Tuesday, December 31, 2013

300

This is my 300th post and also the last post of 2013.  Usually when it's the last post of the year, I do a "Year in Review."  But as much of a stickler for tradition as I am, I'm not going to do one this year.  2013 has been the worst year of my life, and I don't want to spend several paragraphs talking about why.*

I feel like I'm walking on this wire dividing the Hope that next year will be better and the Fear that this year was only the beginning.  I guess the stroke of midnight will be toss of the coin to see what happens.  Either way, I'll keep on blogging.

Happy New Year.

A "fun" picture to lighten the melancholy


*This is not to say that no good things happened this year, but...yeah.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Restaurant Review: Washington Square Tavern

I grew up watching Cheers on TV with my parents, and then I spent the last nine (ugh) years watching How I Met Your Mother.  These shows were my original perception of what bars were like, and then I moved to Boston and actually started going to bars sometimes and I was like, television LIED to me!!!!  Real-life bars are not like TV bars and therefore I dislike them.  Here are the two things I dislike about bars:
  1. They are full of noisy people trying to talk over crappy music.
  2. There's always a TV playing sports.
Washington Square Tavern, however, is a bar, and yet has none of these things.  The music was soft and non-crappy, and there was no TV.  Instead, there was candlelight and there were old-timey books on the walls.  Granted, I went on a Monday night, but I get the sense that it's not noisy and annoying at any time of the week.

I went here last week with two friends.  We all ordered burgers, despite the plethora of other fancy-sounding things on the menu, because the sole purpose of the outing was to get burgers.  The burgers were delicious.  I ordered mine "medium" and it was very juicy (as we were told/warned multiple times by the server and host).  When I go again (and I will), I will take special care to position the first bite over my fries so that they will also be covered in juice, because it turns out French fries covered in what is essentially blood are delicious.  My only issue with the burger was in the shape of the patty which resulted in a rather tall burger, but I'm told the shape contributes to the juiciness, so I'll let it go and just fault my jaw for being non-detachable.

The service was fantastic as well.  The host was really nice and you could tell that he recognized the "regulars."  I hope to one day become a regular so that whenever I walk in I will immediately be presented with a Diet Coke and a burger.   

Washington Square Tavern is located at 714 Washington Street in Brookline, MA.  Find their menu here.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Grown-Up Christmas List

This is not a post about one of the cheesiest Christmas pop songs ever written.*  Instead, this is my grown-up Christmas list, i.e., a list of stuff that isn't the fun, exciting stuff that a kid would want (like a chemistry set or a box of microscopes or a pony).  Nor is it some cheesy Amy-Grant-esque list of things that my superego tells me that I should want (like world peace or a husband or normal serotonin levels in my brain).  I'm talking about actual stuff, here, people.  As in the stuff that is my response when my mom asks what I want for Christmas.  So here it is:
  1. Black boots, to wear on days when I can't wear brown boots because mixing neutrals still scares me a little.  I have to pick these out when I go home because my feet and calves are finicky.  
  2. A bathrobe, to minimize my walking-around-naked time.
  3. Season one of Grimm on DVD.  This is one of those things that I have to order myself because the parents haven't figured out Amazon, but that they're going to pay for and wrap and give to me on Christmas Eve.  Also my plan is to watch it at home with my parents to convince my mom that Grimm is better than Once Upon a Time.  Because it is.  So much better.
  4. Black and blue Sharpie pens.  These are the best black pens and the second-best blue pens, though others may disagree.  But let's all take a second to acknowledge the fact that I'm asking my parents for PENS this Christmas.  #nerdalert 
  5. These are the pens.  They come in a crazy assortment of colors,
    as you can see, but that's a little too much for me.
    But they've revolutionized my note-taking.
Maybe this is a lame Christmas list, but it's interesting because this is the first time in a long time that I remember actually asking for things for Christmas because I like being self-sufficient and taking care of all my own temporal wants and needs, so this is quite a big step in humility for me.  Finally, just in case there's a Santa Claus, these are just the things I'd like my family members to get for me, and if an awesome herringbone tweed blazer or some funky statement jewelry just happened to show up under my tree, it wouldn't be the worst thing.


*My sister owns an Amy Grant CD; it makes me a tiny bit embarrassed to be related to her, but I can forgive it because it was the late nineties and it was among the first three CD's she ever got.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My Music, December 2013 Edition

I haven't done a "My Music" post in a while, I realized.  Also, this will be my 297th blog post, and I think it would be cool to get to 300 by the end of 2013.  So here are my current "Top 25 Most Played" on iTunes:
  1. "C'est la Mort" - The Civil Wars
  2. "Poison & Wine" - The Civil Wars
  3. "Hold On" - Mary Beth Maziarz
  4. "How" - Regina Spektor
  5. "Thursday" - Asobi Seksu
  6. "Organ Donor" - Jeremy Messersmith
  7. "Snow Day" - Jeremy Messersmith
  8. "Look At Me Now" - Karmin
  9. "Elsewhere" - Sarah McLachlan
  10. "Falling" - The Civil Wars
  11. "I Want You Back" - The Civil Wars
  12. "Anything Could Happen" - Ellie Goulding
  13. "My Eyes" - Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day (from "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog")
  14. "Shake It Out" - Florence + the Machine
  15. "21 Guns" - Original Broadway Cast of American Idiot
  16. "The Call" - Regina Spektor
  17. "Gravity" - Sarah Bareilles
  18. "the zombie song" - Stephanie Mabey
  19. "Skeleton Song" - Kate Nash
  20. "Safer" - Krysta Rodriguez (from First Date:  The Musical)
  21. "Timshel" - Mumford & Sons
  22. "Promise Me This" - Pancho's Lament
  23. "Homeward Bound" - BYU Singers and Concert Choir
  24. "Explosions" - Ellie Goulding
  25. "Falling Slowly" - Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (from Once)
Confession:  sometimes I wish I felt more morally okay about resetting some of the more listened-to pieces on here, especially since they're not things that I've wanted to listen to recently at all.

Also I like that I have a skeleton song and a zombie song right next to each other.  

Saturday, November 30, 2013

My "Depressing" Blog

Sometimes I feel that my blog readers think that I'm like this:

Granted, sometimes this is what I actually am like when I blog.
And then they feel bad for me, or tell me to cheer up, or get over it, or whatever.  To them, I say this:


And some people acknowledge that, and to them I say, thank you, and keep on reading.  To those who don't say that, keep reading anyway.

Love you guys.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fluffy Bunnies and Santa and Disneyland

My mother doesn't even read my blog, but she heard about it at a Thanksgiving dinner at our family friends' home.  I imagine it was kind of embarrassing for her to be surrounded by a zillion grandchildren who weren't hers when all she had to brag about was how her still-single daughter got an A in the class with all the dead bodies.  But anyway, she told me the following:
"I think it would be better if you had a positive blog instead of a depressing blog, even if it isn't true."
So, per my mother's request, here I go!  Feel free to listen to some Lesley Gore as you read.


I have never been happier in my whole life!  Coming back to Boston was absolutely the best decision I've ever made because I get to be around so many close and trusted friends who totally left room for me in their lives even though I disappeared for a year to focus on my career!  Sure, I'm single, but it's great because I really get to "work on me," because even though I've been alone for 27.4 of the 28 years of my life, I've still got a lot of finding myself to do!  And it's totally cool that I'm not having any babies, because who would want to spoil such a rockin' body as mine with a pregnancy?  Not this lady, let me tell you!  Life is totally worth living and love conquers all and Christmas is magical and also America!

Happy?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why I Don't Want It to Snow

It snowed for a minute today, but just a minute.  It also did a similar thing a few weeks ago.  People got really excited, but I didn't.  I don't want it to snow yet.  I want the snow to wait, possibly for forever.  Here's why:

Anyone who knows me (in real life or on Facebook) knows that, for the past few months--basically since I've been back in Boston, I haven't had the best outlook on life.  And by "I haven't had the best outlook on life," I mean, "I'm no longer 100% convinced that life is worth living."*  Anyway, despite my better and more realistic judgement, I'm hoping this could change, and that maybe things will be better one day.  The thing is, however, that whenever a character has the realization that life is worth living after all, like in Its a Wonderful Life, or this song, or the Christmas episode of Buffy,** that miraculous moment (the "George Bailey Moment," I like to call it) is accompanied and enhanced by the first flakes of falling snow.***

I haven't had that moment yet, and right now, all the snow is going to do is remind me that I haven't, like a big, cold, crystalline slap in the face.  So snow clouds, until I have that moment, please just wait.

Also, this is so not real snow.

*This is just my life that I'm talking about.  I'm sure other people's lives are chock full of joy and meaning.
**This may be a faulty metaphor, because in Buffy, snow was the thing that convinced Angel not to kill himself, because apparently when it snows in Southern California the sun doesn't come out all day and vampires can just walk around without the fear of bursting into flames.
***And real life is totally, 100% like the movies.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Alt-Service Sunday: Friends Meeting at Cambridge

Some Alt-Service Sundays are a matter of convenience and happenstance.  Two of my friends invited me to attend a meeting with The Friends (aka The Society of Friends aka The Quakers) this morning, and since it was an hour before my regular sacrament meeting was scheduled and just across the lawn from where I normally have church, of course I was going to attend!

When the Longfellow Park Chapel burned down in 2009* the Quakers across the lawn were really great and helped throw us an open house when we were up and running again in 2011.  They're really nice people, and I'm glad I finally got to go to a service there.

Society of Friends Meetings are very interesting.  If you're Mormon, imagine them like a Testimony Meeting without the compulsion to fill the silence.  The meeting is 90% complete "worshipful silence," and Friends stand up and speak briefly when Spirit prompts them to.  It was actually really cool.  The meeting gave me time to meditate and write in my journal, and I had just completed a paragraph posing a rather depressing problem.  Not long after, someone stood up and said something that addressed the very same problem I had been pondering!  It was definitely a moment when I felt that the Spirit was there.

The following are quotes I wrote down from things that Friends said during the meeting that I found to be particularly inspirational:
"Be generous when you are hungry" 
and,
"Forgiveness and acceptance of what is opens the way to make what is, better."
So profound.

After the worship part, the meeting got very meeting-y with announcements and such, but this was generally a time to witness how Friendly (pun unavoidable) everyone was!  We introduced ourselves as visitors and lots of people came up to chat afterwards.  I don't think I could ever be a Quaker, as I'm nowhere near contemplative enough to sit and meditate every Sunday (and also I'm pretty set on the whole Mormon thing), but it was really great to learn about the Society of Friends.



*This was actually the very first time I ever went to Boston.  We were trying to go to church and kept getting rerouted by all the firetrucks.  Turned out church was where the fire was.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Difference between Rock Concerts and Classical Concerts

As I mentioned last weekend, Kate Nash was my first non-classical concert ever (unless you count Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Christmas concert in SLC in 2008 or this outdoor music festival with the Spin Doctors that I went to in the Spring of 2012--but those were different kinds of things, I think).  I made some observations about the distinctions between the two types of events:

Punctuality
Classical Concert:  Be there 30 minutes early.  It's just good manners.
Rock Concert:  If you walk in halfway through the opening act, nobody even cares.

Pre-Concert
Rock Concert:  "Everybody make some noise!"
Classical Concert:  "Please turn off all audio alerts on cell phones, pagers, watches, and small children."

Applause
Rock Concert:  Everyone is basically cheering the entire time.
Classical Concert:  If you clap during the set the conductor will shank you with the baton s/he hasn't put down yet, you filthy, uncultured, philistine.  You should be ashamed of yourself.  

Libation
Classical Concert:  "Absolutely no food or drink in the auditorium (except for that cough drop which you should have opened before the music started)."
Rock Concert:  I don't know whose beer that was, but now it's on my shoe.

Upper Respiratory Tract Phenomena
Classical Concert:  If you cough, everyone will know, and they will hate you forever.
Rock Concert:  You could probably die where you stood and nobody would notice.

Concert Attire
Classical Concert:  Fancy Schmancy*
Rock Concert:  Not-trying-too-hard hip with comfy shoes you don't mind getting beer spilled on.

I'd say that's a pretty good primer.  Though given my advancing years, I probably will only be attending classical concerts from now on.



*Unless you're one of those uncultured philistines who thinks that jeans, a college sweatshirt, and a baseball cap are appropriate to wear to the opera.  Yes, I'm talking to you, half the guys at BYU who must have obviously confused the HFAC with Lavell Edwards Stadium and whom I obviously wasn't friends with because I'm a snob.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Kate Nash!

Or...evidence that I probably haven't figured out the camera on my phone all that well.

I went to my very first pop concert!  I was told that people don't actually say "pop concert" but I think I wanted to make a distinction between this kind of concert and the kind where you sit down and there's a conductor and a program (i.e., a "classical" concert), since I've been to plenty of those.  Turns out the two are different (stay tuned for a post on how).  But anyway...as a 'celebration' of sorts, my friend Jourdan and I went to see Kate Nash at the House of Blues last night.  Now, 90% of you will say you have never heard of Kate Nash, but you're wrong.  If you're reading this blog, you've heard of Kate Nash.  Not only is she mentioned in most of my "My Music" posts, but also, the title of this blog is based on one of her songs!!

The opening acts were a girl group called Potty Mouth and a female-fronted band named La Sera.  It was some fantastic angry-girl alt-rock.  I felt like Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You or like some other rebellious west-coast teenager from the late nineties (it doesn't take much to make my brain go weird places).  Both groups were really great; I actually want to listen to La Sera more.  After the opening acts and a lot of waiting around for set changes, Kate Nash finally appeared!

This was actually taken at the end of the concert, but it's a good whole-stage shot.  Also, I have no idea to make my phone take better pictures than this.

Now you probably all want to know what she played (even though you probably have never heard of half of these songs), so here is a (partial) set list:
  • Death Proof
  • Kiss That Grrrl
  • Take Me to a Higher Plane
  • Doo-Wah-Doo
  • OMYGOD
  • Mouthwash
  • Mariella*
  • Fri-End?
  • 3AM
  • Foundations
  • Girl Gang (a cover of some other girl band)
She played a few other songs as well, but either I don't remember what they were or they were songs from her new album that I didn't know.  But holy crap, she had so much energy and stamina!  She came onstage basically scream-singing the first number (but it sounded great) and dancing around the stage and I was like, how is she going to keep this up for an hour and a half? but she totally did it.  The woman is a literal rock star.  Such a good performer!  Also, there was one moment in Doo-Wah-Doo where I could possibly believe that she and I made eye contact, so that was pretty neat.

I could see her a lot more clearly than this.
Normally I just go to concerts for the music and I tune out when people start talking in between, but I didn't this time.  Kate Nash is probably one of the coolest humans.  So normal and relatable and hilarious.  She spoke for a bit about how life is short and we don't have time to deal with horrible people.  She encouraged all of us to go delete the horrible people from our phones this morning--such good advice (unless you want to keep their numbers in their phone to dodge their calls).  Also, it turns out she's a rocking feminist!  I mean, it wasn't a surprise or anything, but she talked for a while about how lame it is that there aren't more female songwriters and she's actually starting a foundation to teach music and songwriting to young girls.  So great.  And, being all about the girl power, she's a Buffy fan!  We could totally be besties.

The downsides to the concert were that it was forever long (but that's just a consequence of me being old and allergic to times after 11:00 pm), and that it was much louder than I had expected (replace the piano in her recordings with two electric guitars) so my ears were kind of ringing afterwards.  Consequently, this might also be my last pop concert, but it was awesome, and I'm certainly glad I went.



*This was the first Kate Nash song I had ever heard in Laura's car back in the fall of 2009, and so it was AMAZING hearing it live

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Who Knows?

Have you ever felt trapped on one side of a feeling?

I'm getting impatient again.  I do this a lot.  I feel like there's a big thing ahead of me, an obstacle, something that I can't--but need to--get past.  But I don't want to get past it--I just want to be past it.  I want to fast-forward and skip ahead to the time where it's over and I'm better, or new, or different in some way.

I'm going to New York City this weekend.  I've never been before, so I'm a little nervous.  This isn't a kind of thing that I do, just hop on a bus and go to some strange city with some guy I barely know.*  But I'm excited, almost to the sense of urgency and impatience, not to go, but to come back a different person.  Someone wild, uninhibited, full of perspective, experienced...

Someone brave.

I've been using West Side Story as a soundtrack to this feeling of anticipation.  I don't think the lyrics necessarily fit my feelings perfectly, but the music is stirring my desire for change, my desire to let go of the parts of myself that I no longer need or want, and to return as the person I want to become.

Mock me for using the "Glee" version if you like, but this one has more energy than the film version.  
And Darren Criss is just so cute.



*Okay, it's not actually some guy I barely know.  It's actually someone I know quite well and would trust completely to protect me against scary New York pigeons and well-choreographed street gangs.  But "some guy I barely know" just sounds cooler and like I'm doing something much more dramatically uninhibited.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Equivalent of Three Facebook Statuses

I saw this guy at school wearing the most amazing sweater.  It was borderline Cosby, it was so wonderful.  He was standing pretty far down the hall and I remarked to my classmate, "I want to marry that guy, just for his sweater."  I'm 90% sure he heard me.  Then I had to walk toward him past where he was standing to get to the changing room.  I avoided eye contact for all but a brief moment to see if he was cute from the front (he was).  At least I also looked cute today.  I feel that guys will respond better to a cute-looking stranger who wants to marry them than they would to a crazy-looking one.

We were dissecting the scalp today in lab and the prosector chastised me for dissecting lateral to the mastoid process.  On second thought, I called her back and was like, "where did you say the mastoid process was?"  She pointed to something on the occipital bone.  I was like, "no...that's not the mastoid process," and she was like, "yes it is," and I was like, "no, because it's on the occipital bone, and the mastoid process is on the temporal."  So she called another prosector over who also agreed that it wasn't the mastoid process but they didn't know what it was, and I was like, "probably an osteoma," but of course they didn't believe me so they called a professor over and he was like, "it's an osteoma."

People be tryin' to tell me what a mastoid process is.  I own the mastoid process.
(Also, I looked at way too many "throwing shade" gifs in order to find this image, and I don't even like it that much, but the other ones all use the b-word.)
I went to the gym today and a girl at the gym was giving out free Apples to Apples games, and I got the last one.  What luck!  Apples to Apples is even one of the games I find tolerable.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Alt-Service Sunday: All Saints Parish, Brookline, MA

Today, in lieu of Stake Conference, I went to an Anglican service at the All Saints Parish in Brookline.  Here were my observations:

  • Anglicans seem to be a lot more organized than Mormons.  The service just kind of started and everyone seemed to know what they were doing.  There was also this part when they interrupt the service so that all the members can go around saying "peace" to each other.  They could never stop a Mormon sacrament meeting for mingling.  It would be like setting loose a jar full of butterflies and expecting them to all come back again in a reasonable amount of time.
  • The music was beautiful.  I think this particular church was famous for its choir, but still, gorgeous.  The congregational singing was great, too.  The hymnal had over 600 hymns (the LDS hymnal has just shy of 325, for reference).  There was also this Gloria Introit that the choir and congregation sang together, and it was one of the coolest musical experiences that I've had in a very long time.
  • There was a lot of standing and sitting and audience participation (call-and-response-type things).  Thankfully it was all outlined in the program.
  • Women were in charge!  I guess they're between rectors at the moment, but the Intercessor and Celebrant were both women, and a woman gave the sermon. 
  • The sermon was about gratitude.  It was very nice.  The speaker made a very interesting point about the distinction between gratitude and indebtedness, in that indebtedness makes us feel that we should withdraw from the giver, while gratitude makes us want to become closer to the giver.  There was also an emphasis on giving offerings to the church, and how offerings are a symbol of commitment.  
  • There was one part called the Confession and the Absolution, where the congregation recited a prayer asking forgiveness for sins.  I actually really liked that part, because a lot of times as Mormons, unless we commit some major sin, the repentance process is pretty private.  And while the Anglican recitation is fairly generic, it's kind of an opportunity to take stock of things and think, hmm...maybe I haven't shown as much love for God and my neighbors as I should have this week.  
All in all, I liked it.  It was very different from an LDS Sacrament meeting, so there were obviously things that seemed weird, but I definitely learned some good things.  Also, people seemed very friendly and the building was beautiful.  

A New Tradition

I'm a Mormon.  I love being a Mormon and I'm always going to be a Mormon.  However, here's the problem with a lot of Mormons:  they're really into missionary work.  This isn't inherently a bad thing; if Mormons really believe they have the best stuff, why not share it?  The problem is that Mormons just kind of expect everyone to drop everything and come learn about the Mormon church, but Mormons aren't expected to even try to learn about the faiths of those whom they're trying to convert.

I want to change this.  I want to shed this insular reputation that Mormons have in regard to other faiths.

So I'm starting a new tradition:  Alt-Service Sunday!

Today is Stake Conference in my church (basically a gathering of all the smaller congregations to have one big meeting), and, for various reasons that don't really fit in this particular blog post, I don't really want to go.  And Stake Conference isn't like "real" church because there's no Sacrament* and that's really the only reason you're supposed to have church anyway.**  So I'm going to skip Stake Conference (and maybe all future Stake Conferences) to go to a non-LDS service.  I did this once in Honolulu when I hated my singles' branch and went to a Unitarian service for Easter and it was amazing, and people were so nice!  Boston has no shortage of diverse and interesting churches, and I'd like to see what they're like.***

I'm hoping to gain the following things from this tradition:
  • Learn about the teachings of other religions.
  • Find similarities between the teachings of other religions and mine.
  • Strengthen my testimony of the Gospel of Christ by adding depth to it.
  • Get involved in the community by meeting people outside of the Mormon Microcosm.
Even though Stake Conference is only twice a year, I'd like to do this more than twice a year.  This won't be too difficult because 1) other churches don't have three-hour-long services (ugh...Mormons), 2) other churches have Saturday services!  Anyone reading this (who lives in Boston, of course) is welcome to join me, or suggest places I should visit.  I also plan to blog about what I learned at each service, so stay tuned.




*Sacrament:  the Mormon term for Eucharist, Communion, etc.
**This is probably debatable, and probably going to get me yelled at by people who really enjoy all three hours of church, but I'm going to stand firm that Sacrament is the most important part of church.
***Not to mention a lot of them are in really awesome and beautiful old buildings, which is also kind of a secondary reason that I'm doing this.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Anatomical Nomenclature

People name anatomical features after themselves all the time, so why not name people after anatomical features?  Should I marry an anatomist who will permit me to do so, here are the anatomical names I would give to our children.


Boys' names:
  • Olecranon (This is my favorite of all names.  I might actually give my son this middle name.)
  • Peroneus (His grandson could be named Peroneus tertius!)
  • Anconeus
  • Hallux
  • Talus
  • Soleus
Girls' names:
  • Calyx
  • Piriformis ("Piri" for short.)
  • Carina
  • Trigone
  • Amygdala
  • Nephron*
These are the only acceptable ones I can think of at the moment.  There are names that I wouldn't ever give any child, no matter how ugly it was, like "Salpinx," "Urethra," "Ulna," "Uvula," "Fornix," or "Epididymis."


*Also an abbreviation for the late Nora Ephron, may she rest in peace.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

P is for Pelvis

We're doing the TAP section of Anatomy right now.  For those not in the know, TAP means "Thorax, Abdomen, and Pelvis," which includes the reproductive organs.  And of course, since we're a room full of adults who are going to be health professionals, we all handle these lectures with utmost maturity.


We had a lecture about endometriosis and menstrual cramps and how the ovaries grow to be twice their size during ovulation and the ladies are like,


But then we talk about erectile dysfunction and then the men are all like,


Because normally they're all,


But then we dissect, and everyone is like,



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Gastroepiploetry

10:00 am in the library
All is silent and still without
But within, there is rebellion
My stomach, unfulfilled by 6:00 am oatmeal
Cries out against the silence
Singing the song of the hungry for all to hear
The sound echoes across the rugae
And through my relatively thin abdominal wall
Unsoftened by Camper's fascia
It screams all the way to Baltimore
Begging Laura's stomach to join in the chorus



Monday, October 14, 2013

My Life as of Late, in "Buffy" Quotes

I've been spending a lot of time in the anatomy lab.
Spike:  Why don't you rip her lungs out?  That might make an impression
Angel:  Lacks... poetry.
Spike:  Doesn't have to.  What rhymes with "lungs?"
My birthday is coming up.
Buffy:  Maybe it's time to start a new tradition:  birthdays without boyfriends.  It can be just as fun.
Willow:  Preachin' to the choir, here, baby. 
Sometimes I feel like I'm the villain in the story.
Spike:  And you're what?  Shocked and disappointed?  I'm evil! 
And finally...

How I feel that (cough--Mormon--cough) society views my quest for a PhD despite my waning fertility:

Anya might be my favorite.



Monday, September 23, 2013

Patterns Part Three

(The third installment of my ward campout post-game series.  Read Parts 1 and 2.)

The Tri-ward Campout was this past weekend, and even now, on Monday morning as I type this, I can't decide whether or not it was a good thing that I went.  It probably depends on who you ask; if you ask me, I probably shouldn't have gone.

I wasn't going to go.  Up until Friday afternoon, I was 95% sure I was going to stay home, sleep in my own warm bed, and not worry about seeing people who provoke my cry/vomit/murder reflex.*  One of the main reasons I didn't want to go was that I didn't have the same reason to go that I did in past years; in 2010 and 2011 the only reason that I showed up was to be in the skit, and for some reason, I couldn't make myself feel excited about performing this year like I did in the past.  This was quite depressing.  Even more depressing was the fact that I ended up not performing at all that night, but since I neither play acoustic guitar nor moonwalk, I would have had nothing to please the crowd.**

After feeling miserable during the majority of the performance segment of the campout, I decided that I'm just not capable of having more than 24 consecutive hours of fun--there's an expiration date.  The before-sunset part actually didn't suck very much at all!  Here are some highlights:

  • I took out a rowboat, but unlike last time, I was not alone!  It's quite nice to have a handsome man to row you around...or to mock you as you attempt to row the both of you around.  I'm not great at rowing, guys.
    I look like I'm doing a whole lot better than I actually am.
    In my defense, one of the oxen thingies was wonky.
  • It wasn't freezing!  This was one of my other reservations, that it would be freezing and I would get a cold (again).  But it wasn't!  My new sleeping bag kept me very warm in the night, and in the day it was warm enough to even tempt me to go swimming in the lake (but I didn't, primarily because I had no swimsuit and only one bra).
  • The mandatory group activities weren't awful, nor were they mandatory enough to keep me from sneaking off and having my own fun (or go back to my cabin and brush my teeth, as the case may be).
After reading all of this, you might wonder, so why do you think you shouldn't have gone?  Maybe it's because I'm self-centered and weird.***  The last time I lived in Boston, before I left, I was kind of on top of the world.  I felt finally as if I had arrived, had become what I was supposed to be.  I had friends, status, a reputation (that wasn't built solely upon one very specific aspect of my life).  Then I moved away for a year, and now that I'm back, I feel like I have to start all over again from the bottom.  I not only have to figure out who I am, but I also have to convince the rest of the world (stake) that I'm that person.  And that's hard.  It's even harder when you're in the middle of the wilderness surrounded by people who are having much more fun than you are.

I guess what can come out of all this is that I can try to make next year's campout (because I'm going to go again because I'm a masochist who doesn't learn her lessons) a little bit better.  Maybe I'll turn into the person who is more than what she seems.




*Don't worry, I don't actually have a "murder" reflex, but murder is probably less embarrassing than crying or vomiting in public.
**Plus, it would have been hard to deliver a showstopping number while experiencing all of the aforementioned reflexes.
***But who isn't?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

That Old Feeling

Right now, I'm sitting on my couch all by myself in my living room and I'm wearing a sweater and tights and I'm still a little chilly next to the open window.  I breathe in and I smell the first molecules of Autumn in New England.  Next to me are my anatomy textbooks.  I should be studying because I have a midterm one week from Monday.  Instead, I'm blogging because I don't feel like I have a midterm one week from Monday.  Instead, I feel wonderful and blissful and content.  Fall is arriving.

I think Fall is here early this year.  Since I got back from Pennsylvania in the middle of July, there haven't been that many hot days.  Maybe the beach-goers complained about that, but I didn't.  This was Boston's welcome-home present to me after spending all of last year in a place where "fall" is just that thing that happens to you when you get knocked off your surfboard.  Halloween decorations are on the shelves at a lot of stores, and some places are already selling Christmas crap.*  Things are smelling like cinnamon and nutmeg and pumpkin spice.  And if you look closely enough, you can see the slightest hints of death on the leaves of the trees.  Beautiful death.**

My bliss is not exclusively a result of the autumnal air.  My house is pretty cool and I'm getting along well with my roommates.  One roommate and I are starting a tradition of "Saturday Morning Buffy and Doughnuts," which means that on Saturday mornings we watch BtVS and eat doughnuts (if that wasn't clear).  My other roommate and I went to the temple today.  I hadn't been since they changed that thing that they changed that you'd know about if you've been to the temple lately, and it was a great experience that allowed me to think of everything from a new perspective.  It was just so peaceful and heart-lightening.  I love the Boston Temple so much.  Afterwards we went to the cafeteria and got temple cookies, which were good, but I think they were over-hyped so I had unrealistic expectations.  Also they were out of Snickerdoodles, which I've heard are the best ones.  Finally (and maybe this is more of a life-update-post thing), I have a new significant man-type-person in my life.  Emphasis is on the "new," but it's going very well, and I'm happy.

Spending a year being miserable in Hawaii taught me to not take happiness for granted.  Maybe eating temple cookies and watching Buffy and having a boyfriend and enjoying the chill in the weather aren't earth-shattering things, but they're things that make me happy.  I am happy.  It's pretty great.

  


*Christmas merchandise is "crap" until the day after Thanksgiving.  Then it's allowed to be "stuff."  Know your place, holiday-paraphernalia, I mean, really.    
**So I'm morbid.  Deal with it.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It's been over a year now...

and therefore I feel safe telling this story.

It's one of those stories that you think is really awesome at the time, but it would take a while to make sure it actually was awesome and not a complete disaster.  Therefore, thirteen months and no parasitic infestations later, I present to you the story of my Hawaiian trash mattress, as I relayed it to Laura Taylor on 3 August 2012:
Can I tell you the story of my trash-mattress?  It's one of those things where you'll either be appalled or impressed (hint:  the right answer is "impressed").  So the [coworker] who gave me the mattress was like, "it's still in the shrink wrap (i.e. it's new!)", but when I got it into my apartment, I looked at it and was like, "this is NOT new." There were little things on it that may have been bedbug things but I wasn't sure.  It wasn't "shrink wrapped" so much as wrapped in Saran wrap or something (which optimistically was the old owners saying, "this will protect it from the elements in case someone wants it" but pessimistically was the old owners saying "gross...this thing is infested and I don't want it further infesting my home so I'm going to wrap it in plastic so that the bedbugs don't go elsewhere." 
At first I was like, "this is kind of sketchy...maybe I'll get rid of it," which made me really sad (feeling stupid for bringing this thing into my home, and such), but then I was like, "but wait!  I am the queen of getting things clean!  'Ask A Clean Person' is one of my favorite internet columns after all!  I can save this thing!" (mostly because I really don't want to spend >$200 on a new mattress that I'm only going to have for ten-ish more months).  So I ordered a pretty snazzy (but still only a quarter of the cost of a real mattress) bedbug protector and bought this little bottle of "all natural" bedbug repellant (basically a mix of cinnamon oil, citric acid, detergent, and diatomaceous earth) from the drugstore. 
So I left it wrapped in my room for about a week, keeping tabs on the surrounding areas to make certain there were no critters escaping (thank goodness for off-white carpets!), and it seemed okay.  Also, the fact that it was wrapped tightly in plastic in my hot apartment probably baked/suffocated anything that was living in there.  The bedbug protector arrived yesterday and then (and only then) did I take it out of the plastic.  I vacuumed the whole thing really well, and then "steam-cleaned" it with my iron on high heat/full steam.  Then, I sprayed it with the Lysol-brand version of Febreeze (kills smells AND bacteria), let that dry, and then vacuumed it AGAIN.  Then I sprayed it with the cinnamon oil stuff, and my bedroom now smells like the cinnamon bears from the BYU bookstore.  Kind of nice, but you don't want to breathe it in directly.  If I had any bugs in my nose, they are all gone.  It's currently in my room drying out completely, and when I get home tonight, I will put it in the bedbug protector and put it on my bedframe (which I will spray a bit with the cinnamon repellent for good measure).  Then I'll put my featherbed/mattress pad thing on top and then I'll put sheets over that.  I'm certain all of that will be safe, especially as nobody else would probably have gone to that much trouble--they probably would have just put it in the protector and been done with it (or worse!). 
So anyway, that's the story.  Also, I am awesome and so good at making gross things gross-no-longer.
I thought about blogging this story shortly after it happened, but I didn't want to have to redact it or make a new post saying, "update:  I have bedbugs."  But no bedbugs, and therefore, I am awesome. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Get Smart(Phone), or, The Droid I Was Looking For

I'm a pretty old-fashioned kind of gal.  I like my books in paper form, I like my buildings made of bricks,* and I like my music played on my clock radio CD player that I've had since 2004.  I also really liked my flip phone.  It was a little LG Accolade and it served me beautifully for probably over three years.  It was also fun because it was the same phone that my friends Matt, Ashlee, and Sarah all had.  We were like a little club of archaic phone friends.  

However, like most old things, my phone started to show that it was old.  The inlet where you plug in the charger was loose and you had to jiggle it in order to charge, and when it was charged, it would only stay charged for a day and a half.  The keys were starting to stick so it was hard to make spaces between words in text messages.  Last week it developed something comparable to trigger finger, such that it wouldn't flip open in one motion, but would get stuck halfway and have to be pushed further.  That was when I conceded that it was probably time for a new phone.

I had been contemplating the switch to a smart phone for a ridiculously long time.  Even though I am not super tech-savvy and I don't care for Angry Birds, I saw the merit.  I especially saw the merit when I was lost somewhere and didn't know when or where a bus would stop.  All of these things were minor issues that could not be used to talk me into sifting through an insane amount of options to pick out a phone, however.  The final straw was when my sixty-odd-year-old father, who types in all caps and doesn't know how to use the DVD player got a smart phone for work.  Back broken, I brought myself to the Verizon store and told the guy, "sell me a smart phone, dang it!"**

I decided on a Droid Razr M by Motorola.  All the Verizon store guys cheered me on as I walked out with it (probably because they were sick of me coming in and browsing and hemming and hawing for many weeks prior).  It was cheap and I got a fun purple case for it.  So far the only Apps that I've put on it are the LDS Gospel Library (even though I still lug my heavy hard copy quad to church), an Anatomy Study app (of course), and OpenMBTA.  Sometimes I still forget that I have it when I want to look things up, and I'm sure I haven't figured out half of the cool stuff it can do, but it's been useful so far (except for the one time it froze four hours after I got it and I questioned every decision I'd ever made in life up to that point--I'm melodramatic sometimes, okay?).

Of course, I have a way to go, vis-à-vis tech-savviness.  For instance, I'm still blogging on my laptop like a normal 20th-century type of person.

   
   

*I also like the Kate Nash album "Made of Bricks," but that's irrelevant here.
**Saying 'dang it' (or a harsher version thereof) always indicates to a salesperson that you mean business.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Crazy, Immune System-Destroying Life Update Post

This is a change from my boring life update posts (BLUP's) of the past.  It has been an INSANE couple of weeks.  So much has happened and the other day I commented how I was surprised that I hadn't gotten sick from all the stress and jinxed the holy heck out of myself by saying that.  So I'm sick.  It's nothing serious, just sinus and upper respiratory things, but it's enough to be annoying, especially during the first week of school.  But here's a very cursory rundown of what's been going on lately:

First of all, I moved to Brookline!  I talked about this earlier but I've been totally moved in for a bit over a week now.  The place is great and my room is 95% complete, so I'll post some pictures in coming weeks.  The neighborhood is great.  I kind of hate our shower, because it's like this:

Wtf indeed.
One of my main hurdles with the moving was the assembling of Ikea furniture.  I feel like assembling Ikea furniture is one of the ways that Hugh Jackman should prepare for a physically demanding movie role.  It could be an Olympic Sport:  Solo Women's Ikea Furniture Assembly.*  I had help for the second half of the 40-odd instructions for the bed,** but the dresser and bookshelf I did totally alone.  I felt pretty proud of myself!


The other major thing that happened was that I started school last week.  I'm only taking Medical Gross Anatomy at the moment, but I'll start grad school classes at the beginning of September.  I think I'm really going to enjoy it, mostly because I love anatomy and I love to learn.  It's almost an obsession.  Now that my hair is lighter in color and generally frizzy all the time, I've decided that I'm going to be the Hermione Granger of Gross Anatomy.  I am determined to rock all of my exams and basically be the best student there ever was.  Especially when it comes to pronouncing all those Latin names!

Just imagine the word "manubrium" instead of "Leviosa"
School will keep me very busy all the time, but I think that having a full-time job last year was beneficial in that I think I'll be able to keep a 45 hour per week study schedule and maintain some semblance of freedom on my evenings and weekends.  But as I've mentioned in many other posts, I am so happy to be in school again and I'm really looking forward to keeping the ball rolling on the whole PhD thing.

So those are the two main things that have been bubbling as of late and the reasons my cortisol levels were wonky and my immune system was being a giant slacker.  There are a couple of other personal-life things that have been going on as well, but I'm not quite at the "ready to blog about it" stage yet.  Stay tuned...maybe once I get over this cold...



*The Swedes (obviously) and Laura Taylor would dominate this.
**Getting a daybed with drawers and a trundle is an idea that I'm never going to have again.
  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gross Anatomy (Emphasis on the "Gross")

When I saw the list of required upper limb osteology to know for medical gross anatomy:

This is so disgusting...but also hilarious.
I am a little sad that my vast knowledge of siding the metacarpals will be on the shelf this semester.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Last Day of Freedom

I have so much I could write about (although the amount that I actually will write about is significantly smaller), but my apartment doesn't have internet yet because Verizon is The Devil.*  So I'm in Starbucks nursing a tall Passion Iced Tea for as long as I possibly can whilst I take advantage of the free WiFi.  However, I did want to write one thing:

I'm starting PhD school tomorrow!!!!!

If you know me even a little bit, you know how big of a deal this is.  I've been talking about getting a PhD for over five years now, and after all of the letdowns and the lacks of funding everywhere and the constant questioning of every life decision I've ever made, it's finally happening.  Tomorrow morning at 8:30** I will be sitting down for my first class of Medical Gross Anatomy.  I'm nervous, but so, so excited.


*I imagine that when you go to the symphony in Hell, the orchestra plays the Verizon hold music.
**Let's face it, it's me; I'm going to be sitting in an empty auditorium starting at probably 7:45 or something.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Credible Hulk

Last night I had a dream that I made out with Bruce Banner as portrayed by Mark Ruffalo.  That's neither here nor there.

Can you blame me?
(Source)
This is a post about something I realized yesterday.  First, can we all stipulate that I am very quick witted?  Anyone who has talked to me for any length of time can probably see that.  It's likely an artifact of 1) having lots of time to be alone with my thoughts so I can formulate them in clever ways and 2) watching too much well-written TV.

However, my quick wit, though one of my strongest selling points, has an unfortunate side effect:  when I am feeling angry or defensive, I have the capacity to be incredibly cruel.  I find exactly the right weapon and whittle it down to a true and unforgiving point.  Most often, I am the sole victim of my own cruelty, but I know that other people have experienced it as well.  If my cruel self were a character in a movie, she would be considered hilariously well-written, but in reality, she is ugly and I nearly hate her.  I am glad that I had recently seen The Avengers, because I know that this is how Bruce Banner felt about The Hulk, to have this monster inside of him that he must do everything in his power to control.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be invited somewhere, and the person who invited me understood that I might not want to go.  And I didn't.  Not because it would be uncomfortable or painful (although it would be), but because I knew there would be a strong chance that The Hulk would come out, and I certainly didn't want people who were just on the cusp of becoming my friends to see that person.

So my question to all of you is this:  what can I do, short of moving to some remote village in India where I will never ever feel provoked (isn't that what he did in The Avengers? I missed the beginning of the movie), to deal with unpleasant people/situations without my absolute worst self coming out?  If I can figure out how to alleviate this, something good will have come out of my Hulk revelation (in addition to a dream about making out with Mark Ruffalo, that is).

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm Back in Boston!

The guy on the plane next to me had the worst B.O.  And now I feel like I smell like B.O.*  I could take a shower, but I'm just going to go outside in a bit and get all sweaty again.  I guess I just have to resign myself to the fact that I'm not going to smell good until October.


*Kind of like that one episode of Seinfeld.  I've seen very few episodes of Seinfeld, but I've seen that one a few times, I think.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I need to not compare myself to other women.

Because when I do, I feel like the world is telling me this:

That's way harsh, Tai.
Even though I am Miss Prudie von Frigidpants (we can't all be super comfortable expressing physical affection, okay?).  And I did fail my driving test.

Reinvention

"I don't know who I am, who I am...All I know is that I should"
-Missy Higgins, "Where I Stood"


Ever since I got back to Boston, something has been off.  Don't get me wrong, being back has been 90% great* but there's been some off-ness.  I think I figured out what it is:  even though I can barely remember Hawaii, I was there, and I was there for a year.  Boston is different now, and the people there are kind of different.  (The social circles that existed when I was there over a year ago have dissolved, people have moved away, and new people have come in, leaving a completely new social structure that I have yet to fully understand.)  Most importantly though, I am different.**  So I need to reinvent.  Figure out how the new Alex fits into new Boston with new people.

As I mentioned a while ago, being in the different ward will help, once I get used to it (I started going to their Relief Society the last Sunday I was in Boston and felt oddly like a visitor).  Starting school again will certainly make a difference:  it will give me a reason to get up in the mornings with some sort of purpose.  And of course, what redefinition of self goes without a makeover?  Out of a combination of necessity and my mother's insistence that I currently do not look like a woman at all, I am changing my hair today, somewhat more drastically than I have in some time.  Also I finally took Laura's advice about skinny pants and found some that don't make me look terrible and fat.  Even so, some things are probably not going to change.

For one, new Alex still doesn't have a smart phone.


*Don't get me started on the 10%...I'm working on getting over it.
**Whether new Alex is better or worse than old Alex is still up for discussion.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pink Engagement Rings

Last night I dreamed that one of my guy friends took me to a jewelry store to help him buy an engagement ring for his girlfriend.  He picked out something with a "pink sapphire" which was really a rose zircon, which is, incidentally, the less attractive of my birthstones (I prefer opals, even though they're supposedly bad luck).  After he picked out the ring, he thanked me and then told me we couldn't be friends anymore once he got engaged.

I'm not sure if there was something in the water last year in Boston, but a significant number of my friends are in relationships (or pre-lationships, or flirty-text encounters, or they're so hot and outgoing that as soon as they get settled in someone is going to snatch them right up) right now.  Hooray for them doing something to fill the void that was my absence, but it kind of bums me out that I can't really hang out with them anymore.  No matter how awesome I am, I will never be someone with whom my non-single friends want to hang out more than their significant others, and I certainly don't want to be the Token Single Friend that couples allow to tag along out of charity and probably for comic relief.

I guess I have two options:  1) get myself a boyfriend so I can be part of the "club" and therefore be allowed to hang out with my non-single guy friends again without their girlfriends getting jealous (because, let's face it, I'm so threatening what with my Coke-bottle glasses and my inability to operate a curling iron), or 2) get more single friends...and possibly a number of cats.

It's probably important to note that later I dreamed that I told my friend the engagement ring shopping dream (dream within a dream? trippy!) and we went back there and reenacted the first part, but then he turned into Bill Hader and also became possessed.  He started freaking out and carried me into the manager's office and told me to stay there no matter what happened, but somehow I popped back outside where some other ladies were being forced to sit still on benches while he dug through the floor, exposing a skeleton in the sand (who builds a jewelry store on top of sand? has the Bible taught us nothing?).  It was apparently the body of a Black woman (I could tell from the skull) that the man whose spirit he was possessed with had murdered decades ago.  I was allowed to work on the case because of my connections but I first had to do reconstructions on all these rat bones.

Clearly this was a sign that I should stop worrying about my relationship status and focus on being a forensic anthropologist instead.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

What should I call my visit to the eye doctor?

Walking outside when my pupils are dilated:

Not the best Nosferatu image, I'm sure, but you get the idea.
In other news, my prescription didn't change much!  Now poverty is the only thing standing between me and laser surgery!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Arranged

I dream about arranged marriages a lot.  I'm not particularly sure why; maybe they're just a good jumping-off point for some interesting plots.  There was one involving a cornfield one time years ago...but that's a story for another day, I think.

Last night I dreamed that, for political reasons, I was arranged to be married to one of my friends, a friend of whom I'm fond enough to write a ukulele birthday song for, but not one that I would marry.  It was fine though, because he didn't want to marry me either.  Thankfully, there was a loophole:  if we could have five unsuccessful weddings we could get out of it.  We had an officiator who agreed to foul up the first ceremony, set to take place in Minnesota.  It's probably also important to mention that in this dream, I had superpowers much like Superman:  flying, x-ray vision, etc.*  This was why we could so easily get to Minnesota.  We were getting ready to leave my house in Medford (I was wearing a green dress that closely resembled a not-amazingly-flattering bridesmaid's dress I had to wear back in the day) when it started to snow.  I decided I needed shoes, so I went back inside and chose the brown shoes that make my feet smell horrible (this was not supposed to be a successful wedding, remember?).

Unfortunately the dream took a different turn when I somehow ended up in a plane and had to use my Superman powers in a way resembling something that happened in an episode of Lois and Clark:  The New Adventures of Superman, so I don't know if my friend and I got out of our marriage arrangement. But I'm going to be optimistic and say that everything worked out happily, and that at least one of us ended up with an attractive Asian man.   



*I figured this out earlier when I was at a New England beach and I flew up past the clouds into this room with a series of doors that opened over various states (I had at first gone too far to the left and ended up in South Dakota).  I ended up in Minnesota to take my father (not my real-life father, but it was the old guy from Modern Family) to a Dunkin' Donuts (which made no sense since we started out in New England so why would we go to Minnesota?) but it was actually this diner that served donuts and coffee and a tuna melt (which is what I ordered).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Valetudinarian

When I was about ten, I was obsessed with Xena: Warrior Princess.  One night, I got inspired by Xena's acrobatics and attempted some of my own.  I tried to do a somersault onto my bed, but I heard something snap in my neck instead.  I now know that it was probably a ligament doing normal ligamentous things, but at the age of ten, I assumed that my neck had broken.  Not realizing that death from a snapped neck would be instantaneous, I lay there in tears, assuming I would slowly wither away and die in the next few hours.

Ever since then, I have been a terrible hypochondriac.*

It didn't help that I was entering a field related to medicine and take lots of courses in pathophysiology where I would then diagnose myself with everything.  It also doesn't help that I have an actual heart condition that I assume is going to kill me at any moment without notice.  Furthermore, it doesn't help that I currently have the worst health insurance in the world and can't actually go to a doctor about anything until school starts in a little over a month.

The point of all of this right now is that I think I have esophageal spasms and they're quite bothering me.  At least I think they're esophageal spasms.  It could just be anxiety; it could be angina.  (It would really suck to have angina and not be a 50-year-old man.)  I won't be able to tell until school starts and I can go to a doctor with my new student health insurance.  At least it keeps me motivated to eat healthful food and stay in good shape, right?  And I'm keeping my stress levels down by baking lots of pie (today's adventure is strawberry rhubarb).

In short, though, I blame Xena.



*Another example that I don't care to include in the main text:  the first time I palpated my hyoid (this was well before I became an expert in human osteology), I thought I had a tumor.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Wacky Dreams

I used to have this Google Document that I would use to write down all my crazy dreams that I have (like this one, or this one), but in a mass frenzy of deleting stuff, I got rid of it.  But some of my dreams are too weird and awesome to keep to myself, so here's one that I dreamed last night as I slept in my queen-sized, pull-out sofa bed* in Pennsylvania.

I don't remember the events of the first part of the dream very well, but they included Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer mocking me for being too high-strung and no fun.  This made me really angry, so, in a fit of rage, I smashed a grilled cheese sandwich on his face.  He conceded that he had it coming.

As if any sandwich could mar that face.
The next part of the dream brought back some choir memories!  I was sitting at a desk in what might have been one of the green rooms of the HFAC at BYU, and men from BYU singers were walking by in outfits that would have made Johnny Weir say "whoa...dial it back a bit."**  But I got a phone call from Dr. Staheli (the director of Singers) saying that even though I was only in Concert Choir, they needed extra altos to go to Greenland with them.  I was looking at ticket prices and they were super cheap, but then I asked what the tour dates were and he said it started on 13 August, which was unfortunately the first day of Anatomy classes at BU, and therefore I couldn't go.  It was very sad.

Then I was still in choir, and we were going to sing at the Oscars, but I couldn't find an appropriate black dress.***  I was just going to wear my Concert Choir dress but I had so many closets and I was freaking out because it was in none of them.  Then I realized it was in my crypt!  I had a crypt not because I was dead (or undead) but because it was good storage.  I went to the cemetery and people from my ward in Boston were having a picnic on my crypt.  I rudely told them to shove off, and began looking, and lo and behold! there it was (is this a metaphor for how my choir days are dead and buried?)!  It was wrinkled of course, but I had time before going onstage to sing the National Anthem (they were very Patriotic Oscars) to iron it.  Shortly thereafter, I woke up, so I have no idea how the Oscars went.



*Because my parents got rid of my real bed after my sophomore year in college for some reason.
**For those of you who are not well-versed in flamboyant figure skaters, think velour, lots of rhinestones, and tight like unto a dish.
***I'm having a similar predicament for this wedding that I'll be singing at in a few weeks.  Wish me good shopping luck, please!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fun with Paint

Inspired by a conversation I had with my brand new home teacher last night.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

In Brief

I can't believe it's July already.  It's cold, so it doesn't feel like July.  Also it's been raining quite a bit.  I like to walk by the Mystic River where it's very shady and breezy, and in theory it would be perfect for not being too sweaty after a walk, but it's still very humid.

Last night I had a dream that I was still in Hawaii.  It was really weird because I remembered that I used to live there, but it was all very blurry and fragmented, like I was dreaming about a dream.

Yesterday I realized I had no casual clothing.  In Hawaii, I would wear work clothes and pajamas and little else (interpret that as you like), but I never wore just regular going-out-in-the-daytime clothes very much.  So I attempted shopping a little bit.  Useful tip:  Target has good, cheap t-shirts!

Also I went yesterday to Harvard Square and drank iced hot chocolate at Burdick's.  Now I was always skeptical of iced hot chocolate--how could that be different from chocolate milk?  But it was delicious!  Kind of expensive, but so, so tasty!

I ate a cannoli at Modern Pastry in Medford.  I kind of felt like I was eavesdropping on some mob bosses.  The cannoli was decent, but I'd probably still take the gun.

There's a little bit of bitter that's seeping into my Boston bliss.  There's a thing that I'm dreading, and I'm not looking forward to having to deal with it, but I will deal with it--probably with a mix of active distraction and avoidance.  I'm just annoyed at myself for letting this stupid thing bother me, but I just have to imagine that I'll manage, and in a short time, I won't be bothered by it anymore.  Also I'm aware that this is super vague.

It still amazes me how late the sun stays up here.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Journey of a Million Steps

One of the things I regretted not doing when I moved to Hawaii was buying a pedometer, so this week I went to Target and bought one!  It's a cheap one, but it measures steps, distance, and calories (surely not accurately).  For as much as I walk and Alex-run,* I want to know how many steps I'm taking.  On my short Alex-run this morning, I did just over four thousand steps (minus twelve because the thing got jostled a bit when I tried to clip it to my waistband without breaking it).

I wonder how long it would take to walk a million steps.  The pedometer only counts to 99,999, so I'd have to do some resetting to actually keep track which means that I'm probably not going to actually keep track, and probably the battery will die well before then anyway, but I still wonder.  Maybe distance is a better thing to track; I'm sure I walked over a hundred miles in Hawaii.


*Alex-run v.  To run a little bit, and then walk a little bit, and then run a little bit more, and then walk because the scenery is pretty and who wants to miss it, and then run because I should stop being a baby and it's not that hard, and then walk because it's been a while since I've seen my cardiologist, and so on.
Also, you're not really supposed to use a pedometer for running because it makes the distance inaccurate, but whatever.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Medford, a Non-Illustrated Guide

This is really the kind of blog post that should have pictures, but I never got around to taking any, and it's raining today, so I don't particularly want to go outside right now to take some.  I'll use plenty of descriptive imagery, though.

I live in Medford right now.  It's a lovely little town, despite being almost-inconveniently far away from things.  I moved into a house with two other ladies from church, who are fantastic and good at appreciating British comedy and Joss Whedon things.  Our house is old, but very spacious and fairly well-kept up (just try to name one old house in the Boston area with perfectly functional electricity).  My room is large and the walls are purple.  The floors are half wood, half linoleum, and all squeaky.

I've been running in the mornings to get in shape (and also because I have nothing much to do these days), so I've had a decent chance to explore the surrounding neighborhoods.  Boston Avenue seems to be one of the main streets in the town (city?).  There are lots of little businesses, restaurants, and even a convent!*  There's also this Danish pastry shop that I've been to once before I knew the area but will probably patronize more now that I know where it is.  Medford is bordered by the Mystic River, and along the river there are little parks with trails.  The river is lovely!  There are lily-pads and today I saw a family of swans floating along.  I think it would be quite nice to live along the river one day and have a rowboat to get around.

High Street is another main street and it leads to the Commuter Rail, which I rode for the first time yesterday.  It was fun, sitting on a train while a man in a hat walked through and collected my fare.  There is also a cute place called the Magnificent Muffin and Bagel Shoppe that I visited primarily to break a twenty-dollar bill.  It's run by adorable old ladies who sell muffins the size of a premature infant.  I had a cranberry scone that was quite tasty.  There is also a bank, a post office, and a drug store close by.

My house is also only two miles from Davis Square, a pretty happening area in Somerville.  There's a bus that goes straight there, but I walked it the other day without getting lost once.  The only downside to my location is that the closest (i.e., only walkable) grocery store is a Whole Foods, and I am slightly morally opposed to Whole Foods because they bought out all the Foodmasters and now Bostonians who aren't pretentious organic millionaires have to find new places to shop.  They do have a good bakery section though, and that might placate me enough to do some shopping there.

So that's my initial impression of West Medford (oh yes, I live in West Medford, which doesn't mean much, I don't think) in a nutshell.  Perhaps at a later point I'll be motivated to take pictures.  Or people could just come visit and I'll show them around, maybe buy them a Danish.


*This will be a good thing to know in a few years if I ever decide to formally abstain from the company of men.  The vow of poverty shouldn't be an issue (grad school...sigh), and I'm sure they won't care too much about my not being Catholic, right?

Monday, June 24, 2013

First Weekend in Boston

As Charlie Brown might have said, "Happiness is having such a wonderful time that there's no time to blog about it."  I've been in Boston since Thursday now and this is the first moment I've been able to collect my thoughts and write about what I've been doing.

I arrived in Boston early Thursday morning after a terrible flight (crazy turbulence over Montana, snoring guy across the aisle, and a middle aged couple next to me groping each other's bums).  My friend Hannabeth picked me up and drove me to Charlestown, where I stayed for one night before I could move into my sublet.  After a quick shower to wake up and rinse away the airplane smell, I went to the Prudential Center for lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen with Patrick and Judy.  As I was riding the T to Back Bay Station, I was overwhelmed with familiar smells and sounds and it was as if all of my senses were telling me I was home at last!

Couldn't zoom out without falling onto the tracks
After lunch and Pinkberry/much-needed catching up with Patrick, I went back to the apartment and decided that a pedicure was in order, and what luck! there was a pedicure place right around the corner on Bunker Hill Street!  My toes are now cute and the girl was able to massage some of the knots out of my feet.*  Then I went to Ward Temple Night.  I had also forgotten how lovely the Boston Temple is.  I played a fun game in my mind riding there as I tried to reconstruct the inside from memory, but after going to Laie so often, I couldn't.  The beauty of the Celestial Room was striking, and I'm glad that Boston is my home temple again.

Of course, coming from Hawaii, I couldn't fall asleep at a reasonable time (though staying awake through the Temple session was quite the struggle--it's dark, okay?).  It was fine, though, as I could sleep in on the red couch.  I did little on Friday morning but enjoy being a Townie for one last day.  I had lunch at the Grasshopper Cafe (got the Turkey Club...my, they have delicious bread), and bought a jelly donut at Zume's Coffee House.  In the afternoon, my friend Matt helped me move my stuff from Charlestown to Medford.  (I will blog about the town of Medford later!)  My new roommate was kind enough to take me to the grocery store and I stocked my cabinets with enough to last the length of the sublet, I hope (minus perishables, of course).  Again, I couldn't fall asleep so I read a bit of The Bell Jar; I haven't decided if I like it yet.

Saturday!  My roommate and I went to Haymarket, another place whose greatness I'd forgotten.  Haymarket is this outdoor weekend market for incredibly cheap produce.  It's a fun Boston experience, and it made me kick myself for buying inferior produce at the grocery store the night before.  I did buy some really great flatbread at a Halal market hidden underground.  In the late-afternoon, I went up to Cape Cod for a beach bonfire with people from the wards.  Not only was it great to see so many familiar faces, but it was lovely to be at the Atlantic Ocean again.  I'll grant you that the Pacific is beautiful in its own way, but the calm blue/grey/green of the Atlantic is soothing in a way that the Pacific's striking aqua-blue could never be.

See what I mean?
I came home smelling all smokey, as one does after a bonfire, but at least I was tuckered out enough to sleep well before going to church on Sunday.  Oh, how I had missed the Longfellow Park wards!  The lesson in Relief Society was probably the best Relief Society lesson I'd ever heard.  One sad thing is that the counselors in the bishopric got released that day, but at least I got to see them one last time.  (Although I did nearly knock one of them over on the way to hug a lady I hadn't seen in forever and had missed dearly--partly because she babysat all of my sheet music for the past year.)  The rest of Sunday brought a lunch with some other friends and a barbecue at a house in Brighton.  

Although much has changed in Boston, and I do feel like I've lost a year, parts of me feel like I never left.  Hawaii seems like a blurred memory of feelings that I left behind at the airport.  I am so incandescently happy to be back, and I can't wait to have even more Boston adventures.



*This is a recurring issue, perhaps I should buy a tennis ball or something to do this myself.