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Monday, December 28, 2009

remember?

Remember how I posted about my rebellion against the rush of... life? The busyness?

Here is a quote that I found while reading Nie's blog.

"Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: “The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less”(Loud and Clear [2004], 10–11).


Quoted from Elder M. Russell Ballard in this talk. 

Let's just live in the moment.  Always.

Resolutions?

I was thinking that I should do a post about any New Year's Resolutions I have.

Then I realized that I kind of did that with one of my last posts.

I have plans to set other goals, too, however.

I'll get back to you when I have those laid out.

I've also been having some thoughts about harnessing my gusto for life again.  I feel like I'm a little bit... stuck in a rut.

Also, I hate it when I sleep until noon.  It makes me feel so very... slob-ish.   

(unless, that is, I was up really ridiculously late the night before.)

Hey. I found a goal!

Go to bed at midnight or earlier to reduce the odds I will sleep until noon.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Like, woah.

"In this matter of counterfeit intimacy and deceptive gratification, I express particular caution to the men who hear this message.  I have heard all my life that it is the young woman who has to assume the responsibility for controlling the limits of intimacy in courtship because a young man cannot.  What an unacceptable response to such a serious issue!  What kind of man is he, what priesthood or power or strength or self-control does this man have that lets him develop in society, grow to the age of mature accountability, perhaps even pursue a university education and prepare to affect the future of colleagues and kingdoms and the course of the world, but yet does not have the mental capacity or the moral will to say, "I will not do that thing"?  No, this sorry drugstore psychology would have us say, 'He just can't help himself.  His glands have complete control over his life--his mind, his will, his entire future.'

"To say that a young woman in such a relationship has to bear her responsibility and that of the young man's too is the least fair assertion I can imagine.  In most instances if there is sexual transgression, I lay the burden squarely on the shoulders of the young man--for our purposes probably a priesthood bearer--and that's where I believe God intended responsibility to be.  In saying that I do not excuse young women who exercise no restraint and have not the character or conviction to demand intimacy only in its rightful role.  I have had enough experience in Church callings to know that women as well as men can be predatory.  But I refuse to buy some young man's feigned innocence who wants to sin and call it psychology."

YEAH!!!

I found a printed copy of Jeffrey R. Holland's talk "Of Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments" (which is great... you should read it) today, and decided to read through some of it.

I came across the above quote and WOAH.

Seriously, you tell 'em Elder Holland.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Just some thoughts.

Another thing I've recently realized, is that I'm currently in a sort of state of rebellion against... obligations.  And deadlines.  In general.

I think it's a product of the fact that I spent the majority of my life focused on accomplishment as my main form of self-esteem.  I wasn't anything unless I was achieving.

I am currently undergoing a change of mindset in that category, and learning how to slow down, and focus instead on if I am deriving joy and happiness from whatever it is that I'm doing with my time everyday.

Things I've spent more time doing:

actually cooking healthy, satisfying, (vegetarian) meals
catching up with old friends
getting to know my newer friends better
being able to help random people who need it
actually getting enough sleep (for the first time since elementary school, probably)


Things I'm still hoping to devote more time to:

volunteering at heritage, walden school for the arts
learning how to sew, knit, and crochet
making my own homemade cleaning products, soaps, shampoos,
READING. EVERYTHING. (but especially old classics or children's books I never had a chance to read)
Discovering new, delicious, vegetarian recipes
Yoga
Photography

Specific topics I want to read up more on:

vegetarianism, veganism, and locavorism
cultural anthropology
everything eco-friendly and green
photography
eco-friendly parenting (i know... i'm not a parent yet, but who says it's too soon to learn about parenting?)
creativity and letting out our inner artist
feminism
female body image
food, and eating
activism and lots of other social issues
etc....

GAH.  That is not even all of them.  And there are so many more subjects I'm interested in, that I'm considering studying when I go back to school (did I mention I want to go back to school?), like Spanish. And French. And women's studies, and maybe even global politics. and international affairs.


If you hadn't noticed before, I'm currently going through a period of... liberalization.



Now. There is one problem.



I have to earn money to survive.

I've been substitute teaching, but I can't say that I particularly derive a lot of happiness from it.  I know, I know... I can't always have a job that I absolutely love, ...but can't I have one that I at least don't hate?  And that doesn't make me SO. EXHAUSTED. every day I have to do it?

(Okay, I'll admit that my rebellion against obligations isn't helping in this area very much.)


(But c'mon... I've gotta draw the line somewhere.  Preferably somewhere before the point when i run out of food because I haven't been working and can't afford anymore.)

uh. yeah.

:)

Living Life the Slow Way

Let's begin this discussion by viewing a quick video clip.

and YES. you have to watch it. (you know who you are).



So... does something about that seem wrong to anyone else??

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I feel like our society has become increasingly unaware of the ridiculous levels of busyness to which we have become accustomed.

I honestly don't believe we were intended to become so busy that we have to ignore many of our bodies signals in order to keep up with the insane schedules we have set for ourselves (school, work, church, friends, family, volunteering, etc. etc. etc.).

I don't know when it happened, but at some point we became more pre-occupied with doing, and accomplishing, then we are with achieving a level of balance and happiness in our lives.

 There is an excellent scene in the movie Tuck Everlasting which reminds me of this very epidemic.  Unfortunately I couldn't find the scene anywhere. So the quote will have to do (albeit, it is a lot less captivating):

"Winnie Foster was beginning to lose track of time. Had she been there a day? A week? A month? It seemed to Winnie that the Tucks lived in a way the rest of the world had forgotten. They were never in a hurry and did things the slow way. For the first time Winnie felt free to explore, to ask questions, to play."

I have so many more thoughts on this topic, but they aren't organized yet.  I'll have to organize them and start posting them as they become fully formed.  But I'm curious if any of the rest of you have noticed this or had any thoughts that you wouldn't mind sharing?  I'd love to hear about it.  Let's discuss!
I really love this quote:

"Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk — real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious."— Jack Kerouac


But I'm slightly confused as to what the correct interpretation of it is.  Is it advocating sex before marriage?

I just love the ending part the most I guess-- "real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious."


Because with that, I totally agree.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

words?

So, i was thinking just now.



I came to the conclusion that words are completely and utterly inadequate when it comes to trying to define one's self.

Am I feminist? beautiful? intelligent? passionate?



What do those words even mean?



Nope.



I am complex. More complex than I (let alone anyone else) can even understand.

The complexity of my spirit and individuality and thoughts and feelings and... existence... could never be described using such things as simple, one dimensional words. Even a combination of them.

There will always be some interpretation of a word, which is not what I meant when i originally used it to describe myself.  And maybe I'm not one hundred percent true to the genuine definition of that word anyway.  There's no way i'm using percentages to describe me.


(and besides... then you'd get into, like, double percentages. "mmm... i'm going to say my personality contains about eighty-three percent of about seventy-six percent of the definition of that word." But wait. That's only one definition. AND it was approximations.  Seriously?  no way.)  

I am not a percentage. Or a number.

And no matter how many words I could hypothetically try to use to describe myself, I would always be left wanting.

And i can't take that risk.



So for now, I am simply austin.



And I have discovered, that if you really want to know me, you will have to come with me; you will have to experience my presence.

For that, I believe, is the only way to truly know a person.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

i hope.

I hope I can teach my children to love the earth so much that this:



...will be them.

Monday, November 30, 2009

So Lame.

Teaching is such an important profession.  Too bad teachers are SO not compensated as they should be.

Seriously, if a teacher needs a day off, he or she has to put in a bunch of extra work and write up plans for the whole day?   Plans that are way more specific than than the teacher would even write for his or herself because who knows what this person who is coming in to teach my class is going to know.

I remember when I was a teacher, it was almost easier to go into work sick than to think about tackling the idea of writing up sub plans for the day.   

LAME.

Teachers work so hard.

Can't they just have a day off when they need it without having to put in a bunch of extra work to cover for their absence? 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

i just...

have so many emotions right now.  about everything.

i wish i knew how and where and when to express them all.

and some haven't even taken shape enough in my mind for me to do anything with them yet.

but i still feel them.


i just kind of want to get them all out.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I've been typed.

Soooooo... I was recently typed using the Myers Briggs scale.  I don't usually put a whole lot of stock into those kinds of things, but as I was reading through some of the descriptions online about my type (I'm an INFJ. To get a description of what that means go to the link above), I found that some of the things they wrote describe exactly how I feel sometimes... I just have never been able to put those particular feelings into words before!

Exciting right?

So, I thought I'd share some of the things that I found interesting, or that were a sort of epiphany for me.   So cool.


(oh, and fyi-this is pretty long, so i colored some of the more pertinent text so you can skim if you want :))
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
{this section quoted from http://typelogic.com/infj.html}

Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. Those who are activists -- INFJs gravitate toward such a role -- are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power.

Though affable and sympathetic to most, INFJs are selective about their friends. Such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words.

INFJs enjoy a greater clarity of perception of inner, unconscious processes than all but their INTJ cousins.  INFJs readily grasp the hidden psychological stimuli behind the more observable dynamics of behavior and affect.  Their amazing ability to deduce the inner workings of the mind, will and emotions of others gives INFJs their reputation as prophets and seers. Unlike the confining, routinizing nature of introverted sensing, introverted intuition frees this type to act insightfully and spontaneously as unique solutions arise on an event by event basis. 

INFJs, like many other FJ types, find themselves caught between the desire to express their wealth of feelings and moral conclusions about the actions and attitudes of others, and the awareness of the consequences of unbridled candor.  Some vent the attending emotions in private, to trusted allies.  Such confidants are chosen with care, for INFJs are well aware of the treachery that can reside in the hearts of mortals.  

The INFJ's thinking is introverted, turned toward the subject. Perhaps it is when the INFJ's thinking function is operative that she is most aloof.  A comrade might surmise that such detachment signals a disillusionment, that she has also been found lacking by the sardonic eye of this one who plumbs the depths of the human spirit.  Experience suggests that such distancing is merely an indication that the [INFJ] is hard at work and focusing energy into this less efficient tertiary function

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
{this section quoted from http://typelogic.com/infj.html and written by Marina Margaret Heiss}

INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally "doers" as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn.

INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people -- a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, [or] family. While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent "givers." As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders, and hence the most often misunderstood -- particularly by those who have little experience with this rare type.

This empathy can serve as a classic example of the two-edged nature of certain INFJ talents, as it can be strong enough to cause discomfort or pain in negative or stressful situations. More explicit inner conflicts are also not uncommon in INFJs; it is possible to speculate that the causes for some of these may lie in the specific combinations of preferences which define this complex type. For instance, there can sometimes be a "tug-of-war" between NF vision and idealism and the J practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals. And the I and J combination, while perhaps enhancing self-awareness, may make it difficult for INFJs to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings.

Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. Since in addition they often possess a strong personal charisma, INFJs are generally well-suited to the "inspirational" professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership. Psychology and counseling are other obvious choices, but overall, INFJs can be exceptionally difficult to pigeonhole by their career paths. Perhaps the best example of this occurs in the technical fields. Many INFJs perceive themselves at a disadvantage when dealing with the mystique and formality of "hard logic", and in academic terms this may cause a tendency to gravitate towards the liberal arts rather than the sciences.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

{this section quoted from http://www.personalitypage.com/INFJ.html

INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals.  Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. Only one percent of the population has an INFJ Personality Type, making it the most rare of all the types.

INFJs place great importance on havings things orderly and systematic in their outer world.  They put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done, and constantly define and re-define the priorities in their lives.  On the other hand, INFJs operate within themselves on an intuitive basis which is entirely spontaneous.  They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand.  They are usually right, and they usually know it.  Consequently, INFJs put a tremendous amount of faith into their instincts and intuitions.  This is something of a conflict between the inner and outer worlds, and may result in the INFJ not being as organized as other Judging types tend to be.  Or we may see some signs of disarray in an otherwise orderly tendency, such as a consistently messy desk.

INFJs have uncanny insight into people and situations.  They get "feelings"  about things and intuitively understand them.  This is the sort of thing that other types may scorn and scoff at, and the INFJ themself does not really understand their intuition at a level which can be verbalized.  Consequently, most INFJs are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it.  They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand.  INFJs hold back part of  themselves, and can be secretive.

But the INFJ is as genuinely warm as they are complex.  INFJs hold a special place in the heart of people who they are close to, who are able to see their special gifts and depth of caring.  INFJs are concerned for people's feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone.  They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well.  Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger.  They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress.

Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else.  This may result in an INFJ stubborness and  tendency to ignore other people's opinions.  On the other hand, INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential.  INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves - there's always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them.  They believe in constant growth, and don't often take time to revel in their accomplishments. They have strong value systems, and need to live their lives in accordance  with what they feel is right.  In deference to the Feeling aspect of their personalities, INFJs are in some ways gentle and easy going.  Conversely, they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families.  They don't believe in compromising their ideals.

INFJ is a natural nurturer; patient, devoted and protective.  They make loving parents and usually have strong bonds with their offspring.  They have high expectations of their children, and push them to be the best that they can be.  This can sometimes manifest itself in the INFJ being hard-nosed and stubborn. But generally, children of an INFJ get devoted and sincere parental guidance, combined with deep caring.

In the workplace, the INFJ usually shows up in areas where they can be creative and somewhat independent.  They have a natural affinity for art, and many excel in the sciences, where they make use of their intuition. INFJs can also be found in service-oriented professions. They are not good at dealing with minutia or very detailed tasks.  The INFJ will either avoid such things, or else go to the other extreme and become enveloped in the details to the extent that they can no longer see the big picture

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
{this section quoted from http://www.keirsey.com/handler.aspx?s=keirsey&f=fourtemps&tab=3&c=counselor}

Counselors (or INFJs... I will replace "counselors" with "INFJs" to limit confusion from here on out) have an exceptionally strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others, and find great personal fulfillment interacting with people, nurturing their personal development, guiding them to realize their human potential. Although they are happy working at jobs (such as writing) that require solitude and close attention, [INFJs] do quite well with individuals or groups of people, provided that the personal interactions are not superficial, and that they find some quiet, private time every now and then to recharge their batteries.

[INFJs] are both kind and positive in their handling of others; they are great listeners and seem naturally interested in helping people with their personal problems. Not usually visible leaders, [INFJs] prefer to work intensely with those close to them, especially on a one-to-one basis, quietly exerting their influence behind the scenes.

[INFJs] are scarce, little more than one percent of the population, and can be hard to get to know, since they tend not to share their innermost thoughts or their powerful emotional reactions except with their loved ones. They are highly private people, with an unusually rich, complicated inner life. Friends or colleagues who have known them for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise. Not that [INFJs] are flighty or scattered; they value their integrity a great deal, but they have mysterious, intricately woven personalities which sometimes puzzle even them.

[INFJs] tend to work effectively in organizations. They value staff harmony and make every effort to help an organization run smoothly and pleasantly. They understand and use human systems creatively, and are good at consulting and cooperating with others. As employees or employers, [INFJs] are concerned with people's feelings and are able to act as a barometer of the feelings within the organization.

Blessed with vivid imaginations, [INFJs] are often seen as the most poetical of all the types, and in fact they use a lot of poetic imagery in their everyday language. Their great talent for language-both written and spoken-is usually directed toward communicating with people in a personalized way. [INFJs] are highly intuitive and can recognize another's emotions or intentions - good or evil - even before that person is aware of them. They themselves can seldom tell how they came to read others' feelings so keenly. This extreme sensitivity to others could very well be the basis of the [INFJs] remarkable ability to experience a whole array of psychic phenomena.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This song

...is speaking to me today.






ps. the movie Garden State? Amazing.  Music and all. aaaa.

(minus the rather unfavorable parts of course) :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Confession #5

I don't have a favorite food.

I mean, I have a few defaults for whenever people ask me that question, but in all honesty, I really don't have a favorite.

My favorite is when I eat something that exactly, perfectly, hits the spot.

the end.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Another Great Article

Just click here.

*Thanks Caitlin!

Confession #4

I love looking at the grocery store ads that come in the mail and with the newspaper.

I'll even clip coupons, or make lists of various things that are on sale at all the different stores.

sub-confession: I rarely actually go and purchase any of the items I write down.  Maybe it can just count as practice?

It makes me feel really domestic, and it's actually kind of relaxing for me.

Who knew.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I absolutely love this article.

All Around the World

Sunday, November 8, 2009

a few pictures from summer.




the drive-in movie theater in Auburn.
one of my favorite places. cheaper than the regular theater, and it plays two movies.

 
vending machines WITH books in them.  seriously? best idea ever.


 
uh huh. another one.


 
I love the look of these apartments. especially the one with the surf board on the balcony.


 
cool newsstand. i seriously wanted to buy everything in it.


 
the other side of the newsstand


 
jonny hahn. always there, playing his rolling piano on the street.  I think he's pretty cool.


 
These windows are super awesome and vintag-ey. I want some for my own house someday, i think.


 
from the park next to pike place market.


 
my little sister was once scared to death by the seagulls that like to hang out in this park.


 
i love this fence. and the view behind it (taken from the same park pictured above).



*so, i don't feel like capitalizing, if you didn't notice. and this whole post is totally random. whatev.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

random musings

My life has changed drastically since I last posted. Or, well, since Monday. Don't have time to write just this minute, but I do want to link you to a couple of posts from friends that I thought were interesting, or discussed things that have been on my mind lately.

Brooke, on college and how it's not always everything it's cracked up to be.

And Elisa, on the closing of the BYU Women's Research Institute (WRI)*. 

*The post she wrote which explains more in depth what is actually going on is here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Confession #3

I sweat. A lot.

You know how some girls say they don't sweat, they glisten?

Yeah, that's NOT me.

I definitely sweat. Like big, fat, droplets.

It's pretty gross.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Young Agrarians

I got a movie from Netflix on Friday called Media That Matters: Good Food.  It's a series of short documentaries which talk about free trade, sustainability, etc.  The one below was one of my favorites. 

Having spent time in the garden this summer, all of this is brought home for me a lot more.  I love going to the farmer's market and buying food directly from the hands of the farmer who grew it, or better yet when I picked it myself from the garden.  It really encourages a much more healthy way of living, and a great relationship with food!



ps. the movie How to Cook Your Life expounds on the idea of how cooking and the way we treat our food effects our health and our lives. Love it!

Birthday day.

So, my birthday was over a month ago.  In September. 

I keep trying to write this spectacular post about it, but I just don't like it.  However, I do want to share the pictures with you.

Let me start by saying: I have the coolest friends.

They planned a picnic for me on the roof/deck of the house I lived in for summer.

Complete with tons of yummy homemade food, sparkling cider, and a birthday cake.

They told me the ingredients came from magic land.
 


Oh, and zoo animal cupcakes.  Did I mention the zoo animal cupcakes? 

Well, they were delicious.  I chose the one with the giraffe on it, and let Elisa have the hippo (because we all know hippos are Elisa's favorite).








The birthday cake had a peace candle on it.  A big fat green one.  And I blew it out with my first breath.  


I think those are both good omens.


Finally, they gave me a gift.  Little handmade finger puppets.  A monkey, an alpaca, and a blue and white snail.  Also from magic land (appropriately, I think).  

I did some other things, but I think this picnic was the highlight of my birthday (well, that and the fact that some of my other friends I haven't seen in awhile remembered and called me :)).

I really like being twenty-three (and being me).


:)

Friday, October 30, 2009

evening.

I love that time of day (night), just after I've brushed my teeth, washed my face, etc., etc., and just before I fall asleep.  When everything feels all cozy and warm inside, and I have the promise of a fresh new day to look forward to.

It's so peaceful.

It makes me happy.

I like it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh Happy Weekend

I had an absolutely blissful weekend.

I went down to my favorite crazy single girl house in Provo and spent the whole entire weekend there.

We spent Friday evening digging up potatoes in the dark.

Doesn't sound very fun, but have you ever tried digging potatoes in the dark?  It's a very interesting activity.

 I agree with any little kid who tells you that there's something very rewarding about digging around in the soil with your bare hands.  (You should try it sometime). 

Plus, they were purple potatoes.  (How can you go wrong with purple potatoes?) 

We stayed up late and talked and told stories about random things, and ate delicious food (like we always do).  On Saturday, we went to the farmer's market (which is my favorite place in the whole wide world. No, not just the Provo one.  ANY farmer's market). I meandered with two of my favorite people and ate delicious authentic mexican food and purchased some fabulous treasures.

I found the perfect bag there.  The one that I've been hoping to find for months but thought was only available in a foreign country.   And it was cheaper than I thought it would be.  Jackpot.

And I bought a pumpkin.  A fresh, Utah farmer's market pumpkin.  From which I plan to extract every single seed, for washing and roasting and then... devouring.  Then I will save the rest of the pumpkin, from which I plan to make a fresh. pumpkin. pie.  Which I might share with YOU.  Because what thing isn't infinitely better when you share it with your favorite people?

Did I mention that I almost forgot to buy that pumpkin?  Well, I did almost forget.  The mexican food distracted me and I got all the way home before realizing I had forgotten my long-awaited farmer's market pumpkin.  Luckily, my friend (who also wanted a pumpkin) has a car.  And so we went, all the way back (all 5 blocks) to the farmer's market to get pumpkins.  A task at which we succeeded... only to find, once we returned home again, a large glob (mass? spillage?) of laundry detergent on the floor of this particular friend's car.  And so, we spent the next three hours or so trying to figure out a way to get all the horrible, concentrated, liquid soap out of the carpet of the car.  And I enjoyed it.

I love that I have free time.  So that I can spend whole afternoons helping out a friend, just because I feel like it.  And oh, nope, I don't have ANY homework to do, or anywhere specific to be, and I have all the time in the world to sit here and help you out.

Did I mention that I hung a clothesline in my room today?  Well, I did.

And that I hung clothes on it to dry just this very morning? (Yes, I'm saving energy).

And I planted flowers right outside my window.  The kind that are bulbs, and that you plant in the fall then they bloom in the spring.  You know, like tulips, and daffodils.  

And then when the first inkling of springtime comes, I will know it.  I will know it because bright red tulips will spring forth from the barren earth right. outside. my window.  JOY.

Later, on the farmer's market, soap spilling day, I went to out to dinner.  We (those who accompanied me to dinner) decided we wanted italian food, and so we went to Olive Garden.   The only problem was that we had wanted to walk to wherever we went, because the weather was so very fall like, and lovely, in a blustery, drizzly, gray, but beautiful kind of way. 

Olive Garden is kind of far away and so we had to drive.  To our dismay.

On the way there, we shouted dramatically out the car windows at the drizzly weather and everyone and no one all at the same time.

When we arrived, we were told that there would be a fifteen or twenty minute wait.  What a stroke of luck!!  Just enough time to make a couple of laps around the restaurant and satisfy our walking craving.

In the back of the restaurant we found a cluster of trees which had purple leaves.  This (the cluster) we named the maroon way of sparkling mystery, and we touched the pretty leaves and twirled under the treetops. 

When our beeper went off, we went inside, and gorged ourselves on breadsticks and salad and beautiful pasta.  For dessert? Chocolate lava cake torte thing.  Chocolate deliciousness. Whatever you want to call it.  All I know is that it had strawberries, and vanilla cream sauce, and it was gone in a matter of approximately thirty seconds between the three of us.  Need I say more?

And this was only the beginning of the evening.  I won't go into all the details, because I would probably never stop! but it was a great spontaneous, joyful evening.

And Sunday, was spent mostly lounging (except the three hour break when we went to church).  After we got home, we lounged some more.  Being lazy is great sometimes.

We also spent some time looking up info on the main characters of the movie we had seen the night before (Bright Star) What a terribly tragic story it was!  But oh how we wished gorgeous poet men would fall in love with us and write us passionate love letters. 

Like I said, it was a blissful weekend.

Monday, October 26, 2009

a missionary email

 Originally emailed home from Houston on April 6th 2009.

Dear Family,

Cool Stories from this week:

We've been teaching this less active member named Sandy. She was baptized when she was about 12, and hasn't really been active ever since. But she has a six year old son and decided she wants him to have a base, so when she saw the english elders on a corner she pulled the car over to talk to them. She doesn't speak english so she just barely was able to explain where her apartment complex is and the apartment number. When we went over to visit her she told us that she is a member, and so we've been teaching her the new member lessons basically, because she doesn't remember hardly anything of our doctrine... not even about Joseph Smith! Anyway, she's great and loves to give us things even though she doesn't have hardly enough money to pay her rent. About a week ago we went to an appointment we had with her and partway through the lesson we got off on how she had gotten into a fight with someone from work the night before. She said that she got really mad and didn't want to talk to anyone, and went off to take a breather. Then she noticed that she had a voicemail on her phone, and decided to listen to it. It was the voicemail that I had left on her phone reminding her of the appointment that we had the following day, and just calling to check on her. She said that as soon as she listened to the message she felt calm and peaceful, and she remembered to say a prayer to help her have patience with her co-worker. After that she was able to handle the situation. Man... it was so cool. The story was a witness not only to her, but to us too that we really are messengers of Christ. We all left feeling great and uplifted. Often the spirit can work through us and we don't even know it.

Yesterday, we taught a lesson to a new investigator named Monique. She lives in a trailer park in the northern part of our area, with her boyfriend's family. She looks to be about 18 and she just had a baby on March 13th. She's really sweet, and so we were excited to go over and teach her, although we weren't sure if she'd actually be there. When we got there, sure enough she was there, and almost the whole rest of the family as well! As we started the lesson with the song "I am a child of God", we had only Monique there, and she seemed a little uncomfortable singing in front of all the rest of her family. But as we sang, most of the little children in the house started to gather peering at us strange white people in their house singing in spanish. We then offered a prayer, and began the lesson. As we taught, the group grew larger. Soon the two twelve year old girls were on the couch as well. The women who was cooking in the kitchen was bashfully listening and watching... although every time we looked over at her she would pretend like she wasn't. Then the husband of the woman cooking in the kitchen came and sat on the couch as well. His children gathered around him. An older woman came out of a back bedroom and took a seat at the kitchen table, listening. Eventually, the woman that was cooking in the kitchen came in and took a seat on the couch as well. Eventually we had a group of about 10 people all squished into the tiny living room of this trailer, as we taught them about prophets, and the story of Joseph Smith. They gladly agreed to pray about our message and accepted the day and time we proposed to return. None of them were extremely educated in terms of the bible or religion in general, but they had such quiet simple faith. The spirit was very strong and I felt so blessed to be the vessel through which God could reveal his restored gospel to this humble, loving family.

Finally, I would ask that you keep our investigators in your prayers. We have such high hopes for all of them, but they struggle greatly with many of the worldly challenges that face them, and often face greater hardships as the adversary tries to prevent them from taking the steps they need to take to happiness. However we love them so much, and pray for them often. We know that your prayers make a difference as well.

I hope you all are doing fabulously, and I hope to hear from all of you soon!

Love,

Hermana Hollenbaugh

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Laptop Saga

So about a month and a half ago, I set out to purchase a laptop of my very own.

I knew I was going to need to get one eventually (only having 90 minutes a day at the local library and then having to mooch off my friends any other time I wanted to use a computer just wasn't working out for an independent blogger type, such as I), but it was my first time buying a computer... any kind of computer... and I wanted to make sure I got one which would last me a while, and would meet my needs without any problems.  I began researching, and eventually determined exactly what it was that I was going to need (I tend to take my time when making decisions regarding large amounts of money).

Eventually, I decided I wanted a Sony, because their products have a good reputation, they've been around forever, and their laptops are pretty dang sleek-looking (which, of course, is definitely the most important part).

Once I had decided on the Sony brand, I then set about trying to find a model I liked.  I tried their "customize to order" feature, which was pretty exciting, but turns out what I wanted was definitely completely out of my budget.  Most of you probably know that Sony laptops are generally pretty expensive.  After that, I started browsing the refurbished section, which was just my kind of thing.  Awesome deals, and environmentally friendly.  After spending minutes and hours and days pouring over the specifications of every laptop in my budget on their refurbished page, I finally picked out an almost perfect match to what I wanted.  It was beautiful.  ...And after I finally got up the courage to give them my credit card number, I placed the order, and was told I was only going to have to wait about five business days (actually less, they told me, because they are in San Diego, and I am here in Utah). 

I was okay with that.  I settled in, thinking of things that would keep my computer needs occupied until my very own laptop arrived on my doorstep sometime the following week.  "So soon it will be here!" I told myself, and I let myself be excited.  All my hard, head-achy, eye-popping work had paid off.

So I waited.  A couple days after placing the order, I was at the library checking my email and I came across an email from Sony, which said the following:
 
Good Evening Austin,

We regret to inform you that all or part of your Sony Style order ST09090900364 has been delayed.

In order to serve you better in the future, our warehouse system was shutdown tonight.  Regrettably, we encountered problems with your order that prevented your order from being fulfilled in time for the shutdown. Unfortunately, we will be unable to ship your order until 9/18/2009.


I got this email on September 11th, 2 business days after I had placed the order.  You can only imagine my anguish.

I called them a few days after that, just to double check that that was really what had happened, was there anyway it could be shipped out sooner, etc.  The man I spoke with said there was a possibility it could go out on the 16th.  So I banked on that.

When I didn't even get an email on the 18th saying that it had been shipped, I called again.  And they gave me some lame excuse and a new shipping date. 

It didn't get shipped then either.

Oh, but don't worry, they did manage to debit $75 from my bank account.

After multiple other calls, and much time spent listening to their ridiculously obnoxious hold music, they finally sent me an email saying that they had cancelled the order.  I guess they sold my chosen laptop to someone else at the same time I was placing my order for it, and so when I bought it it was already sold.  Or something stupid like that.

This was around the 23rd of September after having placed the order on the 9th of September.

Anyway, I was incredibly frustrated and it took me awhile to get my willpower up to being able to accept the idea of having to start my search all. over. again.  But I finally did, and I actually ended up with a new macbook which I am very very happy with.

However I'm still, to this day, trying to get my $75 refunded.

I'm generally pretty amiable, and willing to work with people, but these people were some of the most frustrating, and unreliable I have ever worked with.

I talked to some very well meaning people on the phone.  BUT... they NEVER let me speak with a manager (they kept referring to some kind of elite group of manager people, to whom I was apparently not allowed to speak), and every time they said they were going to do something, I had to double check to see if they had really done it (they usually hadn't), and then call the stupid customer service number AGAIN to remind them that they told me they were going to do something and they still hadn't done it. 

The moral of the story:  Don't buy anything from Sony.  Their customer service sucks hardcore.

Confession #2

I'm hypoglycemic.

That's not really the confession.

The confession is the part about how it sometimes almost leads me into panic attacks. Kind of.

I don't really know exactly where the problem originates, but below is a description of what happens.

I'm usually in the midst of some project, and I start feeling kind of hungry.  I don't want to walk away just yet from my project, and I can't think of anything that's ready in the fridge that sounds particularly good, so I hold off and continue with whatever it is that I'm working on for a little while longer.

"Just until I get to a good stopping point" I tell myself. 

The hunger increases, and I continue to ignore it, because I don't really have any ready solutions (yes, i know i'm lazy thank you)

Then I'll have to go to the bathroom, or I get up to get a drink, and when I stand up that semi-black out thing happens (you know, like when you stand up too fast?) and then I remember that I AM hypoglycemic and I need to eat something soon or I'll start feeling really crappy, and "why don't you take better care of yourself already dang it?".  So I finally go to the kitchen to try to figure something out.

The problem is, though, that usually once I get to that point, the thought and appearance of most foods makes me want to gag.  And that's when I start getting kind of panicky.

I rush around the kitchen looking in the fridge and each cupboard multiple times, hoping that something that looks and sounds delicious, will magically appear somewhere (nothing ever does).

After that fails, I realize that I'm going to have to think a little harder and make something up.  Like, I'll have to cook something.  But then the nausea strikes again at the thought of most kinds of food, and there's also the fact that my brain really isn't functioning at it's highest level due to lack of sugar and the panic that's beginning to set in.

And then my thought process usually goes like this: ...blahg! everything sounds gross and nothing that could be made would be any good but that doesn't matter anyway because i don't have time to spend making anything because i'm starting to feel clammy and my circulation isn't very good and i kind of feel like I'm going to pass out soon if I don't sit down but I can't sit down because I have to get some food in me and... and... and... sldkjgonwenflskjdo, aaahhaahha!!!



Like five minutes ago, for example.



note: I usually end up figuring something out (I'm not passing out on a daily basis, at least).  It's just the getting to the figuring it out moment that sucks.  

But still...


It's kind of embarrassing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Confession #1*

I love looking at all the beads hanging up together at the craft store.  Something about all the bright colors and glittery-ness and endless shapes and sizes just brings me inexplicable joy.

Definitely more than is probably normal.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_TSp75CDEjxU/RYeEk6ad0oI/AAAAAAAAAAM/LeQI-fAMQ-g/s1600/KC_CloisonnePin_WallHanging.jpg

http://cdn-write.demandstudios.com/upload//1000/900/70/2/21972.jpg


http://www.craftkitsandsupplies.com/images/Craft_Beads_Purple_Aztec_Barrel_Beads.jpg

http://www.accesswave.ca/~yellowwood/LisaBeads/seed%20beads2.jpg

Not to mention all the beautiful scrapbooking paper.  And I don't even scrapbook.

Oh. And. Did I tell you about the yarn? Or the embroidery thread?

Seriously, I am completely mesmerized every time.

*Ok, so it's not like a super juicy confession or anything, but I've been meaning to get around to doing a little bit of a confession thing on here.  So here's to being an elephant and never forgetting my ancient goals.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So Proud

I found this survey data on the American Red Cross website, and I am oh so proud to call myself a female between the ages of 18 and 24.

Read below to find out why.

The American Red Cross conducted a survey of about 1000 blood donors to find out more about those who donate and why. Whether you are a donor or not, there are a few things you may have in common.

You selected: Female (age 18-24)

Among 18-24 year old women who are blood donors:

* About 40% have been donating for 2 to 3 years
* More than half donated blood for the first time because they felt it was their civic duty and wanted to help others
* 45 percent would travel over 10 miles to donate blood — the most of any age or gender group
* More than half describe themselves as leaders and they are more likely to want to be recognized for their good deeds than other gender and age groups
* More are likely to be involved in social groups and athletic activities than older women
* Nearly all (~100%) believe that the American Red Cross contributes to the community!

Donors who are like you donated blood the first time because they felt it was their duty and to help others. They want to be known for their good deeds, and they will go out of their way to do what they think is right. We thank you and your peers both for the dedication and for the overwhleming support of the American Red Cross. You deserve to wear the badge of honor!


*Again, I found this info at http://www.givelife2.org/donor/whereyoufit.asp

Go do it.  It's not nearly as scary as it seems like it would be, it's free, AND they give you as many free treats and drinks afterwards as you want!  I've donated several times with MountainStar Blood Services in Provo and I've had nothing but great experiences with them.  In fact, you can just show up there, anytime during their operating hours, and donate! If you get a group of 10 or more together and call ahead, they'll order pizza for everyone, in addition to the normal snacks and drinks you get.  Plus after you donate with them, they'll mail you a little card with all your information on it, so the next time you go, there's hardly any paperwork to fill out. 


This Saturday is my 8 week marker since the last time I donated, and I have an appointment to go do it again on that very day.  In fact, I'm bringing my little sister with me so she can donate too (I guess I figure, why not start 'em young? :)).  And yes, I'm proud of it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Baboonery

I know, I know, I'm kind of on a blogging spree today, but I've been meaning to post these for awhile and just haven't gotten around to it.  And I've kind of been stuck inside today.  So it works.  

I found this in an old edition of National Geographic Magazine (March 2008), and just think it's SO.cute.  Almost too cute.


SITTING KITTY
A patient little cat endures lessons in baboonery. According to notes accompanying the photograph—which arrived at the Geographic in 1956 but was never published by the magazine—"Baboon mother tries to make Fluffy sit up like a good monkey baby. But the kitten always falls back on her four legs. It seems like such a hopeless case." The baboon, named Helen, was an attraction at Ross Allen's Reptile Institute, a roadside zoo funded in 1929 in Silver Springs, Florida. She may have been a holdover from the days when Tarzan movies were filmed in the region and Allen provided animal actors for visiting Hollywood productions.

—Margaret G. Zackowitz


Even though the cat is obviously like, "dude... what are you trying to do", I still love the sense of community.  Why do we have to exclude people and be all elitist and racist all the time?  Let's just include everyone.  Even the cats amongst us baboons.

Fat Talk

This is SO sad, friends. 

Seriously.  Why do we do this to ourselves? 

Watch this.  It's for your own good.

Plain White T's & Snow Patrol

Some friends and I went to the Snow Patrol/Plain White T's concert Saturday night.



(from left to right: Evan, me, Robbie, Glade, and Katy.) 

(Another friend, Heather, showed up later after this picture was taken, and we didn't get any new ones... sorry!)

I'd never been a huge follower of either of those bands, but I knew that both had come out with songs that I really liked, and I'm just a huge concert fan in general, so we got a group together and went.

Plain White T's was supposed to open, but the poor lead singer had a cold.  So they came out and just did three songs:

1 2 3 4

Sunlight

Hey There Delilah (of course)

Sunlight was the only one they played that I hadn't yet heard, and I'm a big fan!  It was excellent, especially live.  In fact in preparation for the concert I listened to some of their stuff, and had decided that overall I liked Snow Patrol's stuff better.  But after hearing their little three song set, I checked out their latest album on iTunes (Big Bad World--Bonus Track Version), decided I really liked it, and bought it! :)

Cool note: When we were leaving, we walked right past the drummer from Plain White T's!  He was just standing around outside the bleachers!

After about a 30-45 minute interim between bands, Snow Patrol came out and put on a fantastic show.  Seriously after I left my appreciation for them as artists had jumped about 100 points.  Did you know they're from Ireland (I know, I'm pathetic... I didn't even know that)?  Their music and their show really showed off their abilities as musicians, and the true artists in them.  I was really pleasantly surprised.

I of course loved Chasing Cars, but some favorites I discovered at the concert were:

Crack the Shutters (oh man... I am in LOVE.)

The Planets Bend Between Us
The Golden Floor (especially awesome live, with the ethnic drums going on)
The Lightening Strike  (the linked video shows a little bit of the cool animation I write about below)

The Lightening Strike was their encore, and it was particularly excellent because of the 3-D animation they had going on on the screen behind them throughout the whole song.  Before they came out again for the encore, a little explanation of the song scrolled on the screen, explaining how one night during a thunder storm, they had "penned" three songs, and then they decided to put them together into one (it's like a 15 minute song) and call it The Lightening Strike (for obvious reasons).  If I had just heard the song, I'm not sure I would've particularly liked it, but with the animation going on in the background it was absolutely beautifulI just wish I had taken some video of it, because it's hard to describe.

There was another song that I liked, but I can't remember the name of it.  I particularly liked it though, because there was this cool video playing in the background of someone driving through the streets of Belfast. 

They also played Just Say Yes for the second time ever, live!  They said they had played it live for the first time just the night before, so we were only the second group to witness it live. (I know, cool right?)

After the concert I bought their album A Hundred Million Suns from iTunes.

Below are a few of the videos I captured from the event.
(I especially thought funny the one where the guitarist and lead singer of Snow Patrol are singing right in each other's faces... ha)











Sunday, October 11, 2009

 I'm so loving this song lately. Any cowboys around that feel like taking me away? :)

I said I wanna touch the earth
I wanna break it in my hands
I wanna grow something wild and unruly

I wanna sleep on the hard ground
In the comfort of your arms
On a pillow of bluebonnets
In a blanket made of stars

Oh it sounds good to me I said

Cowboy take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can
Into the wild blue
Set me free oh I pray
Closer to heaven above and
Closer to you closer to you

I wanna walk and not run
I wanna skip and not fall
I wanna look at the horizon
And not see a building standing tall

I wanna be the only one
For miles and miles
Except for maybe you
And your simple smile

Oh it sounds good to me
Yes it sounds so good to me

Cowboy take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can
Into the wild blue
Set me free oh I pray
Closer to heaven above and
Closer to you closer to you

I said I wanna touch the earth
I wanna break it in my hands
I wanna grow something wild and unruly
Oh it sounds so good to me

Cowboy take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can
Into the wild blue
Set me free oh I pray
Closer to heaven above and
Closer to you closer to you
Closer to you
Cowboy take me away.
Closer to you


"Cowboy Take Me Away" by The Dixie Chicks

The "D" Word (No, not that one...)

Diet.

I'm a horrible eater.  Not necessarily meaning that I eat things that are unhealthy, rather I don't eat consistently.

And when I don't eat consistently, I really don't feel well.  Since, you know, I'm hypoglycemic.

Dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headaches, etc. etc. etc.

It really isn't much fun, and it keeps me in, when I could otherwise be out playing and enjoying the last little bit of reasonable weather.

So I've had a thought.  I've been thinking that maybe if I made myself a meal menu every week, it would be easier because I wouldn't have to think about what I was going to make, or if I had the ingredients... I'd just have to make sure I had time to make it.

I found this awesome link to a full months worth of vegetarian meals and shopping lists for fall which I'm planning on using (and you should use it too... it's just that awesome).

But what I really want to know is what all of you do.  Do you have a specific shopping day?  Do you do the menu thing?  Weekly? Monthly?  I need some tips people.  And y'all are my favorite kind of people, so I'm expecting some pretty cool tips.

Also, does anyone know of a good chiropractor or massage therapist (or both?) in the Provo/Orem area?  I've been having some upper back issues which have been causing headaches too, and I'm reluctant to go to just any old chiropractor.  Especially since they like, jostle your bones around and such.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Fun Theory

How can we get people to make better choices?  By making it fun.

Do you think we can get more people to throw their trash IN the trash can if we make it fun?
Watch the below video to find out.




What about getting people to take the stairs as opposed to the escalator?




What a great idea!  Seriously, can you imagine all the other amazing changes we could make in this world if we applied this theory to other world problems?

Any ideas anyone?

[Videos courtesy of thefuntheory.com, and youtube.com.  I originally found them on itsallaboutthehat.blogspot.com]

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Let It Rain

I remember a day.  A couple of years ago was this day.

I was walking home from BYU campus on this particularly blustery, rainy day.

The rain drops were fat, and fell from the sky like great watery bombs.  As they fell they were swirled and jolted by great gusts of wind.  I pulled my jacket tighter around me, scrunched my eyebrows, and tilted my head forward looking at the ground in hopes of keeping as much water off of me as possible.  I took great quick steps, trying to get to my warm dry apartment faster.  All I could think about was how my pants were getting all wet and I hope that my papers in my backpack aren't getting wet and ugh I just washed my hair this morning and now it's going to get all wet and gross and, man...

As I came to the south edge of campus and started down the steps, I saw something that would change my outlook on that day, and my attitude toward the outdoors for good.  Or rather remind me of what it used to be.

A girl that was about my age was climbing up the hill headed towards campus.  She had bare feet, and a long cream-colored flowy blouse.  Her hair was long and wavy and blowing unrestrained in the wind.  Her face looked forward, confidently, smiling to have the opportunity to experience Mother Nature in this up-close, intimate way.

My grip on my jacket loosened slightly, and a smile slowly grew across my face.

I suddenly wanted to feel the wet ground under my bare feet, and let the wind and rain tousle my hair. 

I wanted to feel the chubby water droplets on my arms, and watch the goosebumps rise on my skin from the chill of the cool wind.

Why do we shelter ourselves so?  Why do we keep our inner wildness from the elements?

The rest of my walk home was spent trying to get my body to open up and take it's original place as part of the natural world. 

Of course, it is a little hard when you live in Utah and it FREEZES hardcore in the winter.

But even then, there is still so much beauty to be enjoyed.  And we were made to enjoy it.







 
 

Let us embrace all that nature has to offer.  There is always something in it that can be enjoyed and appreciated.  Besides, the fresh air is good for your soul.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Ugh.

I'm sorry I'm lame guys.

I've been in and out of this weird illness for the past few days.  I felt pretty good all weekend watching conference and eating yummy food and hanging out with my friends, but last night I got this horrible migraine and it was back to feeling bad. 

So I've been holed up here in the house sleeping and bored out of my mind.  And I haven't been able to get myself to focus on writing long enough to get a blog post up.

Who knows, maybe after I get this post up, I will get on a roll and I'll post some of the other posts I have half done.  Or something random. 



But for now, I'm going to remember fun times at the beach with my family.