Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Flying Colors

A couple of personal notes:

1. "I am pleased to inform you that you passed your Qualifying Paper requirement with flying colors." Great way to start my day :) I'm going to graduate!!!!!!!

2. This video had me rolling, especially since, as you all know, I know how it feels to publicly humiliate myself on a treadmill:

Forget just giving you the link, I'm reposting the story of my treadmill fiasco. Because it still makes me laugh so hard!!!!

And then, there was the granddaddy of all Lindsey-is-retarded moments, when I closed my eyes for a second to pant while on a treadmill in the Provo 24-Hour... and opened them in time to feel myself at the very edge of the belt, and then got shot backwards across the room onto my back! Undeterred, I hopped right back on the treadmill, having forgotten that it was still spinning around at a decent running pace of 6 mph. In quick succession, the spinning belt knocked my extended foot out from under me, caused me to crash to my knees on the treadmill belt (skinning both of them), and then shot me, again, off the back of the treadmill, roughing up my shins on the back cylinder as I passed by. I clambered up, still undeterred (the iPod blaring high-energy Beyonce helped block the pain). I reached around to turn the speed knob DOWN this time, and about 5 seconds later, I snuck a glance at the line of treadmills to see if anyone had noticed. At least FIVE runners had STOPPED their treadmills and were staring, mouths open, at me; the guy directly to my left mouthed, "ARE YOU OK??" incredulously, to which I just breathlessly replied, "Yea! Whew! I'm fine!" Then I turned around to face the tv monitors again.... and tried in vain to ignore the shooting pains of sweat seeping into the open wounds on my knees and shins.
 3. I finally got back to running this week, albeit with knee wraps. I am SO thankful for the ability to run, NOTHING improves my mood, clears my junk-food cravings, or makes me feel as motivated and happy as running. Truly, I thank Heavenly Father for the blessing of running every time I get out there.

4. I miss New York with Jess and Olivia... and while I was IN New York, I missed New York with Dani and Ashley. Thank you, all of my friends, for being the hilarious, adventurous, loving sweet people you are.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Snippets of Saturday at the Met

My favorite find: the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas wing. One word: Stunning!

Olivia and I outside the Met. Love the bear sculptures!

Apparently Hogwarts students were on a field trip to the Met. JK. They were part of a monk chorus who sang to us in one of the Medieval chambers. :)

Stained glass in the American Wing.
Thomas Cole's The Oxbow. 1836. Finally saw it live after staring at it for ALL of winter semester 2010.
There's a multitude of Masonic symbols in there, in the colors and the meeting of the river, mountain, sun,  and storm.

A split second with my other half

It was the loveliest of weekends.

Time Square after the Hunger Games with Amber and her Columbia ward friends!
Olivia is +1. Love that baby!
Aaaaand we took her to the American Girl Store :) We were all THRILLED to be there, as you can tell by the smiles.

Itty baby meets Bitty Baby. It's love!
Shake Shack. Nom Nom.
Olivia and I on our Central Park/Met date.
She's really good at picking my nose for me.
Mama and baby at Lincoln Center gift shop.
My favorite place in New York (Besides CP).

Boo I realized I didn't get a good pic with my wonderful host Amber or our group for the Hunger Games!! (Ps wasn't it SO GOOD?? It included every single one of my favorite moments of the book!)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ensign, Peace, and Peace Out

Late night, just waiting for my laundry to finish so I can pack for New York... it's been a long and busy few weeks, I tells ya. Thesis, Half-marathon, injuries, a challenging Relief Society lesson, two midterms, one museum registrar interview...

Baby O and Auntie Lindsey at xmas
... etc. I came home tonight exhausted. I have given life all I've got. Tomorrow at 5:30 am I will set out, tiny but heavy overnight bag in hand, to see my best friend and her beautiful baby in New York City. And we'll traverse the Met, and savor Serendipity, and see the Hunger Games with some NY friends. I can't wait. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves soon enough.

Tonight, as my whites spun, I picked up the Ensign (Minerva Teichert's on the cover! I feel like that's the first time I've seen her there!), forgoing my habit lately of starting a tv show to let my mind unwind. I'm so incredibly grateful I did. Every article, every story spoke to me. Everything had something to do with my current worries.

Touch Me Not. Minerva Teichert. 1939.
Oil on Canvas. BYU MoA.
I want to be a better communicator.

I want to be a good nanny to sweet little Cobb.

I worry sometimes that I'm not giving it my all, or that my all is... all wrong.

I need and want to come closer to Jesus Christ, to remember who He truly is and invite him into my life.

Oh, blast... is still broadcasting the March issue of the Ensign, not this nice new April issue that's been enlightening my heart and soul for the past spin cycle. Well, SPOILER ALERT- Minerva Teichert's on the cover of the April Ensign and there are good, good things to be learned within its pages. Enjoy.

My roommate Kathryn reads this blog sometimes... just wanted to tell her I love her.

PS if you're reading this on Google Reader, I'm inviting you to click over to the real thing, just so you can enjoy this month's header, a glorious Vermeer I picked out 'specially for you, from the NGA's new and exciting image-share website. Oh, the resolution! The glorious, enormous resolution!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Under the floorboards

There is a creature, or possibly several creatures, living under my floorboards. No, I have not regressed into a state of childhood delirium. Its name is Muffles, and he is my nightly companion, has been for the last 18 months, ever since I moved into the corner bedroom of our white house here on 21st Street. I presume Muffles is a raccoon or *shudder* maybe a possum. Or there is the slight possibility that he could be a band of perfectly synchronized squirrels; sometimes the trelling, softened sound of feet running along under the floorboards, the sound I now recognize as Muffles' signature call, seems like it comes from more than just four pesky little paws.

Muffles and I definitely didn't get along at first, I have multiple prejudices against things that scratch and gnaw and shuffle around in the space 3 vertical feet below where I sleep. In the beginning months, as Muffles would decide to start his day around eleven pm, I would groan, roll out of bed, jump up and down vehemently on the floor in an attempt to silence him, then get back into bed and will myself to go back to sleep. Muffles, that crafty meister, retaliated by gnawing on some metallic part of the AC vent in my floor- screetch, scratch, scriiiiitch. It is SO! LOUD!!!!

A good Google approximation of how I imagine Muffles would look in the daylight.
I fired off a strongly worded email to my landlord about Muffles in the daylight hours, when Muffles was presumably off snoozing under another part of the house, blissfully unaware of the mortal enemy he had created in me. But Landlord, like most landlords, wrote back an email assuring eventual action, which I am still waiting for, eighteen months later.

In the interim, Muffles and I have reached an uneasy truce. I think Muffles finally finished hollowing out our foundation to the size and shape that he wanted, so the scratches and gnawing having given way to the more subtle fluttering sound of furry paws shuffling around a tiny lair. I gave up stomping around to send the creature a message, and I just trained my ears to think of Muffles's sounds as normal night time sounds. Now the only time I ever notice them is when he gets up earlier than usual (10 pm) and I am still awake and chilling in my room. Like right now. And then I wonder what he's up to, if he has a little family somewhere, and how warm they are. And whether or not he's a cool, mystical mouse like on the Secret of Nimh. I hope so. I hope he possesses a magic sparkely that he wears on a glittering chain around his neck. Eventually my thoughts circle back to my most primal prayer about Muffles: "Please oh please don't be a possum." I'm ok giving up a little bit of my personal space and silence to a raccoon, or even to squirrels. There are way too many cute cartoon versions of those animals to ever stay mad at them. But a possum? The ugliest creature in creation? SAY IT AIN'T SO.

Like I said, I have multiple prejudices. Maybe things will look better in the morning...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fiction Flashback

My friend Aaron recently reminisced about his two favorite books as a child (Hatchet and the Island of the Blue Dolphins), and I absolutely HAD to chime in!

"Because when you read a book as a child it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other book can!" -Meg Ryan. I hope you know what movie I'm quoting!

My first indispensable book as a wee little one was Ferdinand the Bull.

According to my mom, I had that book memorized and would correct her if she got the words wrong or sleepily skipped parts :) Don't mess with my Ferdinand! I absolutely adored the illustrations: simple, whimsical, black and white pen pictures, and the story is enchanting. A little bull who loves to smell flowers sits on a bee, gets stung, gets spotted by matadors, and is taken to the big bull fight. But instead of being fierce and prideful, he just wanted to smell the flowers pinned in the hair of the pretty senioritas. I think my love of this story is evidence that even three-year-old me loved beauty and the finer things in life.

Disney made a cartoon version that mimics the elegant illustrations in the book, enjoy:

Come grade school and, you know, the ability to read, I transferred the title of "Favorite Book" to Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry. A young Danish girl learns what bravery and right and wrong truly are as she watches her family hide her Jewish school friend from the Nazis in the early years of WWII. She then has to implement these virtues herself in order to smuggle her friend out of the country. I think this favorite of mine is indicative of my intense future love for researching the sweet stories of humanity that sit waiting for recognition amongst the pages history.

I have probably twenty more favorite books, but these two are my two childhood favorites. What are yours? Or, which books have you found that most influenced who you are today?

(Because it's fun to keep thinking back):
My Pre-adolescent fav: The Baby-Sitter's Club series.
My Teenage fav: Anne of Green Gables-Anne of the Island.
College favs are numerous but include Franny and Zooey, by J. D. Salinger, Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky, and my perennial favorite, the book I read every year, Jane Eyre.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Thank you, you are neat!

I finished a major part of my Master's requirement today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't even know what to say about it. I've experienced every major emotion under the sun in the past four weeks, from joy to anger to sorrow to frustration... a LOT of frustration... and then back to joy. And finally peace.

In the words of those immortal Englishmen, "I got by with a little help from my friends." I'm talking actual friends, FYI, not narcotics (although that was a suggestion thrown out there by one of my fellow classmates last Friday at a late night paper exchange).

Seriously, I have a lot of people in mind to thank who have reached out to me over the last few weeks of daily writing. I want to record their names for posterity (I do hope this blog somehow makes it down to my posterity. Has anyone else worried about that? I've actually written in my journal once or twice, "See blog from today." Come on, Google Blogger. Be as eternal as you currently cause me to believe you'll be). I digress.

Bosses Kelly and Josh,  Jess (1,000 times Jess! No one can make me laugh at myself and stop worrying like you!), my Dani, Marissa, Bebe Cobb, Liz, Ellen, Lauren, Oliver, Tyler, Paul, Wayne, Ray, Ashley C., my amazing roomies Kathryn and Kelly (Kelly even composed a "That Thesis is Over!" ballad for me tonight. What a star!), M.C., Maggie, Michelle, Jillian, Spence, Mom, Dad, Wee, Marcus, Katie, Sarah, Bree, Mike, Caitlin, Melanie, Kristin, Aaron, Shaunna, Jayci, Christine, and last but not least, Professors Martinez, Obler, and Bjelajac. Couldn't have done it with out you. Oh and the pizza guy, arriving with manna from heaven (via a very sweet mom) on Saturday. 

Oh and Heavenly Father. So many times during this process, I was humbled and then enervated as I remembered what a rare blessing this is, to be able to study what I love and earn a Master's degree. I know that there are millions upon billions of people in history (particularly women) who did not have the opportunity, financial means, ability, or freedom to learn whatever they wished. I proudly work to honor my mom, grandma, great-grandmothers, and the many strangers out there who would if they could... and maybe, hopefully, probably, will! Someday!

And now... it's time to go get that glorious Serendipity Sundae I've been visualizing for the past month... PARTY TIME!

And, because you all wanted to taste a little bit of the magic, here's a sliver of what I've been writing about:

At sunset on March 2, 1896, the bloody two-day battle on the plains of Adwa, Ethiopia drew to a close. The war between the Ethiopian people, led by King Menelik II, and the invading colonial forces of Italy ended in a decisive victory for the Ethiopians. The victory was a watershed event for Ethiopia, finalizing the country’s claim of independence from European domination. Ethiopia’s successful fight for freedom was also paradigmatic for advocates of black autonomy throughout the world. Across Europe, North America, and the African diaspora, curiosity peaked about this stately warrior King Menelik who had successfully resisted a colonial takeover.
As Menelik biographer Harold Marcus explains, “The Ethiopian victory over Italian imperialism at Adwa … forced Europeans to reconsider their prejudices about at least one group of Blacks.” The racist preconceptions about African men in nineteenth-century Western culture spanned a wide and galling array of stereotypes, from the condescending idea of the noble savage to the common pejorative characterizations of Africans as ignorant, dark, godless, childish, vicious, and/or foolish.The notion of an African king with a military presence and a right to rule as strong as a European monarch’s was the stuff of legend, dating back to stories of Prester John, a legendary white king, who originated in 12th century literature as a wished-for ally in the Crusades. Prester John had no living counterpart in nineteenth-century world leadership, at least not until King Menelik and his seasoned troops made their presence known worldwide in March of 1896 at Adwa. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

March Motto

The WPA was a lovely moment in American visual culture. Sigh.

PS Who decides how people's last names should be spelled? That's the first time I've ever seen "Tolsoi" instead of "Tolstoy," but I've been thinking about this issue a lot lately, since there are about 30 different ways to spell King Menelik (Menileck/Ménélick/Minelikof Ethiopia (Aethiopica/Abyssinia/Abyssinie). Tis a puzzlement!