Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Conundrum

Unfortunately, this conundrum is not as simple as figuring out what the word "conundrum" means, or how to use it in a sentence. This conundrum is much much bigger, and it is this:

NaNoWriMo is coming. O_O

These words are enough to strike fear into the heart of the unprepared writer, myself not withstanding. Not only am I not prepared for this massive noveling event (see sidebar for more posts on this topic) but I am terribly, dreadfully....busy.

Which is partly why the blog has been so quiet lately. Between schoolwork, testing, driving now(!!), church responsibilities, redoing my room(!!!!!), impending job opportunity, and everything else, the blog has fallen to the wayside. But I have not forgotten it!! I would LOVE to post pictures of my newly painted room, but it's not quite finished yet. And I really want to put in the finishing touches before I take the pictures. It will look very...designer. I've been super excited about the whole project over the last few months.

Back to NaNoWriMo. If the last few months are any indication of the next few, my life shall be hellish indeed. Not that busyness is a bad thing. I enjoy every single one of my activities, but there is simply no rest. As my friend Maike puts it so nicely, life is like the sea pounding against the shore. Over and over and over like one great rhythmic heartbeat that never stops beating. Powerful. Constant. Mesmerizing.

I have much on my plate between youth and government (which my research for my bills is sadly lacking) and my schoolwork. I'm expecting to be taking three online language arts courses through BYU this semester, which means lots of reading and writing for school. Will participating in NaNoWriMo be setting myself up to fail? Will it be too taxing of a challenge to undertake? I already feel a little overwhelmed. Mom is urging me not to do it this year...

And I wasn't. Or at least I wasn't--until today. Today, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Kristin and Sabina in the Starbucks at the mall. We didn't get much work done, but it was so refreshing to be with them, to laugh, to brainstorm. And I came up with a plot.

I suppose, it would be cruel not to tell the plot. A genius in the making must keep their secrets carefully, but I think that an exception will be alright. Just this once. ;) It started with two elements. Art and Dance. I wanted to write a novel about one of these two things... but what? And how? I thought of a couple different scenarios. Then I browsed through Wikipedia's 36 dramatic situations and wrote down which ones stuck out to me. Two characters: a struggling art student and a mad painter.. All combined into this, the plot of my story:

A genius painter, mad and alone, sacrificed everything for his art; but when he takes on a struggling art student to model for his paintings, they find they have more in common than meets the eye.

I admit (confession time!) that it will probably be a love story--but not of the kind that makes you want to gag. It will be cute and sweet, and the model/budding artist will teach the seasoned painter how to see the beautiful things in life. See? Doesn't that sound sweet already? It will be a Scrooge-like transformation, I think.

I'm still not sure how the whole story will go, but I feel like the possibilities are endless. I don't have an era or any particular sequence of events. All I know is that the student is female, and her role will be similar to that of a modern internship. She poses for his paintings in exchange for lessons in art. <3 I'm in love with it already!

AND, now that I have a handy dandy keyboard for Bernard, everything will go much much smoother. I can write in a more comfortable position, take it to starbucks. All I need is a little stand for Bernie and I'll be good to go! Mom doesn't want me to do this, but I feel like I can't not. Such frustrating feelings. Sometimes I do not understand myself. What a conundrum.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

50 Shades of...Glass?

 So, I had a super cute pair of sunglasses once... About a year ago.

They got smashed on a camping trip. I'm not going to name names or anything and it was definitely an accident, but the point is, they were smashed and I've been forced to go sans sunglasses ever since.

Until now! Now I have two beautiful pairs of sunglasses in white and black. AND they have sparkles! Enough said.

I decided to show them off at church this week. When I showed Christian, he said, "That's just the pair I would've picked." A boy after my own heart! I went over to his house after church and while we were waiting for his parents, we were listening to music in the car. The album was Gungor's "Beautiful Things." It is truly a beautiful album if you ever get the chance to listen to it. And so relaxing.

Aren't we so cute? ^-^

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

For Love of a Russian Beauty

I have a confession. (I feel like I've been making a lot of confessions lately- perhaps I should do a weekly one. Confession Tuesday anyone?)

Confession: I LOVE scandal. It's almost pathetic, really. For instance, every time we stand in line at the grocery store, it takes immense self-control not to skim the headlines of all the tabloids they've got lined up right there. (Of course, I would never be caught dead actually reading one of said tabloids, but I still pretend to look uninterested while skimming the headlines listlessly.)

It is one of those things about the world that I find both sickening and fascinating. I hate that I like it, but I suppose everyone just wants to hear a good story. I, for one, am no exception; I love stories! Even stupid little tabloid tidbits.

However, last semester, I delved into arguably one of the best scandals in the literature world: Anna Karenina. by Russian author Leo Tolstoy.

It's kind of a funny story how I came to read this particular work. It all began with a comment one of the Amigos said of Tolstoy's War and Peace, " Tolstoy is impossible to finish!" eager to prove him wrong, I set out to do the impossible. But Anna Karenina proved to be much more interesting than War and Peace.

Set in Russia during the 1870's, the story follows a dual love story: the affair between Anna and the handsome Count Vronsky and the budding romance between Kitty and Levin. Many characters rich in depth permeate the plot and their relationships to one another are complex. (For example, Kitty initially turned down Levin's proposal because she was counting on a proposal from Vronsky.) the story is full of wonder and complexity as well as misery and tragedy. It is a beautiful story, only slightly shorter than WAR AND PEACE and I finished it in two months.

That being said, I found out the movie is coming out this fall!!! There have already been a few adaptations; the last one filmed in 1997. The coming Autumn's adaptation will be starring Keira Knightly, Jude Law, and Aaron Johnson.

I've known this for quite some time now, before I even finished the book in April. I went through an obsessive phase, looking up tons of information about previous remakes and the new one (for which there is precious little information). The obsession waned until yesterday, when I found out THEY RELEASED THE TRAILER!!!!!!!

I cannot contain my excitement. I've probably watched the two minute, thirty-one second clip about a dozen times. It looks so good! I believe a second obsessive phase has begun; I just can't get it out of my head. From the trailer, Anna (Knightly) and her husband Karenin (Law) appear well-cast, but I am uncertain about Vronsky. I pictured Vronsky to be quite a bit...handsomer than the boyish appearance of the actor. I think it's the highlights. They make him look so rash and, dare I say, trashy. Which he is, in essence. But he seemed much more compelling in the book.

Any sex that occurred in the book was at most implied. (Anna steals away to see Vronsky in the night, next scene Anna is pregnant. And I think that's it.) however, this being the modern era and the fact that this is all about an affair, I predict that the movie will not be as subtle about explicit scenes. It's even hinted at midway through the trailer. Unfortunately, I will probably have to wait until it comes out on DVD to watch it so I can fast forward through the awkward parts. Bummer, since I was so looking forward to it!

In the meantime, I will be looking up every scrap of information I can find on the internet and probably watch the older adaptations which are far less likely to include explicit content. Perhaps I can convince my mother to let me go, since I am of age, but I will probably go alone if I do, unless she wants to come. Disappointment but nonetheless debilitating to my latest and greatest obsession with Miss Anna.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cheese Shopping with Nicole!

As promised, here are the pictures from cheese shopping with Nicole!

After church, we went up to AJ's market and gazed upon their cheese display cases. We ended up buying four cheeses to try prematurely and then provided them for our party. However, we decided to try more than just cheese......

We also tried sushi! As many of you know, this was not my first time trying sushi. But it was unfamiliar terrain for Nicole!

I helped her pick out a nice easy starter roll, while going crazy with a super spicy tuna roll covered in Sirache. It was flaming.

Feast Your Eyes

If your name is Maike, stop reading this post, right now. ;)

Otherwise, you may continue and feast your eyes on glorious cheeses and lovely ladies.

A while back, Nicole was spending the night and the next day our cobbled lunch consisted of cheese and crackers, fruit, and bruschetta. We found ourselves discussing a mutual love for cheese, and then the idea came! We could host our own cheese party! We excitedly set out plans--cheese to have, people to invite, dresses to wear...

Getting ready for the cheese party.

She came over early to help clean up our patio, prep food, and set up our food table. We originally intended to have it outside on the back porch, but a rainy forecast and the prospect of mosquitoes kept us inside. She had also come over previous weekends to plan and go cheese shopping! (Pictures of which I will post in a separate post.)

We asked each guest to bring one unfamiliar cheese. Some people got a little excited and brought extra and between Nicole and I, we provided several different cheeses. All in all, we had seventeen different cheeses and only one duplicate. This included a number of semi-soft cheese (including three different types of Gouda), hard cheeses, bloomy cheeses, and blue cheeses. We had one Gorgonzola and a peaches and cream Stilton.

our table spread

The Duo Hostesses:

It was really nice to have Nicole alongside me in this, as it made it much much easier for me to relax and enjoy the party.

 Mom helped me print out "cheese evaluation" sheets so that everyone could rate the cheese based on appearance, aroma, texture, and flavor. It was really cool to see everyone's different taste preferences. Personally, I like creamy/smooth/buttery cheeses, so the Havarti, Fontina, and Goudas ranked pretty highly on my sheet. Nicole, on the other hand, really likes the hard/flaky/salty cheeses so the Asiago, Piave and Manchego ranked higher on her lists. The evaluation sheets opened up a nice dialogue of comparing and contrasting cheeses. Everyone liked the Havarti and the Peaches and Cream Stilton and virtually no one (except myself) liked the Gorgonzola. It became the "bad cheese." We would say, "Oh, Veronica's trying the Gorgonzola!" and everyone would stop and watch. I was the last to try the Gorgonzola, but I didn't think it was that bad. It was a little weird, but the flavor was...earthy and soft, almost damp. Maybe that doesn't appeal to everyone, but I thought it was alright. The other thing the evaluation sheets did, was they encouraged the guests to try every cheese and rate it. It created a safe and fun environment for trying new things--and as a lover of food, I'm all over that!

 One we finished tasting, we played card games for the rest of the night: Hearts, Bartog, Egyptian Rat Screw. Bartog is a new game we discovered in which you get to make up the rules! You start with a few basic rules and the winner of each round gets to add a new rule. Everyone caught on so well! We had loads of fun!

 Dad was our Master Photographer so we took lots of group pictures together!

 He even got a few candids:
Silly picture:

And last, but not least, we had to get a picture with Cam. He just wore a plain t-shirt, but we told him he couldn't have any cheese if he didn't abide by the dress code, so he threw on his favorite over-sized suit jacket and proceeded to enjoy cheese. But that wasn't enough. He had to take pictures with us too! (Which was a much bigger ordeal for him than it should've been.) But this picture is totally priceless.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Meat Ian!

Ian, Ian. There is so much to say about Ian. First, he's the person just left of me, and I know he's hard to see, but I don't have a better picture of him. Next time I see him though, I'll try to get one. And he'll probably tease me about it, but I'll just tell him I'm capitalizing on his image now before his imminent fame. I don't know. Something ridiculous like that.

Annyways... Ian is a freshman I met at camp. (His status as a freshman is of importance because it was a subject of great debate at camp: the difference between good freshman and bad freshman, the awkward freshman stage, and much much more.) He is one of those people who would really get on your nerves if he wasn't so funny.

I met him while playing ping pong with the Amigos during free time. (Funny story there: I was playing against Jim and I was really bad, but Trevor was keeping score so he gave me extra points whenever Jim should've scored! ^-^) I believe I played Ian in ping pong, but I don't remember who won. I'd like to say it was me, since I'm a senior and he's a freshman, but I really can't remember.

After we tired of ping pong, we decided to play Hearts. (One of my favorite games!) Right as we started dealing out the cards, two other guys joined us: John and Cory. They were from another church, but they were pretty cool. So we're playing Hearts and in the middle of the game, Ian starts giving me this really creepy smile. And I'm like, "What?"
"I'm cheating." he says, his grin getting even wider. Indignant, I said, "Are you looking at my hand?!" because up to that point, I'd been very careful not to be flashin my hand to everyone.
Without a pause he says, "Why yes, you have beautiful hands!" Which sparked a conversation all about my hands (at a table of guys.) A few moments later, it was John's turn and he wasn't going fast enough so I tapped him on the hand to go and he was like, "Oh my gosh your hands are so soft!" which sent the conversation back to my hands. I was flattered that they thought so well of my hands, but it was a little bit awkward; I kept them in my lap after that.

Then, during chapel the next day, Ian was sitting next to me and Kendra comes up with a stack of letters from my family. So I start in on the first one from Cam, and he's watching me. Then he grabs the next letter (from Dad), opens it, and reads it. And hands it back to me. The picture was taken right after he gave it back to me. I wasn't mad; just...surprised. Like, I'm glad he felt comfortable enough to open my mail and read it!

So that's Ian for you. He has a strange personality... He's one of those annoying kids whom you would hate if you couldn't love him. Or if he didn't make everyone laugh so much. I had a good reason to dislike him since he was trying to make me angry (just to see what would happen; he liked to push buttons like that.), but he made me laugh and I liked the kid, even though he was a freshman.


Chapel time was awesome! It was neat to see so many students engaging in worship together.

We had chapel twice a day all week--once in the morning and once at night. If you went to dawn patrol, you were spending roughly 3 hours a day in Chapel. But it was all good. The worship was good. The speaker was excellent. His name was Chris Simning this year. The theme for the week was God's sufficiency. It was a cool topic because Chris has a disability that affects his motor skills. But his mind is completely intact. He had so much to teach us!

At first, it was hard for me to look past his disability, but as the week went on, I grew quite fond of him. He's really a likeable character. And it made me realize that I do have a little bit of a discrimination against disabled people, as much as I would've denied it. It made me think about society's view of disabled and how I don't want to pass that perspective on to my children.

How to have team spirit: Recreation!!

Recreation is sort of like the epitome of camp experiences. (Except not for me.) Personally, I'm not very fond of recreation--it's actually my least favorite part. I much prefer chillin or conversations over food in the cafeteria. However, this doesn't keep me from enjoying recreation!

At Hume, there are two teams: The Oohs versus the Ahhs.

I was an Ooh. And on each team there are 8 sub-teams which utitlize the main team name. So my subteam was the Oopsies. Cam was an Ahh and he was on the team La Cucarachas. So the big teams compete against each other, but the little teams also compete to get first. You can get points by winning in the games, team spirit, and memorizing Bible verses (my weapon of choice).

The first two days of Recreation are 4 Way Games, where groups of four teams face off in different games. Wednesday is relay games with all teams competing against one another. We have a "Night Rec" in which we play a giant game of Kajavi Can Can in the dark with awesome music and glowsticks everywhere. Then the final Rec is The Amazing Race! During the amazing race, you must complete twelve or so challenges all over campus. These challenges include such things as: a questionaire, doing the hokey pokey, group picture with mustaches, ten man pyramid, and hopscotch. Here's the catch: as you are traveling across campus, your team must be connected at all times (ie. holding hands or linked arms.) This is extremely difficult when, say, running uphill or up stairs. I think I would've died doing the amazing race if it weren't for my inhaler. (Who has been so helpful, it deserves a name. Suggestions anyone?)

Wednesday is also Super Spirit Day and this year the theme is Red/White/Blue (Probably in honor of fourth of July and the Olympics!) So everyone was dressed in fabulous red, white, and blue.
Jacque, Myself, Zoe, and Kazmira (my roomate)

This is Joe in his patriotic-ness. All the guys had crazy hats! One of the leaders even shaved his head!

The girls on Oopsies!

And this is our whole church group!

In case you missed it, here's a fast bullet point list on how to have team spirit:
  • Smile.
  • Make up amazing cheers everyone on your team can scream at the top of their lungs. (Bonus points if your cheer is so catchy, people will still be hearing it in their heads two years later!)
  • Wear the craziest getup possible: Red White and Blue!
  • Help pick up equipment after Rec.
  • Bribe referees with sweets.

Meet the Four Amigos!

These are the 4 Amigos! Left to right, Alex, Jim, Joe, and Trevor.

These guys are so awesome! They crack me up all the time. XD I've been hanging out with them since middle school awana.

Kind of a funny story about them: One year, Mattea came to visit me and I took her with me to Awana, and she looked at all the guys and she was like, they're kind of like you're seven dwarves! (only there weren't seven there were more like five.) So we gave them their appropriate dwarf names.

Alex was named Bashful, because he was really quiet. (He still is very reserved, but when his sense of humor comes out, it's great! He is funny in the most subtle ways.)

Jim didn't actually get his own dwarf name, but we called him Meanie-Jim. Except the name was actually much longer... Jim was Grumpy-Annoying-Selfish-Ignorant-Mishchievous-Little-Boy. I forget what exactly he did to deserve that name, but it must have been something really bad. Or really annoying. Or both. Or me and Matt were just messing around, blowing things out of proportion in our middle school minds... I can assure you, Jim has outgrown his dwarf name. Mattea also admitted that Jim is really funny, but that he shouldn't flatter himself.

Joe was nicknamed Doc, "because of what Jim did." If I remember correctly, Joe had shown up that night with his wrist in a brace and blamed it on Jim. So we called him, "Doc" because he needed to see one. Joe could probably still keep his dwarf name as he gets injured all the time. He also has the most amazing stories about how he gets them too! Last time, he was chasing the guy who kidnapped a little girl in Tucson (it was all over the news) and they were in Mexico city and the kidnapper jumped over a forty foot wall and Joe followed him and as he was falling, he had to decide, "well, it's either face or foot." and landed on his foot, spraining his ankle. No one knows what really happened.

Last but not least, Trevor. We had a lot of trouble coming up with a name for Trevor. When it came down to it, we had three names to pick from: Sneezy, Dopey, or Sleepy. We ruled out Dopey. And Sneezy didn't really suit his personality, so Sleepy won out. But honestly, he does look like he's tired all the time.

So hopefully, none of the 4 amigos know this blog exist, or they would know their dwarf names (which occasionally, me and Matt still use, though it's been a while). In any case, that's the four amigos and a little bit about them. They're just a bunch of goofballs, and they're kind of like the three musketeers, except there's four of them. Hence the 4 Amigos.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How to make your thighs ache

 One word: Hills.

Point Loma campus has TONS of hills and stairs. We had to walk down two flights of stairs to get to our dorms. We have to walk up stairs to get to the cafeteria--three times a day. We have to walk up hills and down hills to get anywhere on the campus. It. is. awful.

And my thighs didn't like it one bit. Plus, during rec the first day, I did this stupid game on those stupid ball hoppers. Killed me! (But our team won!) I could've sworn my thighs would be rock hard by the time we made it home. Sadly, they weren't. Oh well.

On the second day, Hannah and I got up at 6am for a nice morning walk along the edge of the ocean. Technically, we weren't on the edge, but we were on these cliffs that overlooked the ocean! There was a nice little dirt trail that we followed. Note in the picture, the trail is not the one to the right. That is the beach. The trail is what I'm standing on.

It was a beautiful morning that day, and thanks to a nice man in a public service car who gave us a ride up the hill, we made it for dawn patrol!

Dawn Patrol is just an early morning worship that they do at 7 at the amphitheater. It's really nice. Everything's all acoustic. It's an awesome way to start the day off.

How to Develop A Following-- or the Sexy Saxophone Man

 Here are some practical tips on how to develop a following.

Step 1. Learn how to play an instrument. (Saxophone is great! Anyone up for the banjo?)
Step 2. Develop a persona.
Step 3. Dress in attire that truly embodies your persona.
Step 4. Serenade random strangers with your new musical skills.

And that's it.

I want you to meet--Sergio Flores, one of our counselors who is also known as "the sexy sax man." (I'm not sure how he got that name, but that's all I can think when he's wearing his "getup")

This is me running back toward the bus. I didn't realize he was with our group, so I was chasing him with my camera so I could get a picture of his awesome saxophone playing. I should've known I would have more opportunities later. His real name is Scott and he's actually a pretty cool guy.

These pictures do not show the following he developed. He certainly had the hearts of all the students from CCC, but more than that, he had the love of students everywhere.

One night, he decided to take his persona and go serenade some people during night free time. Everyone who heard him was enthralled! "Who is he?" "What? You haven't heard of Sergio Flores? He's only the greatest Sax player there ever was!" People gathered around him and followed him wherever he went. And then, he did the unspeakable... He got up one of the street lamps and kept playing in the most un-risque, but still recognizable pole-dancing impersonation! Our group happened to think it was hilarious, but I'm not sure the Hume counselors agreed. Later in the week, he ended up shaving his beard and parting his hair differently so the Hume counselors wouldn't recognize him. XD But altogether a funny guy, and quite popular on the campus.

Summer Camp: The Best Times for Showers

In all honesty, the best time to take showers at camp is during free time. Why? Because everyone is at the beach! I do have a terrible shower story to share at the end of all these beachy pictures.

 Someone is being buried, I wonder who it could be?

 It's Jim!

So we get back to the dorms after the beach and all the girls want showers before dinner. So many girls wanted showers, we actually had to limit shower times to under five minutes. Somehow, I ended up towards the end of the "waiting for open showers" list, but I was okay with it. We still had time for dinner.

When a shower finally opened up, I was all, "Great!" I grabbed my towel and shampoo and took my shower. I left my clothes in the room because I was just going to be quick and I didn't want to take extra time for someone else who might need a shower after me. And, that's just what we did: we walked back to our room wrapped in a towel to change. That's just how it was. No big deal, right?

So I get out of the shower and I walk back to the dorm room and the door is locked!! And my roommate had the one and only key and she had gone to dinner! First I checked to make sure she wasn't hanging out in her friend's dorm or something. I asked the girls in the bathroom if they'd seen Kasmira. Nope. So I told a girl who was heading up to the mess hall to look out for her and we got one of our counselors to go look for her too.

Meanwhile, I'm just awkwardly hanging around the dorm room wrapped up in my towel, just waiting. and waiting. and waiting. (In reality, it was probably only 15-20 minutes, but still.) Thankfully, one of my friends/counselor Hannah gave me some of her clothes to wear, but I still couldn't go up to dinner, because my meal card was locked in my room. (No meal card=no dinner.) I had been in Hannah's room and I decided to go check the door again, just in case, I had just freaked out for no reason and it actually was unlocked.

The door was wide open! Kasmira had come and opened the door and left again. I grabbed my meal card and went to dinner with Hannah, before I got locked out of the mess hall. She was kind enough to stay with me until we got it all sorted out.

At first, I was really annoyed, but when I talked to Kasmira, it turned out that the door had locked itself and the wind had blown it shut.

I got locked out of the room several times thereafter (simply because I got to the dorms first, not because she had locked the door and left), but by the end of the week, I got smart and put the things I would need on a shelf in the bathroom so I could just grab what I needed without access to the room.

So that's my shower story of the week.