Sunday, October 24, 2010

Senior Citizen Appreciation

     For my two hour senior citizen appreciation paper, I wore extremely dampening ear muffs over my head for two hours. Being hard of hearing was a lot harder than I ever could have imagined. When you hear about composers, like Beethoven, composing a symphony when he was entirely deaf, you feel impressed, but being impressed is definitely not the same thing as truly appreciating something because you’ve been in the same position before. I was only deaf for two hours, whereas some elderly folks’ sense of hearing can diminish over the course of many years, much like Beethoven.

     So that I could truly learn to appreciate my sense of hearing, the first thing that I decided to do (after putting dampening ear muffs on) was to go and practice the piano. Normally, playing the piano is my favorite hobby. I just love jamming out to upbeat songs as my fingers lightly glide over the smooth, white keys.
Truly enjoying your favorite activity is extremely hard when you can barely strain to hear it. I’m sure that my parents, in the next room, were awed by how well I could play for not hearing, but I wasn’t impressed with my own playing in the slightest. When I tapped the keys in a soft rhythm while playing pianissimo in dynamic, I literally could not hear a note to save my life. To dampen my spirits as much as my hearing, when I reached the gloriously loud and exciting parts of a sonatina by Clementi, I could still barely hear anything, even though I knew that I was playing obnoxiously loud. The only song I could really hear was when I was pounding out “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beetles. No wonder the Beetles are still so classic, they are easy for the elderly to hear.

     When you’ve played an instrument for a few years, it becomes easier to play by ear. I winced more than a few times when I could actually hear myself playing a wrong note. The worst thing about it was that I couldn’t hear the piano well enough to try and fix my mistakes by ear. If I didn’t have a piece memorized, it was extremely hard to hear if I was actually playing the correct notes in the first place. Suddenly, I knew that it was time to stop trying to practice the piano. I got the point and I appreciated my ears a lot more than I had thirty minutes earlier, when I had reluctantly put the ear muffs over my ears.

    Not being able to play piano was only the beginning to my newfound discovery of my appreciation of being able to hear. Around the house, my parents can rely pretty heavily on me to do chores and help take care of things. Although they both knew and understood the gist of my psychology assignment beforehand, they became a little exasperated as I embarrassingly but honestly muttered, “What?” repeatedly when I couldn’t hear them. Sometimes, they had to repeat a phrase four or five times before I understood what they wanted me to do. The other times I would just do a random chore while in their line of sight to please them, I became rather good at guessing what they wanted me to do when I stubbornly didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t hear them.

     Most unfortunately, my parents and younger brother weren’t the only ones that I couldn’t hear. I couldn’t even hear myself. It was as if someone had put a gag over my mouth and I really had to spit out my words to be heard. There was absolutely no way for me to tell how loudly or softly I was speaking. It was embarrassing how loudly I was forced to talk. Now I really understand why senior citizens sometimes yell when they’re talking; it’s not necessarily because they want you to hear them, it’s because they can’t even hear themselves. That was by far one of the hardest parts of the assignment.

     I am a person who loves to play the piano, and quite apparently, I talk a lot more than I realized; that’s why not being able to hear was so hard for me personally. Not only do I appreciate my own sense of hearing more from this experience, I appreciate the diligence of the elderly in trying to hear others and be heard no matter how embarrassing it is.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Don't Judge

     I seem to be getting a lot of lessons about judging people lately! Maybe someone upstairs is trying to tell me something. I'm judgmental. They aren't too far off, it's not that I'm judgmental of people as a whole, I just over-analyze people's actions a lot. It's a weakness I know, but we all have something that we can work on, right?

     Yesterday I had an incredible lesson in my Sunday-school class that made me really think twice about judging people.

     With tear-filled eyes and frequent stops to try and contain the emotions that he felt, Brother Perry recounted a story of when he had judged too quickly. Every day a boy had come into his class with a terrible attitude that took the spiritual edge completely out of the class. The boy was a negative pessimist of a student, who used terrible language. He laughed at his rude disruptions, knowing the damage that he was doing to the spirit and morale of the class.
One day Brother Perry was fed up with the boy,
"You can't talk like that in here! Get out of my class right now!" he demanded. Without another word, the boy solemnly rose from his chair. Without a backward glance he left the classroom, a trace of a smile on his lips. He had been right. Nobody wanted him. At home, at school, or in church and seminary.
The class sat, stunned into silence. A girl spoke up, her face had a look of horror clearly written across it,
"Brother Perry... Why did you do that? You don't know him. You shouldn't have done that! I have known him since the second grade, and his life is a total mess right now." Brother Perry felt guilty the second he had ordered the boy out, but he didn't know how else to react. Clearly the boy wasn't intending to change his attitude, but now he'd gone so far as to kick a student out of class.

     Maybe the boy had been testing him, trying to prove something to himself. Why else would a normally good-hearted boy who even bothered to show up to a church class have started acting out like that?

     Brother Perry called the boy's father that night. The father wasn't at home. The next day he found out the boy's story from the girl who had disproved of his sending the rude boy out of class.
The boy's dad had gotten a divorce from his mom, and in no time at all, got married to another woman. The boy's story was much like Cinderella, except for the fact that his mom was still alive and having to live with the pain of being abandoned all so quickly.

     His new step-mom paid no attention to him at all, and if she did, it was out of pure need. A need which she took with a look full of disgust and contempt, all because she did not like her step-son what-so-ever.

     And to make matters worse, his father was so madly enough in love with this second wife, that he paid no attention to his son. The careless father barely noticed him anymore. The boy was completely broken-hearted. His father had literally been his best friend. They had done everything together, and now he was gone. It was as if he had lost a dad and a best friend all in the same sitting. To make matters even more painful, his dad and his best friend were the same person, making the pain of abandonment all the worse. The boy was heart-broken and forlorn. He didn't know how to react to the horrible change of events in his life, and so he acted out at school and church. The stress and heart-ache were almost too much for him to bear... And then the only teacher who had cared for him on a spiritual level had tossed him out. Just like his dad.

Brother Perry went on to tell us in a choked voice,
"Guys... Don't judge anyone! You never know what is going on in a person's life, and even if you do that is no reason to judge them for it. We all make judgments. We're human. We can't help it. But please, please learn this; the worth of souls is great in the eyes of God. We aren't God, but we need to do our best to love people unconditionally no matter what they do or how they act."

Hands shaking, he took a five dollar bill out of his pocket.
In a more light-hearted tone he asked the class this question,
"Who in this class would want this five dollar bill?" In a church class, at least you can expect people to be fairly honest, after all. Hands rose up as we looked at the upraised face of another honest man, Honest Abe to be exact.
"Would you still want this money if I did this?" Without warning, Brother Perry crushed the bill in his hand, wrinkling it beyond the point where it could ever be made flat again.
"Now, who would still want this?" he asked solemnly.
All of our hands were raised as before.
"Why is that? It's all wrinkled. It doesn't look new. Why would you want this crinkled little thing?" A student looked up from his clasped hands and with a clear voice stated,
"Because it is still worth as much as it was before."
Brother Perry smiled, although the pain of memory still lingered in his eyes,
"Exactly. You wouldn't judge money, this five dollar bill is still worth as much no matter how crinkled it is... However, money is useless to God. Can you imagine how much more you, his children, are worth to him? His son died to redeem you, because he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were worth it. You are worth it. Don't forget your worth, and don't forget that everyone, no matter who they are or what they have done are still of great worth."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A New Aunt for a Newborn

    My oldest sibling finally had her baby a few days ago! They named her Kayli, and she is like a perfect little porcelain doll. Her skin is so flawless and soft, aside from the few dry spots due to the lack of humidity here. Because she's a newborn, Kayli can only see up to eight inches in front of her, but that doesn't stop her probing eyes from searching everything that she can see. And now to tell the rather interesting story that I learned while waiting in the hospital. Don't ever judge off of a first impression!

    As my sister was in the hospital having her baby, I sat rather impatiently outside her room on a scratchy and rather cheap looking dark color-splatted chair.
My foot tapped incessantly in their light orange bowler-style shoes. Nurses shuffled past me, several making remarks on how it was "sooo nice" that I was sitting and waiting so patiently... Well,what else would I have done? Like I could've leaped right into my sister's room and shouted,
"You better have this baby now, or I'm leaving!!!!!"


    I'm guessing it was more of a small-talking comment to lament the hours that I sat waiting for Kayli      to arrive.

    My foot continued to tap nonchalantly as I peered down the hall to see what my dad and brother were up to, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a rather interesting shaped blob of color walking swiftly down the hall. Distractedly, I focused my eyes to see what the hustle was.
It was a short and skinny blonde lady who looked like a barbie, speed walking down the hall faster than if a creepy Ken brandishing a cleaver was chasing her.
She wore a little mini-skirt complemented by a hippie-looking rhinestone studded peace-sign-covered crew neck t-shirt. I was more than a little surprised when "barbie lady" looked down at me and laughing joked,
"Well who banned you from the room?" and with a little laugh waltzed right into the room where my sister was in labor.

     Surprise turned to horror and wonderment.

     Who in the world was this woman? Was that one of my sister's friends? Was she completely crazy?

     The next voice I heard from the other side of the wall was "barbie lady's," saying in that same casual tone,
"Alright, well let's get this thing over with!"

     She wasn't just any lady. It turned out that she was the doctor! That gave me a laugh too, and in a manner of minutes I heard another voice. Another voice that I had never heard in my life.

    It was a soft little cry, almost like a baby bird calling for something, but more prolonged. A smile crept to my lips as a thought impacted my brain like no other had for a long time.
"I'm an aunt!"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Memoir to An Amazing Dog

I remember the first time I saw her,
Like a little energized feather-duster
With two black eyes darker than the sky.
Tiny eyes.
Slits of pleasure that you saw and loved instantly.
I remember how her fuzzy legs sprinted towards me from the end of the hall,
It was as if she was my best friend who hadn't seen me in a year,
Even though we'd never met.
Her fluffy and curly tail wiggled in sheer excitement,
It was always wagging like there was no tomorrow.
And now there isn't.

I remember the first time she played in the snow.
It's the only time that it's ever snowed that I've really remembered,
the rest are blurred together like a smeared painting,
But I remember.
She bounded up the stairs with her tongue hanging out,
Dripping, pure white snowflakes clung to her, forming snowballs.
Dangling from her like icicles from a roof.
She shivered, innocently, laughter shone in her eyes,
It was as though she had made a joke that she didn't understand.

I remember the first time she chased her tail.
I remember when she started that annoying habit of loudly barking at the door.
I remember when she played tag with her nose, and the triumphantly proud look on her face- victory every time.
I remember the pensive look written across her face whenever I cried, I know she would have cried with me if she could.
I remember her ears perking up when we asked her to sit, always alert.
I remember when she ran in circles around the house and never got tired.
I remember remembering her while I was at school or away from home. Reminding myself that no matter how people thought of me, that my adorable dog would think the best.
I remember that unconditional love and miss it with all my heart,
Because I remember.

Rest in peace Dusty!

Friday, September 10, 2010

My Name

     In English fractions of my name descend from royalty. In Hebrew it means House of Figs, or the hallowed land where Lazarus was brought back to life. It is life like. Bright, energetic life, blazing like a billion gleaming orange sunbeams. The color of sunrise. The symbol of a new morning trying to prove that it is ready to face a new day, come what may, beckoning cheerfully to all and sharing promised warmth.
   It is a fresh new face, my name. Unlike my mom, my grandma, or her mother. Even though I’m younger than the whole lot of them, my name is older. Ancient. Tracing back to Queen Elizabeth, though I am just Beth alone. Not always lonely alone. Simply independent. The only part of my given name related to family is my middle one. A memory of the caring Grandma that I haven’t met. All I can do is Hope. Hope that one day my name will bring happy remembrances to my family. Like Grandma for mine or Elizabeth for the world.
     Elizabeth the I. Leading, fiercely like a lion, but calmly calculating. She conquered a Spanish fleet. Ironic for my name to be partially descended from hers, when she willed her cousin, my ancestor to be killed. I would’ve liked to have seen the passion she had for her people. The witty way she secretly allowed pirates to commandeer her enemy’s ships-- without protest. Silently amused, yet cunningly neutral. Accomplished herself in capturing subject’s loyal hearts.
    And for centuries since, she has maintained her dignity and fame. Remembered-- I wonder if she ever resented her life, pondered alone over whether her glass of life was half empty or half full. Queen or pawn, in the end we will all return to the same box. Beth. Though I have inherited only part of her name, I’ve inherited her passion for life, and have in my own way, have come off conqueror.

     At home, my name is never mine. At home, I’m seen through my Dad’s eyes like I was sixteen years ago. A bouncy baby kangaroo. His little jouncing Joey-- Jojo. Many nicknames blot out my own, as if it’s a simple word to be covered and replaced like white-out on paper. At school, fellow students create their own names for me. It’s as if I’m a whited-out canvas that needs more colorful paint. Fans croon as white and black face painted singers rock out, belting my name to adoring adults. In their mouths, it solemnly sounds as lonely as the moon. A name without a home to come back to.
There is no other word in the English language to describe who I am, save it be my own name. I am who I am. My name means me. When someone calls it, it’s like a sounding trumpet chord, telling the tune of my soul to those who care to listen. Yes. I will always be me.


     I don't know why I'm just barely posting all these pictures from last year. But, there are memories from High School that shouldn't be forgotten!Somewhere deep down, I know that I would regret it if I didn't have a memory of these pictures ever again.

      I recognize the fact that there are times in our lives when we must move on and really learn from the past, this is definitely one of those times. I'm glad to have had some friends in high school who helped me to realize the type of person I want to be as well as the type of person that I want to end up with in the future. Thanks for all the good times we had together when we were better friends :)

"Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go.
So make the best of this test and don't ask why. It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time.
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right. I hope you had the time of your life.
So take the photographs and still-frames in your mind. Hang them on a shelf in good health and good times.Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial. For what it's worth, it was worth all the while.
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right. I hope you had the time of your life."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Arise and Shine Forth

     "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies." Proverbs 31:10
Last week, I went to a church run camp for girls in my neighborhood. It was such an amazing experience; camp helped me remember how important every individual is to the world and to God. It was a learning experience from the time I shook nervously from fifty feet off the ground, suspended by thin little cords, to when I found myself running for cover from rock-hard hail the size of marbles.

Day 1: August 2, 2010. Arise and Shine Forth through Righteous Living
Today was such a blast! The younger girls lit up the camp with their smiling faces, no matter how scared or shy they were. They were loving and caring towards the other girls around them. We set up our sleeping quarter quite quickly today, after which, we played sponge water games.
We had an amazing speaker, Sister Stone, who talked passionately about how important it is to close our eyes and love everyone no matter who they are or what they look like. She portrayed and relayed with ter-filled eyes how truly important it is to never give up on those that you love, and to always do your best to reach out to those who seem lost.
Some men are born believing in God, some are born with confidence knowing that there is a supreme being who loves them unceasingly. Others lose the way and their sight of their faith, that once seemed so easy to believe and rely on. And then there are those who feel like they have no purpose. It is the job of good men and women to reach out to those less fortunate in any way, and to be an example, a beacon of light in the darkness to the many poor and lost sailsmen. All lost people need in the dark is a light, one beam, one single lighthouse in the night is enough for a stranded soul to reach out and find safe ground from the churling waves and jagged rocks in life.
3 Nephi 6:14
"And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were a few Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the cmomandments of the Lord


Alma 40:12
"And then it shall come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow."

     Tonight I was asked to share my testimony, so I decided to share a brief experience that I had a few months ago that helped to strengthen my belief. I'll write down my experience in in this journal as a guide, just in case I get nervous talking in front of so many people.
     This year at Prom, I was really shocked by the dresses that the girls around me wore. I was even more disappointed when I realized that some girls that I knew from my seminary class at school were dressed extremely immodestly.

     When I got home that night, I expressed to my mom how upset it had made me feel to see so many girls lowering their standards to try to appear "pretty" to their dates.

     The conversation turned into a spiritual experience as my mom asked me this one question, "How would those girls have felt if Jesus had walked into Prom right then? They would have been unbelievably ashamed."
That's why dressing modestly is truly important. We don't know when our Savior will come again. As we dress ourselves daily, we should think,
"Would I feel comfortable if I met Jesus today?"

     I know that this gospel is true, and I know that our savior saved us because he loves us. We will be blessed forever if we can show our love through obedience and patience.
After I bore my testimony, all of the girls were given handouts that read:
"Arise and Shine Forth Through Righteous Living

We cannot hide what we are, try as we will. It shines from within us... Those who stand firm, steadfast, and immovable are given great inner hidden powers and unseen strengths. They will be endowed with full and potent spiritual resources." James E. Faust"

"My final plea tonight is that you have the courage to stand firm for truth and righteousness. Because the trend in society today is away from the values and principles the Lord has given us, you will almost certainly be called upon to defend that which you believe. Unless the roots of your testimony are firmly planted, it will be difficult for you to withstand the ridicule of those who challenge your faith. When firmly planted, your testimony of the gospel, of the Savior, and of our Heavenly Father will influence all that you do throughout your life. The adversary would like nothing better than for you to allow derisive comments and criticism of the Church to cause you to question and doubt. Your testimony, when constantly nourished, will keep you safe." Thomas S. Monson."

Day 2: August 3, 2010. Arise and Shine Forth by Recognizing and Following the Spirit

     Today was so fun and uplifting! We had to observe each other, and share our observations with each other around the campfire. We were all assigned a girl, and my girl was little Amberlynn, I noticed that she is such a sweet, caring, and happy person. I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to get to know her better.

     The girl who had to observe me was another a sophomore girl named Lexie. She told me that she was impressed that I always stick to my standards, and that she was impressed by how hard I work at everything I do. Well, that really made me feel good about myself. The theme for today, as I've already mentioned, was recognizing and following the spirit, and there is no doubt that I felt moved by the love that was shared between the girls today. I learned that the spirit can teach us through words and feelings.

Day 3: August 4, 2010. Arise and Shine Forth by Being the Daughter You Were Meant to Be

     Today Sister Thompson read a book today that talked about how every girl is a princess. I never really thought of it that way, but I believe that God is a King, and that we are all his children. That would make me a princess, along with every other girl I see. But do I treat every girl like she is a princess? Princesses are extremely important.

     Now that I gained this knowledge, I'm going to do my best to be patient and loving towards God's other daughters, because they aren't just his children, they are in deed princesses. I'm going to make it my new goal, to reach out to others and help them realize just how important they are, because they are royalty. It's so important to always remember who we truly are, so that we can become who we were truly meant to be. Royalty.

Day 4: August 5, 2010. Arise and Shine Forth by Following the Savior Jesus Christ

"If you can resist all evil, you can resist Satan."

2 Nephi 2:27
"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the Great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself."

     Now is not the time to be another person caught in the gray area, there is a clear definition between right and wrong. Don't follow the play now and confess-to-bishop-later type of life. It is not worth it in any way. Don't mock the Savior's Atonement, he suffered greatly for our sins; and her suffers greatly still when we take his sacrifice in vain by choosing Satan's easy-way-out lifestyle. Life isn't meant to be simple or easy, and if it is, you aren't living the way you should.

Alma 53: 17, 20
"And they entered into a covenant to fight for the liberty of the Nephites, yea, to protect the land unto the laying down of their lives; yea, even they covenanted that they never would give up their liberty, but they would fight in all cases to protect the Nephites and themselves from bondage... And they were all young men and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold this was not all-- they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted."

     I'm sad that this was my last year of girls' camp.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fighting the Pain (Working Out)

     I believe that if my life were a book, the chapter for this week would be titled: The week in which I became a personal fitness trainer, and in which I was constantly, yet pleasantly, in pain.
Sadly, it took me about two months after not seriously working out on a schedule to get motivated again. Before the Sadie's dance, I was pretty stressed with school and with Grandparents; that was when I found the willpower to work out every day to try and get some endorphins in me. I stopped my working out phase altogether in April. A.P. test panic set it slowly but surely, and I found myself studying and doing homework from the time I got home to the time I slept late into the night. Now, three months later, I'm motivated to getting back into shape because of my cousin, who is really helping me to help her to kick us both back into shape (quite literally!)

     About every other morning, Alexis comes over to do P90X, a fairly intense work out video. The first DVD is kind of hilarious in an I'm-going-to-kick-your-butt way. The fitness trainer Tony, with all his ripped muscles bulging out from the t.v. screen, does simple yoga and stretching type moves that are somehow a lot more painful for you after than when you're getting really really into it. Honestly, when Amy came over again two days later to work out, I decided it would be best for the delightfully in pain duo to do something a little less strenuous. So nonchalantly I plucked off the P90x that had the smallest amount of time to it.

     You have no idea how much pain you can go through in thirty minutes! It turned out that almost the entire work out tape was based on upper arm strength. Several times I collapsed on the floor laughing at my lack of strength to do just one more push-up, only to make myself push through and put a couple extra in to make up for the time I spent laughing. It wasn't too long before my laughter died into a soft and not-too-subtle moan. A chorus of pleas shot to the edge of my brain, "Stop killing your arms!!" but there's no gain without the pain, so I laughed through the moans, groans, and kept pushing myself to go a little further every time.

     And of course, even though I was the one "introducing" Alexis to P90X, she easily outdid me. It was like she had a secret energy box hidden inside of her, and I could almost see it on the surface of her skin as she continuously lifted her weights up and down and over her head without a single pause. The strain in her face was practically unreadable, and that in itself was another good way to motivate me to keep going. I've learned that working out and straining yourself isn't just for your physical body, it's for your mind. When you work out, you push yourself, and in the end you can be happy with how you look physically, while mentally you gain the confidence to say, "Wow, look at what I can do!" and every time you jog a little further, and hope a little more. It's like looking at a tangible dream, all you have to do is reach a little further, and push yourself a little bit harder.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I sigh, like a tree in a cold, unrelenting breeze
I try, like aching Atlas to carry the weight of the world
I cry, like a solitary wolf howling for her lonely dark moon
I lie, like a masked man who can't look in the mirror.
I reply, like a flimsy facade trying to conceal any pain.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Broken Heart

These poems are another form that Mrs. Gray taught us today. Basically you ask a very serious question, and then attempt to describe the answer by using your own questions and comparisons. Each question should get progressively more thought provoking/ serious throughout the poem. It's almost like a Shakespearean poem with the two lines of A-B-X-B rhyming form, but the last three lines are A-B-B format instead! Confusing much? Maybe the poems will enlighten you to this unique format.

What happens to a broken heart?

Does it shrivel and shrink like toes under water?
Or blister and break apart—
Like sunburns getting ever hotter?
Does it feel crushed like a battered rock by the sea?
Or bleed like a wound—
That soon ceases to be?

Maybe it painfully crumbles
Like a man hit by a sharp spear

Or does it simply disappear?

What happens to a sad memory?

Does it fade like white-out against paper,
Or harden like a dark stone of emery--
Absorbing every other thought like a black hole?
Does it feel like a blue bird that could freely fly away,
Or like a whale trapped on the beach—
Imploring the sea in dismay?

Maybe it destroys every good memory it touches
Like a flood filling every space

Or does it die without a trace?

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Night

Today the happy wait
Is quickly passing like a stream
And the glitter gathers everywhere
Resting softly like moon’s gleam.
Oh, do you remember?
The tinkling song still lingers,
It’s sound dancing like the wind.
The smooth voice of Song,
And how her deep tone
Moved everyone to dance.
Us, dancing,
Laughing boisterously like children at our lack of skill
Or apologizing as we tripped,
Girls glaring in unison
As we brushed their shining diamond dresses.
You held my hand
And were unafraid,
Despite the sullen surprise of whispering friends.
Oh see the vibrant purple dress
That cascaded softly like the rain,
And the way it flashed, luminescent
Like a brilliant lion's mane
While happiness happiness
Happiness that I had never known engulfed my mind.
This was where the sound began;
With its profound ring
Opening my broken heart like a key.
And then the key disappeared
Into the black,
Forever flying out of reach.
I remember the color of music,
And how you
And all of your goodness
Were part of me for a breathless moment.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Prom the II

     Prom was different this year, in it that it was the first time that I've ever been asked to a dance by anyone other than Wes. Joey had a lot to live up to, but I think that he did a pretty good job!

  Jordan gave me the world's prettiest blue and purple corsage, and we rode in his cousin's sweet green mustang as well. As for Joey himself, he's a nice and funny guy, and he's been one of my best friends since before he moved away in ninth grade (not that that was so long ago or anything.)

     Joey picked me up for the day activity the day before the dance at around six o'clock so that we could go to Ethan's house and play games. We played a fun game where you start off with a sentence that you have to draw. The next person has to guess what you've drawn, and the third person must then draw what the second person guessed. It's called Telestration and is actually quite fun. We went from a giant man-eating snake to a "giant man" eating snake, that one made me laugh. I found out that people don't have to be good artists to have fun.

     When we'd had our share of fun with the drawing game, we went on a small hike to see the sunset across the lake and behind the mountains. It was so pretty, and the narrowness of the long lake made it look like the water had a large pink eye looking out at us.

     The twelve of us went back to Ethan's house again after the hike and we watched "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

     I was actually happy that we watched it, because it was my date's favorite movie- and one that we felt totally comfortable watching. Personally my favorite part is when the camera dramatically zooms up on the monks singing a deep-voiced chant. They then jerk their arms up randomly and whack themselves in the face with big wood-blocks. Can anyone say random? It was really fun to watch, and when I got home,my clothes smelled like campfire.

     On April 24, we went to Prom at the capital building. I'm sure that most people were surprised to see me in a totally girly, purple, sparkly, ruffled dress, but I rather liked it! I'd almost decided to try and find another dress when the lady in the store made a comment that I looked like a barbie, but luckily I was able to ignore that comment. Besides, most barbies aren't supposedly short-people like me .

     After Joey picked me up, we went to a park and his mom took pictures of us. Unfortunately I didn't know what camera to look at and made myself look like a dork, oh well, at least I tried! It made me laugh how excited Joey's little sisters were, I'm sure they'll be more excited when they get to go themselves!

     After a really good dinner of shrimp, steak, salad, and rolls, we headed to the dance.

     The dance itself was pretty fun! I was a little sad when I ran into my crush, who was dancing rather inappropriately with his date, but that wasn't enough to dampen my spirits for long.

     We all went out and sat outside for a while to cool down and take off our shoes. Luckily we went back inside just in time to see the Prom Royalty being announced as they walked down the stairs. It made me happy to see my friend Shannon walking down the steps in her bright red dress, I was glad to have voter her into the royalty because she looked like she was having a blast!

     Afterwards, we went to the temple and took pictures; it never fails to amaze me how one building can so brilliantly change the scenery in a city like ours. After pictures, my memory is a little fuzzier because of how late it got. Joey raced Caleb from the parking lot to another house afterward. I hate to admit it, but I was really scared.

     The rest of the night was pretty fun, we had ice-cream sandwiches, and I got to play the piano for a bit. I really felt like I was at home as I played my normal repertoire of music including: "Time of Your Life," "Everywhere," "Sonatina," "Harmony of Angels," and my personal favorite, "1,2,3,4."

     Here are the pictures from the dance.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Impressionist Poems

     Today in English we were learning about the old impression style of poetry. At first, I was really really skeptical. The very first poem we had to read in class was by William Carlos Williams, it was called "The Red Wheelbarrow." It goes like this:

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

     I was astonished! There was no punctuation and very little description.. It's so simple that a kindergartner could do it (or a caveman.) If that's really all the work it takes to get a poem published in a school book read by millions of American children every year, then sign me up!

Somehow, despite the lack of overall creativity and style, the poem serves the purpose that the author made it for. Can't you see the red wheel barrow surrounded by chickens despite the few details? That's a pretty cool effect if you ask me!

Well my English teacher had us write a few poems based on William's style. So here's my rendition of it.

So much depends

a bright white

mysterious like full

rising into our

So much depends

black tick-tock

counting like cocky little

inside time's vast

The next poem we read totally made me laugh. It was a poetic note from William's apologizing to his family for eating all of the plums out of the family icebox. So of course I had to write a few. One day I'll cut them out and tape them in the cupboard to see my family's reaction.

I have eaten
the cereal
that was in
the cupboard

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
it was heavenly
so crunchy
and so refreshing

I have eaten
the marshmallows
that were in
the pantry

and which
you might have
while camping

I'm sorry
they were delightful
so gooey
and so sweet

Rather bizarre, but it's rather fun to write zany little things like that sometimes! And now for the most confusing poem at all. See if you can find the meaning of the broken up words. Hint: try reading the words in parenthesis and then the broken up words before and after parenthesis.

G G)

You should find "bunny," "Easter," and a combination of either "runny egg" or "Easter egg" depending on the way you're looking at it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Journal Jar

     As my family cleaned up my brother's old room (our guest bedroom that is now our office,) Dad came across a strange jar filled with papers. If I hadn't spotted it a few seconds after it came into his hand, it probably would have been tossed away like all the other junk.

The paper-filled jar wasn't just any old jar, it was my old journal jar that I'd made almost a decade ago. It is filled with tons of questions, some of which I had jotted down in my little pink diary years before the jar was lost altogether.

     I realize that this is a unique opportunity to answer the questions in the jar somewhere more permanent than a journal! Any questions that a reader could have about me are about to be answered. Enjoy my little piece of mind!

"Preserve your memories-seal them up well. What you forget, you can never retell. But a journal that's kept fresh on the shelf Will help someone through rough times-- Maybe even yourself!"

1. What are my goals and dreams?
~ For starters I just want to survive high school without too much injury. I've made it a goal to get good grades and try to help other people feel happy.
     In the long run, I want to go to college, go on a mission (to a foreign country hopefully,) and I want to marry Prince Charming of course! Eventually I'll get a good paying job so that I can really save up money, just in case.

2. List all the costumes you have worn or characters you have been for Halloween.
~Oh dear, that's a fun question. Well the earliest that I've seen pictures of was when I was the "Pumpkin Princess" at about age two. Almost every year after, I was always a glittering, pink, princess of some sort. My favorite color was pink growing up until about fifth grade when it became too "girly."
I also remember being a Furby when I was like five (those things are so creepy, I don't know what I was thinking.)

     Another year I was warrior Mulan, and when I was ten, I chose to go punk rock and be "Josie" from "Josie and the Pussycats." From about 11-15, I was always Hermione Granger. To this day I'm still a total Harry Potter nerd; honestly, if it weren't for dances, I'd probably continue my trend of being Hermione every year. The past two years I've been Elizabeth Swan (from Pirates of the Caribbean,) and Mulan once again (this time wearing a kimono style costume.)

3. Tell about your favorite pet-what kind of animal? When did you get him/her? Why do you like them?
~I love Dusty and Shadow to death, but I think one of the happiest moments of my life was the first time that I saw Dusty.
Dusty was our family's Christmas present when I had just turned seven. I can still remember how excited I was; it feels like yesterday.
Dusty was this tiny, bright, white puffball with black eyes that could barely be spotted through all her puppy fuzz. She was so cute, amd she was constantly running around the furniture and chasing her tail.

Dusty is really old now, (nine in our years, pomeranians are supposed to live until about age ten.) She's not quite as energetic as she used to be, and she barks like her life depends on it if anyone knocks on the door anymore, but growing up, she was the best dog I ever had.

4. What is my favorite thing to do at home?
~Piano, piano, piano. I could play that instrument all day long and not get bored. The little sitting room upstairs is like a second bedroom to me because of the piano. I like playing and singing to myself when nobody's home, and I like playing pop and rock when anybody's listening.

5. Describe your favorite fall activities.
~Well for the past two years, I've pretty much lived for one activity in the fall. Marching band. I love playing soccer in the fall too, but I end up missing half of my games because of the marching competitions.
Although I don't admit it often, I love my section (even though they tease me like I'm their little sister a lot.)

6. What do you want to be when you grow up?
~My dad has always really wanted me to be a lawyer, and only recently did I become rather interested in that idea. I really like psychology, and it would be awesome to be the one to shut down the weak minds of petty criminals.

7.What can you remember about the day you were baptized?
~I remember feeling like a princess standing there in my little white dress. I just felt so special, and everyone I cared about was there to support me, from little Johnny to my cousins who used to lived more than two hours away.

     I'm really fortunate that my dad was converted to the church when he was eighteen.
Unfortunately my baptism wasn't all good memories, my brother ended up tripping and hitting his head really hard on the corner of a church bench while running around with the cousins.

     He ended up having to go get stitches, and I remember crying my eyes out because I was so scared when Mitch's light blonde hair was dyed red with blood. That was not good!

8. Tell about the most wonderful thing that ever happened to you.
~Gee whiz, there are so many. Well, my friends from Fairfield were probably the best thing that ever happened to me.
They really know how to help me when I'm feeling sad or overly stressed from school. My friends are really funny, but not usually in degrading ways.

9. Write about something that drives you crazy.
Well for starters, it drives me crazy when guys that I really don't like can't take the hint that I don't like them, because then I have to be mean. You know what though, it's not just any normal guy that I'm mean to, they have to be exceptionally overbearing. Eek.

     It also drives me crazy when people don't tell me the truth, good or bad.

10. What is your favorite color, and why?
~Wow, the first truly embarrassing question. My favorite color is red. It honestly all started with my Harry Potter obsession. I associated red with Harry Potter, so that, (and thinking that it was an awesome color in general) helped me decide that I liked red the most.
Not to mention that I just couldn't let pink be my favorite color anymore, because I became a "tomboy." Tomboys can't like pink, it's too girly.
Fortunately, I'm not too much of a tomboy anymore... Well maybe a little; I love sports and I have always hated shopping.

11. What do your parents say that can drive you crazy?
~Hmm... Well, specifically when Dad says that I couldn't handle being in the military.
That really annoys me... Just the thought that there's something out there that I couldn't do frustrates me. I'm one of those people who likes to believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to.
It also bugs me when my mom tries to ground me; the only thing that she can really ground me from is books or playing the piano. What kind of parent would ground their child from reading? Leave the nerdy side of me in peace!
But really, I'm not grounded too often anymore. I really love my parents a lot!!

12. What is advice to those younger than you?
~Don't have boyfriends or girlfriends while you're in high school, it's not worth it. Friendship is better than nothing, and all relationships end two ways: breaking up, or getting married... Let's just say  that high school is hard enough without worrying about a break-up.

     As a teenager, your focus should be to have the best grades you possibly can. Have a good set of close friends, that way you can have some self confidence along the way.

     Self confidence will totally help your grades, don't be afraid to break your shy shell, I did.
My grades in ninth grade soared through the roof when I found good friends. My best friend in eighth grade made me clean the table and chairs off before she sat down, I don't know why I stuck with that group. Don't put up with friends like that! Don't be afraid to find a new group of friends if you really need one.

     Lastly, don't cause drama over old friends and lost friendships, and DON'T spread rumors. Be friendly to everyone, even if they aren't friendly to you.

     On a separate note, listen to your parents the second they ask you to do anything. You may have lots of other things to do (aka:homework or "hanging out,") but being around angry parents is a lot worse than any load of homework...
You will make your parents so happy if you spend thirty minutes being with them or doing your chores; your parents take eight hours out of their day to work for you!

13. Who is your favorite cartoon character?
~I don't really watch cartoons anymore, but when I was little my very favorite cartoon characters were Simba and Nala from The Lion King. I would constantly crawl around on all fours and growl at everyone to immitate the Lion King.

     I'd get all frustrated with people for calling me Beth, because I wasn't "Beth" when I was roaring my fierce roar, I was a lion! I was such a funny little kid!!

     My favorite cartoon Disney character right now is probably Pocohantas... My little half-Chinese cousin watches it every time she comes over, and I watch it with her sometimes. Even though it's totally off historically, it has a really good message.

14. What's my favorite Christmas memory?
~Well the funniest by far is when me and Lexis (my cousin) watched Prince Caspian. She thought that Prince Caspian was really cute, and I personally thought that Peter Pevensie wasn't too bad either.

     So after the movie, we went and looked up the actors from Narnia on the Internet... We came to find that Prince Caspian was about ten years older than Lexis, and that King Peter was my older sister's age (five years older to be exact.)

     At first it was rather discouraging that our new "star crushes" were so much older than us, but I had fun teasing Lexis about her preference for grave robbing.

     Gift wise, that was the year that I gave my dad and Mitch fleece blankets that I had personally tied together for them. It had taken me hours to do the cutting and knotting, but it was worth it to see their smiles.

15. What is something that always brings a smile to your face? Why?
~Well some of the guys I occasionally see from my section from band crack me up! My section leader is especially funny, we have this little rivalry where we tease and make fun of each other a lot. Marching band humor >_< gotta love it!

16. What is my favorite food? Why? What food will I never eat? Why?
~My favorite food of all time is my Mom's Chicken enchiladas, I've never had an enchilada anywhere that even compares.

     All in all, I like spicy Spanish flavors more than almost any other type of food. I love pasta in all forms, (alfredo is insanely good,) and Chinese food is pretty awesome most of the time.

     Although I must admit, even though some Chinese food is good, some of the really authentic stuff is gross. The nastiest food that I've ever tried was chicken feet.

     I ate the feet for extra-credit, but I won't ever do that again. A few weeks ago, I tried squid for the first time at a Vietnamese place. Now I know that squid isn't my favorite food either, it was like never-ending seafood gum.

17. What are some of my jobs at home?
~Usually just kitchen clean up and dishes. I'm also supposed to clean the downstairs bathroom, my bedroom, and a part of the office.

18. If you could learn anything in the world, what would you want to know most? Why?
~If I could learn anything, I'd learn how to fly without the help of a huge machine.

19. Write about something you are grateful for.
~There's way too many things to just mention one thing. I'm grateful for my family, my friends, my pets, my school, and my country and those that defend it. I'm grateful that I can eat three meals a day if I want to, I'm grateful that I live in a safe environment, I'm grateful that I can read, write, cook, play instruments, play sports, and live. I'm grateful for God, and I'm thankful for all that his son Jesus did for us.

20. If you could have your favorite dinner for your birthday, what would it be?
~Chicken Enchiladas and fruit punch. For desert, we'd have peanut butter bars.

21. Am I a forgiving person? Is there anyone I need to forgive- and what's the game plan?
~Ah, another one of my flaws. I forgive people, but I have a good memory, that makes the forgetting process very difficult. Usually the only person that I can't truly forgive is myself when I do something wrong.

22. Tell about a family trip your family took that you particularly enjoyed. Where did you go? What did you see?
~Oregon. Without a doubt, I love that state. We visit my Great Grandma every couple of Summers. I remember the trips really well. We hike through Silver Pine Forest and see tons of beautiful waterfalls.

     My favorite thing about going to see Grandma, is our side trip to Seaside. The Seaside beach is the prettiest thing that I have ever seen in my life.

     The air there is so cool and fresh, and you can just feel all of the life around you. Seagulls fly high enough not to disturb people, and you can find jellyfish and seals playing far off.

23. What are things I love and admire most about my father?
~.Where to begin? I admire that he was able to aspire to a high rank in the army, even though he started out parentless and penniless.

     I admire the way that he can be friends with everyone so easily, and although his laugh can be really embarrassing, it makes me laugh too. I love how he works so hard all the time, but usually finds time to spend with us. I admire how he's so honest... Even though he can be painfully honest sometimes.

24. What is your favorite T.V. program? Why? What is your least favorite program? Why?
~Recently my family has been watching this series that I found on Netflix, it's called "The Seeker." It's kind of like a mix between Eragon and The Legend of Zelda.
~Probably my least favorite show is The Simpsons, I've probably only seen one or two episodes in my life... That series can be so foul, so much of the stuff in it is completely anti-Christian and is just really sarcastic. Sarcastic humor is not my favorite.

25. What is your favorite thing to do in the summer time? Why?
~Swimming. I used to be on the swim team for about five years, and although I'm not on the team anymore, I love being in the water. Don't ask me to race you though, I'm exceptionally slow now.

26. How much does it cost to go to a movie nowadays? Popcorn, drinks, and candy?
~Ah, depressing question. Movie tickets after six o'clock can cost up to eight dollars. If you add on popcorn, the popcorn itself ranges from about four to seven dollars. Drinks can range from around three to six dollars usually. All in all, going to the movie after six can cost about fifteen to twenty three dollars for just one person. And I forgot to add candy, sheesh.

27. If you could live in another country, where would you live? Why?
~Well, if I had to live in another country, I would probably live somewhere in Western Europe.
I would want a cool English accent!
I think it would be fun to live in Iceland because I have heard that it is amazingly pretty there. It's basically the same climate as Oregon, and I love the colder weather.

28. How many are in your family? Do you wish you had more brothers and sisters? Why?
~There are six of us in total. Growing up, I always wanted another little sibling, Mitch was too close to my age. I wanted another little brother to play with and teach how to walk and talk. Not only that, but I've always felt bad that Mitch never had a brother

29. If you could star in any movie, what would it be and why?
I always said that if they made a person Jackson movie, that I'd want to be Annabeth. Well, it's a little bit late now, isn't it? Oh well.

My second choice would be Stargirl. That story is so inspiring, and I can really relate to Stargirl.
I'm not really like everyone else, and I think it would be neat to be the one to send out the message that it's okay to be yourself.

30. What are my favorite holiday traditions?
~I love New Year's Eve. Although it's not my favorite holiday, it has lots of fun traditions. My cousins and I play board games until midnight: Risk, apples to apples, curses. Usually we watch the ball drop in New York and practically shatter our plastic sparkling cider cups while toasting each other.

31. Do you like school? Why?
~Every year is different. Last year, ninth grade, and sixth grade were my favorite years that I can remember. For the most part, I like school, I even like doing the homework afterwards because it gives me something to do.

32. Describe one person you admire.
I've always admired my aunt, she is the nicest and most patient lady I think I've ever met in my life. I love my cousins to death, but it's hard for me to believe that my aunt is raising seven kids! It's impressive. She is always helping other families, and she always makes people feel happier when she's around.

33. What is the best Christmas present you recieved? What is the best that you've given?
~Well Jesus's gift beats every other gift. He saved my life, and forgave me for all the wrongs that I've ever done. :)

     My parents gave me a keyboard when I was younger. For the next few years, I hated that keyboard with a passion and so I never practiced.

     As a kid, I liked making up my own rhythms; I didn't like the way that my elderly teacher made me conform to the pages and count out-loud.

     Now the piano is basically my soul. Not a day goes by where I don't practice... In the long run, my parents gave me a talent for Christmas.

     I believe I've already mentioned my favorite gift that I've given, that year that I spent hours tying of blankets for my family.

~~~~The End~~~~

Hey guys! Now you know a lot about me and who I am as a person, if you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them for you (as long as they are somewhat reasonable!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Haikus

You might have guessed this from the unusually happy way in which I decided to write Haikus outside of class, but in case you didn't notice, I am so excited for Spring! I've missed playing soccer, and I'm totally getting a different kind of kick from the sunny weather. It's amazing to wake up to the bird's chirping and the bright light leaking in through my window!

Hot, bright light illuminates;
green arms are stretching,
embracing the sky above.

Penetrating tears fall down--
Trickling from heaven,
the sad blue drops giving life.

Bright colors shoot from the ground
Dancing with the wind;
Laughing at the hot, white sun.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

East of Eden and Huckleberry Finn

     Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and John Steinbeck’s East of Eden have many similarities, yet they also have a few differences. Likewise, many of the themes and ideas such as the fight between good and evil, lying, and internal characters’ internal conflict and struggles become a major part to the story and how it plays out. However, the differences come about in the author’s different opinions of these struggles, Steinbeck continually shows through his novel that people have the right to choose, and oftentimes people will choose good over evil in the end. For the most part, Twain sees the evil in the world with a pessimistic outlook; evil people are not likely to change who they are, rather they will continually choose wrong if it conforms with society’s views.

     “We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.” In this sentence, Steinbeck stresses how everything, including our lives, is centered on the conflict between good and evil. Steinbeck’s opinion is that evil always changes to accommodate, but goodness always stays the same. Similarly, Mark Twain addresses the idea of good vs. evil. However, he is more cynical, addressing the conflict in a more negative way. Huckleberry Finn is faced with many hypocrites, liars, and vagabonds throughout his adventure. Twain uses a majority of his characters to point out the flaws in society and it’s lack of good, especially when it comes to the issue of slaves being property. However, it is symbolic that in the end, Caleb (who was constantly fighting doing what was wrong,) and Huck (who had to confront the issue of slavery head on,) chose to do good over evil in the end. The “good” side that they chose was the ultimate goal from the viewpoint of both authors.

     “Cathy was a liar, but she did not lie the way most children do. Hers was no daydream lying, when the thing imagined is told and, to make it seem more real, told as real. That is just ordinary deviation from external reality. I think the difference between a lie and a story is that a story utilizes the trappings and appearance of truth… But a lie is a device for profit or escape.” Steinbeck addresses lying head on, by telling readers what his own opinion of lying is. Throughout East of Eden, the characters who were really struggling with being evil or were already completely evil lied and twisted the truth to their gain. In the end, when Caleb’s brother Aron found out the truth, he could not handle it and ended up getting killed. This sad ending to an innocent character represented how lies can ruin a person’s life. Twain also believed that lying was wrong and hypocritical in many instances. In the church one day, the Grangerfords and the Sheperdsons received a lesson on brotherly love, while the next day, they were killing each other over an issue of marriage. However, Huck lied straight out many times throughout the book to protect his friend Jim from being captured. Contrastingly, Steinbeck’s strictly negative view on lying is truly different than Twain’s belief that lying is okay if it is used as a means to an end for the right purpose.

     The internal conflicts between Caleb from East of Eden and Huck from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are startlingly similar. Steinbeck illustrates how Caleb’s mother was a monster, “And just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or a malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul?” Caleb’s mother Cathy was infinitely evil, and she never changed. He was forced with the fact that his mother was an evil woman who constantly lied and ran a brothel house. Steinbeck’s character chose to overcome the sins of his mother by deciding not to be like her and to become a decent person despite the evil part of her that was in him. Likewise, Huck’s father was evil, he beat Huck and was extremely racist. Huck was confronted by the fact that society had told him his whole life that if he helped a slave that he would go to Hell. Like Caleb, Huck’s internal conflict was solved when he finally made his decision. “Alright then, I’ll go to Hell.” The difference between the two is strongly different in the sense that Caleb will not jeopardize what he feels is right, while Huck will consort to stealing, and lying to do what he feels is ultimately right.

     Although Steinbeck and Twain’s optimistic and pessimistic views seem to contrast each other, the two authors have the same views on many things. Evil is wrong; like their characters, you can overcome it whether it is passed on through genes or all around you in society. Lying is wrong, but in Twain’s view, it is occasionally okay to lie to serve the right purpose. We all face problems that must be resolved, however, whether our decisions are good or evil, we will ultimately decide in the end.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Conflict in Men, Society, and Self

Dear Blog Readers,
     I apologize once again for publishing one of my essays for English, but I figure it will help someone out there. It recounts the external and internal conflicts of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in four double-spaced pages. I really liked that book, which was extremely surprising to me. I'd read the Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain beforehand. Personally, I hated the book and don't know why I finished it. Initially, I dreaded having to read a Mark Twain novel again. Well, I ended up being pleasantly surprised; you can't judge a book by one cover, and apparently you can't judge an author off of one book! Enjoy the read if you have the time, don't feel bad if you don't want to read it; it is an essay after all!

     In Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck faces many trials as he and Jim down the Mississippi River on their way to Cairo. Throughout the book, Mark Twain’s personal opinions can be seen throughought his novel. His views from pre civil war times tell of his opinion on subjects including conformity, guilibility, greed, corruption, misunderstanding, slavery, and the importance of telling the truth. Huck and Jim’s trials throughout the book reflect the inconsistencies and issues in society and man, they also revealed major internal conflicts that were faced in the novel.

     “The pitifulest Thing out is- a mob; they don’t fight with the courage that’s born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from the mass, and from their officers” (145.) Colonel Sherburn’s speech told of Twain’s views on society; movements in society are often fueled by cowards, who in turn are backed by followers with little courage themselves. These “followers” in society are men and women who don’t open their eyes and think for themselves; rather they will conform to the will of others around them or go with what is considered “popular” by the mass. Men oftentimes join the rest of society so that they might appear normal, thinking that they will be more accepted if they are like everyone else, sometimes that is true.

     Another example of corruption in society was the symbolism behind the Duke and the King. The Duke and the King represented all of the flaws and lies in society; in spite of their record of being complete phonies, they were almost instantly accepted into an ignorant society. Only the informed Doctor tried to defame The King’s feeble attempts of acting like Peter Wilk’s brother, “He is the thinnest kind of imposter- has come here with a lot of empty names and facts which he picked up somewheres; and you take them for proofs, and are helped to fool yourself by these fools…” (166.)
The gullibility of the town was shown when the Doctor offered evident proof of the King’s ineptitude to fake a British accent. The fact that nobody was willing to accept the Doctor’s proof shows that the society believed what it wanted to believe. If Huck and The Doctor hadn’t acted on behalf of what they knew to be true, Peter’s innocent, young, orphan nieces might have lost everything that they had.

     A great example of the corruption of men individually, and the conflict between good and evil was the conflict between Huck and Judge Thatcher with Pap. Pap says, “Look at it, says I- such a hat for me to wear- one of the wealthiest men in town if I could get my rights.” (35.) In his head, pap is seriously misguided by the idea that money is the only way that he could be happy and earn his rights. Rather than trying to work hard to achieve his American dream, he tries to make Judge Thatcher give him Huck’s money. There is a conflict when the Judge refuses to give Huck’s money away so easily, and there is a physical conflict when Huck doesn’t give Pap the money that he is desperate to obtain.

      Another conflict was shown when Jim and Huck have differing views on the tale of King Solomon. “Doan’ talk to me ‘bout yo’ pints. I reck’n I knows sense when I sees it; en dey ain’t no sense in sich doin’s as dat.”Jim personally didn’t believe that King Solomon was wise to want to cut a baby in half; Huck, on the other hand, believed that Solomon was using the threat of cutting a baby in half to suit a wiser purpose. This scene goes to show what lengths people will go to to stick with their beliefs. Men can be narrow minded when it comes to hearing other’s opinions, especially when their mind is set on a particular idea or ideal.

     Perhaps the most significant conflicts were conflicts that raged inside of Huck throughout the story. Huck was constantly fighting himself over the issue of slavery, and whether or not he should help Jim become free. At one point, Huck felt so terribly about what he was doing, that he almost wrote to Miss Watson to reveal Jim’s whereabouts, “I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide between two things, and I knowed it… Alright then, I’ll go to Hell” (107.) Huck had learned his whole life to fear going to Hell, but despite this, he decided in the end that he would risk everything and anything to help his best friend. Slavery was a huge issue during Twain’s lifetime, Twain’s views were reflected through the way that Huck finally sees the importance in helping a man who was like a brother to him, in spite of the consequences.

     Another conflict arose when Huck had to choose whether he would be honest with Mary Jane about The Duke and The King’s fraud to earn their money. Huck had grown up telling lies to save himself from getting in trouble or being beaten by his abusive father. He finally learned that sometimes it really is better to tell the truth, “I reckon a body that ups and tells the truth when he is in a tight place is taking considerable many resks… I’m blest if it don’t look to me like the truth is better and actuley safer than a lie.”

     This concept of telling the real truth becomes significant again in the end. Tom was able to free Jim from slavery only through telling the truth. Tom, the romantic in the novel, made Jim sleep with snakes,write with his own blood, and eat sawdust. If Tom had never told the truth about Miss Watson’s death and will, Jim would never have been set free.

     There were many conflicts both internal and external in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. They helped the reader to see Mark Twain’s personal views on controversial topics of the day. Issues such as lying, greed, slavery, misunderstanding, and cowardice through conformity were all addressed and resolved in the end.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Nascar and Sadie Hawkin's Response

     My life seems to have many different phases to it. If I had to give this month a name, it would probably begin something like, "The most crazy and busy month that I've ever had in my life."

     At the beginning of the month, my grandparents were living in my house. I won't say too much about it if I can help it, (I want to be respectful.) My grandparents don't get along very well, and I felt like I didn't have a peaceful place where I could go to be alone and let out the stress. Lots of times the only peace I could find was in the menial day to day tasks in school. It was terrible to see my grandparents lose their house and everything they had to debt, there are so many happy memories of me and my cousins at their house. And now it's not theirs. The financial crisis has scared me a lot, and I hope with all my heart that I'll be frugal and not have to end up in the same situation.

     Fortunately, there was light at the end of the tunnel for my grandparents, due to Franklin Roosevelt's social security plans from about sixty years ago, my grandparents had enough money to move out and go on a mission. My Grandpa has always wanted to go on another mission to Brazil, and I'm happy that he got to meet one of his life's goals.

     During February and March, my life was passing me by quicker than I could imagine. The snow melted, leaving the cold and bare ground, leaving me with a feeling of hope. Most of the sadness in my life melted away with the melting of the snow. You never realize how much you miss the sunshine until it hits you full on in the face.

     My Dad recognized the fact that I needed a vacation more than anything, a chance to get away from everything and just be able to relax. I can't begin to write how glad I was to go on a vacation. Together, me and my dad decided to test the experience of going to Las Vegas and seeing Nascar!

     The road ahead of us stretched on forever. Mirages glinted off of the surface of the hot black gravel, making you thirsty, even from a perfectly air-conditioned car. The magic of the mirages was quickly vanished once we reached the largest parking lot that I've ever seen, we had reached Las Vegas.

     The parking lot spanned a mile in every direction from wherever you stood. I could barely comprehend the amount of cars that I saw there. Cars all have to have a driver to drive them, and so I wondered in awe at the enormity of the crowd of people that must be waiting in the arena. They had all come to see one thing; millionaires racing across the huge NASCAR circle to become even more famous than they already were.

     Colonel, Jackson, my dad, and I were able to see one of the few and far between rainstorms that occur in such a desolate desert landscape. The pelt of rain postponed the race for an hour or two, so we sat in a guard trailor. The huge guard trailor that we were able to see the next day frustrated me a little. Taxes had paid for the making of the National Guard trailor which had tons of luxuries, (including a t.v. in the bathroom.) Aside from my slight irritation, I must admit that it was cool to watch the race while sitting on seats that were safely secured to the top of the trailor itself.

     We had to wear earplugs as the race comensed, cars raced by at two hundred miles an hour. The roar of the engines was quickly replaced by the sight of the cars shooting down the track.

     In the end, Dale Earnheart Junior, (the driver that we were rooting for,) got sixteenth place. It made me laugh that Joey Lagano (a nineteen year old boy,) ended up beating our well experienced Guard Car driver.

     Aside from going to NASCAR, I did another crazy thing that I never thought I'd do. I asked someone to Sadie's! It was funny, because most of my friends just laughed when I told them,
"Well finally you asked him, Jojo! It's about time!"
Despite the scepticism, I was extremely excited to go. Surprisingly it didn't take me very long to decide how to ask him. I used a method that I'd come up with a few weeks before I'd decided to ask anyone. Knowing that Don's (sorry for the fake name again,) family is pretty in to movies and costumes, I got a huge bucket of popcorn to ask him. On the outside of the popcorn bucket, I taped a sign that read,
"John, now that I've buttered you up... Will you go to Sadie's with me?"

     Door-bell-ditching has never been one of my favorite things, as a matter of fact, I've never door-bell-ditched anyone except for my own family on Valentine's Day. So what better use for a brother than to have him do the dirty work? My brother was nice to consent to sprinting across the col-du-sac to help me deliver my Sadie's invitation.

Well I must admit that I thought my idea for asking was pretty nifty, but in all honesty, it wasn't nearly as cool as the response. I don't think that I've ever seen a more well thought-out and creative response in my life, and I probably won't see one like it again! Don responded with a funny video that he'd made to put on YouTube. It was great to see the boys in my neighborhood be simultaneously tackled to the ground by my Sadie's date. I never thought I'd see that one I'll admit.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pick-up lines: The do's and don'ts

     Before my yearly protest of Valentine's begins, I thought that maybe I should share some funny and nice pick-up lines (in the hopes that my readers will take heart and actually use them to brighten the day of the guy or girl that you like!)

In case you haven't seen Panda Girl's blog, you will notice that I borrowed most of the pick-up lines from her. I give her full credit for finding them (while adding a few of my personal favorites in the process.)

Funny/ Interesting Pick-Ups

Are you a parking ticket? You got fine written all over you.
Do you have a band-aid? I just scraped my knee while falling for you!
Hey, aren’t you forgetting something? Me!
You must be a broom, because you just swept me off my feet!
Don’t you know me from somewhere?
Excuse me miss? You dropped something back there? My jaw!
Hello, I’m a thief, and I’m here to steal your heart.
Hello. Cupid called. He says to tell you that he needs my heart back.
"Hey, Hailey!" (Big hug). "I haven’t seen you forEVER!!" (huge kiss) "Wow, you’ve really changed!"...
"I’m not Hailey"
"What? Oh my gosh, you even changed your name!"
Hi, I’m Mr. Right. Someone said you were looking for me.
Hi, my name’s Right…Mr. Right.
Hi. I suffer from amnesia. Do I come here often?
Does your watch have a second hand? I want to know how long it took for me to fall in love with you.
Hello. Are you taking any applications for a boy/girlfriend?

Stupid Pick-ups
If you were a chicken, you’d be impeccable.
If you were a laser, you’d be set on “stunning”.
If you were a library book, I would check you out.
If you were a new hamburger at McDonald’s, you would be McGorgeous.
I’m feeling kind of insecure right now. Could I have a hug?
My name isn’t Elmo, but you can tickle me anytime you want to.
You’ve got to refer me to your plastic surgeon.
You are like a candy bar: half sweet and half nuts.
You know what? Your eyes are the same color as my Porsche. (Hmm... That reminds me of one of my friends! Any guesses?)

Pick-Up Lines for if you think she's pretty, or if you're somewhat stalkerish
If beauty were a grain of sand, you’d be a million beaches.
If beauty were time, you’d be an eternity.
If water were beauty you’d be the ocean.
I have had a really bad day and it always makes me feel better to see a pretty girl smile. So, would you smile for me?
Can I get your picture to prove to all my friends that angels really do exist?
So, are you going to give me your phone number, or am I going to have to stalk you?
Hi, the voices in my head told me to come over and talk to you. (Creepy!!)
Some Tacky Pick-Ups
I must be lost. I thought paradise was further south!
Is there an airport nearby or is that my heart taking off?
What time do you have to be back in heaven?
What’s a nice girl like you doing talking to a loser like me?
Is there a doctor in house, because I think my heart just stopped beating…
"Did it hurt?" "Did what hurt?" "When you fell from heaven?"
I think you’ve got something in your eye. Oh never mind, it’s just a sparkle.

Cute Pick-Up Lines (Jojo's recommended favorites. Yes, they are tacky I will admit!)
Is there a rainbow today? I just found the treasure I’ve been searching for!
Well, here I am. What were your other two wishes?
When I marry you, I wonder if God will be mad that I stole one of his angels.
If beauty were sunlight, you’d shine from a million light-years away.
I think I must be dying because I’m looking at Heaven.
If God made anything more pretty, I’m sure he’d keep it for himself.
"Now God must have just been showing off when he made you."
I dropped a tear in the ocean, the day I find it is the day I’ll stop loving you.
When you look into the mirror holding up a dozen roses, you see the 13 most beautiful things in the world.
If a star fell for every time I thought of you, the sky would be empty.

"Hey Jojo."
"Do you like fireworks?"
"Yeah, they're really pretty. I watch them with my cousins every year!"
(laughing and a slight pause,)
"Well I like how they go up..."
(Lift arms)
(Extend Arms)
"And Down"
(Put your arm around the girl, totally surprising her.)

"Hey Jojo..."
"It's cold. Are your hands cold"
(me not taking the hint,)
"Um... No? Not really."
(reaching for hand,)
"Well let me check..."
(grab hand, and don't let go for anything.)
That was a most shocking pick up line for me.
Let me just tell you a few of my thoughts in those few split seconds. "Oh my gosh! He's not letting go! Why isn't he letting go of my hand? What's going on?! Oh... Oh! He's holding my hand! Whoa that's never happened to me! What do I do now?!"

Smooth Talking Pick-Ups for guys
Don’t walk into that building — the sprinklers might go off!
When I saw you from across the room, I passed out cold and hit my head on the floor…so I’m going to need your name and number for insurance reasons. (Plus that one will totally make a girl laugh, unless she has no sense of humor what-so-ever.)

Some of the extremely don't "Don'ts" Pick-Ups
I envy your lipstick. (
If you were a booger I’d pick you first. (Can you say gross? That's a good way to scare a guy off if you don't like him.)
Your eyes are as blue as the water in my toilet. (What a beautiful comparison? Um, how about not? Yikes!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Blood Drive

     Uncontrollable fear. Shaking. Hoping for it to be over.
I knew that I didn't like blood. I've known that ever since I broke a blood vessel a few years ago, but more than anything I was determined to help.

     A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to participate in my school's blood drive. My cousin strengthened my resolve through positive peer pressure.

     The large cafeteria was filled with ominous black chairs that looked like they should be sitting on a beautiful front lawn rather than sitting there and looking so terrifying.
It was surprising to see the faces of the other people who were donating. There were skinny skaters with long dreadlocks, jocks who laughed lightly about donating a pound of blood, and there were also goth girls that silently kept to themselves. Even though these different groups of people didn't look like they had much in common with each other, I admired them.

     Although my appointment was set for 2:30, the school cafeteria was so full of hopeful donors that I wasn't seated to begin the donation until about 5:30. Really, my fear of blood was a bit irrational, but I couldn't help shaking. The medical personnel were laughing at how badly I quivering as I sat in the chair before giving blood. At first I blamed how scared that I felt on the cold, but it wasn't long before I realized that it wasn't the cold at all.

     The man (whose name tag read "Nick,) was about to slip a long needle into me. Looking concernedly at my skin color, he asked
"Are you okay?" trying not to laugh at my apparent unease.
"Well... I'm anxious because I'm scared of blood." My teeth chattered as I tried not to imagine the red liquid pouring out of my arm and into the big plastic container at my side.
"This must be your first time..." Nick looked down at my application and medical information searching for my name,
"Beth... Well, don't worry; this is my first time too."

What little nerves I had left dropped down into my stomach, I sat there nervously wavering like a leaf in the breeze.
"Wait... Is it really your first?" I spluttered, almost pleading for him to take back what he had just informed me.
To my distress, he just shook his head,
"Really, this is my first day."

All of my memories seem a little fuzzy after this point, but I remember trying really hard not to imagine the blood or needles involved. I thought about how my blood could save someone's life, and that someday, maybe some brave teenager would save my own life someday.
An iodine swab was used to clean around the large blue vein in my pale and shaking left arm. Fortunately that one act helped calm me down a little bit, earlier I had thought that the big patch of iodine on a fellow classmate's arm was a large spot of blood.

Nick looked at my arm, searching for the perfect vein to stick the needle in. Ironically he laughed,
"Well, it is very easy to see your veins. This is going to be so easy!"
It wasn't.
A moment later I closed my eyes and looked the other way as he plunged the long needle into my translucent skin.
It was a pain that was completely unexpected. My veins literally rolled and refused to give blood. Not understanding that my body was having a rare reaction to fight off giving blood, Nick pushed the needle further into my veins and began twisting it. He really wanted my blood. My veins didn't want to give more than a single drop, so instead they screamed in pain as I clutched the thin air to try and stem the throbbing sting. I gritted my teeth to avoid moaning and scrunched my eyes closed, trying to block out the pain. Tears were teasing my eyelids and threatening to leak down my face.
Nick looked confusedly at the doctor next to him,
"Her blood isn't really coming out! Only those few little drops."
"Well," the doctor replied, eyeing down at me through her spectacles,
"she must be having a reaction." she said simply, still focusing on her own patient.

     By now some H.O.S.A students were looking at me rather worriedly. I can only imagine the look of pain that I must have had on my face. I didn't understand what a reaction was, all I knew was that it was an extremely painful experience.

     To my relief, the needle was yanked out of my arm quickly and covered with a wad of gauze. After a few seconds of getting some fresh air into my lungs, Nick began to tell me the situation,
"Well, there are two options Jojo..." he paused, as if trying to decide what option I would choose beforehand.
"We can either stop trying to draw your blood altogether because the veins in your left arm weren't willing to give up the blood in your system; or we can try your right arm, the chances of a reaction happening again in your right arm are a lot less likely."

     I could be done, I didn't have to face the pain of a needle being stuck into me ever again if I didn't want to. I didn't have to donate my blood, and now I knew that for me it might not even be possible. There was one thing that I knew for sure, I didn't want to face the physical pain that I had just felt ever again...
Or I could be brave. I could do what I'd been waiting for hours on end to do. Somebody's life could be saved if I would be willing to endure the pain by holding out a little longer. I wasn't trying to be a hero, but my own stubbornness wouldn't let me give up when the choice was difficult.
That one split second choice was the hardest quick decision that I've ever made in my entire life.

     This time, my blood would have to be pumped into my arm before I began to donate, nervously I held a stress ball in my right hand and squeezed it to allow the blood to flow. Pressure was applied to my arm until I could feel nothing except for the numb tingling at the end of my fingertips.
My right arm's veins were a lot harder for Nick to locate, and he had to ask the opinion of his co-worker to decide which vein would be best to poke the needle into.

     Once again I was too frightened to watch as Nick smoothly slid the needle beneath the surface of my skin.

     Blood poured out of my arm and into the waiting plastic bag at my side. Unfortunately I didn't have very much blood in me, and I had to keep squeezing the stress ball so that it would come out. Every time I had to squeeze the ball, the needle would prick my veins sharply and irritatingly.
Over the course of the next five minutes, 3000 calories of blood were taken out of me.
A pint, a pound, enough life blood to make me paler than I already was. The multiple doctors agreed that they couldn't let me leave until about thirty minutes later when I got some of my color back.

     Overall donating blood was a painful experience, but it was worth it. Even though I'm still more scared of blood than anything else, I'm really glad that my blood was able to become useful. Now I really realize how important it is to overcome fear!