whim: an odd or capricious notion or desire; a sudden or freakish fancy

Sunday, December 15, 2013

"baby, it's cold outside" is quite disturbing.

I've had thoughts lately about certain Christmas songs. If you'll take a gander at my previous post, you will see that I generally spend a lot of time thinking about Christmas music. You might say too much time and, if you did, you might be right, but I've accepted it. Moving on.

Let me start out with a few stanzas from the popular holiday tune, "Baby, It's Cold Outside":

Woman: I really can't stay
Man: Baby, it's cold outside
Woman: I've got to go away
Man: Baby, it's cold outside...

Woman: My mother will start to worry
Man: Beautiful, what's your hurry?
Woman: Father will be pacing the floor
Man: Listen to the fireplace roar
Woman: So really I'd better scurry
Man: Beautiful, please don't hurry
Women: Maybe just a half a drink more
Man: Put some records on while I pour

Woman: The neighbors might think
Man: Baby, it's bad out there
Woman: Say, what's in this drink?

Say, what? "What's in this drink?"??!

Now, I may be reading this wrong, but I'm pretty sure a guy just slipped some drugs into this girl's drink. She notices. And yet she stays?? On what planet does that make sense?

Of course, I might also be compelled by his argument. I don't love the cold, and I always avoid being cold if at all possible, so if it really were blizzarding outside, I would seriously consider accepting his offer. If it were truly dangerous outside, he could simply be concerned about her health and well-being. But then HE PUTS SOMETHING IN HER DRINK. Good heavens, lady, do you think this guy is drugging you so you two can play another round of Monopoly or watch Mickey's Christmas Carol? A clue: NO.

Seriously, though, this song is like a precursor to date rape.

You will notice that I put "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (the Zooey Deschanel/Leon Redbone version) on this year's Official Christmas Playlist, but the more and more I listen to it, the more disturbing it becomes. On top of that, Leon Redbone sounds like he's twice Zooey's age (TRUTH: he was born in 1949, and she was born in 1980). Yikes. A big yikes.

Of course, this is not the only problematic Christmas song. I could go on about the drunk grandmother who gets run down by a reindeer because she's wandering outside alone on Christmas Eve (elder abuse!) or that Santa Claus watches children while they sleep (voyeurism?!), but I'll save that for another day, perhaps, or not write about it at all.

Monday, December 2, 2013

sometimes i obsess about christmas music

Every year (well, for the past couple of years at least), right before Thanksgiving, I spend a ridiculous amount of time creating my Official Christmas Playlist, a compilation of the Christmas songs I will listen to obsessively for the entire month of December. I have a lot of Christmas music in my iTunes library, and I enjoy putting my master holiday list on shuffle, but this list is special because it includes only the BEST (none of that Feliz Navidad garbage).

I am particularly proud of this year's compilation. I spent time not only selecting songs but also arranging them so each song flows naturally into the next. (I told you I obsessed over it.)

So without further chatter, here is my 2013 Official Christmas Playlist:

1. Deck the Halls, Mannheim Steamroller
2. I Saw Three Ships, Sufjan Stevens
3. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Amy Grant
4. The First Noel/Mary Mary, Sarah McLachlan
5. Carol of the Bells, Celtic Woman
6. Carol of the Bells, Mannheim Steamroller
7. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, The Piano Guys
8. Pachelbel's Canon in D Major, Vienna Boys' Choir
9. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Joshua Bell with Alison Krauss
10. Coventry Carol, Jenny Oaks Baker
11. What Child Is This?, Kristin Chenoweth
12. Blue Christmas, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
13. No Christmas for Me, Zee Avi
14. Frosty the Snowman, Zee Avi
15. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jack Johnson
16. Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt
17. Baby, It's Cold Outside, Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone
18. White Christmas, Michael Buble and Shania Twain
19. Walking in a Winter Wonderland, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
20. Jingle Bells, Bing Crosby with The Andrews Sisters
21. Nutcracker Medley, Joshua Bell with Straight No Chaser
22. Auld Lang Syne, Pink Martini

For your listening convenience, I've uploaded a Spotify version of the playlist straight to my blog (see right). The songs are a bit mixed up and there are two songs that wouldn't play on Spotify, but at least you get the idea.

Also, just for fun, here's a holiday hedgehog.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, May 20, 2013

new ideas, new goals

I'm encouraged to know that despite all the work I did in grad school, I still have the desire to write things. Here are some essay ideas I've been throwing around in my head:

1. Diving horses: when I was a young one, I saw a delightfully cheesy movie called Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken, which is about a runaway teen who gets into diving horses. Interesting concept, rendered more interesting by the fact that diving horses WAS A REAL THING. Oh yes. Performers would ride a horse to the top of a tall platform (as high as 60 feet), and they would dive into a pool of water. Sound intriguing, and dangerous to the health of both horse and rider. The act was popular in Buffalo Bill-type shows. A few years ago some people wanted to reinvent it, but PETA got involved. The whole thing would make a marvelous essay, and I intend to write it.

2. Book buying: I've actually had this one marinating for a year or so. I'm interested by the of owning books as well as reading them––I have multiple copies of my favorite books, and I'm completely seduced by beautiful book covers. This essay would dive into my habit (obsession?) of book buying, and hopefully make some sort of complaint about ebooks and such. Not that I'm completely opposed to ebooks, but I do have qualms.

3. London nostalgia: I've been craving my favorite city lately. I'm not as traveled as I would love to be, but I don't see any places dethroning this one anytime soon. I may write about St. Paul's (that gorgeous, glorious building), or Borough Market, or even Jack the Ripper. I also need to write more about Charles and Mary Lamb.

Also, I wanted to record a few goals that I've been trying to set for myself lately. School has robbed me of a lot of good habits and other things I had previously established, so I'm hoping to return to some sort of normalcy. I realized that I've written about goals recently, and probably the same goals, so I don't want to be redundant, but I'm rewriting them for my benefit. Indulge me one more time:

1. SLEEP. And not just sleep, but at appropriate hours. I'm writing this blog post at 4:45am, which is completely ridiculous, but it demonstrates my inability to go to bed at night. I'd like to go to bed around midnight and have around 8 hours of sleep. This is going to be a tough one.

2. Take care of my body. This is big. I want to exercise (4-5 days a week) and eat healthier foods (less sugar). I suppose I could include sleep here as well. I don't want to think about health in terms of pounds or clothing size, but I do want to measure it according to how I feel. I want to regain some of the confidence I've lost the past couple of years.

3. Less media: In school, I tried desperately to find distractions, mindnumbing things to give my brain a break after writing and reading and grading and lesson planning. This led to a lot of TV watching and internet surfing. Don't get me wrong––I'm still going to be faithful to Doctor Who, Downton, Sherlock, and a couple others, but I want to make any TV time I take be (what I consider to be) worth it. And as far as internet goes, I don't get sucked into Facebook or Pinterest much, but I have been wasting so much time on Buzzfeed. It's a black hole, a delightful black hole, so don't get sucked in, people. Approach with caution.

4. Spirituality: Attend temple regularly, have more meaningful scripture study and prayer, and try not to complain about boring Relief Society or Sunday School meetings.

Slow and steady, folks. At some point I have to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life, but that's for another post.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

*deep sigh of relief* and folk music

I must say, it feels nice to have passed my thesis defense.

I worried about it for so long (perhaps worried too much), but it ended up being grand. In the middle of my defense, I had a very clear realization: I was enjoying it. And then I remembered that I'm in a master's program because I love writing and I love studying writing. I love reading good books and learning from my brilliant professors and fellow students (who are also brilliant). So it wasn't that strange that I enjoyed my defense. I'm always worried because sometimes I have a hard time articulating my thoughts, but I must have made at least a small measure of sense, and for that I was grateful. 

Now if I can take another deep breath, I'll make it through the rest of my revisions and grading and be done with this semester. Which will be great. Except...

I'm actually really sad that this chapter of my life is coming to a close. Maybe it's just that I don't know what in the world I'm going to do next, or maybe it's because I'm sad to say goodbye to so many wonderful people that I'm blessed to see almost every day. I'm thankful for writing workshops and lunch dates having so many people around who sympathize with my plight because they are going through the same exact thing. That camaraderie is so difficult to find. So for all of those reasons, it will be hard to say goodbye when I leave Provo.

I guess I'm not leaving just yet, so I shouldn't get too choked up here. 

And now that I've waxed (super) cheesy, I'll end by saying that I've rediscovered my love of folk music/bluegrass. Here are a few samples from The Wailin' Jennys: 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


i love magical things, like a blooming forsythia plant and
hiding easter eggs in the backyard for nephews and a niece. 
such spring things! 

also, i love to be home for the weekend.
where the weather is a little warmer, and there are kids and sisters and 
parents and kitties around to remind me that there is life
    outside of grad school.

 superhero ashton (we made him work for his eggs!)


 millie lee


also, here's merlin enjoying the watermelon
he threw it up an hour later -_-
i love him anyway

Thursday, March 28, 2013


hallelujah, praise the sun.

we've had a few really warm days this year in provo, but paige and i sat outside on the grass for awhile today, so it finally, legitimately feels like spring.

and flowers are slowly starting to open up around town, and the snow on the mountains is melting away...

i really really hope we don't have another snow day.

i just want it to get warmer and warmer and for summer to come already, because once summer is here, i will have already defended my thesis, graded ALL THE PAPERS, and graduated.

also, i will have to decide what i want to do next in my life. let's not thing about that right now.

let's just think about the SUN.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

on not having a phone

When I lost my phone last Friday, I panicked a lot less than I thought I would.

Don't get me wrong, the thought of spending $whoknowshowmuch to get my phone replaced makes me want to cry, or vomit, or both; but overall, I'm not distraught.

Part of me likes the idea of not having a phone––it's an attractive thought, not being readily accessible to other people.

Not that I don't like other people. I love (most...okay, some) people.

Also, not that I don't have three email addresses and a Facebook account anyway (three?! really, though, it's ridiculous).

But the same part of me that likes not having a phone also likes the idea of escaping to a remote cabin in the woods without internet, television, or cell phone coverage. And just reading.

I don't want this to turn into a "boo on technology" post.

Because I love playing Bejeweled Diamond Mine, watching Project Runway, and spending way too much time on Buzzfeed.

But on occasion, it's nice to have break from these things.

I think next time I want a break, though, I'll shut my phone off instead of losing it.

Smarter move.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

thoughts on faith and the definition of it

I haven't posted in a few months, but I've had some thoughts buzzing around in my head lately, and if there's anything I've learned thus far in my master's program, it's to write down what's in my head. So here goes:

A week ago, I was in Boston attending the AWP Conference (creative writing/teaching), and I attended a panel entitled "I and Thou: The Dangers of the Self in Writing about Religion" that was quite enlightening in a few different ways. The first panelist, Jeremy Jones, spoke about the disconnect between the literal and the figurative in religious writing, that sometimes we rely too much on cliches and phrases we've heard over and over again, and that sometimes when we can't express something in fresh or new language, we've likely not thought about or internalized the concept sufficiently. Which is an interesting thought––how many times have we heard the words "charity," "faith," or "hope" and actually been able to express what those things are without relying on borrowed language? There's a difference between the thing (say, a dog) and what we call that thing (the word "dog"), and that what we call something is not the thing itself, but our representation of it. We have to understand concepts and things by naming them, but we need to spend time learning to express and relay those concepts as we understand them rather than relying solely on other people's definitions. Or something like that.

Also, he quoted Kenneth Burke's idea that there are four realms of words:

  1. Words for the natural (tree, flower, dog, mountain)
  2. Words for the socio-political (justice, government, monarchy)
  3. Words about words (grammar, etymology)
  4. Words about the supernatural/spiritual 
Kenneth Burke basically said that the fourth realm of words has to rely on words from other spheres for us to understand it. So when we hear a story or analogy (like President Uchtdorf's airplane metaphors), it helps us better understand the spiritual thing because we are borrowing language from the other realms. Or something like that. 

Anyway, with all of that, I wanted to say that I've been thinking a lot about faith lately. What exactly does it mean to have faith? How is faith different than trust? hope? I've been trying to articulate, for me, what faith means, and I've been trying to express it for myself instead of relying on someone else's words. It's easy to say, "faith is belief in something that you can't see," but what does that mean for me? What does it feel like? How can I explain it and my understanding of it without being cliche? If faith is the word we use to name the concept, what is the actual concept? 

Sometimes I feel like the father in Mark 9:24 begging Jesus to heal his son, and in response to Jesus' question, "do you have faith?" he says, "I believe" and follows that up with "help thou my unbelief." He was willing to recognize that his belief might not have been sufficient on its own, but that he needed Jesus' help to have faith. Maybe my quest to understand what faith is will  help me to have more faith. 

As a last thought, I've been thinking a bit about Peter, one of apostles who I think is a bit misunderstood. In Matthew 14, Jesus approaches the apostles' boat, walking on the water. When they realized who it was, Peter almost immediately jumps out of the boat, attempting to walk on the water to reach Jesus. This is the part that everyone focuses on: Peter starts concentrating more on the tumultuous water rather than focusing on Jesus, and he begins to sink; Jesus catches him and says, "Oh thou of little faith; wherefore didst thou doubt?" What strikes me most in this story, though, is not that Peter loses faith, but that he is the only one to jump out of the boat. Although his faith is not perfect, he is willing to try. He needs the Savior's help, just as the father did, but at least he was willing to try. So the willingness to try has something to do with faith. 

So many nuances––where to start?