Thursday, December 30, 2010

One of the highlights of the holidays...


...is finding about awesome in-laws that you haven't met yet. Like Uncle Mike. My mother-in-law's brother, who has a degree in English from Oxford University, but who also does the odd gig as a magician. He also does a daily work-out with nunchucks. And he could read his mom's mind at a young age, apparently.

I married into a really awesome family.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Three Poems for Christmas

Here are a few poems for the Christmas season. I don't wax spiritual very often on this blog, but I do have a testimony of the Savior. I am so grateful for His birth, His life, His sacrifice, and His resurrection. Wherever you are, know that God knows and loves you as an individual.

"Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth." (Mosiah 4:9)


"The Holy Innocents"
by Robert Lowell

Listen, the hay-bells tinkle as the cart
Wavers on rubber tires along the tar
And cindered ice below the burlap mill
And ale-wife run. The oxen drool and start
In wonder at the fenders of a car,
And blunder hugely up St. Peter’s hill.
These are the undefiled by woman—their
Sorrow is not the sorrow of this world:
King Herod shrieking vengeance at the curled
Up knees of Jesus choking in the air,
A king of speechless clods and infants. Still
The world out-Herods Herod; and the year,
The nineteen-hundred forty-fifth of grace,
Lumbers with losses up the clinkered hill
Of our purgation; and the oxen near
The worn foundations of their resting-place,
The holy manger where their bed is corn
And holly torn for Christmas. If they die,
As Jesus, in the harness, who will mourn?
Lamb of the shepherds, Child how still you lie.


"The Journey of the Magi"
by T.S. Eliot

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.


"Christmas Oratorio" (from "For the Time Being")
by W.H. Auden

Well, so that is that.
Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes -
Some have got broken – and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week -
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted – quite unsuccessfully -
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid’s geometry
And Newton’s mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this. To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened. Now, recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering. So, once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever after to pray to the Father;
“Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake.”
They will come, all right, don’t worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine. In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God’s Will will be done,
That, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mexico so far

Three things I've seen:
- a lunar eclipse (even though that was in space, not just in Mexico)
- the COOLEST house my family has EVER lived in
- a two-story Walmart

Three things I've been paranoid about (even though I try hard not to be high maintenance, I'm also a little neurotic):
- scorpions
- food poisoning
- running out of hot water

Three things I've done:
- decorated like, five dozen sugar cookies
- ordered a meal at a restaurant in Spanish (kind of...Mel had to help)
- listened to my husband play the guitar (even though I do that a lot anyway)

Three things I've loved:
- the big porch(es) to view the majestic Mexican scenery from
- seeing family pictures up all over the house
- the fact that my family's current car starts by pressing a button, instead of turning a key

Friday, December 17, 2010

Relative identity


Sometimes, I get online, and I read through really popular blogs, just to remind myself of who I'm NOT.

And then I realize how judgmental I'm being, and I go do something else to remind myself of what I actually care about...what's actually important. Like my husband. Like warm food. Like helping friends pack and move. Like the frickin' rainforest, or something.

As a blogger myself, the irony of this is not lost on me. But for me and my house, sometimes we have to remind ourselves (I'm using the "royal we" now, just so we're all on the same page) that we have better things to do than read blogs we don't care about to give ourselves a false sense of superiority.

(And just to clarify...that last little dig isn't directed at anyone in particular except for myself. Readers, if you care about what you're reading, please keep reading. I just find myself wasting a lot of time reading things I don't care about online. I needed a good talking to.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I have.

(This post is a little more emotional than usual. But it's my blog. I'll cry if I want to.)

Have you ever become a part of something just as it's ending? (I'm not talking about JB's restaurant.) Something wonderful? Something that might have intimidated or scared you, and just when you finally get the guts to ask to be a part of it, it's over?

Friends don't come easily to me. For the majority of the time, I'm awkward for about two years before I'm actually friends with someone. Girls terrify me, and now that I'm married, I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to be friends with boys. My closest friends now (with the exception of my husband) are people I've known and been close to for a minimum of three years.

So when friends leave, it's pretty damn lame. I'm grateful Jacob is one of my bff's. Because he HAS to stick around.

The thing is, all week I've been telling people "Oh, yeah, this is the easiest finals week of my life! I love it! No final tests or projects, no white glove clean checks, I don't have to pack or move...it's fantastic!" But then, last night I got to spend an evening hanging out with Carrie and Darcy and Brandilyn, and I realized, I mean REALLY realized, that Darc and Carrie are leaving. This weekend. ForEVER. Carrie, who has been my friend since Acting I in Fall of 2004, and Darcy, who I've longed to get to know for YEARS, and just been too shy.

I'm not always good at showing it, but I really love and care about you girls. Thank you for your friendship. Darcy, enjoy being home and on a new adventure. Carrie, you will find your place. You always do. Brandilyn, you and I have got to stick together. We gotta get through this.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Remember this?

*

Oh hi.

Remember when I used to post poems on here all the days? I wanna do that more. So here are two poems. I'm took a poetry class this semester and my writing has taken a step up, I hope. Here are two compositions based on exercises we did in class.

A Father and Ballerina in a Grocery Store

“She’s beautiful,” she says.
Her arms are long and slender,
and in the tilt of her head,
there is something of the swan.
He cannot take his eyes
away from her neck.
He addresses it shyly.
“She’s new.”
Foolish words, he thinks.
All babies are new.
It’s what defines a baby.
But the woman laughs,
and reaches past him
for a tomato,
and the hairs on his arms do
pirouettes.
His daughter’s eyelashes
brush her own cheeks
four times briefly
before she sighs
and turns her head to the side.
They both watch her.

The woman takes
the tiny hand.
“She has a dancer’s fingers.”

“So do you,” he replies.
Foolish, he thinks.
But she smiles at him
and then at the baby.

And for a moment,
he is the prince
and she is the swan
and they are smiling
at their own perfect daughter.

Emilia whimpers
and he remembers his wife.
At home, un-showered,
waiting in sweat pants
for him to return with tomatoes.


I Would Have Married Him Twice

His face seemed four feet tall.
Squinting one eye
(to indicate his emotion),
he curled his lip and growled
“Sus ojos!”

His compadre squinted one eye and drawled
“The Grasshopper, amigo? Is that all we have?”

“Si. That character stuff
was just kind of
my inference on it.”

There was a sign
on the truck out back.
“Do not crawl
under raised body.
It may drop and
kill you.”

“You are the chemical suppression, tio.
YOU are The Grasshopper, amigo.”

“Si. I am the echoes
in the empty lecture hall, compadre.”

One wife turned to the other
and sighed.
“Mi esposo is an absurdist.
Had I known before the wedding…”

* I've never actually slammed. In the poetry sense of the word. I'm intimidated by it, but I wanna try sometime.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Poets, artists, and geniuses


Look at this awesome picture of Jacob's grandpa! He's a sculptor by trade, and a very talented one he is, too. Look at that beautiful sculpture. I'm such a fan of beautiful art.

Check out Ed Fraughton's other work here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Let's run away and find the treasure, just the two of us...


Travel Zoo = bad news for a poor college student who gets itchy feet about once a month.

I'm not even that stressed out anymore. The semester's almost over, I don't have any finals, most of my homework's done, and we'll be on our way to visit family in Arizona/Mexico in two weeks. But still. London in 6 days for $599 per person? That's extremely distracting.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Once upon a deviated septum...


I got sick on Sunday. Then I got better on Thursday. Then I got sick again on Friday. But with the same cold/flu that I had on Sunday.

Dear semester, please end so that I can stay in bed and just GET BETTER.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Why I write/blog/compose poetry/journal

"You better do it now because you know how to write, and you have fingers, and you have this one life, and during this one life, you should put your words down, and make your voice heard, and then let others hear your voice. And the only way any of that's going to happen is if you actually do it. People can't read the thoughts in your head. They can only read the thoughts you put down, carefully and with great love, on the page. So you have to do it, dammit. You have to do it, and you can step back and be happy."  

--Dave Eggers, pep talk e-mail for NaNoWriMo

WORDS = POWER.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

"The Occasional Moth"*

* I don't remember the exact context of this quote, but it was decided that "The Occasional Moth" would be a great title for a story. I'll start with a blog entry. 

We made it to California! After many prayers and crossed fingers and worried checking of internet weather/road reports, we ended up on the shuttle to the Salt Lake Airport, where we flew out to the sunny shores of the San Francisco Bay Area without incident. And since we all know it wasn't REALLY awesome unless you blog about it (I hate that)**, here's the blog. So with pictures, captions, and quotes, here's our Thanksgiving Break!

There were many memorable moments, but here are the highlights:

Beckah, Jacob and I spent Friday taking San Francisco by storm! There we:

Looked at tall buildings, saw a segway tour brigade, rode a carousel in Golden Gate Park...
(I love that picture of Jacob in the bottom right corner. He's so cute.)

...visited with fishes in the Rainforest Cafe, rode a ferry, saw weird things on the sidewalk, saw a charming baker that reminded us of Jacob's dad...

...and visited the Haight-Ashbury (of course), where Jacob blissfully spent $60 and an hour in Amoeba Music (which I have been looking forward to introducing him to since I met him).

But of course, we most enjoyed spending time with family.

We also saw Harry Potter:

And Jacob escaped from Alcatraz (sort of):

And many witty things were said. Exhibit A:

"Nothing fights anti-Semitism like nudity." --Me, last year (I don't remember this, but was reminded of it over dinner)

"You'll be pleased to know that I often mistake the picture of you in your room for a drumstick." -- Ernest

"Hiccups are like gnomes. They're surprising, and annoying, and there are always more of them than you want there to be." --Jenny Mae

"Every time I see the Land o' Lakes lady, it reminds me of a party I went to when always having an exacto-knife in my pocket finally paid off." --Ernest

"Only short people can be Muslim." --Me (I wasn't being closed-minded...this facetious statement came from a discussion of Burka sizes.)

Ernest: I'm a vegetarian.
Lenna: What? Since when?
Ernest: Since 1976.

In conclusion, here are the creative results of a story-writing game we played with my step-dad's side of the family after Thanksgiving dinner. Each person writes a sentence or two, then folds the paper so that the next person can only read the last line and continue the story.

STORY #1: A Tale of Coffee
Once upon a time, a large multi-colored blacksmith found himself surrounded by hostile poultry! “My only hope of survival,” he mused, “is to befuddle them with my intelligence or dazzle them with my footwork.” Intelligence won’t work—need to check the temperature in the carrot soufflĂ©. It was perfect. Now there was nothing left but the coffee. Perhaps a special guacamole cappuccino would do the trick. So, very carefully and with utmost care, they packed the concoction into the baby’s diaper, and cried “I shall give $5000 to the first person who kisses me!” Everyone gasped, then stood in silence for two solid minutes. Finally, one lone voice pealed out wildly with a horrible shrieking scream of delight. The crowd glanced around amongst themselves, asking one another if the scream came from among them. One person jumped right out of their knit pink sweater, and then gasped at the puddle of salmon-colored wool. The one who screamed was completely non-plussed. Then, the yarn shifted diagonally and the afghan pattern no longer contained the secret pattern that would save the world. Therefore, when the fires were bright and the waters were rising, they gathered at the cliff’s edge and gazed out towards the horizon. Just when the ferrets launched their orchestrated invasion of doom and disaster, the protagonist turned around to enjoy pie and coffee with the queen.

STORY #2: An Explanation
She aimed the shotgun, pulled the trigger, and hit him in the chest. He deserved it, but she knew she was in trouble. Should she tell him the truth? Should she PAY the library fines? Should she use her trust fund to bankroll sufficient plastic surgery to render her unrecognizable? Only she made a terrible mistake. She went to the wrong address and who should she find but the ghost of her late father. He spoke with quiet authority and unexpected levity to the area filled with color-blind dwarves. But they were remarkably resourceful and able to outwit the gladiators with strategically placed incendiary devices. Just when the lions and penguins were about to be released, their panic mounting at the end of their rope, pants on fire, resulting in even worse wedgies than they would have had under circumstances less tense and fiery. The over-spicy curry was not helping anyone at all. They were all distressed over the excess of spices that covered the dining room table, deciding to sweep it onto the turkey and hope that nobody noticed. Governer Spinelli, however, did notice, and sneezed directly onto the kneecaps of the police officer standing nearby. “That’s it!” said he. “You are under arrest for besmirching the kneecaps of an honorable civil servant, who has just admitted to puncturing your fire trucks’ tires!” Outraged by this cowardly act, he grabbed the civil servant by his lime green cravat and threw him down the stairs. He was glad he was wearing his inflatable Sumo-wrestler suit, for it prevented many bumps and bruises. And that was how tapioca was invented.



** For the record, that's not why I'm blogging about our Thanksgiving Break. I'm blogging about our Thanksgiving Break because there are friends and family members who will want to hear about it, so rather than sending out two dozen e-mails and telling stories over and over again, I write. Because I like writing. And I blog to help me become a better writer. (I also really like Piknik.com and wanted another excuse to utilize it.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Update

We made it to California!

Details and pictures of our adventures to follow. In the meantime, I'm going to eat more chocolate and hang out with my family.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Prayer

Rexburg has blessed its inhabitants with a nice Indian summer this year. Until now. Now it's making up for its delay by snowing with a vengeance. A foot of new snow and winds up to 20 mph. Since we have a warm home and enough to eat and no school, this would be fun, except for the fact that travel is made difficult.

We're supposed to take a shuttle down to Utah at 5 am tomorrow morning. The roads are closed from Montana to Pocatello. We're supposed to fly out of the SLC airport to visit California for Thanksgiving. There's a blizzard warning for Utah tonight/tomorrow.

I've already cried twice about this.

So UNIVERSE! I'M BEGGING YOU ON MY KNEES!!!

Please bless that this:
(current weather cam of Rexburg)

doesn't stop us from reaching this

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tales from Room 104, or "Primary Mayhem, Part II"


Oh how being a Primary teacher changes your Sundays! Before I share these stories, here's a refresher on our little class, since we've been getting to know them better, and new additions have made themselves known. Our usual class consists of:

Brown Eyes - Continues to be a doll, even though when she sits near Kid B, she tends to get a little crazy.
QT Pie - I adore this girl...she's so animated! 
Miss K - Also fun, continues to be goofy and darling.
Queen Anne - Gets really excited when she sees Jacob or I outside of class, which is fun.
Tooey - Always has the most darling dresses. I was surprised to discover she's one of the youngest in our class...she speaks with the most articulation!
Lex Mex - We hadn't met her yet when I first introduced the class, but she's been a delight. She adores Jacob (we think in a non-romantic way), and we can't figure out what he did to deserve her adoration, but it's fun. (Today she offered to come over and do our dishes.)
Kid B - We continue to have a love-hate relationship with this adorable terror...he's almost always bouncing off the walls, but he's so fun/imaginative/animated/giving, we can't help but love him.
J Town - Lately, the only other boy in class. I have a suspicion he'd be better-behaved if he wasn't so chummy with Kid B. Jacob noted today that he's a different child entirely when not around the other kids.
D Dog - Somehow this kid strikes me as very British. I like it.
Ace - I'm learning how to understand his little dialect better...he's always well-behaved, which is a blessing.

Here are a few anecdotes from the last few weeks of Primary:

When Brown Eyes is having a hard day, everything is going wrong. The other day she came back from the bathroom, went to sit down, then came to me and said, "I need a new chair, because someone slobbered on mine." (I inspected it, and declared it slobber-free, but she refused to sit there and got a new chair for herself.)

I also really like how matter-of-fact Brown Eyes is about everything. Her parents sat in on Sharing Time the other week because one of her brothers was giving a talk. She turned to me and said "My dad is back there, holding my other brother Nathan." (leaning in to offer clarification) "He's a baby."

When I asked everyone what they were going to be for Halloween, I got a variety of answers, but Kid B's report that he was going to be a grasshopper made me smile the most. (His eyebrows were still green the Sunday after Halloween.)

We usually spend at least 10 minutes of our class time coloring, and Jacob has become the official "Keeper of the Crayons." It's his job to sit and hold the Tupperware container of crayons and monitor their comings and goings as kids choose colors. J Town came up to Jacob to return his crayons, but instead of placing them in the container, he put them on Jacob's crotch. Giggling insanely, he dashed back over to Kid B and whispered "I put them on his wiener!" Jacob and I almost died trying to conceal our laughter, although the game of putting crayons on Jacob's "wiener" grew old about the second time it happened and we put a stop to it.

Kid B has a very vivid imagination. (In the Primary Handbook for CTR A, it says of five-year-olds, "They have not yet learned to distinguish between imagination and reality." This was a helpful reminder...I've worried a little bit about this kid.) We haven't seen Ace for a while, so I asked if anyone knew if he was out of town. Kid B replied "I know he's out of town." "Where is he?" I asked.  "He's in the fowest, hunting wabbits." (Bugs Bunny reference not intended...that's just really how Kid B talks.)

Kid B has also decided that the boy's bathroom is haunted, and has convinced J Town as well. They spent an entire Sharing Time once (despite our scattered attempts at discipline) whispering about how it was scary. Kid B solemnly declared "I'm nevew going back dewe. Nevew. Nevew." He also reminds me weekly about the vampire living at his house.

For some reason the other week, the kids all decided they wanted to sit really close to the front. As in, pull their chairs into a big chaotic mass of chairs and kids surrounding Jacob and I. The following discussion ensued:
Me: "Boy, it's getting crowded!"
Lex Mex: "Yeah! We're in a hot tub!"
Me: (laughing) "But we're not wearing the right clothes for a hot tub!"
Miss K: "Yeah, 'cause you don't wear clothes in a hot tub." (What? Uh oh..) "You wear your bathing suit." (Whew...)

Here's a funny story about Lex Mex. In Sharing Time a while ago, the Primary President was picking volunteers for the activity. Lex raised her hand, but didn't get picked on. Disappointed, she hung her head and said "I never get picked." Jacob replied "You never know. You just might get picked next time." Well, more volunteers were needed, and this time, as soon as Lex raised her hand, she was picked! Jacob smiled and said "See?" Lex happily volunteered then sat back down. A few minutes later, there was another call for volunteers. Lex again hung her head and said "They never pick me." Jacob replied "Remember what happened last time you said that? Raise your hand anyway!" So Lexi raised her hand, and...she was picked! We couldn't believe it! After Lex finished volunteering, she sat back down and said "I never get picked........I'm just going to keep saying that." (Stimulus - Response - Stimulus - Response...) What an observant kid!

I overheard the following conversation between Brown Eyes and Kid B last week--
Kid B: Yeah, you can come to my house and pway (play) sometime.
Brown Eyes: But I don't know where you live.
Kid B: My house is a white house. Just dwive, and when you get to the white house, tell youw mom to stop.
(Astute directions, indeed.)

We really love those kids. (Especially now that we've implemented more specific rules and things aren't quite so chaotic.) What a fun first calling as a newly married couple!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Heart prose


Jacob is a writer. (You know, Jacob. The short one, who plays the guitar really well. The one everyone likes.) From the first moment I stumbled upon his blog, his words wrapped themselves around my heart, and I was a hopeless case. Beautiful words enslave me. He writes things like this:

"Somehow Sara’s brown is more valuable to me than the choir-woman’s gold. But in either case I am hopeless. The separations are wide. They both dwell now in the core of the earth, and I am alone with one shovel starting on top of Everest in the stratosphere, breaking every couple of minutes short of breath and suffering in the cold. Time now to find someone else’s hair to die for."

And today, I found this gem on his NEW blog, which I had never before read:

"Today, Ted, the dog that lives with us, noses past my door and looks up at me on my bed. His ears look lank and stringy, hang down far past his head, moptop. He’s older than some of my books, but even though his cataracts are visible down in his eyes, the thing that grips you like death is the blackness of those eyes. They could bury you alive. He jumps up onto the bed and steps up to my face, and we look at one another, eye-level. 'I’m here,' he’s saying. 'What are you going to do about it?' He thinks we humans were placed on earth to scratch him behind the ears. Not much complaint is put up if we don’t, but you can sense his smug, righteous disappointment. 'You simply don’t understand. Infant.' I sometimes yell back in his face something about basic human freedoms being, like, way different and more important than basic dog freedoms, and his ruffled brow tells me how much of a dent I’m making."

My soul is eternally dented, Mr. Chapman, in the most delightful of ways. Marry me. Let's make a new universe and fill it with words and words and words. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do I dare disturb the universe?

And how should I presume?


I decided today that while I do not want to live my life in the public eye, I think I'd be happy being a well-known (or at least a heard of) poet. Maybe "Poetry" IS a little presumptuous...perhaps some smaller journals somewhere else first. Time to stop being afraid of rejection slips, I think.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why I'm counting down the days 'till Thanksgiving Break...

Because this is how my week looks:

And you can't even SEE the first half of every day, which is filled with classes, temple sessions, and optometrist appointments.

NEXT week looks like this:

Sunday - Church from 1 to 4
Monday - Homework
Tuesday - Talley's Folly rehearsal, drive to Utah
Wednesday - Fly to California
Thursday - Thanksgiving with family
Friday - Hang out in San Francisco
Saturday - Hang out with family

Fortunately, more than half of the things to be done this week are really fun things that I enjoy doing, like baby-sitting Jack Pingel, rehearsing Talley's Folly, and singing at the Ward Thanksgiving party. In this "season of gratitude," I'm glad that my days are filled with things I love. Even if there are A LOT of them.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On finishing up

NOTE: We're back to the basics of blog design. I've decided to stop giving in to pressure from the blog world about having the most aesthetically pleasing blog ever. I'm thrilled with others' sense of style, but for me and my house, I'm just gonna write. It's why I started the damn thing anyway.

I guess this was a party. There was music. There was dancing. There were games and prizes. (Although, since this night, I've been to Jack Pingel's first birthday party, and a Scentsy party. But there are no pictures of that.)

I've never actually been drunk. It's not something I'm interested in, either. But one time, we watched "Clueless" and had shotglasses of Diet Coke, and anytime someone said "Whatever" in the movie, we would take a shot. This is what happens when Mormons get hopped up on Diet Coke.

Everyone should be a theatre education major.

I think the last "school trip" I went on was to Great America my sophomore year of high school (where we got rained out and were sent to the nearest IMAX theatre to watch "No Strings Attached" in concert as compensation). So this isn't a "school trip" picture. But it's a "work trip" picture, and I posted it, because it was a trip I went on with people I know from work AND school. One time, the Playmill cast went on a Caribbean cruise. This is a photo from it.

I like to act. This is me as Mrs. Webb in "Our Town" at BYU-Idaho, winter of 2005.

This is me. I'm standing up in this picture.

This is Rexburg. Home sweet home since Fall of 2004. There are too many Republicans and not enough trees, but this place grows on you.

This is Brandilyn. Once upon a time, she was a baby. Here's proof.

I've spent the last two years repeatedly trying to get my hair to do this again.

This is a dark and grainy picture, but this is the night the power went out at the Playmill in 2007. We sang and did improv for an hour before sending everyone home. And it was really really fun.

This is a picture from the previously mentioned "Celestial Weekend," winter of 2009. There was a lot of love and joy this weekend.

I got married last summer. And it was magnificent.

I guess this is now what I ate yesterday. But it was a splurge at the grocery store that I have not regretted one bit.

This is my husband of four months. I married him because I couldn't stop staring at his forearms, or his eyes, or his smile, and I decided it would be much less awkward for me to continue doing so if he was my spouse.

This picture could have been any number of things. But I chose this one because A) y'all hear about my husband all the time, and B) I love these people, and I loved this summer, and I love nature. This is me, Carrie, and Meredith, summer of 2006, during my first Playmill summer. Carrie came up to visit Meredith and I and a few other friends, and we took her to the "Secret Spot," a little gravel island in the middle of a river, off a logging road near Lake Hebgen. We spent one glorious afternoon sitting in the sun, reading our scriptures, writing in our journals, and enjoying God's beautiful creations and one another's company. I'm so grateful for wonderful friends, and to be living so near so many incredible natural wonders.


30-day photo challenge = COMPLETE.

And because it's November

I'm in two one-acts. There's a week until Thanksgiving Break. Then only three more weeks of the semester. I'm trying to finish editing a 123-page book for printing. There are washers/dryers to move and repair, lines to memorize, Comic Frenzy posters to design, New Testaments to read, and husbands to love.

Moral of the story? I'm sick of the 30-day photo challenge. I'm finishing it in one fell swoop tomorrow.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Halfway mark

day 15. a photo of you and someone you love


This is Beckah. We're sisters. And I love her.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Family...isn't it about time?

day 14. a photo of one of your favourite family members

Are you KIDDING me? I have to pick ONE favourite family member?!

I couldn't do it with my immediate family, so I had to broaden my horizons a little.


This is my cousin Aimery. He has a beard and a great sense of humor, he speaks French, and he has been one of my favorite cousins since I was like 2. And he still is. (And I promise he's not an inmate or a terrorist or a refugee. Even though in this picture, he kind of looks like all of those things.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A friend is someone who sees right through you...

...and still enjoys the view.

Today is day 13. a photo of your best friend(s)

And again, I'm a big fan of that (s) up there. I have been blessed with so many wonderful friends throughout my life. A handful of friends from high school have helped make me who I am today. (Brette Marie, Amanda, and Kristen, in particular.) But since arriving at college, through serendipitous/divine means, I have had the opportunity to be friends with some pretty incredible people. Like these ones:


I've known most of these people for quite a few years now. We've been through all kinds of adventures...impromptu roadtrips, broken engagements, weddings, moving, graduating, flunking out, mission calls, and homecomings. I love these people.

The 5-2's: Beckah, Nellie, and Jenny Mae, who all lived in the Hawmps starting in 2006, and one of whom I've known since she was 2 days old, and loved her since she was 3 days old. Saraphim, one of the most caring people I've ever met, who took me under her wing. Annie and Allison, with whom I have shared countless nights of laughter and confiding. Kathleen and Jesse, a dear former roommate and the big brother I never had growing up (even though he did watch me grow up). Meredith, who I was intimidated by for a solid two years, and Jordan, with whom I have shared countless long drives and long talks. Carrie, who I've known since Acting I in 2004, and her husband Scott, who are together the greatest friends and neighbors a newly married couple could ask for. And of course, my newest but definitely one of the dearest best friends, my husband Jacob.

We have all gone separate ways, some for a time, only to return, and others on longer journeys. We're more spread out now...from England to Oregon to New York to California. There was one weekend a year or two ago, when everyone ended up in Rexburg for a weekend visit, and as we sat around and talked after Church, quietly conversing and simply enjoying one another's company, Sarah Jagger turned to me and said "This is what I imagine the Celestial kingdom is like...surrounded by people you love, who love you back. And if it's not like this, I don't want to go there."

Amen, Sister Jagger. Amen.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Babies, films, selves

day 10. a photo of you as a baby

I think I look particularly German in this picture. Which makes sense, since I'm pretty German.

day 11. a photo of your favourite film(s)
(That little "s" in parentheses up there made me so happy...asking me to choose just one is torture. And I know I said I'm only posting one picture per category on matter of principle, but this category gave me permission to post multiple ones, so I did.)

From left to right, top to bottom (but not in order of preference...):
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Bandits
Lost in Translation
Wonderboys
Wonderman
Moonstruck
Cabaret
Dan in Real Life
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
The Birdcage (if I absolutely HAD to pick just one, this one would probably be it...)
Little Miss Sunshine
East of Eden

day 12. a photo of you

 BA HA HA!

Just kidding! I just found this picture while I was looking for a shot of Moonstruck, and it was too hilarious not to post. Here's a REAL picture of me. (Even though that's what MOST of these pictures in this silly challenge are.)

I like to think that I've spent most of college being college-student-esque enough to do crazy things, but not so crazy that the results are more permanent than memories and photographic evidence. (Did that make sense? Like, I don't have a criminal record or anything from things I've done in college, just pictures of me on a fridge with lipstick and Elton John sunglasses and a comb and fireman pants...)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Shopping at the wrong time of the month


Know what I hate? Almost more than anything else in the world?

Crowded stores.

I hate 'em. I hate them more than slushy sidewalks or soggy cereal or waking up right before your alarm goes off.

I probably hate them so much because I have to deal with them on a more regular basis than any of the other above-mentioned things. People in small towns don't seem to understand walking traffic patterns, and no one is aware of their personal space, and everyone talks SO LOUD, about who's roommate said what and is she really mad or is her hair even real and blah blah blah, and even if all I need is a gallon of organic milk and a snow scraper, I am forced to navigate through all of the inherent cruelties of capitalism (not that capitalism is inherently cruel by nature, but there are aspects of it that are cruel and inherent) and crowds of obnoxious people who stop in doorways and walkways and JUST STAND THERE. I end up despising my peers and correcting their grammar in my head, and hating consumerism with all kinds of force.

I have never been to a store on Black Friday. Wanna know why? Because I just learned last year that it's called "Black Friday" because stores are financially "in the black" and can afford to sell everything at low prices. I always thought it was called "Black Friday" because it's such a nightmare. As in, "It's a black day at Walmart." And I still think my definition is more accurate. Why would you go shopping on a day the name of which reminds me of the plague?

Anyway. I got my gallon of milk and snow scraper. I'll catch up on the 30-day Photo Challenge tomorrow (day 10. a photo of you as a baby, day 11. a photo of your favourite film(s), day 12. a photo of you). Tonight, I'm going to stay in my hovel, away from humanity and retail, and eat brownies while I try to catch up on New Testament homework.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Whittakers are coming, dontcha know it!

day 9. a photo of your family

First of all, I feel that I have many "families."
- extended family
- in-laws
- close friends
- theatre comrades
- etc

But for this photo, I decided to post a picture of my "roots," so to speak. (At least, some of them.) These are the Whittakers.


There are a lot of favorite things about this picture, but I still can't get over how Beckah seems to be "awkward-handing" the ENTIRE photo. This was taken about 3 years ago. I also think it's a good example of how no-one in my family seems to look alike. Granted, we're not all biologically related. But biological relation is still kind of arbitrary to who looks like who. Just for fun, take a moment and try to guess who's blood-related to who. (Although, I guess most of you readers already know. But this will be fun for those who don't, I guess.)
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Think you got it?

The red-haired woman in the back is my step-mom. Her two biological daughters are Isha, the brunette with curly-ish hair on the far left, and Melissa, the red-head on the far right who's threatening to shoot me. The man is my biological father. The brunette in the middle (whose arms are taking over the picture) is his other daughter, my sister.

As we've gotten older, Beckah and I have grown to look more alike, but our coloring is so different, that a lot of people don't seem to notice. I look a TON like my mom, and Beckah takes after Dad a little bit more. Isha and Mel are kind of the same way...they don't look a ton alike. Melissa looks more like Mary (my step-mom), and Isha looks more like her dad. 

Anyway, that's just one of my "families." But I love 'em. =)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Oh I'm Still Alive

day 8. a photo of your favourite band/musician

There are a lot of favourite musicians of whom I could have posted a picture. But I decided to post this one because I love them a lot lately. And always. And it's a great picture.

Wonderful Pearl Jam. Aren't they awesome?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rahul

day 7. a photo of someone you love

Of course, the first person I thought of was my husband. But you guys hear about that ALL the time, and PLUS there are other photos coming later that he'll be in.

(Also, this project is super difficult for me...I always think of like, eight photos to post. On matter of principle, I'm refusing to post more than one picture per category.)

SO, I decided to post a picture of someone I love, but have never met. "Love" in this context means admire, appreciate, respect...no romantic business here.


This guy is one of Bollywood's biggest stars. And he's pretty awesome. Go look him up. He's cheesy and intelligent. And he built up a six-pack for "Om Shanti Om." At age like, 42.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Awkwardness is the uniting human experience

day 6. a photo that makes you laugh

I love this picture so much. Because it's two of my favorite people, in what is famously one of the awkwardest photos in the history of BYU-Idaho. This was 80's day at "Crazy For You" rehearsal. That explains the outfits. But we still don't know why Jenny is grabbing Beckah's uterus.