Catching up.

Oh, hello. I haven't blogged in over two years.  I just got busy. So much has happened in my life in the past two years that I don't know where to start, but here are the basics:

1. I have two squishy, adorable, hilarious nephews courtesy of my sister Jackie and her hubs George. (Thanks, you two.)

2. I got the opportunity last fall (one year ago!) to travel to Ireland, England, and Wales for a month as part of a study abroad program at BYUI, and it was simply amazing. Easily the highlight of my college experience.

3. I graduated from BYUI with a BA in English in July, and now in my stressful "I-just-found-out-I-have-an-exam-for-a-class-I-never-attended" dreams almost always end with me waving my diploma at the professor and prancing out of the room. It's great.

So, more on item #2: I have been meaning to post my pictures and travel journal ever since I got back last October. I figured that the one-year anniversary of my trip was as good a time to do so as ever, so here we go! (PS: Does anyone have any good ideas for what to call my travel blogs? I was thinking "A Broad Abroad." Get it? Heh heh.) Some of these are just stream-of-consciousness thoughts, but some entries are a bit more polished. It just depended on how much time I had that day.

My very first trip out of the United States began with me running late--very late--for the airport. My plane didn't leave until around noon, but I was supposed to be at the airport to meet and mingle with my group around 7. I don't think I got there until 8:30. I jumped out of the car and was about to book it to the gate when dad sweetly surprised me with a little wad of spending money. He just held it out and said something like, "Well, here you go." I thanked him and got teary eyed because it would really ease my budget over there.

Bye Chicago!

Swanky blanket and pillow on Aer Lingus

Flight Map


New obsession: Downton Abbey

My new semester has begun, which means I have been doing a great deal of organizing, unpacking, writing, reading, and frantically trying to remember my class routes. It also means that when I am doing something that doesn't require full brain power (folding laundry, putting together binders, etc) I can watch TV for extended periods of time on my trusty laptop. I had heard great things about Masterpiece Theater's Downton Abbey, but hadn't had the chance to watch it until this week.

Oh. Man.
The basic premise of the show is: "Exposing the snobbery, backbiting and machinations of a disappearing class system, this series chronicles the comings and goings of the upper-crust Crawley family and their assorted servants." (Thanks Netflix!) But it is so much more than that. The fashion and costumes are fantastic - drop waists, pincurls, lace, and red red lipstick. They make me wish I was a rich young aristocratic heiress in 1910's England so I could be wooed by men in cummerbunds.

And the scandal! The scheming! The servant shenanigans!! It's like a 90's era soap opera, only classier and with British accents and women who aren't allowed to wear pants. Don't let the fact that it's a PBS production worry you into thinking it's farty and boring. That is always my first criticism of PBS shows, to be honest, but this one proves me wrong.

So go watch it already.


This semester....

....has been bat-crap crazy. Hence my lack of blog entries. I have been struggling a lot lately with personalish-things, and stress, and work, and school, and my calling, and rekindling my dating life (!!!). I think I am going to make it, though. Mainly thanks to prayer, faith, many of my very sweet Relief Society sisters, my Mamma, and copious amounts of Diet Dr. Pepper.

I kind of wish I could fast-forward time and arrive promptly at this Saturday afternoon, when I walk into my family's house in Kaysville. It will be spring break! And Easter weekend. And I will get to see my family, and my Utah friends. And I'm pretty sure my little doggie Lady Gaga will be so stinking excited to see me that she'll lose her mind.

I can't wait.


thoughts on the narrow definition of feminism in literature: (AKA, in defense of Bella Swan)

Longest blog title ever.
So, recently something has been kicking around my head. And it is bugging me.

To begin, you need to know I am a feminist. I think women like Joan of Arc, Grace O'Malley, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and all the other strong defiant women throughout history who threw off the yoke of traditional womanhood and stood up for what they thought was right, are awesome. They inspire me enough to know why some women would want to burn their bras. (Though I don't want to. Such a waste of money. And bra-lessness is uncomfortable.)

However. I think feminism in our culture has become a little bit backwards, and that is what nags at me. I think the root of feminism is recognizing that women have the right to be whoever the heck they want.

Want to run a business/go into politics/become a soldier? Awesome! Do it.

Want to be a stay at home mom or wife or homemaker? Also equally awesome! Do it. That's what I would say.

Unfortunately, it seems like modern feminism downplays the choice to be traditionally feminine, and argues that to pursue a path like motherhood or marriage or falling in love is undesirable and unsuited to a truly modern women. To them I say: Bah humbug. (Actually, I'd rather say something else to them, but I am trying to use less curse words in my day-to-day vocabulary.)

Which brings me to my main point. For those of you who don't share my book-geekery obsession, I apologize if the following is just gobbledegook to you. I love Katniss Everdeen (of The Hunger Games). She is strong, brave, defiant, and fights violently for the things that matter to her. I love Hermione Granger (of Harry Potter). She is intelligent, sensible, determined and uses these skills to turn the tide of a magical war. These two heroines are regularly lauded as positive role models for women, because they personify the things that our current culture of feminism applauds: the ability to break through stereotypical 'feminine' barriers by being strong in a way, for centuries, only men were expected to be. I agree - they are great.

But you know what else? I love Bella Swan (of Twilight). She falls in love, unapologetically. I think that's brave, even though she becomes a hot mess when Edward leaves. She is quiet and awkward but doesn't try to change her personality and tastes in order to fit in with her peers. She knows precisely who she is and what she wants out of life, and I think that is strong. I don't think the fact that she wants to spend forever with the man she loves is a sign of weakness of character. I think it embodies precisely what the crux of feminism is:
A woman can and should be whoever and whatever she damn well pleases.

So when I see this:

... it makes me shake my head a bit. And mumble curse words. And blog until my annoyance goes away.


First weeks of class

I am officially back in school, and officially swamped with a bazillion things that need to be done all at once. Gahh. However, one of my New Years resolutions, yet again, is to blog at least once a week (and I missed out on most of January already). So...

In Sum:
I made the trek up to Rexburg and got moved into my apartment with help from my trusty, box-moving dad. (Thanks pop!) I have one of the same roommates as I had the last time I was up here (hi Jen!) which is FANTASTIC. I cannot stress enough how key having room mates who are on the same wavelength as yourself is when it comes to things like tidiness. It can effect the entire living experience. Seriously. Such a relief.

My classes: I am nerdily thrilled with the material I get to read and write about this semester. I'm taking Family Foundations (a religion class, which has The Family Proclamation as the basis for all of the material we cover), The Middle East (taught by a man who lived in the middle east for 7 years and has a deep love and respect for the culture and people there) Postmodernism (oh man!! This is contemporary fiction from 1965 up until the present. Our texts are books that have been on my to-read list for eons, so I am more than a little pumped to get into it) and Advanced Literary Criticism, which sounds scary and boring, but I assure you it is not. My teacher is from Boston and talks with a New Yawk accent, and during the first period alone we discussed Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Escher and how they relate to literature. Amazing. Also, he looks like Dustin Hoffman, so just being there is an entertaining experience. I also have Science 101, which has not proved utterly mind-numbing yet, so that's a good sign.

My life: I got called to be the 1st Counselor in Relief Society (a women's organization in our church) and wow. It takes up a lot of time, but apparently I had plenty of random time stored away in nooks and crannies that went unused over past semesters, because somehow I am finding time to fit it in. I also started work again this week. I am still unsure where all the hours I require in each week for work and study and service and class are going to come from, but so far I'm alive and kicking. I haven't even had to borrow Hermione Granger's time-turner yet. (I knew I could work a Harry Potter reference in there somewhere. High-five.)


Dear Bloggie,

Oh hello. I know I've been neglecting you over the past few weeks. Sorry. I've been busy working, but that is no excuse. I had a fantastic Christmas with my family and ate too many cookies and lots of fudge. I've taken the week off of work to pack, but I've mainly been watching Modern Family on Sidereel.com. It is hilarious. I love how little Manny is a 40 year old trapped in a 12 year old's body, and conversely, Phil is a 12 year old trapped in a 40 year old's body.

I've also been doing a great deal of thinking about all the organizing and packing I have to do over the next 6 days. Unfortunately, I usually get distracted and end up watching TV or painting my nails instead of doing anything productive. I go to Rexburg in 6 days, and am not yet frazzled by the prospect. I suppose I should start packing now so that I don't have an absolute unpreparedness-triggered moving panic attack come Monday morning.



Meet Anxiety Cat.

I came across this little fellow on memegenerator (a site on which I waste an embarrassing amount of time giggling quietly to myself) and it made me laugh so hard. It's like he is the absolute personification (or cat-ification?) of every ounce of social anxiety/shyness/OCD stress I have ever experienced. Enjoy.


Thunder thighs and my body image.

I saw a picture this week, a very recent one, of myself. Even though I've lost close to 40 pounds in the last year and a half (which, yay!), I still zeroed in on the one area of my body I've never been happy with, no matter how skinny I've been - my thighs. Oh, my thighs. They have always been hell-bent on constantly being large and jiggly.

As I stared at them in disgust, I had an epiphany. If I approach my appearance with an ever critical eye, I will never be thin enough. Or toned enough. Or cute enough. Or even tanned enough. No matter how supportive and complimentary people are towards me, if I lose the weight only in order to 'fix' myself, it will never be enough.

However, if I accept my body as it is right here and right now (jiggles, cellulite, whiteness and all), I have already won. Focusing on becoming healthier, as opposed to fixing what I perceive as defects, will be enough.