Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 21, 2012

They said the world would end this week,
So I went sledding, and hugged my family, and sang a lot
Spoke my love to the ones who have my heart
And stopped worrying about the future, because why worry about something that doesn't exist?

However, just in case the world didn't end
I learned and felt and lived, saving up knowledge and ideas and memories for later
I continued to create, as if someone would be left to see the results.
I made plans, no...I spun dreams.

They said the world would end this week
It didn't.
But who knows about next week?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

In which I'm probably not going to die. Probably.

This morning, I woke up unable to move my head to one side. I called my mom, because she knows lots o'stuff about stuff, especially as it relates to muscles and spines and such.

She told me not to worry, because if I don't have a fever, it probably isn't meningitis.

That....was not the response I was expecting.

But it is comforting to know that I probably don't have a life-threatening illness? I guess?

In other news....never ever ever ever ever google meningitis. Especially when you have a stiff neck. It is the worst idea ever.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

In which I pen a tribute to my ex-boyfriends

So, I promised a friend I would have something substantial up here by tonight. Another friend told me that I needed to post soon, because...MY READERSHIP! I didn't know I had a "readership" but if I do, I'd hate to disappoint them! So here goes.

Lately, I've been getting a lot of questions about whether or not I'm dating anyone, or if I'm still dating "that one guy" (which has been used in reference to both the man I stopped dating about a month ago, and the other fellow I stopped dating over a year ago), or simply condolences that things didn't work out with some relationship or another. These questions and condolences are often coupled with the idea that I'll "find the right guy soon," or "I met my husband right after a break-up," or that "if it isn't right, it isn't right." And while I don't disagree with any of those statements, I also feel that these relationships and subsequent breakups, as painful and at times devastating as they've been, haven't been nearly the tragedy or waste of time that these condolences imply.

I have this tendency (and I've noticed it in others as wel) to think of dating in terms of the end-goal: marriage. That bwessed awwangement...that dweam within a dweam...The only problem with this kind of thinking, is that if a relationship happens to not end in marriage, it was a complete waste of time. Not only does that make starting any new relationship one hundred percent terrifying, it can make looking back at old relationships downright depressing. I mean, about half of my four years in college have been spent in exclusive (or at least semi-exclusive) romantic relationships. And yet here I am, as single as the Pope. Does that really mean that those two years of my life were one hundred percent a waste?

I don't think so. In fact, I think I've gained (and continue to gain) more from my exes than from almost any other group of people in my life. So I want to take this quick opportunity to thank these guys for being in my life (I know at least two of them are in my "readership," and the other two might be as well.)

Jeff: Thanks for being my best friend freshman year. Thanks for being somebody I could always talk to, for staying up late driving around Provo with me, for sharing inside jokes with me, and for always making me smile. Thanks for the red baseball cap. Thanks for taking me to hit balls over the gorge (I still have the golf ball from that day). Thank you for the mix CD you made me on my 16th birthday, and for teaching me how to cuddle. And thanks for inviting me to free pie the other night and for giving me a ride home. I love ya, buddy. Let's go snowboarding sometime soon, k?

Brenton: Thank you for that time we walked around Provo until 4 am. Thank you for trusting me and teaching me how to trust you. Thank you for teaching me guitar and for helping me conquer my fears of both kissing and ducks (not at the same time, thankfully). Thank you for introducing me to Broken Social Scene, Interpol, Sigur Ros, and Arcade Fire, and for overall helping my musical taste to mature (I haven't been able to even get near a Rascal Flatts album since dating you). Thank you for Zak, my stuffed giraffe. I found him the other day and he's now sitting on a shelf in my room. And thanks for being an awesome email pen-pal over the past couple years and swapping music links with me (which reminds me, I've found a couple of bands that I think you'll love. I'll have to email them to you soon).

Mike: Thank you for all of the times you listened to me cry and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for being patient with me. Thanks for inspiring in me a love for other languages and cultures, and encouraging me to travel. Thank you for the many political/philosophical discussions, for the adventures in the mountains, and for safely driving us through that storm a couple of Thanksgivings ago. Thank you for not being visibly weirded out when I kind of chased you down on campus the day after we broke up, and for continuing to be my friend despite the initial strangeness of it all. I think you are fantastic, and also that you have one of my favorite blogs in existence. (Also, thank you for introducing me to Firefly. I think its safe to say that I'm borderline obsessed with it now).

Andy: Thank you for taking me on adventures: slacklining, rock climbing, doubling with a gay couple and exploring Lake Powell. Thanks for indulging (and fueling) my obsession with used bookstores and introducing me to the wonders of Bollywood. Thank you for being open with your thoughts, opinions and philosophies, even when they were perhaps different from the norm. And thank you for listening as I sorted out my own thoughts and opinions. Thanks for giving me one of the best birthdays I've ever had, and for sharing your amazing family with me. And thank you for your friendship this past month, even when it felt like we were on an awkward "second first date," and when we weren't sure how friendship was going to work. You're one of my favorite people to talk to, and I'm glad that can still happen.

In short: yes, I've been in relationships that haven't ended in marriage. But in the end, just the fact that I got to meet these guys, to spend time with them and learn from them, feels like a net gain on my part. So...thank you, guys. For being good boyfriends, pseudo-boyfriends, and just....really great friends.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In which this girl has a lot to be excited about.

Guess who learned to juggle 3 balls today? This girl!

And guess who did a headstand, a forearm stand, and a handstand today with only minimal spotting? Also this girl!

And guess who started a paper that isn't due until Saturday night on Wednesday? Oh hey...this girl!

It's the little things, my friends.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In which I'm grinding my teeth a little

I am trying so hard to be nonpartisan and to see the good in both parties. But it is so hard when I see things like this all over my facebook:

"Congratulations America, you've just reelected a terrorist."

"Santa Claus sees you when you're sleeping, knows when you're awake, and wears way too much red to be a liberal. Vote wisely."

"Mortality rates are only high for people who bring it upon themselves in this country." (when confronted with the fact that many of Europe's "socialist" countries have much lower infant mortality rates than the U.S.)

"I can't believe America likes a socialist, evil, thief who doesn't care about them."

I mean....I don't agree with everything the Democratic party espouses. And I definitely don't think that Obama is the greatest president we've ever had.

A lot of my dearest friends and family are Republicans. And I love them for the firmness of their beliefs, even when I don't necessarily agree with them.

And I know that Democrats are just as capable of mudslinging.

And maybe it's just because I have more Republican friends (I grew up in Utah, after all), but it seems to me that this election, a lot more of the vitriol has been coming out of the conservative side, while my few liberal friends have been much more measured, calm, and fact-based in their statements.

I hate the assumption that just because I lean to the left I must be "either stupid or amoral" as someone told me today. Maybe I vote the way I do because I read about the issues and have pondered hard about which candidate aligned more closely to my personal beliefs and priorities and voted accordingly.

It frightens me how quick people are to assume that because someone believes differently than them they are automatically wrong, evil, or ignorant. This kind of thinking has led to so many atrocities in the past: wars, genocides, crusades, segregation, discrimination, pogroms, you name it. I think there are a lot of good, reasonable people on both sides who vote the way they do because they believe it is the right thing to do, not because of any malicious intent or stupidity.  Both parties have truth to them and well-intentioned people behind them.

I think all of the candidates (not just Romney and Obama) are good people who are trying to make a difference in the world the best way they know how. And I believe most voters (regardless of political orientation) enter the voting booths with the same intentions. I think that is worthy of esteem and respect. And I'm proud to say that even mixed with all of the hate, I've seen a lot of that respect today, in people posting messages of hope, tolerance and optimism.





Monday, October 29, 2012

In which good things are coming.

Sometimes the warmth of summer vanishes so that there can be golden and vermillion and orange leaves, a maple-y autumn smell in the air and eventually, giant, drifting flakes of snow.

Sometimes the days start to get shorter so that eventually it will be dark enough to see the Christmas lights.

Sometimes the delicious crepe shop that used to be by my apartment moves far away so that the best burrito joint in Provo can take its place.

Sometimes good things leave so better things can come.

Here's hoping.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

In which the education nerd in me is freaking out right now.


To any of my readers who are teachers, or parents, or voters, or planning to be one of those sometime in the future, watch this video.

In my Educational Foundations class the other day, we were talking about technology in education. A few people made comments to the effect that they were terrified that new media and internet learning would dehumanize the classroom, essentially turning students into robots. According to this video, though, technology can have the exact opposite approach. In a "flipped" classroom, when students can learn at their own pace and in their own way, as facilitated by technology, teachers actually get more time to spend one-on-one with students, and students get customized instruction to fit their needs.

This makes me so excited to be a teacher. The present is an exciting time to live in, and it just gets more thrilling every second.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In which I probably could have been done with my homework by now...

Confession:

Some nights I stay up until 3:15 reading blogs and Wikipedia, and I don't let myself go to bed because there is homework to be done, and I can't not do my homework because then I won't get a good grade and I'll be a failure, and if there's one thing that defines my life it's that I don't fail at stuff, especially not school.

But I'm too tired to focus on my homework, because it's 3 am and I haven't really gotten much sleep this week anyways and today was kind of draining.

So I keep taking break after break after break, in an effort to clear my mind so that I can do homework after the next break.


Yup.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

In which I can't find my backpack

Today when my yoga class was finished, I went to grab my backpack. I had set it along the wall next to my Chacos, and figured that a Study Abroad backpack covered in buttons with various inspirational sayings would be fairly easy to find. I was wrong. It took me a good 30 seconds to find my stuff because, I kid you not, every backpack in that room was a Study Abroad backpack covered in inspirational buttons and every one of those backpacks had a pair of Chacos next to them.

Okay...I might be exaggerating the littlest bit. But...still.

For a minute there, I felt this strange surge of pride. I'm finally one of those people. One of those people who studies abroad and rock climbs and listens to weird indie music and hikes and takes yoga classes. One of those people I used to dream about becoming back when I was a wide-eyed freshman.

And then I felt a little bit self-conscious. If my yoga class is any indication, pseudo-granolas are a dime a dozen here at BYU. Why on earth did I idolize them so much when I was a freshman? They're just normal people. If I can be one, anyone can, yeah?

This led me to thinking, what good are the labels we give ourselves and others? Why was it so important to me to be one of "those people," and is that okay? I think felt uncomfortable at first because I was conceptualizing my goal (becoming a granola/hippie/whatever) with solely outward indicators (shoes, music choices, outdoor activities, tie-dye clothes). And that feels shallow to me. It feels wrong to measure my personal development by what I wear or listen to or do on the weekends.

And so today, I've been re-examining that dream of mine. And I think all of these external trappings were just the embodiment of a collection of character traits I wanted to develop. Among these personal traits were open-mindedness, physical fitness, serenity, connection with nature, mindfulness, adventurousness, boldness, joy, tranquility, compassion, and kindness. And the tangible objects that best fit my image of somebody who had developed these traits happened to include Chacos and rock climbing gear and Iron and Wine CDs and a passport full of stamps.

So, am I really of "those people" now? Depends. On the shallow, outward level...maybe, though I haven't gone hiking in over a month, I'm really not that good at yoga, and I listen to a lot more Ke$ha than I care to admit publicly. And on the deeper, more abstract level...definitely not. I've made great strides, to be sure. I consider myself far more adventurous, bold, calm, and open-minded than I was 4 years ago. However, I still have miles to go in terms of optimism, compassion, and kindness. And, sadly, all the tie-dye shirts and climbing shoes in the world won't get me one step closer to that goal. That is going to take real effort, introspection and time.

It seems a little silly that a simple event like not being able to find my backpack has thrown me into this kind of introspection, but I think it's valuable. I often run the risk of measuring my (and other's) personal worth by silly, shallow criteria. I probably needed this jolt to remind me that yes, I've got the shoes, the music, and the hobbies, but that doesn't mean I've got it made. And that the people I meet who like different music than me or who choose different ways to spend their weekends, may be way far ahead of me in terms of developing their inner selves. And while outward indicators can seem to indicate a person's personality and values, they are rarely reliable and never sufficient.




Monday, September 17, 2012

In which I think I've found my teaching philosophy

"But the humanist, revolutionary educator cannot wait for this possibility to materialize. From the outset, her efforts must coincide with those of the students to engage in critical thinking and the quest for mutual humanization. His efforts must be imbued with a profound trust in people and their creative power. To achieve this, they must be partners of the students in their relations with them."

-Paulo Freire.


Yes. Yes, yes, a thousand, a million times yes. I wish I could somehow drive home to each of you how much this resonates with me, how..crucial it is to the way I view education. This is why I want to be a teacher. Because I want to be this kind of teacher. Because I think that's the way I can make a difference. Because it's important.

In which we keep on rockin' till the early morning

"Be who you are, nothing more, nothing less
And let the beauty that you love be the very best.
Sing praises to the Highest with your feet on the ground
And reach your brother with the words that you sound.

And don't let mistakes be so monumental
And don't let your love be so confidential
And don't let your mind be so darn judgmental
And please let your heart be more influential."

-Michael Franti


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In which Hamlet would be wayyy cooler with laser eyes.

You know, sometimes I think to myself, "Self, you know what this world needs more of? Shakespearean fanfiction!"

Actually, I don't think that's a thought I've ever had in my life. But if it was, this little beauty would probably be the product of it. I present to you:

Hamlet the Awesome and Kinda Scary Robot
by the venerable Riss

Hamlet was walking along being angsty. And then all of a sudden he was a robot. A robot whose father was dead. Also, he could shoot lasers out of his eyes.

He had a hot girlfriend named Ophelia. Ophelia was an alien. With 5 arms. They had sexy times.

And then she killed herself

And then everyone else died.

THE END.

Yeah...I wrote that. In a fit of madness a few days ago. And I couldn't be prouder.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In which I find comfort in gossamer soap

Those days happen...those days where a cement boot is slowly but steadily...very, very steadily..pressing on your chest.

Those days where you see yourself turning into your nastiest self, attacking those who aren't present to defend themselves, and just being all around snarky.

The days where getting off of the couch sounds too hard...and doing your homework sounds too hard...and staying awake sounds too hard...

And talking doesn't help.

And sleeping barely helps.

And ultimate frisbee only helps a little.

So those are the days when you sit on the floor with a bottle of Miracle Bubbles and watch the fragile orbs float, burst, and vanish.

And that helps.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

In which I find I think best on my feet

Often when I go running, not much running actually gets done.

It all started when I lived in Vienna. I discovered quickly that if I went on my run through the city, I ended up stopping every few minutes to look at a beautiful piece of molding on a facade, or a group of workers setting up a giant tent for a traveling theatre company, or sign saying that Mozart once spent the night in this or that building (between Mozart and Beethoven, I think just about every building in town has been historicized in that manner). So, I decided that if I ever wanted to get any actual running done, I would need to stick to the canal road by my apartment. No fancy buildings to look at, no distractions. Right?

Wrong.

Because, as it turns out, the Danube Canal is a hub for graffiti artists. Not just punks with spray paint cans, but actual artists. In fact, the canal wall is one of the only places in Vienna where graffiti is actually legal. So I got to run by stuff like this every day.

IMG_1044-1

Needless to say, I spent more time strolling and gazing than I did running. (I also improved my German quite a bit...turns out the Anarchistic movement has a pretty large following in downtown Vienna and they often painted slogans all over the canal walls. It was pretty entertaining trying to decipher them).

So you'd think that once I got back in boring ol' Provo, it would be easier to focus while running.

Wrong again.

Because it turns out, Provo's a pretty interesting place in its own right. Yesterday  was running, and I found myself constantly having to stop to look at the interesting roof of one house, the beautiful picket fence covered in hollyhocks on another, the cardboard Dalek on one front lawn...

And then my mind itself won't stay still for more than a second. Turns out when I'm running, I do some of my best thinking. I don't have anything else I need to think about, so the ideas just drift into my brain though. The only problem is, I can't hold onto those thoughts while running because I get so distracted by the rhythm of my feet, or my breathing, or the muscles in my legs contracting and expanding. So once my brain catches hold of a cool thought, I have to slow down to a walk in order to keep it, and I can't start running again until I've thought it through.

All in all, this means that I don't get a whole lot of actually running done on my runs. But that's not usually the point anyway.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In which job satisfaction has skyrocketed.

You may think you have the best job ever. But this morning, I got paid to play pirates with small children. And I'm heading out right now to go get paid to ride a waterslide.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In which I live like a warrior

You know, I'm not usually one of those people who posts songs on their blogs.

But maybe I should become one of those people, especially when there are songs like this wonder floatin' round the Internet.

Live like you wanna, friends. Live like a warrior.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In which I learn that Provo is not a safe place to be a cyclist

You know you're accident prone when you tell your roommates you got hit by a car on the way home from work and their reaction is, "Again?"

Monday, July 2, 2012

In which it's summertime, and the livin' is easy.

It's been two months since I last went to class.  The summer solstice was nearly two and a half weeks ago. In recent months I've wandered Europe, lounged on a beach in the Caribbean, and logged enough hours at my job at the pool to give me a permanent odor of sunscreen and chlorine.  And yet somehow, it's only been in the past couple days that it's hit me: summer is here.

 Maybe it was the nights this week that were spent sitting in the patch of cement in front of my apartment, the patch of grass in front of Panda Express, and the grassy knoll behind my complex's pool. Have you noticed how real summer nights have a different quality than any other kind of night? Not only is the air warm, the light is different somehow...dark without really being dark. And something about it feels not quite like night. Which might be why I've been doing my share of staying up "wayyy past midnight."

Maybe it was wakeboarding for the first time this summer. Or laying on the grass with my cousins listening to a bluegrass band play "The Devil went down to Georgia" and "Give, said the Little Stream" (a concert set you will only ever hear in Utah.) Or blasting Toby Keith while cruising University Avenue in my Chevy pickup (I've noticed my music tastes change pretty drastically once summer hits). Or maybe it's the fact that tomorrow I'm leaving to spend a wonderful 5 days in Lake Powell.

Whatever it is...oh man, I'm excited. Seeing as I was across the world last summer and kind of in a state of severe depression for most of the summer before, this will be my first real summer in ages. And I'm excited beyond belief to kick back, read all the books on my list, spend more time in the water than out, and chill with all the stellar people in my life. Here's to the best of all the seasons.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

In which an all-star cast is assembled.


Sometimes my roommates and I like to create casts for movies we wish existed (call it a movie geek's version of assembling a Fantasy Football team). For example, we once created a concept for a film version of Candyland, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as Lord Licorice, Danny Devito as Plumpy and many others. I feel like it would be absolutely terrifying and 100 percent awesome. Our latest (and perhaps most successful) casting session happened last night as the roommates, practically-roommates and I watched my favorite movie of all time. And so, for your viewing pleasure, I present to you: N311's cast for a live-action adaptation of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

Beast: Ewan Mcgregor
Ewan McGregor

Belle: Anna Friel (Chuck from Pushing Daisies)


Gaston: Hugh Jackman


Maurice: Dustin Hoffman


Lumiere: Neil Patrick Harris


Cogsworth: Ricky Gervais


Mrs. Potts: Melissa McCarthy (Sookie from Gillmore Girls)


Le Fou: Kevin James


The guy from the insane asylum: Christopher Plummer


The feather duster: Catherine Zeta Jones


Yes, it's a fact. This is the perfect cast. If any famous Hollywood producers read this blog, please know that you are welcome to call us up at any time, tell us we're brilliant, and pay us a hefty consulting fee.



Monday, June 18, 2012

"Saying nothing sometimes says the most"

Can you tell I've been on a poetry kick this summer? Here's some more favorites:

A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.
Emily Dickinson

Beauty is not caused. It is.
Emily Dickinson
Forever is composed of nows.
Emily Dickinson
Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all.
Emily Dickinson

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?” 
― Emily DickinsonSelected Letters 

“I discover myself on the verge of a usual mistake.”

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large -- I contain multitudes.” 
Walt Whitman

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.” 
― Walt Whitman

“Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.” 
― Walt Whitman

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. 
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.” 
― Walt WhitmanLeaves of Grass

“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough” 
― Walt Whitman

“I exist as I am, that is enough, 
If no other in the world be aware I sit content, 
And if each and all be aware I sit content. 
One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself, 
And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years, 
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait.” 
― Walt Whitman


Thursday, May 3, 2012

In which I'm a little bit giddy

Um....hi. So, I'm going to the other side of the world again tomorrow...I'm beyond excited. And also I feel a little guilty...what kind of spoiled brat gets to visit Europe twice within a one-year span? This one, apparently. I've been very very blessed with these opportunities to travel, and it wouldn't have been possible without the help of many other people. Parents and grandparents who have offered me financial and emotional support, professors who have helped me prepare academically, Uncle Sam for giving me a fatty tax return, ORCA for giving me a grant...I am one lucky girl.





Sunday, April 29, 2012

In which I do some much-needed debunking.

Some things I should probably stop saying when I describe myself because they're not really true anymore:

I'm kind of shy: This was definitely true when I was about 7. It was probably still true when I was about 13. And it was true in some situations up until I was about 20. But to be honest, people don't scare me anymore. I thrive on conversation, love meeting new people, and am not afraid to boldly state my opinion, even when talking to strangers. Sometimes people intimidate me, sometimes I don't feel like talking, but I think my former labels of "quiet," "shy," or "introverted" can be permanently left by the wayside.

I'm a picky eater: Yes, as a child I refused to eat stroganoff, fruit salad, zucchini, canteloupe, or fresh green beans. Yes, I used to hide food under the margin of my plate or pretend to throw up to get out of eating stuff I didn't like. However, I'll eat pretty much anything at this point in my life. Especially if it's free.

I'm afraid of ducks: Geese, yes. Peacocks and turkeys, yes.  But I got over my duck phobia at least two years ago. Thank you, Brenton. 

I am a huge proponent of non-committal cuddling: This is more of a shift than a reversal. I still don't think cuddling seals any deals, and I reserve the right to change my mind about someone after cuddling with them, but I no longer believe in cuddling willy-nilly with every boy that will let me. That was Freshman Karissa, or more specifically, Aspen Grove Karissa.  I still enjoy cuddling, and wish that it could be a daily occurrence in my life. But there's something about being held by someone who really cares about you that makes you not want to share that experience with someone who really doesn't.

I hate chick flicks: Not true. There are many chick flicks I despise, such as "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," "P.S. I Love You", "Sleepless in Seattle," or anything based on a Nicholas Sparks novel.  But I don't feel right declaring hatred for the genre that brought me "While You Were Sleeping," "She's the Man," "Only You," and "Clueless."


Sunday, April 22, 2012

In response:



Looks like I have all the time in the world now...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

In which I'm surprised I'm not on some ridiculous sugar high.

For the past 36 hours, my diet has been absymal. Or....awesome? You decide.

Friday
Breakfast: Applesauce
Brunch: Arroz con leche
Lunch: 3 brownies and arroz con leche
Snack: A bazillion Hershey's nuggets
Dinner: Grilled cheese sandwich, Oreo mint milkshake, and a few fries I filched from Tyler
Midnight snack: More arroz con leche

Saturday
Breakfast: Dum-dum pop, Welch's fruit snacks
Lunch: A mountain of arroz con leche and some Smarties (the Canadian kind).
Dinner: Haven't decided yet, but it will probably end up being either wedding reception food or graduation party food.

Clearly, I live a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In which a Time-Turner would come in handy

You know those times when you forget some key aspects of the laws of physics and schedule yourself to be in several places at once? When reality sinks in and you realize that you can't possibly be in both Heber and Salt Lake City while also being at work in Provo, your stomach sinks. Anxiety creeps in. No matter what, you will have to bail on somebody. No matter what, somebody will think you're a flake. No matter what, you lose.

And you know those times when you go on a first date with someone, and you really want to go on a second date, but every time they invite you to do something, you're busy? Not "busy" like you're actually just making an excuse so you don't have go out with them, but legitimately, terrifyingly, staying-up-until-6-am-just-to-finish-this -ridiculous-paper busy. How do you convince them that yes, since that first date they have invited you to slackline with their friends twice, invited you to come watch three different movies, and yes, even asked you on that elusive second date, and though you said no every single time, you're really not blowing them off, it just happens to be finals week and you just happen to also be working and interviewing for summer jobs and getting ready to leave the country in a few weeks? And how do you convince them that someone this unavailable is actually worth their time?

Yes, this would be one of those weeks when I could really use a Time-Turner. Too bad Harry and company destroyed the Ministry's entire supply of them back in book 5.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

In which I am aware that "un-choose" isn't actually a real word, but I use it a lot anyway."

I had a conversation with a friend the other day about missed opportunities, particularly in relationships. She made the comment that "by choosing one person, you're automatically un-choosing someone else." That comment has been circling around my brain in various forms ever since.

As anyone who's ever talked to me when I first start dating someone can attest, I have commitment issues. Hardcore commitment issues. As in, sometimes, if a boy I like asks me on a date and shows signs of wanting a second date, I have a panic attack when I get home. (That's...normal...right?) As in, I usually spend the first month or so of every relationship I'm in freaking out over whether or not I actually want to be dating this guy. And it all comes back to my friend's statement: "By choosing one person, you're automatically un-choosing someone else." By choosing to exclusively date someone, or even to spend a lot of time casually dating them, you unavoidably cut yourself off from opportunities to be with somebody else. In rare occasions where you have more than one option to choose from, choosing someone involves very consciously un-choosing somebody else. And that's scary to me, because what if the person that I'm un-choosing is awesome? What if they're even more awesome than the person I choose? What if I miss out?

This issue extends beyond relationships though. By choosing to major in music, I un-chose English, Rec Management and well...every other major at my university. Whenever I choose to spend time with one friend, I am un-choosing to spend time getting to know another friend. I have a hard time making plans for the weekend, because I worry that something better will come up and I'll have to say no because I already committed to something else. Honestly, this is the reason I haven't learned a foreign language yet; I know that by choosing say, German, I would be un-choosing French, Italian, Spanish, Welsh, and Arabic. 

I'm starting to realize that there are so many different paths to take, opportunities to grab, books to read, and people to love that I am going to have to miss out on a few. I haven't come to terms with it yet, but I'm trying. I think the trick might be to focus on what I chose instead of what I un-chose. Focus on the (hypothetical) awesome boy that I'm smooching, instead of all the other awesome boys that I'm not. Concentrate on the thrilling, stimulating major I'm in, rather than the ones I passed up. Be thankful for the great friendships I've created and strengthened this semester, rather than the people I failed to get to know. If I find I missed something important, try and grab it the next time it whizzes by. If I realize one of the choices I made isn't working out, make a different choice. I'll probably still miss out on quite a few things, but in a world with infinite possibilities but finite time and resources, that's mathematically inevitable. And I choose not to feel guilty about un-choosing a few things. That's life.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In which I have an urge to blog, but not much to say.

I've been wanting to blog a lot lately, but I'm starting to get worried that I'll overwhelm you all, dear readers, with the onslaught of posts, and you'll get freaked out and start running around in circles screaming "Too many woooorrrrddddsssss!!!" and then you'll run away and never read my blog again. And that would be sad, I guess. Oh well.

I should have gone to bed about two hours ago, but then I missed the appropriate time window. I stayed up so late that I guaranteed that I'll be tired tomorrow. So now I'm thinking, "What's the point of going to bed if I'm going to be exhausted either way? Might as well stay up." Except that I told a friend I couldn't go on a Denny's run because I needed to sleep, so I guess I ought to go to bed on principle...

Until yesterday, I'd forgotten how much I love back massages. And head scratches. In case you were wondering, it's a whole lot. As a good friend discovered last night, I can go from hate to adoration in about a tenth of a second when proper scalp massage techniques are applied. It's a bit pathetic really. Also, my back muscles are apparently just a solid mass of knots and tension. I feel self-conscious about this, though I'm not sure why.

I'm going snowboarding on Saturday. I don't care that it's April and the snow will likely be horrible. I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve right now. Ever since last night when wardfriend invited me to come, it's been interrupting my thoughts: "Okay, so I have Music History homework, and I need to write that email for (SNOWBOARDING SNOWBOARDING SNOWBOARDING SNOWBOARDING)...and I need to mail that thing so that (SATURDAY SATURDAY SNOWBOARDING SNOWBOARDING)...what was I thinking about?"

I'm so excited for this semester to be over. I have all sorts of crazy plans for this spring and summer: rockclimbing, camping, visiting a dear friend in Seattle, roadtripping to California, scuba-diving in the Caribbean, and reading a lot. At the same time though, I'm so sad this semester is ending. All of my favorite BYU classes ever have been this semester. I'll miss the debates about whether using a synth pad invalidates a Tibetan folk musician's authenticity. I'll miss Dr. Johnson's tangents about how much he loves Charles Ives, and how Richard Wagner was simultaneously a musical genius and an abhorrent human being. I'll miss getting free books from my Children's Lit class. But most of all, I think I'll miss Brother Jaccard and the 4 sweet girls who I've had classes with since I've started this major, and who I now consider some of my best friends. I know I'll still see them around, and I hope that we can still have that bond. That we can still play "Shoo Turkey" or "Frog in the Middle," and make jokes about descending minor thirds that nobody else understands, and chastise each other for using the words "good job." Two years ago, I'd never met any of these girls, and now I can't imagine school without them. Here's hoping we'll have at least some of our el ed classes together in the fall.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Important life knowledge for you all!

Today, my voice teacher gave me the secret to giving someone a fantastic birthday, and I thought it was so brilliant that I would share it with my blog friends. Also, if I write it down, I'll be less likely to forget it next time someone I love has a birthday.

1) They need to know it's their birthday the second they open their eyes. Whether that's being woken up by the smell of bacon, being jumped on and sung to, or having their apartment decorated with streamers, the first thought in their brain when they awake should be, "Oh yeah, it's my birthday! Awesome!"
2) All three of their meals should be special in some way.
3) They must receive at least one gift.
4) The evening must include a dessert of some kind.

And that is it. All of the steps for a wonderful birthday. I must say that I agree. Birthdays don't need to be extravagant, it's just nice to consistently remember throughout the day that you are special. And now that I think about it, my family has been pretty awesome at following all of these steps to an awesome birthday (except the "all three meals" one. I don't really expect them to stalk me at school/work just to give me birthday lunch. Birthday breakfast and dinner are awesome enough.) Yay for birthdays!

(For anyone wondering, my birthday isn't anytime soon.)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

In which I doze off on a Love Sac

I think one of the most important developments of early adulthood is coming to know yourself well enough to know exactly what it is you want at a given moment, no matter how simple the desire is. There is something empowering and satisfying in saying, "I am an individual, with unique desires, and what I desire at this moment is to sit on a couch surrounded by friends who I love and watching a movie that I have already seen before (so that I can fall asleep in the middle of the movie without worrying that I'll miss the end). Also, it would be nice if this movie-watching/naptime could also involve me cuddling with a cute boy who I care a lot about." There is a freedom and a power in knowing your own desires, whether big or small, because once you know what you want, you are in a position to seek it out, to make it reality.

However, another important development that comes at this time of life is the understanding that you can't always get what you want. Even the most satisfying self-knowledge cannot change the fact that tonight, the friends I want to watch a movie with are all busy, in different states, or otherwise M.I.A., and if I'm being honest with myself, there will probably be no cuddling in my life any time in the near future. Along with the power and confidence of knowing my own desires comes the helplessness of knowing that wanting something isn't enough, that my will isn't the sole force in the universe. And the trickiest lesson of adulthood, one that I'm not sure I've learned fully, is that even when things don't work out how you want them to, they still work out. That even if you wanted nothing more than to fall asleep on a couch full of friends with "Beauty and the Beast" playing in the background, sometimes you instead get to blog, catch up on the news, and then go to bed wonderfully early, and that's okay too. 

But there's one more important thing about life that I keep forgetting, and that is how often life can surprise you by giving you exactly what you want. That sometimes, even as you are in the middle of writing a blog post about how things don't always work out the way you'd like, you'll get a text that causes them to work out exactly that way. There wasn't any cuddling, but there was a movie, a projector, a Love Sac, and four of my best friends. And as I drifted off to sleep on my Love Sac, I smiled at how wonderfully surprising life can be.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

In which they say I'm goin' crazy, got a lot of water on the brain...

To the freshman I frightened at work today:

You'll understand when you're older. Sometimes, there are days when the pressures from school, work, church, dating, and trying to plan your summer (oh, and your entire future) become so intense that the only possible way to keep from going crazy is to rock out to Queen's "Somebody to Love," with all the volume you can muster. And if you  happen to have a large mop that can double as a microphone for you to dance with as you channel the frenzied genius of Freddy Mercury, well, so much the better. The startled look on your face when you came upon me swaying, dipping, and belting indicates that you have not yet reached such a desperate emotional state, and I am glad that you have been spared thus far. But just know that one day, little freshman, you too will join the ranks of the crazed upperclassmen. And that is the day when you will have to explain to a terrified, timid first-year why you were dancing with a vacuum cleaner to your rendition of the Who's "Baba O'Riley." I only ask that you remember me when that time comes.

Sincerely,
Your Friendly Neighborhood Custodian

P.S. Singing along with Ke$ha is also completely normal. Just so you know.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In which the future seems realer

So, turns out one of the coolest/scariest things about college is that you can be going along, doing your reading assignment for class, when you suddenly realize that you're going to need this information later. And not just for the test. Like...for your actual life, and career, and stuff. That never happened back in high school English.

Friday, March 16, 2012

In which a letter to a hypothetical individual is composed

Dear whoever I end up marrying, assuming I get married someday, because I fully understand that that may never actually happen,

There are a few things you should probably know about me from the get-go, so there aren't any nasty surprises after our nuptials:

  • I don't want a diamond on my ring. Or really, any kind of rock. Just a really awesome looking band, with maybe some cool swirlies and just a few tiny colored stones inlaid in it. Also, please don't spend ridiculous amounts of money on it. I think a couple hundred dollars is a good upper limit, though I bet you could find an awesome one for much cheaper.
  • I thrash a lot in my sleep. And kick. And sometimes tear all of the blankets off of my bed. Sometimes I wake up with my head where my feet should be. I've been known to walk, talk, sing and laugh in my sleep. I hope you're ready to never get a good night's sleep for the rest of forever.
  • Unlike the majority of my Mormon peers, I really appreciate facial hair on a man. So you have my permission and encouragement to grow out your beard. Just no Hitler staches, k? (Also, I think the fact that I'm letting you grow facial hair means I shouldn't have to shave my legs).
  • In the four years I've been at college, I've never checked the mail. (Excluding the time I walked with Dria to the mailbox but didn't actually open it myself, and the week in Vienna when I obsessively checked the mail at school every day to see if my birthday package had come). I'm trying to continue this streak as long as possible. So...you should probably be in charge of checking the mail.
  • I have really weird taste in music. Be prepared to come home to me blasting anything from Beirut to Schumann to Celtic fiddle tunes.
  • I will be really really happy if you want to come with me to art museums and concerts, or if you want to go camping, hiking, or running. But it's no pressure if you don't want to, that's all stuff I like doing by myself too (except camping. Solo camping sounds intriguing, but a little scary).
  • It's okay if you're scared of spiders, I'm a champion spider-killer.
  • I'm never going to grow out of climbing trees or jumping in puddles. Please join me. 
  • I'm really excited to meet you. Like, crazy excited. But feel free to take your time, I'm in no rush. We've got forever.
Love, 
Riss

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cry, "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war.

Man, every single year I tell myself I'm going to have an Ides of March party...and every year I forget. Though I'm not really sure what one would do at an Ides of March party...eat...Roman..food? Pretend to stab each other? Imitate creepy soothsayers? But, in honor of this most fateful day, I thought I'd share some moments from Julius Caesar, possibly my favorite of Shakespeare's plays.

Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have seen,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come. (2.2.34)

Poor Brutus, with himself at war
Forgets the shows of love to other men. (1.2.46)

The ides of March are come.
Ay, Caesar, but not gone. (3.1.1)

And of course...

Et tu, Brute?
Then fall, Caesar! (3.1.77)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In which I smatter a disjointed smattering of thoughts.

I think I'm a morning person at heart. I love feeling like I'm the only one awake, like I have a head start on the rest of the world. I love the pink-grey-gold of morning air, the streaks of sunrise peeking from behind the mountains. I love the prattle of birds welcoming the day, the quietness of a still-sleeping world. Unfortunately, my circadian rhythm doesn't share this love of the early hours, making me wired with energy late at night and sluggish in the early hours. So...mind over matter, I guess?

My dear friend Bekah is back from her mission and I'm remembering how much I adore her and her blog. This morning I was 25 minutes late to a choir rehearsal because I was rediscovering her writing. And it was probably worth it.

So this one time a few weeks ago, I was in a band. We played at the ward talent show, had big plans to try out for Acoustic Explosion, and then kind of fell apart.. But it was a good run. There's something magic about the artistic collaboration and creative sharing inherent in playing music with other people. That's probably why I prefer accompanying to soloing, actually. Anyways, I have high hopes that the band will re-form...sometime. And when the time comes, we'll need a good name. Readers, want to help out? Any good name ideas for an indie folk-pop band? If my band-mates read this: we seriously need to play at Acoustic Explosion sometime, just not the March one. And to any of my readers in bands: if you want a keyboard player or vocalist, hit me up. I already miss band practice.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't interested in so many things. I feel like I want to do and try everything, which results in me having very diverse, exciting experiences, but it also means I don't ever get very good at anything. It's hard to specialize when your attention is drawn to a million other things. So as much as I would love to write the Great American Novel, tour Europe with my immensely famous band, play concertos with the world's great orchestras, reform the public education system, and climb the world's highest mountains, all while teaching elementary school music, there are just not enough hours in the day. I suppose I'll have to settle for being a mediocre pianist, a fairly good writer, an occasional band member, and a sporadic world traveler, and loving my students with everything in my heart. Not quite as glamorous, but I'll take what I can get.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In which I become an elephant hunter

I have a tendency to get embarrassed easily. I care a little too much about what other people think about me, about looking smart, or fun, or sophisticated, or at least normal. So when the other members of my choreography group in dance class wanted to make our dance a story...I was skeptical, to say the least. I wanted to be taken seriously, to create beautiful, flowing shapes and get comments from the class on our wonderful use of energy and rhythm. My group members wanted to act out two hunters stalking an elephant in India, complete with Bollywood moves. I thought that sounded childish and stupid, but I was outnumbered, so I decided to swallow my pride and roll with it. And here's what I discovered: We didn't have the smoothest choreography. We didn't have the best technique. But dang it all, we had fun. And we made our audience laugh. And I got to creep through imaginary trees and bushes (creeping is once of my favorite activities) and do a victory dance over our "elephant's" dead body. I could have easily been embarrassed and self-conscious, and I would have ended up looking stupid and unsure. But since we all decided to put all we had into creating this story, it ended up being a joyful, exciting experience, both for us and for our audience.

So I've been thinking about this: why be embarrassed about things I honestly enjoy? Why should I act ashamed when I tell people I love webcomics and Miyazaki films? Why should I feel self-conscious when I need to teach a South Indian raga for a homework assignment? Embarrassment is usually a waste of emotion anyways, and just drains the pleasure and satisfaction from the experience.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

If wishes were fishes, my room would smell like Pike Place

I wish
         that I had somewhere to be alone
                 that I was a poet
                          that all my boxes of mac and cheese would turn into real food
        that my voice was as pretty as hers
    that I had someone to hold me.

I wish
        that I could remember what feelings felt like.
                that I had choices besides "neutral" and "apathetic" and "meltdown"
                       that I was better at being punctual
                       that I had gone snowboarding this winter
                that it was spring.

I wish 
         that I had succeeded in giving up Facebook for Lent
                 that I could play the guitar
                       that I could still eat ice cream without getting sick.
                that I was brave enough to ask for a hug.
        that I could see past what I wish for to what I have...

Like  purple Asics
               and legs that can dance
                       and  no-bake cookies
                            and an inviting bed

and a hope that tomorrow will be different than today.


                  

Friday, March 2, 2012

FRIG. YES.

You have no idea how excited I am about this. Han Solo as Colonel Graff? The adorable Abigail Breslin as Valentine?

Yes, the only thing that could make me happier  would be Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Helena Bonham  Carter starring in a movie version of Les Miserables. Oh wait...


Life is so awesome.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

In which I link

Hey friends, read this:  http://notreligious.typepad.com/notreligious/stage-4-faith.html  I don't think I agree with all of it; for example, I don't think you can delineate stages of spirituality that cleanly. It seems to me to be a much more fluid progression, going from one stage to another depending on the day, moment or situation, and possibly residing in more than one of Peck's stages at once. But I think this is a useful way to look at faith both for those for who are blessed with that certainty that Peck characterizes as Stage 2 faith and for those floundering in Stage 3 who may be comforted by the possibility of a Stage 4. I'd be interested in hearing anybody else's thoughts on this.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

In which I feel irresponsible

I keep thinking that one of these days I'm going to grow up and magically be responsible. That I won't be late to every single one of my classes every day...and sleep right through them sometimes. That I won't forget to go to important research meetings, or double-book myself or play board games when I should be doing my homework. That someday staying up until 2 surfing facebook and reading blogs will sound unappealing.

But maybe it's a trade-off. Because maybe if I magically grew up in every way possible I wouldn't like to climb trees anymore. Maybe I wouldn't be able to appreciate picture books. And I'd definitely have to stop making forts out of couch cushions.

But still...it would be nice to make it to class on time more often...maybe I should start setting my alarm for earlier...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

In which Nair has become a tempting option.

I've been shaving my legs for nine years, ever since that mortifying day in seventh grade when I said to my friends, "Look how clear and invisible my leg hairs are! You can't even tell I have them!" and everybody shifted their eyes and shuffled their feet and said, "Actually, Karissa...your legs are really hairy. It's pretty bad, honestly."

So you'd think, given the amount of time I've been doing it, I'd have gotten the hang of it by now. No such luck. I just now emerged from the shower with five cuts on my legs. I wish I could say this was unusual for me...but it's not. Which is why I'm kind of a once-a-week shaver...every other week if I wear a really long skirt one of the Sundays...

Here's the thing. I really, really hate shaving my legs. A lot. So I have a question for the ladies and a question for the gentlemen:

Chicas: how expensive and/or painful is waxing?

Fellas: would you be cool with your wife or girlfriend never shaving her legs, as long as she said you never had to shave your face?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In which the floor is inviting

I miss having my own room, because I miss laying on the floor.

It may sound strange, but when life takes a toll on my emotions, laying on the floor soothes me faster than anything else. Feeling that solidness along the entire length of my body, knowing it isn't going anywhere. You can't fall any lower if you're laying on the floor.

Even better if it's a tiled floor, with its hard coolness saying, "I am here. I am real. You're safe." Back home, I've  been known to take many stress-induced naps on the bathroom floor.

But here...well, with 6 busy college students sharing a bathroom, it doesn't get cleaned much. No way am I laying on that.

And as nice as my roommates are, I don't know what they would think were they to find me stretched out on the bedroom floor, staring at the ceiling, or pressing my face to the carpet, or hyperventilating.

Which means the best I can do is lay on my bed and pretend to read, longing for the trustworthy reality of that floor.

My depression whacked me out of nowhere  in the middle of my dance class today. Fact: a dance class is probably one of the worst situations in which to have an anxiety/depressive attack, because you have to keep moving and doing things and being expressive when all you really want to do is curl up in fetal position and wait for it to end. I was counting down the minutes until cooldown stretches were over and I could leave, when my teacher instructed us to lay facedown on the floor and breathe. And I felt the cold wood under my cheek, its stability along my legs. I wanted to cling to it, an anchor of reality in my churning sea of emotions. And for a minute, I felt secure.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On complicated friendships

When I was in ninth grade, I spent biology class goofing off in the back of the room with a table of all guys. These kids were some of my great friends and biology was full of excellent times dissecting pigs, telling jokes, and listening to the guys talk about the beautiful girls that made their lives miserable (ah, junior high...). One day they made an anti-girl club called "Chica de las Muertas" and they let me be an honorary member since, in Aaron's words, "You're practically a guy when you hang out with us."

I'm not going to make this an analysis of my relative girliness or manliness, I'm quite comfortable with being a girl. However, I have a lot of experience being "one of the guys," and I love it. Historically, I've found it easier to establish and maintain friendships with guys than with girls. I tend to be less intimidated by guys. Since coming to college and living with roommates I've gotten much better at building wonderful friendships with girls, and I adore my female friends. To quote Nacho Libre, "They are my heart." But, being in a female-dominated major and living with 5 other girls, I often have moments where I need to escape the estrogen cloud I live in and get a breath of fresh, testosteroney air.

However, attending a university where dating and marriage are highly stressed and becoming  more aware of my sexual attraction to men and my desire to someday be married to a man has made my friendships with guys...complicated. Whenever my friendship with a guy passes the surface level my brain goes into heavy over-analysis mode, trying to decide if this deeper level of our friendship means we're going to fall in love, get married and have a passel of young'uns. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Every romantic relationship I've ever had has come from a process similar to this one, and I since I hope to marry someone I consider my best friend, I'm sure I'll continue to use this process. But what if I become really good friends with a guy, but for some reason or another, we don't end up dating? Maybe there's not enough physical chemistry. Maybe our worldviews or personalities conflict. This is the point where I start to stress out. A lot.

I have a tendency to invest a lot of emotion into my friendships. I don't make friends quickly or easily, but once I do, I get very attached. So if I have a male friend with whom I've built up a certain degree of trust and emotional intimacy, I tend to get very scared of losing them. Because in BYU culture, many people seem to think that the primary role of cross-gender friendships is to find a spouse, and once you've found and married your one true love, you have no need of other friendships. In fact, having close friends of the opposite gender after marriage is often frowned upon as an "emotional affair". So if I have a male friend who I love platonically, but am incompatible with romantically, our friendship is more or less doomed as soon as one of us falls in love with someone else. Not wanting to lose the friends I've become so close to, I'm tempted to force myself to fall in love with my male friends so I don't have to lose them. This becomes a problem when no matter the amount of affection, there is insufficient attraction. Or when one party doesn't reciprocate the attraction. Or when I have several really awesome guy friends who I want to keep. 

What I wonder is, am I making this too complicated? Why can't I have the same joyful, pressure-free friendships with guys that I have with girls? One reason I'm hesitant to start dating anyone right now is because I'm afraid to lose all of my wonderful male friends, but maybe I don't have to. I mean, things would be different, but...they're my friends. They're important to me. And I like to think I'm important to them.

Readers, what do you think? Are platonic male/female friendships ever sustainable? Why or why not? And whether or not they are sustainable in the long term, how do I stop freaking out and enjoy spending time with my male friends while I still can? Give me some wisdom here, friends. I'm lackin'. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In which that string quartet is stuck in my head.

It's like a romantic comedy: girl meets boy, girl hates boy, girl gets to know boy better and falls deeply in love.

Take out "boy" and add "numerous long-dead classical composers" and you've got my college music career in a nutshell. That's right folks. I never thought I'd say it, but over the last couple of semesters, I've fallen deeply in love with three dead dudes: J.S. Bach, Joseph Haydn, and W.A. Mozart.

 For years, I maintained that Bach was too complicated and calculated for me to enjoy. To all you classical music aficionados, I can only say, "I was young! I was ignorant! I had only ever played Bach Inventions, and a little bit from the Well-Tempered Klavier!" However, last year, I was introduced to (aka forced to learn) an incredible keyboard Toccata and...wow...just...wow. Shortly thereafter I discovered Bach's more awesome organ works, and just last month became enamored of his Mass in B Minor. Powerful stuff. And studying Bach in theory and history classes has absolutely blown my mind...the man was an absolute master of counterpoint. It's ridiculous. His fugues make my heart go pitter-patter.

And then, there's our friend Wolfgang. Smitten with Beethoven and his Romantic brethren, I scorned the lack of grand passion and individual expression inherent in Mozart's music. I took great pride in being the only classical musician I knew who couldn't stand Mozart. And yet...slowly, slowly...I cracked. Maybe it was learning the delicate, lovely, K. 281 piano sonata. Maybe it was seeing "Die Zauberflote" live at the Vienna State Opera or hearing the Requieum in Stephansdom. Maybe it eating Mozart-kugeln in Salzburg. Or maybe it was finally understanding enough theory to realize that composition-wise, Mozart's music is like...flawless. But somehow, in the last year, a soft spot in my heart has been carved for this man. Most days, I still prefer a good Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody or a Chopin nocturne, but when I'm in the right mood, a light, frothy Mozart sonata can hit the spot. And the Jupiter symphony just makes me want to jump and dance and tell everyone how awesome and wonderful life is.

Going into this school year, I was a little bit lost...I didn't hate Bach anymore. My loathing for Mozart had vanished. How could I be a proper music snob without hating at least one composer? So I clung tightly to my dislike of Haydn. I'm...actually not sure why. I'll be honest, I had listened to hardly any of his music, and had rashly and ignorantly given it the label of "boring". In my Form and Analysis class last semester, I had to analyze a lot of Haydn, and while listening to its still didn't impress me, analyzing it did. It always fit the form just perfectly, just how it should...except for maybe one or two chords that were completely unexpected. It started to feel like Haydn was playing with my head, messing with my expectations. And soon I felt like Haydn and I had become great friends, that he was playing these mischievous pranks on me to make me laugh. This semester in Music History, my affection for Haydn was sealed with this string quartet. I might be a complete nerd, but the ending makes me laugh every time (which I guess is why the piece is called "The Joke",) and the melody gets stuck in my head for days at a time. I love it, and I love Haydn.

And the moral of the story is: sometimes all it takes to love something is to learn more about it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In which I am easily distracted

Sometimes I desperately need to create a lesson plan, write in my work blog, and study for my music history test...
And instead I spend an hour and half reading online essays about comic strips....

And yet somehow, I don't really regret it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In which I don't act my age

You know you're secretly only seven years old when you go to a career fair and cruise right on past the booths for Goldman Sachs, Apple, and various other fancy, prestigious companies without giving them a second look, pick up applications for a summer camp and Disneyland, and then leave. Grown-up jobs just sound so boring to me. So it's probably a good thing I'm planning to work in elementary schools for the rest of my life.

And yet, despite my aversion to grown-up jobs...I finally have one. A job where I go to an office and send emails and make copies (any job that uses a copy machine is a grown-up job by default). And...it's not really that bad. It kind of makes me feel like I'm a real adult now...and then I go to my other job, where I draw pictures with fourth graders. And I finally feel at home.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In which intrinsic motivation never felt better.

World, today I practiced piano for an hour.

I mean, really practiced. Metronome, exercise book, scales, the real deal. And I made some serious progress on the Schubert piece that I've been wanting to perfect. Serious enough that I might might have it ready in time for Grand Pianos Live. (So ya know, if you want to come see me or anything...)

It felt...so good. Seriously. Not just to be at the piano again, not just to feel like I was making quality music, but to know that I was making music on my own terms. That I wasn't doing it for a grade, that I wasn't preparing for juries or a recital or a nervewracking lesson the next day. I was just playing because I wanted to play. Because I missed Schubert. Because I love the feeling of drilling a phrase over and over again, until you've got the dynamics and the phrasing and the balance and the expression absolutely perfect, and then you can move on to the next phrase and make it just as perfect. Knowing I could stop any time I wanted, that I could practice for 15 minutes or 3 hours, and it didn't matter.

It's a feeling I haven't felt in a long, long time. And it was perfect.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In which I dream of riches.

Someday, when I am rich (or at least...out of paycheck-to-paycheck range), I will:

Eat things besides pasta and granola bars.
Have my own room again.
Go snowboarding every weekend (and even some weekdays, since I could afford to miss work)
Go rock climbing on days besides "Bring a Friend Friday" (where I can get in for free, because I have friends with season passes).
Buy all of the music I ever loved. And all of the books ever written, even ones I don't love.
Have a car.
Own my own camping gear.
Travel. A lot.

Things that I do now, instead of being rich:

Get really creative with my food sources, so I can eat things besides pasta and granola bars. These include: attending social/church functions just because there will be free food, try to date as much as possible, and go to my grandparents' house for every Sunday dinner possible.
Bond with the two other girls who share my room, and pretend I'm a pirate when I climb up the ladder to my little bunk. (I'm not sure why climbing up the ladder makes me feel like a pirate, but...it does.)
Not whine about how crappy the snow is this year, because I've been lucky enough to miss out on that particular hardship.
Spend time with my awesome friends who do have Quarry passes, especially on "Bring a Friend Friday".
Spotify. And Pandora. And libraries. And thrift store bookshelves. (Ender's Game for a dollar at D.I.? Yes, please.)
Ride my bike or walk everywhere, acquiring some sick calf muscles in the process.
Use my dad's camping gear, which is pretty dang nice.
Travel. A lot. Even though I can't afford it. (This actually may be the reason why I can't afford anything else on my "If I were rich" list...)

Turns out wealth isn't all it's cracked up to be (though it would still be nice...)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

In which things are good

I've realized something; I blog less when things are good. Not necessarily because most of my blogging is complaining; I think I've written some surprisingly upbeat posts when depressed. However, I think for me, writing serves two main purposes: channeling emotions and escaping them, with the occasional celebratory moment. So I'm gonna switch things up a little and blog on a happy day:

I'm in a new apartment, in my old ward. I miss living with my family, having my dad's office in the next room over, playing with my sisters, wrestling with my brother, and following my mom around the house. I miss my amazingly soft bed with its scads of pillows, which I've now traded for a top bunk that feels like a pile of bricks. But I love being back in my second home, right by campus. I feel like my old friends and neighbors have given me such a warm welcome back. I love that I'm right by JDawgs, Spoon it Up, Awful Waffle, and Slab.

I'm a huge fan of my classes this semester. The other day, I learned about the role of devotional music in the cosmology of Hinduisum, examined award-winning picture book art, and rehearsed with my choir. My other classes involve playing singing games, studying Haydn sonatas, choreographing modern dances, singing, and learning the viola. My major...might be the best. Just sayin'.

Even though its January, it is still a balmy 40 degrees outside, with a sky that feels like it belongs in April. All my snow-loving friends complain about the warmth, but as I can't afford a snowboarding pass this year anyway (and to me, that's really all snow is good for), I'm just enjoying the inexplicably gorgeous weather as best I can.

So yeah, I'd say my life is pretty great these days.

Pretty dang great.