Monday, July 27, 2009

The Self-Depriving Cynic

"What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." - Oscar Wilde

I've thought a lot about cynicism lately because of an experience I had with someone. Then I thought even more about it after watching the amazing movies Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

In the former, Ethan Hawke plays Jesse, a young man who has recently been burned by a long-time girlfriend of his. Throughout the movie, he is cynical about nearly every romantic thing he and Julie Delpy (Celine) encounter. He tells her not to believe the palm reader, says that the poet plugged in the word they gave him, and displays an overall doubtful attitude about all things romantic.

In the latter, Julie Delpy's character has traded places with Ethan Hawke's. After nine years, she has been hurt far too many times and has felt the loss of Jesse's love too strongly to feel hopeful or romantic anymore. At one point, she says she has never gotten married because she never thought she had the right man. "But what does it mean, the right man? The love of your life? The concept is absurd, the idea that we can only be complete with another person is evil right? You know, I guess I’ve been heartbroken too many times, and then I recovered. So now you know, from the starts I make no effort because I know it’s not going to work out! I know it’s not going to work out."

I have to say of myself that I am in danger of adopting Celine's perspective. I'm glad I'm recognizing this now so I can avoid it with every bit of effort.

I believe that this life is about relationships. It's about being a friend to the Lord's children and loving people to the best of our ability. It's about finding that one person who can elevate us to our best selves--who will be sealed to us in eternity and ascend to godhood holding our hand. We can't obtain our full potential without that one person to travel with us into eternity.

I have loved a few people. With one, I was young--14. It was a more selfish kind of love, which is what Jesse believes love is, after he has been hurt. But at the same time, it's the purest kind--the kind where you jump in, giving your all, not knowing the pain that can and probably will come later. With that one I got hurt badly. He lied time and time again. He was unfaithful to me in several ways with several girls after over two years together. I was convinced that he didn't love me the same way as I loved him, or he had stopped at some point. If you really loved someone, you wouldn't be able to do such things--you'd have no desire to seek after other girls because you'd love the one you had, and know that she was all you wanted.

With another one, I simply wasn't ready for him. He had reached a much higher stage in his ability to love. I don't think I loved him the same way as he loved me because I hadn't yet understood how. I had the feeling that I needed to end it, but I didn't understand at the time why. I knew I was losing someone great. But I understand now.

Because with another, I finally learned how. I learned what it was like to simply take joy in loving somebody, without even needing to tell him. I learned what it was like to want to do everything in my power to make him happy or to help him however I could. I thought all the time about what I could do to surprise him, make his day, or make him feel loved. I still think about ways to do that--old habits die hard, I guess. Most especially I learned to give and give and give. I gave all of myself, all of my effort. I worked to improve in the ways I fell short, and I tried to do it as quickly as possible. I learned how to put someone else first, and learned about the desire to truly take care of someone.

President Hinckley said, "If every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion, there would be very little, if any, divorce."

I knew I had that pinned. That was my entire focus--to ensure his comfort and happiness. I had such a strong desire to put him first. I can't speak for him, so I don't know if he ever learned or really wanted to put me first. I will say that both of us put in a lot of effort in improving for one another.

So why, if this was the first time I had loved someone so truly, so deeply, and so selflessly, did I end up hurt? Why, if I had learned the kind of love described by the prophet as one that could sustain a relationship, could I not keep that person I loved? Is it because he hadn't yet learned?

I don't know the answer to these questions. I think of how intensely I loved, how hard I tried, and how little the risk of my heartbreak mattered to me, and I wonder how I could deserve the pain that came... the pain that never fails to come.

So in this process, and especially in this last experience, I can see myself becoming like Celine. I can see myself becoming tired of putting so much into something only to get hurt. I can hear myself saying, "Protect your heart. Protect your heart." I can feel myself ready to give up. And I'm only 22. That's how bad it hurts.

But then I think of the gospel. I think of the places I can go with someone who really does love me with the same selfless intensity that I love him. I think of how what brings me the most joy in this life is to love and to give and to form meaningful relationships with others. It's simple:

We aren't meant to be alone.

No wonder it's hard. And no wonder people get lonely. We're just not meant to do this alone. But the pain of loneliness is no reason to become a Celine. It's no reason to become numb or unwilling to try because we're afraid of pain.

I want to be the Before Sunrise, hopeful Celine: "I think I can really fall in love when I know everything about someone—the way he’s going to part his hair, which shirt he’s going to wear that day, knowing the exact story he’d tell in a given situation. I’m sure that’s when I know I’m really in love."

Oscar Wilde's quote reminds me that I know the price of love. I know what it takes out of me. But I also know the value and importance of love.

I refuse to be a cynic.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Before Sunset

Celine: I guess when you're young, you just believe there'll be many people with whom you'll connect with. Later in life, you realize it only happens a few times.
Jesse: And you can screw it up, you know, misconnect.

---

Celine: I always feel like a freak because I'm never able to move on like *snap* this, you know? People just have an affair or even entire relationships. They break up and they forget. They move on like they would have changed random cereals. I feel I was never able to forget anyone I've been with because each person has their own specific qualities. You can never replace anyone. What is lost is lost. Each relationship when it ends really damages me. I never fully recover. That's why I'm very careful with getting involved because it hurts too much. Even getting laid. I actually don't do that. I will miss in a person the most mundane things. I'm obsessed with the little things. Maybe I'm crazy but when I was a little girl, my mom told me that I was always late to school. One day she followed me to see why. I was looking at chestnuts falling from the trees rolling on the sidewalk or ants crossing the road--the way a leaf casts a shadow on a tree trunk--little things. I think it's the same with people. I see in them little details so specific to each of them that move me and that I miss and will always miss. You can never replace anyone because everyone is made of such beautiful specific details. Like I remember the way your beard has a bit of red in it, and how the sun was making it glow that morning right before you left. I remembered that and I missed it. I'm really crazy, right?

---

Celine: It's funny, I read one of mine from '83 the other day, and what really surprised me is that I was dealing with life the same way I am now. I was much more hopeful and naive. But the core, and the way I was feeling things, is exactly the same. It made me realize I haven't changed much at all.

---

Jesse: I mean what is love, right? If it's not respect, trust, admiration, and I've felt all those things...

---

Celine: Like I'm a strong independent woman in my professional life. I don't need a man to feed me, but I still need a man to love me and that I could love, you know?

---

Funny how I happen to watch certain movies at certain points in my life where I can relate to characters or stories or incredible details in a piece of dialogue. Seriously, it's amazing, in a very good way.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Before Sunrise

"When you talked earlier about after a few years how a couple would begin to hate each other by anticipating their reactions or getting tired of their mannerisms—I think it would be the opposite for me. I think I can really fall in love when I know everything about someone—the way he’s going to part his hair, which shirt he’s going to wear that day, knowing the exact story he’d tell in a given situation. I’m sure that’s when I know I’m really in love."

A guy I dated a few years ago told me that I need to watch this movie, especially before I get married.

I understand why now.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I ENJOY INCUBUS

Seriously, guys.

Hands down, one of the best concerts I've EVER been to. I am a new fan of outdoor concert venues. I loved Death Cab outside last year at Thanksgiving Point, and I loved Incubus outside this year at USANA Amphitheatre.

Granted, it was over 90° yesterday. I was not a happy camper in the heat. We got to the show around 6:30. It was supposed to start around 7:30. We endured the heat and the opening band which I didn't care for. The sun didn't go down till like 9. So that was almost 3 hours of standing in the heat, dripping sweat, getting progressively un-cute after trying so hard to look cute for Brandon.

Thankfully though, I got to enjoy Incubus when the sun went down. What was SO great about being outside was that we could count on fresh air and an occasional breeze. At indoor venues, if it's hot outside, it's hot AND stuffy inside. So this was way nicer. Not only that, but I was up at the front! No one was blocking my 5 foot tall view.

We were next to some freaking AWESOME people. One girl is now my friend on Facebook, and she is fabulous.

I took about a million pictures because I've been obsessed with Brandon Boyd (the lead singer) since I was about 13. I'm pretty sure he is God's gift to the earth.

The music was AMAZING. They played so well. Brandon's singing voice floored me. He was soooo great. Hit every note in every song. He could sing me to sleep any day, tell you what. While I had a lot of fun rocking out, I sometimes forgot about the music because I was kind of just in awe of his beauty... Then I was like, "Oh shoot, I'm drooling," and had to regain my composure.

I took a video at the beginning through the chorus of every song, so I could remember what the order was of their set. They did two of my favorite songs in a row: "Drive" and "Talk Shows on Mute." I think those are the only two songs I did full-length recordings of.

Click here to go to my Facebook album to see all the pictures from the show. I'll just post a few of my favorites here.


Me and Bry.

This is a video I took to give an idea of where we were standing and what the venue was like:


They opened with "Privilege," which is one of my favorites off the Make Yourself album. They went straight into "Pardon Me," and Lindsay and I went nuts. haha. I love that song. They did "Nice to Know You," which was a fabulous rock out experience...


Just come out on stage. :)

"Anna Molly" was delicious.

Anna Molly, hopefully there's not too much of my singing. I can't hear with so many people and such loud amps, so I apologize if you hear my off-keyness.


"Stellar" was stellar. Next was "Megalomaniac," and it was awesome. Then "Love Hurts," wherein Brandon's vocals sound great!



Love Hurts... But sometimes it's a good hurt, and it feels like I'm alive...



Pretty sure he is really hot...

Then they did "Drive," which was of course, for me, because it's the best song ever. I won't do a video of that because I was singing through the whole thing. Plus it got split into two because they had a technical difficulty, sadly. Still finished strong.

"Talk Shows on Mute"--so good!


During "Drive" and "Talk Shows."

"Dig" was lovely and mellow, and everyone ad-libbed his double breath at the beginning! So funny. He hit some lovely notes.

Then there was older stuff with which I was unfamiliar but still enjoyed... Like three songs. I need to bone up on my older Incubus. Always makes me feel dumb not to know a song.




Me and Lindsay



He played "Oil and Water," and was on guitar for it. It was great!

Couple more songs off of Science, including this one where he looked so amazing just rocking out... You can hear me in my joyous exclamations, unable to contain myself. Sorry.


They did "A Kiss to Send us Off," which was fun fun fun! I wanted a kiss to send me off... I didn't get one though.


Then, "I Wish You Were Here," which made me feel all sentimentally and sad. However, well done. If you heard this video you'd hear me losing my voice in my screaming. haha. "And in this moment I am happy... happy..."

Then "Let's Go Crazy"!!!! SO AWESOME! You can hear me losing my voice. I was very happy that they did this song.





Self-explanatory...



"Punch Drunk," was another fabulous vocal by husband Brandon. "Sick Sad Little World," was a good rockout.

In the encore, they did "Warning"! Another of my favorites. I apologize for my singing again. But it's a good video! Remember, "in this cosmic jacuzzi, we are like frogs: oblivious."






And that's all I got. Seriously guys... The crowd was GREAT! There was no pushing or shoving! I was up at the front. I could breathe really well in the open air. I saw clearly and wonderfully, as did my camera. The band was great. Brandon was hot. My uncle was fun. I made new friends. All in all, a great success!

Monday, July 13, 2009

3000 Miles to Graceland

Next summer, I am going to celebrate my graduation by taking an Elizabethtown-style road trip across the country to Memphis, Tennessee where I can celebrate the roots of all things rock 'n roll, country, and blues, while consuming amazing southern food and accomplishing my life goal of visiting Elvis's Graceland.

That's right.

Except from Provo, it's only 1,555 miles to Graceland.

LML

I have to say, I have very strong feelings about this new acronym that is spreading around like wildfire.

FML = F--- My Life.

Now, I understand that we have complaints. I get that things don't always go right. I have trouble finding the positive sometimes, but I can honestly say that I do try to find it when I have the strength.

So this overwhelmingly negative little acronym really rubs me the wrong way. "I just got called into work. FML." Wow, seriously? In this economy, you're complaining about your job? Do you know how many people have come into or called Blockbuster in the last week asking if we are hiring? I work A LOT. I have almost NO spare time this week because of how much I work. But it's better than sitting at home wishing I could find a job!

"Something didn't go as well as I had hoped. FML." So do it better next time. Your whole life isn't in ruins because of a bad day.

I think I mostly hate the statement because it's like a forfeit. It's like, if something went wrong, then your whole life is suddenly a disaster. It's so bad, that you want to "f---" it.

Quit your bitching, people.

Things don't go as planned. Life is busy. Disasters happen. But that's the stuff life is made of. Everyday events, bad or good, make for awesome stories. Whatever happened to finding the good things? We live in America. We are so blessed in SO many ways. Google "starvation" and see how you feel, if you still feel validated in saying, "FML."

Try something like, "LML," Love My Life.

This week:

-Today/Monday: Work (till 4), gym (till 5:30), clean hardcore for cleaning checks (till whenever I'm done), maybe a movie
-Tuesday: Work (till 3:30), gym (till 5), institute (till 8:30, possibly clean again for cleaning checks
-Wednesday: Work (till 3:30), gym (till 5), work at Blockbuster (6 to 12:15 AM)
-Thursday: Work (till noonish?), birthday preparations and wedding shopping (till 4), and go to a concert alone (5:30 - late)
-Friday: Work (till 3:30), gym (till 5), work at Blockbuster again (6 to 12 AM)
-Saturday: Drive to St. George for my sister's wedding
-Sunday: Church (till 12:30), dinner/laundry at Grandma's (till 6:30), work at Blockbuster again (7 to 12:15 AM).

As you can see, pretty much every hour of mine is planned this week. My "spare time" will be used at the gym, and at a concert. Anything else I want to do which is fun (movies, what else?) will cut into sleeping time.

FML? No. LML.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rainbowssss

Check me out! Two posts on nature's wonders.

I did these while driving home. Probably not the safest, but I did my best to pay attention while enjoying God's paintings. :)

As soon as I felt myself veering off to the side, I put the camera down. Worry not.

Actually, for you worry warts, the closest I came to getting in an accident tonight was on University Parkway when I was paying complete attention and almost switched lanes into someone who was in my blind spot, which I recently discovered is REALLY bad in my grandma car.

Therefore I probably drive better taking phone pictures than not. ;)

























Friday, July 10, 2009

Goodbye Boring Blog

Well, in my generally happier, less dramatic, more eventful, non-single days, my blog was much better. I had funny experiences and observations to write about--like the vending machine eating my money for my Barq's today and having to get a refund! I didn't get very personal, and this wasn't too much like a journal except for the important events some people care to know about.

I'm getting back to it, folks.

How, you ask?

With this:



Chyeah! A journal! A really cute one, might I add.

This guy is my new best friend. I tote him with me everywhere I go--both jobs, home, wherever. At least that's the plan, and that's been the true story for the last few days, anyway.

I recently decided that I have a LOT of thoughts. I also recently realized that to keep my thoughts to myself is a fast track to major depression.

So instead of vocalizing my thoughts to others who may not care, instead of IMing it out, instead of relying on people who may misunderstand me, I decided to write it all down. My blog unintentionally evolved into a place for me to do that, which is fine, on occasion, but not as often as I find myself needing to express my innermost feelings. I realized it had become, for most, pretty boring.

I needed to find a cute one. That's how it had to start. It couldn't be a boring black notebook, people. I didn't want a composition notebook--so little character, so academically related. I found that cute baby at Big! Lots, where else?

I never have been a good journal keeper. I have always been a good "expressor." haha. I have a LOT to say, about pretty much everything. I think it gets on the nerves of some people. Because of my inconsistency in journal writing combined with my need to express, I decided instead of making a nightly "dear diary" routine thing, I'd just always have it with me to record whatever popped into my puny brain. This way, I'd be safe by not having people make assumptions, not letting them judge me, not giving them reason to dislike me, or even just not offending anyone else.

So there it is--the answer to my problems. Writing for myself. Not writing to anyone else. Not talking to anyone else. Not expecting anyone to care. Just me. Writing for me, for my sanity, and to help me think more closely about what I say aloud.

I'll share with you parts of my first entry. It's edited in some parts for privacy reasons. If you care to read it, please do. If not, just be sure you listen to my current song: "Sea of Love." It is fabulous.

July 8/9, 2009

"Scribble, scribble, scribble," Lisa whispers into Susanna's ear in one of my favorite movies: Girl, Interrupted. Susanna keeps her notebook with her all the time, recording every thought and observation her heart desires.

Recently, (someone close) and I have stopped talking in order for that person to accomplish some things. Apparently I stand in the way--try as I might to be an influence for good in their life.

So that's what this new guy is for: a place to record every thought in my brain and event of my day which no.one.else cares about in the least. That person did, but no one else does (or I'm safer to assume that they don't). I don't want a Twitter account. And I'm making my blog boring for others (probably) by letting it be a place for me to record details which are mundane to most. So if I put every thought, random verbage, lovely quote, biting criticism, emotional experience, detailed event, and casual complaint here, in writing, in a book which is neutral to my way of living and being and expressing, then maybe I won't feel so empty at the end of a day when no one else asks about it. A journal doesn't have to ask--it exists to hear my soul's complaint--as does the Lord, who I try to converse with rather frequently as well.

I wonder how consistent I'll be about this. I've never been good at keeping a journal--ever. I've started a few. I get impatient with writing because I can type so much faster.

And yet, there's something more honest about writing by hand. You can't just backspace a thought, or re-word something to make it sound better. It just is there in ink, forever, in your own hand, the way you first thought it. Interesting, kind of.

So I'm thinking this won't be your traditional daily journal. I'm thinking it'll be where I put down everything I think throughout a day and don't say aloud--maybe to make sure I keep some friends by not letting them witness the bad sides of me, but also maybe to find a friend in myself. If I do it this way, I think I'll only need myself, and only care about what I think of myself.

Two blogs I read recently (two different girls) discussed the importance of their journals in their lives. I thought it was awesome to so heavily rely on and enjoy (and commit to) writing so much. They inspired me to find a cute notebook to start this new phase of constant, random expression that I feel bursting out of my skin all the time. Even in 2 1/2 pages, I feel like I've gotten so much out. Hopefully, this will be the therapy I've needed for a while, since something has been badgering me to start writing like this. I've honestly felt like I can't make it another day without writing everything I need to get out. I've honestly felt a physical desire to do this. So here I am. Ready and willing to put an uncensored (or maybe slightly censored for future generations) Janae down in a cute journal, on the page, out of me, rather than to others, who I will never know for sure whether they'd care.

I want this to be fun, at times only fully understood and appreciated by me, and also totally boring. I want it to show how I think and what I feel, with quotes, lyrics, movie lines, drawings, pictures, stickers, CAPS, and all. And I do want to make sure I recognize the hand of the Lord in my life so I can recognize my blessings, and so my kids can know how very important it is to me. I could record favorite scriptures and quotes for times of struggle as a consistent and reliable reference place for myself, since I seem to need to look the same ones up over and over again.

Recently, I liked Jacob 3:1: "Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto Him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions." And with recent events I've found myself loving this: "If every husband and every wife would constantly do whatever might be possible to ensure the comfort and happiness of his or her companion, there would be very little, if any, divorce." - Gordon B. Hinckley.

Three best things about my day:
1. Nap before work.
2. Delicious Panda Express.
3. Sunshine without overwhelming heat.
(4.) Buying this journal guy.

Off to bed, trying to remember that tomorrow is "a brand new day..."

/End of journal entry.

So I'm probably a late bloomer in discovering the importance of writing and expressing in my life, as well as the helpfulness of a journal. But here goes, and hopefully back to a better blog. Goodbye, boring.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Randoms and Raindrops

I finished Dicey's Song yesterday. I'm now working on A Solitary Blue, and I'll follow that up with Elie Wiesel's Night.

The shoulder is feeling better although I am still in a bit of pain, depending on how I place my arm.

I've been having withdrawals from my shows this last week. Gene Simmons wasn't on on Sunday night, and Jon & Kate wasn't on on Monday either.

I've been working on a 500 piece puzzle and don't have much left, but stupidly, I left the hardest part for last. This will be the first one I actually finish, so I'm determined!

Just as a note, my playlist on my blog (and Facebook, and MySpace, haha) changes a lot. I usually will put songs on that either I am really into at the moment, or (currently) that represent certain feelings and chapters in my life. Sometimes my songs are even directed at/dedicated to people. So if you ever care to pay attention and check out my actual blog, I thought I'd let you all know.

I've been wanting to talk a little bit about nature lately. I'm not a hiker, and I don't get outdoors much. This isn't because I don't like to be outside. I love it, but I am always pulled away by the things that are vital to my stability (watching movies, reading, etc.).

I've noticed on my walk to and from work (I still have to park in the Y lots), that I am frequently overwhelmed by the smell of flowers. I am not sure what kind. I just know it smells amazing and sweet, and it makes the Utah heat much more bearable. These daily smells are my daily tender mercies.

My favorite thing is when I walk out of my cold, fluorescent and somewhat dark church building to my car. UVU apparently has the same kinds of local flowers. But I also get overwhelmed by the smell of jasmine. This is my favorite scent for a couple of reasons, half of them nostalgic. I inhale as deeply as I can, and I hold my breath and close my eyes for a couple of steps. I let myself feel totally overwhelmed by sunlight, warmth, and amazing scents. These are my Sunday tender mercies.

When I left work around 12:10 AM on July 4th (or Friday night), the sky was getting lit up by huge, bright flashes of lightning. I was overcome by my smallness in the world. I don't care too much for storms. Normally they make me sad and a little bit scared. But this time I was in awe of the darkness being cut out by the lightning.

I saw more lightning on my short, short drive home. I got out of my car and gathered my things slowly, hoping to see more as I walked to my apartment.

I got home and wasn't very sleepy. I was pretty lonely, too. So I decided around 1 AM that I was going to enjoy the storm. I put on a shirt and some slip-ons and walked outside.

I stood in the hallway of my apartment building and just paused, looking at the sky, waiting for more lightning. I started walking slowly to the east, toward the mountains. The rain was coming down lightly, wetting my arms and my hair. I walked through the Crestwood parking lot, trying to take my time and to enjoy the storm.

I walked north on Carterville, one foot in front of the other. I didn't want to concentrate on walking, I wanted to concentrate on every other sense. I heard the rain slapping the ground. It was so, so loud--louder because of the silence. As I kept on, it started coming down in bigger, heavier drops--colder drops. I felt goosebumps on my skin--probably the most welcome kind of cold I could imagine.

I turned my face up to the sky while I walked. I wondered where that water had come from, how far it had traveled to land on my face.

I held my phone under my shirt so it wouldn't get ruined by the merciless nature to which I was subjecting it. After just a couple of minutes, I was soaked. My khaki pants from work were covered with streaks of water. My white shirt was getting a little transparent (at 1 AM, that's OK). My shoes started to squeak.

I moved over to the east side of Carterville where the hill starts and trees take over, to see what things would feel like over there. A car pulled over to the right, asking if I wanted a ride. I told them no thanks, I'm good. A ride? That's silly. Where would I ask for a ride to, if I said yes? I'm not going anywhere.

It was liberating not going anywhere.

I paused for a couple minutes by the trees, wondering if I would find anyone someday who would have taken this walk with me, who would have enjoyed kissing me in the rain. That's what I wanted--to be taken over by the rain, the darkness, the cold, and the rush of intense romance. Every sense amplified.

The lightning had calmed during my walk, which was unfortunate since I wanted to see more. It was OK with me though. I was perfectly content getting soaked in nature's shower. I turned down 1850 north, reluctantly heading back to my apartment.

Thunder sounded, causing me to pick up my pace for a brief, startled second. The sky lit up, but the lightning was behind me. Everything was totally out of my control. I couldn't command the lightning, but was in awe of the One who could. I wondered while I headed home who came up with the idea that you'd "catch a cold" by walking out in the rain. What a terrible thing--to have been discouraged from taking walks like this by a silly idea like that.

A phone call interrupted the last 30 seconds of my walk or so. I became completely disconnected from everything I had just tuned into. This lets me know the unfortunate place I am in most of the time. Disconnected from real things, the things that make you feel so insignificant, and deceived by the impression of control and power you have over your life.

I can't do justice to the magic of my walk. All I can say is that I let myself feel everything I could. I didn't care about the mascara that would be on my face. I didn't care about the wetness of my hair. My clothes getting soaked was expected and invited. I was heading nowhere and somewhere at the same time. What else is there to say?

The rain put me in my place. And it took me away.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Noooo Moneeyyy

I've been trying desperately to eat at home more in the last little while. The last few days I've slacked pretty bad--Chili's and Pei Wei. But I will be back to eating at home--I bought some basic groceries yesterday. I must force myself.

I'm not in any large amount of debt or anything, but I really want to see my bank account grow, for a change. My spending habits were really, really bad in the last few months, and my bank account balance shrunk rapidly due to my larger-than-normal credit card bills (really expensive concerts, music, food, etc). Honestly, my balance was much, much lower than I have seen it in a while, which is sad, given the fact that I'm working WAY more than normal (48 hours/wk). Truly, my balance was dangerously low--I was REALLY bad. But due to recent increased self-control I will finally get caught up and spend less money than I make, and hopefully I'll have a good financial starting point for August 19th when I start teaching.

However, I have a few important things this month--a few birthdays, and a wedding present to spend money on. This is even more reason to not spend money on eating out (my weakness).

But what's a girl to do with Elizabeth and the Catapult coming to town at the end of the month? And what about THIS?

"Imogen's eagerly-awaited new album 'Ellipse' will be released in the UK on Monday August 24th and in the USA and Canada on Tuesday August 25th."

And what about Regina Spektor's new album which I do not yet have? What about THAT?!

That's a lot of fabulous new music that I'm supposed to resist--for how long? Ugh.

I am contemplating using www.musicmp3.ru or www.mp3panda.com again to make the most out of my music purchases. $.50 to $1.50 an album with those websites is much better than $9 or $10 anywhere else, even if it's by Russian legality. It's the internet, ch'all!

I bought Orange County and Just Married for $10 several weeks ago. I couldn't resist. And then on Friday I bought Dark Knight, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Taken for $20. However, like I said, I'm being conscious of my spending habits and really am spending a lot less than before!

In other news, there are way too many movies I want to see at the dollar theater right now. I tried to see Wolverine last night, and it was sold out! So I saw Ghosts of Girlfriends Past instead. It was fun, though Matthew McConaughey's character drove me NUTS for most of the movie. I'll still see Wolverine--try for this weekend. Also, Monsters vs. Aliens and Brothers Bloom are both there. Who can resist a dollar, you know? I want to watch 17 Again again, but we'll be getting it at Blockbuster soon anyway. (As for what's at the regular theater) I want to see Public Enemies, Transformers 2, Ice Age 3, The Proposal, Year One, and My Sister's Keeper. Lots that interest me!

I am still working on my reading list for curriculum possibilities for this school year, which starts August 19th. WHOA! Someone pause time for me. I'm not ready. Thank heaven for the support of friends who are in the same boat. I have read Mississippi Trial, 1955, Nothing but the Truth, Out of the Dust, The Outsiders, and Walk Two Moons. Currently I am reading Dicey's Song. It's good thus far. I'll finish today or tomorrow. There are 20 left on the list, but only 14 which actually say 8th grade (the rest do not specify), and 3 of those specify 8th Enriched classes. So 11-14 more to get through. I don't know if I can do it before I need to start making some serious plans for the year.

Fourth of July weekend was difficult given my family's absence and a few other contributing factors. I tried really hard to make the best of it though. My family didn't come because of my Mimi's current status; we're still praying for Mimi--hope you all are too. I tanned on Friday and tried to keep myself busy--went to my baby cousin Ava's birthday party, and then I had to work. Saturday, Brianne came with me to Stadium of Fire, which improved the experience all around. On Sunday we celebrated Dylan's birthday at my Aunt April and Uncle Tyler's cabin in Heber. I took some pictures throughout the weekend, and you can see them here since I'm too lazy to post them. They're mostly of Tyce anyway. :)

I'm still working out 4-5 days a week and am trying to change it up a little bit. So that's going reasonably well. I've conquered the treadmill a few times--only for fifteen minutes at a time, until I feel I have improved and can do more. I feel healthy and fit, always a good advantage to my constant exercise.

The other night, I slept on my shoulder incorrectly, and it has given me grief for over 24 hours now. It was feeling better last night, but I must have slept on it and stressed it out again. It hurts really bad to put it in certain positions and rotate it certain ways. I'm sure it will get better soon, and it didn't stop my workout yesterday. I should probably ice it.

Recently I've noticed some people who deal with things similarly to how I deal with them--in tears. haha. I watch So You Think You Can Dance pretty regularly (I work when it's on, so I have to record it and watch it a few days after). But one of the dancers totally shut down in trying to learn a dance and found herself in frustrated tears because of it. I've been that way my WHOLE life. I've been afraid to do things because if I can't do them, I know I'll embarrass myself by crying. So I always play it safe and choose not to do those things. I also read a blog recently which recorded the experience of someone else who was a big influence in my life, who found herself in tears when she was unable to do something after a lot of effort. For whatever reason, it's made me feel much more secure that others shut down the same way I do when I can't do something. If someone is willing to show me, and not make me feel stupid, I can get past it and give it another shot, just like the dancer did and just like the other person I noted. It's nice not to feel alone in certain things--it gives you a kind of power and encouragement to do things you are afraid of anyway. I hope to present myself with more opportunities that take me out of my comfort zone. Believe it or not, the treadmill was one of those! I'm looking for more. :)

I have work, gym, and institute today. I have work, gym, and work at Blockbuster tomorrow AND Thursday. Friday I have work and gym. And I hope I can find something fun to do on Friday night. Saturday had better bring good weather for some more tanning!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More Movies Like This Please...

Joel: I can't see anything that I don't like about you.

Clementine: But you will! But you will. You know, you will think of things. And I'll get bored with you and feel trapped because that's what happens with me.

Joel: Okay.

Clementine: ... Okay.

Fewer The Notebooks. More Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Minds.

kthxbai.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Bad

On Monday night I got back from the gym, showered, and sat at the table to work on a puzzle while I waited for a hot dog to cook.

I put a Diet Coke Plus in the freezer so it'd get cold in a hurry, thinking I'd just take it out in 40 minutes or so.



I forgot.



My bad.

On Tuesday night, I got back from Institute and there was a note on the white board: "The freezer needs to be cleaned!" I was really confused by this, like, "Well, then clean it?" Then I opened the freezer, saw the frozen Coke explosion, and was like, "Oh yeeeaahhh... I forgot about that." I took all the stuff out and cleaned the freezer, laughing the whole time. I thought it was so funny.

I doubt my roommate was as amused, given her white board note. But you just have to laugh at these things sometimes.

I wish I had taken pictures. Coke shards were all along the bottom shelf. Frozen Coke remnants were on the ice rack. They were around the sides and top where the door is. They were on my roommate's frozen bread, and on microwavable dinners. They were in the freezer door. Oh, it was so awesome. :)

It was some good entertainment for me, but that's the last time I do that.

Seriously, So Blessed

I honestly was going to title this blog, "So Blessed," but then I remembered TAMN and started laughing at myself. So I thought I'd just go with it completely.

Really though, I woke up so happy today for some reason. I felt completely rested, which is an odd thing. I got to eat dinner with my good friend Brianne last night, which I felt like I hadn't done in a while. I love to talk to someone and feel like they understand you and get what you're saying and like you don't have to worry about being misunderstood. The food was surprisingly good--my past experiences at Applebee's haven't been so fun. But I got this delicious Club House Grill sandwich and fries which totally hit the spot after a 903-calorie burning workout.

Institute was AMAZING. We had a substitute, Brother Gibbons. He reminded me of Rhino the hamster from Bolt, with all of his crazy energy. He was so out there, but his style was totally what I needed to be excited about institute. He was loud and outgoing. And he broke the scriptures down into a way that works with my brain--numbers and lists and phrases. He talked about the three things Nephi (in 2 Nephi 31-33) suggests we do when we need help with something: read scriptures, rely on/listen to the Holy Ghost, and pray. He also discussed the three problems and solutions which Jacob addresses in chapters 1-3: wealth/riches, immorality, and responsibilities of parents. He spent time emphasizing that if Jacob had to give the most precious of the best most important truths of the gospel, we needed to pay attention to the things he focused on. It really hit home to me.

What I really wanted to talk about was a particular word in 2 Nephi 31:20: "feast." He had us come up with an eating verb we could use to describe how we read the scriptures. I came up with the word "sample," since I always end up picking out a verse or two which stand out to me during my reading, and skim over the rest. He pointed out how interesting it was that Nephi should choose the word, "feast," out of all the other "eating" verbs. It was really profound and gave me a new perspective on how I should be studying.

I went visiting teaching on Sunday night, and the message this month is about sincere prayer. I loved the simplicity of the message. The girls in the apartment we visited were so, so great. They had a lot of insights and experiences to share, and were very conversational with us, instead of just silently waiting for us to be done. I received a cute note (we do "love notes" at ward prayer) from one of the girls, telling me how she appreciated my coming over and that the spirit was so strong. It was indeed, and I was glad that she shared that sentiment. I was almost brought to tears in our visit because of how strong the spirit was. It was so awesome! I am so glad to have had that experience to get me excited to make sure I do my visiting teaching. What wonderful girls they are! And what a great opportunity to serve and make new friends.

This morning my dad reported to me about how his mother is doing. My Mimi. She had lung cancer which they successfully removed in a surgery. But shortly after she had a blood clot come loose and go through her heart. Come to find out, only 20% of her heart had been working because of three prior unknown heart attacks. She has been comatose for about a week. She has been generally incoherent, and the doctor suggested yesterday that they pull the plug. This morning when I spoke to my dad, I heard his voice break as he told me that his brother Marty called to tell him that Mimi responded to the doctor this morning! She also squeezed my grandpa's hand when he said that my parents were coming out there. My dad has a new found hope about my Mimi, and it was so tender to hear him get emotional. I have been praying for her morning and night and all throughout the day. I bore my testimony to dad about priesthood blessings and suggested that she get one because a blessing and some faith can only do good!

So what I mean to get at right now is how grateful I am for the gospel, for the church and its organization, and for technology. I was able to get online and find a ward near the hospital my grandmother is staying at in Burlington, Vermont. I called the missionaries and gave them the information so that tomorrow they can come and give her a blessing when my parents are there. I'm getting tears in my eyes thinking of how grateful I am for the priesthood, and how I know that this blessing will make a difference. I have the faith that it will! Miracles are worked through the priesthood of the Lord. I'm so grateful for missionaries. I felt like the one I was talking to was so much older than me. But I know that he was between 19 and 21. I know he's out there serving the Lord. And I know by hearing so many mission stories that he is so excited for the opportunity to give a blessing to someone, especially a non-member. I can't believe these boys go out at 19 and dedicate their lives to the gospel and to serving others. I'm so grateful for them, especially now that I know my grandma and family will be blessed by their efforts tomorrow.

I was recently able to go through and edit the "project critique" portion of my coworker's dissertation. Her writing has improved greatly over the last few years that I've known her (Spanish is her first language). I didn't have to do a whole lot. We fixed a part of her paper together today, and she told me how she felt so proud of herself that she didn't have so many things wrong with her critique. It's always scary waiting to see what someone finds wrong with something you write! How brave she is, and I'm glad she was so proud of herself. She also told me with a huge smile on her face that the positive comments that I left throughout her paper like, "cool," made her feel really encouraged. I was glad to have been able to help her, and I'm so glad she has improved so much. Thank heaven I put those positive comments in there, but I really was impressed by her.

There's a girl who was in my ward for a little while. I had a grand total of one conversation with her. But every time she comes in to Blockbuster, she says hi to me with a big smile, and she says my name. This always makes my night at work because she is so cute and cheery, and she knows me and remembers my name and goes out of her way to make sure she says hi. It's funny how just saying hi--or just leaving positive comments on a written paper--can make such a difference to someone.

I also had a pleasant surprise on Facebook this morning from an acquaintance of mine. She left a comment on my wall which was completely random but probably one of the coolest compliments I have ever received. So that totally made my day, on top of being able to schedule the missionaries to bless my grandma tomorrow. It's really weird how being intentionally active in the gospel, doing all we can do--reading, praying, attending ward activities, visiting teaching, attending institute--brings about so much positive energy. It's awesome to feel so loved and to feel so much love for others. All of us like to feel special! I hope I can bring those same feelings to others.

I think that's all I wanted to discuss, really. Friends, being well-rested, having a great institute experience, my coworker, Facebook comments, and priesthood blessings and my grandma. I can't tell you how overwhelmed I am with positive energy and how overly and undeservedly blessed I feel right now. I'm even teary-eyed over all of it. I need to announce to the world that I love my Lord and Savior. I love missionary work. I believe in miracles. I believe in love and service. And I'm so grateful for the knowledge that I have of the Lord's plan and for all of the blessings that have been poured out on me recently.

Life is so good. :)