Thursday, September 30, 2010

Heartfelt

I'm supposed to share a poem for my poetry class. With someone...anyone. So I decided to share it with the whole WORLD! Or at least the blogosphere. I wrote this last week, and it has some similarities to another poem I wrote a few years ago about a heart, but which I haven't posted here, so a mention of the parallel is irrelevant here. The point is I like this poem's personality too, and its message, which is completely different from that other poem I wrote that's similar in structure but not in meaning. So here it is. 

(I feel like the ending is a little anti-climax/oversentimental...meh. That whole last stanza needs polishing. I'll keep working on it.)

 
The Heart

I am filled with light
and blood.
I am tireless.
Ceaseless.
Unrelenting.
With each contraction
I fill you with life
and take into myself
the dregs of blood,
wearied from their
58-second journey.
I wait for the day
when I shudder
and tighten.
When, rigid,
I let the blood trickle in
and rest.

There are names written into my walls,
carved on my stony altars.
The graffiti of one born straddling a grave.
Here is “God” and there is “strawberries”
and here is “Jacob.”
“Jason Willmore holding his little sister.”
“Playmill” and “Kirby Sentria Home Care System.”
“Baby Molly.”

I am aged with the etching
of words.
I began my life before you did
and in the end,
the words written on my fleshy tables
define you more
than my steady rhythmic thump.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Celebrating fREADom of speech

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." -- First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America

September 26th - October 2nd is National Banned Books Week! Organized by the American Library Association, Banned Books Week celebrates citizens' right to read and to be free of censorship. While I believe that there are books that individuals may find harmful or offensive, I believe that every individual should retain their right to read. Especially within the sphere of literature and art, I believe that no one's rights should be infringed upon...if I am offended by something, I hold dear my right to abstain. And if I am seeking after knowledge, I hold dear my right not to have it withheld.

So to celebrate, I'll be reading one of the top 100 most banned books! There's a more extensive list here, but since the week is half over, here are a few suggestions of books that are a little shorter or not as challenging.*

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
The Lord of the Flies, William Golding
1984, George Orwell
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
Charlotte's Web, E.B. White
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Animal Farm, George Orwell
Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne
Their Eyes were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Frank L. Baum
My Antonia, Willa Cather
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
Franny and Zooey, JD Salinger
Passage to India, EM Forster
Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
This Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald

* "challenging" -- pun intended

Friday, September 24, 2010

Like sand in an hourglass


I would like to start today over. Can that be arranged, please?

And this time, can the following please happen:
- My husband gets a grade on his paper that he deserves and that reflects his work and argument and critical thinking and textual support
- My husband's lit class review of recent papers is a positive experience
- I don't overhear people (who don't know I'm within earshot) talking about how I'm not funny on Comic Frenzy
- Carrie feels healthy and well
- Beckah's housing situation is smooth as glass
- My payroll gets deposited to the correct account

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Trying to remember THIS:

"Sometimes the Lord guides you to something that feels RIGHT, just so that you’ll turn to Him when it doesn’t go as you had expected. When things don’t turn out the way you planned—when you don’t get cast at Playmill, when JP doesn’t ask you out, when you call off the wedding—it doesn’t mean that your initial choices or feelings were necessarily wrong. It just means that you need to learn to trust the Lord more. When things like that happen, you can either despair and give in to confusion, or say “Lord, I don’t really understand where I’m supposed to be or what I’m supposed to do right now, but I’ll just trust you and keep listening.” And when you choose the latter, the Lord ALWAYS guides you, and eventually you’ll figure out why things happened the way they did."

--my own blog, January 2, 2010 



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Fallability of Mormons


I'll be honest. This man confuses me. His recent reaction to Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" and Steven Colbert's "March to Keep Fear Alive" has me alternately raising my eyebrows and narrowing my eyes.

If you aren't familiar with the planned gatherings on October 30th, watch the following videos. They're gems, in my opinion.

Watch Jon Stewart's Announcement here.
Watch Steven Colbert's Response here.

First of all, let's just clarify: Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert are comedians. Not politicians. Okay. Just gotta make sure we're all on the same page here.

But Glenn Beck feathers seem ruffled nonetheless.

Here's a brief radio clip of Glenn Beck's thoughts and reaction to the October 30th gatherings (among other things):


Hey Glenn.
I dabbled in witchcraft in high school. (Well, more like middle school.) Still, it seems absurd to judge potential leaders by what they did in high school. There's a bit of a leap between "I dabbled in witchcraft in high school" and "I am a witch." That's like saying "Twenty years ago, I set off illegal fireworks with some friends after a football game" equals "I am an arsonist." I'd prefer to judge my future leaders by their current and at least more recent policies and positions. If we look into adults' high school records to form conclusions about them now, Hitler is a painter, Einstein is an academic failure, and General Patton is illiterate.

That strikes me as fallacious. Somehow. I don't know. Maybe it's just me.

On this program, Beck also said "Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert will go and activate the youth to try to get the youth to go out and vote.”

Um. Is that a bad thing?

The confusing thing is that Brother Beck says a lot of things that I do agree with. Just read any of my past blog entries about voting. I do agree that we should find someone with principles we agree with. I do agree that we should get out and vote. But in the same breath, the man is berating youth gathering to get out and think and vote.

I suppose I'm stepping on dangerous ground, speaking out against Glenn Beck as a faithful Mormon on a CES campus in the red red state of Idaho. But I don't believe being "politically correct" means being silent. I believe it means talking respectfully. So I'm talking. And I hope my readers aren't offended by my opinions. If you are, I apologize, but like to think of my readers being mature enough to not be offended if they happen to disagree with me.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Yarrgghh! It's September 19th, me hearty!


Pirate Code of Conduct
Bartholomew Roberts Shipboard Articles 1721
(Note: If you don't know anything about "Black Bart Roberts," go look him up. Fascinating man...one of my favorite stories in history.)

ARTICLE I - Every man shall have an equal vote in affairs of moment. He shall have an equal title to the fresh provisions or strong liquors at any time seized, and shall use them at pleasure unless a scarcity may make it necessary for the common good that a retrenchment may be voted.

ARTICLE II - Every man shall be called fairly in turn by the list on board of prizes, because over and above their proper share, they are allowed a shift of clothes. But if they defraud the company to the value of even one dollar in plate, jewels or money, they shall be marooned. If any man rob another he shall have his nose and ears slit, and be put ashore where he shall be sure to encounter hardships.

ARTICLE III - None shall game for money either with dice or cards.

ARTICLE IV - The lights and candles should be put out at eight at night, and if any of the crew desire to drink after that hour they shall sit upon the open deck without lights.

ARTICLE V - Each man shall keep his piece, cutlass and pistols at all times clean and ready for action.

ARTICLE VI - No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man shall be found seducing any of the latter sex and carrying her to sea in disguise he shall suffer death.

ARTICLE VII - He that shall desert the ship or his quarters in time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.

ARTICLE VIII - None shall strike another on board the ship, but every man's quarrel shall be ended on shore by sword or pistol in this manner. At the word of command from the quartermaster, each man being previously placed back to back, shall turn and fire immediately. If any man do not, the quartermaster shall knock the piece out of his hand. If both miss their aim they shall take to their cutlasses, and he that draweth first blood shall be declared the victor.

ARTICLE IX - No man shall talk of breaking up their way of living till each has a share of l,000. Every man who shall become a cripple or lose a limb in the service shall have 800 pieces of eight from the common stock and for lesser hurts proportionately.

ARTICLE X - The captain and the quartermaster shall each receive two shares of a prize, the master gunner and boatswain, one and one half shares, all other officers one and one quarter, and private gentlemen of fortune one share each.

ARTICLE XI - The musicians shall have rest on the Sabbath Day only by right. On all other days by favour only.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Why I could never ACTUALLY go to law school...


...because I can't spend more than 4 minutes at a time reading things like this (despite my long-lasting love affair with "Law and Order" and subsequent interest in law):

"ADA mandates protections for people with disabilities in public and private-sector employment, all public services, and public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications. The U.S. Department of Justice is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that these provisions are enforced on behalf of all people with disabilities. The intent of the ADA is to crate a "fair and level playing field" for eligible persons with disabilities. To do so, the law specifies that reasonable accommodations need to be made that take into account each person's needs resulting from his or his disabilities. As defined in law, the principal test for a a reasonable accommodation is its effectiveness: does the accommodation provide an opportunity for a person with a disability to achieve the same level of performance and to enjoy benefits equal to those of an average, similarly situated person without a disability?"

--excerpt from my Exceptional Students class textbook (The class is pretty interesting, but boy is the reading dull.)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Nerd-dom

School started today, and I was only super-geeky in ONE class! Granted, that's still 50% of the classes I had today. I commented and brought up the Norman conquest of England.

In my public speaking class.

While we were reviewing course expectations.

But it was relevant! I swear!

Monday, September 06, 2010

One step ahead of Mrs. O'Leary's cow


Inspired by this person, this person, and a recollection of my own blog post about 2 years ago, I decided to take out the ole Bucket List, re-examine it, re-assess it, re-edit it, and re-post it. I don't know if I'll follow Carrie's whole "25 Goals While 25" format for accomplishing things...to be honest, I'm rather intimidated by it. And I also just like the excitement of an opportunity just coming up, and taking it. I'm trying to find a balance between carpe-ing the diem and allowing the circumstances to come to me. But I think I can manage to knock out at least a few of these in the coming year...

The Bucket List Quarter-Century Status Report and Update
('Cause I'll be 25 in less than a week...that's 1/4 of a century, people! Whoa!)
September 2, 2010


Accomplished:
• Go skinny dipping
• Sneak out of my house with a boy, after he threw rocks at my window (Jacob, right before we were married! Yay! I wouldv'e had to retire this one otherwise)
• Publish my poetry in a literary journal or magazine (BYU-Idaho’s “Outlet”)
• Perform in BYU-Idaho’s “Acoustic CafĂ©”
• Be a member of Comic Frenzy
• Milk a cow
• Be a bridesmaid for a friend
• Sleep under the stars
• Stay up all night and then watch the sunrise
• Attend a political rally/meeting
• Hike in the rainforest
• Make out in the shower at a party (though not while showering)
• Do something illegal, though relatively harmless (haven’t we all?)
• Ride an elephant
• Read the entire Book of Mormon
• Climb an ancient ruin in Central/South America
• See a famous painting in real life
• Have a conversation with a homeless person (Crazy Dan, how Medford’s youth adores you)
• See a show on Broadway
• Go on a cruise
• Be part of a parade (Which I love doing. Really. All you have to do is wave and people cheer at you.)
• Hike part of the Oregon Trail
• Stand in two states at once
• Send a message in a bottle
• Zip-line through the rainforest
• Go white-water rafting
• Ride in a limousine
• Get a picture that I drew on the wall at Jamba Juice (This one may seem trivial, but I was really really happy when I succeeded. They’re picky over there.)
• Walk through downtown Manhattan at “rush hour”
• Set off powerful (even if illegal) explosives
• Touch a moon rock
• Visit Washington DC
• Play a role in an independent film (click here to watch the 3-minute film on youtube!)
• Participate in a food fight of some kind
• Sing in a jazz combo (yeah, this one's on youtube, too)

Still to be accomplished (old and new items):

• Perform in BYU-Idaho’s “Guitars Unplugged”
• Perform a stand-up comedy routine
• Volunteer in a 3rd world country
• Pose as a nude model for an art class (this one is currently in debate, given my new marital status and level of religious covenant)
• See the Northern Lights
• Audition for the “Actor’s Studio” in NYC
• Backpack some part of Europe (There's a possibility I could do this in the next year! Hello Ireland.)
• Road-trip on a motorcycle (necessitates spending the night somewhere)
• Swim naked in the ocean, preferably under a full moon (TMI?)
• See a bear in Yellowstone National Park
• Punch through glass out of necessity
• Record a solo song in a professional recording studio
• Teach a high school class
• Commit an act of civil disobedience for a cause I believe in
• Experience a tornado
• Visit the Holy Land (Jerusalem area)
• Visit India
• Listen to live jazz in a club in New Orleans
• Be part of a medical research study group
• Read the entire Bible
• Get re-certified in CPR
• Attend a Star Trek convention with Beckah
• Attend an opera at the Met
• Have an MRI taken of my brain
• Wear a genuine Oscar de la Renta dress, even if it's just for a minute or two
• Have a serious conversation/interview with someone famous I admire
Like…
Jack White (musician)
Gregory David Roberts (ex-convict/author)
(I know there are more, but I can't think of them at the moment...)

Retired:
• Spend the night in jail (I didn’t want this hassle without there being a good reason, so if I get arrested for my act of civil disobedience, I guess that’s two birds with one stone…)
• Kiss a stranger (This actually began to lose interest for me even before I was married.)


Whew! I've got a ways to go! But I'm excited to keep living life, one adventure at a time. =)

If I did have to put my desires for the next year into one specific goal, I'd say that I'd like to be more humble. That's the core issue at a lot of my shortcomings, I think. I'd like to be friendlier and not afraid of meeting new people, more generous, more patient, and more forgiving. And all of those things demand that I let go of my pride (of which I have a lot, if I do say so myself -- ha ha). Jacob is such an excellent example to me...he's always reaching out to those around him, and if ever I begin to pass judgment on someone, he always gives them the benefit of the doubt. His example is both a motivation and a tool to strengthen me. I'm grateful for the temple, and other opportunities I have to serve those around me! It's from a cheesy Relief Society hand-out magnet, but I love the saying "Love and service are like jam...you can't spread any without getting a little on yourself." That's true in my experience.

I want to become and remain a strong, intelligent, powerful woman. But I'm realizing/remembering that trying to become so on my own doesn't give me a good enough foundation for those qualities to be true and lasting. I need the help of others, and I need the Atonement. You can't have the blessings of living righteously without, you know, living righteously. The Lord's strength is stronger than my own, and I want to be humble enough to receive it and use it for good. Here's to another year of goals!

Friday, September 03, 2010

My breakfast could b(eat) up your breakfast



I felt very European eating this. And it tasted amazing.

(Yeah, that's toast made from French bread that's been buttered and fried. I know.) And a pear.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A picture's worth...

Last week, we went on an impromptu road trip. It cost us about $800 and 3 days more than we had planned, but it was a good trip, nonetheless. The story of the van's brave last struggle is a good one, so it deserves its own separate post. So for now, here's what we did last week:



*Addendum: We got a call from the towing company the other day saying they accidentally over-charged us and would be sending us a refund of almost $200. Woo hoo!