Saturday, May 30, 2009

on the edge of the summer

I think I'm finally getting used to my new haircut. I've had a hard time with it lately because it just looked so weird when I looked in the mirror. I still think that being bald makes me look more vulnerable, which is just what I need. But it doesn't throw me off as much when I catch a glimpse.

Still not totally down with the idea of leaving my head bare in public, though. I just ... don't like people looking at me. And everyone looks at you at least once to make sure they're actually seeing what they think they're seeing. So I'm leaving it to my siblings' friends and random people that come by before I have a chance to put something on. I'm working on it, though.

Even so, it's hot. I spend a lot of time here in our family room with windows on 3 sides and no curtains or blinds, and ... it's warm. I wish more of my friends would come visit my house. But I can understand that a 2+-hr drive is more than people are willing to do, even though Providence is a very nice place. Oh well.

It's my brother's birthday party right now. They just went mini-golfing and now they're playing Hole in the Bucket. Which is where they sing "There's a hole in ma bucket, Dear Liza" over and over. (No, that's not true. They have to use holey buckets to transfer water from one container to another. They're having fun.)

And now, for a thought.

I was sitting here on the couch a week or so ago, just looking outside at the leaves on the trees and thinking about my stories. In all the stories I write, something happens to the characters, or they do something. I could write about the leaves, but it would not sound very good. I'm just not a good enough writer. And I've had plenty of time since then to be reconciled to that (mainly, I just forgot about it until I was sitting here looking at the leaves on the tree), but I still think there are improvements I can make. This doesn't have a lot to do with any of you unless you were waiting for my writing to become excellent so you could be my agent. Then you can know that if you're looking for thoughtful reflections, you'll never find 'em here.

Now they're waterboarding. What a fun birthday party!

(Okay, they're not waterboarding. But there are children lying down with pop bottles on their stomachs that their team members are trying to fill. Screaming ensues.)

"Daughter" ~ Vienna Teng

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

the driver doesn't know way down how deep these bright-eyed feelings run

Whoo, do I ever need a break from studying. I am pleased to announce that I think I'm understanding the information better than last time I tried to study it (about two weeks ago ... my studying habits tend to have large breaks in between). With luck, I can be prepared for my exam by the end of the week. I'll go down to Provo (or Salt Lake, but ... I'm hoping for Provo) and display my lackluster knowledge on the test, then hang out with people outside my family for a day or two! I'm excited.

So, Monday night I caught what I might refer to as a "blogging bug." I had all these brilliant thoughts that I needed to write down or they'd be lost forever. In order to preserve the world from having to deal with my spamminess, I opened a WordPerfect[1] document and titled it, "Write down your stupid brilliant thoughts down here first." So I did. I started immediately. One of them actually turned into part of a blog post on its own, and with editing it will appear below shortly.

Unfortunately, the blogging bug didn't stop when I tried to sleep, and lots more "brilliant" thoughts forced their way through my brain. Since I slept so poorly, on Tuesday I only remembered one "brilliant" plan I might execute when I'm down visiting Provo. Or not, since it's pretty ridiculous. But anyway, I also stayed outside for an hour or so and that combined with poor sleeping meant that I was too sick to do anything the rest of the day yesterday, so I couldn't post. (I figure, every other day is a good enough break from me, if I really want to be prolific -- which I did!)

So, here's an edited version of what I started writing Monday night. I hope you don't take much of what I say seriously, as it's clear that this blog, if it continues, will no longer contain my attempts at high-falutin literature, as such, but will be full of rambles like this, and I love saying things I don't really mean.

I have this habit of stalking blogs of people I know. Or that I don’t know, but I think I know well enough to read their blog. I’ve tried reading the blog of someone I don’t know at all, and it feels like a privacy invasion. But these other people? I figure that since I know their name, basic appearance, and some life information, they're fair game. I don’t want to become a “Follower” because that’s just stalking. That’s letting people know that I read their blogs.[2] So I just every once in a while remember, “Hey, I really like this person’s blog. I’m going to read up on what’s been going on in her[3] life since last I read.” Sometimes I’m obsessive enough to check multiple times between updates, but I think I should try to curb that habit. Obsessiveness = not attractive. And I’m a cancer girl; I’m already about as unattractive as you can get!

Though I forget that a lot of the time. I was thinking about ... oh, probably my response to a Board question. I’m obsessed (see) with the Board. And I was thinking about describing myself as “pretty, but it’s hard for me to judge from photos, because, well, I’m me. Some photos I think display me well, some don’t.” Then I remembered what a shock I got walking into the bathroom this morning. Pale face, glasses, less hair than ... most people.[4] It was not a pretty sight, and luckily it’s still not my perception of myself. Someday I’ll go back to being pretty (and some days I sure can fake it with a little application of what we’ll call “the wig”) so I’m not too worried about being death-warmed-over ugly right now.

(Today, Wednesday, I'm getting a haircut to make me look more bald. And I also got presents of false eyelashes and an eyebrow pencil. These will also help me "fake it.")

One such blog I stalked on Monday sparked another brilliant thought, that is absolutely true and has been for years: I would love to be part of an impromptu musical number in some public place. You know what I'm talking about. Think: synchronized shopping carts.[5] At least, some synchronized dance moves with a catchy song. But ... I think that'd be fun. If anyone ever tries anything like that and I'm there, I'll probably try to join in even if I'm not part of the group. I guess if I never see/participate in one personally, I know I would like to see more of them in the world. So that was something I wrote down to potentially let people know.

Well, that's probably enough from me today. If I have more brilliant thoughts, I'll write them down in my Stupid Brilliant Thoughts document and let them sit for a day before letting you all view them.

"Unwritten Letter #1" ~ Vienna Teng

[1] Yes, I still preferentially use WordPerfect. I am not alone in this; my Creative Writing professor also confessed to this.
[2] But the people I actually know, I don't really care about following their blogs. I like to check up on them, too, but to be honest the whole "following" thing is kind of overrated.
[3] usually I end up stalking girls – guy stalking interests me less, but not if it’s Nathaniel because I stalk him mercilessly.
[4] A lot less hair than most people. But I’m not bald, which really throws people off. Like, nurses who have to see me without my hat because ... let’s face it, I go hatless whenever I’m home (my family’s used to my hag hairstyle) and it’s way more comfortable when I’m semi-conscious to not have a hat on. And when I’m unconscious. Which is how most of my hospital visits are, one of the two.
[5] Don't also think in conjunction: huge disaster. Because that would not make for a very good performance.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Everyone agrees it came too soon

Uh, well, hello. *dusts off old blog* I am happy to say that I am alive, despite evidence to the contrary (as in, months of absolute inactivity). I'm not quite sure what this post should be about, though, as I'm not very creative anymore.

You see, much like my woeful predictions about two or three posts ago (weird, that, since it's practically been a lifetime since then), I have come down with cancer. Nobody that is already following this blog is surprised by that (yes, all two of you -- I really need to be more exciting). Since I've kind of had this diagnosis since, oh, February. That's one of the reasons I haven't posted lately.

I could always just post a bunch of random facts about myself. That could make a good blog post. (I'm really bad at these. Did you know?)

I'm now pretty good at opening pill bottles. I used to not be able to do it. But I've figured out the trick, and how to do it without injuring my wrists too much, so I'm pretty cool.

Still can't brush my teeth neatly, though. I always make a mess. You'd think an adult would be able to ... well, I can't.


Apparently, there are only two random facts about me that I feel inclined to tell. I mean, I do have the 25 Randoms posted over on Facebook. But I was trying to think of new things. New and exciting things that would make this blog worthwhile again.

Because if I'm not careful, this could be the very last post ever, and so far I'd call it less than stellar. In fact, that is what I call it. I'm lookin' at it and thinkin', you are so less than stellar. Too bad your author is so not smart or creative anymore. Then you could really shine or something.

One thing that I have noticed is that I'm a bit more random. First round of chemo when I was at about this point (recovery, but still kinda too sick to move) I messaged a girl named Celeste that I'd never talked to before in my life and pretty much spilled my entire guts on her. I mean, not exactly. I just really needed her help and preferred to talk to her, who I've at least seen in my life, than, hmm, other people I could think of that could assist me, but who would probably me more alarmed since I pretty much ... don't know them. And I wanted to remain on good terms with the girl I pestered... Back in the day when I still cared about the impression I was making on people.

Where was I? Nowhere good. Oh dear. This is just what I did not hope to see in my resurrection blog post. I think I'm going to edit a couple sentences in that last paragraph, maybe nix a name or two...

How would you like to see some writing of mine? Back from 2006, from my Bible fanfiction class. I mean, my Bible as Literature class that I just happened to create an assignment to write fanfiction for. Did that sentence make sense? I can't tell. So I wrote like 5 stories, and I would like to share with you a shortish one. Just to give this post some substance other than cancerous ramblings. Chemotherapical ramblings. Whatever.

I would remind you that I wrote this back in 2006 (and if you think this is bad, you should see my attempt at humor).

This story is entitled "A Mother's Smile" and takes place in the years before the story of Jael in Judges 4-5.

A Mother’s Smile

Sisera was very small when he found that he was in love with his mother’s smile.

It was a smile that she reserved just for him when, that first morning, he brought her a pretty stone.

“Oh, my son!” she exclaimed, and Sisera was amazed at how her face lit up. “What a pretty thing you have brought me! I shall wear it.”

He watched her face as she placed the green stone against her robe. The light in her eyes entranced him. He was devastated when she stopped smiling. Sisera wanted, somehow, more than anything, to bring that smile back.

Other stones and desert blooms soon found their way into his mother’s lap, and Sisera was rewarded in just the way he preferred, but as time went on his desire for that smile grew into an obsession; he wanted it there all the time.

One day young Sisera saw the most beautiful fragment of cloth wrapped round the head of one of those Israelite girls. He knew his mother would love it.

“Hey,” he said. “I want your headscarf.”

The girl just looked back at him with wide, firghtened eyes, backing away. Sisera wondered if she’d heard he was a favorite for the military. His mother liked to tell everyone how she dreamed he’d grow up to be commander of the king’s army. But that was beside the point. If she was scared of him, it was all the more reason to give him that green fabric.

“Give it to me!” Sisera said angrily, reaching out for the girl.

“No, it’s mine!” the girl cried, clearly terrified. She turned to run away, but Sisera tripped her and put his foot on her back so she couldn’t move.

He reached down and whipped off her headscarf, causing her long braid to flail limply. The vulnerability of the black rope strangely excited the boy. He pulled out his knife and roughly hacked off the end of the girl’s braid.

“Let that teach you to disobey me,” he said viciously, moving away so the girl could get up. “Be glad I didn’t chop off all your hair – or a finger!” he called as the girl stumbled away, sobbing.

Satisfied, Sisera pocketed the bit of hair and ran to show his mother his new present for her. She went into such ecstasies it was amazing and very pleasing to her son. Even when she tucked him in and got him some milk, the light in her eyes was still there.

“You have made me proud, my son,” she said, stroking his forehead. “What a man you’ll be.”


Years passed, and Sisera fulfilled his mother’s dream and became commander of King Jabin’s army. His lack of respect for Israelites – and his tendency to claim trophies from his victories – did not make him popular with them, and there had recently come word of a rebellion led by Barak and assisted by their “judge” Deborah.

“I’ll be back soon,” Sisera assured his mother, kissing her farewell. “It’s time to break these Israelites once and for all.”

“Well, make me proud, son,” his mother replied.

“You can count on it.”

...Yep. I was proud of that. I also did such a good job on my Alternate Universe story (what if meshach, shadrach, and abednego had bowed down to worship the gold statue? Or, you know, one of them) that my mom used it in a talk. But it's kinda long, and I'm not a huge fan of the writing style. It's the concept, I think.

I think that's enough from me for today. Happy Spring!

"Say Uncle" ~ Vienna Teng