Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In retrospect...I was totally wrong (but I really knew it all along)

In one of my classes the other week we were talking about decision making models. Sounds grand, right? All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I had a life lesson to ponder. 

Sometimes when we have to make a choice we choose one we want to be the right decision, even though we know deep down it's not the right one. But we make it anyway and try to go back and justify our reasoning. And usually that justification is flawed. This is called the Retrospective Decision Making Model.

Sometimes we know the right choice to make (or at least which choice of the many options is wrong), but it's hard, uncomfortable, or is going to be painful at first and we don't want to endure that. So we keep going the wrong way, trying to talk ourselves into believing this choice makes us happy.

Eventually, we're going to break down and come to terms with the fact that this was never the right choice. Then we have to go back and make the one we should have in the first place and by now it's even harder to correct our mistake. 

We're all at fault to doing this. And hopefully we catch ourselves in time before we've gone to far to go back.

Anyway, it just got me and a classmate thinking (after the initial shock of learning something useful in that class).

Sunday, November 25, 2012

W7: Wants, needs. They're like the same...right?

Week seven: seven wants

What, oh what do I want? I find it interesting this week falls right around the beginning of the Christmas season (pay close attention Mom and Dad! juuust kiiding, mostly). A lot of these are things I aspire to be able to afford many years from now. Others I'd like, right about now. Some I've had a lot of fun doing with friends and family with over the years and I want to be able to continue making fun memories with people I care about.

for this semesters to be over. I don't like most of my classes and I just can't WAIT for this semester to be over so I don't have struggle through boring lectures anymore and do the many homework assignments I've been doing the past few months that I think are just stupid and not helpful to my learning the material. I don't mean that this semester has sucked. I love my job and co-workers. I love my friends and all the funs things we do. But it's time for a break. PLUS it means it is CHRISTMAS!! And I get to go home and see my family and dogs. It means I get to watch tons of movies and read books (btw-any suggestions on some good reads I should check out?). It means Christmas lights and music. It means decorations and parties. I just want these next three weeks to zip along at a decent pace.

awesome, new co-workers. Unfortunately some of my co-workers will be leaving (or have already left) The Universe after this semester due to graduation or internships or just other things. Only a few will be leaving, and it's a little sad, but for how many people are in the newsroom we all get a long pretty well. Drama is few and far between and it's a pretty solid work environment most of the time. So, I just want the new ones who fill their positions to be awesome as well. No disrupting the balance! I'm sure it will be grand.

a library. One day, when I have a house, I shall have a library. Tall bookshelves with comfortable chairs and a good couch where I can read in peace and quiet, with big windows that let in all the light. A fireplace wouldn't hurt either. I really love to read and I want a great place to have all my books and space for all the books I will yet read. My sister Shannon and I both have this aspiration. We just want a cozy library where we can kick back with our books.

a jeep grand cherokee laredo. This is my dream car, has been for many years. My Uncle Matt has one that he lets me drive, which is grand. One of my friends from high school had one that I drove all time. I don't know, I just love them. They are fun to drive, they sit me up high so I can see. They aren't huge monsters but can still fit a good amount of people and can tow things (see below). One day. It will be my next car, but for now — and for many, many more years — my Suzuki SX4 will easily suffice.

a puppy. Since I was eight years old my family has had dogs. We have three currently, a dog and two puppies. We all know how much I adore them and how much my world revolves around them when I'm home. Dogs are truly man's best friend and once I get out of Provo and graduate and get settled down into whatever my life ends up being in a little over a year I am getting a puppy ASAP. And I can't wait. I just can't wait.

a 4-wheeler. Oh, how much I owe all of my friends over the years who have 4-wheelers. I think they are so much fun. I never pass up a chance to go 4-wheeling. I've been all over the place in several states and several different terrains. And once I get my jeep, I can hook the trailer up and go 4-wheeling to my hears content.

a wave runner. My family has a boat practically as long as I can remember and it is a blast. Don't get me wrong, I want a boat too, but wave runners are SO much fun. My aunt's family has one and we've rented one before and they are fantastic and exhilarating. I could spend all day out on the water on a wave runner. They're "the motorcycle of the sea!"

“whatever you want, 
at any moment, 
someone else is getting it. 
whatever you have, 
someone else is longing for.”
>laura lippman, the most dangerous thing 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

W6: Oh, the places you'll go

Week six: six places

In (mostly) no particular order.

Washington I've lived all over this country, but Washington state (the Puget Sound area) is my absolute favorite. I like the rain. I like the moderate temperatures. I like being able to see Mt. Rainier. I like the trees. I like the lakes. I just like it so very much. I haven't been back since I left when I was 14, and I still miss it. And I can't wait to go back one day (and then never, ever leave). I had a fantastic big group of friends there and we made the best memories. And we're half way decent of keeping in touch from time to time even to this day.

My car Yes, my car. One, I love my car (his name is Kensington). Two, I love driving and jamming to music. I like to be alone in my car and just take a drive to clear my head and sift through my thoughts and feelings to figure things out. And I find the best way I can do that is when I'm driving. I'm going to St. George for Thanksgiving next week and I am really looking forward to the 4 hour drive. 

The South I was born at Ft. Benning, Georgia. When I was in 2nd-4th grade I lived in Savannah, 
Georgia. In 5th grade I lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina and we moved onto Ft. Bragg, North Carolina for 6th and 7th grade. This past summer we moved back to Ft. Benning. Oh, and for two years after I had graduated high school we lived in Montclair, Virginia. I've spent A LOT of time in the South and I love it there. Sure, it's pretty dang hot (I do hate that), but I really like it. I love the accents; I love the people; I love the lakes and rivers; I love the feel there. It's hard to put it into words really. And yes, "y'all" has a high place in my vocabulary.

My bed Oh how I love to sleep (even though it tries to evade me!) But I love my bed. I like to read at night from the comfort of my bed with all my pillows. I love when I'm at home and my dogs sit at the foot of my bed and fall asleep when I'm reading. I like to watch movies and TV on my computer in my bed. I just like to get some good quality time with my bed. Who doesn't?

New York Not the city. Well, not just the city. I lived on Ft. Drum in upstate, northern New York my junior and senior year of high school...and part of the third year my family was there when I wasn't in Utah at school. It's near the small town of Carthage and it rocks. I loved the small town — my school had 900 kids total and there are like 3 lights on main street all the way through Carthage. The people there are great. I met some superb, life-long friends during my years there. I love the woods there. I would go running through trails near my house and it was so peaceful. There are so many things to do (if you just take the time to look) and so many interesting people to meet. The small town feel and camaraderie is awesome. I also do like the city, mainly seeing the shows. I saw Wicked and the Rockettes Christmas performance two years ago and it was amazing. I can't wait to go back to Broadway.

Amusement Parks I love roller coasters. I'm less of a screamer and more of a laugher. I laugh hysterically on rides. I have no idea why. It's just a blast. I love the adrenaline, the speed, the loops, just everything. And I really like the wooden roller coasters. This summer I went to 6 Flags in Atlanta twice, and it was a freaking blast. Especially when I had the "Flash Pass," which meant I could skip the lines and ride each ride twice. It was one of the best days I had that summer (despite even getting stuck on top of a roller coaster for like 15 minutes. If it wasn't so dang hot in the south, it wouldn't have been that bad. I only freaked out a little bit for like one minute). Annnddd now I REALLY want to go on a roller coaster, really really bad.

a place is only as good as the people in it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

W5: Just look at these slices of deliciousness

Week five: five foods

“You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jellybeans. ”  — Ronald Reagan

I actually enjoy cooking. I cooked a lot when I still lived at home and I cook when I go home for Christmas. I don't cook so much while I'm at school just because it takes time I usually don't have and it's not "my" kitchen. I share it with others and I don't have all the kitchen accessories and ingredients I do at my parents' house.

This week wasn't too difficult (though I had to cut mashed potatoes from my list, I know, it was tough). I'm not a super picky eater (I hate mushrooms though, they gross me out) and I love food. These were the first ones that came to mind.

1. Thai Food. 

Okay, my dad went on his LDS mission to Thailand when he was 19 and I am so glad he did. I'm pretty sure my family eats Thai food more than your average American family. 

I LOVE Thai food. It's spicy; it has so many flavors; it is just delicious. Favorites? Pad Thai, Chicken Satay, Sum Tum (this one is really spicy), and Massaman Curry. I love the peanut sauces and the vegetables are so good. But there are few dishes I don't like. 

Also, one of my favorite parts of getting Thai food with my family is hearing my dad speak Thai. He can still speak it fluently and the waitresses also get a kick out of this middle-aged white man speaking great Thai. It's really fun to hear. 

I've gotten several friends into Thai food since coming to BYU. Or when another friend and I discover we both like Thai food, it's super exciting because a lot of people are wary of trying Thai food and so we can go get it together. (Also, Zupas Thai lobster soup is pretty dang good). One of my friends, her dad also went to Thailand on his mission, and I swear this conversation took place multiple times before we finally remembered we'd had it before.

Me: I love Thai food, it's so good.
Her: Oh yeah, me too.
Me: My dad served his mission in Thailand and so I've grown up eating it kind of a lot.
Her: oh hey, mine did too! We get Thai food a lot too.
Me:....wait haven't we talked about this before?
Her:...oh yeah, we have.
Me: Well we should go get some Thai food.
Her: Yeah, I'm pretty hungry.

                   More than once. This happened more than once.

2. Mexican Food.

This too is a family favorite. I'm not even kidding, growing up my family went and got Mexican food at least once or twice a month. There were times it was a once-a-week thing. 

I get the same thing 99% of the time. It's a combination dinner — taco, enchilada, rice & beans. Every time. My sister Shannon usually gets fajitas. I don't know what it is, but it's a favorite. Chips & salsa? Might as well count it as a major food group for my family. And my mom makes the best homemade salsa. And the queso dips we get are so freaking delicious. 

Whenever my family moves one of the first things we do is locate the nearest Mexican restaurants and determine our favorite so we can frequent it. And often. 

My personal favorite still remains Monterrey outside of Ft. Bragg, NC. We went there once a week for several months. We may have single handily kept that place afloat with our family of six. Also, I've been there (I'm pretty sure it was Monterrey — there have been so many) for a birthday one year and got to wear a giant sombrero while they sang happy birthday to me and gave me free fried ice cream. 

When we lived in New York our Mexican food obsession took a hit. NY does not do Mexican all that well. Here in Utah my family has been frequenting La Casita in Springville since my parents were here in the 80s. Mexican food. It's a family thing. It just hits the spot.

3. Salmon.

This is my favorite individual food. Although I am a HUGE seafood fan in general. I absolutely love, love, love salmon. Salmon became my favorite food the summer of 2007. How is it that I can pinpoint this? It's because that summer my family went to Europe for two weeks and we went to Germany, Austria, Belgium,  France, and England.

Whilst in France we went to this little French restaurant and I ordered their salmon dish (after almost ordering the raw salmon dish because I don't speak French). And it was the best thing I'd ever had in my life. It was so flavorful, and fresh, and perfect.

Ever since I've loved salmon and I order it a lot. My favorite is lemon pepper salmon. It rocks. My younger sister hates seafood so when we have salmon and she's all "ewww, it's gross!" I'm all "Sweet, more for me!"

4. Meatballs.

New York. Carthage High School. Soccer and lacrosse tailgates. This is where my love for meatballs came from. After our soccer and lacrosse games we would often have "tailgate" parties (I don't know why we called them that. It was a gathering in the cafeteria after the games to eat food that our parents brought/that Stefano's Pizza gave us. Those were fun times; I miss those days). Anyway, one of the moms made these amazing meatballs every time. I ate a lot of them. They were so dang good and my favorite things at the tailgates.

My favorite Subway sub? Meatball marina on wheat with American & parmesan cheese, onions, and oregano — toasted. Always toasted.
Also, I recently fell in love/became obsessed with The Pizza Factory's Italian meatballs. They are....so. freaking. good. Every time I go there are I get angel hair pasta, with pesto sauce, and Italian meatballs. Ask my roommates and friends, I'm always wanting to go there now.

5. Pie. Coconut Cream Pie & French Silk Pie.

Coconut cream pies and French silk pies from Bob Evan's are the best things ever. They are my absolute favorite pies. Every time I'm at Target in the frozen food section I have to refrain from buying Sara Lee's pies. Because I would want to (and not be able to) eat the whole thing at once/my roommates would try to take my pie! Such thievery would happen.

I mean, just look at these slices of deliciousness.

They are so. dang. delicious.

It's not even funny how hungry this post has made me. Is there a way I can eat all these foods at once today? Sadly, I think not. But I am going to have to go eat something right now. It's going to be hard to decide what to get....pie, pie sounds good though.

“the only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.”
>julia child 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

W4: but remember, it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Week four: four books

This week has probably been the easiest to decided what I would pick to write about. Even though I love reading, I think my favorites are pretty easily my favorites. Though left out are some excellent Nancy Drew books, The Catcher in the Rye, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Hatchet (or most Gary Paulsen books), and The Great Gatsby to name but a few. Green blinking lights forever remind me of Daisy and Jay.

To Kill a Mockingbird: I've read this about six or seven times. Most people have read this (or at least spark noted it) for a high school English class. I read it first on my own will actually in middle school. Then I read it in my 9th grade English class...then we moved and I read it again in 10th grade...and then we moved again and I read it again in 11th grade. Yes. That actually happened. I was always fine with it. I love the book; it's my absolute favorite. And we always watched the movie with Gregory Peck after and I love the movie as well. 

“Until I feared I would lose it, 
I never loved to read. 
One does not love breathing.”

I read it and wrote and English paper on it my freshman year at BYU as well. I've also read since just because. Maybe I'll read it over Christmas between semesters. Why do I like this book? Well how could you not really? I love everything about it —the prose; the characters and their personal development throughout the novel; the lessons about courage, standing for your convictions, having to grow up sooner than you'd hope. I've learned a lot reading this book every time as I myself have grown up over the years. If my explanation on this book seems vague I apologize, but if I try to be detailed I could write for hours about it. If I was Harper Lee I would've quit while I was ahead too.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is,
 instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. 
It's when you know you're licked before you begin, 
but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.

The Harry Potter series: I've blogged about my dear fictional friends Hermione, Harry, and Ron before. And I got a liiittttllleee carried away. It's a tad long with why I love it and with pictures. Oh well, HP is the biggest series...like ever. I can't even come close to estimate the number of times I've read each book. I grew up with Hermione, Harry, and Ron. It's one of the biggest things in my memory of my childhood. I read the first book in 3rd grade I think and read the final book when I was a high school senior. I was so sad the series was over that I read that last chapter of the 7th book twice in a row. I couldn't believe it was over.

“One person couldn't feel all that, they'd explode!" said Ron.
"Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have," said Hermione.” 


Harry and company taught me many lessons about friendship and doing the right thing. And they've kept me company many times over the years. I haven't read the books now in a few years, but they all sit lined up on my bookshelf and I'll take them down again someday and relive my childhood. Thank J.K. Rowling for giving me one of the best things in my childhood.

"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."

Animal Farm: Yes. I love this book. Again, I read this on my own and then a few more times in different high school classes —English and History. I really like this book and everything it is about (including the movie which I've also seen a handful of times, and *spoiler alert* I cry every single time I have to watch poor Boxer taken away to the slaughter house). 

“All animals are equal, 
but some animals are more equal than others.”

Granted, the first time I read it I was in middle school and didn't fully grasp the political importance of this book that George Orwell was writing about the Russian Revolution, but over the years and rereading I think I pretty fully understand the book and am glad I've read it so many times and learned about it from several different teachers growing up. I really think everyone needs to read this book at least once in their life.

"Let's face it:
our lives are miserable,
and short."

The copy of Animal Farm I have and have thumbed through over the years is an old, battered copy with the name Bonnie Smith on the inside cover. Yup, this book has made it through nearly 20 moves tagging along with my mom from when she was in high school. I've since taken it and put it on my bookshelf. It's the oldest book I have on there I think, obviously it's older than I am.

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, 
and from man to pig, 
and from pig to man again; 
but already it was impossible to say which was which.” 

The Hunger Games trilogy: Obviously. I mean, how could I not love these. I read them twice in less than 8 months. I was a midnight-watcher when the movie came out (I was not dressed up though, I don't do that). The characters in these novels are so well developed, I love it. They do not just exist between the pages of the book, they do not just exist when something is happening to them. They extend before The Hunger Games and past the last page of Mockingjay.

"I can't fight the sun.
I can only watch helplessly as it drags me into a day I've been dreading for months."

Suzanne Collins create an interesting world with real characters and real emotions. I can't wait for the second and third movies to come out. I thought the first was a pretty good adaptation. ESpecially considering that the majority of The Hunger Games takes place in present tense from the point of view, memories, and thoughts of only Katniss. Which is also why I like the books so much. It is written so well (and edited so well, I feel I must add as an editing minor).

“You’re not leaving me here alone,” I say. 
Because if he dies, 
I’ll never go home, 
not really. 
I’ll spend the rest of my life in this arena, 
trying to think my way out.”

“tt is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.”
>oscar wilde 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The art of losing isn't hard to master

I kind of hate the way my professor is teaching my English 230 Introduction to Literature  Poetry, and Fiction class. It's rather disappointing really; I was looking forward to class a lot and now I just dread it.  I like the reading. I hate the homework  how the tests are setup, and the lectures put me to sleep. I do often find poems I like in our book, however. Like this one:

One Art
Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster. 

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
 The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant 
to travel. None of these will bring disaster. 

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
 next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master. 

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.  

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

I'll leave it up to you to interpret it your own way. I know what it means to me and that's how poetry should be.