I'm a realist. I'll admit it. I'm practical, cynical, logical. There are very few decisions I make where my emotional response trumps rational thought. I naturally look for holes in inspiring movies and am working to overcome an overall skepticism I feel about love, dreams and lofty goals. I'm the girl who is watching the bride and groom about to say 'I Do' thinking that there's still a chance it might go to pot. Awful, right? It's not that I'm a robot-I feel, I dream- my brain just usually wins if there's any argument. I back up my emotions with pros and cons lists and schedule the air out of my dreams. I don't know how I ended up like this. I was raised in a house of dreamers and love surrounding myself with people who think and feel big. I love feeling the buzz of people getting all riled up and passionate about something that strikes a chord with them. It makes me feel human.

I've watched this trailer for Bright Star about 5 times today. 'He's a dreamer. She's a realist..." Sounds like my kind of story. I watch it and can hardly breathe (see? Robots don't go mushy for John Keats). The world needs more dreamers.


Rise and Shout the Cougarettes are out!

It's ESPN's College Game day here on BYU campus and it's apparently a pretty big deal. I just clicked on the link to the ESPN site and there's LIVE STREAMING coverage already (timestamp 6:58am). Okay, maybe not Live Streaming now that I'm thinking about it. It's daylight behind him, and if my geography training doesn't fool me, the light says its late afternoon. I wonder if all those people cheering (or standing 20 feet away awkwardly staring into the camera) behind him were staged? Regardless, the pre-filmed live streaming scam clip shows an official looking man with an awful bleach job standing in front of Y mountain in that parking lot west of the stadium reminding us all that something called the BCS bid is on the line here. I'll be honest, I can't tell who's got a better chance at it, but there are names being dropped. Names that I've heard of. It's a big deal.

Though not opposed to school pride or sports enthusiasm, I'm not really the bleeding blue football fan type to be in the loop about such an event, there's been quite the whisper all over Provo in preparation for the big day. University Communications even sent out an informational email requesting all (all) students to "familiarize" ourselves with basic ESPN College Game Day protocol. Here's an excerpt from the email, deemed important enough that every member of the student body got it.
Arrive Early: ESPN GameDay attracts thousands of spectators to the live audience. If you want a spot in the crowd, you need to plan on being there several hours in advance. In fact, large groups of fans from other schools are planning on arriving by 5 a.m. or earlier.
Thanks BYU. Blackboard's got an outage, beware of H1N1, and arrive early to get my screen time. Good to know.

So now down to the real reason I'm posting at a dark, unnecessarily early hour. My cougs! No, not those Cougs, MY Cougs- Heidi and Jessica, my Cougarettes. Brooke and I moved into this apartment mostly blind and were pleased to share walls and refrigerator space with these two lovely ladies. They had to be up and at 'em at the crack of Game Day (though apparently not as early as those dirty Utes who are coming to steal space in front of ESPN cameras) and I offered to chauffeur them. These two are a good complement to Brooke and I (and fill an oddly similar social function as Heather and Jessica did way back in the Freshman-Sophomore year roommate day) and to put simply, are just delightful to be around. Cute, fun, nice, good girls. How am I so lucky?

The left two with Cosmo


50 Great Voices

NPR is doing a year-long search to narrow down 50 great voices. I look forward to the outcome. Email your suggestions (and links, if possible) to GreatVoices@npr.org

Chris Cornell, Fiona Apple, Freddie Mercury, Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor... I'm brainstorming.

Check out Rolling Stone's top 100 list for ideas.


There's a sunrise out there calling my name

I'm cranky and hungry and sick of being allergic to every food that sounds even remotely appetizing. I'm looking at a good week of being tempest tossed on life's billows (?) so I figure I might as well nip all the hating life I'll be doing in the bud and get some perspective. I've mentioned before that I'm a sucker for a sunrise so now, to start off midterms with a nostalgic smile, here's a little list of my Top 5 most favorite sunrises to date.

1. The Sunrise Drug That Got Me Addicted. Any day I went to school the long way, Demery Hill, Sammamish, Washington. At the top of my hill is the 'peak' of the Sammamish Plateau. If you hit it at the right time of day (early) and pause at the right spot, you catch a perfect view of the Cascade Mountains without any powerlines or streetlights blocking the view. (picture to come)

2. Proof of Plans Realized. September 2005, en route from London to Dar es Salaam. The little nubs of shadows are Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru and they signaled to me that all my painstaking roller-coaster of a preparations in going to Africa had come to fruit. The dark continent was welcoming me with a sunrise.
(In fact, if I didn't feel it would be hogging my Best of list, I'd put the sunrise over Lake Manyara (aka Pride Rock) and my last night, an all-nighter at a fancy schmancy beach resort in Kenya.

3. The Morning After. June 2005, Macchu Picchu, Peru. I was adamant that we make it for the sunrise. So even though we lost our train tickets up the valley and even though (or perhaps because) our pleasant day hike the day prior to this shot turned out to be a trial of patience and CPR-skills, the crisp glow over Putucusi was incredibly meaningful. Here, with some of the 8 who bonded on the mountain behind us, new friends from 6 countries.

4. More Perks at the Mansion. Summer 2008 through 2009, Provo, Utah. As if the jetted tub, King-sized bed and bedroom-sized closet weren't enough, the view from my suite at the 493 house was proof of my living in luxury was above my station. I should have been on a moldy bed on cinder blocks sharing hot water and bathroom space with 6 girls and a view of faded, mustard-yellow brick. Instead, I got East mountains, Utah Lake and the BYU skyline in perfect position from my pillow. (Here's my handsome dad looking stoically off into the sunrise)

5. Culmination of a Lot of Hard Work. December 2007. Ankor Wat, Siem Riep, Cambodia. It's not that a sunrise has to be in some exotic locale to be breathtaking. As noted from favorites 1 and 4, I can find beauty in my own neighborhood. That being said, even a poor sunrise can be made beautiful with ancient ruins in the mix. My last week as a missionary, I jumped the border and was literally in indescribable awe of this sunrise until well past lunch. And apparently today.

I feel better (deep, yoga-style inhale-exhale). I might live through the week. When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed, count a sunrise or two and it'll calm you right down.


What is the deal...

What is the deal with all the cute guys wearing wedding rings anyway?
And my carefree, responsibility-free days disappearing?

At least the sun is shining...


The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off. (Gloria Steinham)

I was just talking to a close friend (and by that I mean letting her vent to me, as is necessary from time to time) and at the end of our conversation she asked me a very personal question that, if answered honestly, had a potentially very hurtful response. I've lied to my friend before about questions like this. I've lied to a lot of people, and I know they've lied to me, because when it comes down to it, people hate hearing the truth. People like to be talked up, talked into, validated, placated; anything but hear the truth. Whether they can handle it or not is inconsequential (take that Jack Nicholson and all your quoters). In fact, truth can be a powerful motivator for self-awareness and positive change, and isn't as hard to take as we think it is, especially if it comes from someone who loves you and is delivered in a positive manner. Today I was honest with my friend. She thanked me for my open answer and as I hung up the phone I got to thinking about how many friends I have. A few (and by that I mean, tons). How many, though, would give it to me straight when it might make me cry or feel bad or hate them forever? Fewer. Not as many as I'd like. But wait, would I really want more? Could I handle all that truth? I'd like to think so, since I'm tough as nails and impossible to offend... Plus, Tom Cruise needed to hear with Col. Jessop said about freedom and there's a good chance I need to hear whatever someone might be watering down for my benefit. Makes me want to watch the Invention of Lying, the new Ricky Gervais movie about lies and their effects.

American lawyer Clarence Darrow said, "Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coattails."

Honesty. The best policy. Something to strive for. Something to demand. Something to make us better.