework was and she said it was to start Death of a Salesman. Since I wasn't at school today, I didn't get a copy of the play. I wasn't not going to do the homework, so I set out to find a copy. After looking through the second bookshelf, sure enough, I found an old copy - probably from the 70s - of the play.
I'm really grateful to live in a home where I can find a copy of almost any book I need. I mean, I'm not the child of English professors and our house certainly isn't Barnes and Noble, but I think we have a copy of all the classics, often 2 or 3 copies. Even if we don't have it, or if I just really want my own copy, we have money enough to buy the book. I'm so glad I get to have books.
Someday, I'm going to work in a bookstore.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

In honor of mother's day, I'd like to tell you the story of a great dad I met yesterday at work.
Yesterday I answered the phone, as per usual, "thank you for calling the firehouse car wash and detail, home of the four alarm, this is Hannah, how can I help you?"
The man on the other end said, "Wow, that's a mouthful."
"Yeah, but at least you know you called the right place"
"True, true. Hey so, this is going to sound really weird, but my four year old son left his stick there. It's about a foot long with tape around it. Will you go check and see if it's there?"
"A stick? With tape around it?"
"Yes, in the children's area"
"Okay sir, hold on one moment while I look"
I put him on hold and went to look for a stick of all things. It wasn't in the children's area, but I didn't want to have to tell this dad that his son's stick was gone forever, so I scoured the entire lobby. I finally found it  in a corner.
"Sir, I have the stick."
"Oh okay great. He's gonna be so happy. (Aside) Hey buddy, they found the stick! (Back to me) we'll be in within the hour to come pick it up. Thank you so much. He was so upset about this, tears and everything."
"Glad to do it sir, see you in a little bit."

I worked and stuff and a little later this family of 3 came in. I handed over the stick, and the adorable 4-year old got the biggest smile on his face. Then I noticed the white gauze on the mother's chest. The mom asked another customer there about her race for the cure shirt and the woman said, "you know, it's such a terrible disease that affects so many families and woman. It's so neat to be a part of that". I don't know what all was said during the rest of the conversation, but at one point I heard the other woman say, "you're such an inspiration, can I hug you?" They gave each other a big hug and I heard the husband say, "she is awesome, isn't she?"

I don't really know anything about these people, but they left a pretty big impact on me. They seemed to exude strength and love in a way few people do during 10-minute encounters. I hope things work out for them.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Muddy Buddies

Today in photo, Miss Natalie Gould got after me for not featuring her on here. So here her feature.

Natalie is my muddy buddy because we've made muddy buddies every time we've hung out (or at least the majority of times). If you don't know what muddy buddies are, they're a teenagers dream. Melt chocolate (but don't burn it), stir in peanut butter. Put the mixture in a plastic bag with chex mix and shake it like there's no tomorrow. Put powdered sugar in the bag (or a new one if that one's a mess) and shake again. Ta da, you've just made muddy buddies. It's more fun if you've got a muddy buddy to make them with. 
Our friendship all started with making fun of our funny last names. Gould and Pugh. 
Once, Natalie and I did all of driver's ed in one day. We made muddy buddies, pulled out our computers and did the whole online thing. Except I stopped listening, so I played games on and she listened to the classes. Then she told me the answers to the quizzes. That's real friendship right there. I got a higher score on the practice test, but she beat me on the real one, so that was fair. 
Last year, Natalie Gould and I sat in the very back of chemistry class. It was the biggest class I've ever been in, and I'm not 100% sure the teacher knew anything about me. We chatted and had fun and I didn't learn anything about chemistry. Natalie did though, now she's in AP chem. 
Natalie and I are weirdly similar. Emma says we're both alike because sometimes she can't tell if we're being sarcastic or if we're serious. We do make fun of each other, but it works. Anyway, Natalie is great.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wish me luck

Ap calc tomorrow
Apush Friday
SAT subject tests Saturday

Don't worry, I didn't really want to go to college anyway.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Osama is dead"

I was working on homework when my good friend Emma (we started a club together) sent me a text that said "Osama Bin Laden is dead". My initial reaction, of course, was to fact check it on CNN. And then to be kinda shocked.
I remember 9/11. I remember being in the second grade cubby area and Gabby saying, "there was a big plane crash today. Lots of people died". I wasn't shaken at all though. I'd always assumed that fatal plane crashes occurred all the time, like car crashes. I remember the big assembly and Mrs. Hanson telling us all not to be worried, and trying to get a gym full of elementary school children to have a moment of silence for those who died. I remember going home and watching over and over again the video of the plane hitting a building with my mom on the couch. I don't think I lost any sleep that night.
And now, almost ten years later, I get a text that "Osama Bin Laden is dead". And I understand that it is a historical event. I get to tell my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren about when I learned that "Osama Bin Laden is dead".
CNN keeps saying, "this is a historic moment. A president of the United States will walk into the East Room and make the statment 'Osama Bin Laden is dead'"
There's something about this that makes me a little down. I'm not defending Osama. I think he was a terrible terrible horrific person who killed nearly 3,000 people. But I don't like seeing cheering over death.