Friday, September 28, 2007

claire + me + camera

I came home from school one day last fall and for some reason or another Claire had her camera out and was playing around with it. Claire has a really nice camera and she takes really nice pictures. She is also very good at bringing out my bizarrities. See for yourself.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

a tribute to g5

My mom ordered some things from and had them sent to me. Well, sort of. As you know, I recently moved. What you probably do not know is that my old address and my new address have a few things in common. They both contain apartment numbers and they are in the same city and state. Also, they both begin with the number 7. Now, I am not quite sure how this happened, but I am guessing that Mom was filling out the form, hit 7, my old address popped up (something to do with cookies, right?) and, well, next thing you know Pai is calling me to tell me that a box addressed to me has shown up at the old apartment. Whoops.

So the other day after class I stopped by G5 to pick up the package. It was weird, walking down the hill from campus, down that oft-cursed staircase and across the street, the same route I took several times a day for nearly three years, toward that funny-pinkish-colored building and up the stairs to an apartment that had become such a standby in my life and now has suddenly become strange.

I have been meaning to post a tribute to G5 ever since I started this blog, and I figure now is as good a time as any to do it. So now, if you will join me on a little jaunt down memory lane...

I would like to begin with breeannisms. This is what we call things that our roommate BreeAnn said, that for some reason or another just stuck, and we still remember them and laugh. There was this one time, for instance, when she picked up an afghan throw, wrapped it around herself, and asked, "Can I wear this as my clothe?" Another day, she announced that she was very hungry. "But that's okay," she said, "because today I'm going to eat a big food!" (I guess she meant a big lunch, or a lot of food, and combined them by accident. Kind of like in Mean Girls when Cady says "grool".)

We had a lot of fun with BreeAnn. For instance, Claire had this big, green exercise ball that we would hold out in front of us as we ran full force into the wall, or each other. This resulted in hysterical laughter, and we tended to do this around two or three in the morning. We were literally bouncing off the walls. I don't think our neighbors liked us much...

Speaking of our neighbors not liking us, this one time they wanted to share our wireless network and we told them no because more people on the network would slow down the connection, and we didn't even know any of these people. I mean, that's why we put security on the network in the first place, to keep people we didn't know from using it. Anyway, they were just appalled that we had refused their request, and the day after last hearing from them, the network "screwyougranary5" appeared in our range. We thought it was funny, and took it as a compliment that they cared that much.

Occasionally, we would vacuum the floor at one or two in the morning. I wonder how our neighbors liked that? Oh, speaking of vacuums... so, it had been just a few days since Claire had moved in, and she was vacuuming the living room floor. I was back in my bedroom when suddenly the lights dimmed for just a split second and immediately after that I heard *poom!* Wondering what had happened, I went out in the hallway and rounded the corner to see a huge dust cloud that filled the entire kitchen and living room. Then through the haze I saw Claire, sitting on the floor in shock next to our exploded vacuum. We ended up out on the front porch laughing for probably an hour straight. I think that might have been the night that we sprinkled the stairs and the porch below with uncooked spaghetti that a former tenant had left, and then BreeAnn thought it would be cool if it rained, because then the spaghetti would cook.

That reminds me of that cup-o-noodles sort of stuff that Nan used to make all the time, often for breakfast. It had some sort of fishy fragrance and it was very pungent. BreeAnn would show up at my bedroom door and complain, wrinkling up her face, "Nan made smelly noodles again!" At one point we had two roommates from Thailand. They knew all the other Thai girls in the area, and from time to time would invite them over. All of them. That was when we wanted to put a sign on our door welcoming visitors to Little Bangkok. We tried to learn some Thai from them, but mostly all we retained were the swear words. They just happened to be short, easy-to-remember words, which were exclaimed loudly, and fairly frequently. They would always be followed by "Don't repeat that!" but it was always too late. In the Little Bangkok days Pai used to make coconut sticky rice with fresh mango. Mmmmm... Claire and I would eat bowl after bowl of it, ignoring Pai's chidings that we were making ourselves sick, because it was oh so tasty!

Which brings me to the cinnamon rolls. Claire has this amazing recipe for cinnamon rolls. These are not just any cinnamon rolls. You make the dough from scratch and each roll takes up an entire pie tin, and once they are cooked and drizzled with icing, you peel off strips of yumminess. Claire has several baked goods recipes, collected from family and friends into a little booklet, and they are notorious for producing industrial-sized yields. And we usually forget all about this until after we have measured out the ingredients and begun mixing and then, whoops, this mixing bowl isn't big enough, hmm, neither is that one, we'd better get two! So it was with the cinnamon rolls. I don't remember exactly how much we made, but it was an all-afternoon affair, and even after half of the ward showed up and ate up a good portion of them, we still had maybe four or five pie-tin-sized cinnamon rolls left. Which we devoured during the next, oh, two days maybe. Beginning at around four o'clock the following morning, since we were still awake, hyped up on all the sugar we had already consumed. That was the night we started writing in a little notebook all the funny things that we said. We like to call them "bizarrities", which I am convinced will make it into the dictionary one of these days. We wanted to put a sign on the door that said "Bizarrities abound". I don't know why we always had these ideas about putting signs on the door and yet we never put one up.

Anyway, the night of the cinnamon rolls was followed in suit by midnight jaunts into the street, where I would frolic around in the drizzle while Claire sat down and came to a realization of the absurdity of it all. There were also countless late nights of paper-writing and such, often accompanied by lemon bars or brownies and of course large quantities of caffeinated beverages. Often I would fall asleep on the couch and Claire would try to wake me up and make me go to bed, sometimes with success, others without. And there was that one time I slept through the night in the windowseat. We got on a late-night Scrabble kick right before we moved out, but if you think that's nerdy, just let me tell you about the Friday evening we spent reading aloud from The Odyssey. Three different translations. I know. That was the life. In case you couldn't tell, I miss it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

i have a national parks calendar

that I got in El Paso this February, and it tells me that the moon will be full tonight.

Maybe that's why I feel like my head might explode.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

the cosmos are trying to tell me something

I am not a little bemused by the melodies and the colors, but judging by the calendar, I think it has something to do with my being past due for a blog entry. Or two, or twenty. I consider yesterday's class discussion of blogs an exclamation point added to weeks of my mind's ignored pleading. Time to start writing again!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

have a seat

I enter the grad student office, a brand new, very large room with plenty of desk space and comfortable chairs, and where do I choose to sit? On the windowsill. One wall of the room is lined with huge recessed windows, twelve of them. I picked the one at the end, in the corner of the room, partially hidden by a filing cabinet. Is anyone surprised?

The one feature of my old apartment that I loved most was the huge picture window in the living room with its long, cushioned windowseat. I spent many a sunny afternoon napping there, and sometimes I sat there with a bowl of cereal as I surveyed the morning school-day traffic below. I could often be found there late at night working on a paper, and not a few times I fell asleep there and would wake up in an hour or so and drag myself to bed. One night, I was just so comfortable there that I fell asleep in the windowseat and did not wake up until well into the morning. Claire had been up all night working on an assignment and left the house early to run an errand on campus. As she was going out the door, she saw me there, asleep and facing the window, which was not covered by its blinds. I guess she considered waking me but just thought it was sort of funny and decided to let me sleep anyway. She told me later that as she was walking to campus she looked up at our window and there I was for the whole world to see, with my face practically pressed up against the glass, my mouth wide open. And when she returned, I had hardly moved a muscle. Do you have any idea how many people walk by that window on their way to school in the morning? Neither do I, but it is a lot. Being on the second floor, we did not normally get people gazing in through our window, but I hope that a good number of them just happened to look up that morning. Because it was sort of funny.

My new apartment was furnished, but I am a little confused. Although we seem to have excess furniture in the areas of clothes dressers and writing desks, the bedrooms are bereft of chairs. maybe they just figured we could sit on the dresser, in the closet, since that is the only place it seems to fit? Oh well, at least I have a windowseat.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

back home in utah

After spending a few days with my family in Merryland, I am back home in Utah. There was a time when calling Utah home was difficult, even unthinkable. Over the years, though, it has become more and more apparent to me that not only do I spend overwhelmingly more days of the year here than there on the other side of the country where I grew up, here also is where the next phase of my life is taking shape. The first eighteen years of my formation, well, they are in Maryland. Remnants of them lay dormant in forgotten drawers in my parents' house; I think that some parts of that history float idly through the school hallways, still trapped in those buildings after all these years. Here, right here, is where the next chapter is being drafted. Here is where I live. Here is where I eat and sleep, here is where I read and write. Here is where I am trying to figure out this big crazy world and how I fit into it.

I do not yet feel at home in my new apartment, but I am hoping that that will change once I get all of my stuff put away and thereby do away with the obstacle course that has invaded all of the potentially usable floor space. Even after I work some Mary Poppins-style magic on my own stuff, the place will still be crowded, since our hopes of having a separate library and a yoga room/guest room were mercilessly dashed when we found out that two other girls had signed contracts in our crappy, er, vintage, apartment. We'll see how it goes.

We did make some strides last night: Vanessa hooked up my dad's retired but perfectly functional DVD player while Chris and I put slipcovers on the (formerly) ugly and torn couches. I would like to point out that "slipcover" is a bit of a misnomer, since they do not exactly slip into place so effortlessly as one might suppose, but I must say that they look rather nice and they brighten the place up a bit. And we got an amazing deal on them (thanks mom!)