Friday, December 31, 2010

all my books are lying useless

Made it through a year! I'll post the book stats and other paraphernalia tomorrow, but here are the last 19 or so books I read in the month of December:

182. Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes by Wendelin van Draanen
183. Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones
184. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
185. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
186. The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum
187. The Golden Spiral by Lisa Mangum
188. The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey
189. Thief Eyes by Janni Lee Simner
190. Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale
191. Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale
192. The Charming Quirks of Others by Alexander McCall Smith
193. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
194. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
195. Season of Gifts by Richard C. Peck
196. Academy 7 by Anne Osterland
197. Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn
198. Quatrain by Sharon Shinn
199. The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
200. One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey

Go me.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

passage of time

Sometimes I feel very keenly my age, but I can never decide whether I feel very young or quite old.

I certainly feel young to be working for the Church, at the Logan Institute. Everyone there (even the young secretary) seems so experienced, settled. When I think that I'm just 22, and how many years that brings the average age down, I feel uncomfortable and shy.

Sometimes I feel young to think about teaching, or getting married. Why would I expect high school students to listen to what I say? As far as getting married goes...I don't even want to talk about it.

But then I feel old. Most of the people I want to be my friends are 18 or 19. I think, Why would they want to be friends with me? I graduated college before they even graduated high school! I've got all this life experience on them and we have nothing in common. But I want to be their friends anyway.

Most of the times I feel old are in my ward. Most of the times I feel young are at work. I guess that means I'm just the right age. And I should get used to that...


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I see what I destroy

Things that make me cringe (literally, physically):

Santa Clause
It's Santa Claus. I don't know if I should blame that Tim Allen movie or what, but almost no one I know can spell it right, and it shouldn't be that hard!

No one actually says an-GEL. It's more of a singing thing. I used to be okay with it, but now I'm not. I shouldn't be hearing it. Thank goodness the ward Christmas program is on Sunday and I won't have to hear it again for a while.

Not sure why people can't say my name. Sometimes I don't notice, but I have some friends that really emphasize the 'z' and I'm like, you've known me for how long? I keep wondering if I should bring it up but then they might feel bad because they've been mispronouncing my name for years (you'd think the cringe would clue them in).

When my brother is mad at me he'll call me Lezlie. It's the worst thing he can think of (that won't get him in trouble).

And, like, it's not a huge deal. I still answer to it. I dated a guy for a while before he realized he'd been saying it wrong, so it wasn't an immediate deal-breaker. But, well, it is my name. And it's said with an 's'.

Showing Off
Sometimes a young girl I know will raise her hand and be a know-it-all. Pretty much every time I cringe. Can't help it. It's worse because I sometimes make myself cringe. I've long called myself the "Ward Choir Hermione" and it's only worse now that I am an accompanist (and thus, in my mind, in a position of "authority"). I can't shut myself up, just like I can't shut that other girl up.

There are other things that annoy me, but these are the ones that I can't help but manifest my annoyance with. I think it says a lot about me, unfortunately.

"My Medea"

Saturday, December 4, 2010

these inconvenient fireworks

Remember my 17-year-old crush? I do. I didn't remember that I'd reused a blog title, though. Hate that.

Well, it's gotten worse. I still tend to look fondly on the young man mentioned in the post linked above, and I like to tease his sister that I'm only friends with her so she can get me close to him (it hasn't worked, haven't seen him in at least a month -- or whenever the school musical was ;) ...). But what's gotten worse is that I now have a crush on a ... wait for it...


I'm actually not sure that's how old he is; I've not asked. But he's between 9 and 12 for sure. Every time I see him my heart goes pit-pat (not pitter-patter, I'm not at that stage of crushing yet). Often when I glance at him he's looking back at me; I think he admires me. There's a lot to admire, I admit. And when he smiles -- goodness. He is so cute. And he sings well. And he's not very mean. I saw him teasing one of the other kids once, I think, but that's what boys do with each other. They pull their stools out from underneath them. So it's okay.

I look forward to choir so I can see him, catch his eyes on me, smile at him (and the other children). I think it's even his turn for the roller coaster next week, so I'll even talk to him. I'm excited.


Yes, new lows. This isn't as bad as the absolutely hopeless crush I had on Dan when I was in 9th grade, he was in 7th. Or the crush I had on a sophomore when I was a senior. That was pretty severe too.

But still. Why can't I fall in love with someone my own age? This is starting to get ridiculous.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

can trace all my books

I can't believe I've been able to use the same line all year. Amazing how I've been able to come up with so many iterations. Even now I'm not quite resigned to the slightly incomprehensible and confusing ones that spring first to mind, though it gets harder every more month! Do you think I can manage to read 20 books in December? I'd like a nice round number. (Edit: I forgot a book; do you think I can read 19 books? ha.) Here is November's list:

166. Emily the Strange: Stranger and Stranger by Rob Reger and Jessica Grunner
167. The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O'Connor
168. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith
169. Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher by Wendelin van Draanen
170. Walls Within Walls by Maureen Sherry
171. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
172. The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones
173. The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh
174. On the Blue Comet by Rosemary Wells
175. The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
176. Grounded by Kate Klise
177. Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash by Wendelin van Draanen
178. Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith
179. The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees
180. Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
181. Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

Sunday, November 21, 2010

kind of grateful

I've been feeling really ungrateful the past couple of days. Unlike last year, I didn't even think of a weekly gratitude blog post. (Even though I was grateful for kind of odd things, they did actually signify greater things.) And I'm taking a lot for granted this year that I didn't have last year -- I no longer have hot flashes, or a hole in my leg, or have to wear a wig. Not to mention the opportunities I have to serve in my singles ward. I mean, life is kind of a lot awesomer this year. And I haven't really appreciated it much.

Last week I had to give a talk on gratitude (also my mission, which I also don't express appropriate gratitude for), and my mother can attest that I was really ungrateful for the opportunity. Seriously, I don't know what's wrong with me and my ingratitude these days. It's simply shameful.

So, as it's now Thanksgiving Week, I'm going to try to be better about expressing my gratitude. I'm going to start with something that struck me when I was listening to Music and the Spoken Word this morning. Brother Newell (is that okay to call him?) mentioned an anecdote of someone giving a coworker the Heimlich maneuver, and how gratitude was felt by both parties -- by the one, for having his life saved, and by the other, for the knowledge he had and the wisdom to use it.

Today our ward choir sang in sacrament meeting. They did an awesome job, and I am so thankful for everyone that came![1] I overheard quite a few compliments about how nice they sounded. I was the pianist, and not only was I grateful that others came, I was really glad that I had the ability to really bring music out of the piano to accentuate the message. That's something I've always been grateful for, but sometimes I forget. Even my mediocre performance on the organ today was something to be grateful for -- at least I can play, and at least I have the opportunity to practice and sound better than I would've otherwise (no joke).

I'm also grateful that I can elucidate my ideas. I accomplished my goal of commenting in Sunday School (as a teacher, I now feel I have an obligation to participate) and was able to get my point across even when I was still working it out in my head. Brother Smith (haha, it's weird to call peers that) was grateful for my comment, and I was too. See how this is starting to work?

This strikes me as coming across just a little conceited (look at what I can do!), but that's not the point. The point is that I am grateful that I've been given these gifts, and the opportunities to use them to bless others. I hope to be able to recognize other things to be grateful for later this week and stop being such an ungrateful drag.

"The Last Snowfall"[2]

[1] Side note: in an odd reversal, we had for our performance today 7 guys and 4 girls.
[2] Coincidentally, yesterday and today mark the first real snowfall of winter. Not the last snowfall.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

two hands skimmin' over keys, that's fine

Last month when my home teachers came to visit, they asked if there was anything going on in my life besides online seminary. I said, "Nope, not a thing."

Well, I lied.

Not sure if the lie came because I was not wanting them to have to stay any longer than needful while I explained the other stuff I'm doing, or if I just didn't want to brag, but somehow I "forgot" something that's been a big part of my life for the last little while:

I am a professional accompanist.

A few months ago one of my piano teacher's students contacted me about an audition she wanted to do in October. She had 8 pieces she wanted me to learn, and they were pretty difficult. I actually practiced them (which is saying a lot). We rehearsed together several times. We sounded pretty good. Two weeks ago was the recording (and it was fine! I wish I'd had the energy to be more positive about it at the time, but it was like two and a half hours at a recording studio and I was drained). The end of that.

Then I had another chance to utilize my skills this past weekend, when the choir teacher called and asked if I could accompany his three choirs at a concert on Tuesday. I played the songs through a couple times. On all the hard ones I panicked and skipped and got lost, and we had to work to figure out where we were, which is always a fun thing to do in a concert. I regret now that I didn't take the time to practice them more, not only because I messed up and more familiarity would've prevented that, but because now I have nothing to do. The time I previously spent going "Oh, I should play through the pieces now" is now spent going "Well, I can see what's happened on Facebook in the last ten minutes."

I guess I do still have Concert choir (the children kind, not the university kind). But I don't have very much patience there because there are kids there that drive me absolutely bonkers. Plus the songs are so easy I can play them with my eyes closed, and I've not bothered to practice them.

The auditioning student has one more thing she wants to audition for next week, just one piece. After that, I don't know what I'll do.

Anyone want an accompanist?

"Boy at the Piano"

Monday, November 1, 2010

only I can trace all my books

There's been a blog post I've been meaning to write for a couple months. It's not very exciting but it would at least be an update. This is not it. This is my first-day-of-the-month book rally. Behold:

147. The Ghost at the Takaido Inn by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
148. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
149. Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle
150. Living Hell by Catherine Jinks
151. I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
152. The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones
153. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
154. Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
155. Relative Chaos by Kay Finch
156. The Squire's Quest by Gerald Morris
157. The Legend of the King by Gerald Morris
158. Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner
159. The Goblin Gate by Hilari Bell
160. The Fabled Fourth-Graders of Aesop Elementary by Candace Fleming
161. The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn
162. No Such Thing As Dragons by Philip Reeve
163. The Oracles of Delphi Keep by Victoria Laurie
164. The Curse of Deadman's Forest by Victoria Laurie
165. A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Check out all the Halloweeny titles! Totally not on purpose. It also wasn't on purpose that I read so much; halfway through the month I wasn't even done with Way of Kings (which is a monstrous book, in case you were wondering what its connection to Halloween is), but then the library saved the day again. Many of these books are really quite short. I mean, one of them has fourth graders in the title. How difficult a read can that be?

At any rate, I've already read two books in November, must remember to note them down as well!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

be happy the way things are

I'm that girl...
...cutting across the grass
...wearing a jacket when it's slightly too warm a shambles, falling into her eyes[1]
...skirt unfashionably long unfashionably short
...clutching a binder to her heart
...limping slightly in that way of the academic scurrying out of the sunshine
...hitting herself in the head with her keys[2] when she gets a parking ticket for being too absent-minded to put up her parking permit

If only I wore glasses, right? Or am I hopelessly nerdy enough as it is?

Actually, except for the ticket part I kind of like this persona. I can look cute and normal, but this is my natural degeneration and I am fond of it. I accept this side of me!

...and that's pretty much all I have to say about that.

"The Tower" ~ Vienna Teng

[1] Yesterday was one of those hair disasters that happen to me all the time. I wasn't content with how my hair looked when I got to work, so I turned on the webcam and redid it, with only two ponytail holders and two bobby pins to try and tame the beast. It worked okay, but by the time I was wandering across the grass it'd all come loose; my hair was having the grandest time covering my eyes and looking vaguely slovenly no matter what I did. Which wasn't much, since I didn't have any more pins. I've learned to embrace the disaster, but maybe it's time to embrace the usage of hair products.

[2] The keys were incidental; I was facepalming and my keys just happened to be in my hand. It was really very stupid of me to forget that permit sitting on the seat next to me.

Friday, October 1, 2010

my books are lying

Another month gone by! I had a hard time remembering to jot down my books as I read them, so I might be missing one (I already caught one this morning):

128. Legacies by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edgehill
129. Flecks of Gold by Alicia Buck
130. Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton
131. The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
132. The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
133. The Light of the Oracle by Victoria Hanley
134. Persuasion by Jane Austen
135. The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
136. Imaginalis by J. M. Dematteis
137. Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
138. The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival: Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone by Dene Low
139. Chalice by Robin McKinley
140. The Red Blazer Girls: The Vanishing Violin by Michael D. Beil
141. Savvy by Ingrid Law
142. Scumble by Ingrid Law
143. Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones*
144. Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
145. A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
146. Powerless by Matthew Cody

*Fun fact: I read this one twice. Mostly on accident. My dad hated it but didn't tell me he hated it until after I read it once, so I picked it up again to see why it was so sub-par and still enjoyed it the second time. Also, this is the one I forgot, ironic since I read it twice.

And as we just finished the quarter, it is time for some stats! Hooray for stats.

Total number of books: 146
Average number of books per month: 16.2 (wow!)
Number of First-time Reads:109
Number of Rereads: 37

Edit, October 2: I did forget another one. And it was at the beginning of the month, too. I have adjusted the stats and also the list.

"Nothing without you"

Thursday, September 2, 2010

my books are lying useless

I don't want to read anything these days. It's a sad state of events because I don't have anything else to do.

Here's what I managed to read last month:

115. Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
116. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
117. Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear
118. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
119. Magic Belowstairs by Caroline Stevermeyer
120. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
121. In the Teeth of the Evidence and Other Stories by Dorothy L. Sayers
122. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
123. Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
124. Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier
125. The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler
126. The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker
127. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
You may notice that the first book on the list is one I read only a few months ago. I'm pleased that this is my first reread of the year, though embarrassed that it was a book I'd only just finished. I do tend to reread things (I've mentioned before how many old favorites I pick up and read about a hundred pages of then discard so it doesn't make it on the list), but I haven't been in the mood even for that lately. It's quite troublesome.

"Nothing Without You"

Friday, August 27, 2010

that other life

On Wednesday we took Kaylie down to BYU to begin her freshman year. Walking down the hall of her dorm (not my dorm, but so very close*) brought back a lot of memories. It's always fun to walk around campus, too, even though it was very hot.

Earlier this month I thought about making a post saying how much I still miss BYU -- that I watched my ballet girls on TV dancing to Adagio and nearly cried -- and how it pained me to see Kaylie not excited at all, but I'm over it and so is she. That's not what this post is about.

I got to thinking about all the cool new things Kaylie will get to do in the next week or so. Eating at the Cannon Center, making new friends, her ward opening social...

I remember when I was meeting people, it was hard to get to know them on any level more than just superficially -- what's your major, where are you from, how many kids are in your family -- so when this one guy, after we exchanged the pleasantries, told me about his website and said that it would be a pretty good gauge of his personality and who he was, I was favorably impressed.

Last night, remembering that experience, I thought, "I should have something like that! One place where someone can go to be introduced to who I am, a creative funny person that likes the things I like!"

Then I thought, Well, there's the blog. I could write an introduction post there; that would introduce people. Then they could do what Richie did and read the whole archives. It could work.

But here's my problem! I try to be honest about who I am and only ever sound really negative. I feel like my good qualities will speak for themselves but I need to warn people about the bad ones. When I started writing an introduction in my head, I just cringed. It's not the way these things are supposed to work.

So I've decided to hold off on finding one thing that will familiarize people with me, for now. While it was cool for that one guy to do it so adroitly, most folks just let acquaintance grow. That's what will work for Kaylie, and it should work for me.

"In Another Life"

*While Kyra lived on my very same floor, Kaylie decided to branch out and try the hall next door. It used to be a boy's hall -- so recently, in fact, that all the signs say "Men." But she lives on the same numbered floor, and in the corresponding room number where I used to live there's someone named Leslie.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

the sky is bright with stars

I'd never seen a shooting star before. Not from lack of effort -- I remember going out and lying on our lawn last year for a few minutes, but I wasn't looking when one came along and I didn't really like doing stuff last August. So I gave up. That's pretty typical of my meteor shower experiences.

Thursday night, though, was great. It was midnight. We gathered all the blankets and trudged outside into the chill. I ended up putting my blanket behind the others. Kevin and Kyra on the right, Kaylie and Richie on the left, with my legs between the two couples.

I loved lying there, staring up at the Milky Way. There were no feelings of insignificance as I stared at the vast expanse of space (I checked), but it was still so very beautiful, all those spots of light. The whole neighborhood was absolutely dark.[1]

My eyes were playing tricks on me; since I'd never seen a shooting star, I didn't now what I was looking for. My contacts were slightly fuzzy, so I could see little streaks of light from staring up at the sky and I thought perhaps that might be what I was looking for.

We lay there in relative silence for a while. I thought about how much I like stargazing, but I wouldn't want to do it alone. I'd especially like someone next to me, keeping me warm but also watching the sky with the same intensity as me. I was glad enough to have the other people there but there was a bit of fifth-wheel going on.

Eventually we saw some awesome shooting stars. We saw quite a few, actually, in the hour or so that I laid out there. I can never complain that I've never seen one again.

I had much better thoughts lying there that night, but a day and a half has disintegrated them into little more than stardust. Whatever they were, I really wanted to tell someone but couldn't think of someone that would actually want to hear about it, so I determined to make a blog post. Even though I can't remember them, thought I'd make a post anyway. I really enjoyed the experience.

"Mission Street"

[1]Except for the light in our shed, which we noticed was on after a while. That led to a good conversation about what we would do if we got attacked.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

powerlines draped across roads you could drive on for days

Last week it was time for another life-changing trip to Kansas. We drove out via I-80, which we'd never done before.

That was an exciting morning. When we got to Bear Lake we had to pull over to the side of the road so I could expunge the nutella sandwich I'd had for breakfast. It was great. Five minutes later my mom hit a bunny rabbit. We saw so many rabbits on the highway. Most of them actually on the highway.

Ooh, in Logan Canyon I actually saw a live skunk. Never seen one of them before. Lots of wildlife early in the morning!

Then I got to drive. Mom could actually sleep while I was driving. When the other girls drove she had to stay alert. Ha.

We had a good day driving halfway across the country. Nebraska is somehow prettier than eastern Colorado/western Kansas. Eastern Kansas is also beautiful. Mom and I had fun playing "hinky pinky" and staying awake.

Exciting adventures were had! On Tuesday we went to visit one of my colleagues. We'd worked together for nearly a year and never met, and since she lives about half an hour from my grandma's house, we decided it was an opportunity to see each other in person. So we packed the kids in and dumped them in the lake for a while!
Wednesday we went on a road trip to Ha Ha Tonka State Park. We did a few hikes and did a good job even though it was another long car ride. There's a castle there!

One funny thing that happened on the trip was Kiana looked out the window (I believe this was in Nebraska, or maybe Wyoming) and said, "Hey, cows!" Not sure why she was so excited since we see cows all the time. The funny part was, they weren't cows. They were hay bales. We called them "hay cows" the rest of the trip.

"Kansas" ~ Vienna Teng
(what else?)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I can trace all my books

Another month, another passel of books.

96. Ever by Gail Carson Levine
97. Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman
98. Forest Born by Shannon Hale
99. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
100. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
101. Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt
102. Emma by Jane Austen
103. Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol by Jim Krieg
104. The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
105. White Cat by Holly Black
106. Spells by Aprilynne Pike
107. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
108. 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison
109. Once a Witch by Carolyn McCullough
110. The World Above by Cameron Dokey
111. Never Blame the Umpire by Gene Fehler
112. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
113. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
114. The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear
As usual, I thought this would be a slow month. Turns out this was the busiest month yet! And that's with finally finishing Les Miserables, which I began last May and picked up every couple months for a year. What can I say, I have a short attention span.

Have a great day.

"Nothing Without You"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'll tap into your strength and drain it dry

Well, it's Sarcoma Awareness Week. I felt like I ought to do something for it, so I am making a short informative post. If you're anything like me, you don't much about sarcoma nor even heard much about it before.

Sarcoma is the name for a tumor arising in connective tissue with the embryonic ancestry of mesoderm. Bones, muscles, cartilage, etc. Soft-tissue sarcoma is cancer of an element within connective tissue while not the tissue itself (like, for example, synovial sarcoma).

About one percent of all cancer diagnoses are a type of sarcoma. Many types occur mostly in children, like Ewing's sarcoma and osteosarcoma (both are types of bone tumor). There are some that occur mainly in adults.

It's a rare disease.

I found out all of that information from Wikipedia.

I will also tell you a bit about my favorite sarcoma, synovial sarcoma. It's so named because the cells look a bit like they came from the synovium (the fluid between joints) but that's not necessarily where the tumor springs from. My tumor was nowhere near a joint.

It comes because of a reciprocal translocation between chromosomes 18 and X. The resulting fusion gene leads to the cells multiplying at an alarming rate and creating the tumor. (There's a bit more to it than that, but most of my readers aren't molecular biologists.)

Typical treatment includes surgery to remove the tumor, radiation therapy to the affected area, and chemotherapy (typically doxorubicin and ifosfamide, two nasty nasty chemicals). Depending on the clinical trial, radiation can occur both before and after the surgery. Luckily, mine was only before. I was still peeling four months after that treatment.

I feel like I should ask people to donate to some sarcoma research time or other, but I don't really feel like it. It's a rare disease. You're not super likely to know anyone that gets it.

Besides me.

"My Medea"

P.S.: If you're interested in hearing some of my reflections about my treatment, check out this post. There's not much there regarding what actually happened, but it does list some cool things that went on in the name of science!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

my books

79. The Magician of Hoad by Margaret Mahy
80. Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede
81. The Magician's Ward by Patricia C. Wrede
82. The Princess and the Snowbird by Mette Ivie Harrison
83. The Sheen on the Silk by Anne Perry
84. Twice a Prince by Sherwood Smith
85. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
86. Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
87. The Giant-Slayer by Iain Lawrence
88. The God of the Hive by Laurie R. King
89. The Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt
90. The Ring of Five by Eoin McGamee
91. Word after Word after Word by Patricia McLachlan [not sure this one should count. It was seriously only 100 pages long.]
92. Raider's Ransom by Emily Diamand
93. Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception by Wendelin Van Draanen
94. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
95. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

We're halfway through the year! You know what that means, right? It means it's time for some stats!

Total number of books: 95
Average number of books per month: 15.83
Number of Rereads (books I'd read before this year): 22
Number of First Time Reads: 73

Life is good.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

the shape of the boundary you leave behind

I've been playing Solitaire lately. Every time I play more than a few games a day I have this vision in my head of a great competition -- but it would never work, because I'm the only I know that would be interested in it.

I play one-draw, timed game. In my ideal little competition world we would play for a set time (10 minutes, for example) and the point would be to have the most points. Often I think that a sub-category for number of seconds spent on a game would be good, too, but if you're already playing a set time...I'm still working on it.

Anyway, I think I could do pretty well at that competition. I've found myself training to end a game with the most points even if I'm not winning. It's pretty ridiculous.

Why am I telling you about this silly daydream that I've had for years? Because I got tired of having the bruise post at the top. And nothing much else is going on in my life that is worth blogging about. (Not that this is a particularly stellar example.)


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

these colors make my eyes hurt

Dear friends: This entry is about my awesome bruises. Please skip it if you don't want to see them.

I bruise easily! I'm one of those people you hear about all the time that loves to tell you about all the times they discover bruises in places they don't remember running into. I've started to hate those people, and I don't tell those stories very often, so I'm going to go ahead and get it all out now. You can hate me.

I especially love those bruises whose origins I know. Way better stories, for one thing. For example, you know those bruises you get from getting your wisdom teeth out? I had 'em! I had 'em good. Mine came from the oral surgeon holding on so tightly to my face to get my teeth out. I know this because I was awake. Only way to do wisdom teeth, in my opinion.

Then there's that time working grounds when I ran into the fire hydrant. That was a beauty. Same week I bumped my leg on the truck trying to get in. Also a beauty. (Since it's been 3 years I don't remember which is which, but these photos were both taken the same night.)

I've got some awesome bruises right now! There are some that seem to have faded (right when I went to take a picture, too!) that were definitely thumbprints on my lower leg. Can't you just picture the surgeons, holding my leg steady while they rammed the nail in? Whoo. And then there's my knee.

I think I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

Ah, yes, you see the lovely bruise all along my knee there, continuing all the way underneath? Now that's cool.

(My mom would like the viewing population to know that the bruises look worse in real life than they do in the pictures, but when is that ever not the case?)

"Stray Italian Greyhound"

Monday, June 7, 2010

bones without names

One year ago, on June 5, I had "my surgery" to remove the tumor from my upper thigh. The mass they removed was about the size of my two fists clasped together. It was kind of a turning point in my treatment, and in my life.

So, since we all know I'm a "Note the Milestones" kind of gal, why didn't I post about my surgery on Saturday? Because I was commemorating it by spending the weekend in the hospital recovering from another surgery on June 4.

This was kind of a fun one! My femur is at pretty high risk for breaking, due to bending forces and the weakening that it suffered from radiation. So what they did is inserted a titanium nail (a hollow rod) down the middle of my bone. To hold it in place they drilled titanium screws into the bone at the top and bottom, near the hip and the knee.

What I'm going through right now is a very minor echo of what I went through last year (at this point last year, I still had about 3 more days to go in the hospital) but it's about as apt a memorial as anything else.

Maybe next year I'll decide to go skiing. That's something the surgery supposedly prevents me from doing. Or horseback riding. Or ... any number of things.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010


It was kind of a long month as far as reading books goes. I can barely remember reading the first book on this month's list, shown here:

62. Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies by Erin Dionne
63. Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett
64. Mort by Terry Pratchett
65. The Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones
66. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett
67 . Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman
68. Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett
69. The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell
70. The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne
71. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
72. Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson
73. Drizzle by Kathleen van Cleve
74. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
75. Archangel by Sharon Shinn
76. The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith
77. Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
78. The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
This month my parents got confused at me because I don't count books I don't read all the way through. I read the second half of a book I'd read before, and when there's nothing else to read that's often what I do. And I don't count those. So I do read a bit more even than shown.

Moral of the story: I do need a life.

"Nothing Without You"

Sunday, May 30, 2010

now I am grown and these years have shown

Some of those girls that came to the single's ward for the first time today?

I've known them for their whole lives.

Oh dear, starting to feel old. That gray hair I was cultivating last year has turned into two gray hairs, that I like to point out whenever I can.

I mean, it's pretty likely that at least one or two of these girls will even get married before I do. I'd be very surprised if they married anyone in the ward, but you never know! I saw and held them as babies and they could be tying the knot anytime.

I've really liked living in the same place for so long. It gives me opportunities to have realizations like this.

"Lullabye for a Stormy Night"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

a one-man shift in the weather

Last week I went to the doctor. As we discussed -- okay, wait.

I have this thing where I just jump straight in to what I'm talking about. Is that a big problem for you, dear reader? I'm working on not doing it in emails, since that's pretty rude, but I only just noticed the problem in my blog posts. I could start in after a nice little salutation paragraph or something. Let me know if you really care.

Okay. Last week I went to the doctor. As we discussed how I'm doing, and feeling, I noticed kind of a trend. Let me show you a couple examples.

"How are your teeth? Chemo can impact your enamel," the doctor said.**

"Yep, I have cavities," I replied. "But ... I've always had cavities!" Pretty much since my first visit to the dentist.

"How about your eyesight?"

"Fine. Well, I have, whatsit, pathological myopia, so . . . I'm as fine as that goes."

"Okay. You should know that you're more at risk for retinal detachment due to your treatment."

"Yeah, the eye doctor already told me no contact sports." I shrugged. Clearly the loss of rugby stardom has really got me down.

And so on. It almost seems to me that this whole thing has just accentuated aspects of myself. It makes my eyesight worse? Been there, done that. Cavities? Par for the course! No contact sports? I've been scared of the ball my whole life.

So here's where we get a little existential. Metaphysical? I don't know; I'm one of those people that just throws out cool-sounding words without bothering to make sure I'm using them right. But philosophically, you guys, what if it's accentuating everything about me?? What if I was already lazy and the treatment just made me more so? (Actually, that's not so much a what if.) What if I always had weird brown spots on my skin and the treatment just made them more visible? What if I was always cynical about friendship? What if I was always secretly a big smiler?

Pretty weird, huh?

"Hope on Fire"

**On a totally random side note, I've been writing a Doctor Who fanfiction for the past couple months. It's second nature now for me to write "the Doctor said" instead of not capitalizing it. But I changed it because, cool as that would be, David Tennant is not my chemo doctor.

forgive me the confusion

Sometimes I chat with people and I use emoticons they don't know. Or we use the same emoticons and they mean totally different things! So here's what a bunch of them mean to me:

Shifty eyes! When I'm being devious, or sneaky, or shifty. First one's looking right, then left. Usually I just use one, unless I'm being extra shifty.

I don't really agree with this one (I mean, how I use it). I'm rolling my eyes here. I kind of like the idea of being hypnotized or crazy or whatnot, but hypnosis doesn't come up a lot in my conversations, which I guess means I need to have some new conversations.


Weirded out.

Not. Amused.

Those are about all the emoticons I use. I know others, but have no reason to use them ever (besides the ever-basic paransmilies, a term I think I will start using a lot).

Now, as for interjections, here is how I use various common ones:

Cute, sad, sympathy, etc.

Screaming! Also allowed with an h (Aaah).

Like aha, but classier. Sudden understanding or idea, pronounced like the a in father.

This is the one for seeing cool things. Ooh, I like it.

When I finally get it. Like, Ohhh, right.

Kind of like saying, "Oh, you're very funny." Among other things I can't itemize at the moment...


/any action here
So, I don't know a lot of html. I can do links, I can format, that's about it. But I do know that a slash signals the end of the formatting. If I'm done with a rant, /rant. If I'm done gushing about something, /gushing. If I'm done with a story, /story. Make sense?

The main point of this post, besides to help people understand me, is so other people can start using all of these words correctly too! Now that I've helped you all out you can stop using them wrong.


Yeah, just being a little passive-aggressive OCD here, move right along. I'll talk about something real later.


Monday, May 17, 2010

she leaves the papers in a tidy pile

My yellow notebook has exactly one blank page left in it. I've had it for years -- since Fall Semester 2006, the earliest I can confirm a date. And there's approximately one page of class notes (half page from one class, half page from another a year or so later), besides the piano lesson comments.

I love it. I love leafing through it and feeling the memories.

The other night I had it with me (working on filling up those last few pages) and left it unattended on the floor, surrounded by children. I had a moment's worry when I realized that I'd placed it in danger of being seen, but I'm not ashamed of a single thing there!

Okay, maybe I am. But the secret things are written backward, so they're totally safe.

The notebook represents many hours of work. I could turn to a page and know exactly where I was when I was working on something -- physics class, one of the hillocks outside the MARB, a bench in the Tanner Building....

My favorite parts are the doodles and asides to myself. There's a little picture of a great grass elevator. "We need a strong base: sodium methoxide!" My New Testament notes were decorated with a woodland scene (pine trees, various ugly wildlife). Susan Bones portraiture. "Fleur: you need to let her grow on you."

I don't expect anyone else would appreciate most of the contents of this notebook -- an amino acid note to myself, lots of song lyric scribbles, that embarrassing page where among other things I practiced variations on "Casey" (Sammy+Casey 4evah), and my rough drafts that never saw the light (and some that did). Well, even trying to write about why it's so special to me is a struggle. I just have begun to feel, looking at it, that if anything this notebook describes me.

And if I could do my description of it justice, I'd be closer to describing myself.

"Whatever You Want" ~ Vienna Teng

[Okay! I can't just leave my last line like that. It sounds nice but I can't just tie things neatly like that without feeling stupid and pretentious. So, at least know that I know it sounds funny.]

Sunday, May 2, 2010

all my books are lying useless now

I thought this would be a slow month. We spent a week in Mexico where I did no reading to speak of, and I'd only read 5 books by the middle of the month.

Well, then my mother took me along with her to the library. I ended up getting ... a lot of books.

45. Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
46. Stuck on Earth by David Klass
47. The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr
48. All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot
49. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
50. Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
51. Melting Stones by Tamora Pierce
52. Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
53. Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin by Nancy Atherton
54. Aunt Dimity: Vampire-Hunter by Nancy Atherton
55. Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett
56. Maskerade by Terry Pratchett
57. The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk
58. Northward to the Moon by Polly Horvath
59. Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce
60. Emepror Mage by Tamora Pierce
61. The Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce

...yeah. It was fun times, but now I'm sick of reading! (Until I die of boredom from not having anything to do while I eat.)

"Nothing Without You"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

let go of this when you find her

Remember my last post where I got all possessive?

I've been cured! Mostly! By the solution which I already knew:

I talked to her. We had a nice little conversation and I decided it was cute instead of annoying when, after he got to class and was sitting by her, he asked her a question that was so ... like the kind of question you ask someone when you're thinking of starting to like them. (Or you already like them. I don't know; they don't talk to me about their feelings.)

Awww. I may have been guilty of rolling my eyes, but at least I didn't rip anything.

Now my heart's all jumpy imagining someone asking me that same question. Hahaha.

If I'd done what I should've done long ago (switch classes back so I was in their class), this wouldn't have been an issue. I would've been a way happier person in general. I don't know why I keep fighting against these things until it's too late to do me any good.

Someday I'll learn.

"Kansas" ~ Vienna Teng

Sunday, April 25, 2010

this feeling calls for

Last weekend I had an insight that has made me reflect on my emotions more analytically (which, as a person that is frightened of feelings, has been great).

I was in Relief Society (probably) and for some reason was feeling really sorry for myself. I felt my heart curl tightly in on itself, self-piteously.

Then that night was a really great fireside. I felt the Spirit, felt emboldened to do better, and my heart expanded in love for myself and my fellow man, and God who blesses me with so many things. I thought, "This is great!"

But after the fireside, during refreshments, he was talking to her. I don't even care that he doesn't talk to me, but does he have to talk to her? She's the only one he ever talks to; she monopolizes him. I talked to my friends and had a nice time, but I glanced over every once in a while and once he was laughing. How could she possibly be funny enough to make him laugh?

Obviously, my jealous/possessive side was coming out. It does that, embarrassingly, even with people that I don't really care about. If I feel I have a prior claim of any kind (in this case, it was ... a neighborly claim) then other claims have to somehow clear it with me. It's so stupid.

Anyway, every time I looked over there my heart would do the tiniest of clenches, hardening and dwelling on "Why her? Why not someone of my choosing?"

See where this is going?

Negative emotions like jealousy, self-pity, anger, are because my heart is turned in toward itself, toward me. I'm happier when I focus on others, and help them out, or feel the Spirit. Et cetera. So this week I've tried to pay attention to whether or not my heart is curling up, or blooming out.

How do I make myself less piteous, or jealous, or angry? By doing things that will make my heart expand.

The challenge, however, is to follow through.

"Stray Italian Greyhound"

Monday, April 12, 2010

no gringo aqui: you've stayed in this land for too long

Last week my family (minus the engaged one) went to Cancun, Mexico! Usually our vacations entail getting a motel in southern Utah and hiking around for a day, but we branched out for once this year. Here's a bit of into about what went on there...

...Cosmetically: The humidity and especially the sea air made my hair so unbelievably curly. On one occasion I took a shower and to blow dry my hair just sat outside on the balcony, where the breeze took care of it. Now that I'm back it's so sleek I can't do a thing with it. I also didn't wear any makeup on the whole trip. It wasn't nearly as bad as this makeup-free week but I was still looking forward to putting on some mascara for church on Sunday. No sunburn to speak of, except for the back of my legs from snorkeling. It ran in the family!

...Linguistically: Being surrounded by people that would talk Spanish to each other brought to the surface one of my bad habits: talking like them. I started saying "Si" all the time instead of "Yeah" or "Yes." And "Bueno". I always winced when I did it in front of the Mexicans, especially when they started talking to me in Spanish and I'd have to really stop for a second to figure out what they said -- I've never had a class. So that was embarrassing, but at least not as embarrassing as the time I slipped some twang into my speech in front of a Texan missionary at the LRC. Or maybe it was that embarrassing.

...Oceanically: We did spend some time in the ocean. At the hotel the red flags were almost always up so we couldn't get in the water there, but when we went snorkeling we were swimming ad nauseum. Mom and I both felt so sick at the end of that. But it was cool! You can see underwater! And one time we did get to go to the beach and get in the water. I was frightened of the undertow but the rest of the family sure had a blast in the waves. And the water was a really pretty blue.

...Excitingly: I'm not a ruins person. Too much walking in the bright sun (without sunglasses). But I do seem to be a ziplining person! But not a diving person. This whole 'I'm not into adventure' thing is nothing new.

...Gastronomically: We only had "typical" Mexican food twice and one of them was definitely made for tourists. After the first day touring ruins I was pretty much resigned to going hungry all week, but we didn't starve. I've definitely enjoyed being back in my house with a kitchen to make and eat food whenever I want, though. Another reason I'm not a big vacation person.

It was a good vacation, but I couldn't live that way, even if I did speak the language. How refreshing to find that out!

"No Gringo"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

trace all my books

The month of March started out really strong, but then I slowed down a lot. The reason for this is easily identified: we got a couple seasons of Doctor Who from the library. Those took my time instead of whatever books I would've read.

That said, I still read plenty this month. Observe:

30. The Best Bad Luck I ever Had by Kristin Levine
31. The Death-Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean
32. Sword of Waters by Hilari Bell
33. The Genie Scheme by Kimberly K. Jones
34. Shield of Stars by Hilari Bell
35. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
36. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
37. The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith
38. Green by Laura Peyton Roberts
39. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
40. The Lost Children by Carolyn Cohagan
41. The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
42. A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
43. Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
44. My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath

I left off reading a couple books this month, too. One got taken back to the library and I didn't mind, and the other one was just really, really stupid. Oh, and another one I spent some time reading I'd read so many times that I felt no qualms about stopping when I found something else to read.

Also, now that we're done quarter of the year, let's look at some stats!

Total number of books: 44
Average number of books per month: 14.67
Number of Rereads (books I'd read before this year): 10
Number of First Time Reads: 34

Not bad! Have a nice day.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

if this were my last glimpse of winter

Sorry I haven't posted all month. I just haven't had anything I wanted to say.

But I accomplished something today!

I woke up this morning and it was snowing. That's nothing new; this is Cache Valley, after all, and it's still March. The exciting thing was what seeing the snow falling on the world, starting to white out the edges, did to me.

I walked to the piano, and for the first time in my life, played this song:

I even got the key right! It was a little bit low for me with this cold but I've ended up playing/singing this song pretty much every time I look out the window. I have to stop whatever I'm doing and find the nearest piano.

Granted, I don't have all the notes; but the fact that I was able to figure out the chord progression is softening the blog of this last snowfall for me.

"The Last Snowfall" ~ Vienna Teng

Monday, March 1, 2010

all my books are

I didn't do any reading at all this past weekend, during which I would usually have read another book or so. But I still had an enjoyable month with my reading choices!

15. Wings by Aprilynne Pike
16. The Last Knight by Hilari Bell
17. Rogue's Home by Hilari Bell
18. Player's Ruse by Hilari Bell
19. The Ever Breath by Julianna Baggott
20. Paper Towns by John Green
21. The Continuous Atonement by Brad Wilcox
22. Love Over Scotland by Alexander McCall Smith
23. Jovah's Angel by Sharon Shinn
24. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
25. Crown of Earth by Hilari Bell
26. War Games by Audrey and Akila Coloumbis
27. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
28. Geektastic edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
29. Aunt Dimity Down Under by Nancy Atherton

"Nothing Without You"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I don't mean for it to slip my mind

Something else that happened Friday night at the party was I kept saying all these really funny things. For some reason when I get into social situations I just have to be funny. I have to make comments in a serious deadpan voice that are just hysterical. Apparently.

Thank goodness they all laughed -- though maybe not, since laughter is encouraging to my little comedienne tendency.

Nothing I said was memorable, though; at the end of the night we couldn't remember a single funny thing I'd said. So I guess I wasn't that funny.

Anyway, it reminded me of that first horrible week in March, when I thought that I might like to be a comedian because of all the good stories I had to tell, and then forgot them all. I should've written them down.

I was about to say, "Well, that's a note for the future because I'm going to be funny again sometime" but then I thought about it: How will it look if I'm at some sort of social gathering and every time I say something that people laugh at I whip out a little notebook or something and write it down, right then? I'm self-centered enough already.

Yeah, maybe it's best to just forget all my shining moments of hilariousness.

"White Light"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

windshield view and your hands steady on the wheel

Had another trip down south yesterday, to meet the incredible Chilly and our friends Paperback Writer and Alishka. It was a lot of fun!

And I really like driving. If I can put in a CD or listen to good music, I can just go. Singing along, speeding the whole way, both hands on the wheel.

My competitive side comes out when I drive. I like to be faster than the person trying to pass me. (Within reason; I do let a lot of people pass me.) I often like to be faster than the person in front of me too. My one speeding ticket two years ago was because I was mad at all the people passing me so forgot to slow down for the speed trap.

Despite that little tendency, I think I'm a good driver. Okay, yeah, I've wrecked all the cars we own (except the one I drive now) but there were definitely extenuating circumstances and the things I hit weren't moving! So there.

I got really lost last night, too. I often think that the minimal directions will be sufficient so I can miss important information like how far along each road I'm supposed to go. Or maybe even where I'm supposed to turn. But I still made it to my destination! Both times! (Leaving Chilly's house was really scary; I couldn't find my directions anywhere and so I was following Alishka but then I lost her and I didn't even know which way I was was intense.)

So, even though I sometimes run into things, and I can get a bit lost, and I love to go really fast, I am still a great driver. I am just awesome, you guys, that's the point of this post. It's the point of every post!

"Shasta (Carrie's Song)"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

on a February holiday

May I just say, today has been the best Valentine's Day in memory. To celebrate I wore pink, cleaned the kitchen, and played all the love songs in my Voice Student binder (which is hefty). I'm so glad that I'm satisfied with that! (Other great things happened today too, but they don't count as celebration.)

Oh, plus we talked a bit about love in church, which, what could be better? Divine love is amazing. (And I really do mean "we". About 10 minutes of that discussion was me.)

Since I did so much creating today, I really felt like spectating. But I also felt like I should write a little bit. So, once I got sick of spectating (there's only so many times one can check the Forbidden Site That I Supposedly Swore Off This Month) I came here, told myself I was giving in to the natural man, and wrote a good few paragraphs of my story! Not the one I was planning to work on, but progress is progress!

There's nothing to spectate anyway, and I'm really pleased that I was able to be so productive today. If playing piano for an hour counts as productive.

Well, this post falls pretty low on the "actually convince other people you can write" scale, which means it goes against the purpose of this blog.

But I don't really care, because I'm just so cheery I thought I ought to talk about it. Have a great day!

"City Hall" ~ Vienna Teng

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

for it's my thoughts that bind me here


Remember this post? (Briefly: my imagination goes crazy before/after dates or major social engagements replaying what I should have said or done.)

Turns out, even when I have perfectly satisfactory dates or major social engagements I can't win. I'll be able to sleep just fine that night, pleased as punch that I didn't say anything awkward, or neglect to do anything I regret omitting, but in the next couple nights my imagination will start to badger me about the smallest things:

"Couldn't you have smiled right then? I know you smiled nicely the rest of the night but you were neutral-faced just then and you look better when you smile" or "How about next time you try to not sound like you're from Utah quite as much?"

For. Crying. Out. Loud.

I think it's a case of "One Additional Bay Leaf" here*. For the record, I have like zero Utah accent. And I'm still immensely satisfied with my recent social endeavors. I just exhibit occasional craziness. Any advice on how to make my imagination shut up?

"My Medea" ~ Vienna Teng

*In case you don't get the reference, try this.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I've done this many times before you

Little-known fact: I have the hardest time not starting every written communication (blog post, email, etc.) with "So." I just erased it from the beginning of this paragraph because I realized it's not the best habit ever.

That's not what I was going to say, though.

I was going to mention the little-known fact that I'm obsessed with my hair (maybe you can tell, given the number of times I mention it on my blog). I love it! Always have. The lack of it was really quite sad.

However, it's now at a length where I don't know what to do with it. My usual hairstyle is "I can't do a thing with it, so I stuck my head in the sink and gave up." Which is not super attractive. I need some serious help, but I don't know what to do, or even what looks good! I don't know who to talk to about this, either.

So, there's both an occurrence of "so" and something that's been on my mind the last couple days -- every time I look in the mirror, really.

In other news, I got my stitches out today. Not nearly as traumatic a story as getting the drain out (though it hurt more than I hoped -- last time I got stitches out I was in chemo so I don't remember a thing), but still a happy healing step! Now I just go to physical therapy for a couple more weeks (that's all the insurance will allow) and hopefully after that no one will ever be able to tell what a gimp I am.

Completely self-centered post of the day? Check!

"Watershed" ~ Vienna Teng

Monday, February 1, 2010

all my books

This year I've decided to actually keep track of the books I read! I have read so many books over the years and I've forgotten most of them. Unfortunately, the year so far has been pretty slow -- for some reason I just don't feel like reading very often. Still, here's the list for the month:

January 2010 (honorable mention goes to The Help, I read it the day after Christmas)
1. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
2. Austenland by Shannon Hale
3. Betraying Season by Marissa Doyle
4. First Light by Rebecca Stead
5. The Extra-Ordinary Princess by Carolyn Q. Ebbitt
6. The School of Fear by Gitty Daneshviri
7. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
8. The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith
9. Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith
10. Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith
11. 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling*
13. The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider
14. Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith

*A note about this one: I didn't actually read it all the way through in order. It was in the bathroom for a few days and I ended up reading the whole thing.

Definitely a pattern there at the end. And I've still got one more of them to read.

"Nothing Without You" ~ Vienna Teng

Thursday, January 28, 2010

it just takes so much to break a habit

Past couple nights I've resurrected one of my favorite childhood tapes. It's called "Jammin' 5 a Day" and it's all about eating fruits and vegetables.

We loved this tape! I can still sing along to most of the songs (and I still love them -- I had an epic dance party by myself the other day). But I'm afraid that the intent (to make us think that fruits and veggies are to be desired) has kind of flopped.

Or, really flopped.

My youngest sister counts it a great accomplishment that she can now eat a whole baby carrot at lunch!*

The rest of our family is better, but we still don't love veggies. Not even when they have, ahem, "Phytochemicals! They fight to protect your health! Fruits and vegetables, something something something, get some for yourself!"

We've never had broccoli at home in my life, despite the song insisting that broccoli is "A real cool veggie."

Oh well.

I think, now that we're done watching "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,"** I'm going to turn the tape on again! Yay!

"White Light" ~ Vienna Teng

*She has improved a lot; she used to throw up at the thought of ingesting a pea.
**I came in about 20 min after the movie started, but got the gist; it was nice until the last 15 minutes when it got just a little bit too creative. And the credits were trippy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I've no intention of confessing today

Today in Relief Society we were talking about communication. In theory, I am such a huge fan of communication. In practice, I tend to fail.

The topic of the day was Elder Bednar's talk "More Diligent and Concerned at Home." While on the subject of telling your family you love them, a girl raised her hand and said, "This is good advice for dating relationships too; we need to be open and honest about the way we feel. In fact, this is what I like about [boy she's marrying this week]...."

This is something I've long been a proponent of -- ever since my Marriage Prep class last year, where we discussed communication (and various derivative topics) for most of the semester. We even learned a new way to DTR that employs good communication skills. I love the idea of not having to play guessing games.

Well, turns out, when it comes to practical application, I am not open and honest about the way I feel. I've had interactions with one or two boys since Marriage Prep (not since today's Relief Society lesson though[1]) and I hardly ever feel the urge to tell them where I think the relationship is (something should be in quotes there, but I'm not sure which part). I shouldn't be afraid to tell anyone "Hey, I'm glad that we are friends" or "I'm interested in you, just for your information" or "Please leave me alone, I'm not enthusiastic about our friendship" etc.

Oh well. I am.

Consider this post a resolve to do better. If I feel like telling someone how I feel about them, I'm going to do it. If I don't feel like saying anything, I guess I won't.

It'll be easier if everyone I know makes the same resolve.

"Unwritten Letter #1" ~ Vienna Teng

[1] You know why this is? It's because the clock in the Relief Society room is 5 minutes fast!

there's not even a wire

I slept downstairs last night. Supposedly that's a pretty big step for me, but I was just too hot upstairs (in the guest room/my invalid room) and I missed Goggy (the name isn't sticking quite so well as I'd hoped -- I still call her the other name in my head), so I went downstairs. While there, I had a great idea! Unfortunately, I'm fairly sure I've never had an original idea in my life, so I know someone else has thought of this, but here it is: You know how "bed" actually looks like a bed? I was thinking that we should manufacture beds that look like that! The b and d would look the same on both side but the e would have to switch directions. It wouldn't be too hard. And they'd probably be popular.

So that was my idea.

I also want to tell the story of my trip down to the hospital on Friday, and why I now feel like I can just go sleep downstairs.

I went to get my drain removed. JP? That's what they called it this time, though I'm not familiar with the terminology. Basically, it's a tube in my leg that siphons out the excess fluid. It was really long and cumbersome, so it's always nice to get it out.

So, the doctor asks me how I'm doing. I said, "Fine, except every time I change positions my nerves shoot up my leg." Apparently that wasn't normal! I said, "Oh. Great."

They sat me in the chair and the PA got all ready to pull the drain out (they just pull it! It's firm in my leg and they just pull it right out!) All of a sudden the doctor asked me, "What did you have for breakfast?"


"What did you have for breakfast? Toast, bagel?"

"Oh, you're trying to distract me! I had a muffin." Right then I felt the pull begin, but tried to concentrate on my conversation.

"A muffin? What kind?"

"Um, blueberry. I didn't like it very much. And for lunch I had -- HOLY COW MY FOOT'S GOING CRAZY!!!"* And I burst into tears.

Rosalie, the PA, gathered up the drain and apologized profusely. Dr. Jones came over and patted my shoulder.

Still crying, I insisted, "I'm fine! Really, I'm over it, it just hurt a lot with the nerves. I'll stop crying any minute." Rosalie handed me some tissues, still apologizing. "Really, it's okay," I said. "Remember last time, when it was like three feet long?"

"Oh yeah!" she said. "You always make me hurt people!" she accused the doctor.

My foot was only slightly tingling now, so I got up and ... smiled? Probably. I like to smile a lot. My mom and I thanked the doctor and Rosalie and made our way out. But before we left, Dr. Jones stopped us to talk about the recent political developments. Pretty sure we're his favorite patients because we agree with him.

Two days later, my foot is still slightly numb, but I assume that will pass once my sciatic nerve has recovered from having the drain so near unto it. Now that my drain is no longer irritating it, though, it's like I'm magically almost better. I kept forgetting to use my walker yesterday (right now I don't even know where it is) and that silly nerve thing that was going on has stopped!

The End.

I think this story is much better if I tell it in person, because I can use gestures: "She pulled it...the nerves tingled like this..."

*I can't actually remember what I said here, nor can I exactly remember the pain. I think my brain blocked it out because of its gives me weird feelings to think about it.

I just wanted to tell that story because it makes me look cool for having a numb foot.

"Transcontinental, 1:30 a.m." ~ Vienna Teng

Monday, January 18, 2010

a striking dark-eyed stranger

I think I'd like to make a complaint about boys, so Chilly doesn't feel quite so cheated.

Every once in a while, I'll meet someone through a mutual friend and be so ... he'll just have a light about him. (Much like Hobbes in this here question.) He'll have that wholesome attractiveness, and be nice, and I'll just think, "Yep, I want someone like that."

Invariably, he'll either already be dating someone, or shortly begin dating someone. Usually the friend that introduced us.

What I need to do, obviously, is hone my homewrecker skills. I'm known for that. That way I can steal the men I want.

So, that's my complaint, and my plan of action.

I could also complain about having to use a walker again, and how I still feel sick from either anesthesia or painkillers, but that's not nearly as exciting.

"Mission Street" ~ Vienna Teng

Thursday, January 14, 2010

you've got half-formed sentences

I'm sitting here -- no wait, lounging here -- on my bed, writing this letter -- well, actually, I haven't started yet, even though I've been planning to write it for, oh, over a week --

I like to say that I'm writing my favorite missionary, but I've been notoriously bad at correspondence, especially considering some of the other missionaries I've written -- notably that one who forced me to write once a week for all seven months he was out...

There's something different about this missionary. She's a girl, for one thing. I can't deny that my motivations for writing her are different (in some ways) than writing a guy. She likes to hear about different things, too (never once did any of my gentleman correspondents request to hear how things were going with [insert boy's name here]). I can go all out and work for hours on her letters and not risk her thinking that if I'm expending all this effort I must like her -- she already knows I do!

There's something different about this letter, too. Unless my letter-writing habits improve dramatically in the next few weeks, this will be the last letter. She'll be home in March. So, really, I have plenty of time to squeeze another letter in, but that's kind of the point -- I probably won't.

What does one say in a last letter to a friend who has been so good to write through her whole mission?

I just went to look at the copies of "last letters" I have on the computer. They weren't helpful. (Though, dude, DZ! I was so clever to use GRE vocab words in your letter when I was studying. I sounded so smart.)

I guess I'll just say the usual.

And sign it with Love.

Maybe I'll have the chance to write her again anyway, right?

"Shasta (Carrie's Song)" ~ Vienna Teng

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I want to search for her in the offhand remarks

Apologies (?) for not posting in so long; I have had things to say, but I really, really didn't want this blog to become "Leslie Complains about her hair and boys Extravaganza" because that's pretty boring.

So! I will avoid mentions of those topics. Instead, I will discuss something I noticed last night.

We were watching Inkheart. My brother started it in the middle so I've only seen about half of it -- think that was enough. I couldn't even make it through the book (or if I did, anything past the first few chapters made no impression on me -- it was a long time ago) but I thought the movie was okay. Especially since it was pretty clearly over at the end.

What interested me was, when I would point out a plot hole like, "If they just doused the place with gasoline, they shouldn't have to go up and down every hall setting it afire," or "If she knows that her mom's going to be killed by the Shadow anyway, she has no incentive to read it out of the book," my dad would say, "I was just thinking that!"

Sorry for any spoilers that may have occurred in that paragraph.

It's clear to me that my dad and I have a similar wavelength when watching movies. I can't think of any specific examples besides last night, but I'm pretty sure similar interchanges have happened before. My dad's pretty cool.

And then my mom! We're on a similar wavelength too. We take gold at synchronous sighing. We'll often say the same thing when replying to my sisters. Finishing each other's sentences is pretty common too. We spent a lot of time together this summer (and, I guess, the past semester as well) and the number of times I would say something and she would say, "Yeah, I was just thinking that," even if it was totally random and not related to the topic at hand, is impressive.

So, here's the big question: if I'm so much like my parents in this way, how is it that my siblings and I are so very different? Did I just win the "Most Like Parents" award? I think that must be it.

Ha ha!

"Recessional" ~ Vienna Teng