Saturday, November 21, 2015

Palaces and balls

Palaces and balls

I went to a Navy ball first time and toured Lugwigsburg Palace and other fun sites in Stuttgart.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My nephew ate "real" food for the first time

Jackson montage in Savannah NEW EXPERIENCES | kellhaight

I was in Georgia! (Then It took me forever to edit. I did so somewhere over the Atlantic.) I mostly filmed my nephew. He's comedic GOLD.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My niece is obsessed with me

Sooooo, I've forgotten to put my videos on YouTube here for y'all ... 

Deep in the Heartland NEW EXPERIENCES | kellhaight I spent the end of the summer in Heartland, TX with my sister and her family, and We had the best time everrrr.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

What's wrong with being confident?

*ahem* I have sufficiently listened to Confident to make an informed statement.

Not gonna lie, I was worried it was going to be bad. Real fluffy, real poppy. However, it actually had a lot of blues in it—songs that were pretty bluesy or had blues elements. The blues aren’t really my thing, so there is that. It was different than I thought it was going to be (good), but it is a genre I don’t personally seek out.

And while, I do enjoy me some good pop, I like it to be a little more unique than some of the runs and synthesizing that are pretty generic on this album.

There are a few stand outs besides the title track—For You, Stone Cold. I know people would normally put Lionheart in this category as well, but ehhh, I do like it, but it’s just not my jam like I thought it was going to be. It, too, has good build, especially at the start, and Demi sings the hell out of it. I would rather listen to For You, though. Hands down, my favorite is For You. It’s got good builds and falls, good rhythm. It gets stuck in my head. It’s an anthem song. And I knew the first time I heard it that it was going to be my favorite.

Confident and Cool For the Summer are the pump-up jams, and I like them for that—let’s run to them, let’s rock out in the car to them, let’s pretend-we’re-in-a-music-video dance to them. Confident is catchy and more likable the more I hear it. ALSO, the base/synth underneath the melody, can anyone say Pink? (Cuz I Can, if you need some help.) And obviously, Cool for the Summer is catchy af.

Demi also has had tracks about her dad, and obviously Father is about him as well. I like that she directly addresses him and his problems and how he affected their family and does so without mincing words. She’s done that well on all the songs she’s written about him. It’s similar to Kelly Clarkson’s directness in, for example, Because of You and Piece by Piece and Pink’s Conversations with My 13 Year Old Self.

I do like the pre-chorus for Waitin’ For You and its parallels to UFC/Rhonda Rousey, even though the actual named shoutout is in Stars (and parelles are also drawn in For You and, obviously, in Confident). The other songs are fairly average and round out a pretty cohesive album.

So, I do like the album a lot more than I thought I would, a solid B-.

Now, off to give Revival (Selena Gomez) and Thirty One (Jana Kramer) the attention they deserve… AFTER I listen to For You a few more times.

*moon walks away*

Thursday, September 24, 2015

This is her wrath

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Monday, May 25, 2015

We made it to Arlington

Memories go back to the beginning of you — another time, another war.
There's a hollow hurt that's deep inside an empty longing
When your heart is taken to a distant, foreign shore.

We were alone when you were born.
The familiar hollow hurt and empty longing ours to share.
In a far away land, your father wore the uniform.

The years went by; our nation's troubles increased.
I prayed your life would be secure, assured by your father’s service.
But that was just something I dreamed.

"Is this the purpose?" I asked myself as you walked toward the plane.
To wear a uniform and go to war to risk your all.
And who is to blame?

You did not return to the parades and fanfare as your father had.
But all that mattered was that you did.
Many came home draped under a flag, and many never have.

Your brothers and nephews now put on the uniform and dog tags.
Decades: I have not been without that hurt and longing.
We have been lucky, never being handed a golden star with folded flag.

Our homes contain our desperation, worries and tears.
Our thoughts stretch to battlefields and soldiers by your side.
Our prayers and pleadings fall on God’s ears.

But our country’s fortune was never lost on me
When I visited and thanked the named and those unknown
And when I see the legacy carried through the family.

And now I'm laid down to rest
By your father amongst the rows of white
In great company — a nation's heroes, no less.

My grandpa Haight, who served in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, died in 2009. He was almost 90 years old and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He and his family settled in Fairfax, Virginia where three generations of Haights grew up, or at least grew up coming and going on a regular basis, in their house. 

My grandma unexpectedly died 3 years after my grandpa from a stroke. She was two weeks away from her 85th birthday and was buried with my grandpa at Arlington. My grandma's husband, brother-in-law(s?), 4 sons, son-in-law, and 2 grandchildren (and more) served and serve in the Military — many of them have deployed at least once. 

It reluctantly became time to say goodbye to that house after my grandma died. We spent a lot of time going through the contents of a home where husband and wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren had spent 40+ years. Now, my depression-era raised grandma was notorious for saving everything and anything. And she often wrote down notes on scraps of paper, old envelopes and sticky notes. Years after we emptied the house itself, we were still finding her jotted-down thoughts in boxes of papers.

My Aunt Shauna found parts of a poem of sorts my grandma began the day she sent her oldest son Clayton off to fight in the Vietnam War. Shauna shared it with my father (who was deployed to Afghanistan at the time), who shared it with my mom, who shared it with me. While not widely known, I often take my creative writing down poetic and lyrical paths and my mother asked me to finish my grandma's poem for her.

I'm not sure exactly when my Uncle Clayton left for Vietnam, but the U.S. entered the war in 1965. I originally received my grandma's poem in January 2014. I finished it in May 2014, and my mom read it to the entire family at Christmas that year. I decided Memorial Day 2015 was as good a day as any to share it online.

I'm eternally grateful for the sacrifice of every service member and their families. And I'm especially grateful for those who gave their lives for our country and for the sacrifices my family members have made. And I know it's all just a matter of time until we all see each other again.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Red Plate

In my family, we have one plate that does not match the rest. It's red and in white letters says "You Are Special."

Growing up, we got to use "the red plate" on special occasions: Birthday? You got the red plate. Placed in the science fair? You got the red plate. Scored a goal in your soccer game? Red plate.

I don't know the last time I got the red plate, or the last time anyone used it. I'm not even sure the last time I've seen the red plate. I think it's under all the regular plates; that's where it always was.

I don't know the last time I thought about the red plate, but it is not forgotten.

Earlier today, I emailed my dad (who is in Afghanistan for his 6th tour) about something I had done. Part of his reply said "If we were all assembled for dinner tonight, you'd get the red plate. Good job and I love you, baby girl."

And I simultaneously burst into tears for a few seconds.

I wish we were all assembled tonight and that I did eat my dinner off the red plate, instead of me sitting on the ground watching NCIS on my laptop.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?

song of the week

There isn't anyone you can be more honest with than yourself.

You can lie to everyone around you, but no matter what you can't actually lie to yourself.

Well, you can lie to yourself, but you'll never really believe it. You're only pretending to believe it. We all pretend to believe the lies we tell ourselves.

I pretend to believe the lies I tell myself. I do it all the time. We all do it all the time. Days. Weeks. Months. Even years. It's just something many of us do.

But at some point you stop pretending, at least to yourself. There are a few lies I've "believed" for quite some time that I'm finally calling myself on. I'm going to accept what I always knew to be true and try to figure out how to make it work in my life or accept I don't get to have it in my life. I never really believed the lies anyway; I was just putting off the point when I had to decide or deal with it.

Most of the time when we vocalize we're going to be honest with ourselves and those closest to us, we aren't sure who we are, we can't quite see who we can be. Because those closest to you, already know who you are and what you can be.

Our friends and family would surprise most of us with how much they know without us ever saying a word. The things they know that we've never spoken—they could fill a book.

When I see people gear up, saying they're just going to be who they are and those around them can take it or leave it—they're just running a 100 mph in no particular direction.

They don't know where they're heading. And I don't mean on where to live and work. I myself am at a loss of how to start the process to decide the good, better, best of where to live and where to start my career.

I mean where they're heading metaphorically. When are you going to see what others see in you? When are you going to admit the things you're wrong about? When are you going to stop "raging against the machine" just so you can stand up against something for the sake of rebelling? What & who are you going to be responsible for? When are you going to come back from everything you left behind when you were to stubborn? When are you going to stop running?

Because the people in your life already know who you are. We don't want you to change. We want you stop judging us over thinking (incorrectly) we're going to judge you. We already know you and love you. Offer us the same courtesy and come back.

All of this might not be completely true for everyone. But there's some truth in it for everyone.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really.

My mom had to take our dog Panzer to the vet to be put down on Friday morning. He was just shy of 15. We buried hum back at the house my parents own in Virginia near Sassy. My dogs seem to decide to call it quits on Friday mornings. Sassy died on a Friday morning in July 2010. I'm glad he's been laid to rest near his friend after these past few years apart. Pets are more than just pets. They're family.

We used to joke that Panzer would never die since he had defied death so many times in his little life. He ate pounds of chocolate on several occasions, he got free from the backyard numerous times (and no car is going to see a little, gray dog in the road), he was attacked by a golden retriever and yellow lab and almost died, when Sassy died he was so sad and lonely he didn't eat for almost a week and that almost killed him, and he had a heart condition for the last 2 years of his life.

He was old and not in perfect health and even though we knew his time with us drawing to a close, it still seemed like he could never really die. He always rebounded. He was always there. Especially since I am not actually home to see him and bury him like I was with Sassy, it also feels like it can't be real that he is gone. But he is, and my heart is broken and the world I've been living in for 15 years is shattered. I love him so much.

Up until just a few years ago, he was like a puppy his whole life. He was just an athlete. He was so fast and agile. He was my best friend. He would let us dress him up when were little. He learned a dozen tricks and how to spell "walk" and "leash." He caught a few squirrels and birds in day. He was protective of us and spent his whole life brining me so much joy. I dread going to my parents house and him not being there. I miss him so much. My mom says the puppies are confused as to where he is and search the house and car for him. The first generation of my dogs are gone now.

He "liked" to watch Bones with me. AKA, I would have him sit on my lap or he would lie in the beanbag while I watched Bones. He really did watch baseball with mom, though. He would stare at the TV while my mom watched the Mariners and would move if something blocked his view. He was always cautious. He was always aware of what we were doing and hated getting in trouble; he would get so embarrassed. People who say dogs don't have these types of personalities have never cared about an animal properly. He was my best friend and my heart is broken and, just as when Sassy died, will never really be quite whole again.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Today someone told me I'm like a cat... and it's turned out to be accurate.

We now bring you to the portion in our program called "Ten thoughts floating around my brain lately."

1. I cut down on some job interview stress by just wearing the same thing to every interview. I only wear that outfit for like an hour. I am doing laundry tomorrow, so everyone calm down.

2. As a recent graduate/current full-time job hunter, I feel like I have no direction in life. But of course "that thing" will happen so I'm told what direction to take...right? It's not. What am I supposed to do? Where do I find the goal in my life? What is my new permanent?

3. Why can't I get my WiFi password set up correctly. Help me, please.

4. What I want to do, or where I want to go, or how I want my personal life to be ranges from one extreme to another and everything in between multiple times a day. And it's exhausting. *See items 5 and 7.

5. I do, in fact, spend a lot of time sitting/lying on the floor in my room pondering, trying to relax, trying to keep my thoughts from straying to things I've tried to put behind, asking God for a few things, and writing (guess where I am now). This is also what sparked my cat likeness discussion tonight.

6. I think it takes a couple times meeting me to get a good feel for what I'm capable of. (AKA I walk out of interviews and THEN all the awesome things about myself that I forgot to mention come to the front of mind).

7. When I've got to much on my mind, my usual go-to music is country. Just put all my country songs on shuffle. Or Kelly Clarkson.
Because, Kelly Clarkson.

8. Go Seahawks!!! PLEASE win on Sunday.

9. I'm feeling a viewing of The Iron Lady needs to happen soon. Get feeling awesmome and well, Meryl Streep.

10. Lady Antebellum concerts are freaking amazing. They are fantastic live and great performers. They are, indeed, one of my favorite bands. It was the definitely the best concert I've attended.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The lessons I learned at BYU

Sorry my blogging has been so sporadic this semester. It was my last, and it was not the easiest. Never have I had a more stressful, incredibly busy semester (and yeah, it's been pretty emotional too...whatever).

This week I graduate from BYU and today is my final day at The Universe. I've spent the better part of the last 2 years in this newsroom. I was a sports reporter, the campus desk editor, the sports desk editor and I've finished up as the opinion editor.

There are many things I look back on my time here that make me smile. And there are quite a few that I look back on that make me cry. That's life for ya. But I'm glad I stuck it out when I was freshman and wanted nothing more for several months than to transfer to a different school. BYU is a home for me now.

The newsroom is one of my favorite places on campus (we all know South Field, cheering on the soccer team, is my absolute favorite place at BYU). I've made the best friends in my classes and at work. I'm going to miss the newsroom so very much.

My last editorial as opinion editor is also one of my favorites:

The lessons I learned at BYU

It’s hard to say which semester or year was my best at BYU as my college career comes to an end this week. I’ve stopped trying to classify a certain year in my life as good or bad. Like most everything else, it’s not black and white, but many shades of grey.

BYU students and members of the LDS Church often give off this appearance of perfection and the attitude of “if you just have a little more faith, you’ll be fine and happy.” While it’s important to have faith, the fact remains that at times life is just plain hard, and sometimes it’s OK that things aren’t OK. The truth is that we’ve all faced similar struggles at one point or another.
Through the highs and lows of life during my time at BYU, I’ve learned many lessons. Coming into work every day as the Opinion Editor and reading through your letters—hearing about your struggles, complaints, losses and gains—I’ve learned from the lessons you’ve had to learn...
Read the rest here!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cougar fans, it's time to step up

Oh, I never blogged my latest op-ed from The Universe

It’s a good thing we beat Boise State on Friday; let’s just say the Broncos aren’t my favorite. Also, I was not looking forward to my social media blowing up from fans calling for the players’ heads.

What happened to our “loyal, strong and true” Cougar fans? I’ve found myself disappointed in our fan base for years. Sure we come out in huge numbers in Provo and across the country. We get loud. We praise our athletes and coaches on a job well done.

Heaven forbid we lose a game though.

Read the rest here!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

United we stand, divided we shut down

This week my Op-Ed for The Universe got a bit political. How could I not with this government shutdown? Really.
I don't care what your political beliefs are, and you probably don't care about mine. This isn't about which side is right. This isn't about the issues on the table. That's a whole other discussion. This is about the laziness across our government and the way in which issues are dealt.  
We elected these people into office. We voted to keep them in office in the last elections. And now they have allowed a government shutdown. This mentality of Congress dragging every bill or decision out, this mentality of each party fighting the others about everything, has been rampant on Capitol Hill for far too long.

 Read the rest here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Severing the digital cord

Another Tuesday, another Op-Ed for The Universe.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr. That's just six different ways online you can be connected with a single person. Then we can Facetime, text, call and email; we read each other's blogs and send each other Snapchats.
Have you ever really thought about all the ways you can reach one person? You can keep tabs on many of your friends without even talking to them. You can keep tabs on people without them even knowing you are keeping tabs on them.
Social media and all the forms of digital communication we have help us keep connected to our friends and family, but what about when, for whatever reason, we need to sever ties with someone?
Read the rest HERE


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Post Secret revisited

Remember when I used to post about Post Secret all the time? Wasn't that grand? I've still been reading them every single Sunday and saving my favorites; I've talk about how I feel about Post Secret. However, I haven't shared any.

Welllllll, it's been much to long.

Some brand new, some recent, some I-don't-even-know-how old.
Enjoy :)

Since I don't even speak French. It says (according to 
Frank—so probably Google Translate): "I am never as 
happy as in my armchair with a book in my arms." 
Goodness, I love reading.

How much does this resonate with me? A lot.

My RA has been there for me since she was my RA 
when I was a freshman. She's one of  my closest 
friends, and I miss her dearly! Even though we don't, 
and never will again, see each other/talk every day like 
we did four years ago, we've stayed in contact & I'm so 
glad we have :) So this just reminded me of 
her and how awesome she is.

Friday, September 13, 2013

I came in like a Wrecking Ball

You know what, I'm just going to say it:

I watched the heck out of Hannah Montana with my younger sister. Who WOULDN'T want the best of both worlds? I have a handful of Miley Cyrus songs on my iPod. If "We Can't Be Tamed" comes on, it's a jam fest. It's catchy and makes me feel a little awesome; so what? And don't act like you never sang your heart out in the car to The Climb.

We Can't Stop. *sigh* I like to hear the chorus every once in a while on the radio and that's it. It's so dumb, and I'm concerned what else I would find on that album.

So, I like some things Miley does; I don't like some things. Therefore, I feel like I'm being pretty objective.

The VMA performance was a debacle. It would have been a debacle if ANY artist performed that way.

VMA, Disney, "She's supposed to be an idol to young girls", blah blah blah controversies aside, Miley Cyrus's Wrecking Ball is a really good song, but people are losing their minds about it. Probably because the VMAs has put Miley in the center of Hollyweird for the time being.

But give it the chance it deserves. Its lyrics are powerful and are delivered fairly powerfully. The writers turned out a great song that many people could easily connect with. It brings the emotion without holding back. And the video, albeit a bit too much, has a fantastic concept.

Perhaps if in the video she was a bit more clothed... Actually, really, I don't even care about that. It's all very symbolic/metaphorical, and I kinda like it. It's very stripped down, which last time I read the lyrics (five minutes ago) that's what the song is all about. Sometimes after trauma in your personal life you do feel like you are left with absolutely nothing.

If it was another artist who started out as an "adult" and had a mature approach and audience since becoming famous, no one would have batted an eye.

Honestly, just keep that dang tongue in your mouth Miley, it's *shudders* blegh. The problem is the forced sensuality she's portraying. She's forcing it and it's awkward and a bit trashy. That's all there is to it. It's that simple. That's what makes us uncomfortable.

The video's director took the approach of stripped down and sensual. When he should have taken the stripped down and broken/sharp approach. Contrasting the white to a more broken-rocker side. It would have been golden. The song isn't about sex appeal. But the video is. That's its issue.

The Disney stars only have a few options:

They can stay with Disney and "Disney appropriate" things their whole lives. But frankly, Disney is a stepping stone for the most part, and if they don't move on their careers dissipate. Disney is their start and we have to allow them to grow up and live their lives. It doesn't take away from those days. It doesn't somehow turn Hannah Montana into a bad show. Let your kids watch and look up to Hannah Montana. I'll say it again. HANNAH MONTANA (which, again, the whole point of that show was looking up to the star, not the girl underneath the wig and sunglasses)

They can understand their standing as "good Disney kid" and their role model status, remember what Disney did for them and appreciate those days. Then they can mature into who they want to be and take their careers where they want. If it isn't harmonious with Disney, they don't throw it in our faces. They take responsibility. Thank you Demi Lovato (especially Demi) and Selena Gomez. They aren't without scandal, but they've navigated the Hollywood limelight better than most and have left the Disney personas in good shape.

Last, they can flip a 180ยบ and throw it Disney's face that they aren't Disney stars anymore. They are their own person who is grown up and can do whatever they want. We'd prefer they just keep it classy, but that's not the case all the time. I would prefer everyone, regardless if they were on Disney or not, to keep it classy. But pigs can't fly so....

Thursday, September 12, 2013

9/11: Never forget

My editorial this week for The Universe is on 9/11. It was a bit emotional to write, but I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to talk about it in a more formal setting.

It is emotionally difficult to remember the events of 9/11. Planes slammed into buildings; smoke and flames billowed over skylines. People jumped to their deaths rather than slowly succumb to smoke and fire. First responders fought to save victims and became victims themselves. Towers fell, and walls crumbled. But on that day we came together as a nation, and we can't forget that we must stand together as a nation always. I remember firefighters raising an American flag over the remnants of the World Trade Center. I remember the American flag being draped over the wall of the Pentagon by firefighters and military personnel.

[Read the rest here]

United we stand.
Never forget.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The stakes are higher

I took a blogging hiatus. It was a thing.

After going to NYC for an internship, I'm back at BYU for my last semester. I'm also back at The Universe as the Opinion Editor. Here's my latest Op-ed.

Now, I realize I’m a little extreme. Or a lot extreme. But most students feel those nervous “butterflies” now and again at the beginning of new semesters. It’s because the stakes are higher here, and they get higher each semester. The choices we make the farther we go through college will have a greater influence on our five- and 10-year plans. Many of the choices we are making now will impact us for our entire lives. No wonder the thought of making these decisions makes me ill.
...That’s the most important thing at stake now that we are solely responsible for our choices. What will make up our character? How will we define our lives? You’re deciding how you’re going to live your life.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The love we know they deserve

I wrote another opinion editorial for The Universe.

We accept the love we think we deserve

...Others' treatment of us often affects what we think we deserve. I'm not necessarily pointing this out because I think we should all go take a hard look in the mirror and to expect better of ourselves and set higher standards — we do know that. I'm saying we need to use that knowledge to better serve others. We need to be the confidant, the friend that tells our loved ones they deserve so much more than the mediocrity they are grasping at. ...

Read the rest here!!

I really enjoy writing op-eds and I hope you enjoy reading them