Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Like winning 10 cents in the lottery

I know better than to hope for snow every time it appears on the weather forecast. I've been disappointed by the brownish-gray dreariness outside my window too many times to be duped by "80% chance of snow" projections.

However, constant, crushing disappointment hasn't jaded me so far as to prevent hope that this year's winter will make up for last year's lack. In my mind, Mother Nature is scientifically obligated to dump snowstorm after snowstorm on top of me.

Instead, the forecast promises snow and either fails to deliver, or even worse, gifts it to ungrateful complainers. I realize that it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but as far as I'm concerned, we're a year past due for some good snow.

I've never been good at waiting for the first magical snow of the year. I'll take comfort in knowing that Calvin, at least, understands the torture.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Dream Diary: Part 9

Comically bad writing
Kimberly and I went to an intense dance retreat in Ogden for a few days, and when it was over, Kimberly had had enough of girlish stuff and wanted to play football. She had to get permission from the city to organize a team that just played in our backyard, and they sent their denial via a horribly written newsletter. Their reasons for not allowing this team were something like "Your dad is to tired" and "Your sweet sister Angie will just be tuxting all day." The grammar mistakes were even worse than the "Bunko prizes will be awarded" family newsletter of 2006, so I am 99% certain my dream laughter manifested in real-life 4:00 a.m. sniggers.

A unique class schedule
Occasionally my school dreams will take a different tactic and give me a course schedule full of fascinating (but mostly impractical) classes. Some examples:
  • Renaissance cooking
  • Jousting
  • A class that met in Spain every other Friday
  • Archeology (aka, digging a hole to China)
I think the underlying theme here is that I need to travel more.

A new recurring nightmare
Someone make sure I watch all my favorite Christmas movies this year, because I've had at least two dreams recently that Christmas was over and I was devastated because I hadn't watched Home Alone or While You Were Sleeping yet.

Alien takeover
The night I finished The Rithmatist, I dreamed that I was the protagonist in a future society that's crumbling, aided by aliens taking over people's bodies. The alien leader tricked a bunch of regular humans into congregating at this huge building (I think it was at BYU), and I figured out in the nick of time that he wanted take over all of us at the same time. I wish I could say the dream had a happy ending, but most of the people were changed to aliens (or maybe I should just call them zombies) and the few of us who escaped sprinted to our cars for safety, lamenting the fact that we had lived to see such a dark day.

A trip to see Harry Potter. That's in London.
I was so tempted to buy tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and plan an entire HP-related trip in the UK. So tempted. Then I dreamed that I took that trip. It included many of the things that exist in the London of my imagination: walks in the rain, lots of green stuff, gatherings in charming pubs, and of course the anticipation of seeing the play. Please, please let this happen.

Monday, November 2, 2015

My Top 10 playlist (fall 2015)

After weeks of deliberation, my refreshed Top 10 playlist is ready to be discussed. The main theme here is that end-credit song marketing works extremely well on me.

About half of these are dutiful survivors of my last Top 10 playlist, so I won't talk about them in great detail.

1. (Everything I Do) I Do It for You, by Bryan Adams (from Robin Hood). This song made it on a list of Most Cheesy Movie Songs. I wanted to shake my fist at my screen and yell, "How dare you trivialize the most romantic song ever written!" In fact, I might have done that.

2. When You Come Back to Me Again, by Garth Brooks (from Frequency).

3. Brave, by Sara Bareilles.

4. Savior, Redeemer of My Soul, by Vocal Point.

5. Danny Boy, by Vocal Point.

6. The Time of My Life, by David Cook.

7. It's Time, by Imagine Dragons. This is one of those songs I'm incapable of skipping, because it works for all of my moods. And it's a great song.

8. Into the West, by Annie Lennox (from The Return of the King). Every time I feel the need to update my top 10 favorites, this song is always in the mix. After my most recent viewing of The Return of the King, I decided it was time to end the debate regarding whether it was awesome enough to deserve a spot on this list and just put it in its rightful place. It has a beautiful, haunting melody, it's perfectly sing-along-able for my range, and it just makes you feel things.

9. The Call, by Regina Spektor (from Prince Caspian). This song is an absolute heartbreaker, and it's 100 percent perfect for Narnia. The first time I listened to it in my car rather than during the end of the Prince Caspian movie, I realized that it also perfectly captures the feelings in my heart every time I'm going through a major change, or am simply remembering the past. It's so, so good. And did I mention heartbreaking?

10. Go the Distance, by Michael Bolton (from Hercules).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October nesting

The deeper we've gotten into fall, the more I've wanted to burrow down at home and do cozy, fall things. 

Like drink hot chocolate. (By the fireplace, of course.)

And read good books. (By the fireplace, of course.)

Sadly, I'm not reading Harry Potter right now, but it makes such a lovely prop.

And just sit and watch the fire while you warm up because you're still trying not to use your heater. It's a lovely way to spend a chilly evening.

I've also been crocheting. A lot. Usually by the fireplace.

FYI—the shirt isn't quite finished yet. Still have a little bit of edging to do.

With daylight savings at the end of the month, I've also been trying to enjoy the last of my evening walks for the year. The foliage hasn't been that impressive, but I've still been treated to some lovely sights and distinctly autumn smells.

And it seems that the colder and darker it gets, the happier I get, burrowing up in my little apartment, indulging in hobbies. Perhaps I owe this giddiness to the fact that I sleep significantly better during this time of year, which provides an automatic mood boost, but I also just really like the cold. The anticipation of snow. The thought of listening to Christmas music again. Fun winter attire.

It's such a wonderful time of year, made even better if you don't dread the season that follows.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What the fandom wants, the fandom gets

Throughout earth's history of human habitation, it's the loudest voices who tend to shape its course. That has interesting consequences in the 21st century, particularly in light of fandom cultures that are like gluttonous monsters continuously fed by paparazzi and internet-theory side dishes.

Netflix is among the latest vying for the knight in shining armor position among fans. It houses most of the TV shows we missed out on but were mildly curious about. It allows for effortless binge-watching. It's responsible for letting us relive our childhoods via a Full House reboot.

Most importantly, it's made one of my biggest fandom dreams come true: Gilmore Girls is coming back! For most GG fans, the reboot isn't about reliving the glory days; it's about getting closure on something that wasn't wrapped up in a satisfying way. Fans have been loudly lamenting that lack of closure for eight years, and finally, the stars have aligned to make that happen.

Sure, this world has got problems, but it's a beautiful place when it makes your frivolous fantasies come true.

Now that I can check that item off the list, I just need a few more things:

  • The Harry Potter encyclopedia (no, Pottermore isn't enough)
  • Another Harry Potter book (or 12)
  • A Harry Potter TV series (come on, let's make this happen)
  • A Brandon Sanderson cosmere movie (I'll even let you pick which book to do!)
  • A live-action version of all my favorite animated classics (done right, the way Cinderella was)
  • For Once Upon a Time to get good again
  • For Jimmer Fredette and Tyler Haws to do extremely well in their respective careers and somehow end up playing for the Utah Jazz together, preferably coached by John Stockton and Karl Malone
  • For BYU to win all the championships

Oh, and one more thing:
  • A Gilbert Blythe for me to marry

What the fandom wants, the fandom gets.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Finally, something to get out of bed for

It's no secret that mornings and I don't get along. I've always felt that the best way to get through mornings is to sleep through them, but I haven't managed to sustain a lifestyle that allows that kind of schedule.

Which is why my mornings are strategically planned; only the most essential of tasks are completed before leaving for work—things like making lunches and working out can be put off until the evening. (I would shower in the evenings too, but they are an essential part of the waking-up process.) Breakfast cannot be skipped, but it can be rushed.

It's a system that's been working for me my entire life. But I've always wished I had the "It's Christmas morning!" or "We're leaving for vacation today!" attitude that makes de-sandwiching myself from my sleep chamber an enjoyable experience. I've heard people talk about how excited they are to start each day anew, meet new people, and make a difference in the world. 

For me though, when that blasted alarm clock goes off, my first thoughts are usually along the lines of "Why is the world so cruel?" and which story I should tell my manager so I can call in sick and get a few more hours of sleep. 

I know I have a lot to live for. But I'd sooner punch someone in the face than acknowledge that before 8:00 a.m. 

Now, I'm going to shift gears a bit and talk about an oft repeated and failed new years resolution of mine: diligent scripture study. I've been pretty good about reading most days, but I often fly through a chapter because I either want to go to bed or move on to my "real" book. Even if I read something scripture related every day for a week, my total time with spiritual study is probably less than what someone else could accomplish in a day.

However, the last few months I've had a bit of a breakthrough with scripture study. I resolved to make the study part stick this time, and now I can actually say I study the scriptures rather than speed-read them.

This presented another problem, though. After 15–20 minutes of good study, I wouldn't have time to ponder on what I'd read because I would move right along to the book I was reading at the time. It's a little jarring to emerge from deep study on something personal only to jump right into a different world. But bedtime reading is an essential part of my day, something I'm not willing to give up. 

Somehow, I had to find a way to separate these two tasks. Both were important to me, but they didn't play well together.

Eventually it occurred to me that I could move scripture time to the morning. Perhaps it took me longer to reach this conclusion than it should have, but it's unsurprising considering my background. My family was always a read-scriptures-before-bed type of family, and that was the way all of us preferred it. Getting up for family prayer in the morning was hard enough. Mom would be ready for work, of course, so she got to laugh at us as we staggered into the family room in various states of consciousness: the three older girls in the middle of curling their hair or shoveling down cereal, and Dad and the two youngest sleep-walking to the circle of sleepy Carters, collapsing to the ground and shielding their eyes from the light.

Some families swear by morning scripture time, but I always pitied my friends who were deprived of their precious sleep so they could pretend to stay awake through a chapter of the Book of Mormon. 

So I shoved that thought away. At least, I tried to. Then I proofread a book that touted the benefits of morning scripture study and read an article in the Ensign that went on and on about the blessings of getting up early. I finally decided that I was ready to give it a try.

My plan was to get up at 6:30, 20–30 minutes earlier than my usual wakeup time. Now, I know what most of you are thinking: you get up way earlier than that every day, that 6:30 isn't early, blah blah blah. But it was a huge deal for me; it felt like a life-altering decision.

I went to bed early on Sunday night and actually succeeded in falling asleep in under an hour (unheard of on a Sunday, but I was still tired from not being able to catch up on sleep over conference weekend due to the fact that I don't sleep as well in my bed at home), and woke up unusually refreshed.

I've thought about this, and I think it was the best morning of my life. Seriously. Better than those mornings in Elk Ridge when I woke up to over a foot of snow. Better than those Saturdays I wake up thinking that my alarm will go off soon, and then realizing that it's Saturday and I can stay in bed for as long as I want.

Having enough hot water to stretch my shower to 10 minutes and having a good hair day is usually a good start to my day, but then I had a full half hour to relax, study, and ponder. It was so weird not feeling rushed, and I was amazed at how grateful I was to be spending the worst part of my day doing something so fulfilling.

Life went on as normal after that, though the memory of that special morning lingered. And the past two days getting out of bed wasn't a battle with the snooze button; I actually wanted to get up to make sure I wasn't robbed of any scripture time. I don't know how long this new routine will last, but it's already done something that a job I enjoy, adult responsibilities, and a good night's sleep haven't been able to maintain: give me something I want to wake up for.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Some Gilmore love

Gilmore Girls has been getting a lot of love lately, what with a new generation of people discovering it on Netflix, the GG reunion panel last June, and this week's 15-year anniversary of the date the pilot aired. (Not to mention the popular "Gilmore Guys" podcast, which I love almost as much as "Alohomora." Harry Potter fandom always comes first.) Let me just say, it's nice to be validated in my choice of favorite TV show.

I discovered the show the summer before I started college. It was often on during the time I worked out, so it (ironically) became my motivation to hop on the treadmill at 11:00 a.m. on days I wasn't opening at Domino's. I stumbled upon the show during its worst arc (basically all of season 6) and was introduced to both Rory and Logan at their worst.

Which is probably why it took another summer of workouts for me to really get hooked on the show. While watching sporadic episodes, I related to Rory's shyness and love for books, I was constantly amused by Lorelai, and I wanted to live in Stars Hollow. I loved the humor of the show, and the further I got into my college education, the more references I understood. By my junior year of college I had watched every episode, and it has since become my go-to when I need something comforting and funny.

And like other devoted Gillys, the show has affected the way I live in seemingly odd ways.

  • My hair progression tends to follow Rory's.
  • Whenever I order pizza to complement movie watching, I sit on the floor and lean against the couch while I eat.
  • I eat Pop Tarts a lot more than I did as a kid.
  • I know what my order would be if I ever ate at Luke's Diner—the largest cheeseburger in the world Luke makes for Lorelai in the pilot (I think), which she doesn't even touch. Still mad at her about that.
  • I am ashamed that I have never seen Casablanca.

Not to mention there's a Gilmore quote for every situation.

When you are fed up with people: "People are particularly stupid today. I can't talk to any more of them."

When you're not in the mood for being single: "It's all any of us wants, to find a nice person to hang out with until we drop dead. Not a lot to ask!"

When someone is freaking out about looking moronic in front of someone they like: "I'm afraid that once your heart's involved, it all comes out in moron."

When your boss doesn't appreciate you: "If I am going to be treated like a dog, I would like a cookie and a raise."

When you really need to insult someone: "Butt-faced miscreant!"

When someone won't give your stubbornness the benefit of the doubt: "I can be flexible. As long as everything is exactly the way I want it, I'm totally flexible."

When you're so frustrated you have to make up a new word: "That makes me so mad. And so sad. I'm smad."

When you need to quickly change the subject: "I love shrimp!"

Every Monday morning: "I feel like crap on toast."

When you're worried about not having a life: "Years from now, I want to read an in-depth biography of myself and not puke."

When someone gives you leftovers: "You brought us used dessert?"

When someone tries to get you to sit down when you'd rather stand: "Can't. These aren't my pants."

And, of course, when words just can't express your exasperation, you can always say: "Oy with the poodles already."

I don't think I'll ever stop re-watching this show, no matter how dated it gets. I get the feeling that Lorelai would approve.