25 November 2010


My dear friend Charlotte posted a list of what she was grateful for and I think I will do the same. Here are some things that I am grateful for (in no particular order or level of seriousness):

-my fantastic family and all the support they give me
-watching a man sing the theme song from Gummi Bears
-hanging out with my sister and brother-in-law
-sleeping in
-a free country
-pie (lots and lots of pie)
-a non-blizzard (although I wish there were snow on the ground)
-the possibility of snow
-my sweatpants
-a steady and decent job
-professors who care about my future
-a college education
-my friends in Portugal

-cooperative hair
-a rock to wind a piece of string around
-the possibility of snowboarding soon
-NPR: Wait, Wait; This American Life; Radiolab; and the occasional the Morning Edition
-the funny things people say

And most importantly:
-the gospel and all that I believe
-my Savior, Jesus Christ
-being part of an eternal family

I hope that all of you have a very happy Thanksgiving and the time to reflect on the tip of the iceberg of the things we have been given.

P to the Neumonia

So the past few weeks I've been sick. I don't often get sick so it's pretty annoying when I do because I often just play it off as not a big deal and continue in my living. However, with this "cold" that I got, it would take me over an hour to get to sleep every night because I was coughing so much. That was fun. Fortunately my roommate sleeps like a rock and I didn't keep her up too much. During this whole time I just thought that I had a cold that included a bad cough. I continued living my life. Then the coughing got worse. It got to the point that I was coughing so hard that my back started hurting SUPER bad. (It still does.)

At this point I started talking with my friends about how bad my back was hurting. Then they told me all of their pneumonia horror stories. That was fun as well. But it got me thinking, maybe this isn't just a cold. Huh. The thought had never entered my mind that I could possibly have anything worse. Well, as it turns out, I had bronchitis and then I got walking pneumonia. But I'm through the antibiotics and I'm feeling WAY better than I was before. I am grateful for that.

So just know that if you have a really bad cough that persists for a while, it could possibly be more severe than a cold. Just maybe.

21 November 2010

Thanks Billy

So it's late Sunday night and I'm working on the endless homework that my professors decided to dump on us over the weekend. Nice, right? On top of that I've been quite under the weather (that's a post for another day, though)

But I remembered a wonderful CD that I listened to my first transfer in Portugal and it is making what could be a very unpleasant evening into a lovely one.

What am I listening to? you might ask. Here it is:

Yes the same man who brought you gems like "Uptown Girl" and "New York State of Mind" also composes and performs classical piano. It is fantastic. Check it out here. You'll thank me. I promise.

Feminism, objectification, and Billy Joel. Could anything make for a better Sunday night? I think not.

14 November 2010

Thanks James Brown

So this past week we've been studying feminism in my Brazilian lit class. I've actually really enjoyed the unit. In my past experiences, I have dreaded the theory portions of my lit classes, well they were usually all theory, so I just dreaded those classes. But this class has been different. I genuinely enjoy class. My professor is fantastic, I learn so much, and the class discussions are usually quite intellectually stimulating. However, Monday was different.

We were talking about Clarice Lispector and my teacher asked how the world would be different if we lived in a woman's world and not a man's. I won't get into specifics, but suffice it to say that there were a couple of boys in the class (it is a male-dominated field) made some really insensitive and really jerky comments demeaning toward women. I sat in shock as this was happening, not so much at the comments made, because, let's be honest, some people can be really stupid when they speak up about feminism, but more because of the comments that were not made. A handful of the men in class are married. I know they love their wives and respect women. There are a good number of sensible men in the class as well. I know they love and respect women. So why weren't they speaking up? In the end I was the one to make a comment in the defense of women, I'm glad I said what I did, but the whole class left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

This bad taste lasted the rest of the day and into the next. The song that instantly popped into my head as I was walking to my next class was James Brown's "It's a Man's, Man's World." It just kind of stuck with me the rest of the day. So because I'm not one to just sit around and get over something, I decided to write my next argument paper about the objectification of women in teen-oriented TV shows. 

However, after all of the frustration of this week, we had a lovely dinner last night. The elders in the ward put on a dinner for the women. It was wonderful. They had valet parking, they escorted us to our tables, they got our drinks, they got our food (three courses), they made the food in the first place, and they were so kind and so nice. Then the bishop gave some wonderful remarks about his appreciation for women. It was so healthy to hear, for all of us. It was the best possible timing to see the goodness of the men in my life and how well they treat the women around them.

Boy Scouts

Dear Boy Scouts,

I love you. I respect you. I think you're adorable in your little outfits. But please, please, please, tell your parents not to drive like crazies when I'm just trying to get off of campus.

Thank you,

03 November 2010

Sitting on the Floor

I just had a really sad realization.

Right now I'm sitting in the back of the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU and I saw a man, not a young man, but an older man, sitting on the floor in a shirt in a tie. It struck me as very odd that he would be sitting on the floor. It just seemed unprofessional.

Then it hit me. Soon that will be me. Soon I won't be able to relish in sitting on the floor in public. Soon I'll have to find a chair and look "put together." Sad day. I've already experienced this sad truth: in Brasil and on my mission. Don't even think about sitting on the floor in public in Brasil, or on the stairs, or anywhere that isn't a designated sitting object like a bench, stool, chair, couch, you get the idea. I one time tried to sit on the stairs at a museum. I was so tired, we had been walking all day, and all I wanted to do while my friends were taking FOREVER, was sit down and rest my little feet. But no, we were reprimanded. Then in the MTC I was reprimanded for sitting on the ground. It wasn't professional and so I couldn't do it. I could buy that. So in Brasil and on my mission I refrained from sitting on the floor.

Soon, that will be my reality. That makes me really sad. I love sitting on the floor.

01 November 2010

Brian Doyle

As far back as I can remember I wanted to be a writer. I would think about stories and even start a few of them, only to realize that I didn't know where I wanted them to go. I was an avid reader, finding the nooks and crannies of the houses I lived in so I could read in peace, presumably undetected by my family. (That theory was blown when I started finding books in my reading corners that my mom had put there. My bubble really was burst when I saw that. They had found me out.) During my childhood I had no idea that such a genre as non-fiction even existed, at least beyond biographies and history books. You see, I am not much of a fiction writer. I lack the creativity you need to be good at that. However, creative non-fiction is right up my alley.

Every week at BYU they have the "English Reading Series" where a guest author will come do a reading. I had watched a couple online for a class last year, but I'd never been to one. Well I went last week. It was fantastic. Brian Doyle came to town and read some of his pieces. He is an essayist and writes about things he's heard or experienced. His writing really affected me. I cried twice during the reading (and I am NOT a public crier) and I laughed even more than that. The way he captured emotion and made it real for me was so impactful. I want to be able to write like that some day. Thanks Brian Doyle.

It isn't often that you can say that your childhood dream is still alive and well, but I can. I never wanted to be a ballerina, or a firefighter, or a superhero. I always wanted to be a writer. And I always will.