Wednesday, April 27, 2011

how I got a fat lip, and other things

Last week was BYU graduation, so I went even though I really graduated in December, and I'm not even living in Provo right now. There are quite a few people who think it's pointless to walk, because all you get is a few hours' worth of speakers and an empty diploma cover. I, however, am an advocate of tradition and ceremony; I think traditions are important because they help us establish identity as groups, cultural or familial or otherwise. Commencement is also a way to celebrate not only the accomplishment of graduating, but the support of family and friends who made this accomplishment possible. Anyway, on with life and this post.

My favorite part about graduation was going to dinner at the Bombay House afterwards. It is really, truly, now and forever hands-down my favorite restaurant (ever). If you have never been there, please repent and go immediately. If you have been there and don't agree with me, then I'm sorry for your loss.

Graduation pictures to follow, by the way, as soon as I finagle my dad's camera from him and steal his memory card.

After graduation, my Grandma told me I had nice legs. I love her (:

I finished North and South. love that book.

Speaking of books, today I was on my bed trying to coax our kitty Merlin away from my sister when suddenly this book jumped from its previously dormant position on my bed and attacked me:

and that's how I got a fat lip. It's probably not the most exciting story. I could have said that a criminal broke into our house last night and hit me in the face with a 2x4, but that would probably give me more than just a fat lip, and it would be an outright lie. If it was true, this post's title would probably have read: "how I survived a vicious attack, and other things." As it is, the story I did tell wasn't entirely truthful, because my book didn't come to life and assault me; it merely responded to being tossed from its resting place on the covers in the general direction of my face.

Oh, one more thing. These four albums make up my new favorite playlist:

*The Decemberists: The King is Dead (best album ever? I'm still trying to decide)

*Sufjan Stevens: Greetings from Michigan

*Missy Higgins: On a Clear Night, and

*A Fine Frenzy: Bomb in a Birdcage

love, love, love. love.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

books books books

I told myself at the beginning of the year that I was going to try a new method of book reading: I was going to only read one book at a time. That lasted for, say, one book. I'm in the middle of three right now (and eyeing a fourth):

  • Words of the Grey Wind, by Chris Arthur, is a fantastic book of personal essays. I read part of it last year for a Creative Nonfiction class, and am returning to read all the essays and reread all the rest. I find myself underlining massive passages, and finally stopped altogether, because I pretty much love everything. If you are at all into personal essays, you should definitely put this one on your list. And if you're not into personal essays, then you should be.

  • The fact that I am reading Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, by Mignon Fogarty, shows that I am a grammar nerd. Yes, I like to read about grammar--it's very interesting to me. I left this book at work once, and when I called to see if it was there, they had assumed it was mine because I would be the only one to actually enjoy reading about grammar. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves wins hands down though. Love that book.

  • North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell. I am in love with Victorian novels just as much as I'm in love with essays, and I'm really enjoying this love affair. I watched the BBC version of North and South last summer, and absolutely adored it. I almost wish I had read the book first, because I don't like having preconceived interpretations of the characters; I like to imagine for myself what they are like first, and then appreciate the film's different ideas. However, everytime I read about Mr. Thornton, I can't complain about having Richard Armitage's face flash through my mind. Mmmm.

I am definitely taking advantage of not being in school right now by reading like the crazy bookworm I am. I'm going to tear through my reading list for the next few months. Hoorah for literature!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

thoughts on rain

you'll notice, and you may think it odd, that the first picture featured in my post "thoughts on rain" does not illustrate any sort of precipitation. this is intentional, because i want to start out talking about my desert home. as you can see, blue sky is nothing new to me. where i grew up, in sunny southern utah, the skies were blue (the blue in this picture isn't even a whisper of the real live color), and clear, without much interruption from rain. in fact, i remember several summers in a row when uproarious thunder and lighting storms without rain caused wildfires in every direction, leaving a smoky film in the air while firefighters from all over the place camped out at a local high school while they were fighting the fires. rain is a bit of an anomaly. but occasionally, rain comes with a vengeance, causing widespread flooding:

like in 2005 and 2010, for example. right before the flood in january 2005, southern utah had experienced a severe drought, and the parched desert was literally dying for a drink of water. we all prayed and fasted for rain, and rain we got. homes washed away in rivers that, just days before, were barely trickles. we called it the "100 year flood." funny thing is, in december 2010, floodwaters rose to levels higher than those of the 2005 flood. thankfully, not many homes were destroyed (probably because all the ones in the dangerous floodplain already washed away in 2005). to put the above picture in perspective, the water flowing under the bridge is normally 7 or so feet lower, and in fact, not much more than a little stream. it's amazing what a few days of rain can do.

on my mission in uruguay, i experienced rain as i'd never experienced it before. i truly understood what torrential rain means. in this particular instance, it was barely sprinkling when my companion and i left the house, so we didn't think it was necessary to put on our rain jackets, because it was hardly raining; however, not five minutes after we left our apartment, in started raining freaking lions and wolves (a grown-up version of cats and dogs)--i don't think i have ever been so very, very wet. we had to dash back to our apartment to get our rain jackets, but by the time we got there, it didn't really do much good. the damage was already done. falling, sopping, dripping, drenching, drowning.

and then there was london. rain in england can be torrential, but most often it is a foggy mist, weighing down the air so heavy it feels like you are walking through a wall of water. humid rain was not something that i was familiar with before uruguay and england. when it rains in uruguay, everyone shuts themselves up in their homes and make tortas fritas; in england, people put up umbrellas or brave the rain without protection and life goes on as usual. i must say, there is something romantic and dreamy about seeing london in the rain--the traffic seems hushed in the mist, the thames soaks up the moisture as it has done for hundreds of years, and i feel like i am seeing the same london captivated by will shakespeare's plays, or brought to life in virginia woolf's street hauntings, or through the eyes of anyone who has succeeded at capturing the city into a word, a phrase, a photograph.

wherever i go, rain is different. but i'm a little bit different too.

*if you'd like to, visit the we are women project blog to see my guest post today. *

Friday, April 8, 2011

living the higher law

okay, so this blog post should really be "a note about the honor code: part two," but i didn't want anyone to expect a rant similar to the one i posted a couple days ago.

i didn't mean to vent; i was merely expressing frustration that a lot of people seemed to be needlessly complaining about the honor code. then this morning, i read something that made me realize that my reflection on the honor code wasn't finished.

i'm in the middle of "the broken heart: applying the atonement to life's experiences" by bruce c. hafen, and so far it has been so intriguing and thought-provoking that once i finish it, i almost want to read it again and take good notes this time (which may be difficult, considering the fact that i'm in the middle of a couple other books and have many more anxiously awaiting on my "to read" list).

anyway, so in the chapter "grace and the higher law," elder hafen is discussing the law of moses versus the higher law that christ taught, and he relates his discussion to this familiar topic:

"as i think about dress and grooming standards at our church schools, i yearn for the day when our students will understand the purpose behind the standards, which is so different from merely yielding to them with a technical, superficial compliance. . . speaking from the perspective of the higher law, the lord said 'it is not meet that i should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant' (d&c 58:26). those who attend church schools may only comply with the outward appearance of dress and grooming standards, but i hope they will also learn enough from those standards about modesty, dignity, and masculinity and femininity that as time goes on, they will apply those principles sensibly throughout their lives, no longer needing a church-sponsored code to tell them how to dress. when we learn correct principles, we do govern ourselves."

that struck me because i think at times i fall under the category of those who live the honor code with a "technical, superficial compliance." but it also helped me to understand why i feel the honor code is important, that it really has less to do with rules and curfews and more to do with the commitment of our hearts to becoming more like our savior.

everyone is at a different level of commitment in the gospel, and the honor code is there to remind us of our covenants as members of the church. think of how much it sets us apart (in a good, not pompous way) from other universities! it helps us to become the city set on a hill that "cannot be hid.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

searching for blogs

i follow quite a few blogs, but unfortunately i've noticed that of the long list i follow, only a few regularly update. (sorrow). i very much enjoy reading the blogs that i already follow, but i am craving more.

also, most of the blogs i follow belong to my friends or family members, which is great, but i really want to branch out and possibly start blog stalking complete strangers. most people do, but i have never been able to really connect the strangers i have blog stalked. i usually end up disinterested with their lives, and stop following their blogs shortly after i start.

they don't necessarily have to be strangers, but i'm not going to exclude someone just because i'm not personally acquainted with him or her.

the bloggers don't have to lead exciting lives, but i am searching for people with unique perspectives, for people that find importance in the small, seemingly unexceptional details of life.

any suggestions?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

a note about the honor code

i'm going to throw my oar into the byu honor code discussion:

lately, i've been noticing plenty of my byu-attending friends on facebook complaining about or making jabs at the byu honor code. there are also plenty of non-byu-attending people who think the honor code is ridiculous, but this post isn't necessary about them. anyway. it drives me up the wall when byu students complain about the honor code. why? let me explain.

1. when you apply to byu, you are made aware of the honor code stipulations. when you get accepted and register, you have to sign the honor code. so, if you thought it was stupid or pointless, why did you sign it? why do you go to byu? one of the great things about byu is the opportunity to study in an environment where the spirit can be felt, and that could be attributed to the majority of the byu students who actually follow the honor code.

2. i wonder why people bristle under rules. my previous blog post was about a conversation i had with my grandpa, and this subject came up. maybe i'm a lot like him: i don't mind following rules. it doesn't hurt me to keep the honor code. if it keeps my roommates' boyfriends from hanging out all hours of the night, i'm on board. really though, there are so many things to get worked up about in life. save your energy for getting good grades.

3. one last thing: the dress and grooming standards. i admit, i have had the urge to dye a chunk of my hair blue, but i can be patient enough to wait until i graduate. so if i really wanted to, i could satisfy that urge and have blue hair until september when i go back for grad school. and about dress standards, i'll just say how much i love not seeing girls in butt shorts and halters everyday in class.

oh, and guys: i understand that you might feel it's necessary to have a beard if you want to satisfy your manhood or whatever, but would it kill you to wait until you graduate? you have plenty of beard-growing days ahead of you. and please, no more mustaches. they are only for old men and hitler, and i have yet to see a guy who looks great with a mustache. i admit, some guys look great with facial hair, but all the rest look like straggly jack sparrow wannabes. so i'm willing to sacrifice looking at the few men that actually look good with facial hair if it means i don't have to see those who should leave beard growing to aragorn.

if you are so entirely opposed to all or some of the honor code, then UVU or U of U are pretty close. i'm sure they would welcome you and your issues with open arms.