Aug 12, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I’ve always hated this song. I just find it silly. But mostly, I think that this is because Maria’s favorite things are totally ridiculous. Copper kettles and paper packages… ponies, kittens’ whiskers, and all that. Um….. yeah…. About those things… LAME!

But you know, the idea of the song isn’t so silly, I guess. It is important to think about the things that make you happy. Same idea as counting your blessings. When you take notice of the good things in your life, the bad things seem to slowly lose their importance.

A couple of months ago, I read the blog of a friend of mine, where he listed things that make him happy. It impressed me so much that I decided to create one of my own. So here goes… (in no particular order, by the way)…

1. Laying in the sunshine on a clear, summer day
2. Eating a fat piece of chocolate cake for breakfast
3. A shooting star so bright it makes you squint
4. A good workout that leaves you sweaty and sore
5. Arrested Development
6. Barbeque chips with cottage cheese
7. Sleeping in on a weekend… and then waking up and going back to sleep
8. Having the most amazing baby sister in the whole wide world
9. Rock band
10. Free Netflix on the Wii
11. Hot tubbing in the dead of winter
12. Accomplishing all your goals for the day
13. Staring adversity in the eye and beating it back with what you’ve got
14. Falling in love
15. A first kiss
16. Making new friends
17. Getting together with old friends
18. The satisfaction of a clean house
19. People’s quirks--I LOVE finding the things that make each person unique
20. When babies like you
21. Laughing until your sides hurt
22. Piling in your queen sized bed with some of your best girl friends
23. Talking until the sun comes up
24. Creating something all on your own
25. Being in love with your job
26. Friday the 13th
27. Fireworks
28. The excitement of a new relationship
29. Daydreaming
30. Calling in sick to devour the rest of a good book
31. Getting a massage
32. Eating frozen custard with your mission companions
33. Learning something new
34. Surprises
35. Finding a note that says someone is thinking about you
36. Christmas trees
37. An afternoon at the temple
38. Having faith to try again
39. The smell of new books at Barnes & Noble
40. Sitting on the highest point of a mountain—day or night—and looking down at all the earth
41. Enjoying the vastness of God’s creations
42. Summer nights when you don’t need a blanket
43. Roasting marshmallows and hotdogs over a fire
44. Singing songs with friends
45. Receiving compliments from random strangers
46. Sharing the excitement of a friend
47. Doing something they say can’t be done
48. Spooning
49. Inside jokes
50. Plato’s Closet
51. Finding money in the pocket of an old coat
52. When a chubby little toddler reaches out her hands for you to pick her up
53. Sharing the gospel
54. Being brave when you thought you didn’t know how
55. Having inspiration to write something of value
56. Orange Julius
57. The fresh smell after it rains
58. A full rainbow against a dark sky
59. The awkwardness at the beginning of a relationship
60. Lightening that turns the night to day for a split second
61. Thunder that takes your breath away
62. Suspense
63. A movie that you have to see twice
64. A warm cup of cocoa on a winter night
65. People who are always there for you
66. The triumph after killing a spider you thought would kill YOU.
67. Watching old movies from your childhood
68. Sunsets
69. Sun rises
70. The smell of baking bread
71. Watching chick flicks all alone, and never telling anyone.
72. Fry sauce
73. Oreo cookies and milk
74. Sitting at the feet of senior citizens and hearing the beautiful stories of their lives
75. Running in the rain
76. The sky—any shade. It is simply amazing
77. Playing pranks on your friends
78. Hot fudge sundaes
79. Tanning beds during the winter
80. XFiles
81. Chill music
82. Super Heroes
83. Being silly
84. Friends who give you a shoulder to cry on
85. Fresh garden vegetables
86. The first sunny day of springtime
87. The way a kitten’s head is disproportionate to its tiny body
88. The funny things that kids say
89. Being validated
90. Serving a mission
91. Cuddling
92. Wrestling
93. Nail polish in your favorite shade
94. Getting a great deal on something you want
95. Napping on Sunday afternoon
96. Changing your hair color (this one might only apply to me)
97. Funny You-Tube videos
98. Relishing over cherished memories
99. Holidays and traditions
100. Water fights

Well… there’s a hundred. I don’t want to get carried away and bore the heck out of all of you. Maybe I’ll lengthen it later as I think of more things.

Aug 5, 2010

Well, Bless my Soul!...

The following is an article I wrote for a website a friend of mine is designing. Let me know what you think:

“The influence of a valiant mission president is one of the great miracles of the restored gospel.”
-Elder Quentin L. Cook

The Savior, Jesus Christ, spent the entirety of his life teaching people the way to gain true eternal happiness. Every moment of his mortality was characterized by love, service, and sacrifice. He took no care for his own comfort, but laid down his life for the well-being and the joy of all of God’s children.

Jesus was the example whereby each of us should pattern our own lives. In following the example of Jesus to love and serve God’s children selflessly, each of us gains the possibility to have “the image of God engraven upon [our] countenances” (Alma 5:19) and, in effect, truly become more like him. In an article in the April 1973 issue of the New Era, we read, “By freely giving his life, Christ, and Christ alone, atoned for all mankind. We have the opportunity of aiding others to accept his love and his sacrifice—the gift of the atonement—and thereby aid in the work of exalting the human family, becoming saviors on Mount Zion…To become as God is, we must learn to give freely, to love freely, to be willing to suffer even the humiliation and sorrow of seeing our love rejected—willing to love all as God loves us, unconditionally, throughout eternity.”

If this is true, those who serve as full-time missionaries have the opportunity not only to be blessed with the happiness of bringing the gospel to others, but they also are placed at the brink of being made into new creatures—like the Savior himself. These missionaries, when they truly give themselves to such complete and dedicated selfless service, are privy to so much of light of Christ that those taught by them can feel the love of the Savior as if He were indeed present, wrapping His arms around them and calling them to return home. I know this is true, because I have experienced it. These moments are my most cherished memories.

But, I believe, it is a faithful mission president, the man who presides over all the missionaries in one large area, who has the ability to become the most Christ-like of all. A mission president dedicates every day of his life for three years to loving and serving each one of the young missionaries, even as they are serving others. His desires are their righteous desires, and he prays fervently day and night for opportunities to help them succeed.

A few weeks ago, I stood and embraced the man who served as my own mission president in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He had just returned home, and though his eyelids sagged with exhaustion, his smile was more radiant than ever. It has been two full years since I returned home, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I have lost a great deal of the light that I was blessed with while serving. It’s funny; I thought I’d be able to hang onto it forever. But the truth is that the more concerned with self we become, the less like Christ we are. And since I am no longer a missionary, it is much harder for my focus to be outside myself. Life is hard. I’ve faced a lot of pains and sorrows of my own. But standing there, hugging the man that we Wisconsin missionaries had nick-named ‘Papa Bear,’ I felt warmth and peace course through my body and my soul. In that instant, the love of the Savior was made evident through this man who had served me and so many others so very diligently. This pure love coursed through me with a sense of power that I had not felt in a long time. Tears sprang to my eyes, and I said a silent prayer of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with the love of such a faithful man.

Missionary work is powerful. I truly believe that it is a tool which, if utilized, can make us all more like the One who created us, our Savior, even Jesus Christ.

May 29, 2010

Goodbye my Almost Lover....

.....So apparently red dye fades fast. Too fast. I've dyed my hair twice already, and the red still seems to be slipping away. It's so sad. It now looks to be a sort of brown/pink color. Don't know if that is possible, but it is really how it seems. I think I'm ready to be blonde again. Not because I don't like the red, but just because I can't keep it.

This is sort of like most of my relationships. It begins intense and passionate, but fades out really quickly, leaving something that is hard to get rid of. Haha. Just kidding. Sort of.

Anyway, I'm just going to let it do its thing until it starts to look tragically horrific, and then I'll see what I can do. Incidentally, does anyone think it's time to cut my hair? I never, never like my hair short, but other people tend to. It is so damaged that cutting it my be the way to go. I dunno. We'll see.

(Oh... I stole the title for this from a song by A Fine Frenzy. She was my inspiration for going red. How come she keeps it so well?)

May 19, 2010

Go Big or Go Home!!

I did it!! I finally dyed my hair red! It is bold and—if I might say so myself—it is beautiful! I’m so excited about it. My roommate Emily has been wanting to dye hers for a couple of weeks now, and so she made me go and get a box dye when she got hers. I was super nervous because I didn’t know if I would find a color that would turn out. But I took a deep breath (or several), and I did it. I feel like a celebrity. And I’m grateful for the fun change. Give it a look and let me know what you think. But even if you hate it, be aware that I will still think it is one of the greatest things I’ve done. I really do.

Here is one of me in my big, pink movie star glasses

And here is me with my roommate Emily as we mock swimsuit model poses. Aren't we just so clever?

May 12, 2010

Zumba and New Year's Resolutions

I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve been working on my New Year’s resolution. I know, I know, you’re all so proud and want to say congrats and all that. Nevermind that it is nearly 5 months into the new year and so the year isn’t even new anymore. But hey, I still write 2009 on things by accident sometimes. That means it is still fairly new, right? I don’t know.

I’m just really proud of myself for working on it. Actually, a few years ago I decided that it was better not to make New Year’s resolutions anymore because I never go through with them. And I just can’t deal with the stress of failure. You know? No goals= no possibilities of failure. Yeah! But no goals also= no progression. So….. I made a few resolutions for the year. And how am I doing on them? Well… I actually don’t remember what most of them are. Pretty sure I didn’t write them down anywhere because I still didn’t want to fail and then feel bad about it.

BUUUUUUUUUT…. I do remember one. And that is what I’m getting at here. I made a goal to get a gym pass, and get in shape. It only took me a month to go in and get the pass. I think I went in February. And, I got a really good deal by talking the guy down. I started going to the gym that same week. I’ve been going about once a week since then. But now the sun has been coming out, so I no longer feel like I need the tanning bed. So, not wanting my pass to go to waste, I decided to go to the gym for an actual work out.

I went yesterday. It was amazing. Did you know that the Provo gym has this room where all the lights are off so no one can see you and all your nasty, filthy sweatingness as you run on the treadmill? They call it the CardioCinema and they play movies to distract you from thinking about the fact that you haven’t been running in about 5 years and you feel like you’re dying. They must’ve been thinking of me when they built this room. After a while in there, I worked out on the weights, and found that the new ones have these awesome little pictures on them which show you how you might possibly look when you are through with the workout—pictures of people with chiseled abs, hard pecs, and muscular calves. I suppose these are for motivation as well as for instruction on how to use the machines.

Anyway, it was a spectacular workout. And then, Oscar, the “club manager” (he told me that that was his official title, but I’m wondering if he is really assistant to the club manager) told my roommate Emily all about how he sees me in the gym all the time. I guess Oscar sees the future. He also signed us up for a Zumba class. I wasn’t really sure what Zumba even was, but he assured us that it is great. We went tonight. Um…. I’ll try not to let the thought of Zumba effect my desire to go to the gym in the future. If I just go when they’re not teaching it, and pretend it doesn’t exist, I'll still like the gym.

But back to the point: I went to the gym. Two days in a row even! That is enough to maybe even create a consistent pattern. I feel proud. I might actually achieve this New Year’s resolution. Maybe.

May 10, 2010

Hair Today

Today I am going to blog about hair. That’s right, hair. You might think there is not a lot a person can say about hair—especially a person unaffiliated with beauty school or the like—but you would be wrong. I have quite the hair thought train right now. Hmmmm. Hair thought train. That is a funny image. Anyway, I suppose I’m not just thinking of hair in general, but of hair color. I started thinking about this a couple of months ago, and it has all culminated in the writing of this probably pointless blog.

As some of you may remember, a couple of months ago, my world fell apart. I posted something about it when I had my nervous break-down. Ever after that, I have been feeling super insignificant in the world that flows and ebbs around me. Not insignificant as in I don’t matter; I don’t want you to think that I am self-depreciating or self-loathing, I like myself. This insignificance is the kind that comes from feeling like one solitary leaf in a whirlwind. Things are constantly moving around me of their own volition, and I am hopeless to control them, no matter how hard I try. Despite the strength of my person, I will never be strong enough to control anything but me. Don’t get me wrong, you can be a force for good, and you can motivate others and you can help with things, yada yada yada, but really each of us is the master of only our own agency. That’s super humbling. And who knows, maybe that is a lesson that God has been trying to teach me this last little while. I’m not really sure. All I know is that I HAVE learned it. And as I’ve learned about my powerlessness to control anything but myself, I’ve gained this immense desire to control EVERYTHING inside myself. I often catch myself thinking about how I’m spending my time, and if it is really how I want to spend it. It is distracting. In the middle of a task, I will think, “Is THIS what I want to be doing right now? No. I want to be doing something else.” And since I have control of me, I will change tasks. Often this leads to my homework falling by the wayside, as you can imagine.

Anyway this is a blog about hair, right? Right. Here’s how I lead into the hair topic: One thing I found that I have control over is the color of my hair. And so for the last couple of months, I have wanted to change my hair. I started to look around for what I like—not what others like, or what is popular or mainstream, but what I like. I wanted to be in control of the decision. I realized that the color I am the most attracted to is a deep red. You may have seen this red being sported by women like the actress on GI Joe, the singer for A Fine Frenzy, and others. I fell in love with the color, and have been obsessing about it for at least a month. Really I’ve been trying to figure out whether people would like me with red hair. But then I realized that I was placing the control with other people again. Worrying if people will like me with red hair? Really? Is the color of my hair going to affect whether or not people LIKE me? I will still be the same person, regardless of the color of the stuff coming out of the top of my head, won’t I?

My friends know that I’m not very fond of stereotyping in general, but this brand is extra repulsive to me. I have spent most of my life sporting blonde locks, which I suppose makes me “A Blonde.” But I hate saying that. I hate saying I’m “a blonde” because of the package deal of stupidity and silliness that comes with that title. Blondes apparently were not blessed with brains. Brunettes, on the other hand, are smart and talented and sometimes athletic. Oh, and my favorite—Gingers. This is a term that is new to me. I wasn’t aware that people with red hair were so generally despised by the entire human race. But apparently they are. Or at least this is what I’m told. I’m told that Gingers are at the bottom of society. Seriously? This whole idea reminds me of Dr. Seuss’s “Sneeches on the beaches with the stars on thars.” Those with the star-bellies were thought to be better simply because of different coloring. But what happened when that crazy guy came into town and switched up all the colors and shapes and sizes? And what would happen if I, a Blonde, had the audacity to dye my hair brown? Would I suddenly become a brilliant-minded athlete of the century? No. I tried it. Didn’t work. Nothing can make me athletic. I’m uncoordinated. But you know what DID happen? People treated me differently. Maybe only a little, but they did it. And I have a friend who is terribly embarrassed of his own red hair because of the Ginger stigma. So he dyes his hair brown. He says people just treat him better all around. How ridiculous is THAT?!

Anyway I don’t know where I’m going with this... The truth is that I started writing this about 3 weeks ago, and now I can’t seem to capture the passion I had concerning hair at that point. I did color my hair red. Parts of it. Painted streaks right through my precious blonde locks. It was beautiful. I almost cried. Okay… maybe not. But it WAS beautiful. Then it faded. I suppose I could come up with a really great analogy about how things in your life fade and how tragic that is… but I won’t. I’ll leave it here. I still like red hair. I think I’m going to pursue it more aggressively.
The End.

Rachel Nichols from GI Joe

Alison Sudol from A Fine Frenzy

I was also going to post a picture of Jessica Rabbit just for kicks... but I couldn't find one that I didn't feel was slightly pornographic. Gross. She's a cartoon for heaven's sake!

Mar 25, 2010

The Secret, and Positive Thinking

I started thinking the other day about how I haven't written in a while. Not really. I mean, I posted a poem, but that has nothing to do with me and my life. I realized that it is not for lack of things going on in my life that I have not been writing... it is for lack of GOOD things going on. I've had sort of a hard life for the last little while. It is sort of like driving on the road right after the snow all melts away, but before the potholes have been filled for the summer. You know what I'm talking about? Its bumpy and rough. But I don't really feel like bringing up all that gross negative stuff. Life is what it is. Bad things do sometimes happen. But man, I also receive a lot of blessings, and I need to think about those positive things.

Which leads me to my real topic of discussion here: positive thinking. I had a conversation with a friend about positive thinking the other night. He was talking about how believing in something and thinking positively helps you to succeed. He was basically saying that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. It reminded me of The Secret. Hailey, if you're reading this, I know what you're thinking: "Don't bring up The Secret with Sister Nielsen. Its a bad idea." And its true. I hate the idea of The Secret. The idea that you can control the world around you simply by thinking positively; That you can have everything you want if you believe it enough. Its just silly. When I tried to explain this to my friend (as well as when I discussed it with Hailey) I was viewed as a complete pessimist. I've tried to advocate realism instead of pessimism, but no one buys that. Anyway, I DO think it is realism. It may SEEM pessimistic-- to think that most of the time I have no control over whether or not I will get what I want. But I just don't see it that way. Here's why: I think that the Lord is in control. Not me. And not anyone else. And you know what? I prefer it that way. The reason for this, is that though I THINK I know what will make me happy in life, in reality I'm totally clueless. But God knows. And I love Him for helping me to figure this out time and time again.

An example from life:
I used to love a boy. I loved him for eight consecutive years of my life. I wanted to marry him. That is what I wanted, what I thought would be best for me. Said boy, if he reads this, will most likely know who he is. I suppose that might be a little awkward, considering the fact that he is now married. But I don't mind. I'm trying to make a point here. And the point is that I could've thought positively about marrying that boy day and night, night and day for all eight of those years, believing with all my heart that I would marry that boy, and it still wouldn't have happened. But that is because it was not what the Lord wanted. And more than that, the Lord knew it was not what I needed, even if it was what I wanted. What I needed was to serve a mission and to meet so many amazing people and to teach the gospel and to make new friends and to build my testimony stronger than it had ever been. And that is what I REALLY wanted. I just didn't know it before.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that your desires never align with the blessings that God wishes to give you. That would just be silly. And that is why I do continue to hope and dream and wish for things. That is why I even continue to pray for the things I want, and ask God if it is His will that I be given them. Because sometimes it is. But when it's not, it's not, and that has nothing to do with how firmly I believed it before. Does that make sense at all? In other words, I can sit here all day, and continue wishing that the boy I love now-- the one that I have loved for over a year-- will recognize that we should be together and come sweep me off my feet and finally marry me. But it might never happen. It might not be what the boy wishes, and it might not be what the Lord wants for me. And you know what? That will hurt. It will hurt a lot. But in the end, it will work out the best way. Isn't that funny? In the end? In THE END it will be fine, but NOW it hurts. Even if you think positively. Even if you believe it won't hurt. Even if you plead with the Lord to make it work out. It hurts when it doesn't. But the hurt is a trial and trials make you grow. So even if you COULD positive-think it away, it wouldn't be what you REALLY wanted in the end, because it wouldn't help you to grow to your full potential.

And now I feel like I'm getting long-winded. Probably because I am. However I want to just add one last thought, and this is a quote by C.S. Lewis: "When we want to be something other than the thing God wants us to be, we must be wanting what, in fact, will not make us happy." True. So though I love this guy more than I can imagine loving anyone else, if it isn't supposed to work out, I am currently wanting something which will, in fact, not make me happy.

Well, it's 2 am. My brain has stopped functioning. But suffice it to say, that though I believe that positivity gives you a zest for life and extra energy, I don't believe that it gives you things that you want simply because you want them.
That's all. The end. All I have to say for right now.

Mar 9, 2010

The Epic... Or my attempt at it

So I wrote this poem for a class a couple of years ago. We were supposed to write our own version of the founding of America. Then, for my British Literature class, we read Paradise Lost, so I decided to re-vamp the poem. I went through the whole thing and changed it into iambic pentameter.... sort of. We'll see how good I did. Here goes:

This is a tale of a freedom begotten
Of ardent yearning for and a devotion
To love of God in a reign of tyranny,
Both in politics and in religion
Across the world; people massacred for
Their vehement ideals. Religious powers
Eyed each other with seething suspicion:
Popes excommunicating their rivals,
Attempts to eclipse arduous warfare
Running rampant. God on His throne sat high
Atop the high acropolis of the
Celestial world, regarding His most
Beloved creations With decisiveness,
His Eldest Son at His right hand, Who held
The scepter of power, in prep’ration
To carry out His Father’s glorious plan.
The time has commenced, said He to the Son;
They sat in still reverence to await the day
Of restitution of all truths to men
In the one land which was chosen before
The god of time began ruling over
The children of earth. In the beginning,
Truths were spread and buried deep Within the
Soil of this hallowed land, because it was
So loved by God; Mysteries, which lay in wait
Of the righteous who would toil with fervor
To bring them to the surface. The Son’s face
Shone with resplendent joy; He began whisp’ring
Directions to those faithful ones, in whose
Humble hearts a candle of vigor and
Unsullied hope burned, piercing the seeming
Stanch darkness. Both Father and Son took great
Compassion upon those Puritans, forced
To pay homage to a mortal monarch
Who sits upon his upraised throne of
Theological icons, proclaiming
Himself a god, driven by power and
Conquest, in defiance of the Heaven:
Heading a corrupted tree of vile fruits.
Blooming in the midst of this chaos,
The faithful Puritans felt the strong Truth
Segregate them from all the abounding
Heresy, shedding Christ’s pure light on them.
O, that Mighty God of mercy! He had
Prepared a way for them to be led to
That Eden afore blessed ever to be free;
Outlined a most perfect departure
And voyage. They adhered to the beckon
Of their God, those faithful ones, whose ragged
Pockets held near-empty purses. Now the
Brave Mayflower, being so humble
Sets sail on waters of pacific
Placidness toward the western sky.
Alas, the Devil in all of his fury
At the miracle now set in motion,
Thrashed about upon the dark sea
Violently; terrible winds and waves rose.
The children of this pilgrimage cried out
Why hast Thou forsaken us, O Dear Lord?
The young, fragile boat groaned and it trembled,
Whilst torrents of waves heaved themselves on it
In fury, the sea ravaged the small craft.
The Father, o’erlooked His precious children
But stayed His hand from alleviation
That Ever-Wise God! He wished them to grow,
Their strength to confront the vast array of
unyielding trials He knows they will face,
They, and their children, in setting the stones
Of the nation, in the future, they’d build.
The raging waters surged brute’ly against
The haggard boat. A beam then crashed down
Onto the ship’s deck—grabbed hold of a man,
And the poor soul was lost to the mad waves;
Then in sudden speed, God’s mercy swept in,
Forcing strong Neptune to flee, to retreat.
The Mayflower’s crew then lost their despair
Determination replaced all their fears
They pressed forward t’ward their great destiny,
Abandoning all thoughts of turning back.
Upon at last reaching their sweet refuge
The blessed people found rapture and beauty,
A land whose sweet radiance filled thier joy,
Which God’s hand had guided them safely to.
The splendorous shores cried out like sirens
Promising pleasure to all who embarked
But Ah, God’s beloved, children of light,
Refused the temptation to rush on land
Knowing imperative work still remained.
For God led them here with a plan in mind,
A great purpose which they would not let die.
Remaining upon the fetid vessel
Which had imprisoned them already for
Many long, pitiful nights and long days,
And they prayed to that Being, who in His grace
Had brought them safely to His most choice land,
They prayed for a law, and that law was giv’n,
Then a marvelous compact they drafted:
A cov’nant man to God, God to man,
And strong pacts they made to one another
Which they all vowed solemnly to live by.
Father and Son, Creators of the World,
Sat quiet and still, together again,
Gazing over the vast expanse of time,
Upon the children who would follow forth
One generation after another,
Each finding his own role in Heaven’s plan
A group of wise men, soon drawn together
In the bold cause of freedom and love
A cause to unite that infant country
Into a nation of grandeur and power,
By the combining of all of its laws
The righteous and just, all under our God;
Strong men who stood fighting against evil,
Tyrannic, oppression, a mother land
Whose hand gripped the people with harsh contempt;
And a subsequent man, who in this midst,
Governed by statutes of Heaven, would soon
Restore all the pure and the simple truths
Of Powers, Kingdoms, and Glories of God
Not just to this land, but to the whole earth,
Expanding across all the lands and seas.
And those first children, all then unaware
Of the magnificent future ahead,
They began plowing and churning the soil,
Rich with the vital minerals of truth with great care,
These had been spread by their Father above
So many eons before they arrived;
Prosperous civilization began
To be sown in the rich, new foundation;
A nation most powerful, vied by all,
Would be reaped in the succeeding centuries:
A beacon of freedom and of refuge
To all people who’d fall on its shores,
Paying homage to One who reigns o’er all,
That Merciful God of Heaven and Earth.

I know it's long.... hopefully not DREADFULLY long. If you read the whole thing, kudos to you. You are a true friend. Or a true die-hard amateur poetry lover. Either way, thanks. :)

Feb 15, 2010

Why skating requires coordination

So, tonight our ward went ice-skating for FHE. We actually rented out the whole rink for an hour so that we could have it just for our ward. It was a lot of fun. And I actually felt pretty good about myself because I wasn't clinging onto the wall like half the girls in the ward who were trying to keep from falling on their faces. I was enjoying getting some exercise, even going a little faster than I'm used to. Well, I guess I got a little too cocky, though, so the Lord saw fit to humble me. I started racing this guy around the circle, and suddenly my toe pick caught on the ice (stupid toe pick! I don't know who decided they would be a good idea!) and I went flying over my feet. That's right, I biffed it. Hard too. Surprisingly I wasn't very embarrassed. I just started laughing, and brushed myself off. I didn't feel like I hurt myself too bad. My jeans ripped in the knee, which made me upset, but I felt like I'd live. But about half an hour later, my knee began to throb. Now I'm sitting here on my bed wondering if I will be able to climb out of bed tomorrow, let alone climb up and down all the ridiculous amounts of stairs on campus. My knee is totally swollen. We have no ice, but luckily, I found a bag of frozen brussel sprouts in the freezer. No one will eat brussel sprouts, I'm sure. So they're sitting on my knee right now.
What an exciting life I lead...

Feb 12, 2010

Acoustic Awesomeness

I'm having an acoustic show at my house. That's right, I'm cool. Well.... not THAT cool, since I won't actually be performing myself. Really, I will just be being used for the house space and for the drawing in of cool people. Well, you know what? I'll take it! I'm having a party at my house. Yay. Everyone and anyone is invited. It will be in two weeks, and it will be totally free. We're trying to get a good line-up as far as people who will play, but so far we just have one: Emily Peet. She's my friend from work, and she's awesome. We are also working on gathering food for said event. More details will follow. Until then, just plan on coming. My house. Friday, February 26th.

I wanted to post a picture... but it appears blogger is against that idea, because it won't let me. won't even give me the option. Dang blogger.

Feb 8, 2010

Biggest Loser?

Tonight I am going to the gym. That's it! I'm doing it. I find it sickening that I went and purchased a gym pass a full month ago and haven't gone to work out once. Don't worry, my pass has been getting SOME use, as I've suddenly taken up tanning. I know, I know you're tsking at me and thinking, "You're going to get skin cancer." But I'm not. I promise. I just need a little sunshine and Vitamin D in my life. The nervous break-down of last week reminded me of that.

Anyway, tanning aside, my body is in need of exercise something fierce. I was just sitting here thinking, "Why do I feel so incredibly disgusting right now?" and realized that my diet over the weekend had to have been the worst combination of foods I could have managed to assault my system with. So bravo, Vanae, if you wanted to make a full on attack on your own body and make it hate you. **see that? see how I just switched to 3rd person there, and spoke to myself? boy, am I witty!**

Just so that we're clear on how incredibly disgusting it actually was, and you're not thinking, "She must have had a Big Mac, and is just regretting it because of Super Size Me," I will give an overview here:

Friday= I ate a sandwich and chips with barbeque chips around 4. Then I went with some guy friends who were hungry and found that McDonald's has a deal for 50 chicken nuggets for $10. Really. This is a disgusting thing to offer, but how could a guy ever pass this up? So they ordered the nuggets, and I ordered a soft-serve cone. But don't worry, I finished off the chicken for them when they were too embarrassed to say that they'd eaten all 50. Then, after watching Slumdog Millionaire, everyone was in the mood for some curry. At midnight. So I ate that too.

Saturday= I took Dusty to lunch for her birthday at TGIFriday's. I'm not sure why, but for some reason we both thought it would be a really good idea to get the 3-course meal for 12.99. Good deal, yes. Good idea, I took home a huge box of food, and felt like I would vomit the rest of the night.... until 11 pm. I was at work filling out paperwork, feeling a big grumpy, and I just needed to snack on something. So I had some left-over pizza. And don't worry, not just one, but TWO slices.

Sunday= Thank heavens it was Fast Sunday! I skipped two fat meals. But by the time dinner came around, I was obviously starving. So I ate my left-overs from TGIFriday's.... followed by some cookie dough....and some chips. And later I was hungry again, so I ate a sandwich.... and some Oreos and milk. Gross?

Well, I know today doesn't count as the weekend, but at school I was really hungry and oh-so bored in ASL, so I bought some chips from the vending machine.... and some chocolate cookies. I ate them both before an hour was even up. Gross. Gross. Disgusting. Gross.

My body is rebelling against me. I feel like I've mistreated the poor thing. If it could, it would leave me and probably take me to court for abuse. It would win, too, on several counts. I'm so ashamed. Well, body, tonight I'm going to make it up to you. Tonight I'm taking you to out. Out to that place where every body feels like a million bucks: Gold's. That's right. You're welcome.

Feb 5, 2010

Those Promised Pictures

So here are the pictures that I promised to post of our 80's party. It really was a fun night, despite the fact that it contributed to my subsequent nervous break-down.

Is it too cocky of me to say that I think I would've made one hot 80's chick?

Feb 3, 2010

The Break-Down

So......... I had a nervous break-down this last weekend. Or maybe it was a mental break-down. I’m not really sure what the difference is. Mental break-down sounds a bit more serious; like there is a probability that your roommate will check you into a psych ward while you are sleeping. I’m pretty sure that things aren’t THAT bad yet… though that might be due to the fact that I’m such a light sleeper that my roommate could never sneak into my room without me sitting up bolt-right and asking her what the H she’s doing in my room. Ha. Jokes on her.

Anyway, here’s how the collapse happened: I was given an assignment to write a paper for British Literature over a week ago. It was only a 3-pager. Not too bad. But when he announced it, I just couldn’t think of a topic. I figured I would deal with it later. The week went by. I realized that the paper was due the day after my birthday. That would be annoying, I thought. Again, I forgot all about it. The weekend came. I had a birthday dinner on Friday night, which turned out to be only slightly less than disasterous. Nearly everything that could go wrong did. It was awesome. The next day we had an 80’s party at work. We all got dressed up, and encouraged the girls to be crazy. I wanted to get into the full swing of things and go all-out, so I spent the morning before I went in to work going to DI to look for off-the shoulder sweatshirts, putting on bright green fish-net tights, and applying blue eye-shadow. Good times. I will post pictures of this as soon as I have them. Anyway, after work my co-workers took me to Applebee’s, so I didn’t get home until around 2am. Sunday I had about 800 things I had to do which kept me from starting on homework. After church I had a RS presidency meeting, then ran to attend the deaf ward for credit in ASL, then went to go see my mom (after all, it was my birthday), then I stopped at work to pick up my power cord (my co-worker had left it there), then I went to my grandparents’ house for the family birthday party. For those who don’t know, I share a birthday with both my grandpa and my uncle. So there is always a bit of a to-do about this day. I just could not miss the party. By the time I got home, I was so exhausted (probably because I stayed up until nearly 3, and then got up for church at 8) that I fell asleep on the luvsac while trying to read. Around 8 pm I decided to start the paper that was due the next day. Nice.

Now, I want you to know that this is not just an extreme case of procrastionation-itis. No, this is much more. A normal happy, healthy, brain-functioning person can whip out a 3-page paper in a couple of hours. I could not. And when I say could not, I mean that. I COULDN’T. I sat there for hours trying to think of a topic. HOURS. I took a break around ten when Dusty came to visit me, and then went to visit some guys in my ward, but all along I was still brainstorming topics in my head. Nothing. I decided to pull an all-nighter. I pulled out the Dr. Pepper, and my roommate made nachos. Then I sat in front of the computer until about 3am. Just sat there. I searched through my book and the online comments from my classmates and surfed Wikipedia for relevant info. My brain was a dark void. That was when I recognized the nervous break-down. My brain was done thinking. Not only was it out of order then, I have since realized that it has been off-line for quite a while now. I’m pretty sure that this craziness was conceived sometime before Christmas, and has been just incubating since then, waiting to come out and surprise me. Sort of like those fat ladies who don’t know they’re pregnant until they go into labor. I feel a little like that. In the way that it snuck up on me, at least. Not in being pregnant or fat.

I wish I could say that it was only the paper that I missed, too. But upon arriving at school Monday morning (or rather Monday afternoon) I realized that I had blown off assignments for two more of my classes. What the--? And I’m now officially 6 chapters behind in my grammar class, which means I have no idea what in the world he’s talking about. I’m pretty sure I don’t help the situation by sitting in the back typing blogs and stories or playing solitaire on my laptop. But what can I do? My brain is turned off. It is like when your car has a dead battery. No matter how many times you try to turn it over, you’re going to end up still sitting in the parking lot with a completely useless car.

The up-side of this story is that my professor was totally understanding for some reason. I simply told him I’d gone crazy, and he told me to take the day off and go do fun things like go tanning, get a pedicure, see a matinee, go to the art museum, etc. He said that only after this, I could talk with him about making up the paper. My other teachers weren’t so understanding. Well… at least not my English teacher. Since I have a hard time communicating with my ASL teacher, I decided not to attempt hand-speaking this problem to him without a brain. Too risky. I will just take the grade dock there.

I have also realized that though I may be failing at life, I can still feel happy. I know, weird, huh? But it’s surprisingly true. I’m stressed beyond belief, but I’m still smiling and laughing. I’m not sure why. Maybe it is because without a brain I am too dumb to feel the full weight of what’s going on here. Or maybe it is because I have this great friend who, when he found out that I was going a little crazy, took me to a drop-claw machine and got enough quarters for me to keep playing until I won. THAT made me happy. I mean, those things are usually impossible, but I WON! See? So not everything is terrible. I see a ray of hope at the end of this excruciatingly long and darkened tunnel.

Jan 11, 2010

Cat Thievery

Okay, I know, two posts in one day is a little obsessive, but I'm trying to do more writing, and it helps to have somewhere to put it where I feel it won't be wasted. Or at least it MIGHT NOT be wasted. Anyway, I just experienced observing one of the most ridiculous things of my life. I had been eating BBQ chips and cottage cheese (one of the world's most scruptious snacks) and I sealed up the cottage cheese container and turned around to use the computer. Suddenly, I heard a commotion, and turned to see my cat with the entire container--still 3/4 full, by the way-- hanging from its mouth. The dang creature was trying to take off with the stuff! I couldn't believe it! Normal cats will steal a piece of ham from your plate if you're not looking, but my cat tried to steal an entire container of cottage cheese-- and almost got away with it. I wish I could've gotten a picture!

Blessings of Pessimism

Much to my own surprise, this last weekend was a really good one. I thought that it was going to be painful and boring, since the plans I had made originally with a certain male prospect did not go through. I was disappointed, and wanted to sulk, really—I know, that is the worst possible solution to almost any problem. Still it is what I thought I wanted to do. But I didn’t. Instead, I made plans to get myself out of the house, and have fun doing other things.
Friday night, I went out with my co-worker (and new friend), Emily. We called it our own little date night. We went to dinner at Mimi’s CafĂ©, and though there was a 40 minute wait before we were seated, we still enjoyed it. After Mimi’s we went to a movie with some friends. Actually, they are some of MY friends from high school, and I couldn’t help feeling like Emily felt a little awkward as I was reminiscing, but she still seemed to have fun. It was fun to see Brady Bradley, and after the movie, we went back to his house to chat and play music. I found out that Emily has a wonderful music talent. She sings and plays the guitar, as well as writes her own music (which I think has a definite Nora Jones feel to it). All in all, it was a good night.
I anticipated Saturday as uneventful, because I knew I had to work all night and wouldn’t be able to go out. But work itself turned out to be an adventure. I learned and helped the girls practice self defense for an hour, which was pretty tiring. Then, I was forced by my supervisor to play his role for the night, and be supervisor on the shift. This was really scary for me, and my fear was fueled by the fact that the night was NOT an easy one. For anyone who doesn’t know (you know, all my fans who are inevitably reading my blog, shocked with intense fascination at the amazing adventure which is my life) I work at a residential treatment center for teenage girls. To explain my job succinctly, I suppose I could say that I am a babysitter of sorts for teenagers with intense emotional problems. I love it. I could go on and on about how much I love my job—and probably will in the future— but for now I will proceed with Saturday’s adventures. All of the girls seemed to be freaking out about one thing or another. One girl had been found with a load of contraband, and was dropped a level in the program, which sent her into what I perceived as small fits of hysteria, culminating in her running out the door and down the street at one point. Of course, she was followed by a staff member, and came back before too long, but the whole night was frustrating because of her anger. At another point, we noticed that one of the girls was missing, and we proceeded for the next ten or so minutes to search the whole house over and over again. When I had just begun to really panic, I found her, tucked in a little ball, shut in her closet. Sigh! By the end of the night, I told my supervisor that he had succeeded in reinforcing to me the reasons I never want to be a supervisor myself. I left work at 12:30 am, only to return the next morning (or really, later that morning) at 7 am. Good grief!
So Sunday was a work day. I don’t really mind working there on Sundays, since it is nice to have relaxing time with the girls. But it is hard to miss church. I feel like I need that refresher every week to make it through the next. Anyway, this week I didn’t get it. I did, however, get a 2 hour nap when I got home from work. And though, again, I was let down by this boy—who I’m beginning to think isn’t worth my time or worry—I ended up having a good time visiting with some friends before finishing up my homework. Then, my roommate came home, and I was surprised that we ended up chatting for hours about missions and boys and life in general. The surprise came because realized that I really like her, and that we’re more similar than I would’ve ever guessed. To be honest, I don’t think I had an entirely positive view of her. That’s okay. I’m not sure she had such a perfect opinion of me either. It is funny what you can think of someone when you don’t know them at all. You observe a person from afar, and say, “She is this way,” or “she must be that way,” when, in fact, you know nothing about how they are. The truth is, probably, THEY don’t even know if they are “this way” or “that way.” Anyway, I think I was able to root out a number of those biases I may have had as I spoke to her. In fact, we get along really well. It was great to have this bonding time with her.
So, overall, it was a really good weekend. I had expected it to flop, but it didn’t. I was pleasantly surprised. You know, this is really why I tend to be realistic, or even pessimistic rather than optimistic. If I don’t expect much, I end up being surprised sometimes. If I expect too much, however, I am repeatedly let down. This weekend, my pessimism saved me. Hurrah!

Jan 6, 2010

January 4, 2010

Today is a stream of consciousness: one long sentence which goes on and on without a breathing point or time to stop and think about anything of significance; no periods; no ending point. I’m sure there will be a punctuation at the end, but I can’t be certain what it will be. I can hope for an exclamation point, but will probably be disappointed. I can’t really even be so hopeful that the day will end in a period. It is more likely that it will end with a dangling participle and a doubled question mark. Very unappealing, and very incorrect. Confused? So am I.
The alarm went off at 7:15am today. I got up at ten past 8. It is the first day of the new semester, and I’ve showed up to my 9 o’clock class at approximately 9:17. I should have gotten up at 7:15 when ‘The Office’ theme song started blaring out of my cell phone, which acts as my morning alarm. I would have too, if the second I turned on the light, I hadn’t heard the bathroom door being closed, and moments after, the shower being turned on. I crawled back in bed, and waited for my roommate to get out of the shower, while cursing myself for not taking a shower last night; I knew that this was going to happen. But really deep down, I don’t care either way. I don’t care if I’m late, not really. It is the first day of class. He is going to hand us a syllabus, and I’m going to be utterly board (no, bored, not board. I’m not a piece of wood) listening to him explain what he expects of us for the next 4 months of our lives. 4 months. I hardly feel prepared for the next 4 days or even the next 4 minutes. Now I’m looking at a calendar which details every day of the next 4 months. The balance is precarious.
My tooth hurts while I’m walking in the cold; one of the ones in the back with a silver cap. I wonder I have a cavity. I can’t really go to the dentist, because it costs so much, and yet I claim to have an obsession with my teeth. I just have an attraction to straight, white teeth. My tooth hurts, but only in the cold. My hands are warm, however. My hands are warm, but my fingers are cold. I decided to wear my mittens this morning. Sister Hood assured me once that mittens keep your fingers warmer than regular gloves, which I subsequently realized is not true. I wear my mittens now to remember her. I loved her when she would give me compliments. She always loved me in my mittens. She’s married now. Everyone is married. I’m not married.
I was just informed that I am the overflow by my ELANG teacher. The overflow. What does that mean? According to him, it has to do with the class filling up, and the school adding another section, which I then added to my schedule. But does that make me the overflow, really? Wouldn’t the overflow be those who didn’t get into a class at all? Or those students who are camping out on the floor in the back of the classroom desperately trying to add add add before the deadline. Adders.
I need to change my email address. I mention it, because I’ve had the thought several times today. Ditzinay is just not a professional address for a 23-year-old college student. And besides, no one uses hotmail anymore. Google is where it’s at. Apparently. Not that I know where that is. The main point is that I’m not there. Wherever that is.
There is a table at the front of this classroom which is crooked. The books and papers on the desk look as if they might slide off. But they’re not. Falling, I mean. They’re just sitting there. Which gives the feeling that the table is not crooked at all. This is very disorienting, and makes me feel as though the whole room is actually on a slight tilt. I’m feeling a little nauseated as I think about this.
One of the most annoying things in the whole world: waiting in line. That is what I am doing now. I don’t care who you are or where you are from (and I’m not imitating the Backstreet Boys or whatever boy band sings this line), no one likes waiting in a line. Especially not an hour long line which culminates in paying someone for something that you don’t even want-- not really. No line should be an hour long, really. But when you’re waiting to go on a ride featuring Mickey Mouse which races through the inside of a plaster and metal mountain, the wait isn’t half as bad as this one. Unless the ride breaks down right as you are about to get on it… which is what a boy informed me as I mentioned this idea to him while standing in the line. He told me that this is what happened to him at Disneyland. I know this boy from my mission. He recognized me, and yelled, “Sista Nielsen! What up?!” from his place in line. He is 10 or so people ahead of me in this line. The line winds back and forth, back and forth in this little square area in front of the registers, which means that I walk past him every 2 or three minutes, every time going the opposite direction. Since the line keeps moving in a steady stream, it makes holding a conversation impossible, but not acknowledging each other awkward since both of us knows that that other is there. I asked him about his girlfriend. 3 minutes later he told me she is not his girlfriend. 4 minutes later I expressed my surprise. After 2 more minutes, he asked how I knew her, and to keep from delaying the answer for another 3 or 4 minutes, I yelled back over people’s heads that I am from the same city as she is. Two minutes later he responded to my yell. And on and on. In that 20 minutes or so, we established only that he is not, in fact, dating the girl I thought he was, that I am from Springville, and he is from Spanish Fork, but that the reason we never met before serving together in Wisconsin is that I am old. All of this was established in much fewer words than I use here. Then I made it to the end of the line and dumped out my wallet. I am leaving the bookstore with 4 small books in my backpack, and $150 less dollars in my bank account.
My next class is in a basement. A lot of my classes are in this basement. There is no service which reaches down here. When I come down here, I become officially dead to the world. No internet. No cell phone. No signal. Not that anyone will call. No one has called me all day. No one has texted. I have checked a few times. I thought maybe I didn’t feel the phone vibrate even though it was in my own pocket. That happens all the time, right? But no one has texted. Not even that boy who usually texts me 5 or 6 times a day. He does this either to tell me I’m beautiful or I’m a mess. I’m not sure which I actually am, but I’m pretty sure that what he means when he says both of these is that he likes me. That’s how it works, right? Either way, he contacts me a few times every week, which is more than I can say about the other guy. The other guy: the guy I sometimes think I like. The one who says he likes me, and kisses me and tells me not to be stressed, but then doesn’t talk to me for another 5 or so days. Whenever he’s not busy. Busy hanging out with other girls—who of course he does NOT like, he just enjoys spending time with. More than me. But I’ve got these texts. Sometimes.
Of course this all comes back to the boy. What were you expecting? I’m only distracting myself with all of the other thoughts, but really it is him I am thinking about. Thinking about what is wrong with me, and why I am even worried about any of it at all, and when did I even start to notice him in this way instead of as a goofy friend that I sometimes watch late-night movies with when I have nothing else to do. But then, what does it even matter when it began? The point is that it began at all. And now I spend my days thinking about what HE is thinking about and wanting to THINK what he is thinking is what I WANT to think he’s thinking. Right? Or something like that. More or less I’m just thinking. About what will happen next. About why I am so crazy. Anxiety. I have anxiety.
My stomach is grumbling. It is 1:45, and I haven’t eaten yet today. I don’t plan to until after my next class ends. But I’m hungry now. I would go and pick something up, but I wouldn’t be able to swallow it. My throat is swollen. I don’t know what I have, but evidently it is some sort of bug, and said bug gives me a ridiculously sore and swollen throat. Not strep, though. It didn’t give me strep. The nurse at work swabbed my throat last night. It hurt like heck, and made me gag, but don’t worry, no strep. Just a totally swollen throat. I will eat some soup as soon as I get out of school.
Hailey Hood (now Jones) just called me. I haven’t seen her for months. We decided to go to lunch. I got some soup. Hailey told me that her husband thinks I will be the first of her companions to get married. I know she meant it as a compliment (or rather he did; she was just repeating it), but it made me feel bad. I’ve been hearing that my whole life, and I’m still here and unmarried, watching the world go by without me. Dating guys who have ‘commitment issues’. THAT is me. I’m going to be the LAST one to get married.
Dramatic. I'm being dramatic. I crawl into bed, and turn on the heated blanket. I sleep with a fan on in my room, and because it is the middle of winter, I have to have the heated blanket to keep me warm. I would just turn off the fan, but that would eliminate the hum. I need the hum. The hum in the background that helps turn off all of these thoughts. I love the hum. Falling asleep... One last thought... What is it for, all of it??