Monday, September 21, 2015

Dream Diary: Part 8

Voldemort has a son?
I'm at my high school doing typical dream stuff—trying to remember my locker combination and the location of all of my classes—when I receive a note from the front office. It's sort of in code, but the gist of it is that I need to contact Mr. Barnes (my jr. high band director) because there's new information about my dad from the 1970s that has something to do with a flute. My high school friend, Danielle, and I try to track Mr. Barnes down, with little luck, since he doesn't teach at the high school. So we decided to break into his apartment, where we interrupted Voldemort's son in his plans to raise an evil army of flutists. Before I had time to ponder on practicality of this plan, Voldemort's son started trying to bite our necks, and I woke up thoroughly creeped out.

A Friends and Boy Meets World Mashup
The main cast in Friends decides to pretend to act like someone else in the main cast to throw paparazzi off their trail. (For example, Monica did a killer impression of Ross). Who do they call to sort out the mystery? None other than Eric Matthews. He bungled the whole thing, of course.

BYU's new assistant football coach: me
My contribution to the team was to make them run around the church a lot and eat Chinese food after practice. Unsurprisingly, fans were not happy, so they sent the cops out to get me. I spent a lot of time running in this dream.

A series of elevator dreams
Dream elevators are bad news. For example, I once dreamed that the elevator I was in broke free from the building and floated aimlessly around San Francisco for hours. Another time I stood in line for an elevator at BYU for a long time, and when it was finally my turn, the elevator was just too tired to carry another load. My elevator mates and I plummeted to the basement, which was approximately 15 miles beneath us. I would not wish it upon anyone to have their life flash before their eyes in this manner. In my latest elevator dream, Kimberly was the culprit. We were headed to the basement of the Payson Temple for a family reunion, and the corner she was standing in disappeared and she fell several stories to what should have been her doom, but luckily a pile of Barbies and pillows cushioned her fall. My dream-elevator victims are not always so lucky.

Moral of the story: always take the stairs.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Enchanted pages

I started reading this book last night that I think I'm going to love. This passage at the beginning really struck a chord with me:
Once, in my father's bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a place in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return. (The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, pg. 8)
The first book that popped to my mind when I read this was, of course, Harry Potter. I was 12 when I read Sorcerer's Stone for the first time, relatively young in my reading life. Would I love the books as much as I do if I hadn't been a part of the lucky Harry Potter generation? Probably not.

But there are other books that I read early in life that have stayed close to my heart. (If you've seen my Favorites shelf on Goodreads, you probably noticed that a lot of them are young adult/middle grade.)

I have my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Applegate, to thank for introducing me to some of my favorite books. There's Ella Enchanted, still the best fairy-tale retelling I have ever read (and I've read a lot). There's The Giver, one of the first books that portrayed the world I lived in in grays, rather than black and white. And there's also A Return to Christmas, a cheesy, predictable Christmas story that always makes the Christmas season feel more complete.

I've read all of these books more than once, and they all still evoke that magical, childlike wonder. I add a few books to my Favorites shelf every year, but the ones I fell in love with in elementary school/middle school get a special spot on that shelf. They're the ones I go back to the most.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

On journaling

I recently made a goal to write in my journal every day. This isn't the first time I've made this goal; in my younger years, it seems like I was constantly resolving to write every day "because Gordon B. Hinckley says it's important." Which meant that in elementary school, I had far too many "I hate [insert sibling here]" entries (alongside many "I hate [insert Chicago Bulls player]" entries). In junior high the hate turned to love, with an entire year's worth of "I love [insert boy]" entries.

My heart was in the right place, but the result was a lot of thoughts I'm not exactly proud I preserved for future generations (except for, perhaps, the Chicago Bulls ones. Some of those were very colorful, like Dennis Rodman's hair).

Since I don't need to motivate myself to write in my journal, I haven't made any journal-related goals since 2002. I eased into writing about once a week, and that's been good enough for me for 13 years.

18 journals, and counting.

But you miss out on some of the biggest benefits of journaling if you wait until something noteworthy has happened to pull out that pen and paper. You forget about the hilarious tidbits that make up everyday life. You don't take the time to think of something you're grateful for on a really crappy day.

The benefits of journaling extend past immediate payoffs, though. I've found that it's a powerful personal revelation tool, as well. It's a bit freaky how often I've found answers to my current struggles by diving into my past experiences. And it's not just about my ever-evolving learning cycle; it's like when you read a scripture at exactly the moment you need it and you feel as if it was written just for you. Only the words are your words, and you already have an emotional connection to them.

Journaling is about more than just documenting your life (which is important, no matter how mundane you think your life is). Your journal can also give so much right back to you if you're willing to put in the effort.

Seriously, if you're not a regular journal keeper, give it another try.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Glad for an unexpected reason

The signs are all there: the kids stopped coming to the park where I like to take my lunch breaks; the sports section of every newspaper talks about nothing but football; pictures of freshly groomed kids keep appearing on my Facebook feed.

Proof that Tiffany was in fact taller than me at one point. (Preschool)

School has begun.

Two things: those are skorts, not a skirt (wouldn't want to abolish the tomboy reputation I've established), and Tyrel was the cutest little boy ever. (5th grade)

Except, one thing that usually accompanies this time of year hasn't appeared yet: the tug at my heart and slight feeling of envy. For the first time in many years, I'm actually glad that I'm not one of the many starting school. I'm glad I don't have to figure out how I'm going to cram classes, work, church, and sleep into a too-small space of time. I'm glad I don't have to adjust to a new sleep routine.

We must have felt pretty safe at our high school if we could show up on the first day with Care Bears and duckies on our shirts and not worry about getting beat up. (Senior year of high school)

Sure, there are things I will always miss about being a student, but for once I'm glad I just get to sit back, enjoy the changing leaves, and watch some football.

Technically not a first-day-of-school picture, but it was the first week, I think. (Sophomore year of college)

Good luck to those who aren't so lucky.

Oh, and words can't express how much I love J.K. Rowling:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Wrapping up summer

The past few weeks I've been checking off item after item on my end-of-summer to-do list. Here are a few:

The Union Unicorns won the YSA regional softball championship. (Okay, so it was the losers' bracket, but we're still sort of champions.)

After playing softball for three hours straight, I took a cold shower, and then it was time to move Shannan back home.

Good timing too, because USANA's International Convention was a few days later. At the end of those 12-hour days full of super-charged energy, there is nothing better than going home to pure solitude.

Between our Associates' insane love for our blender bottles and the dinosaurs roaming around, I almost didn't make it out alive. It was a close call.

Some extra freelance work prompted me to spruce up my wardrobe a bit, so I took advantage of some back-to-school prices. (Summer may officially be over by the time the rest of my clothes ship, though.)

And then, of course, there's the trees.

The best thing about wrapping up summer is that fall is just around the corner.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

That week after my iPod thing died

Last Saturday, my commute to the Draper Temple become much less relaxing when (1) I left late, (2) I hit major construction, and (3) my iPod FM radio transmitter (hereafter referred to as iPod thing) broke. I made it to my session—barely—but on the way home I was forced to (1) take the roundabout way home (still hitting some construction along the way) and (2) listen to the radio.

For a few hours, I seriously considered buying a new car with an iPod dock rather than replacing my iPod thing again. That's how important it is to me to always have complete control over the listening experience in my car.

Normally I grumble when I have to go with the more expensive option, but in this case I was actually annoyed that I had to spend $30 instead of $15,000.

I still had to do without it for about a week while I waited for the product to ship, so I had to dust off my radio surfing skills, an art form I was glad to let die. I haven't listened to the radio on purpose for several years, and let me tell you—it hasn't changed one bit.

  • The FM 100 (point 3) guy still pronounces Celine Dion's name wrong (like DEE-on). It bugs me so much I kind of want to bomb his house.
  • I have even less tolerance for commercials than I did before.
  • Soft Sunday Sounds is such a poor substitute for my Sunday playlist. They only pick artists with breathy, bored-sounding voices, and playing something interesting—like a Lord of the Rings soundtrack—is inconceivable for them.
  • And my three presets that still exist are still playing all the same songs. Ones that annoy me (White Flag). Ones that stations were contractually obligated to play every fifth song and that I violently hated (like that Tim McGraw song by Taylor Swift—with the exception of one song, I still can't listen to any of her stuff). And the ones I would voluntarily listen to, but that can be more fun to experience when you have no control over when they're played (Keith Urban is apparently still a big deal).

But the inability to skip songs and avoid commercials was too much for me. So I figured it was the perfect time to try out that list of new podcasts I've been collecting and listen to them on my commute (with headphones. Well, headphones in one ear, anyway). And of course I like most of them, and I'm probably going to have to start splitting my work commute between music and podcast listening now.

Because sitting in silence while I'm driving isn't an option (unless I'm really, really mad).

It's been interesting to try to get by without my normal driving routine, but I am plenty happy to return to what's comfortable and familiar.

But when iPod thing #4 breaks, I think I'll spring for that new car.

Friday, July 31, 2015

35 ways to celebrate Harry Potter's birthday

I often celebrate Harry Potter-related dates more enthusiastically than I do Muggle holidays. Halloween is a day to mourn James and Lily, not go to wild parties. April Fools' Day calls for birthday cake commemorating Fred and George's birth, not pulling obnoxious pranks on our coworkers.

So Harry Potter's birthday, in my opinion, should be an international holiday. And here are 35 ways to celebrate it (in honor of Harry's 35th birthday).

1. Don't go to work.

2. Go to Harry Potter World.

3. Eat at the Three Broomsticks.

4. Drink frozen butterbeer until you either die from a brain freeze or go off on a sugar high.

5. Then eat a chocolate frog.

6. Actually, eat lots of chocolate. There are Dementors out there.

7. Write an article about someone, Rita Skeeter style.

8. Or, hand-write a letter to someone you haven't seen in a while. 

9. Play a game of Quidditch.

10. Orchestrate your own Triwizard Tournament.

11. Catch up on Pottermore.

12. Read as many pages of the Harry Potter books as you can.

13. Or, watch as many of the movies as you can in fast motion.

14. Take a bath with a giant golden egg.

15. Take a nap in a cupboard, preferably one under the stairs.

16. Walk up to someone and say, "I see thestrals."

17. Show off your House pride.

18. Or, have a Sorting ceremony.

19. Find someone who hasn't read Harry Potter (an arduous task) and convince them to read the books. You'll change their life.

20. Wear mis-matched socks.

21. Visit Platform 9 3/4. That's in London.

22. Dress up as your favorite Harry Potter character, even if it's the Whomping Willow. Especially if it's the Whomping Willow.

23. Take your wands off your display case and have a duel with someone.

24. Wish J.K. Rowling a happy birthday.

25. Send your favorite teacher some crystallized pineapple.

26. Look something up in the library instead of on the internet.

27. Every time someone tells you to do something, say "My father will hear about this."

28. Play the Harry Potter trivia game you made.

29. Pretend you're Arthur Weasley and get excited about rubber ducks and escalators (I mean, escapaders).

30. Tell Microsoft to stop underlining Harry Potter terms like Patronus and Dementor.

31. Write an essay about why Muggles need electricity.

32. If you haven't already, contemplate on what your Boggart or Patronus would be.

33. Refer to every girl's bathroom as the Chamber of Secrets.

34. Say "Expelliarmus" every time someone challenges you in any way.

35. But most importantly, get into mischief.