Dec 25, 2010

Christmas, Chocolate, and Other Good Combinations

This is what a merry Christmas looks like at my house.

It's what I saw this morning when I woke up. Mei woke up at three-thirty, but was kind enough to put off waking me up until an hour later. At which time I looked at the clock and told her promptly to go back to sleep. We emerged at seven, partially awake and covered in blankets. Because I am much more of a seven o'clock person than a four-thirty person. Four-thirty isn't even really morning. It's night. An ungodly hour of the night.

I know I haven't posted in two (and a half?) weeks. This wasn't because I forgot about it. The first week I was suffering and stressing (and every other distressing verb starting with a S and most other letters) under finals. I decided to actually write essays instead of getting on and complaining about them. (You're welcome.) The week after that I was lazy. Also, nothing was going wrong, which made it strangely difficult to write. It is slightly depressing to me that my writing abilities extend only as far as my ability to complain, but I have a hard time feeling sad that there was nothing to complain about this last week.

It is gratitude that now prompts me to break out the haze of laziness. This morning I unwrapped many beautiful presents. My grandma sent me several gifts, but high among them is a 100 year old poem book by Henry W. Longfellow. Grandma, it's beautiful in every sense of the word. Thank you.

Some of the other gifts I received were mentioned mentioned in my letter to Santa (as seen below). So, to Kelsey and Aunty Kathy, thank you very much for my scarf, drivers-licence and very generous transcript.

The scarf, combined with a jacket and sweater, compliments of my parents and Mei, are sure to prevent me from freezing at college next year. My drivers-licence is also much appreciated. I plan on using it today since I see it expires tomorrow. The transcript is lovely and the comments are full of half truths and blatant lies. Like, from my math teacher, Mr. Graph, "She can add like nobody's business." Not only is this in itself not true, but it totally neglects my unfortunate interactions with the evil generally referred to as geometry. Thank you so much. I'll mail it out Monday.

But you know, Santa, I'm still waiting to be accepted to colleges. Thank you for the end to my long-winded sickness, though, and also my A in IPB. Especially the A in IPB.

(A short bragging moment: Dr. Ford, who gives A's about as rarely as my dad, gave me a 96.8% on my final essay. Can you see me jumping up and down? I did right after I got the grade, and (because I'm a actual clutz as well as a social one) injured myself on a chair in the process. Getting A's on essays in IPB is especially satisfying not only because they're difficult to get, but also because I make such a dork of myself in class. It's nice to be able to show that, no, I'm not a total idiot. And, yes, coherent thoughts do take place in my brain, even if they rarely come out of my mouth.)

As long as we're talking about my Christmas gifts I have to mention that I have, at long last, gotten a food processor, which only leaves scholarships and enlightenment left. One down, two to go. I also have a beautiful new cookbook called Baked Explorations. 

It is full of chocolate and sentences like, "In recent years there has been an explosion in salt sophistication."

I love it. So much.

Last night my family went around and counted the Christmas lights in our little village. This is a tradition which my mother, Mei and I take part in full-heartedly. My dad participates by driving us around, but finds it all a bit hypocritical because we're disappointed when our Christmas light regulars neglect their colored, glowing duty, and yet we never put up any lights ourselves. In case you were curious, our count was 201 houses with Christmas lights or some other significant decoration, such as inflated Santas of giant Christmas bulbs.

My dad also thinks that opening one present on Christmas Eve, one of our hallowed family traditions is not so great. Bad, in fact. He thinks it's a transgression, if not a sin and refuses to have anything to do with it. He says a man must stand by his principles in controversial situations like this.

Controversial situation my foot. It's one present! It's Christmas Eve!

I love Christmas Eve even more than Christmas day, I think. Christmas day I'm often tired and sugared-our (we've got this amazing hot chocolate... and regular chocolate... and cookies... and lemon curd... and whipped cream... and candy-canes.... and--you get the idea), but Christmas Eve is much more quiet. It's about carols, and cooking with my mom and Mei, and arguing with my dad about whether or not heavenly beings are angered by me opening a present before Christmas. It's when I realize how amazing it is that 2010 years after Christ's birth, much of the world is still celebrating his birthday.

Anyway, all I really wanted to say is thank you to my family for the presents and, to the rest of you, thank for your comments, and just being interested enough to watch my muddle my way through learning how to blog.

Merry Christmas!

Dec 5, 2010

Dear Santa


Dear Santa,

It's December and, because I'm a thoroughly considerate, non-procrastinating person, I thought I'd get a letter out to you now so that you'd have time to locate anything you might need to put under my Christmas tree.

1. I'd like to be accepted to college, please. A scholarship or two would be nice too, if you have the time. I just turned in my application in on Wednesday and didn't (!) weep or fall over with relief. (You would think that I would, and you haven't even heard about the unforgettable 2010 transcript drama. Suffice it to say: two hours, seven offices, all visited several times... But, you know all about this, don't you, because you see me even when I'm sleeping, which has always creeped me out a little bit, but the creepiness has increased since Twilight came out... I'm off topic again, aren't I?)

2. I would like a drivers license and to know how to drive. If you could put a green bow around this one, that'd be fantastic. I like green.

3. I would like a scarf. Because even though my aunt, who lives by the college I'm probably going to, says that I won't starve (which is a little too bad, because I was thinking I might take the opportunity to be a starving artist), she also told me it's almost impossible to get a job at that college. So I'm thinking that I might be homeless, and it's cold there too, so I'm going to need a scarf. Please.

4. I would like to know where I should go to graduate school. Actually, my dad would like me to know, so could you address this gift to him? He asked me a few minutes ago. I told him I was going to Brown. "Hmmm... Where is that, anyway?" he asked. I said I wasn't sure, but I heard Emma Watson really likes it there.

5. Can I stop being sick now too? Please? My stomach kind of feels like it's eating itself which, besides being traitorous, is also a little bit cannibalistic. And I really don't feel good about having a cannibalistic stomach. So can I have a new one? Or maybe a new immune system, I think mine's been broken for a while now.

6. An A in IPB. I've worked hard in that class (cross my heart) and it'd be nice to get a sense of that on my report card. This is pretty high on the priority list. Like, before the scarf and the new immune system.

So that's all for now. I'm attaching a list of books/music/movies that I'd also like. Oh! And a laptop, please? I've been really-kinda-pretty good this year.

We have eggnog in the fridge and the Christmas tree is up, in all it's shining and somewhat tacky glory. (Mom has this thing about tacky Christmas ornaments. I don't get it, but I have developed some fondness for our pig angel/ballerina. And the sparkley, glorified fire hydrant with tassels is... No, yeah, I don't really have any defense for the fire hydrant.) Anyway, that means it's Christmas, so I know this is your rush time. Thanks for reading my letter--I figured that it would get it quickest to you over the internet, and since I don't know you're email I put it up on my blog. Hope that's OK.

Merry Christmas,
Marissa

Nov 23, 2010

I Cannot Go To School Today (Again)

(Marissa)

I woke up today and the light was already seeping under my curtains. I laid there for a while and felt guilty about waiting for my mom to come wake me up for seminary when I knew it was time. When I finally did get up I walked about half way down the hall and met my mom who informed me that I was staying home from seminary and school today. I went promptly back to bed and stayed there for an hour and a half.

Bless the mothers of the world.

My mom was tired of her family being sick, so she sentenced us all to a sick day. Ever since the cultural celebration my dad, Mei and I have been lazing around with various symptoms. Headaches. Throataches (it should be a word). Stomachaches. Heartaches. Any aches that will get us out of being functioning human beings, those are the aches we have.

Around this time of year, with finals approaching, months of studying behind me and the looming idea of Christmas shopping ahead, my body and mind have this annual conversation that varies only slightly from year to year.

Mind: We need to go talk to the people at my school's office about why four semesters of Chinese have somehow not managed to get onto my transcript, memorize Mozart's Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, which is getting truly annoying, and write three essays.

Body: I don't wanna.

Mind: We have to! If you don't apply for college you won't get into college and if you don't get into college then you'll never get a good job and if you don't get a good job then you'll have to work at McDonald's and then you'll eat their caramel sundae every day and get really fat.

Body: I don't care.

Mind: You should! I care. Come on. We're going.

Body: You act like you have the last word on this. Watch. Watch this. I'm just going to get sick. Now what are you going to do. Huh? Huh?

The conversation deteriorates from there. I'll spare you the worst of it. In any case, the argument generally ends with Mind pushing Body for several weeks and Body crashing at the end of it in retaliation. This usually comes around Christmas, but the cultural celebration knocked me over the edge early this year and here I sit in my flannel pajama bottoms, trying to six weeks in China into two hundred words for the admission's office.

Even just doing that my body is rebelling. It takes me several hours to get anything done. I sit there, waiting for inspiration to strike, for energy to appear, for my mind to clear, but no. Waiting does not help. I'd like to just be sick without having to do anything, but I'm either too responsible to let the opportunity be wasted, or too much of a slacker to ever be that far ahead.

Over.

Nov 21, 2010

Crazy, In The Best Sense

(Marissa)

This weekend was crazy, in the best sense of the word.

Mei and I were involved in a cultural celebration for the rededication of our temple. Last night we preformed for our prophet, earlier that afternoon we preformed for half the town, the night before that we were practicing until eleven and the previous two nights we practiced until ten.

Last night when I got home I sat down and, still sitting in my mom's wedding dress which I'd worn for the closing (on a side note: there are reasons people don't wear wedding dresses every day) I opened my email and found this:



















This is a photo taken from Brother Ford's phone on Friday night. I'm not sure what time it is, but I assure you that I was asleep, despite the noise of almost screaming their heads off in support of Tonga, Samoa, some awesome dancing with brooms or just in an effort to say something to the person next to them. Loud.

I'd show you pictures of the celebration but I don't have any. I don't really know what to tell you about the production. It was amazing what was pulled off, the leaders rocked and the kids did great. I'd never been with that many youth before. I stood maybe two feet from the prophet.

It went well and I'm happy to resuming a usual schedule which involves me going to bed some time before ten and being able to go to the Harry Potter film whenever I want. And, somewhere in between sleeping and movie seeing, I hope I'll manage to make a lemon tart for Thanksgiving and finish applying for college.

Over.

P.S.
Mei, mom and Elle just finished reading Wives and Daughters and aren't sure what to read next. Suggestions? Anyone?

Nov 14, 2010

We NEED A Little Christmas

(Marissa)

The universe is conspiring against me.

Dramatic? Me? Nah.

In any case, it does seem like people, nature and commercial industries are doing their utmost to make me think that it is already the Christmas season.

For example: My dad has been playing Christmas music since he got back from Boston. And not just every now and then. Every day. Every time he sits down to his computer up comes the youtube fireplace, complete with crackles, and Pandora radio makes it's appearance. Christmas classics, (often annoying) country, (almost always annoying) pop... So far, no Bing Crosby, though. That's is where I put my foot down.

It's also raining. Pouring actually. The drops are big and they come down hard, greying up the sky and letting the air de-humiditize. (I can make up words if I want to.) Where I live rain is kind of equal to snow. Not completely, of course. We get rain in the summer and everything, but winter here is the rainy season. And this is winter rain.

Last but not least, commercial industries have once again demonstrated their inability to read the calendar. I've been seeing Christmas decorations up in stores since before Halloween. In Ross yesterday Mei and I got into this huge argument about reindeer vs. snowman. (Back me up here, guys, reindeer, right? See, Mei? My blogger people from Germany think so too.)

Just as I was about to move on to other topics my dad sat down and started suggesting movies to watch. Among them White Christmas, The Bishops Wife, and Miracle and Thirty Fourth Street...

I don't want to be a partypooper. I like Christmas as much as the next girl. Maybe even more. I am way, way ready for Christmas. If it were Christmas I would be making lemon curd. I would be done applying for college and would be trying to appease the scholarship gods instead. I would wear socks because my feet were cold without feeling absurd. I would not be worrying about my grade in IPB. I would be shopping for Christmas presents, playing holiday music myself and decorating Christmas trees. I want it to be Christmas too, but it's not and that's it. Let's just let it go. Move on. Wait and be patient and...

Oh, whatever. If you can't beat them join them, right? I've got a proposition. Why don't we just make it Christmas? Couldn't tomorrow be December 10th? We can do Thanksgiving, finals and applications after the new year. I think this pretty brilliant. Who do I appeal to? Is this a presidential decision?

We need a little Christmas. Right this very minute. So I'm going to finish up and wish you a
















Don't be surprised when you wake up tomorrow and it's December 10th. Anyone know the White House's phone number?

Over.

Nov 7, 2010

A Thought For Admissions People

(Marissa)

There are a lot of things that I kind-of, sort-of, really hate about applying for college. (I know, I complain a lot on here. It's where I come when I'm irritated. You should be honored. You're the cyber shoulder I come to cry on. What, other people read this blog? Nuh-uh. Who are you kidding. It's just you and me here.)

One of the things hate is that it makes me feel stupid. I think, Why didn't I just get an A in that class? It wouldn't have been that hard. If I'd knocked a few hours of sleeping out I could have still done it and everything else. Who needs to sleep? (Totally not true, there are some classes that the only reason I didn't get an A in them is because I refused to respect them or do the work. Am I proud of it? Erm... no. Would I do it again?... Don't ask me hard questions!)

I also don't like that I have to sit for multiple four hour exams which boil down eighteen years of learning into a number unfortunately distant from 36 or 800. I am not a number! I am smart! Sometimes...

It is possible, though, that what I hate most are their essays. I don't like when they're bad questions that plead for stereotypical answers (What does the world need right now? World Peace (and harsher punishment for parole violators... Name that movie)). But it might be even worse when they ask good questions and then expect you to answer it in less than 500 characters. What? They want me to talk about something I'm passionate about and how I pursued it in 500 characters? They're kidding, right? This post is already 1,192 characters. And I haven't mentioned a single thing that I'm passionate about. Well, unless you count world peace.

It does get to the point where I want to sit all admissions people down and explain to them that even if I spent the next century trying to communicate the whole of my person in 500 characters, all they would know about me is that I get frustrated easily. And then I'm tempted to just submit a list of words. Carefully chosen ones! Words like chandelier, gazebo, goulashes, sleet and flamboyant. Or write them a short fairy tale where the prince gets chewed up by a dragon. But that might be a bit too morbid.

Don't you think the admissions people must get bored? After reading countless essays about world peace and student's dedication to __________. Wouldn't they rather read about what I think clouds taste like? Raise your hand if you would rather read what I think clouds taste like.

OK. I feel better now. Thanks for sticking around and listening to me vent. Anytime you need a shoulder to cry on, you know where to find me.

Clouds taste like cotton candy, but only at sunset.

Over.

P.S. This post is now 2,187 characters.

Nov 3, 2010

Yeah, This Is What I Think About

(Marissa)

Hey guys, guess what?

It rained today. And I just had a bowl of the worlds best pineapple. And now I'm smiling inside. (And not failing Gov.) It's the little things, you know.

Today my completely amazing Lit teacher tried to convince me to apply to Stanford... Until today I thought it was spelled "Standford." Stanford, in terms of an actual place, is a little bit little bit like the moon, or maybe Wonderland in my head. You know, Alice and Neil Armstrong get to go there and I... I go to Utah, probably. (Nothing against Utah, guys. I like Utah, even if it's mountains aren't as pretty as mine.)

So I thought about it for a while. And then, when I was at the bus stop, I remembered that I have B's and I would have to take the SAT or ACT again and subject tests. And that it is extremely likely that when I go to college I will have a major meltdown. I will turn into a pathetic puddle of pathos and poor roommates will have to walk around me or, if they are extremely kind they'll throw me tissues from a safe distance. The bus stop is a place of crushed cigarettes and crushed dreams, I guess.

In California (or Washington, Rhode Island or Vermont) a major meltdown would be a complete disaster. In Utah I have family an hour from campus and they're much more likely to throw me tissues than I imagine roommates would be.

I actually had no intention of writing a post on this. I was going to tell you about how the jack-o-lanterns around my town are starting to mold over and cave in and how I ate breakfast this morning to White Christmas. "You know," I told my dad, "ethically you're not allowed to listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving dinner."

"I thought of that," he said, "but then I remembered how thankful I am for Christmas."

I was going to tell you my dad got back from Boston on Sunday night and brought us back red and gold leaves and holiday-ish aprons. Which was a big improvement on the snickers bar he brought me from the New York airport and the shampoo bottles he brought back from California.

I was going to tell you about how cute my little sister was as a flower on Halloween, how I helped her glue-gun petal-shaped material onto the brim of a witch's hat, which she'd cut away from the point and put her face through, and the amazing green scarf she used for her stem.

I was going to tell you about how I made a total fool of myself in Peace Building again. No surprise but surprisingly disappointing. Obviously I can't be a mediator because I get irritated with how difficult people in conflict are and I can't keep a straight face. Brother Ford quoted What About Bob and I've had the misfortune of seeing that movie many times. How are you supposed to not laugh when your professor explains that there are two kind of people in this world, the ones who like Neil Diamond and the ones who don't?

I was going to, and I guess I already did. That's good, because I have homework, and I should be exercising right now.

Over.

Nov 1, 2010

Rainbows... Can You Say Cliche?

(Marissa)

You know, today wasn't a bad day, but it was long and hard. And it was a day off. If someone had asked me what I wanted today to be like I would have said, "Lazy." Or maybe, "Calm," "Relaxed," or "Quiet." It was none of the above. The end of it is, when I got home to day my mood was dark. Cloudy. Grey. A little bit evil. I swear, I'm not in a bad mood all the time. I just blog a lot when I'm in a bad mood.

Anyway, life was not making me happy. Then my mom kicked me off the computer so that we could skype with my grandparents, to have Family Home Evening. And, of course, the Family Home Evening lesson was on gratitude. Can you say Ensign?

Mom was kind of jumping the gun on Thanksgiving (I guess I am too), but she had us all go around and say what we were thankful for about the person next to us, thankful for that we hadn't been at first, so on. And you know what? I am really thankful for rainbows.

Rainbows are a little like hearts in the that the world has gotten all the symbolic milage out of them they can take and they are now reduced to cliches. Saying your thankful for rainbows is like wishing for peace on earth when you have the good fortune to see a falling star. The correct response is Really? Seriously? You couldn't come up with anything better?

But I am thankful for rainbows. Every time I see one I think, God loves me. I know that everyone around me can see the rainbow, but it does seem like it's just mine. It feel like the worlds awash with God's watercolors just because I don't feel happy. I saw one walking home today and my shoulders felt lighter.

I am grateful for rainbows, that my parents love each other, that my little sister loves the world so much, for washing machines, for playlists, conditioner, cool hats, dimples and thick cream. I am grateful for Jane Austin and pianos and stained glass windows. And I am really grateful for rainbows, despite the cliche.

Sometimes, though, I forget.

Why do I do that?

Oct 30, 2010

Hiking... Or Lack Thereof

(Marissa)

So, funny story. Remember yesterday when I was on here telling you about my weekend plans (exalting that I had some, for once)?

Well, last night I got back from the Halloween party at eleven thirty-ish, still growling about stupid James Bond writers and their refusal to let Bond retire or any of his poor girlfriends live, and went pretty much immediately to bed. I thought about staying up with a book to distract me from my head ache (curse you, whoever brought those amazingly delicious chocolate cookies), but realized that sleep was probably better medication. Besides, I was going for a hike at twelve today and so it was probably best to go to bed at a reasonable hour. So, like a reasonable and responsible person, I went to bed immediately. I didn't even floss my teeth--don't tell my dentist.

This morning I woke up with the sudden realization that I'd forgotten to do Gov homework and that, for that I would surely fail the class, not get into college and end up as a bum on the streets, like Mr. Violetti said I would... Then I woke up a little more and started cleaning up the house and doing homework.

A few minutes before twelve I headed over to Foodland, our agreed meeting place. I'd locked and double-checked all the doors, turned off all the lights, filled up a water bottle, and left my homework half finished and the bathroom half cleaned. I felt very righteous while I went, because I wasn't just lazing around in my pajamas. When I got there I sat around for a few minutes and, because I'm me, started worrying that I'd got the wrong time, place, or day. Then I realized that all the people I was supposed to meeting live twenty minutes down the road from me and have their own Foodland. Also twenty minutes down the road.

...

So I walked back home, swinging my water bottle and feeling very stupid.

Now I'm sitting in a cloud of bug spray, feeling sunblock rubberize my face, still decked out in hiking gear and wishing that I'd listened to my mom and gotten my drivers licence over the summer. Also wishing I hadn't listened to my mom and had ignored the bug spray on the counter. What do they put in that stuff? Makes my head hurt...

Funny, right? Ha...

Maybe I'll go to the beach.

Over.

Oct 29, 2010

Happy Halloween

(Marissa)

Let's face facts. We all have stupid ideas from time to time. It does seem to me that I have more than my fair share (see Adam Popcorn), but we're not going to get in to Fate's slighted hand again. In any case, I have placed wearing my beautiful pure white dress to school on what happened to be a rainy day (have we talked about my school's mud? it's red) firmly into that not-such-good-idea folder.

Let's rewind a year. Last year Katie called me on my totally lame Halloween-ness. (Again.) It's true. I'm a complete party-pooper. I'm trying really hard right now to think of a Halloween when I wasn't either an angel or a witch, but nothing is coming... Oh! I was a Gypsy once. Anything more than that would have taken more creativity than I felt like giving to the holiday. So we decided last year that this year I would not lame with Katie. The plan was that Katie would be Elphaba



















(Wicked. If you don't know about it, google it. and then help me convince my dad that he has to take our family to see it) and I would be Galinda.



















(I'd like to think that's because I'm blond and not because I bear any resemblance to her in the personality district. Right, Katie? Right?)

Katie reminded me occasionally throughout the year (and this week), but it wasn't until this morning at when Katie walked in fully decked out in costume that I actually remembered. It was an awesome costume. Especially the shoes. I love your shoes Katie! Anyway, after that kind of shaming I had to go home and rifle through my closet. I came out with my white dress. And the hat Andrea brought me back from Finland. I looked at the clock and thought, "Oh, gosh, I don't have time to curl my hair," then I looked at the mirror and thought, "Oh, good, I don't have to." First time in a long time that my hair and I have gotten on together.

It was raining at school. My heels kicked up mud. It was hard concentrating in Gov--er, GOPO. Not that it isn't always, but especially so today. Anyway. Bad idea. The good news is that my dress is still white. The bad news is that it is possible that half the school has seen my slip. I don't know because there are too many layers to that dress to keep track of them all. And slips are, you know, slippery.

I went straight home and (after humming a few bars of Loathing) and put on the roomiest pants I could find and a sweat shirt. I've finally realized why I wasn't born a princess. I don't think princesses get to wear big ugly sweat shirts or painted up pants. They have to wear beautiful dresses with many layers and stiff, gorgeous fabric all the time. Poor them. They can't spill milk all over themselves or run through rain and kick up red dirt onto the back of their legs. I'm grateful for my jeans and my oversized sweaters. Bless them.

My weekend has now begun. Tonight I have a party (what? you thought I had no social life? just because you're right doesn't mean that you need to rub it in), tomorrow there's a hike (if it isn't pouring) and I'm making caramel apples with Katie and watching Sherlock. (It's a modern remake of Sherlock Holmes from BBC and it's so much better than it sounds. The plot holes are gaping but the cleverness of the lines is more than enough to make up for that. It's on PBS's website.) Monday and Tuesday are days off. I love long weekends. They're gifts from God and a reluctant DOE.

I'm supposed to be cleaning right now so that my poor mother (husbandless while my father is enjoying the fall weather in Boston) doesn't have to. You notice I always blog when I'm supposed to be doing things? Anyone else seeing a pattern?

Happy Halloween.

Oct 24, 2010

Yesterday

You know what I wasn't doing yesterday at ten o'clock? Taking the ACT.

It feels oh-so-good. It's possible that for the rest of my life I will keep track of ACT dates, just to revel in the fact that I am not trapped in a school room with scary posters trying to remember what the distance formula is or, an even harder question, why I care (...Got me). I hope that I don't do that, though. That will mean I lack things to celebrate.

In any case, at the time that many of my more unfortunate classmates were decoding evil science problems I was here, with these people



I know that was too many pictures. But they're so cute! (They're my neighbors--except for the first one, which is Mei. They brought me cookies on my birthday. They have a little sister who's picture refused to be posted, and she was the one who told their mom that I had to have "strawberry" cookies. Adorable.)

We were picking pumpkins. And red onions. And corn. I did not know those things even grew here. The corn is delicious. The red onions yummy. I haven't eaten the pumpkins. Incidentally, pumpkins are hard to pick. They like to stay on their vines and they have unfortunate bristles.

It did get hot and there were no caramel apples (to my lingering disappointment) and I was very tired while we picked because, while I'd known we were going, I hadn't realized that we were required to get up at seven o'clock to get there and I did not go to be at an hour conducive to me responding well to that wake-up call. But I wasn't taking the ACT.

I wrote my first essay for college this week. It had me seriously freaked out. That wasn't helped by Brother Ford's list of things he'd fail us for. However, the essay did make me realize what I love about blogging. I love not citing things. I love not putting on a cover page (or not forgetting a cover page and having to send an apologetic email to my teacher). I love using fragment sentences and not making my parents proof read. Mostly I love not being graded.

I also have to write a short story. I'm half way there. I'll post it Tuesday if I don't hate it by then.

Over.

Oct 17, 2010

I Don't Want To Brag, But...

(Marissa)






















I live here.


And here.


And here.

Just thought you should know.

Over.

Oct 16, 2010

(Metaphorical) Rainy Days

(Marissa)

I broke my wrists this week. Both of them. They're in splints right now, white and scratchy and I have to dictate all of this to my mom. That's why I haven't written.

I got amnesia.

I went to Disney World and Mickey Mouse stole my computer.


















He looked so innocent!

I've been in a coma.

Aliens abducted me, ran tests on my blood, thought process and eye color and then dropped me down in Idaho.

President Obama called and asked me to dedicate all my time to a top secret assignment which I'd tell you about... but then I'd have to kill you. And my licence to kill hasn't come in yet.

I want to tell you why I didn't write to you this week, but I didn't feel like it just didn't seem good enough.

The truth is that I've gotten on several times to write. I started two posts. But I am deep, deep in writers block. You know, I've always thought of writers block as a blockade that writers run into, but this week it's felt more like a box. You're inclosed: top, side and bottom. You can't just run around. You're trapped.

Blah.

It's been a really bad week to have writers block. I've got four essays to write today. That I should be writing right now instead of blogging.

Blegh.

So that's why I haven't written to you. It's not because I don't love you. Promise.

I am now eighteen. I have been a senior citizen (get it?... don't look at me like that, bad puns run in my family) for two days and two and a half hours. I don't feel very different. It was a nice birthday, though, one of those days where you wake up feeling good and that feeling somehow survives school. I unwrapped a Grace Kelly dress at breakfast, and that might have helped keep my spirits high.

(For those of you who are so unfortunate as to not know who Grace Kelly is.... don't worry about it. If you don't know who Audrey Hepburn
























 is, though, I don't think we can still be friends. Quick! Run out and rent Roman Holiday. But stop it ten minutes before it ends and just listen to me: They all live happily ever after. Really.)

So my birthday was amazing but most of the rest of the week was... it was... it was one big rainy day.

You guys know I love rainy days. I live for them. But on the metaphorical rainy days (the ones where rain drops are made up of troubles the way lemon drops are in Somewhere Over the Rainbow, the ones where stress crushes my head and I wish that the world would just take five while I remind myself how to breath) I have to employ happy tactics.

Happy Tactic Number One:  Think happy thoughts. Peter Pan
















(remember him?) inspired me on this one. On sad days I break out my happy thoughts with full force: Ice cream. Rain. Mushrooms. The beach. Creme brule. Grace Kelly dress. Lit class. Pride and Prejudice. Fluffy pillows. Whisks. Earphones. Claire de Lune. Chinese. Cream Puffs. Electricity. Plumbing. Pony tail holders. Jeans. Bubbles... You get the idea.

Happy Tactic Number Two: Happy songs. King of Anything, I Need A Hero (Shrek version), Accidentally in Love, Waka Waka (thanks Sis. Frampton), and You Make Me Happy. Songs to soothe the heart, my friends. Or just give me something to jump up and down to. I find jumping up and down a very good stress reliever. When I don't sprain my ankle or break something.

Happy Tactic Number Three: Youtube. Have I mentioned how much I love youtube? I love youtube. I love it with all my heart and most of my soul. My list of happy hits is You're the Voice Merlin, Peter Bishop Just Being Generally Awesome and Kim Yu Na. Unless you live with me or live two houses down and are named Katie Orr, then you probably don't understand why I love these videos. That's OK. You can find your own videos. Youtube has something for everyone. My dad watches videos of snow in Central Park and how to cut a chicken. Each to their own.

Happy Tactic Number Four: Go to Flickr. Click on Explore and then Last Seven Days Interesting. And you thought the world was a bad place. Psh. How could you have doubted? Look at that little girl's chubby cheeks! Observe the stars and grass and that kid with a dragon fly on his face! I love Flickr. Even though it still likes Katie better than me.

There you go. These are my umbrella's for a rainy day. It disturbs me a little bit that all of them except number one involve the computer. I read too. I just don't have a specific recipe for those. I grab a book off the shelf and open it. Over Fall Break I opened Gone With the Wind and, just like you said, Grandma, I liked it a lot better the second time I read it. But it still frustrates me. The first time I read it I despised Scarlet and would have walked out way before Rhett Butler did, but the book just kept going. The second time I sympathized with her and when Rhett walked out I was upset (even though I knew she deserved it). Does the third time solve this somehow?

I really have to go write essays now.

Over.

Oct 10, 2010

A Not Quite Post

(Marissa)

I just wrote you a whole post. And then I deleted it. My brain isn't working today. This may have something to do with the fact that I took the SAT yesterday. (Have I mentioned I hate math?) In any case, I promise I'll get you a post soon, but in the meantime this is what you get.

Yesterday when I was in a tourist trap getting lunch (bad turkey sandwiches, good muffins, really good smelling coffee) I saw a sign that said:

"All children left unattended will be given a shot of expresso and a free puppy."
















I asked my mom to leave me unattended, but no luck. I guess because I'm turning eighteen this week I don't count anymore.... Next week I can vote. And get a licence without taking drivers ed. Next week if I murder someone I'm going to be tried as an adult. Which shouldn't be a problem, but, you know, it's weird. Do we have capital punishment in this state? It never seemed important before.

Over.

Oct 3, 2010

Once Upon A Time

(Marissa)

Homecoming was this week. And because I have absolutely no school spirit I went on a walk with Katie and and watched The Pelican Brief with my family rather than sit in the football stands and let a scream of the truly devoted tear at my throat. Despite my lack of school spirit, I do hope we won. And that our field lights didn't go out this time. The excuse this is all leading up to, though, is now I am on fall break and I have no inclination to do anything even remotely productive. And writing a blog post is kind of productive.

So I've been procrastinating. But the biggest reason I haven't written is I don't have very much to say. Which, believe me, is unusual. Usually I can go on and on. I drone with the best of them. If talking was an Olympic sport, I might actually have a chance at meeting Kim Yu Na
and telling her how amazingly awesome she is. The point being, I usually don't struggle with posting.

This weekend, however, all ideas have deserted and left me high and dry with a soggy handful of words.

So...

I'm going to make fun of early Disney fairytales! That seems pretty foolproof. If you are one of those people who holds Disney sacred then now might be a good time to stop reading.

I did not grow up with Disney. In fact, my mom did almost everything in her power to make sure that I did not identify with Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. (She also dressed me in the scratchiest pink overalls in all of history from which I'm still recovering, but that's besides the point.) I couldn't tell you what exactly went against her grain about the Disney Princesses, but I can tell you about mine:


1. Their voices. Think














"Some day my prince will come..." Shivers, people, and not the good kind.

2. General motivation. Let's consider Ariel. She has everything. She's beautiful. Her hair is red. She can sing (much, much better than Snow White), everyone loves her and her best friend is a fish (which might not technically be a good thing, but it seems to work for her). This is not enough, though, and after one fated encounter she has to be with
our prince charming (oh, believe me, we'll talk about him in a minute). And now the only thing in the whole wide world that she wants is to have legs. So she puts at risk not only everything she owns, but also pretty much everything under the sea so that she can go hang out with her buddy on land for a bit.

And apparently karma doesn't apply to princesses, so despite all of this she still gets her happily ever after...

This is obviously the kind of show that we want our young children to find morals in. (Like Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. Run that song through your head. You know what the main idea is? If you're popular everything is good.)

3. The prince charmings are generic. For a while I thought they were clones, but then I went to see Into the Woods and I figured it out. In Into the Woods you get two princes who are brothers. In the first act one of them marries Cinderella and one of them marries Rapunzel. In the second act both of them, in the midst of marital problems that they blame on their hormonal wives, they wander away from the castle... and stumble upon Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and begin to occupy themselves with them.

I was extremely angry. The feminist in me was throwing rotton fruit. And then I realized that all the princes from the fairy tales seemed the same because they were all the same. It explains everything. Except

4. Love at first sight. It bothers me. A lot. It's like the storyteller couldn't think of any reason why someone would fall in love with their character so they passed it off to Cupid. Argh.

Sleeping Beauty should have punched the prince. That would have made so much more sense. Plus it would have been much more funny.

5. Lastly, the girl never saves herself. They whither away combing their hair, entombed in a glass casket, sleeping in the highest tower, etc. It is the most obnoxious thing ever. They're not even smart. They don't follow basic sense. Like Snow White. Did she miss the part of Stranger Danger when they said not to take food from people you don't know? Why didn't Repunzel cut off her own hair and climb down it herself? And why, in heaven's name, was Cinderella wearing glass slippers? High heels have enough potential pain without putting glass into the equation.

I like strong female leads. I'll take Elizabeth Bennet, CJ Cregg, or Olivia Dunham any day. They're witty and smart or save the world from alternate universes on a daily basis. And they don't go for love at first sight. And you know what? I bet if Olivia woke up to someone kissing her she would punch him.

Over.

Sep 25, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away... No, Wait, Come Back!

(Marissa)

It is Saturday and I owe you all a post. Whoever "you all" are. I just got on Blogger Stats and saw that we've had fifty-one hits from Denmark. Is this normal? Do they (you) speak English in Denmark? Why is everyone there googling Peter Pan? Excuse the questions, my most up to date knowledge from Denmark comes from Hamlet.

Moving on.

I am a rain glutton. If this seems random that's because it is, but that doesn't make it any less true. I love the rain. When there is no rain I dance for it.























I love the smells, the feel of it and the excuse it gives me to unearth my pajama bottoms, pour myself a cup of herbal tea and watch Pride and Prejudice with the knowledge that there is ice cream in the fridge. Seriously. Take a minute and think. Is there a more peaceful scene?

If you just said no then we are soul siblings. Hi!

Anyway, my island has been in a drought for a while now. I find it depressing. It's been weeks since I've seen the Pride and Prejudice Pemberley lake part



and if you know me then you know that bodes extremely ill for my mental healthSo this week when I woke up to a grey sky I was ecstatic. I hummed Singing in the Rain while I walked between classes I listened to the sound and smelled the air. Rain makes me happy inside.

That happiness did dry up somewhat when I had to catch the bus. Because, at least around here, catching the bus entails being at the bus stop for a good forty minutes. I mean "good" in the sense of lengthy or substantial, not pleasant, though the waiting period is not necessarily unpleasant. I've had some very interesting conversations in that rickety structure. One conversation with an older lady started with the book in my hand in led on to different ways of being moral, cultural differences and the path to joy.

I'm not kidding. I felt deep. And then I went home and watched and Asian drama and that feeling evaporated fairly quickly, but we'll go into dramas another day.

Going back to the subject at hand, the bus stop is not a place where you want to spend a lot of time when it is raining. It leaks. Where I live, it floods. It didn't Wednesday, but I didn't find that particularly comforting. I know there are people who would stand in the rain and think, "I'm so glad it's not flooding right now," but I am not at that optimistic. The silver lining doesn't shine that bright for me.

I tried to sit, but water on the back of my thighs is not a feeling that I enjoy a great deal. And I was getting rained on. So I stood up. And I was still getting rained on. I did not lay down, but I suspect that the result would have been similar. So I slung my backpack off with the hope that it was water-proof (it's not) and stood there in the rain, leaning down the left side of the street, waiting for the bus's headlights.

I was cold and wet and wishing that I'd just learned how to drive over the summer like parents kept telling me to. (I hate that feeling, by the way. Why do parents have to be so smart? Don't they get tired of it?... Hi, Mom.)

It's funny because I had been wanting rain forever. I'd been craving it the way I crave ice cream. The bad thing about craving weather is that you can't pick it up at the grocery store's frozen section. But it had finally made it's appearance and here I was moaning, wishing that the sun would shine.

I felt like my cat, who, in the middle of the night, will yowl at my window to be let in and then, twenty minutes later, wants to be let out again and makes this wish known by kneading my pillows with her claws.

Today is hot. I just cleaned. Couldn't it rain again?

Make it rain. No, stop! Bring the sun back... Alright, now the rain.

I love the rain.

Except for when I don't. I'm just fickle that way.

Over.

Sep 17, 2010

My Corner of the Universe

(Marissa)

Today I exercised, had sweet potato fries, did my homework, registered for all my college classes and paid for them. My corner of the universe is tidy, how about yours?

I'm just going to give you the list of things I know I should tell you but don't want to spend a blog post on:

1. I took the ACT. I don't want to talk about it.

2. Alright, fine. It was bad. I was sick. I'm taking it again next month. We should send science and math to a never to be found desert island where it can rot until the end of time. Forever and ever, amen.

3. I get nine hours of sleep and I'm still exhausted. Does anyone know why this is? If you're going to tell me it's because I get too much sleep, I have mono or I eat too much ice cream, then don't. I have already explored the first two possibilities, and if it's the last one I have no intention of it exploring it. There is a reason I eat the amount of ice cream I do.












Sometimes sugar and sanity are synonyms.

4. We are still not cooking in culinary. And I found out that there are two culinary classes and I'm not in Jackson's. Cue the tragic music. (Hi Jackson! You found us! Yes, Mark Bittman rocks and I did know that you were married. When are you coming back to school? Can you adopt my culinary class?)

5. Today in West Wing Danny still wasn't back and they killed my favorite secret service guy. Keep the tragic music rolling, fellas.

6. You can thank Teenager Number One for the beautiful Flickr highlight. She is currently drowning in AP classes (including calculus), so I'm not sure when (if?) we'll be hearing from her. Because calculus is a time, energy and happiness eating monster that only engineers ever use. We can send it to a desert island too.

7. People keep bringing me sugar. I've had three cookies today. And ice cream. And doughnut holes. I'm not complaining, I just don't know what's going on. Either heaven is being particularly attentive or someone is trying to ensure that I won't be running any marathons soon. If you're reading this, person-who-is-trying-to-prevent-me-from-running-marathons, you don't have anything to worry about. But keep the cookies coming.

Alright, my list is complete. I'll get on with my post.

I am now officially signed up for Creative Writing and International(cultural?) Peace Building. My professors did their best to scare me away with multiple textbooks, foreboding syllabuses that start out with quotes from MK Ghandi ("We must be the change we wish to see in the world") and big words I don't know, but I am nothing if not persistent. I am going to soldier through these classes, darn it, even if I have to get eight hours of sleep a night instead of nine.

Actually, everyone was very nice. My professors signed me in with good grace and did not announce to the class that I am still in high school. In fact, Brother Ford was extremely slick about it and (very deliberately) did not look at me when he mentioned my mom. Last week he offered to give me a fake last name too, just so that no one would know who's daughter I was. At the time I just stuttered no, but I went to bed wishing I told him to put me on the roll as "Bond, Marissa Bond," though it doesn't have quite the ring to it that James does.

I am extremely excited about both my classes, though slightly nervous about IPB (peace building) in which Brother Ford took rather too much delight in explaining how he was going to force us out of our comfort zones and 40% of my grade depends on one group project (in... out... in....... out).

My Creative Writing class messes with my breathing too, but in a different way. A class all about creative writing? I can go? Really? Is it Christmas? I've been doing creative writing on my own since fourth grade. I've written poems, essasys, short stories, one full-length story. I've spent hours on the computer or in a notebook and I obsess over nice pens. Please let me write! Please don't completely crush my self-respect. I might be practiced in being humiliated, but it isn't something I excel at. Please...

OK. Whining done. Basically I'm excited about college. No, wait! I have one more complaint. And a teenage girl moment: Why are there no cute guys in my classes? I know, your respect for me has fallen flat on it's face but, really, I'm a hormonally healthy teenage girl, and I would appreciate one or two cute guys. There are plenty up on campus, couldn't just one of them have signed up for creative writing?

No? OK, then. Never mind. I'm going to go eat my cookies now.

Over.

Sep 9, 2010

And You Thought Jiminy Cricket Was Making It Up

(Marissa)

A while back we were all lining up in heaven, getting our paperwork straightened out.

"No, I'm being born on the fourteenth. No, the fourteenth. Not in Bolivia! The United States! I'm supposed to live in the United States!" I picture the scene looking a bit like my first day of tenth grade.

Anyway, at some point we bounded over clouds up to a desk with several baskets on it labeled things like, "knowledge," "beauty," and "car fixing abilities (only for those living from the late 1800s up)." Behind the desk was a council of stars.




















They said, "We will grant you certain gifts for your time on earth. What is your wish?"

Mei got there early, stepped right up and said, "Give me all the faith you've got." The stars liked her so much, they threw a nice handful of intelligence, kindness, curiosity and a bunch of other stuff into the bargain.

My dad stepped up and surveyed the table, looking over each one. "Hmmm..." he said. "Hmmmm..." He stood there for a while, but finally he picked out analytical thinking, courage, gratitude and mad juggling skills, among others.

My mom chose wisdom, humility, and empathy in great measures and added that to the skills she already gained in pre-earth life.

I'm not sure what I got, but I'll tell you what wasn't in my shopping basket when I walked away: Math skills.

Numbers just don't stick in my head. I quote all of Pride and Prejudice, The Importance of Being Earnest and all three Lord of the Rings, but sine? Cosine? Um... are there x's involved? No? Oh.

Graphs?

Probability?

Third grade addition?

Please! No! Don't make me suffer this way. I'm really a pretty good person. I do my chores. And yes, I'm putting off writing an essay right now. And practicing the piano. And applying for college. And memorizing what cosine and sine are. But I'm fairly responsible. And I made my little sister a tart for her birthday. Surely this counts for something.















....


I can read Shakespeare, the scriptures and Chinese. I really feel like this should be enough.

Over.

Sep 1, 2010

Bury Me Next to the Daisies

(Marissa)

I've been dreading this week since May when I signed up to take the ACT on September 4th. The soft footsteps of doom have been heard down my corridor all week until, suddenly, when  I got on to write this post, they stopped. It is in fact next Saturday that I'm signed up to take the ACT. While I am grateful for this extension, it does rather throw a kink into my funeral plans.

I was expecting to die sometime between eight and twelve this Saturday morning.

Now I'm expecting to die sometime between eight and twelve next Saturday morning.

Someone call the church and reschedule, will you?

My funeral service will be held the following Monday at seven o'clock. Please bring flowers and don't wear black.

















(lace and likes photo credit) 

Bury me next to the daisies.

(More than usually) Over.

Aug 29, 2010

Sunrise... Sunset...

(Marissa)

It's been a long time since I wrote. It's been a long week.

Full of heartbreak and happiness.

Triumph and tragedy.

Conflict and compromise.

You know, pretty much like any other week. Existentialism is depressing and makes my mind hurt, and Flickr likes Katie better than me, but these are things I'm trying to learn to live with. At the moment, they are unimportant.

Andrea is starting college tomorrow.

I think that I'm freaking out way more than she is. I met her a week ago, I swear! It hasn't been that long! It hasn't been years!

My childhood is flashing before my eyes.

Last Sunday we were horsies. Evil men wanted to lock us up in dark, scary cages, when all we wanted out of life was to be able to run freely on the prairy hills and comb our long, beautiful "tickle-me-pink" manes.




















That's me.

Monday Andrea was arguing with Kelsey about who got to be the youngest when we played House. And they finally decided that they would be twins, that was fair, but then came the all important question: Which twin was born first?

Tuesday we had a water fight with that-boy-across-the-street-who's-name-no-one-can-remember and his cousin, who's name was Alonzo (maybe), but Andrea called him Lasagna, either because she couldn't pronounce his name or because she liked teasing him. And Mei hit one of them across the back side with an umbrella, which was peculiarly violent for her, but which we felt meant a definitive victory for us.

Wednesday we played mermaids in her pool. Well, Kevin and I were mer-people. Andrea was a dolphin.

Thursday morning was middle school. Around twelve high school made it's appearance.

Friday she graduated and gave her valedictorian speech with the Dr. Sues quote. Katie and I missed it because we were so sure that graduation would last four hours (like it had for the last thirty years) that we walked in an hour late, armed with note passing materials, just in time for the alma mater, closing remarks, and lei giving.

Saturday Katie, Andrea, and I threw a going away party, without once acknowledging it was such. I signed her yearbook and looked over the clothes that she wasn't taking with her in the amazing tent we'd made.


















(This picture doesn't even come close to showing how fantastic this tent was. We strung the sheets from the ceiling fan, which made my mom a little nervous because it was tipping significantly to the left. "I hope it doesn't kill you in your sleep," she said. Optimism, Mom. We covered the floor with pillows and quilts and blocked out the night with cloth and clothes pins, just like we used to when we were six. It was genius. Almost cream puff level.)

Yesterday we made crepes together and played Apples to Apples and laughed and told stories about that kid in Utah who smuggled a penguin out of the zoo in his backpack and who's parents found out when he was playing with it in the bath. We turned off the lights at two.


















And tomorrow Andrea is going to college.

Can someone get me a wheelchair please?

I feel old.

Over.

Aug 18, 2010

(A Very Short Post Concerning) Doubting Peter

(Marissa)

You know that story in the scriptures when Jesus walks on water? His disciples on the ship see him and all of them are scared. Who is that guy? He can't be human. It is a spirit! It's a ghost! Quick! Hide behind the mast!

Jesus calms them down, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."

Then Peter volunteers to come out onto the water,  he believes that if God tells him to he will be able to walk on the waves. "Come," Jesus bids him. And Peter goes. I imagine the water cupped his feet, that it felt soft, that his steps were tentative, like walking on ice or glass. Slowly his steps strengthen. But it gets windy, the waves' crests bite into his feet and Peter is afraid. He starts sinking.

Jesus immediately reaches and pulls him up. Jesus says, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

It's a good thing I wasn't Peter. I would have said, "I'm the only one who came out here!"




















I like that, though. "Wherefore didst thou doubt?"

Over.

Aug 15, 2010

I Don't Want To Grow Up

(Marissa)

I've been sick for four days now. I'd tell you about it, but I love you too much for that. Hey, guess how many West Wing episodes I watched this weekend?

Never mind. You don't want to know. It'd be disturbing. And your opinion of me would drop off a cliff.

You'll have to be patient, you guys. I'm still learning how to blog. I don't want to give you a laundry list of my week. I did this and this and this. I brushed my teeth and then I washed my face and... I was brainwashed out of that by a english teacher, Mrs. Jackson.

(Thanks, Jackson. You're baby is really cute, by the way. I can't wait for you to be my culinary teacher. Right now we're doing worksheets in there. My teacher says we'll be doing worksheets until second quarter. When you get there, will we keep doing those worksheets?)

I hope you stick around while I figure all of this out, but I won't be offended if you don't. Mostly because I won't know. My grandma and my mom (Hi Grandma! Hi Mom!) are the only ones I know are reading this, and I'm pretty sure they'd both keep it up even if I gave you a detailed explanation of flossing.

In other news I had an emotional break down Thursday. I cried and then I went to bed and all of my tears and other bodily fluids that had made their appearance glibly slid down to my throat and chest, rendering me incapable of breathing, singing, speaking or thinking the next morning. This substantially cut down my list of usual activities. I was paralyzed emotionally, physically and intellectually all weekend. Thus the West Wing marathon.

When I can't think about the things that normally occupy my brain like piano scales, the SAT/ACT, essays and quizzes (everyone just take a minute and admire the word "quizzes." Doesn't it look cool? Hiss it under your breath. Doesn't it sound amazing?) my brain finds itself in a yellow wood, forced to take the road less traveled by. I think about what Great Balls of Fire is actually talking about, whether or not there are mermaids on Neptune (they have seas), and why my emotions occasionally make my body deteriorate into a puddle of goo. The answer (to the last question) is Peter Pan. I completely blame Peter Pan.

I have always had a thing for Peter Pan. Always. Even back when this was Peter Pan.












And then this was Peter Pan.















Then I was a believer.

There are a couple of reasons that I find Peter Pan beyond amazing. The first is he can fly. I've had dreams where I can fly. I swim through the sky. I soar across a lake, a perfect, placid lake the reflects the night sky like a mirror and I'm caught between stars. My fingers can touch them. They feel soft and cold. My fingers ripple them. Suffice it to say, if Peter came and asked me if I wanted to fly, I would have no trouble coming up with happy thoughts.

The second reason is that he is cocky. On TV, at least, cockiness is incredibly endearing to me. I think this is a really bad sign for my future relationships, but I have more pressing concerns than my (lack of a) love life right now, so this doesn't bother me a whole lot.

The third reason, and the one that I actually want to talk about today, is that Peter Pan doesn't grow up. Ever. He is forever a happy little boy who can fly around with fairies and sword fight with pirates. He never has to confront hormones--















--well, not often anyway. He never freaks out about grades or scholarships. He knows everything he needs to know. He is content. He has nothing to worry about, except the pirates that want to kill him,















and they're easily handled.

Peter Pan doesn't grow up. I don't want to grow up. I am not sure, but I think that was the core of my emotional break down this week. I am so tired of worrying about things. And it exhausts me to think of worrying for the rest of my life. I don't want to go away to school and have to remember to cook my own food and do my own laundry. I don't want to have to deal with homesickness or bills. I never want to have to think about money. And taxes? What are taxes? I have taken fairly advanced math and no one has ever taught me how to do taxes. Or budgeting. Does that mean I can't go blow it on books and Starbucks and hot chocolate? Why?

I want to go to Never Land and fight pirates and dance with fairies and eat those clouds that look like cotton candy. And Peter Pan tells me that I can.

Peter Pan is a liar. But I love him anyway.













It's the smile.

Over.

Aug 12, 2010

Prank Calling (It Wasn't Me) and Other Adventures (That Weren't Mine)

(Marissa)

How are you?

Uh huh.

Really.

Really?


That's great.

Me? Oh, you know. Same old, same old.

Flickr is being mean to me. It won't let me change our highlight (to the right there? right, the watermelon) and, really, if it was going to get stuck, it should have had the decency to get stuck two weeks ago when we had that awesome picture of the girl with flour in hair... you don't remember. No worries. I'd show you, but Flickr doesn't feel like sharing. Don't worry, though, you won't be stuck with watermelon forever. I'll figure it out. Or Katie will. Or a good fairy, maybe. I believe in them.

In more depressing photo new, Nadia sent me the pictures of my last first day of school, but somehow they weren't in the email and... Sorry. No pictures for you.

Totally shifting gears here, my completely genius English teacher (she doesn't read this, so I can say that without being a teacher's pet or any of that phrase's less attractive synonyms) gave as an assignment: write and share a song essay. What is a song essay? I'm so glad you asked.

(Side note: One of the things I love about blogging is that the conversation goes exactly the way I want it to. You ask all the right questions, respond at the right times and offer no criticism. Like right now, for example, you aren't telling me that this side note is getting way too long.)

A song essay is where you bring a song and an essay to class. The song evokes a memory of a person, place event or time. I've heard two days worth of these so far and there are a few stories I feel like sharing (because I'm more generous than flickr).

Maia and Kiana (more about her later), were sitting in the middle of a basketball court at night, alone in the darkness with a phone, a phonebook and an ipod. They were prank calling. They had decided that they would pick song and play it for the stranger at the other end, the owner of the the number they punched into their phone. They wanted to give that stranger an opportunity to reflect on his/her life through the power of music. The song they hit upon was I Am A Vampire. I've provided some of the lyrics for you:

I am a vampire
I am a vampire
I am a vampire
I am a vampire
I am a vampire
Vampire
I am a vampire
I have lost my fangs
I am a vampire
I am a vampire
I am a vampire
I have lost my fangs
So I'm sad and I feel lonely so I cry and I'm very angry and I hate some garlic
So I'm so no more sad and
Ache yeah yeah

"Dave listened to the whole thing," Maia told us. "Weirdo." They called up four more people and preformed the same ritual.

Sya, who sits a few seats to my right said, "Wait, that was you guys?"

Kiana, Maia's calling buddy, got up and played My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion--you know, Titanic. She listened to the song with a morose expression on her face and then started her essay. "I was in the dentist's office," she began.

She went on to detail the day her braces were put on, her anxiety about them, her mental preparation for names she might have to put up with-- brace face, metal mouth, etc. As she sank into the dentist's chair My Heart Will Go On started playing above her. The deep throb of the music sank into her. She shut her eyes and envisioned the two doomed Titanic lovers going down with the boat and saw her social life sinking with it.

Woe.

Marissa (not me, a different Marissa) had a more cheerful story (though Kiana's made me laugh more). I don't know Marissa well at all. She's been in my class since seventh grade and all I know about her is that her name is Marissa and she has pretty hair. Marissa's song was The Rocky Racoon by the Beatles. She told that, growing up, her dad would come in every night just when she was going to bed and strum his guitar while he sang her this song. Now he plays it for her little sisters as they go to sleep. Sometimes, when he is away, Marissa sings it for them.

Here is the thing that I love about these essays: they give me a chance to see my classmates as people. So often they walk out the door of AP Lit and disappear. Poof. Gone. In my head they all hang up their coats and hang out in the cosmos, possibly in a gaseous form, until class is once again in session and they solidify. They don't have dads, little sisters, friends, they don't prank call and they don't agonize over what a row of silver lining their teeth might do to their social life. In my head they're actors in my life, and not main characters either. They're extras.

Obviously I don't really think that. I know my classmates have parents. And TV sets and favorite books and goldfish (they probably don't kill their's within days) and hobbies. I know they have them. I just don't think about it. It's easy to not think about it, isn't it? Isn't it. Please say yes so that I fell less bratty.

The essays remind me that my classmates are always solid. Christina went to Canada, Holly makes friends through Disney music, Penn's friends tried to kidnap her on her seventeenth birthday. Tried being the operating word.

The best of these essays are not the ones that are well written but the ones that make the twenty people the author's been going to school with for five years sit there and think: I'd like to see the movie that is your life.

Over.