Sunday, January 30, 2011

nesting & so on

this weekend i went to bed bath and beyond. NEW FAVORITE STORE!!!! here are the things i found there:

a very large wood cutting block: HEAVY.
a robin's egg blue kitchen-aid mixer: OOLALA.
and an indoor barbecue grill pan!

here's the thing. the only other people in the store were couples registering for weddings.
* beep * beep * with their little laser guns.

i am putting off putting together a kitchen with things like a barbeque grill pan and a robin's egg blue mixer because someday here i'm going to be the one beep beeping my way through bed bath and beyond, and know...i kinda want to wait for that day!

but who knows when that day is going to come...

thus, i submit that we start a new tradition: the "you're 25 and still single...let's help you start a life anyways!" shower tradition.


you have about 4 more months to mull this one over.

that's how we get down for the holiday

here at my home we like to have parties. because my parents were on holiday in hawaii this week (yeah, we're all angry they didn't take us with), we decided to make our own holiday...

a lord of the rings holiday.

that's right. we're awesome (and overly enthusiastic about anything to do with lotr) like that.

my cousin raymon babysat the family for the week, and thanks to his enthusiasm for cousin-parties, for lord of the rings, and for wearing white robes and grandma wigs as beards (see above), we had probably the best lord of the rings costume party since the fourth age of man.

here's them:

and here's us:

look alikes? i think so.

and in case you were wondering, i was originally supposed to be a nazgul what with my hood and sinister face, but as our frodo didn't show up on time (no worries, des, we still love you), i had to fill in. nazgul-frodo. wouldn't that do interesting things to his already conflicted self.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

a toast!: to all irrational fears

all day i have had the feeling of impending doom.

i tried to shake him by talking my way through my responsibilities--yep, all are accounted for. no missed deadlines, no incomplete assignments, no excessive debt, no missing limbs...

then his friend DREAD showed up.

that's when it got ridiculous. what do i have worth dreading? no tests on the horizon, no papers even. my students are nice, my roommates make me laugh, and i've just started a dinner group that is going to rock the socks off of allyo d-groups.

dread is the worst of all companions. worst because the fear of something bad happening is so much more traumatic than the bad thing actually happening. dread will weigh you down. "what ifs" and worries are the heaviest boots you can wear. so after unsuccessfully evading dread all day, i did what anyone would do:

i put on my favorite shirt, made myself some hazelnut cocoa, and hid under my covers.

and then i armed myself: with writing. because we all know that words are magic and can make all our secret fears and darkest dreams as swiftly melt away.

and in the writing and the cocoa i realized this: i have an irrational fear that i am going to be FOUND OUT. found out for what, i'm not entirely sure. my mind makes things up. like for instance that at the daily universe, they're going to suddenly realize that i have no idea what i'm doing, that i've just been faking it, and worst of all that i've somehow been lying on my timecard unconsciously. that my grad professors are going to see right through my polished prose to the flatness of my ideas. that all these good grades are only because they (like me) were in a hurry to finish grading papers so they could enjoy their christmas, and decided to give me the benefit of the doubt. in fact, my dreams last night were that the byu police, honor code office, and all my students came after me because i missed a punch out at work, gave my students too high of grades, and didn't get the assignment's instructions to them before their deadlines. such are my nightmares. pathetic, i know. (those of you who are in british poetry with me: i just want to make one thing very clear: while today i have felt a strange amount of unease in regards to being found out, i still have nary a trace of the anxiety which talbot has so fiercely affixed to me. whatever his self-professed psychic abilities.)

another irrational fear: i fear that i'm enjoying myself too much. my schedule this semester consists of : taking pictures for the newspaper, reading british poetry, doing yoga, and cooking. that's it. the first two weeks were blissful! ...and now it sets in: this cannibalistic complex that if i'm enjoying life this much, it must mean i am being lazy. look here:

"We cannot waste time entertaining ourselves when we have the chance to read or to listen to whatever will help us learn what is true and useful. Insatiable curiosity will be our hallmark.

"Sometimes we feel that we must choose between spiritual and secular learning. That is a false conflict for most of us, particularly for the young. Before we have families, there is leisure time even in what is our busiest day. Too often we use many hours for fun and pleasure, saying, “I’m recharging my batteries.” Those hours could be spent reading and studying to gain knowledge, skills, and culture.

"It takes neither modern technology nor much money to seize the opportunity to learn in the moments we now waste. You could just have a book and paper and pencil with you. That will be enough. But you need determination to capture the leisure moments you now waste."

(Henry B. Eyring, "Real-Life Education" Ensign, Oct. 2002)

in the spirit of capturing every leisure moment, i tried to climb the following mountains last semester:

victorian literature,
teaching freshman writing,
grad studies,
conference/publishing proposals,
composition pedagogy,
and suddenly deciding i needed to become crafty.

...and then my friend billy went on conan and dedicated this to me (it would be appropriate for you to listen to this as you finish reading my evening's ramblings):

i found myself thinking : "what would it be like to not be overwhelmed all the time?" follow the next thought : "why do i feel like in order to be making the most of my life, i have to be doing some major task every second of the day?" i realized then that for the last six years, i've told myself that college life is stressful, and if you aren't stressed, you aren't doing enough. i mean--look around: we've got international films to see, dance classes to take, intermurals to play, art exhibits to go to, languages to learn, people to meet!

translation: soak in all you can now, sister.
effect: anxiety about not being able to do it all!!!
(this may relate to the anxiety i sometimes feel at tucanos when i know i'm going to be full long before i've tried everything at that salad bar.)

i don't even know what it would be like to actually be bored every once in a while. it isn't so much the amount of things to be done, but rather the effort it takes switching between so many things all the time--between deadlines and assignments, languages to learn, callings to complete, clubs to participate in, instruments to learn, parties to plan--

my favorite place to eat in my hometown of eagle idaho (read: elysian fields) is mongolian bbq. you get one bowl, and in that one bowl you pile as many vegetables, meats, noodles, and sauces as possible. in high school we used to see who could get the most in their bowl. tacky, i know. but not the point. you can play the pile-stuff-pile-stuff game at mongolian bbq because you can take home the leftovers in a little chinese box. doing that with life only amounts to sacrificing peaceful nights reading novels in bed just for fun. (..........i was also going to include sacrificing partying with friends, but let's be honest, i have not yet reached that point yet.) at any rate, the book-in-bed image symbolizes enough: all that is forfeited when i overextend myself.

here it is: my toast for the evening: i submit that there is more to life than increasing its speed! i submit that boredom (in a healthy way), quiet evenings, time to read whatever you'd like, time to sit and tell stories with people you love, time to go frolick if that's what toots your horn--all these things are important. they make mental stability. they make inner peace. they make those mornings when you wake up smiling already because everything is exactly as it should be. seriously, i am my own worst enemy sometimes.

i don't have to go to yoga tonight if i don't want to.

i don't have to apply for conferences just can wait till tomorrow.

i don't have to plan paris or london until planning such actually sounds like something i'd enjoy, not something i'm using as a weapon against myself to impose panic and fear and worry and dread and a general feeling of inadequacy. not something Messrs Dread and Doom are using to suck all the joy out of planning such lovely things.
i maybe might just read "water for elephants" all evening, in the true spirit of what president eyring said. maybe that's my lesson to learn this year--how to enjoy floating slowly down the river. how to stop paddling like a frantic lady and just smell the sagebrush for an hour, in so doing, learn the things that are worth learning.

and now, a rather large end parentheses.


make of it what you will, but whatever you make, make sure it is great. (great like using 18 :'s in one blog post. you can take THAT to the bank.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the life of a thousand new years.

death has been on my mind a lot lately. A LOT. not death as in the abstract philosophical death--death as in MY death. i do not know why this is.

yesterday as i was googling myself (which is a totally normal thing to do by the way), i came across this:

Family-Placed Death Notice

CARTER, Carolyn CAROLYN McKENZIE CARTER Carolyn McKenzie Carter, age 91, of Sea Island, Georgia, died Wednesday, April 21, 2010. Mrs. Carter was a native of Moultrie, Georgia, and was a graduate of the Ward-Belmont School in Nashville, Tennessee and from the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. She served as staff writer and was the first female photojournalist for the Atlanta Constitution. She married her husband, Don, in 1942 and later went to work at the Journal-Constitution Sunday Magazine where she spent several years taking photographs and writing stories about the South. Mrs. Carter also worked for the Coca-Cola Company as a writer and editor for a specialized company publication prior to moving to New York in 1959. While there she was a freelance writer and photographer who promoted tourism for the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Travel. She and her husband later moved to Sea Island in 1982 where they retired and continued to be active in community, professional and travel activities. Mrs. Carter was an avid golfer who also enjoyed reading and the Theater.

Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 22, 2010

what a lovely woman. i mean, Sea Island, Georgia...that sounds like somewhere i'd like to be. a photojournalist, a husband named don, a life spent writing about her homeland, reading, theatre, golf! i wonder what her husband's favorite thing was about her. i wonder if they had the kind of marriage worth living. i wonder what books were her favorite, how far she traveled, what music she liked, if she was a good cook, if she was funny or sappy or gossipy or timid. i wonder if she was content with this life she lived.

and then i got to thinking, what if i could write my own obituary. i mean, if i were writing the script of my life, what things would i dream for myself? if i died in a tragic car wreck on the 15 tomorrow from accidently swerving into the median because i had the hiccups, and the semi behind me couldn't stop in time, what would my parents write about me? and what would become of all of my journals?

in yoga, at the end of every class, we lay on our backs, palms upwards and open, our eyes closed. shavasana. you have to understand a little something about yoga to appreciate this. the previous hour has been spent twisting your body like a curly straw, holding it in postures that make every muscle in your body tremble. you're trying to breathe into lungs that are wrung tight. you're trying to conquer the frustration of not being able to stand on one leg while holding the other leg backwards above your head with one hand and using the other hand to write sanskrit on the back of your opposite shoulder blade. laying down at the end of the practice is honey-sweet.

last week, the instructor called shavasana the corpse pose. it is a laying down of the old self so a new self can be born.

like a phoenix.

and so it is, a new year, a new chance. i think it is honey-sweet too. every week should be a new year. every day. a life of a thousand new years.

stick your stake in the ground to mark the territory of a newly impassioned soul,
roll away your stone,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

making cookies to stop eating the dough

somedays you have a bowl of cookie dough
and all you want is to stuff yourself brim-full until you're choking on oatmeal and butter and chocolate chips

and people who don't know you look at you and say:
and people who do know you turn to them and say:
oh, she just stuffed herself brim-full of cookie dough one night, that's all.

and then both parties would get on with their lives and i would be left
happy like a foursquare ball is happy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

i got the job! ...and found my destiny.

(please listen to this song while you read this post.)

i was recently hired as a photographer. dream come true? yes! today was the first day in my entire EXISTENCE that one of my photos was printed in a newspaper. i feel that i am greater than i am, and feel that i am happier than i can stand.

today i was shooting a construction site: men in yellow hardhats, concrete, those wire poles that i can never remember the name of. rebar, i think. and i lost all track of time. what does that say, that a girl who likes art and sad songs and making baby lava cakes and painting her fingernails bright red can spend two hours looking at a bunch of metal and rocks without a care in the world because she's looking at it all through a camera? (for those of you who are engineers and architects and construction workers, i am sorry that i do not know enough about building to see beyond the metal and rocks.) "they" say that the true indicator that you have found fulfillment in your work is if you find flow...aka: losing yourself in the job you are doing, such that a whole day can pass with nary a thought of time because you are so absorbed in your work. i think i have found that.

i love taking pictures for so many reasons. because it challenges me. because it gives me an excuse to talk to people and learn their stories and see little glimpses into their world, why they have such a sad face, or a sprightly walk, or a tired posture. where all those wrinkles came from. i love it because it forces me to reduce the world into a box--to find what's most important and to cut out the rest. to change what's focused so people see what i see and wonder at what i wonder. i love it because it makes me look stupid sometimes and i think that's healthy (yesterday i took out the videocamera guy at the devotional with my monopod, apple-dumpling gang style. whoops. i'd never used a monopod before, okay.)

and maybe i love photography because it's art without the hours. i'm [sadly] becoming an instant gratification kind of girl: if i only have two hours as is often the case, i'd rather go take some pictures of this universe of the people and places in my life than paint a leaf or a fingernail in hopes that someday i finish the entire painting. taking pictures = instant art. and i kinda like that.

as an endnote, i am currently looking to either buy a packmule or hire a man with very large muscles. or a woman. i suppose either would do. because i'm telling you what, after lugging a camera, three lenses, a flash, and that idiot monopod around for two days, my muscles are tired. bigger, but tired. and semi-shaky. yes, i am a wimp.