Thursday, July 30, 2009

Good-bye, Miss C....

My mom called after I got off work tonight to break the news to me. Right after I got off work, actually (and thank heaven she did, because I can only imagine the meltdown of monumental proportions that I would have had, had I had to find out by logging on Facebook and seeing the multitude of status updates dedicated to Miss C).

My high school English teacher died today. And I'm stunned. (I just shuddered, thinking how horrified she'd be if she knew that I started that last sentence with "and", and with her having just passed on, she SO could have seen me do it. I'm kidding - I don't think her ghost is gonna haunt my apartment and read/critique/correct my blog. I'm sure she has much better things to do with her time now, like maybe sitting down and having a one-on-one with one Mr. William Shakespeare.)

I know that most of you probably think it's silly that I would blog about her, that it's sappy of me to post her pic and tell you all that I love her... but the thing is, so much of who I am (grammatically, at least), I am because of her. She read my papers, listened to my adolescent pontifications, and shaped me in ways that no one else could have. She was, in a word, fabulous.

Carolyn Cunningham was one of the wittiest, funniest, smartest women I've ever known. I think of her every time I see the gold embossed 1880 printing of the Shakespeare tragedies I have on my bookshelf, every time I read The Count of Monte Cristo, every year on March 15th when I eat a Caesar Salad in celebration of the Ides of March. She encouraged a generation of Snowflake High School students to read, write, and express ourselves through the written word. I'm so grateful for her influence on my life.

Thank you, Miss C., for loving literature, and for sharing your love of literature with us. You will be missed, greatly.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I think I figured out why I wake up crazy.

It's because I sleep/dream crazy. So, waking up crazy is a natural byproduct.

Here's a fun little anecdote from this morning. I was having what was a pretty normal dream (I can't remember the first part of it, but I'm pretty sure it was normal), when suddenly it turned into a nightmare because there was a tiger in my apartment. (And any of you who've been to my house can attest to how small it is. There really isn't room to run/escape from a dangerous animal.) Midst my freaking out - in my dream - about what in the world was I going to do about having this tiger in my house, I kind of woke up, and I thought "Oh, I'll just sing to it... and I'll feed it red meat" and then "I can't give you anything but love, Baby" cued in my head (and in my dream) and I fell right back to sleep and sang to the tiger, which it loved. And then I fed it raw hamburger, which it also loved, and we were totally friends and it was no longer dangerous.

I've never felt more like *Katharine Hepburn in all my live long life, and it feels so good. You just can't beat channeling a classic screwball comedy and making it your reality, even if it is only a dream reality. Now, if I could just get a little Cary Grant in my dreams... That would be even better.

*Above is a shot of my girl, Katharine, with Baby (the leopard). Bringing Up Baby is, pretty much, the funniest movie of all time. For any of you who haven't seen it, you must. If you live close and are still in the vhs age, please feel free to borrow my copy. This movie is fan-freaking-tastic and it's my personal belief that EVERYONE should know the sound that a loon makes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

"Once again I must ask too much of you, Harry." ~ Albus Dumbledore


Okay, moving on, through the tears and sorrow... Seriously, I did love the movie. Did I love it as much as I love the book? Heck no! No matter how well the movies are made, they are always lacking when held up next to the book, and this was no exception. But still, the movie was fabulous. Were there bits left out? Of course. Did I wish they'd taken another 15 minutes to keep things in sync with the book and properly end the movie? Uh... yeah. But you know that I was still totally sitting there verklempt, tears running not only down my face, but down my neck (hi, I am half Ball) in the last 10 minutes.

Oh, geez, I do love this story. I love Harry and I love Dumbledore (of course, I also love the Weasely twins, but that's a post for another day... suffice it to say, I was glad they made an appearance, albeit too short of one and I'm not a fan of their new haircuts, but still...).

The movie's definitely worth seeing. Twice, at least. I'm hoping that the next time I see it, someone will kill Bellatrix. I know it won't happen (yet)... but I really (REALLY) hated her in this one and wished someone would just start screaming swear words at her and curse her into oblivion. Oh, well... I guess I'll just have to wait for that to happen.

For now, I'll just groove on the tension between Ron & Hermione (they did SUCH a good job with that) and savor the goodness of having Dumbledore at Hogwarts. It's a good one... go see it.

*And if you haven't read the books - please do. They're amazing. And beautiful. And poetic. And intense. And hilarious. And inspiring. They are, in a word, magical.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!

Oh, wait. That quote is from The Wizard of Oz. They're not quite the same. Oh, well...

Tonight, after my super fun blast-from-the-past lunch with the girls, I am off to see Wicked with some friends. Wahoo! I know, I know... how much fun can one girl cram into one day? (Answer: a heck of a lotta fun.)

I've been doing due diligence and listening to the soundtrack (I bought it this morning - along with 5 new songs from Toby Keith's new album... I know, I'm ridiculous, but I love him). *I read up on the back story on Wikipedia, so I know I'll be able to follow the musical, and... I think I'm ready. At least, I'd better be, since Chris is coming any minute to pick me up. (Wahoo!)

I'll check back in tomorrow - after I wake up and before I go see Harry Potter (because you know that anything after I see HP is gonna be about the Weasely twins and how much I love them) - and let ya'll know what I thought.

*I know, I'm such a cheater for reading Wikipedia, which is like cliff notes. But listen, the book is CRAP. I gave it an honest go a few years back and ended up having to throw it away. (Yes, in the dumpster. Poorly written, trashy little thing that it was...) Don't judge me.

Looky there... I shut up long enough to take a pic!

Yeah, so I'm so wishing that I had the ability crop a picture, because I promise we're even cuter up close than we are from this weird angle. (Don't get me started on how I wish people would just get brazen and use the zoom, or step 2 feet closer so they can get a centered shot when they're using my camera. But whatever.) I did have this one pic on my camera - and the good news is that Shannon had her camera, too. Between the two of us, I'm sure we have a better picture than this that I could post, but I wanted to get this up. Why? Because it was WAY TOO FUN to see these girls today, and I had to let a little of that ooze over onto the blog. So, here I am... oozing.

Aaaahhhhh!!!! What a fun day!

Today, I am grateful for the gift of God that is Facebook.

Okay, I'm officially a horrible person, because I so just mocked someone in my friend's ward who actually used that sentence when bearing her testimony in church. (But can you blame me? I mean, it is funny.) Regardless of how it was intended to be heard, it makes me LOL every time I hear/say it. And, well, today... it's true.

Today I am super grateful for Facebook, because today I am meeting two girls I knew back in the mid-90's, in my BYU 3rd Ward days. (Which, by the way, were some fabulous days/weeks/months/years, for any of you who were wondering.) Some of the most amazing people I've ever known and some of the best friends I've ever had came out of that ward. Last month, I had lunch with my friend Amy and it was so much fun to catch up - to spend time with someone who knew me back in the day, and knew all of my friends & family, too. This afternoon, I'm having lunch with Shannon and Leslie. And I'm thinking that by the end of the summer, I'll be able to have seen Verena, too. (Next on the list, I've GOT to find a way to get Shana and Tiffany together with Julie and me for a little faux-cousin reunion.)

Oh, my goodness gracious, I'm giddy about lunch today. (And not just because I'm going someplace that I've never been before.) It's been so fun to have been able to chat here and there on FB, but now that I get to see two more of my girls from back in the day, I'm so dang excited that I could just squeal!

That is all. Hopefully, I'll have pics to post later. (I say "hopefully", because I know myself all too well. I get busy talking and forget to bust the camera out. I had my camera with me ALL DAY at Amy's, at lunch, and back at Amy's... and didn't think even once that I should shut up and smile pretty for a picture.) Wish me luck! :-)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Here's a result that doesn't surprise me AT ALL.

You like Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre)! He is bitter and mysterious but deeply caring. He tries to protect himself by building up barriers and keeping others away from him.

So, does anyone else think that I definitely have a type? This made me laugh out loud. I'm so easy to peg, esp when it comes to men in print. Like when Cousin Julie told me that I should read Lady of Quality because I would groove on the love/hate banter between the male & female lead. And we all know that I so enjoy the I love you/I hate you of Pride & Prejudice and North & South.

Oh, yeah, I do love me a man with a mysterious edge on him. I so want to read Jane Eyre right now...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I read the most beautiful thing today.

And now I must share it with the world.

This is from Kate's blog. Kate is a person whom I have never met, but she was friends with one of my cousins in High School, and because I am a blog stalker like none other (and because Kate is a gifted writer), I check out her blog from time to time. Following is a paragraph that I wish, more than just about anything, that I had written. It's poetic, it's beautiful... and it's making me crave some Ben & Jerry's... so I am sharing it with the world in the one way that I can - by copy & pasting it here on my own blog. (But hey, at least I told you who wrote it, so it's not like I'm plagiarizing... not that I wouldn't like to, because this is fabulous... but I'm not.)

Tell me everything you know about ice cream.

Ice cream is delicious. Cold, smooth, texture, slip through my teeth and chill the roof of my mouth. Freezing my nose until it hurts. Flavor that slides down my throat and provides a delight that cools and warms and satisfies. Mint and chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate syrup, chocolate sauce, chocolate shell, mixing and swirling and melting and cooling. Ice cream "hits the spot," an undefined place somewhere between my stomach and my heart, warm and savory and homey. Hand to mouth, bowl to spoon to tongue, scoop it up and around and down, and then again. Feel it, taste it, smell the cold radiating from the gooey mess. Carve through the rounded cream, the icy flakes. Find in their crystals solace, comfort, reassurance that it will be okay, that it is okay, that the ice cream will see you through, chill the pain, dull the ache, a cold compress to the wound that life, that friends, that a boy has disappointed you.

Aaaaahh... Wasn't that fabulous? Words and ice cream - my two favorite things in life. I'm pretty sure that I'm in love with that paragraph. ... I'm also pretty sure that I could go for some Rocky Road right about now. In fact, I think I will.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Aahhhhh.... the anvil.

This is the 4th of July to me.

I love my hometown, I really do. And the fact that they start lighting the anvil at 4:00 AM as they drive through town, waking people up with both the kaboom of the anvil and the patriotic music that comes from the band, makes me so happy that I can't help but cry.

I'm so glad that I grew up in Taylor, where the whole town celebrates the 4th and three generations of kids come home for the celebration. I'm so glad that my parents follow the anvil every year, not only because they love to take pictures, but also because they love being caught up in the fervor that both tradition and patriotism bring out in them. I'm so glad that I woke up with Stars & Stripes Forever blaring in my head on the morning on the 4th of July. (I'm so glad that I know what Stars & Stripes Forever even is... Gosh, I love music.)

I love the anvil. I love Taylor. I love America.

The End.

Who knew that fireworks could peg me so well?

Your Fireworks Say You're Content

You are jubilant and easily excited.

While you aren't very intense or passionate, your happiness is abundant.

You can always find cause to celebrate, laugh, or even just smile to yourself.

You find that life is full of things to be happy about!

The Fireworks Test

I don't know that the "while you aren't very intense or passionate" bit is all about me (I've been called both, and often, by both friends & family), but I'll give that I think the rest of this is pretty spot on.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oh, my goodness, this day...

I mean, it was a swell day... One of the most fun days I've had in a while, actually. It started with an email from my cousin Leslie saying that I really was welcome to come and stay with them, should I be in the greater Seattle area. (Any of you who live out of state know that I am wont to invite myself over from time to time. I know, it's not the most polite way to travel... but I figure that if you've known me long enough, you know that I do this, and if you've hung around for over 4 years, you're probably due for me to just invite myself over.) Anyhoo... while I was emailing my cousin Leslie back that thankyouverymuch, I'd LOVE to come and stay with you, I was talking to my cousin Beth on Facebook. (Beth lives in England. I've invited myself there, too. Don't you worry about that. I'm an equal opportunity moocher.)

So, it was a super fun morning, emailing and IMing with my cousins... and then, after running down to the manager's office to sign a new lease (I'm staying put until March 2010, for those of you who may have last been with me when I was up in the air about whether or not I was going to renew the lease), making a batch of cupcakes and doing 3 loads of laundry, I headed over to my Lizzie's house for a cupcake day with Liz and our friend Shea.

Here's a shot of the finished product. We (Shea and I) made a boatload of icing. I mean, we're talking 2 bags of powdered sugar here. (Yeah, that's A LOT of frosting. Enough to frost 2 full cakes. Or, erm... in our case, 24 cupcakes. Disgusting, I know.)

Oh, and besides the frosting of the cupcakes, there was also some frosting-straight-down-the-hatch by our girl, Shea. Classy, right?

I went with a slightly different approach. Rather than shooting chocolate icing into my mouth, I shot it onto strawberries and then popped them into my mouth. Mmmm.... delish.

(And, yes, I know... I soooo need to do my nails, they're a trainwreck right now. Don't judge.)

And here's Shea with her "strawberry surprise special". This pic doesn't do it justice. Truly, I was gagging every time I'd look at it. (She buried a strawberry under the icing and then iced it to look like a strawberry. There were juices flowing through/around the icing. It was truly disgusting. Bless her.)

And here's Lizzie, looking super cute, sporting her two fave cupcake creations.

And here's my own cupcake creation. I had a good time making a rose on top of a cupcake instead of icing it. ... If only the icing hadn't gotten so soft that the petals all sorta melted together. But it was still fun, so here's a shot for your ocular enjoyment.

And here's a fun shot of Liz's "Incredible Hulk" cupcake. (Yup, she named it.) It's awesome, right? ... I mean, holy truckload of icing, Batman! But awesome, nonetheless.

After doing the cupcake thing, I came home and waited for my sweet nephews to come over. (I watched them tonight so Spence & Brea could have some quality time.) We ended up meeting at the theater - saw Ice Age 3 and actually laughed my fool head off. ... Not sure if it was the movie itself, or if it was Seth & Connor laughing that got me, but seriously, I did laugh my way through the full movie. After the movie, we headed to Chicka-fil-a (yeah, extra A included in the pronunciation the boys gave me) for some nuggets, and then back to my house for a night swim. I've never been so tired in all my live-long life, but gosh, this was a great day.

Here are a couple shots of the boys. Since they were robbed of a public appearance in the family bbq post, I thought I'd tag them here.

Con, truly, has the biggest eyes and the sweetest little face ever, don't you think? I love him.

And here's a shot of Seth & me. It's so not my finest picture ever (it'd been a long day, okay?), but since Connor took it and Seth's looking super handsome, I'm including it anyway.

And that being said... I'm off to bed. After getting up early and running all day (including an hour and a half literally chasing a 4 year old around the rim of the pool), I'm beat.

God bless America, land that I love...

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's July!

I love July. I love it, because just saying it feels like summer to me. Most of the trips we took as kids were in July, so many good movies come out in July, most swim parties and BBQ's and other fun family stuff seems to take place in July. And I love July, because I love my country - and we celebrate Independence Day in July. This time of year, July is my favorite month. (Ask me again in the fall and you'll get a different answer, but in the summer... Gosh, I love July.)

I've been thinking a lot this week about my childhood, my family, my hometown. I have so many great memories of celebrations of the 4th - from chasing the anvil when we were home, to eating homemade ice cream on Grammy & Grandad's porch as we watched the fireworks from Stadium of Fire if we were in Utah that week.

One of the things I've been most grateful for this week is patriotic music. I love music (LOVE IT), and the patriotic music that is in my head (and in my heart) makes me happy. I'm so incredibly grateful that I grew up when I did, where I did, back in the day that teachers had pianos in their classrooms and we said the pledge and sang a song every day. I thank Mrs. Tubbs, Mrs. Rencher and Mrs. Jarvis for so many lyrics that are in my head. We sang patriotic songs in church last Sunday, and I love that I don't need a hymnal to sing along with My Country, Tis of Thee, The Star Spangled Banner, or The Battlehymn of the Republic.

This morning, I woke up singing God Bless America in my head. The older I get, I can hardly sing it because I am such a patriotic sap that I tear up so dang much, but still... I love it.
For those of you who weren't lucky enough to have Mrs. Tubbs as a 2nd grade teacher and have this song committed to memory, I give you the lyrics.

God bless America,
land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
to the ocean, white with foam.
God bless America, my home, sweet home.

The older I get, the more I feel that this song is every bit as much prayer as it is music, and I thank Irving Berlin, once again, for his musical contributions to the world I live in. I do love my country. I love the flag and all it represents. I love July. God bless America, land that I love...