Jan 28, 2013

The Blessing of Eternity

I've been thinking a lot the past week about how I was going to address this. I'm not usually one to mention sad or very personal things very often on my blog--though I have mentioned in the past the importance of this because it helps other people know they aren't alone in certain situations. But today I want to talk about my grandpa, who we just recently said our last goodbyes too.

My grandpa was one of the most amazing men I've ever met (my family is full of amazing men). Why is it that the most amazing people are the ones the world knows nothing about? I wish everyone could have known my grandpa the way he was--the way I hope I can remember. He was quiet, patient, and thoughtful. I think in my life I only heard him raise his voice once. He was a WWII veteran, spending his time in the war in the Pacific. He met my grandma his first week at BYU, and she made sure to snatch him up quick! I don't blame her, he was a very handsome guy. He raised three kids, of which my dad was the second. I remember him once saying that when he met my grandma's father, he realized for the first time that he could have a job doing what he loved. So he studied industrial education, eventually getting his doctorate and becoming the Chair of that department at BYU.

I don't know much about woodworking, but I like to think of my grandpa as a master craftsman. He was precise and careful. And he loved to teach. He spent two years in Ethiopia teaching at a university. And he taught my dad, uncle, several of his grandkids, nephews, and great nephews. I have this feeling that his shop door was always open, because I remember going in and sitting on his stools and playing with his vises which were attached to his workbench. I also remember sweeping up sawdust, with that faint smell of cherry.

I'm part of his legacy and I hope that I am a good example of what his life was.

When I was told that he died, of course I was sad, because he was my grandpa, but I also felt comforted. He had had Alzheimer's (that awful, awful disease) for the past ten years. I really feel like I have been mourning him for the past four years--about the time he forgot who I was. He had become a prisoner of his own mind and the comfort I felt was from the knowledge that he was free and whole again. I am so glad of my knowledge of life after death! A place where there is no more suffering, and there is perfection. And that he is part of my eternal family, and I will be able to see him again.

I don't really feel that my words are sufficient to say what I meant to say. A week of thought apparently wasn't enough.

Jan 13, 2013

Dear Baby E

Hi, Baby. Your Aunt Whitney here (your favorite aunt). Just wanted to drop you a little note and tell you how excited I am to meet you. I've been waiting 8 years for you to come into our family.

Your mommy (my sister) and daddy told us about you on Christmas Day. It was definitely the best Christmas present I got--even more than my 26-disc Doctor Who: The David Tennant Years set! (Believe me, in a few years, you'll understand what a big deal that is. Because I will show you.) Since that day I've been looking forward to your coming, even though it's still so far away. I'm sad that your mommy and daddy live so far away from us, so that I can't see you grow inside your mommy's tummy, and feel you kick.

Maybe you can do something for me. Do everything you can to convince your parents to move back to Utah. This doesn't just benefit me, but your grandparents and other aunts and uncles too! Mostly I'm scared you won't know who I am when we do get to see you. I want you to be excited when you see me! Not scared or nervous. So, yeah, try and convince your parents to move back, okay?

I wanted to give you a little advice about this new life you are going to be starting. I know right now you're all safe and snug in mommy's tummy, but in just a few months you'll be out in this big world we have. Life is scary, little one, I won't sugarcoat it. It's hard and it just seems to be getting harder. But it's always beautiful and wonderful. So, try to always see the beauty and the good in the world. Sometimes it will be hard to find, but life surprises you. Don't be stupid and make life harder than it is, okay?

There is so much to see, and learn, and experience. What will the world be like when you are in your twenties? There is so much I can't wait to show to you! Books, art, nature (I bet your uncle would love to show you some really big trees, cuz he's into that), architecture, films, TV shows, snow and rain and sunshine, and just everything there is.

Baby, there are going to be times in your life when you are going to want to talk to someone, but don't want to talk to your mom for whatever reason. That's why I'm here. I'll try not to pass judgement, and to listen instead of lecture. That's what aunts are for. We're the cool people. But, share things with your mom too. She's waited so long for you. And moms are great resources. I know because your grandma is an amazing mom. So, you see, your mommy learned from the best.

You aren't much longer than my thumb right now, but you've already had a big impact on me, and I'm sure, on everyone in our family. Who would have thought such a little thing could make me feel such big feelings?

Keep up the good work at growing! And don't try to arrive too soon, we can wait.

Love you.

Jan 8, 2013

Doctor Who Workout

Today I did my first Doctor Who workout (just finished it in fact), which I got off of Pinterest and can be found here. Oh man, am I out of shape! Since I've seen all of the episodes (except the Matt Smith ones) more than once, I just chose an episode to do this with. So my workout today was to "The Unquiet Dead" (the Charles Dickens one).

It was a little hard to not just get caught up in the episode, but I had the workout taped to the side of the TV to help me remember, and I'm sure once I get more used to what I'm supposed to do, it will be easier. This episode may not have been the best episode, but when I wasn't doing one of the tasks, I made sure I was standing, stretching, or going onto my toes. Also, the part about the "catchphrase" I made to include "Bad Wolf," which was said in this episode. I ended up doing a lot of jumping jacks, because "Doctor" gets said all the time--it being his name and all. Another thing I'm going to add is a plank during the theme song at the opening.

So, it was bearable. It was fun to watch something, and it isn't constant doing something all the time. And the workout will change some depending on what episode it is, so you aren't just doing the same thing all the time, which is nice. I think I may come up with my own Doctor Who workout in the future, and maybe some for the other shows I watch during the week.

Anyway, I guess in summary, this is a good way to start working out, especially since I don't generally like exercise (I know, I'm kind of ashamed of it) and since I don't have an xbox kinect on which to play Dance Central (seriously, I never wanted an xbox before and now all I want to do is get one so I can get all four Dance Centrals and annoy the people living below me).

Another update on my New Year's resolutions: I started the second draft of my book last night and wrote three pages! Not too shabby. And I've kind of started the preplanning stage of my Canadian vacation. This will be the first vacation by myself, and I really have no idea what I'm doing, so, that's fun.

Hope that your resolutions are still going strong! If not, it's never too late to start!

Jan 4, 2013

End of the Week Thoughts: On Ghosts, Geekiness, and Procrastination


I'm pretty sure there is a ghost in the Church History Library (being my place of work). "But, Whitney," you might be saying, "how can there be a ghost in a building that's only about 6 years old?" Well, here's my theory. We've got a lot of books and documents, some of which are very old. So, my theory is that the ghost (or even multiple ghosts) came in with these very old documents, a la Tom Riddle and his diary. You're probably wondering why I have been thinking that there is a ghost at my place of work. Let me tell you. Over the past year and a few months that I have worked at the library, strange things have occurred.

One, the bathroom. Now, I'm not saying that Moaning Myrtle lives in the ladies' toilet, but someone does and who else would live in a bathroom? The automatic toilets are a little too enthusiastic about their job of flushing--unnervingly so. Also, there's this one stall that always looks like there is someone in it until you push open the unlocked door and there's no one there! Eerie.

Other evidence of at least one ghost is the strange things happening to my cubicle. I think a new ghost has moved in the past couple of months because twice in the past two months, my monitors have been moved around and generally put into a shambles, and this week my chair had been messed with! You just don't mess with a person's chair! It takes much too long to get everything back where it's supposed to be. The only thing I can think of is that it's a pranking poltergeist. And then there is the curious squeaking noise . . . but I guess that the book carts explain that one. But it's creepy!

Anyway, that's why I think there is at least one ghost in the CHL.


Simon Pegg once said, "Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It's basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating."

I realized how much a geek I am about three or four years ago, and I wholeheartedly embraced it. What is geekiness anyway except being passionate about something and sharing that passion? So, in that definition, aren't we all geeks? Sport geeks, math geeks, fashion geeks, food geeks.

When I started thinking about it, I saw that I liked a lot of things considered geeky--"Star Trek," Star Wars (I'm a purist), "Doctor Who," etc. But I'm also really geeky about books, music, movies, Disney, trivia, and education. I'm not the kind of geek who plays video games (I just can't get into them. Or play them. I usually ending either running around aimlessly or killing myself my accidentally throwing myself off a ledge), and I know next to nothing about technology, science, and math. But I'm passionate, and I'm not afraid of sharing my passions--though sometimes I'm a bit more quiet about my passions than others.

Procrastination stuff

Here are some things to keep you busy when you are supposed to be busy doing something else!

The "Stuff You Should Know" Podcast. With my love of knowing random facts, this is an awesome podcast. I've linked to it before, but it's worth linking to again, because it's awesome. Just this week I learned about Barbie, Bigfoot, and Christmas traditions. I've also learned about black holes, lobotomies, the muppets, vampires, why leaves change colors, and Stockholm syndrome. Seriously interesting.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. This is a new web series by Hank Green which updates Pride and Prejudice. My roommate and I love it! There is a new video every Monday and Thursday, and they are about 4 minutes long. There are also a few videos done by Lydia Bennet, and Maria Lu. The really cool thing about this series is not only is it a great exploration of a relatively new form of media, but it also uses other social media to make a complete story! Each character has a twitter account, and a facebook. I went on Darcy's twitter, and his sister's GiGi's, yesterday and it was fun to get a different view of them. Even though I don't get twitter. Seriously, when it comes to twitter I'm like your 80-year-old grandma trying to figure out how to turn on an iPad. Can you really only see one side of a conversation when looking through someone's twitter account? That seems annoying. But I digress. Check out The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Vlogbrothers. This is the vlogs of brothers John Green and the aforementioned Hank. John Green is a YA novelist that I discovered last year when I read his amazing book The Fault in Our Stars. Then I read Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines. All are fun, interesting, thought provoking books, with scenes that make you laugh out loud. And that is what these vlogs are like too. There are over a thousand videos going as far back as 2007. At first I just jumped around watching random videos, but then I realized that the videos tell more of a story than anything else, so I started watching at the beginning of 2010. I have as yet to get out of 2010, but I am having loads of fun watching them. Also, John probably has the most ADORABLE baby ever. Oh, and these guys make me feel vastly untalented. Hank writes music, writes and directs LBD, organizes VidCon, rides horses, edits videos, is a biologist, and talks very fast. John writes novels (Printz awards! New York Times bestseller!), also edits videos, knows a lot about conjoined twins, and is a deep thinker. Plus, they have created a community (Nerdfighters) and have been encourage this community to help change lives. That's amazing! I've always said that if I could just change one life for the better, my life would be better for it. So, go on John and Hank!

And . . . I think that's enough to keep you busy for a little while at least.