Dec 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Recipe

Every Christmas Eve, we have clam chowder for dinner. This year was the first time that I had ever made it, and my dad called it a "sacred undertaking" and warned me not to mess it up. :) I thought I would share this recipe with you all. Merry Christmas!

Bratten's Clam Chowder

1 cup onions, finely chopped
1 cup celery, diced
2 cups potatoes, diced
3/4 cup butter
3/4 flour
1 quart half and half
1 1/2 tsp salt
pepper
2 T red wine vinegar (optional)

Drain juice from clams and pour over vegetables in saucepan. Add enough water to barely cover vegetables. In another pan melt butter, add flour and cream, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until smooth and thick. Add undrained vegetables, clams, and vinegar. Heat through.

Dec 13, 2011

Christmas "Letter" 4.0

Dear Family, Friends, and Random Strangers in the Great Abyss of the Interwebs,

Well, another year has passed by! I think the theme this year has been change, and constancy. Which, I know, are two completely different things. But we'll get to that later.

First, I want to mention something that has been on my mind a lot the past few days. This is my first year, in five years, that I have not had to go through finals to get to Christmas. As all of my friends have been stressing and counting down on Facebook, I have been hit with this strange sense of nostalgia. Not that I want to have to take three-hour tests, and study my butt off in between, but there is something about having to take finals to get to Christmas which made Christmas Christmas, ya know? I don't quite feel like it's Christmas as I just go back to work everyday same as any other month. I think it was the semester ending, and finals starting that just let me know Christmas was right around the corner. I also miss ABCFamily's 25 Days 'Til Christmas. I love cheesy made for TV movies, as well as the Harry Potter marathon, and old Christmas favorites.

Now to this past year. It has almost been a year since I graduated from BYU and moved into my parents' basement (I know, such a stereotypical thing to do). I started off the year with a big change in my life--my first internship! This meant working 40 hours a week, in an office building, with my own office. Working at the New Era was such an amazing experience. And now that my articles have started being published, it is like the gift that keeps on giving! After four months there, another change came in my life. After three weeks of waiting, I was offered an internship at Deseret Book! While I only worked part time here, I had a great time. I was reading books, and editing, and learning, and source checking. After 16 weeks that affirmed to me that editing was really what I want to do with my life, I left there and started at my third internship at the Joseph Smith Papers Project.

I'm back to working full time, and really loving it. I like the people I work with and the things I get to do (though they do get tedious sometimes, but what job doesn't?). The great thing about all these experiences is that they built upon each other--each one prepared me for the next. When I took the editing test at Deseret Book, I just got this peaceful feeling that God knows what I need and if I trust in Him, everything will work out. And it has! It is so amazing!

Another wonderful change this year was that my brother got home from his mission in the Dominican Republic! It's so good to have our family all in one country again!

I also took an acting class! That was very interesting, and good for me to do--got me out of my little shell for a little bit.

So, those are all the changes that have occurred in my life this year, so what about the constancy? Well, though I have changed jobs every four months, I have remained in my parents' basement. That's a constant, as is their love and concern for me. God has remained constant, though I have changed (for the better) in regards to Him. Though I am serving in a different capacity at church, the gospel has forever remained constant, and will ever remain constant. It may not seem like much constancy, but these are the things that are really important.

Also, I'm still single. That has been very constant these past few years!

What am I looking forward to this coming year? I'll continue at JSPP until April-ish, and after that . . . who knows? Hopefully I'll get a "real" job, move out of my parents' house, and start another new chapter in my life. It'll be an adventure, I'll tell you that!

Happy Christmas!

Whitney

Dec 8, 2011

It's the Little Things

Today was a great day! And you know what made it so fantastic? The small things that happened today.

Small Thing #1: Getting European Chocolate
A coworker spent the last week in Rome (was I jealous? Oh, just a lot.) and just came back to work today. Besides being able to hear about wonderful Rome, she brought a Kinder Bueno bar for me and the rest of us! I LOVE Bueno bars!

Small Thing #2: Talking to Cute Little Kids
As I walked off the elevator on my way out the door to go home this afternoon, I saw two little red-headed boys (they looked like twins) standing on the other side of the security gates. As I beeped myself through, I saw them shaking their hands in the air. "We've got magic in our hands," one of them says to me. "Do you?" I reply. "What are you doing with the magic?" One little boy touches the metal of the security gates, "When we touch this, it opens!" The security guard had been playing with them by opening the gates when they touched them! They were so adorable, I just had to smile!

Small Thing #3: Reading the Same Book as Someone Else
While I wait for my second train to come (I have to transfer), I usually sit on a planter, reading and swinging my legs like a little girl. It's the start of me being able to block out the rest of the world and relax from the work day a little bit. I had pulled my hood over my head, my scarf over my nose, and sat hunched up against the cold and curled toward my book. I don't usually pay attention to others around me, just the trains as they go by so I don't miss mine. Today, a woman came up next to me and got a book out of her bag. Then, she leans forward and says, "I thought so! We're reading the same book!" I look up and she shows me her cover. Sure enough, it read The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. "That doesn't happen often, does it? And it's an older book; my favorite!" Though I didn't say anything, just smiled, and we went back to reading our books, it was kind of like we had this little thing that connected us. It's nice to feel connected to other people. Sometimes.

Small Thing #4: Seeing Your Name in a Multinational Magazine
When I got home to an empty house (everyone else was at the temple), I walked in to find a big white envelope with my name on it from the LDS Church Magazines. Confused, I turn it over, run my finger under the flap and open it up. Inside was a magazine. I thought maybe it was the New Era, because of the three articles I had it in this month. But when I pulled it out, to my surprise it was the Liahona, the Church's multinational magazine. Still confused, but on my way to being excited, I opened up to the contents pages and look frantically for my name. And there it was: Whitney Hinckley!! Two of my articles had made it into the magazine! A magazine that is translated into tons of different languages and shipped all over the world! Full of excitement, I started hopping up and down and saying "Oh! Oh! Oh!" and turning around, looking for someone to share it with! But no one was home, so I raced downstairs, posted it on Facebook and then proceeded to put my energy to good use by have an impromptu dance party while making dinner. This dance party included songs like "Something That I Want" from Tangled, "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid, "Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstell, "Down" by Jay Sean, "Get Back" by Demi Lovato, "What Dreams are Made of" from The Lizzie Maguire Movie, and, when I needed some cooling down, "Holiday" by the Kinks. I let my hair down (literally, I took my hair out of the braid I had it in), and may or may not have down some hand banging, jumping up and down, and singing as loud as I can (there was no one else home, remember?). I went crazier than I have in a while and it felt good.

I am so grateful for the little things that make life so great!

Nov 8, 2011

Review: Time Traveling Adventures

So, it seems that time traveling is sort of the new thing in YA fiction, considering I have read at least three books about time traveling--each with varying degrees of success. Here are the three that I have read:

First up, Timeless by Alexandra Monir.

This novel was okay. It's about a girl who finds a diary from 1910 and is transported back in time to meet her ancestor and a mysterious boy that has been haunting her dreams her whole life. The writing was so-so, and the plot a little predictable. The thing that really ruined this novel for me, though, was that it was the beginning of a series (probably a trilogy, because that seems to be the "thing" now. ::Sigh::), and it ended like it was the beginning of a trilogy, meaning there was no ending. And what really bothered me was that it could have been one book. It was only 280 pages--little short for it's target audience--and with some editing and cutting, and then adding 100 more pages, it probably would have been a pretty good book. It's kind of fun and cute, but I don't recommend it.

(Can I just go on a little rant about series? I would rather have ONE good book than three so-so books. But it seems like everyone is writing series now! If you are going to write a series, please make it so the books stand alone! It's so frustrating when you end in the middle of the story. It is only after I get connected to the characters and get comfortable with the prose that I become okay with there being cliff-hanger endings. Harry Potter is a good example of this. The first few books completed the story line for that book, and once everyone started loving it, no one cared how Rowling wrote them. Rick Riordan is another good example. Because I like the way he writes, I don't care that I have to wait so long for his next book to come out. I'm comfortable with his universe, and the characters, and even though there is a larger story arch throughout his books, each individual story line completes within it's own book. It's like a TV show--there maybe be an arch, but each episode [usually] contains a full storyline. Anyway, back to the reviews . . . )

Second, The Time-traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky

This book was cute. It's a little younger (main character is 12, I think, so probably for 10 to 13 year olds). What I loved about this novel was the pictures. The girl goes back to 1912 and there are some beautiful drawings (done by a real fashion designer) of Edwardian clothes. It was one of those cute little novels that you read when you need a break from your "thinking" books. This was also the beginning of a series, but it was a stand alone book.

Third, Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier.

I loved this novel! It was originally written in German and has just recently been translated into English. This one is about a girl, living in London, who has a gene that makes it so she spontaneously transports back in time, except everyone thought her cousin had inherited it instead of her. So well written and translated! This is also the beginning of a trilogy, but this is done right. The book is so good that you want to read the rest, not because you just want to see how it ends, but because you want to get taken on the journey to the end. Good characters, great story, good read. It's intriguing and I am excited to finish this trilogy.

Nov 1, 2011

Sunday Special: Turning a Blind Eye

I have severe myopia (near sightedness). Like, horrible. Fortunately, with corrective lenses, this is only something I usually only have to be aware of for a few seconds morning and night before and after taking my contacts out. I started wearing contacts when I was thirteen, and there have been a few times since then that I have had to go back to wearing my glasses for a week or two--usually because I have lost one of my contacts and I can't very well be going around with only one good eye.

I hate wearing my glasses. The last time I lost a contact, I realized just how much I hate wearing them all the time. My eyesight is so bad that I couldn't even but on my make-up without difficulty. I had to get so close to the mirror in order to see that not only did I go cross-eyed, but I couldn't get my eyeliner pencil at the correct angle because it's about 6 inches, and I was only giving it 2 inches between the mirror and my face.

What people don't realize is that not having my contacts or glasses in doesn't make me completely blind. I can still see things, they just happen to look . . . furrier than normal. People have no individual features, but the basic shape is still there. I can still make sense of most of what is going on around me. For example the "how many fingers" game. I may not be able to see your individual fingers, but I know the basic shape a hand makes when holding up two or five fingers. I guess you can say I know what it's like to not see things clearly (literally).

Sometimes I think that we take out our "spiritual" contacts when it comes to things in this world we live in. We thinking that not seeing something clearly will make it so we don't become affected by it. We use our self inflicted blindness as an excuse; "I just ignore it when people swear" "I fast forward through that part" "I skipped those pages".

I don't know about you, but I have come to learn that I am extremely affected by the things I subject myself to. The images I see, the words I hear, the things I read. And I used to make up excuses too--I used to take out my contacts and think that fast forwarding through a scene or trying to ignore bad language made it so it didn't wear on me. I would skim through scenes in books, because that way I wasn't really ingesting it. But the thing is . . . I was. It had a major affect on me in ways I wouldn't even have thought about.

It changed the way I viewed other people, the thoughts that came to my head. And I learned that once I saw something, it was filed away somewhere, waiting to pop up what I didn't want it. It changed the way I felt.

I'm not perfect. I still make mistakes and make excuses. Sometimes I find myself with my spiritual contacts out. But I think that once I learn to view the world through my spiritual lenses, not only am I going to be better able to see the good, but I'm going to better able avoid the bad. We live in a world that perverts sex, language, relationships, freedom, morality, and even religion. But we also live in a beautiful world with wonderful advances in technology. A world that is full of good people, and good things.

In Sunday school last Sunday, my teacher said something that has stuck with me. He said, "You can't stop the birds from flying, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair." So, I'm not saying that we should stick to the scriptures as our only form of literature, or only watch Disney cartoons, and listen to hymns. I love movies and music and books. I'm saying, seek out the good in the world, whatever that may be to you. Know your own limits; know what affects you, and stay away from it.

Stop looking at the world in a haze because you turn a blind eye to everything in it. Put on your corrective lenses and see things clearly! Life is better that way.

Oct 23, 2011

Taking the Bad with the Good

I like my job. I really do. I feel so blessed to be a part of such a wonderful project, and to associate with the people I do.

But sometimes, it drives me crazy!

This last week was kind of a difficult on at the Ol' JSPP. The entire week was working on one thing--checking the website. This is a completely repetitive task that involves little to no brain work. Basically, you are given a checklist, then you head on over to the JSP "ready" site and check links/images/pop-ups. In order to keep me from going utterly INSANE with the monotony, I had to resort to watching BBC period dramas* on YouTube. (I know, my life is so hard. I'm getting paid to watch some of my favorite movies.)

It wasn't until about Wednesday that things started to get really bad. Before that, my eyes would be exhausted from staring at a computer screen for 7 and 1/2 hours the whole day, and I'd have a bit of a headache, no big deal. Besides, I got a free donut on Tuesday. But on Wednesday, the ready site was down the entire morning, meaning we couldn't do any work on the site. When something is unpleasant, you just want to get it over with (besides the fact that I wanted to finish Northanger Abbey). Besides that, I don't like leaving things at work unfinished. I did have some other things to work on that morning and the site was up in the afternoon. The other interns, though, weren't there, which meant that the work was going pretty slow.

On Thursday the other interns were there, but other things had started popping up. The woman we were checking the site for wanted us to be done by Friday, something we thought was completely plausible. Then, another girl comes around with an assignment that she wanted done by Friday/Monday at the lasted. We finally agreed that we would have to take the second assignment home and work on it there (because we both had a few extra hours during the week we hadn't used). The website was touchy at best and the entire JSP staff was off at the ADE conference in the afternoon. We tried to get as much done as we could and then I headed home, carrying half of a 600 page manuscript with me to work on when I got home. By this time I was getting a bad case of the jitterbugs, so I played the piano to release some of that pent up energy until dinnertime.

Friday was by far the worst day of the week. Everyone was gone to the conference, except a select few. The website was again being "bipolar" as two of my coworkers independently called it. At one point it said it would be down until Tuesday!! Fortunately it came back up and didn't give us anymore trouble the rest of the day. Then, we were given another project and since the website woman was at the conference, we were told to abandon the website for a while and work on this one. This is what was probably the hardest this week: everyone wanting us to work on their project. Everything seemed to have the same deadline and there were a few "discussions" about which was the most important--print or website. As interns, we just have to try to do what we're told without getting everyone mad at us. The only highlight of my day was watching Doctor Who at lunch time, a Friday tradition with some people I met that work in different departments. I stayed late to try to get done what I could, but even with Bleak House, there was only so much I could stand, meaning that I had to leave without the website check being completed. I was so exhausted. I didn't even read on the train ride home; I just couldn't bring myself to use my eyes for anything.

Have you ever been so tired that when all these negative/sad thoughts start pushing forward and all these emotions come bubbling up, you just don't have the energy to keep them at bay? That's how I felt when I finally reached Daybreak and got in my car to drive home. Some song (okay, Adele's "Someone Like You") came on the radio, which prompted some thoughts about something that had happened early that week, which prompted some other thoughts, which prompted some emotions and I just couldn't keep them at bay. I found myself driving with tears running down my face, and the antsy feeling that comes from doing the same thing for about 30 hours that week. I finally turned the radio off and came home. I went downstairs to change out of my skirt and found myself crying again for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

Fortunately by the time I had gotten some food in me and was at a bookstore with my parents looking for the perfect book to buy with my mom's 25% discount, I was feeling much better.

I have been thinking about something lately, though. I think that I would rather take the hard times with the good, then just having the good all the time. Without the hard times I wouldn't be who I am (for better or for worse) and the good times wouldn't seem quite so sweet. Without having had an awful day on Friday, going to the bookstore probably wouldn't have been such the sweet relief it ended up being.

*For those wondering, I have so far watched North and South, Persuasion (2005), Northanger Abbey, Little Dorrit, and have almost made it through Bleak House.

Oct 7, 2011

Why I Love Google and Other Stories from My Job

I work in a library. That alone is awesome. A library is full of books, and this library in particular has really old books.

Plus, working in a library means that I am not the only nerd around, as being a nerd is a prerequisite to working in a library. No matter if you are in the library proper, or upstairs in the projects like I am.

I love the people I work with. The first day when I met them all I thought, "Wow. Historians are really awkward." Which, okay, they are, but they are also a lot of fun too. I have a great friendship with the other intern, and love our little chats that cover topics from Disney Channel stars to raising children (even though neither of us have any). It makes work more enjoyable.

Now, on to why I love Google. At work we have been spending a lot of time working on Geographical Directory entries to put up on the website. This means a lot of source checking--over and over again. These entries have gone through about 4 or 5 other people before I get them, and yet I still run into problems. Our lovely source inputers sometimes just put a source in without making a photocopy of the original source, or where it's from, or even who said it! Such was something that I ran into the other day. It was credited to Joseph Smith, but it obviously wasn't. I decided to take a chance and type a phrase into Google. The first three results popped up with the quote. I looked at two of them--both Wiki sites--Wiki sites are also wonderful because of their inclusion of sources!! I looked at the source for the quote, looked in the Library's catalog and discovered that we had it! I ordered it to be brought up to my desk, problem solved! Seriously, what did we ever do without the internet?

If we didn't have the internet, the Joseph Smith Papers Project would probably not be getting done. Instead of a 20 year project, it would probably take a life time. Tracking down the papers, and the sources, would take a long time. And my job would take even longer than it already does.

Anyway, that's why I love Google!

Sep 26, 2011

Banned Book Week 2011

Well, it's that time of year again! Banned Books for the win!

Here's my deal with "banning" and "challenging" books: It is taking a personal opinion and forcing it on others. That's just the short version.

I have nothing against someone choosing not to read a certain book. I do it all the time. I think that everyone should take care and research the media they subject themselves to, whether it be movies, TV, magazines, music, or books. I base my decisions concerning these things on my own personal belief system.

I also have nothing against a parent taking care to protect their children from age inappropriate topics.

But I do have something against someone saying that NO ONE should read/watch/listen to something. The best thing about this country is one of our most basic rights is the freedom of speech! No one should be able to say that something shouldn't be published or read, just because they don't agree with the subject matter.

In fact, I think that a lot of times parents (it is mostly parents who challenge books) are missing out on a great teaching opportunity. Not only can reading a book with a differing view than your own help you understand your beliefs better, but it can be used to open a conversation with your child about topics and situations that face them in the world. Communication is key in teaching your kids right from wrong.

As an illustration of this, let's take a look at the list of 50 Banned Books Everyone Should Read. Let's use The Bridge to Terabithia as an example. (If you haven't read this book or seen the movie and would like to, this next part will contain a major spoiler.) The biggest objection to this book is the theme of death (as well as the use of imagination to create a "magical" world). Death is something everyone has to deal with and I think this book is a beautiful example of how a someone can change your life and be a part of your life even when they are no longer on this earth. This is a great opportunity to talk to your child (or friends, parents, whatever) about your beliefs on death and how to handle death.

So, this week, read a challenged/banned book. Maybe pick one from the list I linked to. It's up to you what book you want to read, and I am not saying that I personally approve of every book on that list, but it isn't up to me. As for me, I'm going to be reading The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger.

Sep 14, 2011

Why is this Considered Romance?

I've never understood why people think that Jane Eyre is a romantic story.

A man who mocks you, who ignores you when his friends are around and then demands to know why you didn't talk to him is not romantic. A man who owes you money is not romantic. A man who makes you think he is marrying another woman just to see if you'll get jealous is not romantic. A man who tricks you into a sham of a marriage when he is already married and is hiding his insane wife in the attic, and then when you find out about the insane wife, tries to convince you to live with him in sin though it goes against everything you believe is not romantic.

A man who sleeps around and doesn't like children, not even the child who may or may not be his is not romantic. A man who lies to and takes advantage of other people is not romantic. A man who takes advantages of a young girl's vulnerabilities is not romantic. A man who is vain enough to think that he can do all these things and still get you to love him is not romantic.

Romance this is not.

Sep 10, 2011

Summer Vegetable Pasta

This new recipe I create tonight uses white sauce. It is my belief that everyone should know how to make a white sauce--it's easy and can be used for all sorts of things. Once you know how to make a basic white sauce, you can add cheese of any kind, use it for pasta sauce, a chicken pizza sauce, in cream soups, or for creamed vegetables. It is so versatile and if used correctly, it can make any recipe seem elaborate!

Ingredients:
1 package favorite pasta, cooked
olive oil
half an onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 large carrot, sliced
shredded zucchini
fresh spinach
medium white sauce

Medium White Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese
Melt butter; add flour. Mix together to make a roux. Add milk. Use a whisk to mix together. Add cheese. The sauce will get thick--remember to stir constantly!

Heat olive oil in pan. Add onion, garlic, and carrots. Cook until onions are transparent and carrots are crunchy tender. (You can start making the white sauce once you put everything in the oil.) When the pasta and white sauce are almost done, put zucchini in with the other vegetables. Mix up. When you are ready for everything to be put together, add spinach (this way it will be able to cook down a little, but not enough to get really wimpy). Combine pasta, sauce, and vegetables and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese.

Serve with strawberries and enjoy!

Movie Review: Wild Things

Where the Wild Things Are
MPAA: PG
My rating: *

Short review? Read the book, skip the movie.

Long review? It's difficult to take a 32 page, 500 word book and turn it into a 101 minute movie. Of course, the movie felt like it was about 3 hours long . . .

This is my big beef with the movie. The main message, themes, parallelism, whatever, was so obtuse that it was almost hard to tell what they were supposed to be. And to have come from a children's book, I was surprised to discover that it was NOT a children's movie. It was kind of scary at parts, and had some scenes that would be confusing to a child. (Particularly the scene when Carol wakes all the wild things and Max up and talks about the sun going out and gets mad at Max.)

Then there was the fact that about 15 minutes after Max ended up with the Wild Things I was thinking "When is he going to go back?" I mean, in the book, Max is sent to bed without supper, goes off in his boat to the land of the Wild Things, becomes king, has fun, goes home and his dinner is still warm.

Here's what I thought was good. The Wild Things' costumes, which is to be expected because they were made by the Jim Henson Company. And . . . that was about it.

If you need a little Wild in your life, buy the book by Maurice Sendak.

Sep 4, 2011

Sunday Special: God's Time

I think all of us have an idea of how our lives are going to go. A certain timeline that we plan out for ourselves. I know that I did: my first date, first kiss, marriage, children. I really thought that I would be married at or near the age of 21, and where I am now I would be graduated from college, and maybe expecting my first child, or working a full-time, steady job.

Of those three things, only one of those things has happened.

And, I'm sad to say, sometimes I get jealous when I see a graduation picture with that special someone sharing the day. Or when another one of my friends gets married, or announces that she is pregnant. Sometimes, I even think about the different guys I may have crushed on or even been on a date with, and wonder what I might have missed out on.

The thing is, most of those "deadlines" had for myself have come and gone without the event I had planned for them happening. But I have come to realize that by not achieving my "goals" I have been able to have some great experiences that I never would have thought to plan for.

That is why it is so important to rely on God's timeline, instead of our own. If I had gotten married at 21, I probably would not have met some of the amazing people that I have. I probably wouldn't have had these amazing internships that I have, where I have learned so much.

God knows what I need in my life so much more than I do. I may still wish for a husband and a baby of my own, but I have to realize that the thins that I do have, and the things that I have experienced have made me a better person. God knows what I need. That's a great comfort to me when I think how different my life is than how I thought it would be.

So, whenever your life seems to be going in a different direction than you planned, jut remember that there is probably a better reason, one only God knows.

Sep 1, 2011

A Collection of Thoughts at the End of the Day

Worst part of the day: waking up.

Best part of the day: At the CHL, where I work, they have this really strict policy about not eating food at your desk or anywhere other than designated areas (the break room and certain conference rooms). This was really hard for me! Not only am I hyperglycemic, which means I have to eat something every few hours, but in the afternoon when you start dragging, I need to snack on something to help keep me awake. I like my snacks. It has been hard these past four days. Well, this afternoon we all get an e-mail saying that the policy has changed and we can now eat at our desks! Within seconds of getting the e-mail we could hear "whoop!" and various other cheers coming out of offices. We all congregated in the hallway to celebrate our little victory. Then two of the girls went out and bought donuts for us to eat . . . at our desks!

Miscellaneous part of the day: As I was standing at the train station waiting for my transfer, I was surrounded by a sea of red. And then I thought "I am definitely in the wrong city."

Aug 29, 2011

First Day on the Job--Again

Today was the third first day I have had this year, in concern with jobs. Today I started at the Joseph Smith Papers Project.

I rode the train up to Salt Lake. Just after it left the station, it made the sound that it makes when a train breaks down . . . maybe it's not so much a sound as the absence of sound. Anyway, the train starts up again and immediately breaks down again.

Start and stop again.

About three or four times this happens. I'm starting to calculate the amount of mud outside and the ability of me to walk back to the station in my heels. I decided that ability was about zero.

So I went through the HR process again, and then made it over to the Church History Library, where we did some more of that first day stuff.

Anyway, I'm still a little unsure about what the next 9 months are going to bring, but I can see some definite good points.

Aug 24, 2011

Habits from Living Alone

Before you get on me, I don't live alone in the way that my parents do live upstairs and may occasionally make their way downstairs. But my basement is an apartment and it is my space, just as another apartment would be.

My brother will be moving in with me in about two months, and as I have started considering this, I have noticed that I have fallen in some habits that I'll probably have to change once I am sharing my space with someone.

Like doors.

When you live alone, doors kind of lose their meaning. I mean, I still close certain doors (ahem, bathroom) out of habit, but for the most part, there is no meaning to doors. Obviously, this will have to change.

Also, stuff. I just set my stuff down anywhere. I take my shoes off and leave them in the middle of the floor where anyone (including myself) can trip over them. Papers, work stuff, books, empty snack packages; all of these are strewn all over my living room and kitchen. What is that about? Who knew that I was such a slob? That's going to have to change.

Dishes. After living in an apartment without a dishwasher for four years, you'd think I'd be better at this, especially now that I have a dishwasher. I take forever to unload the dishes out of it, and then my dirty dishes pile up in my sink, and I don't hand wash them, and it's just a mess.

Ah. It's amazing how fast bad habits can build up when you aren't trying to keep anyone on your good side.

Well, I'ma gonna try to be a better housekeeper-a. I'm going to put my shoes in the basket by the door (or even in my ::gasp!:: closet) where they belong. I'll file or throw away papers. I'll unload the dishwasher and load it back up again. I'll close doors. So when my brother moves in with me, we will live together in comfort and peace.

Here's to trying!

Aug 20, 2011

Second Internship in Review

Yesterday was my last day at Deseret Book. It was really hard to leave!

To correctly review this internship I have to go back to the last day of my internship at the Church magazines. That was the day I went to take the in-house editing test at Deseret Book. I was pretty nervous about this because I had never taken an editing test like this before and I really wanted this internship.

In the middle of the test I just got this feeling; God knew what I needed, and I needed to trust in that. After that I felt calm.

I heard back from them about two weeks later, and set up an interview for the next week. Walking into the interview, I was still nervous, but I felt like this was where I needed to be. Sitting with Suzanne and Lisa, it wasn't so much like an interview as a conversation. Yes, they asked me the usual interview questions, but I didn't feel like I was floundering for answers or to get my meaning across. I didn't feel as if they were really judging me, like you feel in some interviews. I left wanting the internship even more.

I got called back later that same day and was told that I was one of three people chosen for the internship! And I would start the next day!

There never was the same anxiety that I felt at the start of my first internship (I think part of that was because there just simply wasn't the time to get myself worked up, but mostly I just really wanted to be there).

This internship was so great because I was actually doing what I want to do as my career--working on books! I worked on fiction, nonfiction, reference, cookbooks, and even a songbook. I think they said that I worked on 42 projects in some form or another. In 16 weeks. Some of that was just prepress checks, or bluelines, or corrections checks which don't take that long. But I also did proofreads, pre-edits, and source checking which take a lot longer. I got to read some really great stuff (and some not so great . . . ).

It's good to know that the profession I chose for myself at 16 is what I actually enjoy doing. I loved my work these past few months. I loved the pace of it all, and I loved seeing the projects change and grow. And I really learned a lot, even from just seeing how other proofreader's marked a manuscript. I became a little more confident in my editing.

Now, on to another internship in a week. (I think I'm just going to be a professional intern.)

Aug 15, 2011

Homemade Rice Pudding

When I went to London on my study abroad I fell in love with rice pudding. You just can't get good rice pudding in Utah. So I decided to find a recipe. I found a lot, but this was one of the easiest looking--and it has raspberries. Enjoy!

Rice Pudding with Raspberry topping (from Shirley Privratsky)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup long grain rice (I used arborio, which is actually a short grain rice that is used in risotto because it is known to make a creamier mixture)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in rice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in milk and sugar. Cook 20-30 minutes longer or until rice is tender and mixture is thick and creamy. (I had to cook it about 35 minutes, probably because I changed the kind of rice. Also, do this part with the lid off.) Remove from the heat; cool. Fold in whipped topping. Refrigerate.
  2. Drain raspberries, reserving juice. In a small saucepan, combine the cornstarch and reserved juice until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in raspberries. Remove from the heat; cool. (I totally did this part wrong, haha. I had forgotten to get the raspberries out of the freezer the night before to thaw, so when I went to make this, I had to resort to crushing up all the raspberries in order to get enough juice. Then I just decided to put the crushed raspberries in so it ended up being more like jam than a raspberry syrup.)
  3. Spoon the rice pudding into individual dishes; top with the raspberry mixture. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Aug 14, 2011

A Love Affair

At fourteen I fell in love.

It was early 2002. The world was gathering in Salt Lake City, and he came with it. He was 21, with unruly curls, expressive eyes, and the voice of an angel. It was love at first listen.

From that time on, I was hooked. Our moments together were short and far between, but sweet and special. His name?

Josh Groban.

I loved him in a time and place where “Mormon housewives” were considered his fanbase. But they just didn’t know him like I did.

His first tour to Utah was in 2004, and the tickets sold out in 10 minutes—leaving me without. I was determined the next time he came, I would have tickets to his show.

That was in 2007, during his Awake tour. I dragged my brother to Salt Lake with me. It was amazing. The voice, the energy.

Fast forward to yesterday. Probably one of the best days of my life so far! My mom offered to go with me to the concert this time. I was a little anxious, hoping that she would enjoy it.

We got up to Salt Lake at about 7:15, and waited in line to get in. There was some confusion because ESA did something really different with tickets. They have these things called “Flash Seats.” Basically, you buy the tickets online with a credit card, and when you get there, the ushers swipe your card and print off your seat information. Well, we weren’t sure at first if you were supposed to go to Will Call or what, but after asking about 4 different people, we (and the people in line behind us) figured it out and got in.

Because I was willing (and able) to spend a little more money this year, we had much better seats. Last time Josh came, we sat up high in the nosebleeds, but this year we were on the right side of the stage about 21 rows up. Someday, I will make it onto the floor seats. I don’t know how much they cost or how you get them, but someday, I will be there.

The opening act was a pianist named Elew. Amazing!! He didn’t use a bench, just spread his legs to support himself. He would put his hand inside the piano and pluck strings, or whatever. There was one song that sounded like there were drums being played because of how he was playing. I can’t even tell you how amazing this guy was. I don’t even think listening to his CD would really give you the full affect.

Elew played for 30 minutes, then we waited for another 30 minutes as the roadies set up the stage and all that.

Then his band came out. The only thing I can compare this to is an overture, like in a musical. We were all watching the main stage, and almost missed Josh coming out near the back to the floor stage. The first song he played was one that I’m pretty sure I had never heard before.

Then he played another and then he talked. The thing that I don’t think people know about Josh Groban is how funny he is. He sings these beautiful, classical-like songs in different language, but he’s actually really funny. And he has so much energy. It’s just a good show that he puts on.

The band (Josh called them his “Groband”) played “Live or Let Die,” which was awesome, and then Josh came out and played the drums. What can I say, he’s a multitalented guy. Then he did something else that was a little different. Before the show they gave out this number that you could text to ask Josh a question, then they picked a few and he answered them. They put a light on the section and had the person stand up. He only answered three, but they were pretty funny. The last one asked Josh if he could play some of Kanye West’s Tweets (I guess he did this on one of those late night talk shows I don’t watch). That was pretty entertaining.

I just loved being at the concert. Feeling the music vibrate in your chest, and seeing the songs you love performed live. There is something about it. Especially when songs mean something to you. When Josh performed “Higher Window,” I almost cried, because I was really paying attention to what the words meant to me.

He ended with inviting four people onto the stage with him. He wanted a couple that had been together for a long time, a single girl, and then Ethan, this little boy that Josh had talked to earlier in the show. Ethan was so cute! The bodyguard lifted him onto the stage and he ran straight back to the band and high fived every single one of them. Then Josh got these blow up couches for his guests to sit on, brought some water and milk. (Seriously. They brought out an entire gallon of milk.) The couple had been together for 39 years and it was the girl’s birthday. Josh sang happy birthday to her!

Then he sang a song about cheating. Haha. But it was “Broken Vow” which is beautiful.

He sang two encore songs, one by Neil Diamond called “Play Me,” and then “You Raise Me Up.”

Then I bought a t-shirt and Mom and I got on the train to go home. The train was packed! I was pressed up against this random old guy. The first stop after we get on, the train stopped really fast and everyone was thrown forward with a unison “whoa!”

We finally got home at one in the morning, tired, but even more in love than I already was.

Thanks Mom for going with me! I loved being able to share something I love with you. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

(I was going to put videos up, but I’m still trying to figure that out. I will do it later, I guess.)

Aug 10, 2011

Review: Gary D. Schmidt

About two or three years ago I read a book called The Wednesday Wars. It is an amazing book by author Gary D. Schmidt.

Set during the Vietnam War, it tells the story of Holling Hoodhood and how his teacher tortures him with Shakespeare.

This summer, I read the companion to this book, Okay for Now. Doug Swieteck, one of Holling's friends, has to move away from Long Island to a small town for his dad's job. There are several different strains of Doug's story, from the girl Lil, to Principal Peattie (who always refers to himself in the third person), to the playwright, to his brother Lucas who comes home from the war different, to Audubon's birds.

What I like so much about these two books is how sweet they are, how innocent but not the main characters are. Schmidt has you laughing out loud, then you turn the page and you're crying, then you're laughing again. Then you are crying and laughing at the same time. The emotions are real.

Read these books. They are fantastic.

Jul 27, 2011

Tales from a TRAX Rider: Protestors

Yesterday was another adventure riding the UTA!

I stayed at work late to finish a project I had been working on. I get out to my stop about 35 minutes later than usually. The other line's train pulled up. And there it sat. And sat. And sat. For about 45 minutes it sat there! Meanwhile, my train is at the previous stop, right where I can see it. Finally the conductor comes out and says that they are trying to get everything started up again and the trains should be moving soon.

"You know what the problem is?" asks the unbelievable short man next to me.

"Yeah, apparently there is a protest at the courthouse," the conductor said. "Some of the protestors where sitting on the tracks. But they got the police there now."

Um, protestors? Sitting on the tracks? Are you kidding me?! I'm all for the right to assemble, but do they really have to ruin everyone else's day? I was already an hour late, I was hungry, I was tired, and I was grumpy.

Finally the other train moved and mine pulled up. Getting on, I just happen to get on the same car as that guy. You know the kind: the guy that complains about something without having all the information, and talks with a loud annoying voice to anyone who is polite enough to not ignore him. With my low blood sugar, headache, and exhaustion, I wanted nothing more for him to shut up.

He didn't, and just my luck, he stayed on until the last stop, which is also mine.

I finally got home two hours after I left the office.

Jul 21, 2011

Being a Teenager

You remember being a teenager, right? Mood swings, acne, awkwardness, low self-esteem . . . yeah, it sucked. And yet, there are times in life when we revert back to being a teenager.

Like that middle aged guy in the fancy car. Fantasy car+the money to finally buy it+the need to be young again.

For me, I feel like I revert back to being a teenager whenever a big change comes into my life. Which I have been dealing with the past 7 months as I have transitioned from college student to intern. To intern. It probably doesn't help that I am back to living with my parents.

My life seems to be in a constant state of flux, which makes it hard to settle into this change. Every four months my life has changed.

My emotions seem to go from high to low quickly, just like when I was a teenager. I'm so self-concious, more so than when I was in school. It's like trying to discover a whole new me, and it's strange and, really, a bit uncomfortable.

I can't wait until things get a bit more settled and I can stop feeling like a teenager and more like my age--which is somewhere between not grown up and adult.


Jul 17, 2011

Sunday Special: It's a Choice

One of the main things I hear against the LDS Church (Mormonism) is that it's members follow blindly without making any of their own decisions.

I think that this idea comes from many things. One is that people just don't understand our religion. They don't care enough to really learn about what we preach.

Another reason, I believe, is that it is the faults of the members.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think that anyone who truly loves this gospel ever willfully misrepresents our church. But I think that we live in a world where we feel like we have to make excuses for ourselves, no matter who we are or what we believe.

"I can't . . . I'm Mormon."
There was this t-shirt company that started making these "I can't . . . I'm Mormon" shirts awhile back. While I can see the humor in them, I think that this phrase perfectly illustrates what I'm trying to say; which is that sometimes we use our religion as an excuse.

By saying that we "can't" makes it seem like we are either ashamed of our religion or using it to take the easy way out. Is it a wonder that people think we let our religion rule our lives? We should be having our religion guide our lives. Instead of "I can't," it should be, "I don't."

What is wrong with just saying, "I don't drink coffee. I don't smoke. I don't drink, etc."? I almost feel like we are putting down our religion when we say "I can't."

Why do you follow the gospel?
I guess it really comes to your attitude. Do you follow the standards, doctrines, and principles of the gospel because you have to or because you choose to?

I hope that everyone lives the gospel because they choose to, not because they feel obligated. I hope they live it because they love God and Christ and they see that their lives will be better for it.

I don't drink alcohol just because I was told not too. I don't drink because, based on my religious beliefs, I have chosen not too. There is really nothing holding me back--I am over the legal drinking limit. But I have chosen not too.

It's a choice. And we should make it seem like we have made that choice--not just following blindly.

Jul 9, 2011

Memory Quilt, Part 3

Sorry this has taken so long.

Now that you have squares done, put them in the order you want.
Then it is back to pressing seams!
And pinning!
Then you sew the squares together in a row.
Then you press and pin and sew all the rows together. After that press and pin and sew even more until all the rows are together into one big quilt top:
All that's left is picking out batting and a back, then tying the quilt and finishing it off.

Jul 3, 2011

Not Just a Summer Thing

For the past five years (and probably more), summer was when I had to do all my "fun" reading. My mom (a librarian) would bring home a box of books, and I'd borrow them from her all summer long, as well as reading my favorites again and suggestions from friends.

This summer I have felt very anxious about getting all the reading down I want to this summer. I've got all these books I've got to get through, plus others that I want to read again. And then I realized something:

I can read all year long now!

I am no longer confined to summer to get all the reading done that I want to. It is hard to wrap my mind around this concept. I don't have to give it up to read books for class, and do my homework.

Pretty exciting discovery.

Jul 1, 2011

Being an LDS Single

I was source checking in old Ensigns a couple of weeks ago when I came across a gem of an article in an old 1980s issue. I have no idea the name, year, or issue it was in, but it was pretty great. This article discussed the correct way to interact with single members of the Church. Imagine, if you will, that Steve Irwin did an episode on the Discovery Channel about LDS Singles. It would go a little something like this:

Steve: Here we can see the LDS Single in its natural habitat. Now, it's looking pretty tame right now, but just wait and see what happens when we start asking intrusive questions about its love life. Oh, this is going to be fun!

That was basically what the article was like . . . acting as if we LDS Singles are a different species and the "marrieds" don't quite know how to act around us. We are still just people! And members of the Church!

That being said, the article did make some good points. Like, you probably shouldn't say the following things to someone who is single:

"But you're so pretty/handsome! How can you not be married?"

"My wife's brother is single. You should go out!" (The second councilor in my bishopric said this. During a temple recommend interview.)

"So are you married? Why not?"

"Are you dating anyone? Better get on it!" (A bishop said this to me. When I was 19.)

"You have to stop being so picky . . . "

"You aren't getting any younger."

"Don't you want to get married?"

"Temple marriage is necessary to get into the Celestial Kingdom." (Yes, I have heard this. To clear this up, it is only necessary for exaltation, not admittance to the Celestial Kingdom.)

Here's a little advice, if you are truly nervous about talking to an LDS single. We have jobs, hobbies, and even families. There are plenty of subjects to talk about without bringing up the fact that they are single. If they bring it up, follow their lead.

Jun 24, 2011

Baby Shower Cupcakes

Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 8oz package cream cheese cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips

Make a chocolate cake mix according to package directions. In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, and egg. Mix well. Add chocolate chips. Fill cupcake papers 2/3 full with chocolate cake mix. Then place generous teaspoonful of cream cheese mixture on top. Press down lightly. Bake at 350 for 18 to 25 minutes or until they test down with a toothpick.
I decided that instead of frosting the cupcakes (not too big on frosting), I was going to try making little edible decorations out of starbursts. I chose red and pink because they matched the color theme of the baby shower I was hosting:
Put them on a plate (we did four at a time), and heat them up for about 6-8 seconds:
Roll them out, first going one way and then the next:
Cut with your favorite small cookie cutter. You might recognize this from when I made cookies earlier this year:

Place on the tops of the cupcakes. Success!
I'm pretty proud of these cupcakes and can't wait for the baby shower!

Jun 16, 2011

Conversations with My Father

Dad walks in the kitchen.

Dad: Has anyone seen my glasses?

Me (pointing a finger at the glasses hooked on his shirt collar): Right there.

Dad looks appropriately ashamed as I laugh at how old he is getting--not only does he need reading glasses, but he's forgetting that he is wearing them!

Jun 12, 2011

Tales from a TRAX Rider

When you ride public transportation frequently, you hear and see a lot of interesting things.

True, most of the people I ride with are either business people or university students, but there are those little treasures that make the ride worth telling. Here a couple of those stories:

The Artist
This happened my second day riding the train. I got on, sat down, took out my book, and started reading. About two stops later, a young-ish guy boards the train and sits down across from me, facing perpendicular to the direction I am facing. About 5 minutes later, he pulls something out of his bag. It's one of those sketch pads with the yellow covers. He starts drawing. No big deal. People do things like that on the train all the time. But then I notice something. He keeps looking over at me. Like, more than someone usually would. A thought starts forming in my mind. Trying to be sneaky, I stretch a little and glance over at him. Fortunately, the pad was turned just enough toward me that I could see what was on it. And what should I find but a portrait of myself! I smile, but I try to decide whether this is flattering or creepy.

The Jailbirds
So, I'm on my way home from work. Two kids get on. A boy and a girl, probably not older than 19. And they talk as if there is no one else on the entire train. First I learn that they are going to go visit the girl's boyfriend, who is in jail. Then I learn that the boy has been in jail on more than one occasion. Then I learn that the girl's boyfriend has threaten to beat up the boy because he thinks something might be going on between them. The girl has assured her boyfriend that they aren't like that. The guy talks about how whenever he gets out of jail and they give him back his steet clothes they always smell, "like the guard." Then the girl starts talking about some guy they both know that had the hots for her mom, but only because he wanted some place to sleep. The girl's mom had a boyfriend at the time. Then the girl talks about all the boys that propositioned her for sex (as a sidenote, this girl was not a skanky looking girl. She was pretty hefty, wearing basketball shorts and a baggy t-shirt. Take that as you will.). But don't worry, she wouldn't ever do that to her boyfriend (remember him? The one in jail?), because she loves him and would never hurt him that way. At this point in their conversation, they reach their stop and get off. I kind of wonder what else I would have learned about their very colorful lives if they had stayed on?

Add that in with the gaggle of Seattle soccer fans cheering the whole way to the stadium, the number of white wannabee gangstas, and the homeless people that get on in the "free fare zone", it can be a pretty interesting ride.

Jun 10, 2011

Homesick

Is it possible to be homesick for a place where you spent only two months?

My heart aches for England. It has haunted my dreams and followed me in the books I've been reading and songs I have heard (a few days ago the song "London Calling" came on while I was going to work). I have been watching BBC TV shows/miniseries. My brain has been thinking of all the things I would like to see if I ever get to go back. I miss ancient buildings. I miss . . . it's hard to describe what I miss. All I know is that I would go back at any opportunity.

Because it has been on my mind, here is my list:

In London
Hatchard's bookshop, est. 1797
Kensington Palace
Doctor Who Experience (yes, I am an unashamed fangirl)
Hampstead Heath
St. Paul's Cathedral
Great Ormond Street Hospital

Outside London
Chawton House/Cottage
Lake District
Stratford-upon-Avon

There's more, including things I've already see and places I've already been to that I would like to see again, but these are specifics. I would love to just be able to walk along the Thames at night again. Hopefully I'll be able to go back again (and again and again)!

Jun 9, 2011

Another Item to Add to My Bucket List

So, about a month ago another blog that I read directed me to 75 Abandoned Theaters From Around the USA. I'll give you a minute to take a look.

::whistling::

*Looks at watch*

Okay. Did you see how beautiful those old theaters are? It breaks my heart to know that they are just wasting away, becoming the camp grounds of druggies, stupid teens, and graffiti "artists." Theaters like that just aren't made anymore.

About halfway through the pictures, I got a big urge to buy one of those theaters and restore it to all it's former glory. Maybe I'd make it into a movie house that shows classic movies on the weekends. Or maybe I would put on plays.

Basically, I just can't stand knowing that they aren't being appreciated, so one day, when I have loads of money from marrying that rich handsome man, I am going to do it.

Jun 8, 2011

Veggie Quiche

I had a roommate in college who was wizard at putting random ingredients together and making them taste yummy. She made this quiche which was great, so I talked with her a bit about what she usually made it with. I make dinner for my parents every Friday and I made quiche one week. It was way yum! So I thought I would share the recipe.

Vegetable Quiche

6-8 eggs
1 cup of milk
fresh spinach (don't use frozen, it makes it watery and the eggs don't cook in the center)
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow or white onion
1 clove garlic
mushrooms (optional--I don't like mushrooms so I didn't put them in)
tomato-basil feta cheese
salt and pepper
2 deep dish frozen pie crusts

Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together and put in the pie crusts (makes 2 pies--but quiche is easily frozen). Bake for 30-45 minutes until the center is firm. If your crust starts to burn, cover with aluminum foil.

Enjoy!

(To reheat frozen quiche, thaw the pie in the refrigerator. Then bake at 375 for 23-35 minutes, until the middle reaches a temperature of 165.)

Jun 7, 2011

A Very Jane Austen Review

Title: Jane Austen Ruined My Life
Author: Beth Patillo
Rating: 4 stars

Jane Austen ruined Emma's life. Because of Jane Austen, Emma believed in a "happily ever after," but after finding her husband in a comprising situation with her TA, all hopes of the happily ever after are dashed.

A Jane Austen scholar, Emma decides to go to England to try and discover the "lost Austen letters"--the letters that Cassandra supposedly destroyed. Along the way, Emma learns what love really is and the truth about "happily ever afters."

I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't trying to rewrite Jane Austen, it wasn't using Austen's characters. It was a look into "what ifs." I always like a good speculation. Jane Austen is shrouded in mystery, and I think that this is a very respectful and historically based to who we know Jane Austen was and who Jane Austen could have been based on her novels.

If you like Jane Austen, England, and a good book, I recommend this book. It's clever and a quick read.

Jun 6, 2011

You Can Learn from TV!

So, I was proofreading a novel at work and came across this word:

anticlimatic

Well, now, someone else would just overlook this word. But not me, no sir! Because I used to watch TV (used to . . . ha!) and I learned something from it.

See, I used to watch this TV show called "Joan of Arcadia." In one episode, Joan is talking to someone (well, God) and she says "That's mad anticlimatic."

God looks down at her. "Anticlimactic. Anticlimatic means that you're . . . against the weather."

That was 7 years ago that was on TV, and I still remember that. I will not be tripped up by anticlimatic ever again!!

Jun 1, 2011

One of THOSE Days

I wake up this morning to a general feeling of unwellness. I'm just tired, I think to myself as I take my shower, make my bed, get dressed, and do my hair and makeup. I'm not as hungry as I usually am by the time my body catches up to me, but I eat my dry cereal as my mom and I head out the door.

My book can't seem to hold my attention. I just need to get into a bit more, I think. I put my book down and flip through a magazine instead as I wait for my time to drive to the TRAX station. I sing along with a newly purchased album on my iPod (going through the car's tape deck) and get to the station, a bit later than normal, but on time to catch the train.

I have been reading on the train the past two weeks. Though I suffer from horrible motion sickness, it doesn't usually affect me on the train. About halfway through the train ride, my head starts getting that dizzy icky feeling of motion sickness. I probably just didn't eat enough breakfast, I think, I'll feel better once I get to work. I put my book away and try not to stare out the window at the scenery rushing by one long blur.

An hour later, the motion sick feeling still hasn't gone away. I think that if I eat some crackers, I'll feel better. Nope. Maybe I should drink some more water. Nope. Even doing my work seems to aggravate my head. The motion of my eyes going back and forth on the page make me feel like I'm on a carnival ride. It's getting a little ridiculous. Finally, it's lunch time. A bit of fresh air, and some sugar in my system will do me good.

Though a bit windy, it is a beautiful day. I don't read my book like I usually do. I just eat my lunch and people watch. I feel better. Good, it's finally going away, I think. I go back to work and sit at my desk to continue my reading, and the tilt-a-whirl starts back up. Do doddle do do do. I'm getting kind of tired of this.

After I finishing my proofreading, I am given a picture. "Find the artist's name for this," I'm told. Here are the things I know about this picture: it's the nativity, and it is a woodcut print. No title. Not even a time period. I spend the last 2 1/2 hours of my day going through thousands of pictures trying to find it. No go. None of my search terms seems to work. Finally, it's time to go home. I am so exhausted! All I have to do is get on the train and get home.

I stop to talk to the editor who gave me the picture. Because of this I am a bit later leaving and miss the train by 5 seconds. I have to wait another 15 minutes for the next one to come. Then, about 5 stops from mine, there is a bump and the train goes quiet. It coasts into the station and stops. While the conductor tries to figure out how to fix it, we sit. For 15 minutes.

And that's when I think: Today is just one of those days. But at least I got to talk to the cute new mailroom guy.

May 28, 2011

Who Am I?

I love going to the theatre. There's an excitement as you walk in and see the gold leaf on the walls, the red velvet curtains hiding the stage. The chandelier glitters above you and all around you are the murmurs and conversations of the audience. The orchestra sits unseen, tuning their instruments and running scales.

You sit and take it all in, waiting with anticipation for the show to start. Then the lights dim and the music starts. The curtains are drawn back and you are transported to a different world. Shivers run down your spine as the characters start to sing.

I went to see one of the greatest musicals today; Les Miserables at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake. It was my first time seeing the original production (I had seen the school version when I was 16). What a beautiful and moving show! I was brought to tears many times, as I was transported to 19th century France, following the plight of Jean ValJean, a man who spends his life righting his wrongs, and running from the man who believes only in justice. It is a tale of mercy, love, redemption, and valor.

I came away singing.

May 24, 2011

Little Secrets

Here are a few admissions of my guilty little secrets:
  • I joined "Friends of Josh Groban" (Josh Groban's fan club) just so I could buy tickets to his concert a day early--which meant that essentially I paid an extra $20 for tickets.
  • Sometimes, when a car moves out from behind me to pass me, I'll speed up just enough to keep them from getting in front of me. I will also do this if a driver waits until the last second to merge.
  • I will buy an audiobook, not because I am particularly interested in the book, but because it is read by David Tennant. MMmmmm, sexy Scottish man voice!
  • I have read more than 70 books in the past 4 1/2 months alone.
  • YouTube is my favorite! I have watched entire movies and seasons of TV shows on it.
  • I love Disney Pop. Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Jonas Brothers, and even some Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus (Gasp!) all have a place on my iPod.
  • I'm a total celebrity gossip. I love reading People magazine and looking at all the pictures from award shows and knowing who is dating who. It's all so stupid.
  • I still sleep with a stuffed animal.
  • Sometimes I get so involved in characters' lives that I genuinely feel happy or sad when things happen in their lives.
  • I cry over just about everything. It doesn't help that I am a sympathetic cryer. And that I cry when I laugh. Curse these over productive tear ducts!
  • I like to pretend that I am someone so much cooler than me. You know, graceful, talented, witty, charming, fashionable, and elegant. Because usually I trip and say "um . . . " a lot.

May 21, 2011

The Times They Are a Changin'

It is amazing how fast life can change.

Four weeks ago I took a test. And finished my internship at the Church Magazines. Then for the following three weeks I heard nothing from the internships I had applied to.

For three weeks I read books and watched TV, waiting to hear.

Then in one week I had two interviews set up (on the same day). I went to the interviews, which ended up being a very long day. While I was taking the test at the second interview, I could feel my phone vibrating in my purse. I check it after I leave, and it's an offer for the publishing internship at Deseret Book! And it would be starting the next day!

Whoo! It was crazy!

So I started that internship on Wednesday. I felt so much more prepared and relaxed going into this internship than I did when I started at the New Era. I think it mostly was because 1) I had already had experience, and 2) I didn't have weeks to work myself up about it, just a few hours. Haha.

The editing team at DB is a lot smaller than I would have thought, with only 4 editors and the three of us interns. This means that I will always be busy, which is fabulous. After a little bit of training, they got us started. Instead of an office, I have a cubicle. And it is right next to John Bytheway's. Oh yes! Of course, I don't think he comes in very often, but hey. I only work three days a week, from 9-5. And I get to work with books! Big long, involved books! And novels!

It's fantastic!

And tough. I've been working on a book that talks about LDS Beliefs (I think it might actually be called that, but I don't know), where they quoted from a text they can't quote from, so I have been going through and finding all of the places it has been cited and then trying to find that same quote in two other texts that we can use. It is time consuming, and can be interesting, and tedious. I finished the part I had yesterday, and was rewarded with be able to start proofreading a novel!

In one week my life has changed quite drastically, but for the better. I have truly been lucky this past year, luckier than most people.

May 14, 2011

Words of Truth, Mr. Hugo

So I was reading in Les Miserables last night when I came across this little piece of wisdom that I thought was particularly fitting for my situation:

. . . nothing is more dangerous than discontinued labor; it is a habit lost. A habit easy to abandon, difficult to resume.

A certain amount of reverie is good, like a narcotic in discreet doses. It soothes the fever, occasionally high, of the brain at work, and produces in the mind a soft, fresh vapor that corrects the all too angular contours of pure thought, fills up the gaps and intervals here and there, binds them together, and dulls the sharp corners of ideas. But too much reverie submerges and drowns. Woe to the intellectual who lets him fall completely from thought into reverie! He thinks he will rise again easily, and he says that, after all, it is the same thing. An error!

Thought is the labor of the intellect, reverie its pleasure. To replace thought with reverie is to confound poison with nourishment.

May 8, 2011

On the Event of Mother's Day

Mother o' Mine by Rudyard Kipling

If I were hanged on the highest hill,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose love would follow me still,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!

If I were drowned in the deepest sea,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!
I know whose tears would come down to me,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!

If I were damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
Mother o' mine, O mother o' mine!