Sunday, August 11, 2013

Conversations about China

Yeah, I haven't posted in 8 months, I know, and that's okay. Not too much interesting stuff happened. Well, it did. But I was much too busy to write and now I have things progressing forward and before I ramble too much,

Here I am!

About half the people who know me may also know Katie Barnes. Crazy Katie. Fabulous Katie. Katie the Clown.

So we've been best friends as of January 2011, and that's right after she returned from teaching English in Ukraine. Ever since, she has loved kids and traveling. I've always kids and I'd never really done that much traveling- but I've always wanted to.

When she first suggested the idea, it was an absolute NO. China, really? All I knew came from the Cultural Revolution- 'Red Scarf Girl,' 'Wild Swans,' & 'Life and Death in Shanghai.' That, and the obvious and delicious food.

But seriously. Seemed like a death trap.

It was two years later when I actually started considering doing one of the programs. And by then, she was definitely wearing down on me. One night, I came home from a long shift and saw her more excited than usual [which is saying something.]

After a lot of confusing ideas, it came out-

"And if I don't have a boyfriend this fall, let's go to China!"

If you know Katie, she can flake out on some of the ideas. We were supposed to do so many trips which have yet to happen. So I said, "Yeah, sure. Maybe we can." Because I was kind of honestly considering it by then.


"Yeah, yeah."

And that's how I got caught up in this China business.

PS. Don't worry, I am SUPER EXCITED [now], and have yet to have any serious panic attacks about this adventure. Which is a great sign. I'll be borrowing Katie's camera for the trip, and she will be the star of most of my photos since she'll probably be so far ahead like the mountain goat she really is at heart. I fly out on August 21st of next week to enjoy a tour of Beijing, before heading to my school in Guiyang! I'll try to update as much as possible to fill you all in about what will be going on- and hopefully  update every week while there.

Warning!! The Chinese Government still restricts their internet, so I will not be able to put this to Facebook, so I suggest you subscribe/Follow now. Or get my email address, because that should always work. And hey, if I don't post or reply to anything for more than two weeks, please start getting worried because Katie probably antagonized someone, I tried to defend her, and we're probably rotting in a tiny jail cell making puppet shadows on the wall!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tis The Season

Sound: Baby, It's Cold Outside

^ Because as stalkerish as this song may seem, I adore it! Next up: Santa Stole My Girlfriend by the Maine mostly because it's hilarious and I love the band.

Anyways! GUYS! CHRISTMAS TIME! Definitely a holiday post. Definitely. Though I'll admit- and I'm not ashamed of it- I don't start Christmas music or anything [besides shopping, of course, I did half of that back in Disney World], until the day after Thanksgiving. Then I blast it like crazy. Of course, there is variation. Quite a few bands, like The Maine, have done Christmas songs and the like [Relient K also has an amusing and original compilation as well]. So I have rock songs, then the Mormon Tabernacle Choir... it's awesome.

Um, so yeah. I have to say, it's seriously disappointing here in Utah right now. I want snow! I desperately sing "Let It Snow!" in hopes that something will happen. Actually, walking to church today with Katie and Jordan, a few flakes trickled down. Maybe I have to sing louder? If only my guitar strings weren't broken, then I could do that too.

All the same, good things come out of this. Few of you may know that I'm not too adept in the kitchen [though I can survive, even if it's just frozen pizzas], but I do love baking!! The moment Thanksgiving starts rolling around is when I start finding some recipes [Jenessa, hope you're looking for some more fudge ideas!!], and trying things out.

Today, I made these:

I didn't have chocolate chips, so I had to make my chocolate from scratch. It seemed too runny, so I added more wheat flour and raw sugar [sometimes it's still hard to get used to], but it turned out pretty well. Katie and I had our hometeacher over, Robby- and HE BROUGHT HIS DOG. Sam is three years old, a golden retriever, and might weigh more than me.
Which is why when he got excited and basically jumped on me, I just sort... well... yeah I couldn't do a thing, really. That boy wouldn't budge. I might have to start lifting weights. I got drenched in his slobber.

But he was adorable, and I couldn't stop laughing. So all was well.

My point of this story is, I knew he'd be coming and he took some pumpkin whoopee pie cookies I made [with cream cheese frosting] and he said they were delicious, and I tried to give him more but I left for Thanksgiving and the cookies went bad [so sad! It's horrible seeing good food go to waste. Especially cookies], but I did manage to pass off four of these to him. Hopefully, Katie will eat the rest. Or maybe I'll try one, we'll see. I like pretzels, love soft ones, but big hard thick ones.... Hm. I'm not the biggest fan, sorry!

The point: GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO DO GOOD THINGS. Barely ten minutes after Robby left, some lovely ladies from our ward [visiting teachers? something like that? I don't know, they didn't say their names they just brought us goodies], and I got super excited:

Cute right? I was so delighted!  And excited! Turns out, it was other homemade goodies.

Caramels and truffles 

It amazes me that anyone can do diets. I remember doing a yeast-free one two...two years ago? Something like that. Hardest thing EVER. Got to the point that vanilla ice cream just so delicious [and no, Barry, you do have to have chocolate syrup on it or at least caramel to really be good], and I haven't really tried doing a diet since. I mean, I try not to have too much soda, though my veins might be bleeding hot cocoa these days. But I love vegetables [as long as Katie makes them for me, because she makes them so delightful!], and fruit [some- can you believe I've never tried berries?], and bread [okay not the best healthy choice but come ON], and... I'm losing track of my point. 

I made cornbread last night. It's probably been at least a year since I had some. It was delicious. Katie even had honey for me to use. I had that with Sante Fe Chicken Soup this afternoon. Some say food is only to fill up our bodies, but come on... if we can take time to smell the roses, we can take time to delight our taste buds, right?

And I'm not trying to distract from the holiday season. But there's food. Incredible, savory food just waiting to eaten or at least made. So, friends, if you're in my town at the moment, feel free to stop on by for a pretzel. I'm told they're pretty tasty!

Cheers to the holidays and splurging!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Surviving As A Ginger

Sound: Stove boiling my tortilla soup, yum!

All right, so it was my day off and I've been thinking its about time I got myself a passport. So you know, if I ever have to flee the country, it won't be too much of a hassle. Anyways, so I walked seven blocks up to Main to get my picture taken, only to find they would be closed for another hour or so.

Eh, fine, so I went shopping. I'm a girl, it's not that hard. Plus it was the Catholic Thrift Shop's end-of-the-month sale so even better, I spent less than $6 whilst there. Still too early, so I walked all the way back home. By then, my ears hurt from the cold [storm coming?], but I grabbed an energy bar and headed back.

^Where I plan on traveling. Guess the route I'll take!^

I got my picture taken at Zion Photography [they have two adorable dogs], for just $10 and he gave me four copies, so that was all good. Thus, I made my way across Main several more blocks to the Post Office. After maybe five minutes, I was inside.

Only to find out California in the early 1990's made some mistake with their birth certificates [they look fine to me and are still technically legal], but they wouldn't take it so I left with everything I had arrived with. The very nice lady had given me a website where to go to get this worked out- and it would cost $33, not including shipping.

Basically, it would cost me at least $200 for a passport. I'm a bargain hunter, and that didn't make me happy. After all, my sisters have their cards and books just fine without a hitch.

My .8 mile walk home, I was internally ranting [I am only human!] how of course this would happen to me. Who else? Nothing ever comes easy for me, and after 20 years I still have nothing to show for myself. I can't even get my passport when my sisters got theirs without a problem. Nothing is allowed to work out for me until I have ripped through the walls, torn out my hair, and ranted and raved and cried about it for weeks on end.

It was just one of those feelings. But I got home, got some food in my system [miracle worker!] and it's gotten me thinking. Which is usually a good thing, though, maybe?

Anyways, people love asking me about my temper. After all, I'm a redhead. We're famous for that.

^Me sort of doing the stupid duck face and looking sassy because now and then, I remember how awesome I am, though I might be pushing it a little far sometimes^

I don't even know why. Okay, that's a partial lie. I remember reading something just the other week about in some culture, Native American or Indian or something, they preferred burning people with redhair because it symbolized fire and the devil.

Thanks, I appreciate that.

On top of all that, I'm decked out in freckles and people say that I have one for every soul I suck...? As for where that came from, I haven't got a clue. That one's a little beyond me- first time I heard of that was whilst working at Disney World and my coworkers started making fun of me for that [that may have been before or after I made a remark about not being about to tan which maybe they took offensively?]...

Anyways. So a new coworker asked if I had the infamous redhead temper. To be honest, I never know what to tell people. That I can act like a pissed off dragon or for all you know, I'm always the (slightly awkward) umm....princess doesn't really quite cut it, haha. How about.... Luna Lovegood. That's who!

^ Me in my natural habitat and happy state of mind^

Like most people, I had a tricky time growing up- and I'm a girl, so I haven't always taken things in stride. But I do work hard, day after day, to be the best version of myself. As my family knows too well, and Katie because as my best friend and roommate, it's bound to happen eventually, I'm not always happy or collected.

But I try to be. I work really, really hard so I'm not the "typical redhead" stereotype who gets pissed off at just about anything. It's not that I'm a people pleaser, but I do enjoy being around people and I'd like to keep doing that [and never getting locked up in a mental ward would be fabulous]. It's not like I'm always containing my rage, that's not what I mean either- but I'm like most people. I love laughing, smiling, and happy people- I like being one of those. But if you take a step too far and try pushing me in the wrong direction, I might not exactly be smiling- but don't worry. I don't know karate- yet.

Anyways, we get fame and endure the shame, but that's okay. I can mock my sisters for being blonde, can't I? And as much fun as it is to mock people for what they are born with- be careful now and then because people can take it to heart.

*Don't get me wrong, I love my freckles and I love being a ginger. I wouldn't trade it for anything else, except for the often craving to dye my hair silver or teal. But life is tricky for us all, so don't make a stereotypical thought that it's ever easier for anyone because of their hair color or anything...or something like that, ;)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I Vant Yer Blood

Sound: The Walking Dead

^And no, I don't know why I'm watching it. If you know me, I don't do horror films ever. The scariest I like to get is something like Beetlejuice or The Mummy. The Walking Dead- I'm still not liking just about anyone at this point, actually, but the plot intrigues me enough so I don't start rewatching Doctor Who or keep taking myself to the theaters. But don't worry, I'm planning on picking up a book and reading it, just like the good old days.


Unfortunately, this is not a rant about Bram's Dracula

I just wanted to share the exciting news that this Monday, three days ago, I donated blood!

Silly, I know, people don't like doing it. A lot of people pass out. And I'm not saying it's fun or anything, I'm not. But I've taken so much, lived such a blessed life and I've had the necessary surgeries to survive- I wanted to be able to give back for once. There's no way I'll become a nurse or anything, but this is a tiny something to help out.

I didn't pass out, but I did feel nauseated- for about the first time since... oh, probably since the family reunion blood poisoning party [but before that, a few good years].

And I was just glad to be able to do it- I'm not exactly that big, and last time I tried- this last spring- my veins were too little because I'm not a big fan of water. Silly, right? Of course, the guy had to test both arms for a bit... but eventually, with some effort, we got it sorted out. We laughed a bit, talked about San Diego and growing up, [even complimented on my lovely band shirt] and soon I was done.

I walked about a bit early, so Katie and I sat together for a bit, but here you go. I donated blood, yay! I even got a sticker for it, and there's been no bruising. Though I didn't really use it for anything all day ;)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Goin' Crazy

Sound: Boy Meets World S05E08 "Chasing Angela"

I'm on a Boy Meets World rollin' marathon, obviously. I grew up with them [and Sabrina the Teenage Witch], and I can't stop laughing. Disney's actually wanting to take over and do a sequel show, Girl Meets World- which would be about Topanga and Corey Matthew's tween girl's life! They even want Danielle and Ben to reprise their rolls!

Disney Channel would probably ruin it. But it's the thought that counts!


It's November! Not only am I still on a Tim Burton streak [Frankenweenie was MARVELOUS! So much better than I could have imagined. Seriously, a must see. So fantastic!], but it's also NANO.

For those who don't know what that really is, it's National Novel Writing Month. I think I mentioned it in my last post? But it's time! Hey, better late than never, eh? The main point is being able to write at least 40,000 words in the month of November.

Last month, in the beginning, I wrote a 58,000 word story in 20 days. Which sort of freaked me out, because that's insane. I wrote like five chapters in the first two days. It's also kinda crazy that I finished it. Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed the story, I don't see it being strong enough to last in the big world so it's never going to really be shared, published, or anything.

The real problem resulting from this, is writer's block. It's like running a big marathon or doing a huge contest- lots of hard work, done really fast- and then you need rest. Right? Except when it comes to writing- to get something good out, you can't always force it out of your system. It can make the situation worse.

It's the third of November but I've been plotting out this new story, little by little, and writing out little excerpts in notebooks and on my laptop. Anything I can do, to at least get out a piece of string filled with words to create the story, line by line.

This is actually frustrating, though, I haven't been able to get very far...

Curious, much?

Not only am I a writer, but I'm also a girl, so I'm not too great at being concise. The basics of this story is about a girl [she's yet to have a name]. She has an older brother, and two parents. Small family, simple enough, right? It would be, if she were all right- if she were normal.
But she's a schizophrenic.
-I was writing another version of this story, about halfway through with it, when I got caught up in other stories and life so I never finished it. But now I'm taking it and messing around with it again. Just about everything has changed, except her and her relationships with her family.

Pieces will include: meeting a boy in a flower shop. the flowers calm down her thoughts and that's when the voices have no power over her. he works there, but she's also running off to spend time with him. he has no direction in life but has so many possibilities- whereas she's so restricted, she doesn't have the chance to do anything. they have the opportunity to change each other's lives. She just happens to have a mental disorder...
fun pieces will include- having conversations with voices in her head, hallucinations, and a Peter Pan theme of  youth, wonder,  music and flowers...

It's going to be fantastic and magical and yet so simple... I'm really excited, you know. Writing stories about people is such a blessing for me. I'm not the most social, we all know that- but the human race is amazing and I love writing about bits of human nature. I love being inside others' heads and seeing their problems, and hopefully helping them find their happy ever afters or at least a solution for the time being...

Anyways. I'm really hoping that this year, I can complete NaNo. I've "competed" a few times now, but being pushed into writing is never the easiest thing for me, so I've never actually finished... wish me luck!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Times A'Changing

Sound: Numb3ers tv show

It's been a while, I realized, since I shared anything on here. What has it been, a month or so? Well, let's see what I've been up to, shall we?

1. Working. Lots of working on campus. It's not too bad- I'm learning to make a few Starbucks specialties and the whole thing has me interacting with strangers. Which I've almost missed in a way, since my adventures at Disney World.

2. Speaking of which, I still miss. So. Much. I need to travel more. If only it weren't so expensive! Plus, I'm working on my residency for Utah so I can attend Southern Utah University full time next fall, and this means at max, I can only leave the state for up to 28 days [not including weekends]. It's a bit of a problem, I'll admit, but I've been kept decently busy since.

3. Archery! Officially joined the club. I'll show you my official t-shirt in my next post. It's pretty awesome though. However, two of the instructors couldn't stop complaining about my neck  limitations and so they had me change to left-handed. I tried right handed again the other week, and couldn't do a thing. My arms are still weak and limpy [ew], but I'm getting better, and it's almost becoming natural!

4. General Conference time- wow yeah okay so Jenessa's latest blog post reminded me of that. I was COMPLETELY planning on attending, I swear. But my work surprised me and said that basically, I work that weekend or I don't work at all. There's this Shakespeare Competition that goes on for High School kids and they all came over, ordering a bunch of drinks and pretending they were adults... it was cute. I got called "ma'am" a little too often, though. I'm not that much older than them! Am I?
Definitely short enough to blend in, haha.
But yeah, I worked that weekend and enjoyed watching it online afterwards. However, as my family came up, we had the chance to chill for a little bit- my dad had to use my computer for his online class. My littlest [okay,  youngest] brother, Jake, took me to the movies as a late birthday present. It was precious! We saw Hotel Transylvania which was pretty cute. They said hi on the way back down, too, and dropped off some delicious pumpkin mixes.

5. Fall Break happened last week. Katie used it to go up to Wyoming. A month ago, we though of doing something fun like Alaska, but you can see that [unfortunately] did not pan out well. I would have joined her, but that would have made me a third [and fifth and seventh and nineth] wheel whilst out there. It gets a little annoying after a while, you know? BUT it was better I stayed- because I got sick. I could avoid everyone and despair all on my lonesome. Which I did, curling up on the couch with my computer and a decent enough excuse not to study.
^ I caught up on so many of my shows!

(Look at those handsome faces! And I'll admit, their story line has been used up more than enough and those producers are pulling at strings because these two boys die and die and die again. But it's too amusing for me to pass up. Is it wrong I see this as a bit more of a comedy than horror or something? Hm.)

I'm absolutely loving it. October is my very favorite month. It just holds so much promise, you know? Candy, costumes, and colors! Then there's the promise of festive cardigans, scarves, family time and boots in November, then more of everything in December!

See, back home in San Diego- it keeps hitting the 80's and the like. Here? Crunchy leaf heaven! It's perfect and adorable. I've had some wonderful pumpkin pie with gingerbread crust, and tomorrow I'm [finally] making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Plus, yesterday, I pulled out all of my winter gear! Cheers!
Oh, speaking of clothes, Katie dearest is taking a Photography class so we dolled up and hit up the sunshine with some lovely pictures.

So that was a ton of fun!
Then we ran to Smith's for a buttload of groceries [we had to splurge on Pumpkin Eggnog, which has become a favorite instantly, because well... it's pumpkin AND eggnog together!]. After that, it was time to figure out what we'd do for the Institute Halloween Party. And I had a few ideas... and besides the usual serial killer, fruit loop, or a table, we found something suitably and suited up!

Hipster Disney Princesses. I know, mine was not as brilliant, but I was too preoccupied with dressing Katie up and come on, seriously here. It was pretty incredible. I loved watching people's faces when they figured out her costume [and then were less impressed with mine, but that doesn't matter because I MADE her, haha]. We also had the classy signs on our backs: "I had an apple before Steve Jobs" and "I left the ocean because it was too current."

We didn't do any trunk-or-treating because we got there so late [but nobody really wanted to freeze outside anyways, and we're trying not to stuff our faces with candy for once], but she got some chili- I don't do beans- and we soon headed inside.

The moment we stepped through the glass doors, we were accosted with familiar faces and from there on out, it was fabulous! We hung around a few good old friends, made a few new friends, and did just enough dancing! Then much before the clock struck midnight, we were out the door to chill out for a little bit after such an absolutely fantastic day!

So yeah, that's been my life. Now, I really have to start on some serious studying, I know. But there's an Edgar Allen Poe MUSICAL that I'm going to have to check out. Oh speaking of musicals, I've put my own on hold for the moment but I'm trying to work out something for National November Writing Month or something like that, yeah. NaNoWrMo. I've failed the last two years, but I can do it this time! As long as I can create the perfect plot...

Schizophrenic, anyone?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

O Happy Day

sound- bbc sherlockS2 e1
again. haha

Anyways, trying out writing a post on my new phone, and i hate it! wont be trying this out.

thank goodness my only intentions were to share a photo i took on my phone and this was the fastest way since my phone refuses to connect to my computer.

went up the canyon with katie and her cool friend andy who wants to be a professional photographer. so we found the lava rocks aftrr a while. not easy for me to maneuver in flip flops but i did get a lovely picture i wanted to share.

^ And this is where I stopped with the phone. It was frustrating. It's been a long day of work, barely sleeping the last few nights, and just feeling nauseated for no good justifiable reason. I was trying to live off saltines but splurged on some delicious ice cream... not a wise idea. I learned fast.

Back to the picture I've been dying to share: it's ridiculous how stubborn my phone can be. I stopped that. And spent five extremely frustrating minutes trying to figure out how to get to my picture from my phone because it refuses to connect or anything so I sent like three emails to myself which didn't even work and I managed somehow to download it from a draft, switch it from that ignoramus picture viewer into paint and finally, to here.

Which refuses to show. Again. Let's see....

Okay granted it looks a little more fish-eyed on my phone which makes the effect just LOVELY.

But look at it. It's better on my phone than my camera.

Yellow! Aspens! and lava in the distance, lava rocks. It was sort of fun, climbing on boulder over boulder you know? But at the same time, I was wearing flip flops and I have the balance of a 2 year old, so I nearly sprained my ankle and got a wee bit scraped up. One of these days, I'm going to put on my hiking boots and just run.

Lovely, just lovely!

And on another bright note, I've decided I'm going to write a Broadway play. Fantasy/Historic Barbaric Revolution/ It Makes Sense In My Head
And even my sister, Jordyn's head, I think.

It's going to be awesome. I told her she was to write the music scores and I can do everything else. Apparently Jenessa wants in on it [tends to happen, us three girls with one idea and then we all have to jump in on it. I fear for our weddings and anything else "big" or momentuous], so I told her she could do costume design which would be epic of course. She wasn't too impressed for some reason....