Saturday, December 31, 2011

neither witty nor profound

Its new years eve. I feel obligated to mention that because people like to make a big deal out of it. I've never really understood why. Because they are excited about their new calendar? Maybe last year they had cute puppies dressed like humans and this yeaar they are moving on to cats in awkward positions? Maybe last year's calendar had a lame picture for their birth month? I know its the first thing I check when I get a new calendar.

Sometimes I wonder if the hype about new years eve is related to an out with the old sort of attitude. You know how what happens in Vegas is suupposed to stay in Vegas? Maybe people are hoping that what happened in 2011 will stay in 2011. Of course, reality is that neither holds true, since whatever happened still happened regardless of where or when. So much for out with the old. And since you can't away with the past, the new isn't as shiny as everyone pretends it is.

Gosh this sounds depressing.
That's not my intent.
I just felt obligated to make mention of the timing and then defend myself for posting a blog instead of going to a party and kissing random strangers.

Reality is, I'm babysitting. Two little girls that I adore. They went to sleep as perfectly as they always do and I probably should be cleaning up their toys. But instead I'm taking advantage of the internet and the quiet.

Apparently I've taken 376 pictures in the last month. I'm downloading them to my computer now. I don't know yet how most of them turned out, I'll probably delete more than half, but I'm going to post a few here for fun. Let's do it by choosing some of my favorite numbers. I may or may not comment on them. Lets see what picture number 8 has to offer. (I like the number 8. It looks like infinity.)

That's nice. I like the exposure I used. If onlly I actually knew what the trick was. My only complaint is that its crooked.

On to 42. The answer to the question of life, the universe and everything is....

A very hogwarts chritmas! This is the set for the concerts we did this year. It was amazing. As you can see.

Alright, I'm at a bit of a loss for numbers, so lets go with the highest prime number I know off the top of my head, which is 97

It's a picture I took of the hubble feed at the clark planetarium, which was telling me amazing new wonderful things about galactic discoveries. My friend becky and I spend hours and hours at the planetarium. We watch the movies (educational and unintentionally hilarious) and we play with the toys... errr, experiements intended to educate children, and we laugh and laugh and laugh. There are very few people in this world who let you really let go and just be you.

alright, indulge me for a second while I post some photos I selected because they are awesome. We had the best, loudest, most fun table at the choir christmas dinner. mostly because of this person right here

I'm going to have to have her autograph it for me.

And the women in the picture with me. They make up the most amazing women I know and have ever had the pleasure of calling friends. I seriously can't tell you how very awesome each of them are.

I'm going to go with number 113 now. Because that's sort of my birthday. I believe this will launch us into the family portion of the month.

Ok, I fudged. When I saw which picture this was going to be, I selected the next one in line, but only because it was the exact same people and pose, just not blurry. This was probably my favorite picture of the whole lot.

What's that? I've posted a gazillion shots and we're not even halfway through? Whats half of 376? 188.

Christmas morning.

now. on to the christmas hymns. 210?

heh. match-y match-y!
I spent christmas at my sister's house, which meant I got to participate in the santa experince and then attend church in a tiny branch where one of the talks included the statement "I've decided I really don't prefer the christmas hymns in polka-style"

are you bored yet? we're nearing the end. the next 40 or so pictures were taken by my niece Katie. Which means they are all blurry, but she (being the darling only girl youngest of 7) managed to get smiles our of every person she captured. I could devote an entire blog post to a series of photos, all slightly blurred, but of every grown up in my family giving katie the exact same grin. Its pretty funny to look through. and right at the end there are no less than 10 shots of her cousin charlotte's cinderella doll.

here is 243.

now on to a nice bouncy sort of number. 275. (only 101 to go!)

can you see how she's showing you that she is "sooooo big!"?

ALright. I'm getting tired. let's wrap this up

Four in a row. I went to bemidji, minnesota. its far away and cold and its where the mississippi river starts. We tok small children swimming, we fed them chocolate, and I braved the cold for just long enough to get a very important picture.

See how I'm picking Babe the Big Blue Ox's nose?
Amy told me to.

The shacks on the frozen place are ice houses on the lake. I know lots of you may not have experienced this before, so I included it for your education. People build towns on the lakes in northern minnesota in the winter. in some places they even create roads using sand and stop signs. while there are no roads in this shot, my dad did say that he counted 48 ice houses. We only saw a couple trucks and vans out there on this day, but I'm sure that since it was the day after christmas, people were off doing some other important thing like buying AA batteries for sven and ole's toys or returning that sweater from cousin brita. I came back with a pretty strong accent.

Well that wraps up my photo review. There are lots of others worth sharing, but maybe some other time. or maybe not. school starts up again in 4 days.

Happy new year!

Monday, December 5, 2011


I went to denver... uhhh, a couple months ago. I went to visit my very awesome cousin and her adorable baby (who, incidentally, loved me.) and we made crafts and went to story time and in general did a nice little vacation-y weekend. We ate out (Q-doba, how I miss you) and we went shopping (a favorite past time) and we visited Snappy's Quilt Shop. Snappy is my Aunt Nancy. I like to imagine that I'll get to be like her when I grow up, because I'm named after her, and so its destiny. But I have a long way to go before I have her innate sense of fun and style. And now that I think about it, innate means that she was born with it and since it hasn't manifested itself in me yet, this may be a hopeless endeavor. But anyways.

She has recently opened a quilt shop. Where I browsed for hours and drooled over the fabrics and generally daydreamed about being sassy and fun.

And I left with the fabric and pattern to make myself a little bag. Which I made.

And I love it. See the cute newsprint-y fabric? and the stripes? and the blue, well, you don't see it at a glance because its all ruffled and girlish looking, but it actually has bugs on it.

I get lots of compliments on it, so I want to tell people it was really hard to make, but it wasn't.

And I figured since i have a few friends who spend some holidays in Denver, I should plug her shop here. She didn't ask me to, but I honestly think most of my friends would have a blast if they spent a few minutes there. If nothing else, so you can meet my Aunt Snappy and finally understand the level of cool I am aspiring to.

So next time you are in Denver, stop by Snappy Quilts (that's really what its called). Its not far from the temple, and I'm sure you can google it, since I don't know Denver well enough to give you directions, that would be much more effective.

Oh, and I'm sure I'll do a little more updating while I am avoiding finals and such. So don't give up on me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Disney Delusion

To the well meaning people who keep trying to "console" me in my singleness:

Thanks but No Thanks.
*stepping up on my soapbox*

*wipes chocolate from face as an afterthought*

Now before you accuse me of destroying fantasy and fun, I love me some escape into Disney cartoons. I’d love to believe that every girl is a princess too. But my 2 favorites have no sleeping princesses. No blonds. No handsome princes either. Belle is a bookworm who fights her battles, and falls in love with a monster. She saves him just as much as he saves her. Same thing with the Princess and the Frog. Tianna is a waitress and chef who works for her dream. Neither Belle nor Tianna start out as princesses. Neither of them are given anything more than opportunity to prove themselves. They aren’t any more special than the next girl. No entitlement. But when they are faced with a foe, they step up. They make themselves more than princesses. And their male counterparts are no different. Not dreamy, no white horses, not even desirable. All they’ve got is a foe to be face, a battle to be fought. And they fight together, and they save each other. Now that’s a romance. And you aren’t left wondering how they are going to face future battles together.

What is this thing I call the Disney delusion? I’ll tell you. It starts with all those little girls dressing up as princesses. I’ve already said my piece regarding pre-made Disney store costumes and dying creativity, tons of little girls growing up believing in the most simpering and weak aspects of fairy tales. The parts where they dance with forest animals and sleep through pain and trauma until prince charming kisses them awake. And the movie ends with a wedding.


Do you really want any story to end with a wedding? It seems to me a wedding should be a beginning, not an ending.

And that’s not the worst of it. Because you see, the story doesn’t end. Stories never actually end. The movie ends. The book ends. But the story goes on and on. Whether the story is about a fictional princess or the 3 year old that has been taught to believe in it, the story keeps going. And there are grown women, lots of them running around believing the story, and believing that it ended with the kiss, and the wedding. This is evident in the sales of movie tickets and DVDs to the genre “romantic comedy”, better known as the “chick flick”. It is evident in the number of grown women obsessed with characters from youth literature, juvenile descriptions of a fantasy relationship with little to no depth of character or story line. It is evident in the TV shows that are popular. It is even evident in commercials! At every turn, I am being told what to expect out of life. Prince charming. Sweeping me off my feet. Whisking me away to live in some dream. The Brawny man! Cleaning my kitchen for me! Fighting my battles, defeating my foes, and oh if only I wear just enough makeup, the cutest figure hugging dress, and stand at my window and sing, he’ll come along!

I absolutely hate it when people tell me “don’t worry, there’s someone wonderful out there for you.” “One day when you least expect it…” “It only takes one guy to finally see…” Blah Blah Blah, platitudes. What makes you think I’m sitting in my tower waiting for someone to come along and fight my battles?

And those little girls hoping for prince charming become young women waiting for prince charming. And some of them are just pretty enough to get the fairy tale. And others are left bitterly waiting. You promised! You said if I waited at my window and sang, he would come on his white horse! You said if I say my prayers and read my scriptures, he would take me to the temple! You said if I majored in Early Childhood or Elementary Education, we’d have babies that never grew to teenagers!
And when the real battles came along, when the story continues and it turns out you don’t get to sleep through the rough parts, suddenly things are different. The dream becomes a nightmare. All you want to do is wake up!

Oh yes, there are casualties in the Disney Delusion.

Now, here’s something else to consider. There is another casualty in the Disney Delusion. Because while little girls and young women are running around waiting for their prince to come, there are young men who have been exposed to the same barrel of horse manure. They aren’t watching the same movies and buying the same costumes, they are dressing up as Iron Man and Spiderman instead. I submit though, that the only difference is the gender of the title character. The same story line applies. Pretty girl. Big bad guy. Man with unrealistic qualities fights battle. Girl with unrealistic waistline cowers in corner/is tied to nuclear bomb/doesn’t want to ruin her manicure. He triumphs, she kisses him. The end?

Same story. Different casualty. Because you see, while women are complaining that they are expected to be thin/blond/perfectly coiffed, they are expecting their men to be superheroes. Strong, silent, winning every battle, defeating the foes, building a castle, showing up on a white horse or fast car, sweeping off of feet.
Have you seen the article about how men are getting less educated and spending all their time playing video games instead? Can you blame them? While girls are obsessing over body weight, because no one will ever sweep her off her feet if she weighs more than 105, boys are obsessing over saving the princess and fortifying the castle. And I can hardly blame them for escaping the ridiculous prince charming expectation by playing in a fantasy world where they get lots of lives. It may even be healthier than the way women escape the princess expectation with diet pills and plastic surgery.

And it gets even more complicated than that!

We’ve grown a society of people who think that the story ends with marriage. We live in a fantasy that teaches that “falling” is the only way to land in “love”. And if I don’t get that “falling” feeling, I must not be in love.

Well people, here’s the kicker for you. Love isn’t a falling thing. Love is a choice. It always has been. Since God created Adam and Eve and a tree in a garden, love has been a choice. The funny thing is, we call the fruit thing the “fall”. But no one tripped into the tree and landed with their face on an apple. Eve chose. Adam Chose. There was temptation. But the choice was only ever theirs. And what they chose was to work together, by the sweat of their brow.

And you know what, it makes sense. Because we are commanded to love. And we always have a choice as to whether or not we are going to follow the commandments. It follows then that we are never going to “stumble” into love. And if you are lucky enough to think that you have “fallen”, I would invite you to run with that, and see how long it takes for the falling feeling to go away, and you find yourself having to choose whether or not you are going to continue loving.

So. To the men who are sitting at home playing video games avoiding the expectations of all the Disney princess wanna-be’s: Quit living in the fantasy. I’m sorry the expectations are ridiculous. They are just as ridiculous for us girls as they are for you. Don’t place a Disney princess expectation on me and I won’t place the prince charming expectation on you. If you want a Snow White, you’d better go out and find yourself a white horse and maybe slay a dragon or two. But if you are looking at fighting some real battles, you’ll want something more than a princess by your side.

You have a choice.

And to the girls who are sitting at their windows, eating celery, painting their nails, and waiting for a man on a white horse to come over the horizon: Get down out of your tower. Slay a dragon or two of your own. You may find a few battle worn soldiers fighting by your side that are more real than any fantasy you could have while sleeping through the battle.

You have choices as well.

The real love story is in the battles fought together. The real love story doesn’t end with a wedding. The real love story doesn’t end. You get up every day and choose to love. And it doesn’t do anyone any good to love a fantasy. In just the same way that we have faith in things that are true, we love people that are real.

I love fairy tales. I love that the good prevails and dragons can be slain. I love romance. I love that even a scullery maid can find a castle and companionship. I love beautiful gowns and fairy godmothers and wishes and magic. They are all real. But I don't want to sit in a tower waiting for someone to come and do all the dragon slaying for me. So don't tell me to "just wait." those skinny princesses in their towers are missing out on years of adventures and fun sized candy bars.

*stepping down from my soapbox*

*and taking another fun-size candy bar*

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I am writing a 6 page paper on the cultural competancy (or lack thereof) in the DSM-IV-TR. I know, thrilling, right? You are all beggin' for a copy of it? No? OK. I won't post my drafts here. Especially since before I started writing my paper(s) over the past week, I decided to brush up on my APA format. Seeing as I have actually never been required to use APA (BYU Music department used Turabian) that was an excellent plan. My eyes were opened to a while new world of academic writing, the first of which was to refer you myself in the first person, that's right folks, I am to use "I" and "We" when writing academic papers. WHAT!!!!!!???? My 12th grade English teacher NEVER would allow this! Now, lest you think I'm completely insane, you should know that I always have used "I" and "we" when writing my papers. I've just always felt a deep sense of guilt... no, betrayal, or maybe just some sense of rebellion against the Ms. Hallan, Comstock, and Nordine that were my paper-writing educators in the formative years.

And that wasn't the most revealing or difficult habit to overcome! The APA guidelines also told me to avoid alliteration! Or rather, to avoid the use of poetic devices such as alliteration, rhyme schemes, and other flowery constructs. Seriously, these APA people couldn't even just have enough fun to say "Avoid alliteration". They had to actually do it.

SO along with adventures in APA (hey, this isn't an academic endeavor), there are discoveries and escapades waiting around every grad school corner. Here are some highlights. (Alliteration is Awesome!)

I am taking the bus to and from class, because its pretty direct, it forces me to stick to a schedule, and its free as a student. The other day, a 14 yr old spent his entire bus ride untangling a slinky. It was fascinating to watch for some reason. Maybe because my brain was so fried. It was a good slinky, the original metal kind, and it was a mess. I saw him working on it when I boarded the bus, and found myself glancing over to check on him occasionally. He was so careful about it, examining and pushing things through and around, working very hard to not bend it. By a few minutes in, I was hooked, watching without trying to hide it and rooting for him. I was pretty emotionally invested in the health of that slinky. What a relief that it was in normal functioning condition again by the time we disembarked. I would have probably stayed on the bus well past my stop in order to assure myself that the slinky would come out ok. And honestly, it was better than prime time television.

While waiting for said bus, I was innocently standing at the blue bus stop sign on highland in sugarhouse, when I noticed that traffic was backed up because a large SUV had just stopped right there by the bus stop sign. The lady in the car was frantically motioning, and it took me a moment to realize she was motioning to me. I waved, thinking maybe she thought I knew her, or maybe I did know her, but she still just continued to frantically wave her arms at me. I was concerned. I walked over to her car and asked if there was a problem. She practically yelled at me. "Would you just cross the street? I'm holding up traffic so you can go!"

"But I don't want to cross the street."

"Well then why are you just standing there at the curb?"

"I'm waiting for the bus."

At this point she made some sort of an explosive huffy disgusted sound that would be impossible to try and spell and laid into the gas pedal as if I weren't standing 8 inches from her car. I double checked. Yes, the signpost I had been leaning on had a large blue "Bus Stop" sign at the top of it. I'm sure it was kind of her to stop to let a pedestrian cross the street where there is no semblance of a crosswalk or intersection,I bet she was even trying to count it as her good deed for the day. But I still say she was the crazy one, not me.

Incidentally, the bus was stuck in the line-up of cars behind her.

Per my penultimate post about eating, I have rediscovered the joy of the peanut butter sandwich. And I offer many thanks for the feedback. (HaHA! did you catch that one? Feedback. :P) I am enjoying ham and cheese crepes and have a plan to begin experimenting with refried beans. I put veggies in my ramen and occasionally make potato dishes involving a jumbo sized container of rotisserie chicken spices. I have cut back significantly on my eating out. There is still some ground to cover there. But, you'll be happy to know that while I still haven't found a supplier willing to fund my ice cream habit (I'm looking at YOU, ColdStone), I have improved my own ice cream-making abilities and discovered that target's store brand, market pantry, has some wonderful chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches.

Ahhh, the highlights. It feels good to write the real way for a few minutes before I return to this academic stuff. Thanks for indulging me, oh world of blogginess

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Funerals: send flowers. Lots and lots of flowers.

Lest you think this is a morbid topic, let me be clear, and more morbid. Yes, this is about my funeral.

My friend and voice teacher (she is eternally both) posted about her funeral on her blog and mentioned she wanted me to sing a particular song we worked on together. And I'm honored and a little nervous about that. Because really she should end up speaking and singing at my funeral. And that got me thinking a little more about my funeral. So, lest there be any confusion, let me tell you a bit about what I want. *

*I do reserve the right to change this over the years, but if anything should happen in the next little bit, here's a road map.

You know how some people and families will say "in lieu of sending flowers we ask that a donation be made to...."

Not on your life, buddy. Or mine. I want flowers. There has been a sad lack of flowers in my life, due to the fact that there are no males obligated to provide me with any, and the few times some well-intended singles ward has assigned the guys in the ward to bring flowers to the girls, somehow I always end up with a bag of flour. They think it's funny, so I laugh it off, but I'm telling you here, I want flowers. I don't care what kind, but the first person who thinks it's funny to show up with a 10lb paper sack of flour instead will probably experience me rising out of my coffin in zombie rage. I can laugh stuff off while I am socially obligated to think you are funny, but after I'm dead, all bets are off.

And speaking of my coffin, nothing fancy (it doesn't have to be, it will be covered in flowers), but also, I'd rather there not be a viewing. I've been to enough to know that an empty corpse is useless. There is no one there, they never even look like the person I knew and loved, and I'd rather not remember them that way. So I'd rather people not remember me that way either. Put my closed coffin, covered with flowers, in a room with pictures of the alive version of me. Play a mix of MoTab recordings and my solo stuff. And hand out M&M's. There should be a bowl in every table, one on the coffin, and the relief society should be picking them out of the chairs and floor when its all over. That's the alive Nancy that, if you choose to remember, you should keep in mind. And no lines. Chairs for sitting and chatting, but no lines of people waiting to stare at dead me or talk to my family. I hate standing awkwardly in lines waiting to stare at a dead person and awkwardly hug a family member while trying to come up with something comforting to say. Make some jokes, laugh at stupid things I've done, talk about what you are doing next week or where you are going on vacation next summer. Swear a little. And figure out how you and the other person knew me. I've always loved for my friends to meet each other. I think some of you would really get along well.

Now as far as services go... You should know that the Choir has a tradition of sending whoever is available to sing at the funerals of past members. We always get these little announcements and emails that say "the family has requested that choir members who are available come and sing ... Blah blah blah." I'm sure my mother would love that, and if she requests it, you are welcome to come. If that is the case, you get one song. Come Come Ye Saints. Sure its got that last verse about death, but it's really the third verse that I'm interested in. Because the third verse is about how I've lived. so don't cut that third verse, or once again, I'm coming out of the coffin and starting a zombie apocolypse. Put Jim on the organ, he knows how to pull out every stop and make that instrument sing, no timid little mourning stuff. I want some Mendelssohn and some anthems. And that one arrangement of his, page ten of volume three, he knows the one. Aaron can step in too, if they want to spell off. Also, Jeannine should sing and speak. She can choose which solo, really, but something along the lines of "Precious Lord Take My Hand" or "Weeping Mary" would be my preference. Powerful spirituals. And if that's not quite enough variety, I'd also like some children (nieces and nephews maybe?) to sing "I Wonder When He Comes Again" my family knows the arrangement. Although, if assembling a group of children to sing is too much, the Choir can also do Ryan Murphy's arrangement of the same piece.

That should about cover the music. As far as speakers go, I'm not sure I care that much. Between the music and Jeannine and Jim, you can pretty much figure out who I am and how I lived. I've got a TON of former roommates who could stand and tell you all sorts of escapades and adventures and hours of good times. But I'm not sure I want the speakers to be focused on that stuff. Laughter and fun, for sure, just not me. Throw the gospel stuff in there, but don't make it all sad and floating on a cloud playing the harp eternally. Eternity is about work, and I'll already be busy doing stuff, so if I take time out for my funeral, I want to learn something real about the work we are trying to do. Make it personal or make it general, i don't care, but talk about what we are trying to accomplish and how we are trying to accomplish it. Missionary work, temple work, family work, just keep some perspective.

And if you want to munch on M&M's during the service, please do.

Mormons know how to do a funeral luncheon, I'm not worried about that. Funeral potatoes and ham and that green bean casserole that my brother hates. But for dessert, there needs to be blueberry pie. And once again, the M&M thing. Amy knows, just like at grandpas funeral. Scattered on every table.

Finally, let's talk resting place. Mountains. I'm not kidding, if you try to bring me to Minnesota, that seals the deal on the zombie apocalypse. It's expensive anyways, and frankly I don't care if people come visit my grave or not. I wont be there. Pick a small town cemetery on a mountainside. Sure, Salem or Deweyville would work, but if not, something similar. I wont live in a small town, but I'll be dead in one. That symbolism is intended. My empty corpse won't mind the quiet long distance from shopping and the small town gossip.

And please, don't leave gross plastic flowers there. Live flowers only. And if you do get a chance to visit, I can not reiterate the point enough, I want flowers. Whatever kind you love, share them with me.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

A call for recipes

You may or may not be aware that I'm returning to college in about 2 weeks. I'm returning to the whole super-duper-extra strength budget plan and buckling in for 3 years of taking the bus, mending my clothes, and dollar movie social gatherings. Woot. But the eating. Oh the eating. You see, between choir and work, the past year of my life has been spent in restaurants rather than the kitchen. And let's face it, it's actually more economical for one person to get their veggies from a $5 half salad at Zupa's than it is for them to dump $30 on fresh produce at the grocery store in order to make a salad only have most of the salad go to waste. And $1 fish taco night at Rubio's is ever my Tuesday night fare. But outside of the really great deals and charitable souls willing to buy my food for me, I'm going to have to give up the whoppers, Wendy's, and whims. And cafe rio. *sniff* oh cafe rio.

Plus. I've been eating school lunch for the past 3 years, and I won't have that anymore either. It wasn't great. But it was free.

So as I sit here polishing off the last of my chocolate ice cream, I ask you: what did you eat in college? Favorite, fast recipes for one singular sensational person, priced comparative to a package of ramen or box of Mac and cheese (the generic store brand).

Please. Help out the girl who just dumped $408.09 on 4 textbooks.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011


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Niagara Falls

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Chautauqua, New York

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