Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Try this.

Matt just sent me a link to this really cool interactive movie.

The Wilderness Downtown

I tried it, and it's pretty amazing. It prompts you to type in the address of the home where you grew up. If you're like me and didn't grow up in just one particular place, just be sure to put in an address that means something to you when it asks. I put in my grandma's address, and if you want to see what happened when I did that, here's the link:

Grandma's House in Mesa

The music by Arcade Fire is pretty cool, too.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Businessman by Day, Poet by Night

Earlier this morning I read a poem by Wallace Stevens. Isn't the name Wallace Stevens a perfect name for a poet? I think it is. Interestingly enough though (at least I think it's interesting), while Stevens was alive, he wasn't really recognized as a poet as much as a successful businessman. It wasn't until he passed away that people started to consider him one of the major American poets of the 20th century. Why does that always happen to these poor artists? It has been said that Stevens led a quiet, uneventful life--spending his days behind a desk at the office and composing poems on his way to and from work and in the evenings. Some people may think that to be a sad description of someone's life, but I don't think so. I like the idea of Wallace Stevens working as a businessman by day and a poet by night. I view him as someone who wrote poetry for the pure love of it rather than any fame or fortune that may come of something like that. I like to think that he used the power of his imagination to transform the uneventful things of his life into exciting things, things to be admired. Besides being spoken of as someone who led a quiet, uneventful life, it has also been said that Stevens' work is infused with the light and color of an Impressionist painting. I love that description of his work and think it's a true one, especially after reading the following poem. Impressionists try to simulate actual reflected light in their paintings so to say that Stevens' poems have elements within them that help the reader to conjure up images of light or reflected light is a huge compliment; a compliment that I think is much deserved in this case. Gosh, I really like this guy's name. I'll be reading more of his stuff this week for sure.

Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour
by Wallace Stevens

Light the first light of evening, as in a room
In which we rest and, for small reason, think
The world imagined is the ultimate good.

This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous.
It is in that thought that we collect ourselves,
Out of all the indifferences, into one thing:

Within a single thing, a single shawl
Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth,
A light, a power, the miraculous influence.

Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves.
We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole,
A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous.

Within its vital boundary, the mind.
We say God and the imagination are one...
How high that highest candle lights the dark.

Out of this same light, out of the central mind,
We make a dwelling in the evening air,
In which being there together is enough.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weekend Photos

Fremont vs. Jordan. We were pulling for Fremont. Fremont lost.

Brooke and Lex. I actually got one of Lex with his eyes open! Only took me three shots.

Yes, I wore my zebra prints with confidence this weekend. I have an interview with a charter school in West Valley on Tuesday...Do you think I should sport these to my interview?


Rocky's curls

The Big Dawg's hand-me-down loafers


Friday, August 20, 2010

Why Utah's pretty cool...

Just stole this picture from Tess, taken during one of our recent trips to Dog Lake. I love it! It's so pretty up there.

Here I am with Gerry...Sadie's waiting for us up ahead.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zebra Print Slip Ons and Ceiling Fans

One of my all-time favorite sounds is the swoosh, swoosh, swoosh of a ceiling fan as it spins around and around. This past Sunday afternoon I found myself down in Mesa, Arizona sprawled out on my Grandma Fern's gigantic guest bed staring up at her ceiling fan. I had gone to church with my grandma earlier and was still in the blue blouse, black home-made skirt, and zebra print slip-on flats I wore to the meetings that morning. I was tired and was wanting to fall asleep. But I couldn't fall asleep. All I could do was lie there and stare up at the ceiling fan as it slowly spinned and swoosh swooshed. I guess you could say that I was having one of those "Who am I and What am I doing?" kind of moments, right there on my Grandma's gigantic guest bed. I'm not kidding, that bed is bigger than 10 big things. So one would think that as I was going through this contemplative "moment" I would've come up with a few answers to these aforementioned questions. But no. All I could come up with was the thought of how lame my zebra print slip-on flats were. I kept on thinking, "Gosh, why do I own these?" or "Why am I wearing these things?" and "I can't believe I sported these at church with my grandma." Sometimes I'm not as deep thinking as I need to be. So I continued on like this for a while. I'm not sure exactly how long I allowed myself to indulge in this sprawled out, contemplative state before Grandma Fern decided to take over. Of course she busted into the guest bedroom without knocking, took one look at me on the bed and said, "Well get up, Dear. We're not going to sleep the day away. C'mon, let's have some fun." I knew I didn't have a choice in the matter. All I wanted to do was stay on the bed and listen to the swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, but when Grandma Fern tells you to get up, you get up without any questions or complaints. So I slid off the bed and followed Fern into the dining room. On the table, I found a plate piled high with fresh watermelon. I love watermelon. There was also a blank Yahtzee card waiting for me. I don't love Yahtzee, but I knew I was in for at least a couple of games. So I sat down and quickly started in on the watermelon while I listened to my grandma, for like the millionth time, go over the rules of the game before we began rolling. Like I said, I don't love Yahtzee, but I love my grandma. So I was really, really grateful to be down in Mesa, eating watermelon and playing that silly game with her last Sunday. After about an hour or so of play (I always lose to her and this time was no different), Grandma and I climbed into her silver Buick on our way to Aunt Jeannie's house. As Grandma started the car, she looked over at my feet, pointed, and said, "Well those are really cute shoes you have on there." I don't know how she does it, but Grandma Fern always knows how to make me feel better about everything when I'm around her. And I'm not just talking about a pair of dumb shoes. Although, I've been more than happy with the idea of wearing my zebra prints again ever since my recent visit with Grandma.

Couldn't resist posting this picture of Grandma Fern and Grandpa Chick. This was taken in Arizona during the the summer they first fell in love. Isn't my grandma beautiful? I adore this photo.

Wrecking Your Life

I thought I'd throw out my gangsta peace sign to Sheri Dew today, because, well, she deserves it. This morning Ruth gave me a recording of one of Dew's talks given earlier this year. The talk is called "4 Things That Will Wreck Your Life and 4 Truths That Will Save It." Do you think Mom's trying to tell me something? It's true that Ruth's the master of throwing out not-so-subtle subtle hints. At any rate, she (Mom & Sister Dew) should be happy to know that I took copious notes while listening to the talk and very much enjoyed the message. I highly recommend taking a listen. Thanks, Sheri Dew. Thanks, Mom.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"We must set our course by the stars."

From time to time I struggle with bouts of insomnia. Last week was one of those times. Luckily, my struggles with sleeplessness are always short-lived and don't come around very often. I love a good night's rest. Normally I crawl into bed and fall asleep right away, it's great. But around this time last week I was more than a little bit nervous about having to defend my paper. For those of you who didn't get a delirious phone call from me on Tuesday, my defense went well and I finally have my degree! I'm so happy I finally finished. It took me about 2 1/2 years, but it feels like about 10 years to me...I know I've said that before, but it's true. So last Wednesday night, I was still having trouble sleeping in spite of the fact that my defense was done and my final paper had been sent to the printer...must've been aftershocks of all my nerves from the nights before or something. Usually I end up reading a little of J.D. Salinger or David Sedaris when I can't sleep, but last Wednesday I found myself messing around with Photo Booth and rummaging through old photos on my computer. Whilst rummaging and after taking a few choice self-portraits at 2AM, I found an old Photo Booth gem from the summer of 2007 and feel the need to share for "compare and contrast" purposes. Take a look. Do I look different now that I'm done with school and all? Wiser, maybe? More sophisticated? Okay, maybe not. How 'bout older?

Don't worry, my latest bout of insomnia is officially over and done with. Last night I was able to fall asleep like magic, so I'm expecting the same to happen tonight. I've been enjoying not having to worry about my paper and have been trying to take advantage of this time I have without school or a job by doing as much reading and swimming as is humanly possible. Plus I get to go down to Arizona for some more R&R next week! Life is good.

I'll leave you with a quote I read recently. I really like this one.

"We must stop setting our sights by the light of each passing ship; instead we must set our course by the stars." --George Marshall

Monday, July 19, 2010

Zoey's Floppy Hat and Other Radical Summer Stuff

I was able to go on a hike with Tess and Laura a couple weeks ago. I haven't been hiking nearly enough this summer, so it felt great to be in the canyon. We went up to Mill Creek with a plan to hike up to Dog Lake, but all the parking lots were full. So we decided to take a different path and hike Alexander Basin instead. Now, the three of us are familiar with the length and steepness of the Dog Lake trail, but we weren't too acquainted with Alexander Basin before attempting to conquer it. The trail turned out to be pretty difficult, even for me and I didn't have a baby strapped to my back. Yeah, that's right, Tess and Laura both had their babies with them on the hike! I'm so impressed with the two of them. I mean, the backpack that Tess had little Zoey in was nearly as big as she is! I wish I had a picture of her with the backpack on so you could see for yourself. Even though the hike was challenging, it was a gorgeous, clear day, but not too hot...the perfect day for a hike.

Tess and Zoey. I'm hiding behind Zoey's awesome floppy hat. This baby is so cute.

Here's one with Laura and little Locke.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

James Tissot

I was able to go to a lecture at the BYU Museum of Art tonight. The lecture was on the life of the artist, James Tissot, and his series of paintings on the life of Christ. He completed the series toward the end of his life. I enjoyed the lecture and was able to browse through the exhibit afterward. BYU's MOA will have the exhibit up for at least the next month, I think. You should check it out. Tissot painted with opaque watercolor. The amount of detail he was able to create with watercolor is pretty amazing. One of my favorites from the exhibit is called Jesus Wept, a depiction of Jesus after the death of Lazarus. This picture I posted is really small so go here if you want to see it and others in more detail.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

What happens to a dream deferred?

Dream Deferred: Harlem
Langston Hughes (1902 - 1967)

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

This is my favorite poem right now. It's been on my mind for the past week or so. I was thinking about it a lot last night and again when I woke up this morning. I thought it would be a good idea to share it in hopes of somehow releasing it so my mind is able to make room for another poem. Hmmm, I think that sounds a little bit crazy. Come to think of it, I've been proffering a lot of crazy to those closest to me as of late. So to my dear friends and family, I sincerely apologize. I promise to go back to my normal abnormal self as soon as possible. Student teaching will come to a close in about two weeks, so that should help. In fact, the only reason I have the energy to add this blog post is because I've been able to catch up on my sleep for the past couple days due to the junior high's Spring Break. I love Spring Break! I FINALLY got some snowboarding in for this season. I went up on Thursday, and the snow was great. I hope to go up again on Monday. Life is good when you're able to sleep in a little every now and then.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

First Book Club Meeting

This morning the 8th graders and I tried out the new in-class book clubs for the first time. I was super jazzed about the whole thing but you won't be able to pick up on that by listening to the sound of my voice...I sound like I'm drugged up. Do I always sound like this? And man, I always manage to forget about what a strange accent I have until I actually listen to a recording of my voice. But the kids sound great. I circulated around the classroom while all the students were meeting in their assigned book clubs and had some time to join a few of the discussions. Here's a recording of one of the groups made up of 2 boys and 1 girl. The boys took over most of the conversation. I tried to get the girl to talk a couple times, but she didn't feel like saying much. This particular group is reading a fantasy novel called Curse of the Shamra, but we don't end up talking much about that book in this recording. I had a good time.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This Morning I Woke Up Thinking About How...

One time this guy I was dating came over to my place to pick me up in a car that wasn’t his own. He normally drove an old truck with bondo on its side, but this time he was driving a shiny black Porsche. I soon discovered that how he got a hold of the Porsche wasn’t nearly as interesting as it should have been. Don’t think I haven’t realized that showing up in a Porsche is supposed to be impressive or something. But the truth is that I very much preferred his old truck with bondo on its side. Sometimes guys are dumb.

Why It's Hard for Me to Make New Friends

I don’t do very well in large groups. I’m usually much more comfortable in a one-on-one type of situation. One time I drove to the local movie theatre to meet up with my good friend Dave and about a couple hundred of his pals. Upon arrival it became clear to me that Dave was the only person I knew out of everyone making up his gigantic crowd. I was actually coping with this situation until I took my seat in the theatre. Dave sat down to my right and one of his girlfriends was sitting down to my left. Dave was nice enough to introduce me to this girl before he got up to go to the snack bar. At that point I said hi to my new acquaintance and offered to share my box of Junior Mints with her. She said no thanks to the Junior Mints (What kind of person says no to JMs?!) and then proceeded to ask, “So, how do you know Dave?” Little did the girl know that this question is one of my top ten least favorite questions of all time. So, how do you know So-And-So? Aside from a formal job interview sort of situation, I think posing this particular question is not only arbitrary but also completely useless in obtaining any meaningful information about someone you’re really trying to get to know. Well I met him while waiting in line at CafĂ© Rio about two years ago. So what! Because of my low opinion of the question, I quickly deduced that this girl wasn’t trying to get to know me at all. So I took the low road and replied by telling her that I was Dave’s 2nd cousin from Las Cruces. I guess I had New Mexico on my mind that night. This answer seemed to satisfy her curiosity as she didn’t ask me any other questions after that. I know that fibbing was more than a little bit childish of me, but I was annoyed and had a feeling that I wouldn’t be seeing more of this girl in the future…She didn’t strike me as the type that enjoys associating with people from Las Cruces.