20 December 2012

wednesday? music

It's been a really long time since I made a music post.

And I realize it's not Wednesday anymore, but I'm in denial. It's not Thursday. It's not.

BTW, 'The Hobbit'? Awesome. So awesome.

Is everyone ready for the end of the world? Could happen. I took tomorrow night off work just in case (so it's really because I'm going to a Christmas party, but it's more fun to say that I took it off in case the world ends). But I work open to close on Saturday, so I'm almost hoping the world does end because 13.5-hour shifts . . . not so awesome.

Music!


Imagine Dragons - 'Radioactive'


I can't get over how awesome this song is. I don't usually really like Imagine Dragons, but this song I can get behind.


Madonna - 'Material Girl'


Why? Because, that's why.


Bruce Springsteen - 'Shackled and Drawn'



~

You know what's stupid? Winter.

You know what else is stupid? Everyone I went to Joyschool with is either married, or will be within the week. That's stupid. People getting married is stupid.

Also stupid? The internet.

And this:


Decaf instant coffee. What's wrong with people?

You know what's not stupid? Hugs. I really like hugs. Hugs are nice.

~

This isn't a song:


But it's funny.


Red Hot Chili Peppers - 'Californication'



Bye!

Irene

01 December 2012

The Official End to No-Blog November

I have a white grey fleece jacket.

I don't know who decided that designing a white jacket would be a good idea--seriously, it's insane. Impossible to keep clean. It's about as practical as hot pink camouflage.

Last week my mother saw my jacket, and exclaimed at its apparent filthiness. "What is that on the back?" she asked. "It looks ridiculous to walk around with coffee stains on the back of your jacket."

"I think that's mud, actually," I said. "The coffee stain was on the front, and it came mostly out with a paper towel."

She rolled her eyes and told me to wash it, whatever it was.

Guess what, Mom? 

I still haven't.

;)

Love,
Irene

20 October 2012

I Might Have a Variety of Complexes.

I'm a little bit strange.

People who know me a little bit will nod in agreement with this statement, while those who know me better than that will break out into guffaws of mirth.

scary
That is a preface to the following:

There are pictures hung upon nearly every wall of my home. The only places bereft of artwork are my bedroom and the bathroom (but the bathroom has an unnecessarily large mirror, so I'm not sure if it counts).

Part of my brain thinks the pictures are great, as in, You have Picasso and Dali prints on your walls, woman! That's so cool! The other, larger, parts of me are made extremely claustrophobic. I feel vaguely persecuted, seeing as there are so damn many of them and only one of me. They stare down at me from their perches on the walls, watching me, judging me when I neglect to comb my hair and mocking me when my chest breaks out in yet another round of acne.

pretty and un-scary

But the pictures stay up. Mostly because they're not mine and I didn't put them there, and partly because they were put up by people far better cultured and with much better taste than I. I'm really just not that into decoration, and I have no sense of visual aestheticism. Left to my own devices, if I were to hang anything on the walls, it would probably be something more along the lines of Franz Liszt's Liebestraum enlarged to about 20"x30" and left unframed.

I look at accidentals the way most girls seem to look at sequins. Impractical and kind of itchy, but--ooh!--sparkly!

I have dealt with the intimidation provided by my current decorations by going up to each one systematically and nudging it just a little-bitty amount so that it hangs a touch crooked. Not one is left unprecariously straight.

'Cause I've gotta show the pictures who's boss.

Irene

10 October 2012

I Hate Hipsters

After yesterday's incredibly nerdy post, I'm going to be slightly shallow today.

Do you know what I hate? I hate hipsters.

The reasons why are nearly endless.

  • Dorky hair.
  • Skinny jeans (and, heaven forbid, jeggings).
  • The stupid mustache meme. God knows I love a good mustache, but how the hell does sticking them on everything make it 'ironic'?
  • The overuse of the term 'ironic'. Get a dictionary, you fools, and learn what the word means.
  • Too busy not-conforming to realize that setting out to be a non-conformist is exactly the same as conforming.
  • The name-dropping of bands no one has ever heard of (being underground usually just means most people have the good sense not to listen to them).
  • Endless narcissism.
  • The fact that the social movement exists proves that it's failing. Now THAT'S ironic.
So, a message to all the hipsters out there:
Stop living off of mom and dad, get a real job, and realize that in the real world you will have to wear real shoes.
Thank you.
 

09 October 2012

on the power of formatting

I have before me three versions of the KJV Bible. All are formatted in different ways.

The first is in verse format:

Psalm 2

1. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
3. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the brethren for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9. Thou shalt breath them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

This the way we're probably used to seeing scripture.

The second bible is set up so that every chapter is one big long paragraph (verses are marked with teensy little numbers within the paragraph but I don't know how/if blogger does that so I'm skipping them):

Psalm 2

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their hands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the brethren for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt breath them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

This is usually the way I quote scripture on this blog. It's a little cluttered, but it's usually done more for the sake of conserving space than to be aesthetically pleasing.

The third bible is a single-column paragraph bible. This means that verses are marked with tiny numbers like in bible #2 but for the most part everything is laid out just like any other book. If you could not read English and were simply thumbing through the pages, you wouldn't know that this book was any different from other 1900-page books. This makes scripture easy to read, because it's arranged in the narrative form we know how to follow. Single-column paragraph format is my favorite of all bible formats.

Another glorious thing about paragraph format is that passages in verse--like the psalms--are actually written as verse (crazy notion, no?):

Psalm 2

Why do the heathen rage,
and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take council together,
against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
'Let us break their bands asunder,
and cast away their cords from us'.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:
the Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath,
and vex them in his displeasure.
'Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion'.

I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me,
'Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thy inheritance,
and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron.
thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.'

Be wise now therefore, O ye kings:
be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry,
and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

See how it's all poem-like? That's how it's supposed to be.

~

And, just for fun, here's a different translation of the same psalm. This is from the NKJV--not a translation of which I'm very fond:

Psalm 2

1. Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?
2. The kings of the earth set themselves , and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
3. "Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us."
4. He who sits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall hold them in derision.
5. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure:
6. "Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion."
7. "I will declare the decree: the Lord has said to Me, You are My Son, today I have begotten you.
8. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. 
9. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'"
10. Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Destruction. Ick. But an interesting comparison.

That is all.


01 October 2012

Reflections on: Repentance

I'm using this picture because it's bright and yellow and it's now October, when that color abounds. I have not read and can therefore neither endorse nor disagree with the post or site from which it originated.

We use the imagery of the U-turn a lot when we talk about repentance. That's either brilliant or troubling, depending on how you look at it.

While in my childhood I had a long, long period of confusion about U-turn signs. I assumed, in my literal mind, that a U-turn sign implied the necessity to turn around. Not that it was an optional thing available in certain times and places, but that whenever the sign appeared it was mandatory you turn your little car around and drive the other direction.

This was especially confusing to me because I saw these signs on the road often while traveling around town with my mother, and she never turned around at those places. Ever. Until I was almost eight years old I thought my mother was a major traffic violator because she didn't follow the road signs. Every time she'd pass a U-turn sign and keep on driving straight down the road I would discretely look around for a police car, hoping that no one had witnessed her blatant violation of (what I thought was) the law.

I don't know why I didn't just ask her about it, but whatever.

This is why the idea of correlating a U-turn sign with repentance intrigues me.

Certainly there are things which necessitate immediate confession, restitution, desertion, and absolution (repentance, in a nutshell). I would consider these things to be any offense that affects people other than the actor--betrayal, violence, theft, far-reaching falsehoods, gossip, and the like.

Then there are the things that could be classified as 'victimless sins'. These are things the require a more personal interpretation and depend heavily on levels of knowledge and realms of belief. Uncharitable thought, masturbation, destructively low self esteem, use of profanity, ingestion of certain substances (whether that's heroin or marijuana or Everclear or coffee or fast food or factory-raised animals or GMO vegetables), consensual sex between adults who have not promised fidelity elsewhere, etc [my personal thoughts on which of the above are actually sins that need repentance: probably, no, yes, no, depends, and depends-but-probably-not-usually]. Arguments can be made about whether any of these things are truly victimless, but that gets into all sorts of skeezy sophistry I'm not interested in entertaining.

I like the U-turn analogy for things like this. There are certain times when it is possible and permitted to repent of these things. But there are also certain times when dwelling on any of these things and seeking to repent of them might be self-destructive (like maybe your focus should be elsewhere, focused on staying on the road perhaps). But even when the opportunity presents itself, it's optional. You can turn around, see if heading the opposite direction will take you somewhere better, but if you think holding the route will be okay enough or you want to be headed in that direction--that's okay too.

Thoughts?

Irene



30 September 2012

the things i do for christmas music

Loss - Richard Young



I went to Sunday School today.

Mistake.

I should have left as soon as I realized who was teaching. I know the way this woman thinks, the way she in unable of seeing any opinion other than her own as valid and thinks any person whose values differ even slightly from the church's is just a little bit less human. I should have just walked out, but I didn't.

Mistake.

So it's almost entirely my own fault that within five minutes of sitting down I was slapped in the face with a diatribe about how 'God used Prop 8 to begin sifting the church' and vague discriminancies against democrats and tactless implications that, you know those people who leave the church? --well, we don't really want them anyway. 

The irony is that today's lesson was basically about the Pride Cycle and about how 'amazing' it was the the Nephites kept repeating it over and over and over again.

And I sat there in the back thinking, Can everyone else here really not see this? With your holier-than-thou moral codes and your persecution complexes, can you really not realize how hypocritical you sound? 99.897%* of the world's population was deemed 'unrighteous' with a few sentences, and nobody said anything in objection. The integrity and virtue and intelligence of thousands of God's children was called into question, and nobody stood up to disagree. But can I place the blame for that on the members of the class, when I was one of the silent ones? I had more reason than maybe anyone else in the room to speak up is disagreement or walk away, and yet I didn't. In the interest of just getting through the block as quickly as possible and not calling attention to myself and my rapidly declining ability to deal with church-shit, I helped to perpetuate one of the things I hate most in the world.

Instead of saying anything, I spent the Sunday School period in reflection: wondering how serious of a sin it is for me to be glad the sister teaching the lesson is still unmarried at age thirty-four and therefore lacks any children to whom she could pass her prejudices. A distinctly un-Christian sentiment, I know, and I feel a little bit bad about it. But not enough to try to be a more charitable person in the near future.

Church was mostly salvaged by the story my new fellow-librarian told me about a friend of hers who got married to a man she barely knew at Burning Man this year, and by spending Sacrament Meeting re-writing Lamentations 3 with feminine pronouns.
I am the woman that hath seen affliction by the rod of her wrath. She hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light. Surely against me is she turned; she turneth her hand against me all the day. My flesh and my skin hath she made old; she hath broken my bones. She hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail. She hath set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old. She hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out: she hath made my chain heavy. Also when I cry and shout, she shutteth out my prayer.
 Fascinating.


Love always,
Irene

* An educated guesstimation. LDS Church membership officially rests just over 14 million. I'm guessing that about 55% of those, or a little more than 7 million, are active/faithful members who therefore fit this sister's 'good person' definition--just a smidge over 0.1 percent. (/fun with applied mathematics)




        Sweet Honey in the Rock - 'On Children'

29 August 2012

i can't even breathe i'm laughing so hard--but i'm serious

I should be asleep right now, but first I have to share.

My new life goal:

xkcd - Sketchiness

To eventually say every single one of these to my person. With follow-through.

"Hey honey, the kids are all asleep--wanna come back to my sex crate?"


Oh, yeah. This (as yet undetermined) person is going to be very lucky. Because, honestly, who doesn't secretly want to have sex in a ravine?

Too honest? Too honest.

Goodnight.

Irene

11 August 2012

and there is a ticket now

The idiot-box (Fox News . . . ug, Fox News . . . why am I watching Fox News? That's right, because MSNBC has been eaten alive by Olympics coverage. Ug, Fox News.) tells me that an "anonymous" Republican high-up has confirmed Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate. Official announcement to come tomorrow morning.

If I had been going to guess, that's who my guess would have been.

Interesting. Let the games begin.

08 August 2012

Music Wednesday

Creedence Clearwater Revival - 'Long As I Can See the Light'


Put a candle in the window
'Cause I feel I've got to move
Though I'm going, going
I'll be coming home soon
'Long as I can see the light.



VAST - 'Thrown Away'



David Rovics - 'Resistance'


Yes, this little libertarian has a huge social justice streak running through her. Which is why I'm perfectly okay with co-opting songs from Marxist commies to make a point.

I saw David Rovics live last December at an Occupy SLC event. He's a very personable fellow. And so we get another song from him! A funny one this time!


David Rovics - 'I'm a Better Anarchist than You'


I also strongly recommend his songs 'Who Would Jesus Bomb?' and 'Occupy Wall Street'.


The Shins - 'Young Pilgrims'



Inspiring song of the day:
AWOLNATION - 'Kill Your Heroes'


I say you kill your heroes and
Fly, fly, baby don't cry
No need to worry 'cause
Everybody will die
Every day we just
Go, go, baby don't go
Don't you worry
We love you more than you know

Love always,
Irene

26 July 2012

Brilliance

Sometimes you have to look at things backward to see how they really are:

Feminist Mormon Housewives: Men are Incredible!

Love always,
A. Irene

23 July 2012

life is like my bed

^
No, not queen-sized and very comfy.

No, not covered in delightful green sheets.

Life is like my bed: e.g., a little crowded sometimes.

[Not I-wake-up-every-morning-with-a-passel-of-toddlers-and-their-father-and-a-kitten-and-a-mysterious-old-peanutbutter-sandwich-in-my-bed crowded. Because while I certainly don't want to wake up every morning like that, oftentimes that sounds fabulous. Sign me up! But not yet, because as much as I'd like to be--I'm not ready.]

In similitude to a significant portion of people, I have a side of the bed. All my sleeping, reading, etc., that I do in bed happens on this side of it. Because it's my side of the bed.

Please don't get technical and inform me that since I am single and hence do not share my bed, all of it is technically my side. There is my side, and then there is the other side. I'm actually seriously considering making that a requirement for my eventual mate--must either prefer that side or have no preference at all . . . or have no serious objections to sleeping stacked like a can of sardines over on this side. Whichever.

Since only one half of my bed is in regular use, the other half tends to become a table of sorts. Currently I have
  • two loads of clean laundry waiting (and waiting . . . and waiting) to be put away in my closet
  • four large books, including a dictionary
  • a backpack
  • a flashlight
  • eight receipts
  • two magazines
  • a belt
  • a folder full of piano sheet music
  • my work schedules for this week and last week
  • my laptop, and
  • the remains of an old pair of pants after I hacked them into shorts
on my bed.

And so last night my half of the bed was more like . . .  a third of the bed. Maybe even only three-tenths. It was small, whatever fraction it was, and when the alarm went off this morning I fell off the bed and onto the floor.

That happens sometimes even when my bed is clear, but at least then it's funny. This was just sad.

Life is like my bed. Sometimes, with the best of intentions, I put stuff down on it.

Scripture study
Prayer
Meditation
Remembering the reasons why I do things
Exercise
Goals
Journal-keeping
Time with nature (away from the city)
Interactions with other human beings
Faith

You know, all the things that make a person into a happy person.

I put them down on my life, just for a minute, because I need to find a real place to put them. Maybe the closet where I keep my prayers is out of hangers at the moment. Maybe the shelf where I usually put my goals accidentally had something else placed there yesterday and I need to decide which needs to be where. Maybe  I was in a hurry and on my way to work and thought to myself I'll put this where it goes when I get home but when I actually got home that night I was exhausted and sleep sounded way better than putting my scripture study away in its proper place.

And so instead of fitting nicely into my existence, all these necessary things fall by the wayside. Forgotten and undone, but taking up insane amounts of the space in my life nevertheless. Making it crowded for all the wrong reasons.

And so sometimes I fall out of my life, look up in sleepy confusion, and realize that it really needs to be cleared off. I need to actually do the things I've been setting down. I need to put these things away and use them, because in their (beit unintentional and rather absentminded) improper placement, everything else is thrown off.

I'm going to go clean off my bed now. And my life.


Love always,
A. Irene


16 July 2012

I Gotta Wear Shades

Last Sunday.

I have this really awesome calling that lets me skip Sunday meetings if I want to, and makes it not only possible but necessary to leave early and thus avoid the super-awkward time in-between Relief Society and Sunday School when all the married women get up and rearrange themselves so that their husbands can sit next to them.

Actually, I haven't been to Relief Society in weeks. It's delicious.

But last Sunday.

I was only in Sunday School for all of about fifteen minutes as a Sharing Time pencil emergency meant I came in late and, of course, I had to leave early. To ring the bells. Seriously--coolest calling ever.

The lesson was about Alma 23-29 and the Anti-Nephi-Lehies and conversion.

We were split into little discussion groups and asked to talk about our conversions. When did our individual conversions occur? What did they mean to us then? What do they mean to us now? How do we continue being converted?

All of the people in my group were born and raised in the church, just as I was. And I was the only one who could look back and identify a specific point in my past that could be labeled a conversion.

I described it this way: Conversion is like the filters in photography. Change the filter on your camera, change the way the world looks. Nothing is actually different, but the way you see it is new.

This explanation of my conversion is so simplistic as to be only barely true. But I doubt anybody in my Sunday School discussion-group would want to hear what I actually have to say.

I was raised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don't remember the day of my baptism, but I do remember reading the entire Book of Mormon before I turned eight. Oh, and going to the dollar store to find white hair ties. So that my braids would be just as baptismal-font-ready as the rest of my bright and shiny little self.

I was always the kid who knew the answers. When I was in primary, all my teachers eventually made the same rule: When all the other kids fail to understand the question, ask the girl with glasses and freckles. Almost the only time I ever talked in primary was when directly addressed by a teacher, so . . . yeah, I was never that popular with the other primary kids. I'm sure they all thought I was the pretentious little genius-girl who was too good to go to school with the rest of them and would rather stay at home than run around the neighborhood on afternoons. [Do I have a chip on my shoulder, you ask? No. Of course not.]

Being a smart kid sucks, let me tell you.

So, conversion.

As a kid, the Church was pretty much all full of sunshine and glee. There were a few times when I was, like WAIT! I DON'T GET IT! WHY DOES IT WORK LIKE THAT? WHY DOESN'T ANYONE EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I'M ASKING QUESTIONS, HERE? but for the most part it was pretty smooth sailing. After all, I knew all the answers. Little Sister Schaffer, das Wunderkind.

As I got older, the questions began to erase the glee. Eventually there was only sunshine, brighter and brighter and brighter until before I understood how it had happened I was curled into a corner screaming my lungs raw and trying to tear my eyes out.

Depression is an old acquaintance of mine. And when it came by that time, offering a place in the dark out of the heat and the bright bright brightness--I jumped at the chance. Just get me out, I begged. Get me out of here, and give me a place where I can just . . . be. There was no more light to hurt my eyes, no more need for screaming, and when no one heard my whimpers I knew it was because they were too quiet to hear and not because I was being deliberately ignored. And it was so easy to keep going, to outwardly continue saying and acting everything I'd said and acted my whole life. I had all the answers. Who would think that they were now delivered in irony and not belief? Nobody did.

Unfortunately (or not, depending on which perspective you're at), the darkness brought a numbness that I wasn't willing to live with.

And so I learned to feel again. It was a wet day in early spring. I stood in the rain on the Weber State campus, the day I decided something had to change, and paid special attention to each and every drop of water as it fell on me. And for awhile, simply knowing I was alive was enough.

Eventually, of course, I turned back to God. I always do, however reluctantly. I had to be practically beat over the head with a brick, but . . . there it was. There I was.

That was more than a year ago.

I tried really hard in the beginning to actually be the person I'd been pretending to be. But it turns out that girl wasn't any more real than the one who went to all the meetings and answered all the questions while privately disbelieving.

I desperately didn't want to come back to the church. A lot of days, I still desperately wish I weren't here.

But the glee of the gospel is back. I believe. With caveats. With asterisks. With a lot of "well"s and "but"s and "though"s. But I believe.

The sunshine's also back. And it's still bright. Too bright.

Some days I realize that I'm searching blindly for a corner to hide in, covering my eyes and starting to scream again.

But now . . . now I know how to fix that. I have a nifty pair of sunglasses that let me live in the light without squinting. And I invested in sunscreen, so now all the sunlight doesn't burn my skin either.

I look around, and it doesn't seem like anyone else is wearing sunglasses. They seem just fine walking around in the light with their eyes unprotected. But I need these sunglasses. For now, and for the forseeable future, they're what make it possible for me to stay.

I don't really want to stay. But . . . I actually do.

Are you confused yet? Imagine how it is in here.

So the shades make me look a little different, a little silly. That's okay. As I have to be reminded every now and then, it's my religion too. I'm not borrowing it. It isn't something I picked up secondhand and wear even though it's too big around the waist and one sleeve is too short. It's mine, just as much as it's yours and his and hers and the rest of them all's. I get to make it fit me.

It's more of a whisper now, but maybe someday I'll be able to say it loudly and with pride:

I'm a Mormon.


Love always,

A. Irene



{ Since It's } Sunday

08 July 2012

Hmmm.

Yes, I've been really quiet lately.

It's because I've been having so many thoughts.

I'll think of something, and just when I realize how interesting it is, I'll think of something else.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

And there's a smaller part of my brain standing on the sidelines waving things and shouting, "Slow down! Slow down! SLOW DOWN!!!"

But it's not working. They keep popping up all over the place and then replacing themselves before I can write enough of something down to actually create a blog post.

Many of them are quite lovely, too.

I hope to be able to harness them soon.

~
In other news . . . I've met the grandson. He and his mother were here in SLC visiting their family this week, and the lovely and tenacious Sister W. made certain to introduce us. Did I mention that she lives directly across the hall from me? It's made for an interesting few elevator rides over the past couple days.

Not only is he very tall, he's also very cute. And, I talked to him on the way home from church today, very nice.

And the whole college-senior-at-eighteen thing is super intimidating to returned missionaries, in case you were wondering. :)
~

Love always,
Ashley Irene

29 June 2012

Thursday Music

I'm not going to talk about anything serious today. I'm not. Because if I did, I'd end up using a long string of bad words directed toward the government, and I just don't have it in me today.

* Sigh *


Bob Dylan - 'Lay Lady Lay'



Bob Marley and the Wailers - 'It's Alright'


I can't tell you how much I love Bob Marley. Unfortunately, Reggae absolutely destroys my ability to concentrate on anything other than the music. It's the only stuff I can't multi-task to.

And, you know, I think that's kind of the point.


Airborne Toxic Event - 'All I Ever Wanted'


I've recently developed a very strong affinity for this song.

I can tell you that you're
All I've ever wanted, dear
Through the din of your breathing
While you're sleeping here
You wake and you ask me
If I'm gonna be here 
Forever, forever, forever


Your face so twisted
And your eyes alight
I wanna tell you I can change you
When you cry at night

But I'd be lying


Sometimes . . . sometimes all you've ever wanted isn't something that's any good for you to have. And that's when you've got to be strong and walk away.


The Limousines - 'Very Busy People'


ADULT CONTENT ALERT! Ahem. So, I hope you read this before you turn it on in front of young children or those sensitive to . . . well . . . those sensitive. The worst of it is over by 1:06, though, if you want to skip through.


Tegan and Sara - 'My Number'


This is one of those songs that makes my mother look at me sideways and ask, "Where do you find your music?"


Love always,
Ashley Irene

14 June 2012

if i had studied psychology, maybe i could explain this.

The human mind is a strange thing.

I went hiking yesterday. And not just normal hiking, but fully-loaded-giant-backpack hiking. Just to see if I could make it.

(I didn't really doubt I could, since I'm in pretty good shape. But I figured there was no reason not to do it . . . etc.)

About 1/3 of the way through my hike, just after the time of the day when one sits in the shade and changes one's socks and partakes of protein bars and tasty little salty snack-packs and re-applies one's sunscreen (also commonly known as 'lunch'), I came to a hill.

And when I say hill, I don't mean a little slight incline like the kind you'd have to use a parking brake with in a car. I mean, like:
This is obviously not the hill I'm talking about. This is a picture I found on the internet for demonstrative purposes.
And I was like, Ah, CRAP.

The integrity of my photocopied topographical map was obviously compromised. Not all of the little lines had carried over. I checked the original once I got home and there they were in all their glory showing the horror that was this hill. But I hadn't used the original when planning my route.

So I was like, Ah, CRAP. That is a really steep hill.

This is were the strangeness of the mind comes in and gets all screwy with us.

If I came across a hill like that walking around the city on a normal day, I would say, Screw this. I'm going home. I wouldn't do it. Too steep, too long, too hot outside for this kind of nonsense. Gonna go home and do laundry instead.

But not yesterday. No, yesterday, laden with a pack that probably weighed almost as much as my nine-year-old brother, in ninety-degree weather, I mounted that hill. With gusto. Very tired gusto, but gusto none the less.

It was rather exciting.

Love always,
Ashley Irene

P.S. - And I only got stuck in two trees yesterday. I think that's pretty good.

11 June 2012

Cool. Not Cool. Undecided. (because I'm only an inept blogger, not a willfully non-conformist one)


COOL

This 1990 Ensign article. (I know. I'm linking to lds.org. Woah.)

This:

 


NOT COOL

I still haven't been able to fix my bathtub. Grr.

And I think my arches are falling. The arches of my feet. Which means, since I spend most of every day up very actively on my feet in the same shoes, I'm going to have to get some kind of arch-supporting inserts. Because I have enough pain to deal with without adding pain that I could do something about. And I refuse to re-word that sentence so that it's grammatically correct.


UNDECIDED

My dad sent me a link to this video last week . . .


. . . and I can't decide if it's funny or just plain stupid. But the animation is cool.




Love always,
Ashley Irene

30 May 2012

I Don't Understand. I Really Don't.

I must have looked special yesterday. Somehow.

It's all very confusing.

And I'm hesitant to even talk about this because every time I have a similar story . . . my mother gets this look . . . this Why did I ever let my baby girl go off and live by herself in a place where things like this happen??? look . . . and then I feel bad.

But oh, well.

I was walking down the street after going to the bank to deposit my paycheck after spending a considerable portion of my day at work.

My attitude seems to automatically adjust to any situation I happen to be in, so I was exuding a pretty tough persona. Actually, what with the Caesar dressing smeared across my jeans and the chicken salad residue on my boots paired with the bail-bondsman/tattoo-parlor/heavy-metal-bar section of downtown I was walking through . . . I was probably pretty bad-ass.

So here I was, just walking down the street in the general direction of the light-rail, minding my own business. When this cretin of a guy whizzes past on a skateboard, turns back to kind of zoom (skate? board? pass? what is the verb I'm looking for?) past me again, and says, "Shit, woman, you're gorgeous."

I am not someone whose self-esteem gets a boost when people tell me I look nice. Or 'gorgeous' to use the cretin's vocabulary (I call him a cretin because . . . seriously . . . does a non-cretin whoosh around the city on a skateboard looking thoroughally unwashed and unkempt checking out random women? I think not. I hope not.) I just don't get it.

Seeing as how I in no way reacted to his comment, he was at least a wise creepy person and zipped on down the street to go stare at someone else's breasts. Not like there's a considerable amount of breastage here to stare at, which leaves me further wondering what the hell he was checking out so enthusiastically.

I didn't put much thought into the whole occurrence. Variations on that theme happen fairly regularly.

But much later that evening, about nine actually, I was out walking about again. I had been struck by a craving for lemon drops. I don't mean the vodka cocktail (but thank you for the extra education, google), but the good old-fashioned lemon candy. They've been my favorite hard candy since I was, like, nine. Pretty fabulous. And, like I was saying, I was struck by a hankering to go on out and find some. I knew the local Smith's had a bulk candy section, so I figured that was a pretty good bet.

I was, like, fifty feet from the grocery store when I was stopped by a homeless man named Reno. He pulled a flower of a landscaping bush nearby and gave it to me (I felt sad about his picking someone else's flowers, but what was I supposed to do? Refuse the flower? Then it would be wasted. What does one do when a homeless man gives one a flower? None of my extensive education had prepared me for that moment. Ug. I knew college was a waste of time.). Said it was "criminal" for such a pretty woman to go around without anyone telling her how nice she looked, and that I "deserved" this flower.

People like to talk to me. It's a genetic trait I inherited from my father. So, since this homeless guy actually registered several notches lower on the CREEPY! scale than the skater dude from earlier, I stuck around and talked to him for awhile. I had been reading as I walked to the store, so we mostly talked about literature. It wasn't so bad. Our conversation only lasted for about two minutes because he had to go catch a bus.

Two similar happenings in the same day was obvious enough to trip the radar.

And I was very confused.

It couldn't be what I was wearing, because I'd changed clothes between getting home from work/the bank and when I left to raid the bulk candy aisle.

The only thing I can think of is . . . I was having a very good hair day. It was doing its thing all volume-y and blowing and shiny and stuff. I think I might have forgotten to brush it again that morning (remembering to brush my hair is like the bane of my existence sometimes. Such a first-world problem.). But that seems an unlikely reason . . .

'Tis odd. 'Tis very odd.

And the Schaffer is very confused.

Love always,
Ashley Irene


26 May 2012

Music . . . Saturday

My mother requested that I post more music, because she is endlessly amused by the music I find. So here are more songs, Mom. Because music rocks.


The Proclaimers - 'I'm Gonna Be'


A lot of people find this song annoying. I find it glorious.



The Bravery - 'Believe'



Eurythmics - 'Sweet Dreams'


There is never a time where this song isn't awesome. Never.


fun - 'Be Calm'



Weezer - 'Undone (The Sweater Song)'


(Start at 0:50 if you want to skip the annoying intro part)

If you want to destroy my sweater
Hold this thread as I walk away

Cage the Elephant - 'Ain't No Rest for the Wicked'



Love always,
Ashley

14 May 2012

The Day About Mothers

I feel like, to be a good little blogger, I have to report on Mother's Day.

Saturday morning: Was offered a really wilty flower at the grocery store.

"We're giving these out for Mother's Day," the cashier said, holding it out to me. A petal fell off the drooping head and fluttered to the ground. "Would you like one?"

"No, thank you," I said, though in my head I thought, I guess it's marginally better than throwing out all the old flowers, but . . . wow.

Saturday evening: Shared the above experience with my coworkers, everyone got a laugh out of it.

Sunday morning: Sacrament Meeting was (of course) devoted to talks about Mother's Day. As a plus, both speakers were women.

One was the expected dreadful 1970s-era talk about mothers as the 'guardians of the hearth' and basically drawn from about six Ezra Taft Benson conference addresses. Ug.

But the other--was fantastic.

It was about nurturing. About how women and men, young and old, can nurture those around them. About how the people you nurture most might be practically strangers. And when she gave examples, one was about her son's high school swim coach. And one was about a little boy she once had in her cub scout troop.

It wasn't a talk about mothers, or mothering, and it didn't quote the Family Proclamation once. (Which was fabulous, because there's been a lot of Proclamation quoting lately, and the more I hear it the more I feel uncomfortable with most of the wording. It's not good.) But it encapsulated the whole spirit of Mother's Day, the reasons why we have a day to talk about those who bring and foster and support life.

Sunday afternoon: The Elder's Quorum gave out flowers to all the women in the ward after Sacrament Meeting. I tried to avoid getting a flower. I feel weird accepting things on Mother's Day, because--surprise--I am not a mother. It feels kind of like a sad little consolation prize. 'We know you don't have kids, but we'll give you a flower anyway.' I don't like it.

But the Elder's Quorum president was thoughtful and traveled all the way over to the choir seating before practice just to make sure he hadn't missed anybody. So I have my consolation flower. Yay.

Personally, I'd much rather have a few children than have a flower. But they don't really give those away at church.


Love always,
Ashley

P.S. - I didn't call my mother on Mother's Day. I didn't want to clog up the very little empty time in the day before she would need to go to work. And I had been on the phone with her until 1:30 in the morning the night before, so I figured it would be okay.

Is it okay, Mom? If it's not I promise to call you twice next year. ;)


10 May 2012

"Where's Your Shame, Woman?"

I am spitting mad right now. Like, livid.


I could . . . oh, I don't know what I'm even capable of doing at this moment. "Wherever women are taking over, evil reigns."

It's a good thing I feel so under-the-weather that I'm barely capable of moving my fingers to type right now, otherwise . . . oh, boy.

Women are incapable of handling power. Women are incapable of making decisions.

I can't even make a legible response without reverting to extreme threats of violence and so forth. (I wonder what the Reverend would have to say about that . . . )

Lovely, just lovely.

Some people are gross.

Ashley

08 May 2012

Creation, part one


Creation, part one
or The First Baby-Step into Madness


Creation
1. The act of creating. 2. A product of invention or imagination. 3. The world and all things in it. 4. In various religions, the divine act by which the world was created.

Create
1. To cause to exist. 2. To cause, produce.

Creator
One that creates

Create
make, form, bring into being, conceive, engender, generate, think up, frame, forge, fashion, fabricate, develop, manufacture, design, contrive, devise, initiate, start, dream up, begin, give birth to, produce, originate, invent, cause, occasion.

That is always step one for me. Definition. What are our words, and what do they mean, and what will happen if we use them in either the right or the wrong way. Not a question, a search.

Search
1. To make a thorough examination of in order to find something; explore. 2. To look into or investigate; probe.

And maybe, for some people, definitions are dry or dull or boring or a waste of time. Why look a word up if you already know what it mean? Right?

But you never really know what a word means. Not now, not after looking it up, not after a lifetime full of using it. The meaning of a word continues to evolve in definition, both the general definition society can agree it has and in the personal definition it has to an individual.

So, back to the beginning. Creation. Create. Creator.

It's a nice word.

We have another word for Creator. We have several, in fact, but this is my favorite: Artist.

Artist
1. One who practices any of the fine or performing arts, as painting or music. 2. One whose work shows skill.

I think that definition kind of pretty much sucks, actually. But whatever.

What if we assign to artist the same definition we do to creator. Because that's what really happens, no? We do not like art simply because it is beautiful. Some of the best art in existence is really not very beautiful (as society agrees we should define the word) at all. We like art because we can see in it something new. There is always a kind of purity in creation, even in the creation of something horrible.

I have felt envious, all my life, of the artist. Because all I can do is give cheap representations of the greatness of the masters. My fingers can play Kabelevsky's preludes, can touch the keys of the piano just right so that no notes sound harsh or unrepentant except the notes I want to sound that way, but I could not have written them. I can read aloud the monologues of Lady Macbeth so that her character seems to actually breathe, but I could not have written the poetry that makes them so terrible.

I can show you why art is important, but I can't make it. I can't create it.

The closest I come is with words. Written. Prose. Stories. At my best I can tell a story that can touch emotion and take you, just for a minute, into another version of the world. But nothing I've written yet have I been willing to let out into public, to stand on its own. Not with my name attached. Not with my face. Not where anyone I actually care about could read it and know that I made it. That it belongs to me.

Yet, I was created to create things in return. I feel it deep in my soul, tied to the fibers of whatever makes up my character. Tied to my integrity, my sense of honor. Tied to my ability to love. Tied to whatever it is that separates right from wrong, and tied to whatever mixes the two.

And so I feel driven to search. To explore. To probe existence until I finally find some way that I can create and where the things inside of me can break out of their cocoons and let their tender little wings grow strong enough to fly.

And until that search reaches its destination, I hurt. It brings pain to have all this creative energy inside and have no way to release it. Not fast enough. Not well enough.

All the artists anyone remembers have been a little bit mad. I think I know why.


Love always,
Ashley



Definitions come from the American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition.
Synonyms come from the Webster's Pocket American Thesaurus, 2nd edition.

07 May 2012

Small Note

I swear, the Pandora music-picking mechanism is try to kill me. I'm already on the edge most of the time, and music like this is this close to pushing me entirely off. Ug.

I might have something actually substantial to say tomorrow. I hope I will. I'm milling some very heavy thoughts around in this brain of mine, and they want to come out. So watch out, world.

Love always,
Ashley

04 May 2012

Thirty-Two

I have had an immensely interesting week.

Princess came to stay with me from Sunday night to Tuesday morning. She turned twelve last month, so it was kind of like a birthday present (I'm pretty boring, so I don't know why she wanted to come stay with me. Whatever.).

We went to see the new City Creek mall. It's really boring. After all the hoopla about it I was hoping against hope that it would be worth seeing, but nope. No dice.

Their food court sells really good pizza, however.

We also went and got gelato and visited the Salt Lake City library's Zine collection. And I made falafel. Which is pretty awesome, if you've never tried it. All on Monday. We were busy little buzzy bees.

Yesterday I went hiking up in the hills north of The Avenues. [Wikipedia is apparently my best friend today. I'm linking everything.] That was pretty exciting. The weather was nice, if kind of windy. That water-falling-from-the-sky thing didn't come until late afternoon, so I was safe from that too. In fact, yesterday morning was really really sunshiny and before I left I had to coat myself in sunscreen. Like, all of me. Because on Trek a couple years ago I got sunburned through my clothes (I wouldn't believe it either, if it hadn't happened to me. Damn those breathable cotton blouses. They're lovely and light and airy and not solid enough to keep the sun out.)

If anybody out there knows anyone in the Salt Lake valley looking to hire an exceptionally bright and highly educated but unfortunately experienceless eighteen-year-old, I'm looking for a job. And I'll do anything, provided it's legal.

Just thought I'd put that out there.

Bye now,
Ashley

25 April 2012

Journalism Is Funny Sometimes

My journalism professor showed us this clip before he handed out the final quiz today.

Slow Jam The News with Barack Obama: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon



I don't think slow jam is a campaign method most presidents have used.

Between wondering what the hell happened to politics in this country and wondering who could possibly have thought it up, we decided that Ronald Reagan could have pulled it off better, considering that he was an actor and kind of a cowboy. One kid did a Nixon slow jam. It was a jovial time.

Our president is certainly cool. Too bad "cool" doesn't mean "right".

Love always,
Ashley

20 April 2012

Lost in Translation

Did you know that April is national grilled cheese month? I wish I had known that sooner. I suppose it's good I didn't, for the sake of my health, but whatever. Grilled cheese sandwiches are one of my most favorite things ever.

Almost as awesome as sleeping on clean sheets. But I've really only experienced three or four things that out-awesome clean sheets, and grilled cheese isn't one of them.

And when I started writing this I had something very specific to say. I've since forgotten what that was. Oops. So, I'm gonna go home and make myself a grilled cheese sandwich now. Maybe whatever it was I was going to say will come to me later.

These songs are really snazzy. I don't know why this band has been on my radar lately, because they're not even all that good, but they won't leave. S'okay. Maybe I'll slum it for awhile yet. (It's the scratchy-yelling thing, I know it is, even thought it's less obvious in these songs. Drat.)


AWOLNATION - 'Guilty Filthy Soul'



AWOLNATION - 'Wake Up'




Love always,
Ashley

P.S. - Finals suck. Everyone already know that, but I thought I'd stay it again.

11 April 2012

Note to Self

Dear Self,

Next time you have a class get canceled and the urge hits to take a nap on the grass outside the communication building--don't. Or at least think more about proper sun protection. Your calves and your upper back will thank you. Yes, it was nice and warm in the sunshine. But you now have humorously uneven sunburn lines. Think these things through, dear.

Much love,

You

06 April 2012

And Life Goes On

It was Wednesday.

It wasn't an especially happy day. Actually, it was a pretty rough one. Life's been tough lately, and the past week would have to be ranked pretty high up on the 'Top-Ten-Most-Sucky-Weeks-Ashley's-Lived-Through' list.

I hadn't really slept in two nights. I'm stressed because the semester is winding up to the end, and everything has to be done at once. I had already been to school and back once that day and was not really thrilled to have to go back to hand in a paper that I hadn't wanted to write about something I have absolutely no interest in.

You get where I'm going with this?

The Schaffer was on a very thin edge.

I was walking up the hill on the opposite side of the street from Greek Row. The weather on Wednesday was gorgeous and beautiful and lovely. And what the frat boys do when the weather is sunny and nice is take off their shirts and climb up on top of their fraternity houses and yell back and forth at each other with megaphones.

[Mom -- do you remember if they did this back when you went to school here? I'm curious now.]

Anyway, so I was walking up the hill. I was walking barefoot carrying my shoes because it was a nice day and I felt like it, but that doesn't really factor into the story. And the frat boys were shouting around on their megaphones but I wasn't paying any attention to what they were saying because usually when they shout to anyone who isn't one of their buddies it's directed to some girl somewhere wearing a leather mini-skirt and entirely too much eyeliner. Seeing as I was wearing neither of those things, precedent suggested that I would be able to safely walk up the hill completely under the radar.

Not so, my friends. Not so.

Because suddenly interrupting my walk up the hill came this loud voice. And it said, "Hey you!"

At that point I didn't know the dude was talking to me.

He decided to get more specific. "You in the red shirt!"

I was wearing a red shirt. It's a very nice dark red shirt with long sleeves, and I'm very fond of it. It goes well with my hair. And then I realized with chagrin that the guy with the megaphone was shouting at me. 

I turned sort of halfway around so that I could determine which house he was standing atop [Seriously, is this weird to no one else but me?], and then kept walking up the hill.

Megaphone-dude apparently wasn't expecting that. "Wait," he said. "Don't keep walking. I'm trying to talk to you."

I was becoming miffed that the guy assumed that because he felt like pointing his megaphone at me I would be interested in interacting with him. But I just kept walking, because experience has proved that if you ignore the stupid college boys they will eventually go away.

"Turn around," the guy called down, injecting what I'm assuming was supposed to be a convincing sort of whine into his voice.

I didn't turn around.

Apparently he didn't get the hint, because he kept talking. "Come on, baby, don't be like that."

I stopped walking then.

Nobody calls me "baby". Nobody. Especially not some stupid college frat boy who thinks he has the right to keep talking to me when I was clearly ignoring him. And at that moment, I finally had a person with whom I could be angry.

So I turned to face the guy. And I made sure he was looking at me.

And I flipped him off.

And I turned right back around and kept walking up the hill, actually smiling for the first time in two days. Because I'd done it. I'd been rude. To a stranger. And I didn't feel a single ounce of regret.

It was glorious.

I could still hear the guys up on their rooftop. The one who had been shouting at me turned to his buddy and asked, "Did she just flip me off?"

"I think so," was the buddy's response.

"Wow."

Wow indeed. I took a different route home ten minutes later after dropping off my paper, still smiling.


Love always,
Ashley