Saturday, September 17, 2011

dark green carpet

When my family moved into our Ivins house over twenty years ago, it had some sort of colorful identity crisis. One room had bright orange carpet, one had "dusty pink" carpet, another had moss-colored paint and dark green carpet (I think I remember the carpet, but I KNOW I remember the paint).

Oh, and the kitchen with brown linoleum also had yellow sinks.

We changed a few things, and I don't think anything in the original house has survived, except the walls and roof. 

I remembered our original house colors when I moved into my current Provo house, I immediately noticed the dark green carpets. You know, the darkish forest green color that shows every speck of dirt and lint? Yes, that's the color. 

Somehow, it's a very comfortable color. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

awww, shucks

So, because I was away on Friday for the MFA retreat, I had another grad student sub for my writing class. And when I got back, I asked how it went, and they said that the sub was good but that they were glad I was back. Then one of the girls said, "you're like my favorite teacher!" How sweet is she???

Yes, it is true, teaching is rewarding. Especially when you can be your students' FAVORITE.

Oh, and PS, my essay workshop went really well. Excited to revise!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

MFA retreat, and general overwhelmedness

I went on a retreat this past weekend for the Creative Writing MFA students, and it was wonderful and SO needed. Sometimes it feels so nice and relieving to get away from everything and spend time with like-minded people who love writing and literature and great food and great conversation. We went down to Capitol Reef and hiked through stunning canyons of colorful sandstone cliffs and it just felt like home to me. There's nothing more refreshing to me than red rock and blue sky. It was TRAGIC that I didn't have my camera with me--I kicked myself several times about that.

All the while, I tried not to think about the gross amount of reading I was supposed to get done over the weekend, and for the most part I succeeded. After all, homework will always be there, but I won't always be in Capitol Reef!

I also had a huge epiphany while I was there (well maybe not huge, but it was a huge relief to get it): I had been working on an essay in my head for a couple of months and actually working on it for about a week, but I was struggling a lot trying to tie everything in together. One of the writing exercises we did in the middle of a hike helped inspire me with an idea to finish my essay. Unfortunately, when I got home I had to rush to write it because I had to email it to my class pronto, so I didn't get as much time to finish it as I would have liked. Ah well, the point of writing workshops is to give you ideas to revise and improve your essay. I just hope what I sent wasn't cheesy or overdone. I'll know on Tuesday! Anyway, my epiphany helped me to finish it, but I'm still nervous because I have this misconception in my head that with this essay, because it's my first in the program, I will be trying to justify my existence in a creative writing master's program. Completely unwarranted, I know, and I tried to shrug off the feeling because it was giving me stress and was probably the reason I had such a hard time writing.

Oh well. I guess I'll find out come Tuesday if I need to pack my bags. ;)

And one more thing.... coming home from the retreat, I was so tired after finishing my essay that I dropped into bed without even unpacking anything, and my room is a total disaster because I didn't have time to clean it before I left. I will definitely have to clean it before I get anything done, because I can't do anything in a dirty room! Bleh, I'm overwhelmed by my dirty room and loads of homework.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

okay, yum

Let's face it: when you're a student, it's harder to find time to cook great food. I'll just say that while I'm in school, I'm a little (lot) less diligent about eating healthy, scrumptious foods. But I'm going to try harder this semester to make use of my pots, pans, and blender (my precious) so I can maintain some sense of normality while I'm in a whirlwind of writing, reading, grading, etc. etc.

So today I made something wonderfully yummy. The idea wasn't original (it came from Jessi), but I made a few changes to truly make it my own. Here goes:

Bread (I used homemade wheat bread, but I'm sure it would work with any type)
Peanut butter
Jam (I used strawberry)
Thinly-sliced fruit (I used strawberries, although bananas would be fantastic as well)
Chocolate chips

Basically, put the peanut butter, jam, fruit, and chocolate chips in between two pieces of delicious bread and grill it (like a grilled cheese). It gets all melty and gooey and absolutely fantastic. And it's so easy!

Okay, I sound like a commercial. Or the food network. But seriously, you should try this sandwich.

Monday, September 5, 2011

world: take good notes

wouldn't the world be a better place if we all sang and danced in the rain?

.... also it would definitely be a better place if we were all as good looking as gene kelly.

Friday, September 2, 2011

libertines, and patience

The essay, as a literary form, resembles the lyric, in so far as it is moulded by some central mood—whimsical, serious, or satirical. Give the mood, and the essay, from the first sentence to the last, grows around it as the cocoon grows around the silkworm. The essay-writer is a chartered libertine, and a law unto himself. A quick ear and eye, an ability to discern the infinite suggestiveness of common things, a brooding meditative spirit, are all that the essayist requires to start business with.  (Alexander Smith) 


Noun: A person, esp. a man, who behaves without moral principles.
Adjective: Characterized by a disregard of morality.

Call me a libertine all you want, as long as you call me an essayist first. Not that I am without moral principles or have a disregard of morality, (I hope in reality I am quite the opposite of a libertine) but that I disagree with you, Alexander Smith, as to that specific definition of an essayist. That said, I think essayists try to step back from the world a bit to try and see how everything connects, so the tendency to stand apart could lend itself to being a law unto himself. Interesting thought, and I'd love to grapple with that idea in my head for awhile. 

So I want to start business being an essayist, as Alexander Smith says. I think it takes practice to have a quick ear and eye, and to discern the infinite suggestiveness of common things. You have to "stop and smell the roses" as the old cliche entreats. However, I don't completely buy the validity of this particular cliche. "Smelling the roses" is insufficient because most of the time you can smell roses by simply walking by them; you usually don't have to break you stride to enjoy their aroma. Truly discerning the infinite suggestiveness of common things requires more commitment than deep inhalation. Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek essays about staying in one position, unmoving, for hours in order to catch a glimpse of a shy animal (the name of the actual animal escapes me at the moment). Now that is commitment. It takes patience. 

I've never been the most patient person, but I guess it depends on the situation. I'm definitely a more patient driver than I used to be--I used to get so annoyed at people who cut me off or drive too slowly, then one day I cut someone off and realized suddenly that the driver I cut off was probably cursing my name for my apparent lack of courtesy. I had become the kind of person I get annoyed at. So I decided to be more patient towards other drivers because I hoped they would also give me the benefit of a doubt when I do stupid things. (Notice that I didn't resolve to be a perfect driver so I could then look down my nose at the rest of the fools on the road with less-than-perfect driving skills. I found it easier to forgive others' driving faults, and keep my own intact.)

Also, I was so nervous to start teaching my Writing 150 class that after the slight awkwardness of the first day, I hurriedly decided that I was doomed to being forever awkward teacher who is always terrified of her students. Then the second day of teaching came along and I realized that I really will enjoy this, and if I am awkward then I'll embrace it and allow myself to have faults. Slight awkwardness in a teacher is not always a bad thing. Some of my favorite professors have been slightly awkward in one way or another. Being completely "normal" is uninteresting and dull, anyway. (Not to mention the fact that it's impossible to even define what "normal" is.) So my conclusion is that I should be a more patient person and not freak out. And not merely smell the roses but stand completely still for hours in order to catch a glimpse of a small animal.

By the way, I can already tell that I'm going to have a hard time not neglecting my other classes in favor of my essaying class. But that's why I'm here, so shouldn't that give me license to care about some things more than others?  


I need a haircut. I'm wondering whether or not I should get an asymmetrical bob..... and dye it brown.

I survived my first week of grad school/teaching little freshman without any major panic attacks.

....And I just spent $10 on a couple ounces of cardamom, which means I need to make yummy Indian food (like the Indian rice pudding with cardamom, coconut milk, pistachios, and golden raisins that my sister Lori and I made a couple weeks ago. HOLY COW, so good.)

Oh, yes. and lots of chocolate. Time to try the truffles I've been thinking about lately. Anyone up for taste-testing?