Category: Poetry/Literature

What I’m Listening, Reading, Viewing and Doing

Sorry it has been a few days since my last post. I have been a little overwhelmed getting ready for my upcoming trip to Spain. I am trying to make sure my youtube channel isn’t dormant during that time so I am trying to get my Family Movie Night, Friday 5’s and Disney Canon Project videos all pre-filmed and scheduled before the trip. Of course, this requires watching all the films, taking notes, filming and editing the videos. No small task. Last weekend I finished all of the Friday 5s for when I’m gone.

Listening

I also did last week’s Friday 5 which was songs not in your native language and I went with Hawaiian music!

Viewing

So last weekend I filmed the Friday 5 for a lot of fun upcoming topics. And I also filmed reviews for Finding Nemo, The Goofy Movie, Independence Day, Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron and 3 unboxing reviews. You can see the Finding Nemo review here.  I should be able to see Finding Dory tomorrow and post the review so keep an eye out for that.

On Monday I got to see an early screening for a new comedy called Central Intelligence and that was really funny. I genuinely laughed a lot.

And then today I did a podcast with my friend Tom on the 3rd Star Trek Movie- Star Trek 3: The Search for Spok

Not only have I had video reviews but also written reviews for my blog http://54disneyreviews.com and my column for LDSBlogs.com .Make sure you check all of that content out.  In addition I have done some posts for Rotoscopers.com including a review of Make Mine Music and a piece that got a lot of discussion going on The Lego Movie and The Other Pixar Films. I’m tired just reading all of that! Nobody can accuse me of not creating enough content!

Reading-

But it’s not all viewing I also have done some reading.  Recently I read Lady Susan and Love and Friendship the more obscure Jane Austen novels and loved them. It’s so funny with Love and Friendship Austen feels like a teenager of today complaining about her parents (she wrote it when she was between 11-15). Lady Susan has Austen’s most devious and selfish heroine but she is hilarious. I loved the book and the movie. Check out my review of the movie here. 

I have also finished reading I Am Malala for book club and found it very moving. Here’s my goodreads review:

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the TalibanI Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s not going to win any awards for great writing but sometimes life is just captivating on it’s own. I really loved learning about Malala’s family most of all. Her Dad seems like the coolest guy and her Mom as well. The fact they all spoke out at great risk and then had to deal with their daughter getting shot in the face is pretty remarkable. I felt like I got to know her well and that it wasn’t just a fluff type biography. It worked for me.

View all my reviews

I also read Burning Glass a fairly mediocre YA novel but it had some campy fun and good kissing scenes:

Burning Glass (Burning Glass, #1)Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I started out hating it as another YA love triangle, strong mystical woman book but after a while it won me over. It’s extremely silly but I felt it embraced the campy world. The kissing scenes were fun and it was all very over the top with auras melding together and an extremely silly bad guy. Definitely too long and drawn out for how silly it is but I had some fun with it. I don’t think I enjoyed it in the way the author was intending however. It’s pretty dumb. So if you are expecting a great fantasy read than you will probably be disappointed. If you want an over the top campy romance with fantasy elements than you might have fun with it.
Doing-

I got my first taste of open water for the year last week with my friend Etsuko. That was so much fun! I can’t wait to be in Spain and swimming my heart out.

etsuko and rachel

I got 3 new swimsuits for my trip and I think they are pretty cute!

3 swimsuitsAnd I got my new passport so I am ready to go!

passportFinally I went and saw the Broadway touring company of Newsies and it was everything I wanted and more. I have a lot of nostalgia for the film and the Broadway musical has made it even better. It was so much fun! I also got to do it with the Utah Theater Lovers who I’ve wanted to meet up with for some time. I hope I will continue to be able to see more things with them.

newsies2Finally we had our first meeting Sunday of the new Midsingles Ward and it was amazing! I felt such a good spirit there and I know it is where I need to be. I can’t wait until some activities start and things really start going.

So all in all things are going pretty good in my life. I’m certainly staying busy. I hope things are going well for you.

Thoughts on Quiet

On such a night, or such a night,
Would anybody care
If such a little figure
Slipped quiet from its chair —
So quiet — Oh how quiet,
That nobody might know
But that the little figure
Rocked softer — to and fro —
On such a dawn, or such a dawn —
Would anybody sigh
That such a little figure
Too sound asleep did lieEmily Dickinson

I haven’t shared with you all any poetry in a long time but I found myself thinking of this verse today. You see, my house was empty and I was trying to recover from this darn cold and I couldn’t think of anything to watch so I found myself sitting and thinking.  In the words of Gaston ‘a dangerous pastime…’ It’s just so quiet sometimes when you are alone.

And I know you Moms are probably thinking ‘I would love nothing more than a quiet house all to myself for the day’ and there is some truth to that.  But I bet you wouldn’t find the quiet so refreshing if you knew those little voices weren’t ever coming back…

This is not an ‘oh feel sorry for me’ post.  It really isn’t.  It’s just a ‘today  I was alone and I noticed’.  What’s wrong with admitting that?  We all have our lonely moments, sometimes when we are surrounded by people.  It’s part of being human.  After all, if we never felt alone why would we need to turn to God?

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish for a companion to share these kind of experiences with.  Yeah, yeah I can hear you all saying ‘marriage is hard’ and ‘grass is always greener’.  Well, it is also ‘not meant for man to be alone’. Humans need companionship and sometimes I wish I had it. But I know God has His plan for me and I am doing my best to humbly follow His timeline for my life.  That doesn’t mean I don’t feel a little sad on those days when the house feels extra quiet. Again I’m only human…

I saw The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel this week and it is not a great movie but I liked it.  One of the things that I stood out to me is Maggie Smith’s character is a single woman who has never married.  However, she has found this place to live where she has an urban tribe of other seniors and a ‘child’ to help nurture in the Dev Patel character.  I had more of that in my 20s when sociability and friendshipping was so much easier but I hope I can get it again.  If I never meet Mr Sunshine I hope I can find an urban tribe like she does and maybe even a young person to help mentor.

In my 20’s I also had much younger siblings who looked to me for advice and guidance and family that lived nearby.  Now they are all grown up and my nieces are far away.  It makes me a little sad sometimes.

But again I am not trying to make anyone feel sorry for me.  I am greatly blessed. Mostly I have the miracle of all of you who are there to share in my silly life. Goodness knows why you have all read all these years but I am sure grateful.  I have a job I love, a social media presence that I think helps people, hobbies I love, great friends, a beautiful home and most importantly a faith in Jesus Christ that ensures I am never really alone.  That is never forgotten.

Thanks for letting me share and I love you all.  Can any of you relate to the quiet times when maybe it feels a little lonely in life? I’m sure I am not alone.  God bless.

Calvin and Hobbes

I’ve talked about a lot of great literature on this blog but it occurred to me I have neglected one of my favorites- Calvin and Hobbes.  I can picture you my reader smiling at my mention of the name Calvin and Hobbes.

It is perhaps easy to discount comic strips as real art or literature but that is unfair to the thought and brilliance of the medium.  I love Peanuts and Dilbert but also Calvin and Hobbes.

Calvin and Hobbes is a strip written by Bill Watterson from 1985-1995.  They focused on the protagonist Calvin who is a rebellious but thoughtful kid who wants to explore and have adventures and hates school.

philosophy calvinCalvin is at one point like Lisa Simpson in his thoughtfulness and grown up sensibilities but also like Bart Simpson in his mischievousness and rebelliousness from the rules.

calvinHe is accompanied by his best friend Hobbes who is sometimes a stuffed tiger and sometimes anthropomorphized.  Hobbes is both the sidekick and the teacher for Calvin.

philsophy calvin 2 philsophy calvin3A few years ago I went to a reading symposium and a woman spoke that was a high school teacher.  She mentioned 10 or 11 books in her lecture and the main qualification seemed to be they were ‘short’ and despite being somewhat dimwitted ‘at least the kids are reading’.  That really made me mad then and it still does today (I will add that I am in the minority opinion on that lecture but I don’t care!).  https://smilingldsgirl.com/2012/01/18/writing-and-reading-for-children-and-teens/

Calvin and Hobbes shows you can be entertaining to all age groups while being challenging and thought provoking.  At least the kids are reading is a such a cop-out.

calvin santa Calvin has a great imagination and the adventures he goes on are always full of laughs.

monsters

It’s good for kids to see that parents don’t always know what is the best way.

momI love any art form that takes kids seriously.  That doesn’t assume just because it is children it has to be stupid.  Calvin and Hobbes shows great respect for a child’s intellect and does not shy away from long words or tough topics of religion, philosophy or the meaning of life.

I hate it when adults have a ‘good enough’ attitude about kids.  This book is ‘good enough’.  This movie is ‘good enough’.  No way.  We as adults have an obligation to encourage the best in our kids and to let them rise to a higher standard than their natural man might appeal too.

Calvin and Hobbes is proof that with a little effort we can find enlightening and enriching material that appeals to a childs demographic.  I refuse to accept a ‘at least he’s reading’ attitude.  We can do better than that.  Calvin and Hobbes does better than that.

calvin-hobbes-read-dinosaurI sincerely wish all teachers when they have an unruly little boy would give said boy Calvin and Hobbes.  Maybe it would help them know they are ok and that there is a purpose to their type of sensibilities.  Maybe they would learn to channel that energy into art or nature or even philosophy.

I wish I could give this to every kid who is disciplined for coloring outside the lines
I wish I could give this to every kid who is disciplined for coloring outside the lines

This is one of my favorites.  It’s funny and it really will make anyone, kid or not, think.

bullyThat is brilliant writing I tell you!

Calvin and Hobbes is also full of a sense of play and adventure.  Even knowing the characters takes effort.  There are no movies, saturday afternoon cartoons, plush toys or video games.

calvin and hobbes tv

It’s like Watterson knew what was coming for kids entertainment and instead of embracing it he held off so that hopefully kids would have one thing in their lives they loved that wasn’t spoon fed for them.  When you think of the amount of money he could have made merchandizing it is pretty remarkable; and yet the comics continue to be read by kids and adults alike despite little to no promotion. They are just that good.

These three are just brilliant.

calvin2

This is the last comic strip Watterson did for Calvin and Hobbes.  It’s a magical world…let’s go exploring!calvin-and-hobbes-lets-go-exploringI have a file of my favorite comic strips on my computer and facebook and I turn to it quite frequently. Whether it’s Dilbert in his office, Charlie Brown questioning the world or Calvin and Hobbes on an adventure they always make me smile.  (I need to do posts on Peanuts and Dilbert too)

Do you like Calvin and Hobbes?  Why do you think they have remained so popular? What do you like about them?  Any above that stand out for you?

Nanowrimo Winner and My First Poem

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

So I did it!  I finished my second year in Nanowrimo.  I’m not saying the book is great.  It’s not as good as my book from last year but that came from my heart so its hard to compare.  Still, I learned something from thinking about my characters and their lives.  Little details like how they manage their time or a scene that was captured in a satisfying way.

It may be that I take side characters and flesh them out more.  There may be more to say with them than on the 2 main characters.  I think it would be fun to right a children’s book from the perspective of the little girl Callie who reads and can’t quite decide what she believes in including Santa.  I think there is a story there.

Anyway, I enjoyed writing it and I learned a lot.  It has also motivated me to work even harder on my book from last year because I know it is better.  I know it has more potential.  It’s energizing!

One of my goals for this story was to do a bunch of writing firsts.  I had never written complete fiction before and I have never really written poetry before.  I had a couplet that I wrote in college and it just about killed me.  Very difficult.

So, I did my best and wrote a Christmas poem to share with all of you.  It’s not really here for critique.  Just a first stab at a medium I love (which reminds me I need to do a poetry post soon).  Here goes!:

lonely_bear_christmas_by_kilroyart-d4jny1u

The Lonely Christmas

The tree and lights, the hot cocoa and marshmallows

The presents and bows, the mistletoe and couples

It was Christmas time and all seemed to be matched

But for me and my ring finger had yet to be catched.

I tried to be cheerful and ignore the stares of pity

But alas I was cold and couldn’t be witty.

Leaving the party I grabbed my coat and hat

And went for a walk to try and find some merriment.

I looked at the snow and it seemed icy and alone

The wind whistled and let out a deep moan.

Out to the street I walked a block or two

Until I came to a church with an empty pew

The stained glass shined on the alter of white

And I asked God ‘why did I have such a plight?’

Why couldn’t I be a mother, wife and friend?

Why did everyone’s life start when mine seemed to end?

No answers came and I couldn’t help but cry

When a man with an old gray coat caught my eye

Even inside he was cold and looked awfully weary

I gave him a smile and said ‘I hope your Christmas is merry’

He shrugged and said with a sigh ‘life had been hard’

Then he showed me an old battered Christmas card.

‘Merry Christmas my dear’ said the writer with a flourish

And then she added ‘our love I will always cherish’

“She left me on Christmas and it hasn’t been the same”

In fact, for years Christmas took the blame”

“I’m sorry” I said “How did you make it through with hope?”

He smiled, laughed “I certainly did sit around and mope

But one day I prayed for God to help me find Christmas again

And He said to me ‘get down to the church and watch who comes in”

So I went and watched for the a spot in the pew to be filled

And each year there appears someone who needs a rebuild”

Then he looked at my eyes and placed his hand over mine

With a pat and a look sincere we went up to the shrine.

Next we lit a candle and the alter seemed ablaze.

Wishes  were scattered on papers amidst light rays.

“Take the cancer away” one said, “keep Tom here” another.

“Free Sally from drugs” and “be with my baby, love mother”

“Now look up” the man said. In the glass I saw the Lord on the wall

Feeble and tired, lonely and scared he suffered to overcome our fall

“Look at His face on the cross.  His Christmas day was full of pain

So how can we be called Christians if our days are not the same?

He loves us but on Christmas Day He wants us to know

why He and all His followers must have an occasional blow.”

I looked at his face and then at Lord “but how do I pretend to be full of glee?”

The man looked at me and said “You don’t and neither did He”

“But He does know our wishes and He does listen to our pleas.

If that reason alone we should remember He always calms the seas.

Christmas is a time to be merry for sure but its also much more.

It’s to remember why we are happy and sad and then to share.

Transfer our love of the Lord and His great day as our present to all.

And only then will we have a true reason to stand tall.

“You are right” I replied “He is my greatest companion and friend

His gift is for all and brings us Christmas till the end.”

A tear comes out of my eye and the old man gives me a hug.

“Merry Christmas” he says with a wink “There is still time to love”

I look at the old man’s eyes and I think of a girl who is often weary

“I’ll find her and make sure that her Christmas is merry”

I get up to leave the chapel and look back at the old man in pew.

But to my surprise the room is empty and my curiosity grew.

Searching the pews and alter I noticed something new among the wishes

A Christmas card and written on inside said ‘now go find your missions”

As I went back into cold I smiled at the snow and looked at North Star

Christmas wasn’t about what I don’t have but how I could spread joy far

One thing was for sure. If I knew Jesus lived I must make it clear.

“Whether young, old, single or married, Merry Christmas to all everywhere”

——————————————-

Hurray a winner and my first poem!  So exciting!

Summer Updates

S0 it got to be 103 degrees today. Let’s just say SUMMERRR is here! I have been having a great time.  Summer is always so much more fun for me than Winter.  Just the addition of open water swimming makes my life better.  (Swimming in an indoor pool just isn’t the same). I’ve been able to see all my swim friends that I somehow miss in the winter.

Here are some highlights

I’ve been to plays including Wrinkle in Time at BYU which was mind blowing and Tarzan at Scera which was good.

My BFF Emily and I at Tarzan
My BFF Emily and I at Tarzan
Rachel B and I at Wrinkle in Time.  She's so cool and it was an amazing experience. Like no play I've ever seen
Rachel B and I at Wrinkle in Time. She’s so cool and it was an amazing experience. Like no play I’ve ever seen

I’ve been working really hard at my new job with Poler.

like this photo tons.  Been a happy time in my life.
In my office. I like this photo tons. Been a happy time in my life lately.

I’ve been reading a lot, especially rereading Jane Austen to get ready for book club. Its funny because I talk about them a lot but I haven’t actually read them in a long time.  They are just as brilliant as I remember.

reading

I’ve been swimming up a storm.  I wish I could go everyday but with work and other responsibilities there just isn’t time.  Went last Saturday to Deer Creek and today to Blackridge Pond in Herriman.

The girls ready for a swim.  Love open water women!
The girls ready for a swim. Love open water women!
Happy Rachel swimming at Herriman.
Happy Rachel swimming at Herriman.
I kind of love this photo of me at Deer Creek.  Got curves?
I kind of love this photo of me at Deer Creek. Got curves?

1017071_553320534706999_266073100_n

Scraped my arm and leg tripping at Deer Creek.  First swimming injury
Scraped my arm and leg tripping at Deer Creek. First swimming injury
Despite my scrapes I was happy to be in the water.
Despite my scrapes I was happy to be in the water.

Other fun things…I performed in master class on Wednesday and sang Wishing You Were Somehow Here from Phantom of the Opera.  I’m no opera singer but it was fun to let my diva out.

Speaking of diva’s Drop Dead Diva started on lifetime which made my BFF Emily and I very happy. We had dinner together and a little diva watching party.  It did not disappoint.  Great season opening.  I think made even better by the fact that it almost didn’t happen.

emilyThe meal turned out really good.  It was buccatini (my new favorite pasta) with fresh cherry tomatoes, sausage, parm and fresh herbs from my container gardens which drumroll ARE STILL ALIVE!

Look how big my mint is!
Look how big my mint is!
Look how big my basil has gotten.  I guess I don't kill all living creatures :)
Look how big my basil has gotten. I guess I don’t kill all living creatures 🙂

I also made flank steak for the first time to great success

flank steak
Not bad looking right? Flank steak is my new favorite

I went to a Josh Turner concert with my friends Emilee and Rachel M (I know a lot of Rachel’s and Emily’s!).  He was super entertaining and has the most sexy voice I think I’ve ever heard.  Its low and he has an old fashioned southern drawl.  His band was really good too.  It was a great night.

Hawaii girl reunion Rachel, Rachel and Emilee
Hawaii girl reunion Rachel, Rachel and Emilee
Josh Turner and the crowd
Josh Turner and the crowd

All in all its been a great summer!  Hope you all have a great 4th and enjoy the hot weather as much as I do. 🙂

Anything I Can Do You Can Do Too!

swimming

Today I went visiting teaching and told my girl about my swim.  Her response was ‘Wow!  I could never do that!’.  I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that response in the last 3 years (crazy that I’ve been open water swimming for 3 years btw!).  It can actually be quite discouraging because I want to inspire people to do as I do, not make it seem impossible.

If you haven’t noticed I’m not exactly the typical athlete with a svelte figure.  Every swim I’ve done I’ve weighed between 275 and 310 lbs (yes, I just admitted that to the world. Deal).  I’m a big girl and always have been.  It wasn’t all that long ago that  just the idea of swimming for a mile felt impossible but I had a gentle friend put in my path who never wavered in his support of my seemingly impossible first swim back in 2011, and I did it!

I’ve faced other challenges besides my weight such as a fall down the stairs, chronic pain/fibromyalgia, PCOS, hormone problems, diabetes scare, and more, so training isn’t always easy or even possible.  I’ve faced personal challenges, heartaches and disappointments, which have felt like a fall down the stairs.  I’ve spent a greater part of a year looking, building, buying and moving into a new house.  I have at times dealt with crippling anxiety and even panic attacks that can make goal setting difficult and self acceptance challenging.

I’ve had all the challenges any of you face and yet I’ve completed my swims.

I don’t want to sound like a great hero.  In fact, I am trying to prove the reverse- that there is nothing particularly special about me.  If I can do it, so can you.  Even people with minimal swimming experience have made amazing strides with consistent practice.  I have seen people barely be able to cross the length of a pool, swim a mile in the GSL 6 months later.  I’ve seen people conquer fear of water, waves, being submerged, etc and do great things.

The way I see it you have 2 choices in life.  You can either take chances or watch as other people take them.  Even if its not an open water swim, I am sure there is something that you look at and think ‘I could never do that’.  I guarantee you ‘THAT’ is the thing you ‘NEED’ to do!  There is nothing more satisfying than doing something you never thought you could do.  It could be singing a solo in public, painting with watercolors, running for public office, starting a small business, writing a novel, entering a triathlon, giving blood.  Whatever. Find out what that is and DO IT!

Now you may not succeed.  My friend Goody had a goal to swim the Catalina channel in California.  He was in the water for 16 hours and eventually it had to be called off.  It was devastating but he took it like the trooper he was.  You know what he had to face this year? Cancer. I can only imagine the fighting spirit he developed in that water and setting a bold goal helped him in his victorious battle.  He also became the first Utahn to swim an ice mile in below freezing water.  So, your victory may come in a different way than you had planned but it will come.

Part of the reason I know all of you can do what you dream of doing is because I face the same doubts and fears.  Every time I swim I face anxiety about whether I’ll be able to finish.  Not just before the race but many times while I’m swimming.  I got to the point in the last GSL swim where I could hardly move my right arm.  The current was killing me and I could do about 20 strokes and I’d be pushed inside.  I had seen a woman give up early in the race and I wondered again and again if it was going to be my outcome.  I guess I decided I wasn’t going to let the lake lick me and it didn’t and that is the real victory!

I have a quote on my bookcase by the divine Nora Ephron that says ‘Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim’.  Stop saying ‘I could never do that’.  Stop it!  Think of things you can do and haven’t tried and do them.  Go for it!

I can think of so many times when this advice has benefited my life.  Because of a demon of a choir teacher, I was petrified of singing in public for years.  I even refused to lead the music on my mission because I had been so humiliated as a teen.  That said- I always knew it was something ‘I wish I could do’ but thought I just wasn’t made for singing.

In 2006 I was so miserable with life that I sought fulfillment in anything and signed up for voice lessons.  My first recital my hands were shaking and my skin was pale, but you know what I got through it and 7 years later it turns out that singing in public is actually something I’m quite good at.  I’m not saying I have the greatest voice in the world but the acting and performing is a strength.  That’s the blessing of doing hard things, of pushing yourself. You find out what you are made of and it constantly surprises you!

Last year I had a goal to introduce someone to open water swimming.  I felt it had done me such good and I wanted to share the favor.  Unfortunately I come in contact with relatively few new people so I didn’t know how I would complete this goal (speaking of impossible goals!) but I had faith and even made it a matter of prayer.  Well, in April of that year I discovered #ldsconf on twitter and made a ton of new friends while watching General Conference. One was a girl from Washington State named Abby.

We still have never met but she read about my prep for the GSL swim and my race last  June and one day she asked me if I thought she could be ready for the race on the Columbia River in September.  “Sure!” was my gleeful reply.  I remind you I had never met this person and yet I felt confident she could do it.  Later I remember asking myself ‘You don’t know this person.  What if she has a terrible experience and then blames you?”

Well, fortunately she swam it and had a wonderful swim with a great time.  Life is usually like that.  We need a little encouragement to do hard things and then we pass that gift on to other people.  We are the heroes of each other or we should be.  That’s the great thing about doing hard things is it inevitably puts you in the path of other dreamers, and your life is so much the richer for those relationships.  When I think of the people I have met through just swimming and singing I am blown away.  The decision to try seems self evident for the friendships alone.

Like the poet says:

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old.
Today might be your last chance to hold tight to the hand of the one you love and show all you feel.
If you are waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
Because if tomorrow never comes, you certainly will regret for the rest of your life
Not having spent some extra time for a smile, a conversation, a hug, a kiss,
Because you were too busy to give that person what ended up being their last wish.
Then hug tight today the one you love, your friends, your family, and whisper in their ears how much you love them and want them close to you.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone so stop saying ‘I can’t’ or ‘I could never’ and go and do it!
There. That’s my pep talk.  Eat your heart out Zig Ziglar. Sure love ya!
DSCF0497
Also some did not get to see my little bit of fame from the TV the other day.  With the music and everything I was quite the culminating hero to the piece. (part 2).  I hope somebody sees it and says ‘wow. She looks like me.  Maybe I could do…’

Dream Deferred

This will be an intentionally cryptic post.  Sometimes I wish I could be more forward than I am on my blog. I know I’m pretty forward but I honestly wish I could be even more so.   However, I try to only talk about myself and allow others to publicize their life if they chose to (which I highly recommend as it is thoroughly therapeutic.)  As the song says:

I am what I am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook or the ovation
It’s my world that I want to have a little pride in
My world, and it’s not a place I have to hide in
Life’s not worth a darn ’til you can say
“Hey world, I am what I am!”
I am what I am
I don’t want praise
I don’t want pity
I bang my own drum Some think it’s noise I think it’s pretty
And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle?
Why not try to see things from a different angle?
Your life is a sham ’til you can shout out loud: “I am what I am!”

(Btw, is there a better description of me than that song?)

As I was saying.  I was sitting alone at night lost in my thoughts, and I started thinking about a question asked to me by a friend when discussing a problem in my life.  She said ‘What do you hope for?’.  It’s such a simple question but so hard to answer.  What do any of us hope for?

The answer is simple and complicated at the same time.

I hope for an eternal family with a companion who loves me forever.

I hope to always have good friends. Friendship is hope.  Almost all the love I’ve had in my life has been from friends. I love that in the Greek language the word love is actually 4 different words, agape, philos, eros and storge.  Agape is especially moving as it means a love so great we would sacrifice all for it.  Fits with the scripture- greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).

I hope for a healthy body that can really be used to inspire other people.  I am healthy now but I know if I looked healthier to the average Joe I could do more good.  This motivates me to keep trying.

I dream of writing a book based on my life and my struggles.  My sister is the writer in the family but I have lots of ideas, both fiction and non-fiction that I think would be terrific books. Its starting and having the time to keep at it that keeps that dream deferred.

I dream of the ocean on a daily basis and can hear the wish, wish of the tide accompanying my life and keeping me calm.  I feel sad that this year will go buy without a glimpse of the ocean.  Someday I want to own a house near a beach.  Any beach.

I hope to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.   I think I do but I want to do more.  I want the world to know Rachel existed. I still haven’t figured out what my big contribution is going to be. Maybe it’s this blog and if it is I better be sure to make it authentic and the true Me.  Hmmmm

There are many more things I hope for.  I could spend all day.

But at the moment many of my dreams  are deferred.   I think a lot of us have to defer our dreams.  I love the Langston Hughes poem and had it on my mind today:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I don’t know what it does?  Probably some of everything?  That’s all I will say, but I have moments where it dries up, festers, stinks, sweetens, sags, weighs me down and even explodes.  I’m a bit of a control freak and a dream deferred  is the ultimate loss of control.

It’s a dream deferred and I don’t want to wait!

So those are my thoughts and as almost nobody reads my pondering posts, I will say goodnight to myself, and try to do some actual dreaming. Sigh…

Wilde Wisdom

Today I have had a lot on my mind.  Trying to decide to have surgery, getting immersed in a new ward (which went great btw.  More on that to come)etc.  Where did I turn?- yes to the scriptures, prayer and friends but also to Mr.  Oscar Wilde and his play An Ideal Husband.  Who would have thought that a gay man from the late 19th century would have so much to to teach a Mormon girl in 2012.

The play is about a politician who has a past unbeknownst to all of his friends including the silly Lord Goring. Unfortunately this past is used as blackmail and all pandemonium breaks free.  Well, here are some quotes that made me laugh and some that made me think:

Lord Arthur Goring: Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear. Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.

Lord Caversham: I don’t know how you stand society. A lot of damned nobodies talking about nothing.
Lord Arthur Goring: I love talking about nothing, Father. It’s the only thing I know anything about.

Lord Caversham: Do you always understand everything you say?
Lord Arthur Goring: Yes… if I listen attentively.

Lord Arthur Goring: I’m sorry, Father, but the truth is, this is not my day for talking seriously.
Lord Caversham: Well, what do you mean, sir?
Lord Arthur Goring: I mean that I only talk seriously on the first Tuesday of every month. Between noon and three.

Mabel: Lord Goring, I gather you’re to be congratulated.
Lord Arthur Goring: Well, there’s nothing I like more than to be congratulated, though invariably I find the pleasure immeasurably increased when I know what for.
Lord Arthur Goring: There’s somebody I want to you talk to.
Lord Caversham: What about?
Lord Arthur Goring: About me, sir.
Lord Caversham: Not a subject on which much eloquence is possible.

Lord Arthur Goring: Rather than risk losing your love, he would do anything. Has he not been punished enough?
Gertrude: We’ve both been punished. I set him up too high.
Lord Arthur Goring: Do not set him down now too low.

(I like this one when thinking of couples I know after a break up.  Someone once too high, suddenly becomes too low.)

Lord Arthur Goring: Gertrude, it is not the perfect, but rather the imperfect who have need of love.
Gertrude: You seem to know a great deal about it all of a sudden.
Lord Arthur Goring: Oh, I hope not. All I know, Gertrude, is that it takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it. And even more courage to see it in the one you love. Gertrude, you have more courage than any woman I have ever known. Do not be afraid now to use it.

I think that last one is true of yourself.  Don’t you have those moments where you see yourself in all its tainted glory? I do.  Have had those moments lately (something about turning 31. You must face your own mortality, your own value to the world).  I feel closer to God and Jesus Christ than ever before.  In fact, I haven’t felt their presence as palpably in my life since my mission.

It is certainly true that ‘it is not the perfect, but rather the imperfect who have need of love.’ I’m proof of that!  We all are.  (Unless the perfect man really is out there and if so please show yourself to me at once!)

It reminds me of one of my favorite speeches The Solitude of Self by Elizabeth Cady Stanton:

“To guide our own craft, we must be captain, pilot, engineer; with chart and compass to stand at the wheel; to watch the winds and waves, and know when to take in the sail, and to read the signs in the firmament over all. It matters not whether the solitary voyager is man or woman; nature, having endowed them equally, leaves them to their own skill and judgment in the hour of danger, and, if not equal to the occasion, alike they perish.”

There are moments in life when you get to know yourself- Aren’t those tough? but we need them to see our true potential.  Working on that right now, the solitude of self…

Hopeful Poetry

I haven’t done a poetry post in a long time.  The concept of hope has been on my mind lately.  We all have our little disappointments in life, where things don’t turn out as we had wished. Experiences where people disappoint us or even God seemingly lets us down.  We have to remember that He knows the path and knows what will purify us the most.  He loves all of us more than we can understand.  Hope and trust in His mercy is what gets us through it. I liked how these poems express both the disappointment and hope that we often feel.

I wish I was more of a poet but at least I can enjoy and be uplifted by the gifts of others. I was particularly thinking about this with some challenges of late but especially with my friend who has a very little one in the NICU (1.8 lbs!).  To hope and pray is sometimes all you have, and that’s a lot.  God be with little Sara Elizabeth.

Hope by Emily Dickinson (who has a lot of poems on hope!)

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

———————————-

Hope is a strange invention — by Emily Dickinson
Hope is a strange invention —
A Patent of the Heart —
In unremitting action
Yet never wearing out –Of this electric Adjunct
Not anything is known
But its unique momentum
Embellish all we own —
———————————-
The Hope Of My Heart by John McCrae
I left, to earth, a little maiden fair,
With locks of gold, and eyes that shamed the light;
I prayed that God might have her in His care
And sight.Earth’s love was false; her voice, a siren’s song;
(Sweet mother-earth was but a lying name)
The path she showed was but the path of wrong
And shame.”Cast her not out!” I cry. God’s kind words come —
“Her future is with Me, as was her past;
It shall be My good will to bring her home
At last.”
——————————-
Perfection Eluded
This morning I woke up,
Bursting with confidence,
Overflowing with excitement,
I was convinced I’d done it,
Convinced I had succeeded
When I heard the news,
I was crushed,
Feeling empty and broken,
But somehow I managed,
To pull myself together,
Determined not to cry
Determined to be fine.
Disappointment can be bitter
You feel as if you have lost your worth
But without disappointment
We have nowhere left to go
Hope can be amazing
You feel lit ready to face a better future
Because without hope,
We are forever lost
This morning I woke up,
Grasping for perfection,
Tonight I fall asleep-
Perfection eluding me,
But hope residing in my heart.
———————————-
The Disappointment by Jane Taylor
In tears to her mother poor Harriet came,
Let us listen to hear what she says:
“O see, dear mamma, it is pouring with rain,
We cannot go out in the chaise
All week I have longed for this holiday so,
And fancied the minutes were hours:
And now that I’m dressed and all ready to go,
Do look at these terrible showers!”
“I’m sorry, my dear,” her kind mother replied,
The rain disappoints us today;
But sorrow still more that you fret for a ride,
In such an extravagant way.
These slight disappointments are sent to prepare
For what may hereafter befall;
For seasons of real disappointment and care,
Which commonly happen to all.
For just like today with its holiday lost,
Is life and its comforts at best:
Our pleasures are blighted, our purposes crossed
To teach us it is not our rest
And when those distresses and crosses appear,
With which you shortly be tried,
You’ll wonder that ever you wasted a tear
On merely the loss of a ride
But though the world’s pleasures are fleeting and vain
Religion is lasting and true;
Real pleasure and peace in her paths you may gain,
Nor will disappointment ensue.
—————————————–

More Random Thoughts

Today I have a lot on my mind, so I’m afraid this will be another one of my random, all-over-the-place posts.

1. I just watched Say Yes to the Dress and it has me all fired up.  There is a girl who is a 20 (which is still a touch smaller than me).  She can’t fit into any of the sample plus size dresses (this is the Atlanta show which doesn’t seem to have the plus size selection of Kleinfelds).  Anyway, as she fails in trying on the bridal dresses the upset woman says “Its not that bad.  I’m not that big.  I’m not this horrible person”.  What is wrong with our culture that big girls feel their size is not just a health concern but a sin, an evil- that it makes you a horrible person.   It is a classic example of the prevalence of fat stigma in our culture.  It makes me crazy!

2. So the former political science grad  in me has been eating up this recent debt ceiling debate.  I find it fascinating to watch the back and forth and try to guess what is going to happen (not only now but in 2012 as well).   It is a source of pride for me that the principles I helped fight for in the tea party rallies are being instituted by both parties.  Of course, I am the biggest fan of the cut, cap and balance bill but I think any spending cuts are a step in the right direction.

I’ve also given it a lot of thought and I don’t know what I would do if I was in Congress.  I respect the representatives that are sticky to pure principles but I also understand those that are accepting a practical compromise. I will be very curious to see how everything plays out. What would you’all do and why?

the government listened to my sign! 🙂

3. Today I made delicious whole wheat banana bread.  It is really good and actually good for you.  Here is the recipe:

1/3 cup grape seed oil

1/2 cup clear agave

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup mashed bananas (2 large bananas, 4 small bananas)

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup hot water

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, beat oil and agave together. Add eggs, and mix well. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. Blend in chopped nuts. Spread batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing

4. Relationships are so confusing.  Its like the great mystery of life.  How does anybody get together in the end?  It happens every day so we just accept it but it seems impossible sometimes.  We hear a million talks in the church about how great marriage is and how we should all get married- if someone would please tell me how to do that I will be glad to oblige?  Anyway, finding love is hard  and that’s all I have to say on the topic.

5.  I am in need of good book suggestions.  I just finished reading the July-September book club picks (Life as We Knew It, All Creatures Great and Small, Anne of Green Gables- 2 out of 3 were terrific).  I figure I can’t read the October book so quickly (I’ve read it before, the Book Theif, but I want it to be fresh for book club).  Anyway, I am looking for engaging, creative, whimsical books.  They can be sad or even tragic but it just has to be something with likable, interesting characters.  I like historical fiction, classics, high-quality chick literature, poetry, and even some fantasy.  Please send me your recommendations.  Even if you think it is not my cup of tea please let me know what you have enjoyed and I will give it a shot.

6. My quest for the open water swim is going well.  As I mentioned in a previous post I had a great effort last week.  It was exhausting but thrilling. I did 5 tough work outs in one week.  However, this week was not quite as successful because of some stomach upset.  I have stepped up my dosage of victoza and once again my body did not like it.  I was doing so well for weeks that I thought I could up the dosage but not so much. Anyway, we will see.  Including tomorrow I will get 4 workouts this week which is pretty good considering I had 2 sick days.  I just want to be ready for the swim.  Next Thursday I will do a practice swim so that will be a good test to see if I am prepared.  If not, I can wait for the October swim but I hope I can participate.  Wish me luck!

7.  Today is the end of week 1 for the cpap machine.  It has been a hard adjustment but I’m improving each day.  Its difficult to get used to sleeping with a mask and it is hard to keep it from leaking.  I also miss being able to read before going to sleep.  Thank goodness for ipods.  (Also, thankfully I am not in a couple because the mask is not a romantic look!).

this is at the sleep lab but my mask is basically the same. Darth Vader here we come!

So that’s my random thoughts.   Love you guys!