Monday, December 17, 2012

Oh hey. I finished grad school 6 days ago. Would you like to know how I feel about it?

Now you know. It feels Pretty. Dang. Good.

Also, on Friday I got nailed with a nasty flu bug that took full advantage of the fact that I didn't sleep, eat, exercise, or do anything else proper or kind to my body since before Thanksgiving, so right about now I look more like this:

Also, whoever hacked into my computer a month ago and aided "me" as "I" sent the following message to myself, thanks :) It entered my inbox at just the right low point!

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Problem Smiling Me in the Face

Visual Scripture Reprint and Thoughts After a Baptism.

Last night was so special, seeing my friend Kristin get baptized. There is an incredible, unique spirit at a baptism. I felt it powerfully when she was baptized, and again at confirmation. It's just about her and Christ (or, to put it more generally, it's about you and Christ). Baptism is a signal that you're willing to go the distance. Then it becomes more- you fuse to the road the Lord wants you on when you are baptized. And it's up to you to stay on it. And hopefully you will always keep in mind the fact that the savior wants you on that path, and that he has given you a precious gift: the holy ghost, received that same day you got baptized, to get through it all.

The bishop gave remarks that started with the seeming randomness of being assigned to a ward by something as arbitrary as zipcode. Then he advised- there will be people in your ward who are so strong in some principle, whom you will need to rely on and learn from. And there will be people in your ward that are struggling with something who will need your guidance and example. You can't know, just by looking at them, who is on top of their testimony, and who hasn't read their scriptures in months. You only find out as you throw yourself into your ward!!!

I sent Kristin a letter containing a reprint of one of my blog posts on faith from several years ago, I just wanted to reprint it for the Christmas season:

How often do scriptures cause us to visualize something in our minds? Stories, people, places, things... all the time, right?? In fact, once you take out the ubiquitous "And it came to pass"'s, you'll see that our holy writ is pretty much stuffed full of amazing visual ideas and symbols. This is one of my favorite features of the scriptures. Somewhere, (you are about to see how much of a scriptorian I am NOT) it says that God speaks to his children at their level of understanding, wherever that is. I feel like he also speaks to us through all of our senses! In addition to the heart and mind, God speaks to our ears, our sense of touch (baptism by immersion, the warm hug you offer to friends in their trials), our sense of taste (sacrament emblems and visiting teaching cookies :), smell (cookies again :) and last but not least, our sight! There are a few vivid "visuals" that I count as my favorite in the scriptures. These visuals, some symbolic and some literal, I imagine again and again, and they never fail to affect me. I'm going to set a couple of them before you, and not offer any art historical dissections. Scriptures sure can stand on their own. That's one of the many reasons why I know they are not a construct of man alone. (I can't resist, however, including a few select illustrations of these scriptures' ideas. The following scattered images are the nearest that reality and the internet come to resembling the truths of these verses, at least as I imagine them. :)

D and C 84: 82-84 For, consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these.

For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things. Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet,they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Isaiah 49: 15-16 Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.
1st Nephi 11: 8, 33 (Lehi and Nephi's Vision) I looked and beheld a tree... and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty; and the whiteness thereof did exceed the whiteness of the driven snow.
I beheld that the rod of iron,which my father had seen, was the word of God.

This scripture is perhaps my favorite of all these; it comes into my mind all the time when I'm studying the stories and images of the Savior. I'm on an eternal hunt for images that really strike me as looking like Him. It was told to me once that I would recognize the Savior if I saw him before me, which was a sweet thing to be told. It's kind of cool to me to think that somewhere in the back of my subconscious mind I know what Jesus Christ looks like. BYO Illustration to this one :)

Isaiah 53: 2-3, 5 He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Bechdel Movie Test

Have you read this article from the New York Times Magazine proclaiming 2012 a "Year for Movie Heroines"? Having been involved in the conversation about women's roles in society, and the reflection (or obfuscation) of these roles in art for six years (since my 2007 art history study abroad under the marvelous tutelage of Professor Martha Peacock), I blasted through all four pages of the article, totally engrossed! I was really moved by the following paragraph, a moment of contemplation tucked into the center of a rolling, energetic analysis of past and present film heroines and the motives they are ascribed:

"The rush to celebrate movies about women has a way of feeling both belated and disproportionate. Pieces of entertainment become public causes and punditical talking points, burdened with absurdly heavy expectations and outsize significance. It should not, after all, be a big deal that movies like “Bridesmaids” or “The Hunger Games” exist, perhaps because it should have been a bigger deal when such movies didn’t. In 1985, the comic-strip artist and memoirist Alison Bechdel first formulated what has since become known as the Bechdel test, which assesses movies according to a three-step formula. To pass the test, a film “1. has to have at least two [named] women in it 2. Who talk to each other 3. About something besides a man.” It is a stunningly simple criterion, and stunning how few movies manage to fulfill it. (Though a visit to suggests that things have been improving recently.)"

What a fantastic formula. I thought about the movies I have been most excited about this year. Brothers, I'm sorry to tell you that all three Lord of the Rings movies failed in a big way (two women in each, but they don't converse), and something tells me the Hobbit will follow its siblings' patterns. (Maybe it's the promo poster of a bajillion male dwarves, I don't know):

Les Mis will be saved, but only by dint of the abusive conversations held by Cosette and Madame Thenardier.

Skyfall- fail.

Lincoln- fail.

It really gets you thinking! The isolation of female characters, the removal of the bond of female friendship, and writers' disdain to create conversations that don't link the females verbally to their male counterparts; all are intuited by us, female watchers, but often elided as we follow the injunction, "Just identify with the male characters!"

Thank heavens for Catniss. That's all I have to say.

PS. Don't forget to click on the photo stream of 2012's movie heroines. You'll find more stunning photographic portraits like these:

Emmanuelle Riva of Amour

Amy Adams of The Master and The Trouble with the Curve
Quvenzhan√© Wallis of “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

Elle Fanning

Monday, December 3, 2012

On Keyboard Landmines: A Note from the Art Historian's Lair

You know what I loathe/find hilarious? That awkward movement with your keyboard when, months after you've picked a research topic, you realize there's one landmine of a word, which is imperative to your argument, that does NOT roll off your fingers easily as you type.

Like that time I wrote about Edouard Manet's The Railway. Try typing "Edouard" three times a page for twenty-five pages, see how long it takes you to get used to that letter combination. I was still going all, "E D U A bcksp bcksp E D O U A R D"  20 pages in. To this day, I recite the letters under my breath whenever I jot down his name.

In my thesis, the word was Menelik. Although that was kind of a fun combo, like a mini roller-coaster for my fingies. Didn't take TOO long to get used to, M E N E L I K.

In this week's final paper, the word is "Reliquary." You want to write Relicary, but you can't. At least my poor little "Q" button is getting some attention. Next week's final paper has two keyboard landmines: KEHINDE and FEMININITY.

I comfort myself at every snafu with the knowledge that my nail polish this week is bomb:

Matte blue polish and a meta blog. I'm all style.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A list for my next boyfriend

Written in the style of Mr. G. K. Chesterton, the early 20th century wit who mailed a hilarious reckoning of his "equipment for starting on a journey to fairyland" to his fiancee, Frances Blogg, in 1896, I tally the following items, which encumber--nay!-- embolden me as I set out to win the heart of you, Next Boyfriend.

1st. A Washington Nats hat, faded red, accidentally purloined from the bossman. It witnessed Bryce Harper's first major league home run from a vantage point about 2 inches above my own one absurdly pleasant evening this spring. Should you hail from the West, without the necessary appreciation for the Capitol's magnificent underdog team, I preemptively assert to you, No, it does NOT resemble the Walgreens W.
2nd. An Ikea desk, which unfolds from the corner of my room and will probably be bigger and more beautiful than your desk. I like to sit at it and look cute and hey, you knew I was bookish before our first date, so don't blame me for having the more magnificent study furniture. When my computer swallows up my entire final paper or internship cover letter 30 minutes before the due date, as it is wont to do, I feverishly hope you will manfully assume the task my roommate Kathryn has hitherto performed of hugging me when I bang my head down on the desk, sobbing, before a Blue Screen of Death.
3rd.  A copy of Love Letters of Great Men, from which the inspiration for this list sprang. You may not be the type to wish to read it and write in the style of those immortalized inside of it, but good things will happen to you if you dare, I promise you.
Can't bear to be parted from it.
4th. A number of museum postcards and art reproductions once nearly mailed to friends but decidedly, selfishly, retained.
5th. A number of post-it notes reciting my favorite scriptures arranged around my mirror, containing everything good and generous and holy and wise that isn't located on those postcards.
6th. A pair of screwdrivers, Phillips head and the other kind, which are fitted to girl's hands, and will seem quite unwieldy to you. There was something so comforting, empowering even, to request a women's tool kit for my 21st birthday. What a beautiful sense of security it gives one to reflect that, if one should ever buy a painting, or poster, or shelf, and it should happen to need screwing, one is ready; one stands prepared, with a defiant smile! (One will still need your help should one desire to pound nails into our brick-infused wall, though).
7th. At last count, a collection of 39 pairs of shoes, the remains of one Miss Christensen's bursts of spontaneous love for self, which, such is the perfect order and harmony of that mind, occur at startlingly exact intervals of time. Every 4 weeks. You may rear your head up in disbelief at that number, but trust me when I assert that every pair is your friend. The hiking boots render me excited to hike Old Rag with you. The Chuck Taylors put me in the bouncy, playful, sarcastic mood you find hilarious. The blue heels, well... no man has ever yet had any objection of any kind to the blue heels.
8th. A series of papers, most still in manuscript form, upon which my entire graduate GPA rests. Though written in the suffocatingly dry style of art historical research, they act as windows to my passions, and shall point you in the direction of 30 minutes of happy Lindsey speeches (complete with those ecstatic hand gestures, which everyone who has learned to teach about paintings unconsciously adopts).
9th. A Chosen Marathon finishers medal. It is part of my new regime, and the only new and neat-looking thing in this entire Museum. My friend Kathleen and I are teaching each other secrets of endurance swimming and running in order to pair it with a 70.3 medal this summer.
10th. A soul, hitherto anxious and silly but now happy enough to be confident in itself.
11th. A body, equally happy when absorbing cookies, butternut squash, gummi worms, and oxygen to its own perfect satisfaction. It is happiest swimming, I think, the pool under the Pentagon being the most convenient size.
12th. A Heart- mislaid somewhere. Have you located it yet?

And that is about all the property of which an inventory can be made presently. My tastes are stoically simple. A book, some passions, scant vestments, and my own self. What more does a woman need?

Flat head. Oh yea. The simplicity of the name caused its escape.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The six senses (Yes. I said six). And a story about slippers.

Blog idea stolen from this fabulous writer.

Today I wished I could fill my senses with this place again.
Hearing. Kathryn the Great cooking some super healthy, super tasty dish in the kitchen (quinoa pumpkin something?). The conference talk playing while she cooks (guys, I'm gonna be obnoxious for a sec: Elder Bednar's voice reminds me of nothing so much as the sound I imagine cardboard would make if it were ennervated). Also, I still have Zac Brown Band in my head.

Seeing. A very imposing stack of books on either side of me. It's research season!!! My very last round!

Tasting. The lingering flavor of a delicious baked veggie ziti from dinner group (cilantro in salad- who knew??)

Smelling. My freshly laundered sheets.

Touching. I'm wearing way too many layers of clothing on right now. Our house is FREEZING!

Feeling. Forlorn but determined in the wake of last night's election.

Also, feeling introspective.

In Cutting For Stone (the novel I'm slightly obsessed with. PS Camille if you're reading- we still on for lunch Saturday??), the author retells an Indian legend about a man who had a cursed pair of slippers. They were hideous and horrible, but every time he tried to get rid of them, something awful would happen. He threw them out the window, they landed on someone and killed them. He threw them in the river, there was a drought (I'm botching the author's majestic prose here, but you get the gist). Annoyingly, the shoes always came back to him. Eventually, the man realized that his only way forward was to build a home for the shoes, which he did. A cozy little nook where they could stay near him but not trouble him. And so, he and his shoes found peace.

Officially the ugliest slippers I could find on Google.
This myth is meant to teach us to face and accept our demons. Wait, Abraham Verghese said it better: "Own your own slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don't." All those parts of yourself or your life that you would rather not have? The things that wreak havoc on your mind and even break your heart from month to month?

We've got to learn to own them. I'm taking bitty steps towards that now. This is me, building a tiny space for one such ugly slipper:

Confession and a Resolution: I'm afraid to move forward in my career. An entry-level position, particularly when jobs in my field are scare, is not fun to find. But it's ok. Yea, it's really, REALLY hard to find jobs and be motivated to apply for them, especially with beautiful Cobb making me laugh daily, but I will do it. It's time I get moving. I choose to believe Heavenly Father has a plan for me, starting today, the day, according to my despondent GOP Facebook friends, after the end of the world.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Finishing my marathon strong was maybe- MAYBE one of if not THE best feeling I've ever experienced. I'm still overjoyed by the great experience of running the Chosen New Braunfels Marathon, even a week later. I'm so thankful to run (mostly) injury-free, and so thankful to my friends who ran with me/chased me down in a minivan to give me hi-fives at mile 14/paced me through my knee pain and scouted out slowpokes I could-should-DID chase down/gave me giant bear hugs at the finish.

Texas State Capitol. Taller than the US Capitol. But of course.
Some guys let us drive their Segue's around the capitol. My first time on a Segue. "Yeehaw!" is all I have to say. 

The crew, running around San Antonio the night before. Genevieve, Me, Rich, Kathleen (my running muse) and Michael, alias "WhattheHelg"

Post race. SOOOO happy to have my peeps there. And so happy we got a shot of "Black Stallion" the minivan in the background. 

Bless my friend Cobb who paced me the last 10 miles and did a superb job of livening me up and cheering me forward through the pain. 
That, my friends, is my face of pure and untouchable joy. Notice the bunch of kids who ran along behind me like I won the thing.
Again. STOKED!
Cobb was really good at pointing out people in front of me and encouraging me to pass them (which I did, SHOVE IT, old man!)

And I had DJ Kelly's ipod tunes to keep me going as well. It was cool, the trick of using someone else's ipod. I was always surprised by her random 90s hip-hop and rock selections.
The medal and the bracelet were hard-won.

For the post race meal, we hit up Texas' most famous Pit BBQ joint, The Salt Lick. I ate like half a cow. 

My boys Jeff and Rich ran a Half Ironman the next day, here's Rich finishing...

Here's Jeff in action, smiling after swim/biking 57 miles...

And here they are looking like champions.
 I may or may not be eyeing a Half-Ironman myself as my next challenge...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Boots Vs. Buddies Update

Money spent thus far: $54.57
Items mailed: 4

Mailing stuff to people is still so magical, does anyone else feel that? I put these little presents into their containers and just paused for a second, trying to wrap my head around the fact that the items in front of me would somehow move 2,110 miles west of here in three days' time, without my help, or any effort on their part. Neat!
Russel went with Chocolate over Vanilla for his Georgetown cupcake request. I went with Salted Caramel. We both agreed my decision was wiser.
Doesn't brother look fly in his new jeans and the new hoodie I bought him??
Other updates:

Guess what I'm doing this evening?


Please oh please let me survive... cuz I'm going with a great crew, and the stuff we have planned for the rest of the weekend assures me it's going to be a weekend to remember! I just might not be able to stay vertical for the second half of it...

This has nothing to do with anything, but I've thought this every day for like the past three weeks and I need to say it:

Country music is ON FIRE right now! 

Like, the quality of music coming out now rivals country's high point in 2002 (the debut of Faith Hill's Cry album, the greatest album to cook to in the history of the universe!!). Here's what I've been rocking out to in the Rover these days (Sorry I don't have Spotify to collate them for you):

Lee Brice, "Hard to Love"
 Eric Church's hilarious"Creepin'"
Hauntingly ironic Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go-Round" (The first line is basically written for YSAs)
Breezy, happy, "Lovin' You is Fun" by Easton Corbin
Jerrod Niemann's bright and blissful "Shinin' on Me" (you can tell this man loves his musical craft. Also, his jawline=DAYUM!)
Janna Kramer tells a heartbreaking story that everyone who's ever been involved in ward drama understands in "Why Ya Wanna"
The magnificent Zac Brown Band, "Goodbye in Her Eyes," which I just gotta throw up here, it's too good to simply link:

Friday, October 5, 2012

{From June 10th, 2012} Letter to God

Last week RS Pres challenged us to write a letter to someone we love and compliment them. I chose God. I debated whether or not my letter would be appropriate to publish, but then I remember how many oodles of assertions are out there in the interwebs saying that God does NOT exist, and that emboldened me.


Dear Heavenly Father,

I bet when I get to the other side I will feel like I barely got to know you at all while here on earth. I like that you said as much in the scriptures: "For now we see through glass, darkly," "My ways are higher than your ways," etc.

Whenever I try to compose a mental image of thee, the picture that always comes to my mind is the one Mom imparted to me, the same one she holds in her eternally youthful heart: she believes in you as a creature-- no-- a Father, full of love. For her!

And so I feel. It hardly seems fair to know thee as a good and kindly Father, with all the unfairness in the world that makes so many people mad at you, but that is how you bring yourself into my remembrance. Thank you for that gift. And you know what? When I think of you as loving and tender towards me, like one of the kind, caring bishops or stake leaders from my youth, I am inspired to be better, do better, and think better. All because I feel you love me. Thank you.

When I think of the gift of your love, manifested in the brilliance and beauty of your son, and also in every kind word ever spoken to me by your other children, I feel a renewal of my commitment to thee. I love thee and admire thy beautiful works, and I get to partake of a little bit of thy love for thy wonderful children when I remember to serve them. What a work, to create such a family. I'm sorry for our failings, which cause you pain I cannot fathom. I thank thee for every good thing, and every trial, and every tender mercy thou has sent me. I feel so rich at my 26 years of age and I know there is much more to come.

We had a wonderful testimony meeting today. Almost everybody spoke of the hope, and comfort, which they received through thy son. I'm excited to follow him. I always feel a stab of fear after I assert things like that, so I always follow that declaration with the petition, "Please bless me with the courage and ability to do any part of thy will that I won't like." And then I believe- I know- that thou will not fail me.

You are a great God.

Your daughter,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

{From June 12, 2011} Cameron

This week is a big week for me. I'm celebrating the 25th birthday... of my all-time favorite movie!!

It is, quite possibly, history's only perfect movie. And throughout the years, through high school and college and work, my love for Ferris Bueller's Day Off has grown stronger... more importantly, my love for Cameron has grown into something eternal. Cameron is droll, Cameron is sardonic, Cameron has problems... but Cameron rises up to face his foes, namely, his father, the owner of the Ferrari! Here is my favorite scene in the whole movie (sorry for the slight expletive) that no one else seems to appreciate, but gets me ROLLING every time. Again, I love Cameron so much:

Ok, it's hard to just pick one:

Monday, October 1, 2012

{From about 6 months ago} The Westernized Concept of Time

I feel the need to affirm, again, that my life is pretty great right now! I don't know why I am compelled to compose these rather serious contemplations of life on this blog at this moment. I guess it's just part of being empathetic. Ahem.

As I sit with a few friends and wait for the passage of time (and the concurrent easing of their trials), I am put in mind of the value of time. It's so absurd that when time seems lugubriously slow-- during the passages we would give anything to skip over-- we are told to press on and if possible, be philosophical enough to find value in that time. That is our special challenge, and in it there is joy to be found. Supposedly. 

No, not supposedly. Really! I've felt this before, felt the triumph of sheer, simple, survival. In one of my favorite moments in the thousands of pages of the Harry Potter series, near the end of the final book, Harry muses with keen dread on this phenomenon, too: 

Finally, the truth... Harry understood [...]. He felt his heart pounding fiercely in his chest. How strange that in his dread of death, it pumped all the harder, valiantly keeping him alive. But it would have to stop, and soon. Its beats were numbered. How many would there be time for, as he rose and walked through the castle for the last time, out into the grounds and into the forest? ... As he did so he felt more alive and more aware of his own living body than ever before. Why had he never appreciated what a miracle he was, brain and nerve and bounding heart?

In a real-time situation of gravity (aka, in the wake of a nasty break-up :), my friend Stephanie once blogged about her similar, sudden appreciation of the sensations in the tips of her thumbs. She'd never realized how sensitive and dutiful they were before, these little ovals that sent her signals, and pumped tiny amounts of blood under their surfaces, every day of her life for the past 20+ years. Miraculous! 

She, like many others, found that only when life has crashed down around you, and you are sent scattering into every part of your being looking for truth, only then do you find immense meaning in simply being alive. And hopefully, eventually, you find happiness and salvation in that discovery.

My best friend's uncle is battling with cancer, and documenting the journey with the wry humor of a seasoned lawyer/father. On his blog there appeared a poem relating to the desire to identify and reach out to the ethereal, the timeless, the meaningful, during trials:

Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.

Yet the timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness,

And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.

And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.

Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless?

And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not from love thought to love thought, nor from love deeds to other love deeds?

And is not time even as love is, undivided and spaceless?

But if in your thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons,

And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.   

Interestingly, the concept of being owned by time, secured in its straits, is limited to the Western world. Did you know that? Until this weekend, I didn't know that. In this month's book club book, The Shadow of the Sun, by Polish adventurer Ryszard Kapuscinski (a challenging, informative travelogue of his 30+ years of interaction with African peoples), he describes the African conceptualization of time thus:

Africans apprehend time differently. For them, it is a much looser concept, more open, elastic, subjective. It is man who influences time, its shape, course, and rhythm (man acting, of course, with the consent of gods and ancestors). Time is even something that man can create outright, for time is made manifest through events, and whether an event takes place or not depends, after all, on man alone. If two armies do not engage in a battle, then that battle will not occur (in other words, time will not have reavealed its presence, will not have come into being).
Time appears as a result of our actions, and vanishes when we neglect or ignore it. It is something that springs to life under our influence, but falls into a state of hibernation, even nonexistence, if we do not direct our energy toward it.
The absolute opposite of time as it is understood in the European worldview.
In practical terms, this means that if you go to a village where a meeting is scheduled for the afternoon but find no one at the appointed spot, asking "When will the meeting take place?" makes no sense. You know the answer: "It will take place when people come."
The author points to the value placed on collectivism by Africans as integral to this way of thinking. On their own, Africans would become lost: starve, be attacked, or die in the vast tangle of their massive continent. Thus they rejected the individualism so highly praised by Western society (America in particular), and instead found comfort passing their days and years as a group, a family. I like this idea. I recognize the fact that the spazmodic moments of time that you really wish you didn't have to go through are eased primarily by one great gift: companionship. Together with God, with friends and family, and the comfort of your own pulse in your fingertips, you carry on.

Prologue to a new project: "Breaking out of the Draft folder"

I found out that blogger keeps all your drafts in their own special folder, and I had a bit of fun going back and reading posts that I'd pulled from publication. Most were pulled because I'd felt they were too open, or too real, to keep up. Looking back at them months later, I actually enjoyed most of them (although, some WERE pulled just because they were total crap). I decided to publish a few of the better open and thoughtful ones at long last. GET READY.

On a related note, yesterday I was talking to my friends Megan and Rachel about the art of blogging. Megan, see the list on the right to find a bunch of DC people's blogs to stalk. :) Rachel said yesterday that she doesn't want to create a blog for the very reason I listed above; she's afraid she's too open. Now, Miss Rachel is one of the most interesting people I know out here: a deep thinker, with incredible style, and a passionate heart. The girl is a linguistic anthropologist, for heaven's sake! She researched the foundations of language! It's mostly for her that I put up the following old pieces, not to persuade her to either make a blog or not, but because her words inspired me to take a deeper look at what I wrote when I was most open. I remember some of these being so fun and/or cathartic to write, and I see now that the act of writing them helped me greatly to coalesce and coagulate my thoughts about certain topics I was very passionate about at the time. In that way, my blog has really been a boon to my personal progression. What I'm really trying to say in this prologue of a post is: I'm glad I'm a writer. That is all.

Gethsemane, by Richards.
Oh, and I found this RIDICULOUSLY good and genuine article by the only Mormon artist I really care for, J. Kirk Richards. You all should read it, especially if you have any kind of opinion on nudity in art:

WHY ARE YOU PAINTING THOSE NAKED LADIES? Or, What makes me think I can go to a nude drawing session on Saturday and then go to church on Sunday?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Boots Vs. Buddies: or, the Social Network Happiness Experiment

If you are reading this, it might be because you encountered this yesterday:

Welcome, newcomers, to my blog, my OTHER hamlet of creative internet self-expression. The Lindsey Grant process is not complete, but it has been institutionalized: I have decided to put exactly $109 where my mouth was.

Now, later yesterday evening, a friend's 6-week old baby looked at me with his giant eyes, and my wallet flew open! And thus, the moneybags mood that I posted about was satiated. But I was so enchanted by your answers, ranging from quotidian needs to hearts' desires (and a few flattering requests for me to come visit... I will be writing to these dear friends especially, shortly). I have decided that I want to return something-- something tangible, something purchasable-- to each of those who commented on that status post. I want to enhance our little ephemeral FB interaction. I regard FB as the world's most seemingly trite but potentially moving website. I want to ground our interaction and see if facebook can, for once, make life measurably better. And that measurement happens to be $109.

Maybe a little backstory might be nice.

It all started this weekend. Your author was chained to her desk, slogging through post-structuralist psychoanalytic feminist readings (the kind of homework assignment that makes your eyes bleed... ok, get bloodshot. You get the idea. NOT. FUN.) To turn my weekend around, I headed to Nordstrom Rack, ostensibly to get new eye make-up remover, aka, a NEED.

Exhibit A: a WANT. A girly, magnificent WANT.
I came out with the world's most beautiful, perfectly slouchy, not-too-brown-not-too-grey, $109 Steve Madden fall initiation boots (See Exhibit A). The guilt for such a purchase was considerably high, being a poor grad student, but I rationalized, thinking of all the mileage I'm going to get out of these boots, and the large gap they fill in my modest boot collection, and how much money I saved by getting them from the Rack. 

(And what do you know, they even matched the sundress I victoriously found on sale earlier in the summer, mentioned three posts ago! See: Exhibit B).

Exhibit B: Taylor Swift, eat your heart out.
 Ok. Fashion part of this post over, for the fellas' sake.

Now, Mrs. Tara T. Boyce was nearest to understanding what happened to me next this weekend:

I hadn't seen the TED talk she referred to, but I had read this article, from the NYT "Your Money" section:

Spend money on other people, get happier? The article loomed ominously in my mind, right next to the mental image of the Rack receipt in my wallet. I knew there were a lot of people's needs and wants that I could spread out 109 dollars over.

No dice. I am only slightly ashamed to admit that the boots stayed. They premiered at church, to great acclaim from my favorite shoeholics, Jeff and Rich, and then the boots spent the rest of the weekend next to my closet door, so I could see them always (I really am not a big shopper, despite the tone of this post. This purchase was big and exciting for me. Don't judge.). 

I remembered buying a present on the spur of the moment for my brother recently, and I compared the two types of happiness I had experienced from these two purchases. Now, some of you might scoff at me, and I'll probably eat my words later... but the happiness level was about the same, from boots to my bro's gift. :)

And thus began the idea of seeing what exactly another $109 could do for me, happiness-wise, if invested entirely in the needs and wants of others. But how to maximize its purchase potential? How to ensure that it goes towards those within my circle of acquaintance who would welcome it? Enter the self-selecting answer:

And so here we are, twenty something responses later. To Jerry, Lance, Camille, Tara, Josh, Michelle, Jillian, Spencer, Megan (Shaunna, I'm gonna go ahead and say you can take over Summer's wish, sounds like you fit her need perfectly!), Angie, Steph, Taylor, Russell, Auntie J, Shaun/Maria and co., Melissa, and Aunt Diane:

Will you send me your home addresses, either through the comment section below or by email at lindseyannchristensen {at} gmail {dot} com? You might not get what you asked for, but I want to make sure I come through for you. I want to make some people happy. 

(In response to Darci and probably my Mom's concern: don't worry that I'm in grad school and poor. I work full-time, so I'm not THAT poor. And I have the delicious feelings that this will be worth it). And to those who want me to come visit them: I have something extra special planned for you. Send me your addresses, and I'll "see" you later :)