Thursday, February 2, 2017

and the words, they're everything [wwis 15]

The main theme of this WWIS post is "Getting Ready for the Day."
My most basic instinct.
Yeah I don't have to do that anymore.
I've actually grown pretty fond of my bed in recent years. It has its quirks (the squeaky springs very likely keep my neighbors awake as I habitually toss and turn) but I'm still loath to leave it.
My feet honestly hurt worse after a day of flat-wearing than heel-wearing. How do you keep them on???
All any of us can do.

And a bonus "political" tweet (oh the halcyon days when I only got angry about grammar mistakes).
I quash this reaction all day erry day. Nobody knows what I really think, except sometimes my Twitter followers.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

i have a prophecy

I've decided it's time for a Harry Potter opinion, and here it is: Harry was the only one the Prophecy could ever have referred to.

Here's the prophecy as Miss Trelawney spoke it:

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches...Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies...and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not...and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives....The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies....
So let's get into it a moment. Okay, here's what we know:

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches -- This is the subject of the prophecy. The thesis statement, if you will. What follow are the characteristics of this person:
+Born to those who have thrice defied him -- So, we know that both Neville and Harry fit this bill. Somehow. Go Frank and Alice! Go James and Lily! Fighting for what's right.
+Born as the seventh month dies -- also Neville and Harry. Dumbledore backs us up on these first two points:
"The odd thing is, Harry," [Dumbledore] said softly, "that it may not have meant you at all. Sybill's prophecy could have applied to two wizard boys, both born at the end of July that year, both of whom had parents in the Order of the Phoenix, both sets of parents having narrowly escaped Voldemort three times. One, of course, was you. The other was Neville Longbottom."

I actually disagree with Dumbledore on the fundamental conclusion (that Neville could ever have been the one the prophecy referred to), but that's the point of this post. We'll get there.
+the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal -- okay, stop. It is universally acknowledged that the "mark" is Harry's scar. How did he get that scar, anyway? The AK curse (as it is colloquially known in Auror circles, of course) doesn't leave a mark. Is it possible that the mark is the sign of the accidental Horcrux? Debatable, but that's also not the point. The point is: In one way or another, the scar is the sign that Harry's the one that can defeat You-Know-Who. And how did he get that scar?

Because Lily died for him, when she didn't have to. Voldemort gave her ample chances to get out of the way, but when she wouldn't, that's when she died. And that's when her protection over Harry came into force. That's why the curse rebounded. That's how he got the scar.

I don't really understand why Voldemort was willing to spare this Muggleborn girl who had narrowly escaped him three times, just because Snape asked. Maybe he wanted to reward him for overhearing the prophecy. Or maybe he just felt like it was a request he was willing to entertain until it became way too inconvenient. Either way: pretty sure he was only willing to spare her because Snape asked. Because Snape was obsessed with Lily. Hashtag #getoverit.

And I really do not believe that Voldemort would have spared either of the Longbottom parents. It would've been bam-bam-bam, end of the Longbottoms. :(

That's why Harry was the only one the prophecy ever could have referred to; it was only Lily's sacrifice that protected him and caused him to become an accidental Horcrux, which was how he had the power to vanquish the Dark Lord. Neville never could have, because Snape wasn't obsessed with either of his parents (as far as we know).

Here's Harry doing some wishful thinking, totally forgetting that he/his parents would probably be dead if Voldemort were still in power:
Neville's childhood had been blighted by Voldemort just as much as Harry's had, but Neville had no idea how close he had come to having Harry's destiny. The prophecy could have referred to either of them, yet, for his own inscrutable reasons, Voldemort had chosen to believe that Harry was the one meant.
Had Voldemort chosen Neville, it would be Neville sitting opposite Harry bearing the lightning-shaped scar and the weight of the prophecy....Or would it? Would Neville's mother have died to save him, as Lily had died for Harry? Surely she would....But what if she had been unable to stand between her son and Voldemort? Would there then have been no "Chosen One" at all? An empty seat where Neville now sat and a scarless Harry who would have been kissed good-bye by his own mother, not Ron's?

He's so close to working it out, he just doesn't have all the facts (like the small fact that his terrible professor was obsessed with his mom). Also, I have such a hard time conceiving of a "scarless Harry" -- to me, the boy and the scar are inextricably linked...and it couldn't have happened any other way.

P.S.: Even though it really couldn't have happened, I still like this alternate universe where Neville was the Chosen One: boy with a scar (chapters 1 and 2 are Neville-as-Chosen-One what-ifs. Chapter 3 is a bleak "what if both Neville and Harry got murdered" and Chapter 4 doesn't have anything to do with them). (Also it doesn't contain adult content)
P.P.S.: all the images came from google image search. I heard people don't read blog posts without pictures anymore so I peppered some in.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

trace all my books [2016]

In a lot of ways 2016 feels like a wash as far as my own life went--as far as personal, social, or spiritual development. But then I remembered that I kept my resolution about 60% of the time! That's better than it could be. (And it might've even been more. 75%? The world is my oyster.) (My resolution was to make my bed every day, in hopes that once I was there I would kneel down and pray instead of not doing that...which did not happen 60% of the time. But the only real resolution was making my bed, and I did that a lot.)

We'll see if I can keep my 2017 resolution, which is to shower more often. Starting tomorrow!

I mean, I know I am different than I was at the start of the year. Too many things are the same, but there are some good differences I think. And some bad ones. When was the last time I cooked for myself? Not sure.

There's a lot to be disappointed in myself about, but we're looking forward.

Anyway, I decided to make a year-end vlog to roundup all the books I read this year. It's 10 minutes long so you may not find it worth your time (also because I used my phone to record it all, it's rather quiet). But there's a couple fun things in there. In my opinion.

I tried to say Happy New Year but my phone doesn't start collecting sound for a bit. Didn't know that. Anyway here's the rundown of books I thought were worth mentioning this year. Except I didn't even mention Hamilton. Or Harry Potter.

Books featured in this video:
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson
The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen
A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier
Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty
The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis
Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley

Authors featured:
Megan Whalen Turner
Diana Wynne Jones
Tamora Pierce
Terry Pratchett
Georgette Heyer
Jennifer Beckstrand

Here's to a good new year.

Monday, December 19, 2016

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 98]

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas music this year. Unfortunately not thinking enough to be fully prepared to write this blog post, but still thinking about it.

I've been thinking about how my favorite Christmas songs are the ones with some immediacy to them. I like babies, including the baby Jesus, but I don't really get excited about celebrating the birth of a baby so much. I like the ones where we think about what His condescension means for us now, and what it means when He will return.

There are so many wonderful Christmas carols in the world that carry a lot of that meaning for me, but for this post I've decided to stick a little closer to home, to the Christmas hymns I'm most familiar with. Here are my favorite lyrics from each of the 14 Christmas hymns in the LDS hymnbook.

#201: Joy to the World
No more will sin and sorrow grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make the blessings flow far as the curse is found.

#202: Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful
Sing in exultation

#203: Angels We Have Heard on High
And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains

#204: Silent Night
Love's pure light radiant beams from thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace.

#205: Once in Royal David's City
And our eyes at last shall see him, through his own redeeming love.

#206: Away in a Manger
Fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

#207: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
And the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.

#208: O Little Town of Bethlehem
In this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in

#209: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Light and life to all he brings, ris'n with healing in his wings.

#210: With Wondering Awe
The heavenly star its rays afar on every land is throwing, and shall not cease till holy peace in all the world is growing

#211: While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
Goodwill henceforth from heaven to man begin and never cease

#212: Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains
Hasten the time when from every clime, men shall unite in the strains sublime: Glory to God in the Highest. Peace on earth, goodwill to men

#213: The First Noel
surely there is a third verse somewhere that has some meaning. I like this song but the lyrics in the hymnbook are meh (to my standards).

#214: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
The world revolved from night to day

Then let us all with one accord sing praises or something to our Lord. Is a nice Noel lyric. Has some application to today. Or would, if I quoted it correctly.

Anyway. I really appreciate the opportunity Christmas music gives us to think about Christ more. Christ, His life, His sacrifice. What we can give Him, poor as we are, in return for the marvelous gift.

Finally, I can't let the post end without mentioning this special song, Carol of Joy. I mean, talk about immediacy. "Oh fearful world, to you is the song." In the bleak midwinter when we hear carols, listen to the music, understand the lyrics -- our hearts open to the Savior. That's what I love about Christmas music.

But I don't have anything to say about it that my cousin Megan hasn't already said. Read her words. Be in awe of her talent and sad that you don't even get complete sentences in my posts all the time.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

halos on evergreens

On this day 10 years ago, at this approximate time, something happened that was a ~~big deal~~

at the time. It was a big deal at the time. It was...oh man. It was such a deal.

I wrote something about it as my autobiographical fragment for my creative writing class in 2008 so it's immortalized for me forever. Here it is.

I hadn’t thought the night could get any more awkward. After virtually inviting myself over to a boys’ apartment to wait out the hours until one of them, Jonathan (whom I was hopelessly infatuated with), opened his mission call, feeling conversation stilt and falter, and watching as the appointed time came and the lobby filled with girls that all knew each other and him a lot more than I knew anyone there, I was seriously reconsidering the wisdom of attending the event.
That was before every single girl (and the few guys that came) gave him a hug in congratulations.I dithered. My infatuation with Jonathan didn’t extend to my being comfortable enough with him to give him a hello when I saw him on campus, let alone a hug. Unfortunately, I waited so long that I was the only one (besides Jonathan’s roommate Robert) still there. 

Finally, there was nothing for it but to approach him.I stuck out my hand. 

“Well . . . obligatory missionary handshake.”

“Uh, yeah, I guess so.” (Is it any wonder I liked him so much?)

We shook hands.

“Good luck,” I added. “Thanks for letting me come.”

“Thank you for sacrificing your sleep.” Because his family lived in Sweden, he waited until 11:00 to open his call so that it would only be 7:00 in the morning when he phoned them—and 11:00 was a lot later than I was usually willing to stay up on a school night.

“Oh, I didn’t want to miss this,” I said casually (I hoped).

We were still shaking hands.

“Well, thanks.”


I was nervous, so of course I started rambling. “Hey, Patricia wants to do something with you guys sometime soon, so I guess we’d better hurry before the semester ends otherwise you’ll be gone, won’t you, and that sort of defeats the purpose. Maybe we’ll go bowling or something?”

“Um, okay.” I had trouble looking him in the eye (and not just because he was very tall); there was some expression there that unsettled me.

“Oh, and that dinner you have with all your friends, make sure that it doesn’t happen over ward choir. You shouldn’t miss ward choir.” Ward choir was my favorite time to see him.

“We’ll do our best.”

He was shaking my middle finger. That was awkward. I took away my hand.

“Thanks again.” I backed toward the door and flashed a farewell smile at Robert, who had watched this whole interchange with little reaction (I found out later that he likely had a crush on me, so I expect he was just hiding his distress). “See you Sunday – or before, if we end up doing something!”

“Bye!” they chorused.

I ran across the lawn to my apartment building, and didn’t sleep a wink that night.

 Oh 2008 me. There are some things I would change about your writing.

Anyway I didn't change any names so if you know these people don't tell them what I said. Like. They know. But we don't have to talk about it. It's well in the past. (And if you're reading, hi! Sorry we haven't talked in a while and there was no good way to ask you about this. surprise?)

A lot has changed in the past 10 years. My life is very little like what I thought it would be back then. And I think I'm glad about that; most of what I've done and what's happened have been blessings in my life, or learning experiences. I didn't know anything when I was 18 years old. I certainly didn't know that this handshake would still probably be the most exciting thing that ever happened to me ever (I mean, I still remember the date when it happened).

The right conclusion isn't coming to me. Do I want to expound more on the flush of first infatuation? (This was after high school AND after my first boyfriend so I don't know why this stuck me so much.) Do I want to say more about how life changes in ten years?

Or do I just wanna say good night?

Good night.

Edit: Good morning! Last night (which was honestly this morning #stoptheweek) I was in bed, falling asleep, and began reflecting on the day. With this and other experiences, I realized that the lesson I'm really taking from this story is that life goes on. When the handshake thing happened I honestly thought I might never get over it. But I did, about 5 years ago (yeah, do that math). I talked to someone yesterday that I honestly thought I'd never get over; but I have. I talked to/thought about some people that I still haven't gotten over and sometimes it feels like I never will -- but life goes on!

That's the conclusion I wanted to draw.

P.S.: the title of this post is the most amazing thing ever.

Monday, November 21, 2016

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 97]

This is a quote from my patriarchal blessing that I want to remember, so I wrote it down. I hope I remember it.

It's Perfect

Monday, November 14, 2016

followers of my faith [Mormon Monday 96]

At extended devotional we learned about poverty. As part of it, we watched portions of Elder Holland's address, "Are We Not All Beggars?" that I'd actually seen at work within the past week.

Here's some paragraphs from the talk that I like.

Down through history, poverty has been one of humankind’s greatest and most widespread challenges. Its obvious toll is usually physical, but the spiritual and emotional damage it can bring may be even more debilitating. In any case, the great Redeemer has issued no more persistent call than for us to join Him in lifting this burden from the people.
Brothers and sisters, such a sermon demands that I openly acknowledge the unearned, undeserved, unending blessings in my life, both temporal and spiritual. Like you, I have had to worry about finances on occasion, but I have never been poor, nor do I even know how the poor feel. Furthermore, I do not know all the reasons why the circumstances of birth, health, education, and economic opportunities vary so widely here in mortality, but when I see the want among so many, I do know that “there but for the grace of God go I.” I also know that although I may not be my brother’s keeper, I am my brother’s brother, and “because I have been given much, I too must give.”

Something to think about.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

and the words, they're everything [wwis 14]

Hello friends! Been a while. I recognize that this is not my most popular segment here on the blog (I even realized a few months ago I'd accidentally used the same set of tweets twice and no one said anything) but I like it. I like feeling funny every once in a while.

NaNoWriMo is going on now.

I mean, that takes SOME talent.

This is probably why I could reach my biceps with my tongue. Working out!

I am at my least feasible when I am a light sweater. Please don't hold that against me (though you are welcome to find a sweater to hold against me, now that it's about to be cold).

Would you wear a light sweater to pick cherries? 

There's...not really any other reason to be grateful for the souls of men in the eternal worlds.

I want to fall into line with pop culture and say "2016 was not swoonworthy." But what I think I meant when I made this tweet (April 2015) was that I hadn't been on a date in a year.

I'm grateful for the souls of men and women in the eternal worlds that are too cute.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

a change is gonna come, said the signal to the noise

It's been a rough day. Last night at around 9 I did the math, figured out the outcome, shook my head, checked Facebook to see what the reactions were, and went to bed (and then kept checking Utah election results for a while, just to see). It wasn't what I wanted, but I knew everything would be okay. Slept just fine, even.

Today I got to work and started reading more reactions. Some were hopeful, some were even happy, but a lot were really, really scared. (Mainly people the president-elect has targeted: blacks, Latinx, Muslims. LGBT I think?) I started absorbing their fear and began crying.

Yep, at work. It's fine. I went to the file room to catch up on some filing and hopefully calm down.

Caught up on some filing but then started thinking about how people (men) are going to think sexual assault is okay because the president-elect made it seem that way. I am afraid of that. That did not calm me down. Kinda the opposite, actually.

I eventually recovered but I have this awesome feature I like to call the "amazing human faucet" -- sometimes when I start crying, I don't stop. It just keeps going for a few hours. At my desk I could hear the various celebrations of coworkers who were legitimately happy about the outcome of the election and I just felt for those who are unhappy, whose perspective the people at work don't see or don't care about.*

Anyway, if people look like they've been crying, don't ask if they're okay. It might make them start crying again even as they say "Yep everything is fine"

And I do believe that everything will be fine. I, and all others disappointed by this outcome, are allowed to grieve. Allow us this space so that we can come together full-heartedly to believe in America, and to work righteous endeavors.

*Hey, just so you know, it's okay to disagree that certain policies are good/bad for America. But don't dismiss people's fears about how something will affect their life. Their feelings are valid (because they're their feelings! They're real things), and so are yours. If we work from that understanding, we can actually get somewhere.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

mother says years ago

It's my mother's birthday! To celebrate I came up with 50 (an arbitrary number, obviously) fun facts/cool things/interesting opinions about her.

50 Tidbits About My Mom (Because She's Cool)

1. Today is a special birthday for her because it's an awesome palindrome: 61616.
2. She has green eyes and dark hair. Straight-up Harry Potter combination.
2. She used to teach junior high. Not everyone can do that but my mom did. She taught Math and English.
3. She let me use all her old pre-algebra fun things that she had from when she was a teacher. Pre-Algebra with Pizzazz. I learned so much.
4. My mom makes it a point to not have favorites. No favorite children, no favorite food, no favorite book, no favorite color. Makes life easy, except when you're trying to plan a favorite dinner.
5. She is the designated driver in our family.
6. She drove from Logan to Salt Lake every business day for a month so I could have radiation.
7. And also whenever I stayed at the hospital she stayed with me. It was great not to be alone (and also I got her to laugh at Cake Wrecks one time, and she tries not to laugh because it shows favor).
8. She is good at reading picture books. I am certain she has many memorized (not that it's hard to memorize "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" but she's got it). It is this and other things that indicate...
9. She is a fun grandma.
10. My mom tried to make me learn how to clean. It didn't work but I appreciate her continued effort.
11. She did make me practice the piano (and violin, when that was a thing). That worked at least.
12. She has always been good at taking pictures! My childhood is pretty well documented (and also my life now; most of the pictures of me these days are still ones she takes).
13. My mom is physically active and very strong.
14. The only time in my life I've ever exercised regularly is when she made me come to aerobics with her for a few months.
15. She maintains the yard and the garden beautifully. It is a beautiful place outside my house.
16. Part of maintaining the garden is allllll the harvesting and allllll the preserving. So much canning in the summer! She does it!
17. She's my mom but she lets me be a grownup.
18. She is a fast typer.
19. She is an excellent seamstress! Growing up we all had matching clothes and I still have many clothes made by her in my closet (that i wear regularly).
20. We had so many cool birthday parties growing up. I had a rainbow party once. She tried so hard to socialize me, bless her heart.
21. She is a good decorator of our house.
22. She played the clarinet. She does play the piano currently but I don't know if i've ever actually heard her play the clarinet, but I know she was decent at it.
23. She is involved in the community. She was a room mother in elementary school. She was also PTA President which is a big deal.
24. Also she's politically involved which is convenient because it means I don't have to and I always know how to vote.
25. She is reasonably accomplished at doing hair. I don't think she'd want to do it for prom or anything but I always looked neat as I went to elementary school. A good braider.
26. She goes along with my dad on hikes and stuff, which is more than I'm willing to do.
27. She is great at planning vacations.
28. She is also great at hosting large gatherings. Hostessing doesn't come the most naturally to her but she does such a nice job.
29. She lets me take food from their house every time I come visit.
30. She likes flossing. When I was trying to start flossing part of my motivation was her telling me how much she likes it. I probably wouldn't ever have become a regular flosser without her example.
31. She's also a good example of other things, like fulfilling her callings and reading her scriptures.
32. Also she attends the temple weekly. I used to go with her and now I don't, but I also try to go weekly.
33. She takes me shopping for clothes and otherwise I probably would not have clothes because shopping is the worst. Alternately she also takes my sisters shopping and then I can take their clothes. Either way it's a win for me.
34. She is an involved missionary mom. Always making sure to be around on Mondays and sending lots of good packages.
35. She knew about Wicked before it was cool. Because we liked to listen to Showtune Saturday night, which means that we grew up cultured!
36. She taught me how to write left-handedly.
37. She is good at the finances and knowing when we can make big purchases without my dad knowing.
38. She is good at pushing us out of the door to go to college (this brought to you by the fact that my brother is moving to Provo today [surprise] and they are packing him up. she's packed a lot of us up)
39. She gets along with her family.
40. She gets along with dad's family.
41. She doodles while she's on the phone and I don't mind at all that that habit has passed down to me.
42. She tried to get me to own a smart phone for like 3 years before I finally did. She cares that I have a functional phone. Not that I ever call her.
43. She calls me on the phone to make sure I'm okay.
44. We recommend books to each other. She is pretty good at it.
45. She's also willing to read the fanfiction I recommend to her without overt judgment of my tastes.
46. She went through this phase where she'd make CDs for me to listen to in college. Just a weird mishmash of whatever she'd been buying lately. I still have them.
47. She reads my blog. She watched my vlog. She is generally supportive of our creative endeavors, which is great.
48. We grew up never having tried fish, asparagus, broccoli, avocados, or any of the other foods my mom doesn't like.
49. Which reminds me, have I mentioned this yet? She is a great cook! I could probably list 50 more things that she cooks that we like to eat in our family, but suffice to say that it is great to eat at home!
50. Popular opinion: she is the best mom ever.

Someone else give me a picture to put on this post.