Saturday, October 27, 2012

Becoming the Tubanator

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Cami who came to own the title of "Tubateer," after all "Tuba player" has too many syllables and "Tubist" ... well... it's not exactly the classiest title in the world. My private Tuba teacher, whom I shall refer to as Gandalf,  loves this title to the point of referring to it at least once every lesson. I like hearing it myself, so I don't mind. Gandalf has suggested that now that I am in college I should create a new alter ego to work towards.
Gandlalf: "Something Arnold Schwarzenegger-esk..."
Me: "The... Tubanator?"
Gandalf: "Perfect! How do you come up with these so fast?"
I try, I try.
Anyways, up until this past summer I had been playing three-valve and four-valve B flat Tuba, but in college you are supposed to play C Tuba, preferably five-valve for intonation sake. So in the two and a half months of summer I had to forget everything I knew about B flat Tuba and replace it with C Tuba which was a little challenging for me. I also had to incorporate my thumb into my fingerings for my lower register which is great for intonation sake, but still difficult when your hand it used to moving a certain way.
Sorry, I'll skip to the good stuff that you will actually care about now. Thanks for hanging in there!
My hand hurt a little in this process because I was building muscle in my thumb and metacarpals, but I didn't think too much of it. Then, after I started school, it slowly started to get worse until all my knuckles and metacarpals hurt. Suddenly all of the pain seemed to go into my middle knuckle and at this point I was like, (please imagine me saying this in the middle of a field, staring up at the sky, and shaking my fist- to get the full affect of the quote)  "WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! CAN'T I JUST PLAY MY TUBA IN PEACE?!"
A few days later, this would be last saturday to be exact, the pain went back to being everywhere else in my hand so I decided to take Sunday off and give my hand some time to recover. That seemed to have been a good idea because on Monday my hand didn't really hurt. After I finished practicing, I looked at my hand and it looked a little swollen just below my first finger. I pressed it a little... no pain... I tapped it a little... nothing... I slapped it a little... still nothing. Then I flexed my first finger and thumb *POW!*
Alter Ego attained. Just call me the Tubanator.
In case you didn't notice it in the above picture, I'll point it out for you:
I'm pretty jazzed about this Hulk-hand thing. Not gonna lie.
I still feel like I'm more of a Tubateer than a Tubanator, but maybe it'll grow on me on day.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Conference Thoughts...

First of all, I checked facebook right after the first session of General conference only to find that no less than ALL of my friends will be going on missions in the near future and that people had already begun to make memes about it. The meme above was the best one I saw.

My thoughts? I am so elated. I think that it will be great for some young men to serve missions right out of High School. It will be amazing to the rest of the world that we are depending on such young people to do the Lord's missionary work, but that's great! The more people ask about it the better! Also, this lower eligibility age for women will hopefully get ride of the hilarious but horrible Sister Missionary stereotype.
It may shock you that I think this, but I also believe that it is important for us as Latter Day Saints to get married sooner rather than later; not to rush into marriage, but not to wait if you already know that it's right. I think that by lowering the eligibility age, especially for sisters, will help to achieve earlier marriage. As the world goes farther and farther away from prioritizing marriage and family, we must do all we can to move in the reverse from the world. Once again, not to the point of rushing and making foolish decisions, but being able to act on faith though the decision may seem hard to make. Now sisters can serve a mission and come home to find many an eligible bachelor their age, and elders can come home to find a return missionary of their own, too.
Sorry to change subjects suddenly, but I also want to talk about Elder Oaks' talk. This is exactly the talk that the whole world needed to hear to clarify- for the members and nonmembers alike- where the church stands on public issues. It is a talk that I will definitely read again in the Ensign. Children are so important: not only will they populate the earth after we're gone, they are an essential part of the family unit. We are all put into families in order to learn how to love first by being the son/daughter and sister/brother, and then by becoming the parent. It is through the family that we can learn to have the kind of love for everyone around us that our Heavenly Father has for us.
I loved everything that Elder Oaks said, but in particular, I loved that he said, "children dealing with same-sex attraction need loving understanding and not bullying." The world needs to know we believe that, and even more importantly we need to know we believe that. Too often, we are quick to condemn and late to love. Love must come first. To have it any other way would be a sin against God and his  commandment to love one another as He has loved us. Love must come first. It is one thing to respect a person and another to accept their actions as righteous. Acting on same-sex attraction is wrong, but it is also a trial that people are given. Hurting someone physically or emotionally will not help them through their trial. Loving them, understanding them, encouraging them, and teaching them to rely on their Redeemer will help them through whatever they are facing. Love must come first.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I picked the wrong day to wear heels.

I not a big fans of high heeled shoes. I rarely wear them, and when I do they are of medium height. I like it when they feel like character shoes. You know, the perfect height to do necessary things like tap dance and/or sing arias in.
Any way, I wore a lovely pair of black heels on Sunday with my favorite dress. Maren and I wanted to go see Music and The Spoken Word before church so we walked down the hill from the Hobbit Hole to the TRAX stop. We made it there in about ten minutes and should've been able to catch the TRAX a few minutes later, but it never came. Instead we stood there waiting for about twenty minutes. It felt strange and surreal; partially because we did not get enough sleep the night before. After staring at the schedule for a few minutes, crossing the street to wait at the bus stop for a bus that never came, and waiting for a few more minutes at the TRAX station, we asked the other people who were there. The girl was clueless, but the guy was on top of things and said that sometimes the TRAX doesn't come until 9:46 on Sundays.
Having given up on the whole idea after that, we decided to go home. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to hike up the steeper road home instead of the longer but more reasonable road. I had taken off my shoes before we left the TRAX station, though, so my feet weren't bleeding by the time we got home.
After being home for a little bit, it was time to put my shoes back on and walk up the hill to the Institute. Luckily, the TRAX came when we got to the station west of the stadium so we only had to walk half the way.
It probably doesn't sound as weird as it felt, but remember that this whole time Maren and I were half asleep.
Basically what I'm trying to say is that I have some blisters.
I also wanted to talk, on a more serious note, about what our Bishop said to us in sacrament meeting. He talked about taking the name of the Lord in vain: "taking in vain" means more than just using it as an expletive. If we aren't thinking about him and what he did for us when we say his name, we are using his name in vain. I just have never thought about that before, and now that I know that I feel so bad for all the times when I have said his name in a sentence without showing him the proper respect. I don't use his name as an expletive, but that doesn't mean I am always thinking about the full meaning of his name when I use his name in context. Food for thought...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Green Side of Tailgating

I love football. Therefore, I had to go to the Utah vs. BYU game. Enough said. But in case you haven't heard of or seen the MUSS (the Mighty Utah Student Section)... well, all I can say is that I did not want to be trampled, sprayed with beer, or molested in any other way. Luckily, my good friend Timone invited me to recycle with him at the game. Apparently, if you can get on the green police list, you get into the game for free, and I love trees so that was a done deal.
I'm just glad that Maren couldn't come; she literally would have died. Our responsibility as the green police was to go through all the rows of tailgaters and collect the aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles.We had gloves, and I find drunk people to be hilarious so I didn't really mind. I also had Timone with me and we met another girl who tagged along with us.
Generally, the fans weren't too drunk, and they also were strangely eager to recycle. I never realized that tailgaters would openly enjoy recycling, but people kept coming up to us and thanking us for doing such a great service. I was also pleased that I only got sprayed with beer once and it was completely accidental: the girl who tagged along with us meant to throw a can into the trash bag I was holding but it hit me instead and it was not an empty can. Ah, c'est la vie.
The only problem I really had with the whole affair was just that I think it is very stupid that parents are content to smoke and drink- whether to be social or to get drunk- around their kids when they know their kids are learning in school not to do either of the two. It made me think of block parties and Halloween during my childhood in Maryland; the other kids' parents would be social and drink with each other despite the fact that their kids were right there or despite the fact that they were handing out candy to little children. I'm just very glad to be able to call my parents my parents because they have high standards. They kept us a safe distance from that without sheltering us and letting us be oblivious and naive. I'm lucky and happy to be part of the one percent.
So after getting beer on my only pair of jeans, reaching into trash can after trash can, and inhaling endless streams of cigarette and cigar smoke: was any of it worth it? That statement was definitely overdramatic. Yes, it was worth it! Without paying a cent, I got to sit on the back of the BYU football truck right off the field while watching my favorite sport. I have to admit that I thought we would lose, but I am happily surprised. I also have to admit that I left at half time, but it was because I didn't want Maren to ride the TRAX home from work alone. I also don't like people enough to leave at the very end of a football game with the rest of the fans.
All in all last night was a fine night for football and the ecosystem. I got to help save a few trees and though the Utes still aren't very good, we still beat BYU 24 to 21.
Go Utes!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Having trouble staying awake while doing homework?

Earlier this evening, I was practically falling asleep while writing a paper that is due tomorrow when Maren- my door fell off, so she could probably see my head drooping as I was "working"- walked into my room carrying a bowl full of Famous Dave's Signature Spicy Pickle chips, and said "This should keep you awake." They most definitely did. :)
I am reminded on a daily basis that Maren is the best roommate anyone could ask for.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Two Cents

Cami requested I add my thoughts on the several encounters with the people begging outside temple square.

I have always hated big cities. The lights and the incredible masses of people do not fill me with inspiration as it does others. These may be because I expected New York to be like the movies; old Victorian style apartments sprouting tiny little window boxes. I would think of the scenes of central park in the summer and thought city life to be a magical thing.

The hard truth is, it smells like the dirt of millions continually being trekked over oily streets with a mixture of smoke and trash scents overhead. But the first thing my mind jumps to when I think of cities are the crumpled figures blackened with the continual grim limp against the walls of great buildings. I think of the pigeons that are missing feet and hobble with broken wings around these forgotten people.

I hate cities because I see this and walk past.

On Saturday I sat in the temple with the faces of the people Cami helped right before my eyes. Every detail perfectly stored and recorded. I could see the pealing skin, burnt by the sun. I could see the clothes, warn black sweater and faded navy t-shirt. I could see their eyes, and the darkness, and stillness that went way down.

I wished I was able to love fully and without thought like Cami can, but I didn't.

It was then that I remembered walking in a long red coat through Victoria station in England. My dad and I walked down the stairs to the tube and passed a women begging on the stairs. As we passed I saw a preacher on his way to the same train stop and hand her a mars bar. He was singing slightly, and didn't wait to be rewarded. He was a great example to a young child.

I feel strongly that the poor and the afflicted that the Savior always helped were no different than those who fill the streets of every city. We always say in our heads that "They will probably go use drugs with this money." I often find myself thinking it was easier for the Savior because the people didn't have the same motive that they do now. But deep down I think I know that good has always been good, and bad has always been bad. I think human weakness has always been, but that was not why the Savior did or didn't do things. He invited all to follow, not to leave.

There are beautiful things that abound in every city, but oh how the dark things lurk to remind us who is ruler over the hearts of men.

I am so grateful to be close to Cami to see the purity of the saviors love that swells in her heart. I have seen his face in her actions. I hope we can say as the scriptures, "all is not well in Zion," for we still walk past each other cardboard signs or not, with out stoping.

Here's to second chances.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Temple Attendance

When Maren and I decided that we would be roommates at the U, we also decided that we needed to make temple attendance a priority. It's been three weeks and we've gone to the temple every Saturday. We even got invited to go to the Brigham City Temple Open House last Saturday.
Being able to go the Temple every week has brought us so much relief from the stress of college. It's just nice to feel the peace and calm; to feel the Savior's love and support for what you are doing.
Last week when we went to the Temple, there was lady at the West entrance begging for help from the passersby. As far as I could see, no one helped her. No one even stopped to talk to her. Immediately I thought of a time when I went to the temple with a family friend: we walked by a couple who was begging and he stopped and said to them, "Will you please wait here, I'll go get you some food." We followed him to the car and he got the food we had brought for lunch and took it back to the couple. He  said he hesitated to give them money for fear of what they might do with it, but we could give them all our food instead.
I told Maren that I wished we had some food to give her instead, but that we need to give her something. As we walked by we gave her what little cash we had. She thanked us and told us how she just wanted to feed her kids and not be abused anymore. I still can see her face; her sad eyes with heavy bags beneath and wrinkles reaching from the corners, her cheeks pained and scarred, her upper lip clipped in the middle.
Today we passed a man begging at the North East gate. His arms were swelled and he could barely hold his cardboard sign. We passed by him in a large group and almost didn't turn back, but I couldn't do it. I had a ten dollar bill in my wallet. He thanked me and I wanted to cry.
How is it that we are asked to not turn our backs on the poor and the needy, and yet so many of us grow up learning to be emotionally numb when we pass by those who need our help the most. I know that not everyone who begs is legitimate, but is that our place to decide who is and who is not? Is it really our place to turn our backs on the truly poor for fear of our own stupid pride? Because we may be getting conned? Because we don't want to loose our money to someone who may be a lost cause? I know that giving money or food to someone in need isn't as helpful as giving them a job and teaching them skills to retain it, but isn't anything is better than nothing?
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we are asked to be helpers. Intelligent helpers, but helpers nonetheless. Not everyone is in a position where they can help someone get a job, but everyone can point them in the right direction and give them food and money to help them along until they do get a job.
I read Alma chapters five through 11 today while I was in the Temple. In those chapters Alma has begun to preach throughout the land of the Nephites because the people have become corrupted once again. I was getting to the end of chapter five when Maren brought my attention to where she was reading in chapter thirty-five, on verse nine which reads:
" And he breathed out many threatenings against them. And now the people of Ammon did not fear their words; therefore they did not cast them out, but they did receive all the poor of the Zoramites that came over unto them; and they did anourish them, and did clothe them, and did give unto them lands for their inheritance; and they did administer unto them according to their wants."
In return, I showed her what I had been reading:

"53 And now my beloved brethren, I say unto you, can ye withstand these sayings; yea, can ye lay aside these things, andatrample the Holy One under your feet; yea, can ye be bpuffed up in the pride of your hearts; yea, will ye still persist in the wearing of ccostly apparel and setting your hearts upon the vain things of the world, upon your driches?
 54 Yea, will ye persist in supposing that ye are better one than another; yea, will ye persist in the persecution of your brethren, who humble themselves and do walk after the holy order of God, wherewith they have been brought into this church, having beenasanctified by the Holy Spirit, and they do bring forth works which are meet for repentance—
 55 Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the apoor, and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them?
 56 And finally, all ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say unto you that these are they who shall be hewn down and cast into the fire except they speedily repent.
 57 And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the agood shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye bseparate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be cblotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people;
 58 For the names of the righteous shall be written in the abookof life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. And now, my brethren, what have ye to say against this? I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for the word of God must be fulfilled."
Without speaking, we knew what the other was thinking. It is high time we start doing exactly what we preach. None of this mamby pamby half-righteousness. We take upon ourselves the name of Christ because we want to do what he would have us do, not because it's cool or because our friends are doing it. What would Jesus really do?

Man does not live by potatoes alone.

Frenchie and I came home from the temple this afternoon and decided it was high time we ate some of the millions of potatoes our mothers had showered upon us. As I opened the cabinet where we keep the potato basket, a smell came flooding out; something like rancid milk... times about one trillion... with a hint of disastrous blowout diaper.
Our kitchen had been getting a funny smell a couple days before today, but somehow we didn't think to look in that cabinet...
Bracing myself for the unknown, I removed the potato basket from the cabinet and peered inside: the newest bunch of potatoes looked fine, but after removing that layer the smell became overwhelmingly putrid. I carefully picked one up, well I thought I was being careful, but it popped spilling brown juice reeking of overflowing, forgotten trashcan all over my hand. Embarrassingly enough I shrieked like a little girl and threw it into the kitchen trashcan. I picked up the next one and that one burst, too. And the one after that.  And the one after that. And the one after that until I had squealed so much that Frenchie leaned out of her room and asked, "Are you okay?" 

I was not okay.
If either of our moms even so much as mentions buying us a bag of potatoes I might cry. It may be a "great meal idea," but we are only two people. The only way we will eat three bags of potatoes in three weeks is if we have them for every single meal every single day. Even I don't think I can do that.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Late Nights at Hobbit Hole #6

"If ever there was a reason to swear, music theory would be it."

"...that's not an F sharp..."
"...I was thinking the same thing."

"Christmas Jazz is the gateway jazz."

"....pooooork...crooo....cruuuhhhh....crooouuhh... crux. It's like hooked on phonics."

"I really need to go to the bathroom."
"Tell me something I don't know."

"Wait, let me change my pants for the occasion."
"Change... into your listening pants?"

New Recipe!

Crock Pot Lasagna Surprise

1 lb Ground Beef
1 Medium-ish Onion
A bit of Garlic
Some sort of tomato concoction
A couple lasagna noodles
Lots of Mozzarella Cheese
Ricotta Cheese (If you actually are- or wish you were- Italian) or Cottage Cheese ( If you are cheap.)

Knife of your choice
Cutting Board
Old Gas stove ( so old that you have to light the pilot lights everytime you turn on the gas because you are too afraid to leave the gas on all the time.)
Spatula (from Spatula City... spatula city,  Remember, they make great Christmas presents!)
Frying pan
Crock Pot (Circa 1985 A.D. or earlier)
Freshly reupholstered dining chair

1. Chop the onion up a bit using the knife and cutting board.

2. Be brave, turn on the gas and light the pilot lights. Then of course, turn on the stove.

3. Brake up and brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic in the frying pan using the spatula (Spatula City... spatula city, What better way to say "I love you" than with the gift of a spatula?).

4. When the beef is brown you can add the tomato sauce of your choice (cudos if you can make your own). Stir it all up real nice, and wait until it smells real nice, gets good and bubbly.

5. Turn off the stove and especially the gas to avoid a painful death.

6. Ladle a third of the deliciousness into the Crock Pot and cover with two layers of noodles, ricotta cheese (or if you must, cottage cheese), and mozzarella cheese. Rinse and Repeat. Just kidding. Just repeat, you idiot, don't rinse it. ... Silly goose...

7. When you've put everything in there, look around your small kitchen and realize you have nowhere to let the crock pot do it's thang. In desperation because you don't want to be late for rehearsal, set it on a dining chair next to an available outlet in the living room.

8. Smile at your ingenuity as you run out door.

9. Come home with your roommate 5 hours later and if you don't smell burning plastic, well.... I guess you'll just have to try again.