Saturday, March 31, 2012

Titles

Alright.
1) It's Alex's 18th Birthday today! Yayyyy! Love her so much. We've got a super fun exciting surprise birthday planned! Maybe it involves dry ice and lottery tickets.
2) Remember my super awesome, talented, good-at-being-a-human-being, I-think-the-world-of-her friend Elisabeth? She got into Stanford last night. Stanford. What a girl.

I'm deeply fortunate to have such excellent going-to-change-the-world friends.

Now that I'm nearing the end of my academic career at a certain high school, some of my dirty little academic secrets are bubbling to the surface. Naturally, I blog.
I have a really hard time coming up with titles for papers, essays, poems (even blog posts sometimes). My strategy when I get stuck is two-fold:
1. Cop out and write a really crappy title, entirely uninventive and sometimes blatantly stupid. Usually, this is for writings I'm not proud of. For example, "titles".
2. Use the Band Name Maker website to create a title. Usually I have one or two words I actually want to use, and then the website does the rest. If I hit refresh enough times, I usually end up with something I like. For example, a poem in the works titled "Our Pyrrhic Eden"
There it is. Dirty little academic secret number one. I don't think I'll be spited for that.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Guest Post: Kat

Alright. I can't write an introduction for Kat. She's Kat. She's my best friend and I adore the girl and sometimes it feels like this blog is just as much about her as it is about me. So that's what I've got.
She wrote this several months ago, and I lovvvvvvve it. She's the best:

I grew up as a non-Mormon girl in Utah. This means that I grew up hearing “stake party”, confusing it for “steak party” and wondering “why don’t they just call it a barbecue?” (It actually is similar to a barbecue, but church related). Confusions like this lead the non-Mormon kids to group together and form friendships. We didn’t understand why tank-tops were sinful and why the coffee that our parents drank made them bad people. For much of my childhood, I always had a sense of “them” vs “me”. But I also found that I liked some of the Mormon kids in my class. This caused an immense dilemma. How could I outwardly hate but secretly love the Mormons? When I had matured and learned more, I found that I didn’t have to love or hate them. I stopped looking at them as “Mormons” but as people. Both of my best friends are Mormons, (well non-practicing Mormons) and my favorite teacher is a devout Mormon. There are definitely kids in my grade that I don’t like, but not because they’re Mormons. Looking back I realize that I was essentially persecuting people because of their religion, and I’m glad to have been able to grow up and get past it. I have been to missionary farewells that made me snooze, cry, and laugh. I have had killer funeral potatoes, (never at funeral though) and have helped my friends hide their coffee from their parents on several occasions. The Mormons aren’t bad people; I do not agree with much about the religion, but the people that practice it are overall friendly and inviting. My community taught me that even though I don’t agree with an opinion, I can still like the person that holds it. Though I may have some weird quirks because of my childhood, (I don’t wear tank tops in the state of Utah, babies scare me on account of my having grown up with friends with 5 infant siblings, and I’ve been trained to run at the sight of a man in a suit coming towards my house), I will always be thankful that I grew a non-Mormon girl in Utah.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm Turning Into My Mother Part II

Judy goes crazy booking airline tickets. Seriously. It's taken years off her life.
Once we decide to go on a trip, I'll come home from school and she'll be at the computer losing her mind. Mumbling to herself, yelling at the computer, sometimes there are tears. I've always thought this was a uniquely-Judy characteristic and that booking airline flights was not all that difficult.
Then came yesterday.
Yesterday, we were trying to book three different multi-city round-trip tickets:
Judy going Salt lake to Venice and coming home Zurich to Salt Lake
Hannah going Salt Lake to St. Petersburg and coming home Zurich to Salt Lake
Lorin going Salt Lake to St. Petersburg and coming home Tallin to Salt Lake
Not too complicated? Wrong. Heart surgery is less complicated.
We spent hours. Literally hours. Trying to figure out a way to get those flights booked and get parents on the same flights as me and not spend 48 hours in airports and not pay a college tuition to do it. I got grumpy and snappy and yelled at the computer/ maybe I offered to sacrifice the dog if Delta would give me the flight I was looking for. All the while calling Lorin, who was out, trying to reach him to see what he'd want.
So Lorin comes home (with my shoes I ordered online that finally came in the mail) and says "hey, maybe I can call Delta, since I'm platinum medallion they sometimes give me better prices." Judy and I gave him dirty looks but humored him. So he calls and the guy on the phone books the exact flights we want for prices $1000 cheaper than what we were looking at. Which was kinda awesome, but kinda emotionally exhausting like why did I just build up my stress levels so high if it was all for nothing. But we got all our flights booked and I get to spend the entire month of July in Europe which will be awesome (did I mention the part where I get to go to Russia, Finland, Estonia, Italy and Switzarland?! No Galapagos though, but I'm over it)
But here's the worst part. I ordered the wrong size of shoes. Screw the internet.

PS. Kat also got into BARNARD! I am so proud of my girl!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quiz Quiz Quiz

Before we get to that while post thing, KAT GOT IN TO VASSAR!! A super amazing liberal arts school where lovely and stunning people like Meryl Streep and Jane Fonda and Kat go! YAY!

Alright.
So maybe I have a secret affinity for online quizzes. So what?
My latest favorite one is this political quiz. Mostly because it asks all kinds of loaded questions, but also because it's kinda fun to see where things pan out. See, look at these two questions:


And my results are:

Yayyyy. Wasn't that fun.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Celebrity Kids

So, on the list of blogs and tumblrs I follow is the one and only Suri's Burn Book. Should you not know of Suri's Burn Book, I will now tell you about it. The premise is this: Suri Cruise, daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, says snotty things about other celebrity kids - particularly her nemesis Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, makes fun of her parents, comments on fashion, and talks about how great she is a lot. Whoever runs the website is truly genius. In my humble opinion, it's one of the funniest things on the internet.
Let's take a peak:





Ohmygosh. Shiloh Jolie-Pitt is finally stepping up her game, wearing a tuxedo out in …
Wait.
That’s a cotton-poly tee masquerading as a tuxedo.
This is fashion blasphemy.
Also, Zahara is wearing blue braids — while fun, it’s going to be hard to match those to on-trend spring pastels. Oops.











I don’t particularly like going to Disneyland with Tom, but I needed someone to carry my bag.
Also, does anyone else think that horse pillar looks suspiciously like Violet Affleck?











Alright, so now that it's clear that this website is hilarious, I just want to add one final comment: I've gotten really good at identifying celebrity children. This is not something I ever planned on getting good at, but you read enough snarky comments about them and soon enough you know their name and all of their fashion choices. 
Someday, I think this will come in handy.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Stories Are Not Welcome Here

So, in English we recently got the prompt write a story, but write it backwards and so it makes sense (as inspired by a scene in Slaughterhouse-Five). Lots of my peers were writing really beautiful personal stories, but I was in a little bit of a I-don't-want-to-open-my-heart-one-centimeter rut. So, in lieu of a gushing personal tale, I wrote a narrative poem. And I kinda love the way it turned out.


Stories are not welcome here

The reader walks in
a book under her arm, immediately she
offers it to the bookseller, not wanting
to know the inside of the pages,
not wanting this in her life.
Stories are not welcome here.

The bookseller takes the book, gives her
$14.95 in return -
in exchange for custody,
then places it in a box filled
with dozens just like it - the same story
buried inside - together
before the slaughter. The box is
packed in a truck, a plane, a boat
back to the publisher.
Stories are not welcome here.

At the publisher, the books are
torn apart
out of public concern for safety.
covers ripped from spines, words
peeled off pages, the story mutilated
until at last nothing is left
but paper and ink,
a story skeleton -
safety lies in fear.
Stories are not welcome here.

The editor reads the manuscript -
the only bit of the story left.
After reading page one,
the editor packs the manuscript
gives it to the one who calls himself
author. The only one who could ever
love the story, the only one to
destroy it.
Stories are not welcome here.

Author removes the manuscript
from the thick manila envelope and
feeds the story
back into the printer that wipes
the story off the page
cleans it from the face of the universe
like bugs off a windshield.
He sits at the computer
lifting his fingers off each individual key
with care
so that none will be left behind,
sending the words back to the place
where words exist before they are strung together
to make stories -
not welcome here.

He gives empty story corpse to the plant that
feeds paper and used coffee cups
into one end of it’s great factory,
in return,
out come perfectly constructed tree
trunks taken to the forest
to form trees. The people
feel as they watch
the stump accept the trunk
the trunk accept the stump
the sawdust come out of the dust
and fill the gap.
The scar heals:
no sign of a great separation.
The people with their trucks
and chainsaws
retreat
as the pond fills
the spiders form webs on the ground
where tire tracks scraped the land. The forest
stands
against the stories of the world:
not welcome here.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quote Sunday

Alright, we're going to do this, we're going to put up Faulkner's Nobel Prize acceptance speech for quote Sunday.  Even though it's one of the most over-quoted pieces of writing in the English language, we're doing this for two reasons
1. I'm feeling a teeny tiny bit too lazy to find something else.
2. It's a beautiful essay and I love that he speaks to writers.


Ladies and gentlemen,

I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work - a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand here where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.

I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In case I haven't made it clear that I have a really awesome school

Here is a list of interesting things that happened to my yesterday:

1) If you walk into a bathroom stall in the science building, you will be greeted by this:
What exactly is that? Why, it's a field guide to Western birds. Yes, there is one in every stall. Yes, the biology teacher did put them there. No, they will not be stolen.

 2) Our English teacher's husband*, made us cupcakes. Yes. Cupcakes. Best surprise ever.















*as in not our teacher

3) Yesterday, this was the only thing written on the board of our creative writing class. (I have a picture, but I'm not allowed to post it, so...)

I
Am
The
Lord
Thine
Master
Forever
Watching

Not only is it creepy and hilarious, each word has one more letter than the last.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Project Simple Journaling

As of late, my actual journaling has turned into lots and lots of lists. I'm in a list mode. It's funny how there are totally phases of what I want to write and what I really do not want to write. But I've been loving my lists, because they're sorta non-specific. Lists don't require much emotional energy if I don't want them to, but writing a list can also me horribly painful. There's nice versatility there, because it means journaling isn't boring on days when I don't quite have it in me to, as Red Smith put it, open a vein.
Anyway, to subsidize my list journaling, I've got a new project. I'm sure you've run across Keel's Simple Diary in a bookstore of sorts (if you haven't, you are not going to the bookstore nearly as often as you need to). They just came out with a simple diary iPhone app. It only cost a dollar, so I figured I'd download it and try it out. And, as it turns out, I love it.
It takes maybe 3 minutes, tops to fill out. It's so lovely. I like it for three reasons:
1) It's a place where I can record the on-goings of my life (something I've never done in my journal) without getting bored. And I put at least one picture in a day, so I like that combination.
2) With the lists and quotes and questions in there, there are some really great writing prompts. I like having that little boost to get my creative-writing mind going. 
3) Every day, I definitely end up with 5 or 10 minutes when I'm just sitting and waiting. It's those times when I pull out my phone and do my simple diary entry for the day. It makes being bored so much better.
So that's my new project. Between my journal, this blog and my new project, my life is going to be so well-documented. I don't know if I want it really this well-documented. But I like writing, and I like getting time to have things to reflect on later. So I think I'll stick to it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Soccer

What, a post titled soccer? Do you even play soccer?
No.
But, I've got a super fun soccer project/activity going on. I'm helping my uncle Brian coach Lizzy's soccer team. So 4 and 5 year olds. We had our first practice yesterday, and it was so much fun. The girls really have no idea what they're doing, so it doesn't matter in the least that I don't either, because coaching means things like helping them know which goal is theirs (after all, it's tricky). Mostly though, it's fun because the girls are darling. Within 20 minutes of meeting me, the girls were saying "I want to be on your team" and standing holding my hand while they were waiting for their turn. That's one of the best things about little kids, I suppose. They're unafraid to attach. 
I think soccer practice may be the new highlight of my week.



PS. I will now take a moment to brag.
Even though last term was riddled with senoritis, grades wise, it was my best term in high school. So take that senior year.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Miss Representation take II

Holy shit I love Miss Representation.

 

Every time I see this film I walk away feeling so empowered - feeling like things need to change, but we can do it, we can make things better.
Yesterday, after the screening of the film, there was a panel discussion about it. On that panel were the twin sisters who started up beautyredifined.net. I was so very impressed with them. I wish I could get them to come talk at Waterford.
They proposed two things I really liked:
1) They talked about these sticky notes they make and similar ones produced elsewhere
And they talked about the magazines at the grocery store that objectify women. They said to carry around sticky notes and stick them on Sport's Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, and Cosmo. (Let's be honest, my issues with those two magazines could be an entire blog in and of itself). Anyway, I thought that was a really really funny and excellent idea.
2) They talked about a media fast to choose a day, week, month or longer to stay away from as much media as possible. Then afterward, to see how life is different without those messages and to be more sensitive to the damaging messages later. I'm incredibly intrigued by that idea, but I'm not sure I can do it. I'm going to have to think about that one. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Things I do instead of sleeping

The last several days I've had really bad anxiety. It's that anxiety that lives in the stomach and sometimes the chest and feels like I'm going to vomit up my heart but instead of being healthy it will be jaundiced and sick and beating really fast but really weekly, more of a flutter really. That kind of anxiety. Which is, of course, accompanied by fits of insomnia. With all my newfound free time late at night, I've been going to the gym at like 9 and 10, AND I took some inspiration from the lovely and talented ladies over at Harley and Jane and decided to amp up the quote section of my journal. It's been way fun.




Except now it's time for me to get some sleep.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Release

Well, it finally happened, after nine-and-a-half years of being stake president, Lorin got released yesterday. It's funny how it happens in under sixty seconds. Say a few words, everyone raises their hands and voila! no longer the stake president. As quickly as it came, it left.
I think Lorin's going to miss being stake president. Or at least parts of it. I know he'll miss his presidency. They're good friends.

When Lorin was first put in as stake president, I was eight. In fact, here's a picture of Samuel and I at the little reception they had the week he was put in:

We were little. It's so strange that something that's been a part of our life for the past decade went away just like that. I remember how when he was first put in President Pugh sounded so funny, and now it seems as natural as Lorin or Bumpa. I remember how stressful it was in the beginning, with the phone calls and the meetings and hell, even the huge amount of mail that started coming to our house. I remember how Lorin wrote me notes to make up for the time he was missing. I saved all the notes, and read through them the other nights. They're not super complex or deep, but they're something I'll cherish for a long while yet:

Dear Hannah:
I'm glad we found a book to read together. It's fun for me. I like that time together. I miss it when we don't have the chance to read. Have a wonderful day. Do something kind for someone, OK?
Love,
Bumpa

Dear Hannah:
I had a great time with you at Father's day. I really really loved the Valentine's card. I am trying to have fewer meetings so I can be home with you.
I love you, sweetheart,
Bumpa

Dear Hannah:
Good luck this week. I am excited for you to get your braces. I think I'm excited because you're excited. It makes me smile to see you excited because I love you.
Love,
Bumpa

See, I was a lucky little girl. There are certain ways in which I am entirely my father's daughter. One of them is that we write. We're the same in that we speak just fine, but the really good honest stuff comes out when we write. I think I learned that from the notes and from editing all his talks over the years. In hindsight, a little girl is not all that helpful an editor, but he let me do it anyway and I have loved him for that.
It's strange that that little chapter in our life has closed. All and all, some really good things have come of it. There have been some really great memories, and I've gotten to know some truly remarkable people because of the calling. And Lorin has loved it. He really did make quite a good stake president. I'm proud of him.


With this change, I kinda feel like the universe looked at me this fall and was like "you know what would be fun? Let's fuck with Hannah. Wouldn't it be funny to uproot all the constants in her life?"And before I could even offer an alternative like "hey universe, maybe we could make waffles instead" fate was sealed.
In September we sold the company, March brought the release, June graduation and goodbye to my school of 15 years, and August I leave my family and house of 15 years, and say hello to a state I haven't lived in for 16 years. Turns out, the universe is pretty damn good when it decides to uproot an entire life.
I'm really really uncomfortable with the absence of control in my life right now. Instead of being able to make my own kind of time frame, I keep getting told "on this date this big constant in your life will change and you just have to go along with it an grow around it". You know that cartoon character that digs her heels in, but still gets pushed off the cliff by a bulldozer? I kind of feel like that. Not that these changes are a cliff, but just that they're coming at this constant rate and nothing I can do will change that. And, don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled about all the things that I've got going for me. I really am. But I'm also (and I think justifiably) terrified. I need some time to get used to this whole idea, to grow into this new life the universe has handed me.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Quote Sunday

So I finally saw Midnight in Paris, and I totally entirely loved it with my whole heart. Except the whole "don't long for the lost generation" message. Screw that. I will long to meet Steinbeck for the rest of my life. But besides that ridiculous message, I loved the film.
Anyway, that naturally prompted me to want to learn more about the notorious lost generation writers. I've read work by many of them, but I haven't done much actual studying into them as human beings one would meet in Paris. 
One of the great finds of my research were lists with which F. Scott Fitzgerald ended a letter he wrote to his daughter in 1933. I'm coming to think that lost generation writers made really excellent fathers. Besides all the drinking and broken marriages, of course. Okay, so maybe their greatest fatherly-triumphs were the letters they wrote to their children, but who am I to judge their parenting? The letters are really beautiful. Here's the lists:

Things to worry about:
Worry about courage
Worry about cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship

Things not to worry about:
Don’t worry about popular opinion
Don’t worry about dolls
Don’t worry about the past
Don’t worry about the future
Don’t worry about growing up
Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don’t worry about triumph
Don’t worry about failure, unless it comes through your own fault
Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys
Don’t worry about disappointments
Don’t worry about pleasures
Don’t worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:
What am I really aiming at?
How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
(a) Scholarship
(b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
(c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?

I love love love these lists. Especially that horsemanship is something to worry about. There's something so lovely in that. (I happen to have horrible horsemanship. But I'm tough enough to hold on most of the time and to track the horse down and get back on when I get thrown, so I think that counts for the important things). And I like the things not to worry about list, because it's so valid, and so catered to teenage-girls. Love. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Violence

As you, my dear faithful reader, will remember, on Super Fun Leap Day! Kat and I went to hear Arun Gandhi speak. He spoke of some really beautiful things, and of course one of them was nonviolence. He said that violence was hurting people, consciously or not, actively or not. And he said something my mom has said to me as long as I can remember "are your actions helping or hurting?" and then added "If they're helping, they're nonviolent. If they're hurting they're violent."
So I thought about that a little, and then I saw this amazing preview:



School is really quite a violent place if we're looking at it that way. And thinking of it that way is really uncomfortable for me. So then I wrote a poem. Because that's something I do as of late. I write poems. I write poems because I can take things I want to say to someone or need to express for myself, and put them down. And then I get to work around it, change it, morph it and somewhere in that process - somewhere between where the poem starts and where it ends up - I get to articulate what I actually feel instead of what I thought I wanted to say. And that's pretty damn cool.

Your Violence


I doubt it,
doubt that
anything could scare
the anger the hatred the bitterness
from the corners of your
heart.

Buried in self-loathing,
you do not
understand that
violence is not merely
hitting people
with fists whips hockey sticks
till blood seeps through skin.
Violence is more than
bruises blood broken bones –
                                                bludgeoned brains
                                                beaten bodies.

Violence is the words that
erupt slither squeeze
out of your mouth – words that
don’t slide off like
the straps of her dress – words that
remain, permanent as the lifelines
of my palm. Violence is the
casual ignorance the nonchalant cruelty
the detached barbarity of it all.
Violence pools in your heart.
I know.

I have watched it there, have
stretched torn sacrificed
trying
to make room for you,
have licked wounds from
your daggers, have
wished -

For what?
A white flag?

There is no
pity sympathy empathy.
Instead,
fear anger hurt; things
that I have no room for
in my heart.
So I say goodbye and promise you this,
yes, I promise you this:
Your violence will not pass forward.

Your poison
I turn to medicine. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

I read this and it made me laugh and then cringe.

Woman: Can I have birth control?
Government: No.
Woman: I got pregnant because I didn't have birth control and I don't want the fetus. Can I have an abortion?
Government: No.
Woman: I gave birth to my child, but since I wasn't expecting it, I can't afford daycare. Can I have help paying for it?
Government: No.
Woman: I can't have another baby. Can I have birth control now?
Government: No.
Woman: Why can't I have birth control?
Government: Because. Sex isn't for recreation.
Woman: It can help regulate my period and benefit me in other ways.
Government: Too bad.
Man: For no reason other than for recreational sex, may I have birth control?
Government: Do you have a penis?
Man: YES, YES I DO!!
Government: WELL HOWDY, VALID CITIZEN. You can buy condoms by the dozens. They come in fun colors and flavors! Also, have some viagra so you can get a bigger erection, for your recreational sex, but don't worry about paying for it, the insurance companies have go that covered.
Woman: But -
Government: Shut up, you sinning, freeloading hussy.


Anyway, next week is feminist event week. Yayyyyyy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sunburn

Well, you see, I'm heading out tonight, and if I would use one word to describe this spring break, it would have to be sunburn.
The first day we were here, it was cloudy. And I was like well, I'll just go down to the pool for a while. And then I fell asleep. And then the sun was like "Look! A sleeping human with lots of skin exposed! Burn human burn!" and I was like "ow sun, that was not very nice" but the damage had already been done. It was a bad burn that's just now taken to peeling. Which I find disgusting.
So that was a bummer, but the very worst sunburn I've gotten this break is the one right on my bra line. That skin that only ever sees the sun when you're in a bikini, that skin got burned really really badly. And then, somehow, it got a little raw, so that even putting aloe vera on it killed. So then it got so it was super awful to wear a swimsuit at all and that really sucked.
The most ironic thing about my sunburn epidemic this break is that I've been wearing real sunscreen. Usually I wear tanning oil with SPF 12 for three days, then 8 for two, then 6 for two, then 4 for the rest. But this time I was like "you know what, maybe this isn't a responsible choice. I'll wear 30 every day" and I did. And I burned! So that really sucked.
Admittedly, subsidizing the SPF 30 with tanning oil was maybe not my best idea.
So anyway, there you have it. I got sunburned a lot and I did not like it. I also read a lot, and I did like that. Except that I had a really hard time with One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest because it's so misogynistic. (I have a really hard time spelling misogynistic). But I really especially loved the short stories and poetry collections I read, so that made it more okay. And I'm almost finished with Beloved and it's more beautiful the second time, so that's nice too.
Anyway, that's all I have to say today. I'm flying home tonight. I hate red-eye flights. They make me grumpy. You know how moms don't let their kids have sleep-overs because they're grumpy the next day? I am that grumpy kid after a red eye flight.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Things I'm excited for

There are lots of things I'm excited for in coming months. I've found that I really love going to community events. Even if it's things like the semi-dreadful production of Seven Kat and I saw a few weeks back, I still take joy out of going. And, new books coming out also makes me very very happy. And since, as we all know by now, I have recently attained the title of "spring-term senior" I figure I should fill my calendar full of community events and books being published. I've done so so successfully that I have a somewhere to go or something to look forward to almost every day between now and graduation. I'll spare you the entire list, but here's 10 favorites:

1) Rachel Maddow has written a book. It is titled Drift. I am excited to read it, because I adore Rachel Maddow and I think that the things she has to say are very interesting.




2) I've found out that CityArt has poetry readings at the Salt Lake library every other Wednesday. So I think I'll be making my way over there on Wednesday nights.

3) Next week is the U's Women's Week! So, I'm going to go down to Miss Representation on Monday night, because you really can't see that film too many times and I want to support them screening it. And I'd really like to hear women student leaders panel, so there may be a sick day in my future.

(happily corresponding with this is UVU's production of the Vagina Monologues March 22 and 23. Did I mention I know the co-director? Any takers?)

4) The film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's On The Road is coming out. I'm not sure I'm in love with the film. I'm not sure how I feel about the book. I really loved the first maybe 200 pages. And then it was just really painful to watch them self-destruct. Nevertheless, the film looks like it will be worth watching, so I am excited for that.
On a related note, this makes me laugh very hard:
It's Jack Kerouac's note to Allen Ginsberg in his copy of the novel.

5) Toni Morrison's novel Home will be released in May. I couldn't be more thrilled about this. It will be one of those things that gets me through AP week (which is not on the list of things I am excited for in coming months).

6) In April, Eliza Grizwold is going to come to SLCC and speak as part of their Peace and Social Justice conference (the one that brought Nicholas Kristof last year). I've read a little bit of her poetry online, and she's just wonderful.

7) April 23 is World Book Night at the King's English. I'm not sure what all this entails, but I think it will be excellent.

8) I got put in charge of planning a service project for young women's. So end of April/beginning of May, I'm putting on a book drive with the young women around the neighborhood. I think my goal is going to be to get 1000 books to donate to this organization. So I'm looking forward to that too. Every once in a while, I need a project to be in charge of.

9) On March 31, Alex turns 18. Enough said there.

10) I'm getting my haircut on Saturday, and now that I've been out of winter for two weeks, I'm feeling like I don't need to have dark hair and I may go back to blonde. My hair tends to change with the seasons, and I'm feeling spring and summer coming on.

So, dear reader, if you've got anything exciting going on in the next few months, let me know! I would love love love to go with you. And if you're bored with whatever is going on around your life, text me and we'll go learn interesting things about the world.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Secret Guilty Pleasures

I end up telling Kat "this is my secret guilty pleasure" about a million times a week. I love secret guilty pleasures. And, since I blog about things I love, here are 10 of my random secret guilty pleasures:

10. Literary tattoo sites. I love literary-themed tattoos. So much that I have an entire bookmark folder called "literary tattoo cravings". Specifically, I love the website Contrariwise, specifically this tattoo and this one. Also, I love this essay.

9. Lists. When I have nothing else to do - when I'm bored in class or have nothing to write in my journal or just have time to sit - I write lists. I think I started this sometime in Sophomore English (which is funny, because I really loved Sophomore English). Usually there's a gratitude list or a to-do list, but sometimes I get kinda creative and make lists like things to do when you're sad or things I should have learned by now or names for hypothetical children I'm not sure I want or things to count instead of sheep. I love lists.

8. Free Drinks. As much as I condemn those who order what I refer to as "candy coffee", when Starbucks sends me that free drink in the mail, I definitely order that $8 drink that makes me a total hypocrite.

7. Beach hair. Since I'm in Hawaii, I'm going to count this, even though it really is an only-in-Hawaii guilty pleasure. But I love getting my hair all salty and letting it dry funny and just not bothering to wash it for a day or two. I love salty beach hair.

6. Super awful love songs. Sometimes, I have a huge soft spot for over the top, verging on whiney, songs that are written for things like the twilight movies because that is where they really belong. This is my current one of those.


5. Watercolor. I am the world's worst painter (really, it's horrible), but every now and then I love to steal my mom's water color pencil's and paint. Usually it's "abstract" which means I'm just playing with the way paint runs together. It's nice, ever now and then.

4. Travel websites. This is a less secret, but never the less guilty pleasure. I have 40+ trips bookmarked on my computer that I want to take. I can describe in great detail almost every trip offered by Mountain Travel Sobek, Wilderness Travel, and National Geographic Expeditions. My back-up career is travel agent.

3. Feminist Mormon Housewives. This comes with the disclaimer that I was only introduced to it a few weeks ago, but, nevertheless, it makes me incredibly happy. Let's talk about the part where THEY WEAR PANTS TO CHURCH. PANTS.  How could something like this not be on my guilty pleasure list?

2. Kids movies. Maybe I dragged Lorin to The Lorax. And loved it. Sometimes, an animated film made for kids is the perfect solution to a rainy day. Or, we could talk about how much this makes me smile.




1. I have a secret soft spot for incredibly cliche and often downright stupid phrases written on pretty backgrounds. Don't tell anyone.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What I want to be when I grow up.

There are lots of really great things about being seventeen. One is getting to be super idealistic and motivated to change the world. Another is not quite being an adult, but being almost there. But, my very favorite thing about being seventeen is that I get to be whatever I want when I grow up and that whatever can extend to the end of the universe.
What I want to be when I grow up. 
When I was in Kindergarten, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I no longer want to be a veterinarian. In fact, I don't really like animals all that much. Well, I don't really like dogs and cats all that much. Not in the "let's treat them like they're people" kind of way that veterinarians and really enthusiastic animal owners tend to lean toward. However, I am kinda proud that in Kindergarten, I didn't want to be something stupid like a professional football player or something. No, I had principles and wanted a real career.
For most of my childhood, I wanted to be a lawyer. I think I picked this up because my dad was a lawyer and people are always telling me I'm so much like my dad, ergo, I wanted to be a lawyer. And, in actuality, I could make a pretty good lawyer. If I'm being honest, there's still a part of me that wants to go to law school. Not to be a lawyer, just to go to law school and understand how the legal system works. It just seems like that's something that would appeal to me.
Alright, if I'm being really honest, I want to get like 8 master's degrees, but that's way too long to go without getting a real job. But think how excellent that would be. A master's in journalism, and an MFA in creative writing, and a law degree, and a master's in gender studies, and hell a PhD in something while I'm at it. Philosophy? If only I lived in that world. 
Also, that much school might kill me.
So there's also this whole journalist fantasy I have, where I get to travel all around the world and write about interesting things (probably that pertain to gender studies) and thousands of people read it and basically I get to be Nicholas Kristof. But, see, there's a problem with this plan, in that, me getting that journalist job is less likely to happen than, say, I don't know, Newt Gingrich becoming president. And while being a starving journalist is fine for a while, I don't really want a career as a barista.
Then there's the saving the world option (remember, I'm young and idealistic). This is the part of me that's like, I could join the Peace Corps and go work for an NGO in Africa and save starving orphans and work at a safe-house for women in the Congo and I could campaign for human rights and that would be awesome. Except that the likelihood of that working out is about the same as Ron Paul becoming president.
And then there's the secret politics option that I don't talk about because it's not really a career path I want. The idea of becoming a politician stems from A) watching too much Rachel Maddow and B) this campaign "don't get mad get elected" whose message is basically that we don't have enough women in government and it's our responsibility to fix that. And I agree with that, but I'm not sure how exactly I feel about politics. I don't really want to be a politician, but... so there's that thought crawling around my head too.
But, what I really really want to be when I grow up, deep down inside, is a cowboy. An over-qualified cowboy with lots of college degrees none of which really pertain to being a cowboy, but a cowboy never the less. I do not want to be a cowgirl, because really a cowgirl is just a cowboy's wife, and I want to be a real cowboy. I want horses that I can ride all day through the mountains, and I want to raise cattle (however one does that) that I can then eat, because it will have none of the bad stuff of normal meat. And I want to have chickens and pigs (especially baby pigs) and dogs and maybe a mule. And I want to wear dirty jeans and boots all the time. I want to mend fences and divert streams and drive an old pickup truck. I want my hands to get dirty every day. I want to be able to shoot guns accurately, but I don't want to ever shoot people with my guns. I want a small town community (but a super liberal one) and a good library nearby. I want to go to rodeos on the weekend, or barn dances. I want to sit around a fire and sing songs. I want to play the banjo and maybe the guitar. I want to have a garden to, with lots of fresh produce, but also flowers. Columbines. I want columbines.
I already have a horse and a saddle and boots, so I'm at least a third of the way there! And I think I could turn the cabin into some kind of ranch maybe. 
Yes'm, I want to be a cowboy when I grow up.

PS.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Quote Sunday

I really love my iPhone. So much in fact, that I had a nightmare about the screen breaking. Though there are lots of really great things about my iPhone, my very favorite thing is my TED app, because that way I always have a little supply of interesting things to listen to. The other day, I was sitting by the pool, lounging and the like, and decided to listen to some TED talks. I found one called "If I should have a daughter" by Sarah Kay. And I LOVE it. Sarah Kay is a spoken word poet. Spoken word poetry is a medium that I find iffy at best. But I absolutely love her stuff. Her poems are beautiful and profound, but don't feel condescending or like I'm being lectured at, and above all else they're entertaining. So even though it's really long, that spoken-word poem, "B", is the quote for today's Quote Sunday. And the whole video is posted down below. It's worth watching, have you the time and interest. Spoken word poetry is better heard than read, after all.


“If I should have a daughter, instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.”

She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick; I've done it a million times. You’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.”

But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this. “There’ll be days like this my mama said.” When you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment. And those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away.

You will put the “wind” in win some lose some. You will put the “star” in starting over and over. And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive, but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

“Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.

"Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong, but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.

"Your voice is small, but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.”


 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Book Journal

Last spring break, when I was in San Francisco with Kat, I picked up a Moleskine Book Journal. I'd heard of some people keeping lists of the books they read, and I figured I might as well start it.
Now, a year later, my book journal has become one of my very favorite things in the world. There's room to record lots of info, but I just put title, author, month (or sometimes day) read, quotes and opinion. So the page looks like this:


And I love it. I love having a tangible record of the books I've read and remembering the beauty I found inside. I also love being able to have a record of all the books I've read; it's a kind of way to measure progress. Not that reading books is progress, but I like being able to look back and see all the books I've read. In the past 18 months, I've read 49 books. I love that I have a record of reading each and every one of those books. 
So that's my two-cents of the day. Book Journals = totally worth 20 bucks and 3 minutes to fill it out once a book's been finished.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Going Places

I am going places this summer. Specifically,

Here. for the third time.

And here

And here

And here

And even here.
I may have to pull out my seventh grade copy of Romeo and Juliet.

And I get to see this again. Breathtaking.

And maybe, I will be going

Here
And here

to see

this so that I can die happy.

Also, Kat and I are going to find a way to go here.


And, after all that, I get to go here. Which is the best part of the whole business.

Yes sir, I am going places this summer. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day

Since it started out as a socialist holiday, the US does not officially recognize International Women's Day. Not to worry though, because really important countries like Tajikistan and Azerbaijan celebrate it in our place.
I don't have much to say, that the lovely human beings over at Miss Representation can't say better. So, here's their graphic for today. (Zoom in if you can't see it).


And here's the video that goes along with it:





PS. I really am writing, I'm just writing essays instead of blog posts. I'm coming out of a I don't have the emotional energy to write anything important funk and I've got a few essays I'm working on that I really like. So stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A list of things pertaining to college

1) Please don't get tired of my college-centered blogging. It's a big part of my life right now. Please don't hold it against me that almost everything I have to say somehow relates to me going to college. And let's be honest. It will only increase in coming months.

2) I'm seriously thinking about taking a gap year. But I'm worried that I'm considering this because college is starting to seem like the concrete next part of my life and that scares me. But I know that it's also something I'm considering because a gap year could be a really good grounding experience. I've found a program that does community service in six different countries throughout a whole year. So that's something I'm thinking about.

3) Pennsylvania legislature is looking at the Women's Right to Know Act which the NYT describes as "a law with some of the country’s strongest provisions. It would require vaginal probes in many cases, display of the scanning screen to the patient and a printout of the image for inclusion in the patient’s medical records. It would also impose a 24-hour waiting period between ultrasound and abortion that critics say would be a burden for some women."
This feels strangely more personal than the Virginia bill and upsets me more. Because it feels like now it's my right to an abortion that's being threatened.
(I feel like I should clarify that I do not foresee an abortion in my future. I just want the right to have one without emotional blackmail.)

4) When I cleaned my room the other day, I realized that I've become a book-piler. I know lots of people that talk about the piles of books around their houses. I snobbishly thought of my book shelves. I am now a book-piler.
This pertains to college because I'm enormously stressed about living in dorms. This is my incredibly high-maintenance side coming out, but I don't want to live in a dorm. I want my own big bathroom and my own room and my own queen-sized bed and my two closets. The thought of moving into a dorm gives me huge anxiety. I just don't know how I will be able to do it. I honestly think that will be the hardest adjustment for me to make. I've never in my life shared a room. Or bathroom. Or had smaller than a queen-sized bed. And now I'm a book-piler. Dorms will be the death of me.

5) The good news is that when I cleaned my room, I also found two pamphlets the other day when I cleaned my room that Swarthmore sent me September-ish. I brought them to Hawaii with me and read them yesterday. As it turns out, they're actually two essays written by two professors printed up all nicely as an admissions pull. The first one was called "The Usefulness of Uselessness" and the second one, which I absolutely loved, was called "Write For Your Life!" Here's a favorite part:
"Even in apparently placid lives - and few lives, actually, are precisely placid - writing can help us define and refine our emotions, can help us clarify and strengthen our thoughts, can help us make sense - or, even better, nonsense - out of unfairness. So writing for your life, for most of us, most of the time, is a lot like working out at the gym: the more you do it, and the more regularly, the more skillful, powerful, complex, and elegant your writing will be."
After reading through these essays I remembered that I totally picked the right college and that dorms will be okay after all.

6) Lorin thinks it's funny to joke about not paying for college. I do not think this is a funny joke. Yesterday I told him my backup plan, and I do not think he will be making not-paying-for-college jokes any more. The backup plan: get married as soon as I turn 18, therefore becoming legally financially independent, then apply for financial aid, and get a full scholarship because Swarthmore meets 100% of demonstrated need.

7) I think I say this at least once a week. I'm sorry if that makes me a pretentious hipster dog.