Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm alive!


I've finally fought my way out of the black hole that was the month of November, which means it's time to blog! I have a bunch of random thoughts:

1st: Read Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It's a short book, but it is worth savoring. She won the Pulitzer Prize for it in 2004. I just wrote a 10-page paper about it, and I loved every minute of it (the book, not the paper).

2nd: I love the temple. I've been trying to get there for a while. My first attempt was thwarted by the fact that it was closed for cleaning, the second by a dang booter. Either way, I got there, and when I did, I thought of how my friend Heather describes going to the temple—she says it feels like going home, and I would have to agree. Going home to a place that is clean, quiet, and full of a feeling of peace, where everyone is equal. I remember reading recently that the only other place on earth that can be as sacred is the home, meaning our homes. That is exciting and it carries a lot of responsibility.

3rd: I love Christmas and what it means! Three talks have stood out to me recently about the life of the Savior: Elder Holland's article in the New Era, President Monson's talk at the Christmas devotional, and a BYU devotional given by Elder Bruce D. Porter called "A Child is Born." These were beautifully powerful testimonies of Jesus Christ and his life, and well worth the time.

4th: I love Matt Madsen. He's a comedian in the Thrillionaires, a sketch comedy group. He used to do Comedy Sportz and my friends and I were big fans. He'd always remember us and give us hugs. The Thrillionaires performed for my work Christmas party. So funny.

(Matt Madsen—the one second from the right trying to run off with the Vizio.)


5th: I love birthdays! My friend Tresa turned 22 on Dec. 8th and Cole's little sister turned 8 and was baptized! So we celebrated at Ruby River and Chuck E. Cheese (respectively). There is no better way to ring in 22 than with a big, juicy steak or the Big 8 than with a little skee ball and some nasty pizza.


(Ahh, the girls—first picture we've taken all together since probably sophomore year!)

(Chuck E. was missing an eye...freaky.)

Finally, I love turkey and family and football. In other words, Thanksgiving. We did Turkey Bowl with Cole's family. There were lots of almost pantsings and unintentional butt-grabbings, but all in good fun. Then 60 of his relatives came over to his house! I don't even think I have 60 relatives to invite to a holiday dinner. It was loud and fun and exhausting :)

(This is Cole's "I'm about to run a touchdown" pose. That's my "Please don't drop the ball" face.)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloweeners!


(Our pumpkins from L to R: Mine, Jana's, Alex and Trevor's, Cole's, Molly and Andrew's, and Shawn's)

Halloween is truly one of the weirdest times of the year. You see so many random things. For instance, last year Cole and I were driving around downtown Provo late on Halloween night and we saw Darth Vader billowing along University Avenue all by himself. So random and so funny. Of course, I can't really talk because if you were driving down University around 11 last night, you would have seen two weirdos dressed as the King and Queen of Hearts walking, hand-in-hand, down the street (i.e. Cole and I). So far today I've seen a Blue Man riding his bike, a bear walking around BYU, and Captain Jack Sparrow delivering the mail, and it's just the beginning. Who said Provo's dull?

Anyway, I finally got a card reader so I can put pictures up! Hurray! Although my pictures pretty much go all the way back to Molly's wedding, I'll put up my Halloween-y ones. Enjoy!


Pumpkin carving contest. I like how all our faces pretty much look the same. Alex cracks me up in this one.

Andrew, Trevor, Cole, Shawn, and me, Jana, Alex and Molly

My pumpkin had some serious acne problems.

Cole's pumpkin. He did this without a pattern!

Cole and I won Best Overall costume at Janey and Jason's party. Long live the King and Queen!

Janey and Jason ("They've got a little Captain in them") :)

Hahaha! Shawn and Jana...I wish you could see their shoes. So classic.

Full body shot. Cole drew this free-hand and colored them. Impressive, isn't he?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chick Rock

I finally gave the blog a facelift. Let me know what you think. Currently my camera cord is MIA so I haven't been able to post pictures, which is sad because Rule #1 of good blogging is lots and lots of pictures (at least to me). So instead I'll add music. My blog has been giving me some serious attitude though, so hopefully it will work. It may not look like I did much in the way of styling it, but the changes took me a long time. Sad, I know.

In honor of breast cancer awareness month and women in general, I decided to feature some female artists and songs that I've recently come across and that I like a lot. They're pretty mellow, but that's the kind of music I like generally. You may have heard of them or maybe not. Some people are for music what Europe is for fashion, or Japan is for technology, or Apple is for marketing. Unfortunately, I've never had the knack for picking out music that will become popular years from now. I don't quite have the ear for innovation. So known or unknown, here they are (cross your fingers):

Priscilla Ahn



Priscilla Ahn is half-Korean and lived most of her life in Pennsylvania. She was also featured on Grey's Anatomy and her songs are great. Can't get much better than that. "A Dream."

Missy Higgins








Missy Higgins is an Australian singer-songwriter who released "Warm Whispers" in 2007.

Adele





Adele is an English-Welsh jazz singer, and she's only 20 (19 when she released this album). You'd never be able to tell from her voice or her lyrics though. "Cold Shoulder."

India.Arie







India.Arie is the veteran of the group. I remember listening to her song "Video" with my brother when I was in 7th or 8th grade. This song has a good message, like most of her songs. "The Heart of the Matter."


Ingrid Michaelson

Last, but not least, one of my favorites--Ingrid Michaelson. She just came out with a new album called "Be Ok" to raise money for cancer research, which includes some of her best live songs. "Die Alone" is my favorite song by her so far.

P.S. Thanks to Collin who showed me how to put the music on!

Friday, October 10, 2008

They got me!

I'm on break at work, and I'm not exactly sure how this works, and for the sake of time, I'm only going to do 3, so here it goes...

3 T.V. Shows I love to watch: 1. Grey's Anatomy, 2. The Office, 3. Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe

3 of my favorite restaurants are: 1. Sp^rk Restaurant/Lounge (shameless plug, but seriously, it's awesome), 2. Panda Express, 3. Cafe Rio

3 things that happened yesterday: 1. We won our softball game and are moving on in the tourney, woot woot!, 2. I saw my friend Molly for the first time since she's been married, I miss her!, 3. Went to class, blah blah

3 things I am looking forward to: 1. Graduating, 2. Getting married, 3. Seattle for my birthday! (hopefully)

3 things on my wish list: 1. A trip to London for the 2012 Olympics!, 2. A family, 3. A Pulitzer (4. Getting off work early! Cross your fingers) :)

3 People I tag: 1. Mark, 2. Martha, 3. Larissa

(P.S. This is not one of those things where you will die in 30 days if you don't do it, so if you don't wanna, don't bother)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Random musings from a bored employee


I'm at work and this is the lovely picture I took while waiting for a call to come in. I'm bored so I decided to blog. School has started again! I always love fall semester. Football games (which I rarely watch), cute clothes, colorful leaves, and all the best holidays are what we have to look forward to! Climbing the RB stairs and navigating human traffic has begun again. I've discovered this phenomenon. While walking on campus, I almost always come to this position where I'll be walking toward someone and we'll inevitably want to cross at the exact same spot of the pavement. There could be no one else around and we may not even be walking on a sidewalk, but it's like we go on autopilot and we can't break from the path, and we end up fighting over the same piece of walking territory. Then we have to do this awkward shuffling dance. Has this happened to anyone else or am I just weird? Just an observation.

Anyway, a lot has happened since last time I updated. Molly got married. I got an editing internship, school started, and now we're sending Cole's brother off on a mission to Tonga tomorrow. It's pretty crazy. It's sad because I know everyone will miss him, but I'm really excited for him at the same time. It kind of makes me want to serve a mission!

One moment of joy that I've recently experienced and replayed, and that I can't go without bragging about, is a softball game we played last Thursday. I play catcher on an Orem City softball league with Cole and his family. I'm not the greatest at sports, and I haven't exactly been the star player on the team. It was only a few games ago that I dropped two pop-flys in one game. The little umpire consoled me with the words, "Don't worry, one day you'll catch one of those." Sweet sentiment, but kind of embarrassing. If ever I were to "catch one of those," Thursdays game was the day. Our defense was on fire. We were digging, grounding, and diving. Finally, the clock had run out and the other team was at bat. We just had to hold them at 9 because we were up by 3. They had two men on base, and we had two outs already. One more. A girl got up to bat. Would they score? Her bat tipped the ball and it popped up in the air. Instinctively I ran towards it, thinking, You better not drop this! and in a moment of glory, it floated into my glove. I got so excited I ran away with the ball and the ump yelled, "You don't get to keep it!" The team rushed in and for the first time I experienced what it might feel like to be good at a sport, even if it was just lucky and even if it just lasted a minute. That little ump was right; my day had come!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Help!

Ok, so I'm trying to make my blog look nicer. If you have any tips, please let me know. I don't know how to get the picture at the top to be completely horizontal, and the title to be in a different spot. It's driving me crazy. I lifted the beautiful picture of the flowers off of a Flickr account. I thought it was really pretty, and I'm going to give Fernando Rocha his recognition so I don't get sued or anything. I plan on changing it, so it's temporary for now :) Thanks for anyone's help!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sweet Home Altoona

I used to have asthma. This is me in an oxygen tent.

Geez, it's been 3 months! It's time I got back into this. I'm back home in Pennsylvania waiting for my family to wake up. It's been a whirlwind tour of my home state. I've been to D.C. for my best friend's wedding, to Altoona to visit Alex and Bri, to Harrisburg to visit my mom for her birthday, to State College to visit Allender and finally to Philly to see Linds. All in 4 days! It seems like each person was designated by the meal I ate with them. Alex and I met for ice cream (not a meal, although I'd like it to be). My mom for dinner, Allender for breakfast and Lindsey again for dinner. I'm excited to come back to Utah and have my real vacation, and not have to drive anywhere. It was so nice to see everyone. Sometimes it's weird coming home, but it's always nice being with the people you love, and it's good to know they're still there for you.

The time that was not spent in a car, I just sat around, read, and watched the Olympics Opening Ceremony on NBC.com, which was mind-blowing by the way! If you have 52 minutes and you haven't seen it, go here. It shows the highlights of it. Download the plug-in. It's totally worth it! I love the Olympics, it made me so proud to be Asian and American all at the same time. Asian cultures have such a rich history--I mean, China invented paper for heaven sakes--and America has Michael Phelps! Either way, they're both amazing and spectacular in their own rite. Speaking of Asian roots, I was messing around on this computer and I found some baby pictures. They're pretty funny, and since I've decided pictures are important to any good blog and since I don't have the means to add the pictures from my trip (I don't have my camera cord), then I've just posted those for now. Also to come, I'm gonna make my blog look cooler (Jana has inspired me), and I'm teaching myself to sew, so that should be a fun endeavor to blog about!


Sumo baby!

My gram looks funny in this picture

Sad thing is, I pretty much look the same.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"I walk the streets of Japan til I get lost cause it doesn't remind me of anything"

Ah, I woke up this morning, walked outside and it felt slightly like I was back in Japan with the misty mountains and everything looking all green (or at least as green as Utah can get) and it was wet and overcast. It made me happy. It gave me an itch for adventure. I want to be climbing mountains and riding the dirty Metro to random places and getting lost in back alleys. I have this crazy urge to just pack up and go somewhere. Even somewhere relatively close would do--San Francisco, Seattle, Mexico...wherever. This urge happens to me every so often, but right now I can't do that. I think it's slightly absurd considering I'm 21 and what better time to be reckless and carefree than right now before things really start getting crazy, right? But for once in my life I'm actually trying to be responsible by staying at a job for more than two weeks and by helping my poor Pops out after 20 years of supporting me. Growing up stinks, but I guess we have to do it sometime.

In my preoccupation for adventure I think a lot about what makes a life truly exciting and fulfilling. What's going to make it worth remembering? What will make it abundant? In searching out answers to these questions I came across a gem of a talk by President Monson called "In Quest of the Abundant Life." In it he lays out the four things that he says is what makes life truly worth living: Obedience to law, respect for others, mastery of self and joy in service. Not quite as glamorous as one would hope? Maybe not, but I'm almost certain that they're more enduring and sure to get results than just thrill-seeking. I'm not saying skydiving or some other form of entertainment shouldn't be done, because I plan on doing it at least once before I die, but it's all about balance I think. An abundant life takes balance between what we want and what others need. There's only so much satisfying of self we can do before life becomes pretty meaningless. From this talk has come one of my favorite quotes of all time. It says:

"None of us lives alone-in our city, our nation, or our world. There is no dividing line between our prosperity and our neighbor's poverty...You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give."

How profound is that!

Cole and I go visit an elderly lady every week named Fran. She has Alzheimer's and so she never remembers us. She asks us the same questions over and over again, and I'm almost positive that Cole and I get more out of those visits than she does. But she's taught me some of the things that are most important in life. She can't remember most things, even the things that we would think are the most fundamental memories in the world. But she remembers one time when she rode the waves in the ocean with her sisters, and she remembers the names of her husband, her children and her sisters. I think those things are very telling of what's truly important. It's such a simple instance of joy and such a small thing to remember, but they're lasting even in her mind. I think that's kind of powerful.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

So it's pretty late and I have work in the morning, but I can't help but write this now. It' s been a long time since I've written in this and I'll make it quick because of the time, but recently Cole's cousin, Cory, passed away from cancer, and although he wasn't really close to Cole, and I had never met him, it really touched me. I think a lot of it had to do with Cory's wife, who has her own blog and who told their story and how he was fighting it for the second time. They're really young, late 20s/ early 30s and they have a 3-year-old son. It breaks my heart to think about. I was thinking about all that he must have gone through, the pain and the complete control this disease had gained over him, the grief his wife must feel, and the irreplaceable loss that his son will someday understand. It is incomprehensible to me. The only thing that brought me comfort were these words:

"The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Rev. 21:3-4)

I find it comforting to know that a loving Father in heaven will be their comforter at this time and in the times to come. He has sent a Savior with a mercy that is even more incomprehensible than the sorrow and tragedy that may come. Because of his atonement and resurrection there is no true death, and our bodies do not remain in the state we leave them here. Because of him, we are able to be with the ones we love in a state of joy forever. I know the Savior has great power to perform miracles, command nature and to do all things, but he is also the very same man who will so tenderly reach to wipe away our tears. I know he can and will do that for them and for us.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Billy Collins Experience

Another picture of an old poet I've come to love :)


So I've discovered that the fastest way to my heart is by possessing two characteristics: Being an old man who writes brilliant poetry (see my love letter to Walt Whitman below). Today began a new love affair with one Billy Collins. I had the rare opportunity today of seeing this renowned and talented American poet give a reading of his work and then meeting him afterwards. This guy is a big deal. He was Poet Laureate of the U.S. from 2001-2003! This may not be that exciting to many, but I was stoked, for lack of a better word. When I was standing in line waiting to get my book signed, the pressure began mounting on what I would say to this man who has been critically acclaimed by every major publication that I've ever wanted to write for. Had I been a cooler, more collected person, had I not choked in the face of fame, I would've asked very intelligently, "Mr. Collins, ideally, how would you like your poetry to be read?" or at least, "Out of the books of poetry you've written, what is your personal favorite?" Instead, I excitedly told him, like a teenage girl (or any girl for that matter) who is meeting Justin Timberlake, that it was my first experience. My first experience with what? I think I meant to say my first Billy Collins experience, but I was vague and I didn't make sense. Luckily he saved me by asking if it was my first poetry reading, and I agreed. He was funny, smart, ironic and surprisingly touching. I liked him and his poetry a lot. He writes about everyday life--college students, waking up in the morning, turning 10, literary amnesia, Victoria's Secret, among other things. All with wit, charm, and a true sense of what a human being is--their thoughts, emotions, motives. I love having these experiences where I can take in good art, whether it's music, literature, paintings or other mediums. I always go away feeling enriched.

What is it about these things that make us feel that way-- uplifted, more connected, more intelligent? President Packer says that it is the Spirit of the Lord that makes us feel those things. I'm so grateful that I was taught to appreciate art and to recognize those feelings, both by my family and in the Church. It says in D&C 109:7, "Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith." Finding these enriching experiences is a commandment too, as well as a joy. It is our responsibility to put ourselves in those places to have those experiences. President Packer also says it is our responsibility to use our talents to uplift others and ultimately and most importantly, to bear witness of Christ. President Packer asks us to ask ourselves: When I am free to do what I really want to do, what will it be? I think this applies to anyone who wants to make something truly great of their lives, not just members of the LDS Church, or people on the brink of "making themselves" or "becoming" who they want to be, not just the young. President Packer says we must prepare ourselves by being humble, reminding us that talents do not show preference of one over another, but just give the possessors a greater responsibility to use them wisely. What are our individual talents and how can we use them to this aim? I think these are important questions to ask. Another great poet was Orson F. Whitney, a member of the LDS Church, who exemplified the idea of humility in creating great art. He wrote a poem in response to the lines that say, "I am the master of my own fate: I am the captain of my soul" ("Invictus" by William Ernest Henley). Whitney wrote:

Free will is thine--free agency,
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto Him,
To whom all souls belong.

Bend to the dust that "head unbowed,"
Small part of life's great whole,
And see in Him and Him alone,
The captain of thy soul.

I hope this blog didn't come out too preachy. I think I get a little excited when I'm talking about things I love, namely art/literature and the gospel. :) I just think there's so much beauty to be had, to be viewed and to be experienced, and there's also so much to be created. Whitney said, "We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own," and that extends to every other field. How amazing is it that we have the faculties to see, hear and experience? I'm so grateful for the talents of others and for a Heavenly Father who has given these talents to them and to myself, however untapped they may be, and for the possibility that these talents can be discovered and improved through the Spirit.

If you want to check out more of Billy Collins, here is a funny poem ("Litany") that I like about how ridiculous similes can be in expressing love or describing a woman. I wish I had a link to Orson F. Whitney's poetry, but I couldn't find any. President Packer quotes his poem in a talk though. Enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2008

I Get By With a Little Help...


(Brillante, Molly and I)


Oh my, I should be doing lots of homework, but I can't concentrate, so here I am. Today my friend Molly took me out to lunch, something we do every other week just to catch up. We've been friends since we were 11 or 12 years old and she was my only LDS friend back home. She
lived three hours away, but we've made it work for about 10 years now. It seems like such a long time ago! I love when we get together though because I feel like we always have the best conversations. Today she said that sometimes it feels like nobody understands how she's feeling, and I'm sure we can all relate to that. I feel like we're able to understand each other though, not
always, but sometimes, when nobody else is able to. I was thinking how good it is to have a friend like her. It got me thinking about my other friends too and how lucky I am to have them. Friends who listen, who forgive when I don't deserve it, who look out for me, who show me new things and different perspectives. Friends that will stay up in the freezing cold to watch a Japanese sunrise with me. Friends who will put up with me for hours on end in a car driving cross-country. Friends who will do weird things with me and not think they're weird, who will stick with me on a hike up a 12,000 foot mountain, who can trick me into mud wrestling and rafting a class 5. Friends who push me to be better than I am. The ones that comfort and who are so patient and kind. Friends who know what I looked like in elementary school and still love me, who have been with me from the beginning. Don't we all have friends like this?
I don't claim to be an expert on friendship, I know I can always do better. I definitely know people who astound me with their love and loyalty, but it's definitely something I value and aspire to. I've realized through my years of friendship with different people that it doesn't matter people's upbringing, circumstances, religion or any of that. Some of our greatest friends are the most unlikely, and each person is a blessing to the other. A High Councilman spoke in church yesterday and said that we've been children for most of our lives, so we've been recipients of love. That's been the predominant feeling in our lives so far. He said it was time to complete the cycle. "As much as you need to be loved, you need to love someone else." I think friendship is one of the best ways we can show that love.

Going back to Molly's comment about nobody understanding how we feel; we made an amendment to that statement. Jesus Christ is our greatest Friend, and as well as Molly and I may relate to each other, He is the only person who truly understands everything about us--every worry, embarrassment, disappointment, joy and triumph. He's felt it all. He gave everything he had, even his life, because he loves us. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:13-14). I love this scripture and the Savior for his tender example of friendship. I love my friends for blessing my life and the lives of so many others by following His example.

(My best hometown girls)







Saturday, February 16, 2008

"This hour I tell things in confidence, I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you." --Walt Whitman


Some newfound friends have told me about the counsel that Elder Ballard gave to share our testimonies through different forms of media. So, because I love to write and because I love the gospel, I've decided to start a blog of my own. What better way to combine two of my favorite things!

As an English major I naturally get to read so many great works, a lot of classics, but most of the time I read to get the assignment done (or worse yet, I don't read at all), and the messages are kind of lost on me, I think. Then every once in a while someone comes along who makes me sit up and pay attention. This time it was Walt Whitman. Maybe you're thinking, Who's he? or That dead guy who wrote poetry about grass? I thought that too before I actually sat down and got to know him. I'll be honest, I've developed somewhat of an intellectual crush on the guy. It was unexpected, but aren't most of our best relationships and friendships?

The reason I love Walt so much is because of his beautiful messages and the things he chooses to write about. Despite the fact that all the works I read are considered classics, I definitely think some were more inspired than others. After reading him, I've thought a lot about what he was saying and how they relate to the gospel. He talks about the divinity of the body, a subject which was unheard of at the time. People thought he was perverse, but now in the Church, we hear talks devoted to that very subject and how it relates to our actions (Elder Holland). He recognizes the beauty and divinity within each person, which I think is so true and I think the ability to recognize that is such an amazing gift to have. He writes about equality, unity, eternity and our inseparable connection with God. And he says at the end of it all, "It is not chaos or death--it is form, union, plan--it is eternal life--it is Happiness." Does that sound familiar or what?

"Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass
all the argument of the earth,
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my
sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of the creation is love..."

I think that's so beautiful and I love this last line especially, which means that the bulwark or reinforcement of the creation is love. We, and all others things, were created because God loves us, and he has a plan. A plan that includes a Savior, without whom we could have no hope or happiness. But like it says in the Gospel of John, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (3:16). And we haven't been put on this earth alone, but we're all connected; we have friends, family, significant others, just so many people that God has blessed us with, and a common thread that connects everyone. It all speaks of love and mercy to me. That's what I think Whitman is saying. Read him if you get a chance; he's a genius! :)