Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Quite good, quite good

Some days are poetry days. Lyric days.

...These are my knees
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,
Nevertheless, I am the same, identical women.
The first time it happened
I was ten.
It was an accident.
The second time I meant
To last it out
and not come back at all.
I rocked shut
As a seashell.
They had to call
and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.
Dying is an art,
like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well...

Sylvia Plath, from Lady Lazarus

I love Sylvia Plath. I mean, really, "dying is an art; I do it exceptionally well": is there any way that you can really not recognize the genius? I read The Bell Jar, her autobiographical novel, and then followed it up with her biography. Her life was sad, not necessarily because of anything physical or tangible, but because of depression. Sometimes the turmoil of the mind is worse than any outer influence. Her life was tragic, but she left a legacy of fascinating poetry.

Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! how curious you are to me!
On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose.
And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence, are more to me, and more to my meditations, than you might suppose.

Walt Whitman, from Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Of course, poetry from a man that looks like a scraggly Santa Clause is always fun.

Sometimes I ask to sneak a closer look
Skip to the final chapter chapter of the book
And then maybe steer us clear from some of the pain it took
To get us where we are this far
But the question drowns in its futility
And even I have got to laugh at me
No one gets to miss the storm of what will be
Just holding on for the ride
The wood is tired and the wood is old
We'll make it fine if the weather holds
But if the weather holds we'll have missed the point
That's where I need to go.

Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls, from The Wood Song

Of course it's better with music. But I'm always impressed with the Indigo Girls' lyrics; go Emily Saliers and Amy Ray!

Anyway, I'll spare you from poetry I've written; I have only written a few poems, and they are all pretty bad. I definitely have room for improvement on that! But that's what the Creative Writing MFA is all about--I really can't wait to start! I'm excited and scared and anxious, especially to be teaching a class. That's definitely an intimidating venture, but I think I'll love it once I get past the nerves. Less than two months to go!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

bug-bitten and wind-blown

This week, I had my first-ever experience as a girls' camp leader. To be specific, I was the girls' camp cook.

And let me tell you (if I do say so myself), the food was pretty darn good. Let me give you a few examples:

  • Banana boats: basically, to make banana boats, you take a banana (still in the peel) and slice it from top to bottom so you can open it up inside the peel. Then, you stuff the banana full of chocolate chips, marshmallows, toffee bits (with are excellent), coconut, etc., and when you are satisfied that nothing else could possibly fit, you close it up as possible, wrap it in tin foil, and place it directly on hot coals. Then after a few minutes, the chocolate and marshmallow get melted and gooey and delicious. It's basically amazing.

  • Chicken teriyaki: another tin foil creation. We precooked the chicken so it would take less time, but you could definitely cook the chicken inside the foil. You take the chicken pieces with bell peppers, onions and teriyaki sauce, wrap it all up in foil, cook on coals, and serve over rice. I was apprehensive about it because I'd never tried cooking it before, but it was a big success.

Who says you can't have fabulous food at girls' camp?

There were also a few things I learned while I was at camp:

  • No matter how big and fancy a tent, it is still subject to the weather. One of our tents was destroyed in the wind (unfortunatly, it belonged to one of the camp leaders and not to the church). The tent poles literally snapped in half. It was pretty intense; we were happy that it wasn't while anyone was inside.

  • Gnats are really really REALLY annoying. Everyone probably agrees with me, but try to amplify a normal annoyance of gnats by six, and you would understand how our camp felt at the swarms of gnats we had to deal with. For some reason, I was immune to mosquitos, but my poor sister Hailey and her friend Maren were absolutely chewed to bits by both mosquitos and gnats. Hailey has been trying everything under the sun to get rid of the unceasing itchiness, from banana peels to hand sanitizer. Pobrecita.

  • I can fit 44 of the small straight pretzels in my mouth in two minutes. We were playing a game with different types of challenges, from tying ties (which is hard for girls), to eating things like sardines and pretzels. I tried chewing at first, but after the first minute I was just shoving them into all the empty spaces. Right when the two minutes were up (I won!), I ran straight to the garbage can to spit them out; I don't think I'll be able to look at another pretzel for a long time. Oh, the things we do for the sake of competition.

Because we were camping by a reservoir, we took advantage of access to canoes, paddle boats, and my personal favorite, 2 or 3 person sailboats. After getting the hang of it, I pretty much rocked my sailboat.

I enjoyed being at girls' camp as a leader more than I expected to. Despite being plagued by gnats and wind, it was still a great experience.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A few noteworthy things

I've had some internet/blogging issues lately (lame), so I haven't posted in a couple weeks. I spent time creating a lovely post featuring cemeteries I've been to, but thanks to blogger, I lost the whole post. So, I was bitter against blogger and didn't try again for a week. THEN, we had a little power outage which for some reason knocked out our internet; we got the internet going on the house computers, but my laptop is still not recognizing the network. Fabulous.

Normally, it wouldn't be a problem, and I'd just post on another computer, but I really wanted to post some pictures.

I am resigned. As soon as I get the internet working on my laptop, I will post pictures of:

*graveyards. yep, you're excited.

*my midweek trip to Zion National Park. I went with my sisters Mindy and Hailey, and we decided to run up and hike Angels Landing (Hailey had never hiked all the way up before). It's a tough hike, but the view is worth every ounce of sweat. I'm excited to post pictures. As a side note, the chipmunks and squirrels at the very top are CRAZY. Apparently people ignore the "don't feed the wildlife" signs, because obviously they depend on humans for trail mix and granola bars, and they definitely let you know that they're hungry. Another side note: on the way back, we stopped at Cafe Soleil for lunch (excelente) and a little chocolate factory for dessert (I wish I could remember the name: it was sensational). If you're visiting Zions, there are a ton of eclectic cafes in Springdale; I have only tried a couple, but would love to try them all.

*my nephew's baptism. Well, not the actual baptism, of course, but we pictures of him with his cute tie. It was great! I hadn't been to a baptism since my mission (two years ago!), so I pretty much cried through half of it. I had to play my violin for a musical number before the confirmation, and that was scary, because I hadn't picked up my violin in several months. Good thing I had my Hailey to cover up my scary out-of-tuneness, because she plays the piano like a pro. Along with a few other things, I have a goal to pick up my violin and play more this summer before I start grad school and have no time.

Anyway, check back for pictures. I promise to post them!

Oh, and one more thing: The city of Ivins is repaving all the roads and putting curb and gutter in, and I am so annoyed with whoever they hired to do the job. They tore up our road about a month ago, and so far the only progress we've seen is a curb. No sidewalks, and no pavement. Just a dirt road that is going to be the death of my car.

Besides, I like Ivins better without sidewalks. Don't ask me why.