Saturday, April 30, 2011

a modern fairytale, as they're calling it 'round these parts

so, yesterday was the royal wedding. it was incredible. kate looked amazing: her dress was perfect, her makeup flawless, her manner dignified and graceful. she was gorgeous. prince william's deep voice really surprised me. i guess i hadn't heard him speak in a while maybe ever. he looked great too. and don't get me started on harry--totally dreamy.

yeah, so the wedding itself was beautiful and monumental and all i could think about was how cool it will be to watch them as a couple for the rest of their lives (creepy? probably. but i'm sure everyone else was thinking that too.) but the thing that really struck me as i was watching the wedding and all the post-coverage shows with barbara walters/katie couric/clinton kelly from what not to wear/ivana trump (?) was how much william and kate look like they genuinely love each other. the best parts were when they forgot about decorum for a second or two and would just grin at each other. it was so adorable! all those shows had "analysts" like expert lip readers and body language interpreters to tell us that all signs pointed to the two of them loving each other, but it was pretty obvious even without all that "training."

all little girls (for the most part. i won't make a gross generalization here) dream about being a princess, so part of the appeal of the wedding was watching somebody actually become a real life princess and marry her prince charming and have a fairytale wedding. i mean, in some way, that still speaks to me. but, in reality, the fairytale wedding isn't what matters to me. i want to find someone who loves and respects me, someone i can see myself being with for eternity, someone who is okay seeing me without makeup, someone who i can laugh with and cry with and cuddle with and live with without killing each other.

the wedding was amazing. people lined the streets, camping out for days, to catch a glimpse of the bride or the happy couple. really, though, how could you not be so happy for them? they seemed so radiant. if that's not legit, i don't know what is. but anyway, what really made it a fairytale for me was seeing how much they really love each other. that's what i want, and i think we can all have that. i'm not going to give up hope any time soon, even if sometimes i want to. i think there's a fairytale in store for all of the princesses in the world :)

and just because i love them and love this scene:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

effortless coolness

i've noticed over the years that there are some people who just seem to be be super cool without even trying. they always look great, they always have smart and interesting things to say, and they always have a huge and adoring group of friends. i look at these people and know that i will never be like that. i mean, i try, but i will never be one of those people who is just effortlessly cool.

i still think that, but now i guess i realize that, even though all of that seems effortless, it most likely isn't. there are people who actually put a lot of work into that kind of persona, and i just don't really want to put that much work into something that isn't really me. but, another thing i realized is that usually even the people that seem like they have it all together either don't really or don't think they do. we all have little insecurities, things that keep us from feeling like we are as awesome or as cool as we really are.
even now, after i wrote most of this post, i got stuck thinking that i need to be more like other people. i was reading several different people's blogs and wishing i could write like they do. but then i realized, wait, i can't just change the way i think here! i don't need to write like anybody else, but i can appreciate how other people do things.

this is starting to sound like a general conference talk, so i might as well end with a couple good quotes.

to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.  
e.e. cummings

always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else
judy garland (who doesn't love her?)

things that make me ridiculously happy

done with everything but grading. feels good. halfway through!

Monday, April 25, 2011

love for the earth

to celebrate earth day, finishing our papers, and carolyn's upcoming departure (we weren't really celebrating that part, though we pretended we were), we made epic plans for earth day, which included (but were not limited to):
  • not wearing bras and/or wearing no makeup and/or wearing green eyeshadow. in the end, i think we compromised by wearing classy floral prints or shirts that actually said "go green" (note: bras were worn).
  • eating at an "earthy" restaurant: guru's on center street. so delicious. i've been craving their carne asada tacos ever since.
  • making and eating worms and dirt.
  • making and eating rainbow cupcakes.
  • having a slumber party.
  • going to see disney's african cats, only at theaters on earth day. it was SO good. i've never wanted to go to africa so bad in my life. i still think i'm probably too much of a fraidy cat to actually go on a safari, but all of the animals were so amazing. we're still trying to figure out how they got all of the crazy footage they did. say what you will about disney, they do their best to put on a good show. 
  • listen to "earthy" music while preparing above treats for consumption.
we didn't get to do quite everything we wanted to, and the end of the night was pretty sad, though we did have a very productive and very enlightening talk before everyone left, but it was still a pretty great end to the semester. and we have a very long list of stuff we need to do when carolyn gets back, including (but not limited to):
  • having a tea party. theme still to be negotiated (mad hatter? american girl?)
  • having a summer soiree with twinkle lights, sundresses, straw hats, and seersucker.
  • making a music video.
  • going boating.
  • building FORT version 2.0.
  • watching all the movies we ran out of time for this semester. 
i can't wait :) in the meantime, meredith, rebecca, and i will have oodles of fun living in our new places and doing awesome summer things. yay!


one writing principle that always seems to plague my students (and many students in general, including myself, sometimes, if we're being really honest, and i hope we are in this forum) is the whole concept of transitions. no piece of writing can function without smooth transitions from one idea to the next.

i wonder if this is why i struggle with them so much in my real life. i know how hard they are to master in writing, but it seems like it is even worse in life.

like, i always feel so weird at the end of a semester. i am usually glad it's over, especially winter because i want/need a break and summer is so awesome and gives me opportunities to wear floppy hats and read whatever i want to (summer book total as of today: 1) and do fun stuff outside. but, the end of a semester means that something has to change. new, exciting things are coming, but something is lost. i'm never going to get back another winter semester 2011 or whatever. and that's weird and a little bit sad.

so, the first couple weeks after a semester ends i feel like i'm in limbo. i'll have to get used to new blood in the ward, a new apartment, new responsibilities and stresses, friends who were always around not being around suddenly (you know who you are), and a whole bunch of free time, at least for awhile. i guess i've just realized that this is something that happens to me: i have to have a mourning period for the semester that is gone, grieve for the time i can't get back, before i can move on and really enjoy what is to come.

acceptance is the first step, right? and, i am pretty much awesome at writing transitions, so maybe i'll get better at dealing with the real ones as time goes on. let's hope, because the biggest transitions are yet to come. yikes, i don't even want to think about that stuff yet :)

also, as i'm writing this, far too late on easter sunday, the rain suddenly came pouring down outside my window. it was glorious. happy easter :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

from my studying mix

makes me want to dance.

also, shout out to the guy who, at midnight in the periodicals section, asked if anyone there was named duncan, because he was looking for him. i hope you find your duncan, ben. thanks for the laughs.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

tuesday night at the library

we're here under the guise of increased productivity. in reality, we probably are more productive here than we would be at home, where it is easier to get distracted and start long conversations and where you don't get dirty looks if you are laughing loudly (unless the roommates are already abed) (i'm pretty sure "abed" is a word, but just in case it's not and some of you read it as Abed, "abed" can also be "in bed". so there you go.)

after we got here i spent about a half an hour putting together an awesome studying mix on itunes. not a waste of time at all. seriously, though, music is always a big part of my finals week because i have to be on the computer so dang long writing 1000 pages of papers.

well, i should get back to being productive. wish me luck!

Monday, April 18, 2011

stylewatch: men's edition

when you are a young lady of a certain age, you can't help but notice the style choices that members of the much-debated and (usually) much-admired opposite sex make. you make note of the shoes they wear, the shirts they choose, the ties they rock at church, the way they wear their hair. you are always observing and making entries into a vast internal database which catalogs likes and dislikes for future reference.

over the years, i too have collected such a database. when i see a guy who is displaying a fashion trend i appreciate, he goes up a few points, even if maybe i don't "like" him in "that" way. of course, i have also observed some choices which are more distasteful to me and often work the opposite way.  but, on to the positives.

three piece suits
i used to be more on the lookout for these than i am now, but a three piece suit worn well is...very attractive. it's gotta be the vest. something about it just adds class and dignity and sophistication and hotness. it says, yeah, suits are kind of a pain to wear, but i know they look awesome, so i'm going to add another piece to this ensemble. i am a MAN.

this is zac efron. say what you will about him, he is still an exceptionally attractive man, and look how the three piece ups his attractiveness level. oh wow.

vans are classic. some may say that they are the quintessential skater shoes, and they would possibly be right, but vans have come back into the mainstream. this point is less certain than some others, partly because a lot of guys in general wear vans. they aren't a sure indicator that i would like the guy who is wearing them. but, i like vans, so i generally notice when a guy is wearing them and i might then spend a moment or two considering said guy.

i haven't yet discovered a way that cufflinks can be unclassy. scratch that; i just did a google image search and found some with a skull and crossbones. so, i guess the lesson there is that, if unclassy objects or icons are made into cufflinks, the cufflinks themselves are then unclassy. (i'm using unclassy as if it were a word, but the red squiggle is telling me it isn't. it shou;d be, so i'm going to keep using it.) but, for the most part, cufflinks are very suave, very spiffy, if you will. i like it when guys pay attention to those little details that show they make some kind of effort. and, you can use cufflinks to show your personality. there are guitar picks, transformers, phillips head screws, even darth vader. here is my personal favorite (though there are many awesome ones):

ampersands! how cute!
anyway, cufflinks are cool. i encourage everyone to check them out and guys to invest in a pair. girls go gaga for them.

i was going to go into some of the things i detest, but i should really be working on a paper right now, so i'll have to save that for another day. also, a post and pictures from our weekend adventure in california are forthcoming. happy monday!

white blank page

i love opening my journal/notebook/planner/other notebook to a blank page. for some reason, i get a rush of excitement when i see the expanse of white, just waiting for me to fill it.
i like the feel of the smoothness, unmarred by pen impressions. but then, i realize i can line the page with my small, cursive-print-combo handwriting, the smaller the better so i can fit more.

word processing doesn't have the same appeal. i usually have to do at least some writing with pen and paper to get the ideas going before i can start drafting on the computer. and once i start the old fashioned way, it's hard to stop.

i keep buying more notebooks so i can fill the blank pages. i guess it's good that my studies require me to do a lot of writing. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

it's that time again

today was the last day of classes. the last day of winter classes, at that.
i have a love/hate relationship with this time of year.
1. the weather starts to get nicer, though it is inevitable that it will snow at some point during spring term.
2. the end of the always long winter semester is almost upon us, but before i can really enjoy it, i have to finish all my papers and get everything all graded.
being done with classes is great, but i'm not out of the woods yet.

all in all, though, this was a great semester. my students were fun and participated, and i think they really learned some things, which is always good. my classes were fun, for the most part. i'm really going to miss dr. talbot's hilarious eccentricities. i kinda wish he could be my best friend. i was in the best dinner group in the history of dinner groups, and the girls and i became besties through countless nights of "studying", movies, sleepovers, dinners, treat runs, brownies, and many, many deep discussions about life and love.

it is weird to think that, at this time last year, i was getting ready to graduate. i'm always surprised at how different things can be in the course of a year.

hooray for the end of another year--halfway through my master's program? what the?

and, disneyland here we come!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

awards and prizes

sometimes i get into this attitude where i think that everything i do is substandard. sometimes, this is true. i don't always live up to my potential, though this is something i am constantly trying to improve.
(i just realized that the above statements could have come from anyone. pardon my impersonality for a moment.)
but, every once in awhile, cool things happen to me which show me that, yeah, even though i'm not perfect and even though i know i should quit leaving my big papers until the night before and do my reading during the day instead of my catching up on america's next top model (guilty pleasure alert!), i'm still kind of cool and i still kind of know what i'm doing. 
i guess i'm tooting my own horn a little bit here. but sometimes you just need to do that, you know? it's so easy to get caught up in the things that aren't going perfectly that i think it's healthy to dwell on the good things when they come along. 
last night was the english department awards banquet. you have to be winning something to go--it's not just open to everyone, because it's pretty swanky. three course meal, jazz band, salad and dessert forks. that kind of thing. i got to go because i won, rather unexpectedly, second place in a writing contest. my essay will be published in an online journal and i even received a cash prize. i wish more of my friends could have come to the banquet, too, but when i got home we actually studied and worked. in the same room. not at the library. so, another success story. :) and there were cookies involved--always a plus.
i also found out last week that a paper i submitted to a conference was accepted. yay! i get to take a little mini-vacation to scottsdale in october and present my paper at a regional conference, which, while it isn't the hugest deal, is still something of a big deal.
and, yesterday i bought my ticket to disneyland!!!!! one week to shopping, sunning, and playing at the happiest place on earth.

i still have a million things to do before the semester ends, but i wanted to take some time to remember that not everything is crazy and stressful and depressing. life is still good, after all :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

what i know

i love general conference. so much. i love listening and going to sessions at the conference center and having the overwhelming feeling that everything the speakers are saying is true. there is nothing like being in the conference center and standing when the prophet walks in and knowing that he literally speaks with God.
on sunday morning, president uchtdorf talked about using technology, like blogs or other social media, to share the gospel with people. i feel like i should do that, because if the gospel can make me feel so happy and hopeful, it can make everyone feel that way.

i know that we are children of our Heavenly Father. He sent us to earth to receive bodies and to be tested. He wants more than anything for us to be happy in this life and to return to Him. He knows every thought we have, every desire we have, every insecurity we feel, and He loves us unconditionally anyway.

i know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He suffered for my sins so that i might become perfect as He is and live with Him again. i know that He was resurrected and lives still. He is always there for me to lift and lead me. His atonement is infinite and eternal, which means, even when i mess up (even when anyone messes up), i can always repent and become better than i was.

i know that joseph smith saw God and Jesus Christ and that he was a true prophet. He helped restore the gospel to the earth and translated the book of mormon, which contains the fulness of the gospel and the answer to every problem or question we may have. i know that the book of mormon is true, truer than any book ever, and was written for this time. it is another witness of Jesus Christ and tells us how to gain eternal life.

i know that God speaks to His children today through the prophet, president thomas s. monson. he leads and guides the church today under the direction of God and His Son. 

i know that families can be together forever through the sacred marriage covenants of the temple. this is the only kind of marriage that leads to eternal life and godhood. when we are sealed together in the temple, we know we can live together in the next life, after death, if we continue to live worthily of those covenants.

i know that the gospel is true, partly because it makes me so happy, but also because i have felt it. the spirit of the Lord has testified to me, and i know that is real. i love this gospel and want to be able to share it.