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: facebook.com.

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 :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

You ready for a little art?

In a very, very old book, Mitralis de officiis, Mr. Sicard of Cremona (1155-1215) traces the symbolic significance of the architectural elements of Christian churches. Windows, for examples, are the "Doctors of the Church," enabling the divine light to the reach the faithful. A little farther down, Sicard also compares the windows to the five senses, which "facilitate the understanding of the Holy Word. [...] The building's walls represent the religious, whose prayer and faith constitute the unity of Christians." (From Eric Palazzo's "Relics, Liturgical Space, and the Theology of the Church," in Treasures of Heaven, Yale University Press, 2010.)

I know this quote refers to the symbolism of infamous medieval windows and walls like these:

Abbey Church of St. Madeline, Vezelay, FR. Built in 1104 A.D.
Stained glass apse in the Basilica of St. Denis, Paris, FR. Built 1135ish.
But as I read I kept thinking of these:

Palmyra LDS Temple.
Doctors of the Church? The five senses helping us understand the Word? I can see it... 

And what about the walls, symbolizing the faithful, the members, united in prayer?


Absolutely, wonderfully yes.

I am loving my medieval relics class. I wriggle inside during each seminar with the inner joy of knowing I also believe, like those who lived 1,000 years ago, that Heavenly Father is available to reach and to talk to, as we come to him in certain sacred stone edifices (albeit without a lot of the complicated liturgical elements like saints and relics). I don't know if my professor is religious or not, at this point in my studies I simply assume my professors are agnostic and work backwards from there. At any rate, he teaches about the beauty of reliquaries and basilicas with the gravitas, the reverence, and the awe that such creations deserve. As one who proudly holds a recommend to enter the House of the Lord, the temple of the Latter-Day Saints, I find the serious discussion of architectural and artistic effort, planning, and careful design in worship of God extremely fascinating and, in a way, familiar. To be continued...

Bob Marley, on good men.

Fall always puts me in a lovey mood, reminds me how fun it is to hold hands and take jacket-covered walks together. Here's a few things I've liked about love lately:

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”

― Bob Marley

Click here for a beautifully illustrated essay about the infamous love affair between photographer Alfred Stieglitz and the visionary painter Georgia O'Keeffe.


Speaking of love, guess who turns 3 this week??

Tiny boyfriend!! I've been watching him for more than half his life! It's still strikes me as so random that the thing that will get me through the last year and a half of my master's degree is a little boy I'm unrelated to, whom I'd never have met any other way. I'm sure in ten years this job will seem like a blip on my career radar, but I am grateful for this blip because it has brought so much love into my life, at a time when I really needed it. 

Hooray for tiny boyfriends! And boys that bring you ice cream in the middle of the night when they find out you're neck deep in homework! And boys that will forgo analyzing the minutae of football games to ask you deep questions! (although this weekend it wasn't hard to turn away from our school's craptacular showing at the annual Holy War). Hooray for dancing boys and the blogging boys that bring them to you (Aaron!)

Hooray for boys everywhere!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dusk of Summer

It's official. In the last 48 hours I have donned a sweater, found my favorite apple pie recipe, AND kicked up leaves. IT IS FALL.

Time to take a break from The Challenge to record some of my summer adventures for posterity (/do a little bit of blogbragging, let's be honest). I thought last week that I had had a very dull summer... then I remembered a dinner party on a houseboat in Baltimore Harbor, complete with vuvuzelas, and, tracing forwards from that effulgent evening, I discovered a wild array of glorious, summery good times. In no particular order, here are a few of my favorites:

Jess and I using Olivia like a hot water bottle at the 9/11 memorial one unseasonably frigid afternoon (she makes such a cuddly warm little boo).

Having all of Corolla Beach to myself during a brilliant red sunrise run. Never seen a sea so peaceful.

Teaching my marvelous Relief Society (with crazy visual aids). Always an enormous pleasure (because of the girls, not the visual aids. Although those are a nice creative outlet).

Walking across the majestic Brooklyn Bridge with the family in tow 
Finally finding the gorgeous white sundress, in my size, on a killer sale, in the third Anthropologie I tried- that my friends is what we call #WINNING

Creative 3 point contest in the pool at Duck Beach house #1

Reading the delicious Cutting for Stone while “watching” the boys play volleyball at Duck Beach house #2

The craptacular 88 degree long run Jillian and I hustled through. So happy to be alive after!

Shoe contest with Rich which I lost, badly. That boy loves his Adidas not too little but too well.

Gypsy living for five days while our power was out; thanks bishop of the Crystal City ward, our neighbors, and the Burtons for giving us air-conditioned places to lay our sleepy heads. And for Oliver’s pool for giving us a place to cannonball our overheated bodies.

Doing the tight pants dance after every Heat win and eventually their national championship.

My birthday burger  bar + Brave!
Lovely, fascinating architectural tour of U Street even while miserably sick and snot-nosed

Learning how to snap the football on the field at T. C. Williams High School. Yea, the Remember the Titans school!

Yoga on a stage during the middle of the Hunger Games

Spencer moving into my ward and making all of my favorite girl friends smile.

Tonight, my last roommate dinner with Kelly. She deserves a post of her own, so I will conclude with that one. Curry, roses, laughter, and memories. Me, Kelly, and Kathryn. It's been a wonderful two years with these two women.