Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas and a New Year

Did you have a good Christmas? I did! I went home to Colorado to spend winter break with my beloved family. Dear reader, did you know that this is the first dry Christmas I have seen in over ten years? We always have deep snow on or before December 25, but the Windsor area has not had any measurable snow this year. We are officially in a drought, though there will be plenty of snow melt from the mountains in the spring. It's kinda weird. But so goes the Windsor bubble.

In other news, one of my new year goals falls in line with Elder Quentin L. Cook's recent conference talk, "Let There Be Light." He encouraged us to make values based on religious beliefs a part of the public discourse. I will be sharing a daily value on this site for all of 2011! It is going to be a challenge, but I think I can do it with enough discipline. And posture. And also pursuit driving abilities. Kudos to anyone who catches that reference. Anyway, if you need a pick-me-up, head on over to Lantern Light for a value-based post. And have a Happy New Year!

I'll post awesome pictures soon! Love ya!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sailing on the Dawn Treader

As is my tradition, I went to the midnight release of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader this morning. I still feel that rocking, rolling motion of the sea. And every time I have to leave Narnia at the end of these movies, I get sick to my stomach. My mom would call it pathetic. I call it sympathetic. The characters are so real to me that I can easily feel what they are feeling. It's a combination of excellent writing, good acting, and fabulous audience participation. :)

For those of you interested in seeing it, the movie was a spiritual journey for all involved. It's so different from the first two (by the nature of the book) and yet so good! They changed a few things in the adaptation, but everything worked for me. I was emotionally exhausted at the end, but I can't wait to do it all over again! I read a review that perfectly describes the three Narnia movies: "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is iconic. Prince Caspian is epic. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is intimate." This movie is not about war; it's about people. And I love it!

One of the things that impressed me the most was the thematic richness. There are so many layers, it will take me a long time (and several trips to the theater) to figure them all out. Here is one of my favorite lines, given by the adorable Reepicheep to a mourning Eustace: "Extraordinary things happen to extraordinary people. Perhaps your destiny is far greater than you can imagine." To me, it means that sometimes we are put through trials so that we can learn how to reach our potential, how to be like our Heavenly Father. And that our potential is beyond imagination. Which is saying something because I have a big, huge, wild, overactive imagination!

But the movie also takes you on an exciting adventure with a few swordfights, a squall, a dragon, and (gasp!) a sea-serpent that really scared the gold off my boots. I wantwantwant to be a Narnian sailor! Like so:

If I'm a good girl for the rest of the year, maybe Santa will allow me into Narnia for Christmas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy December, and What a Spooky Day

Note to self: the second month of each semester (February and October) will be boring. The third month (March and November) will be busy.

Graduate school is kicking my butt, so I'm here to blog about it, naturally. Actually, I'm here to wish you all a happy December and to tell you about my spooky day. These are the spooky things that happened to me:

1) This morning, when I got up at 6, my roommates were already awake. This never happens. I thought that maybe it was 6 at night instead of 6 in the morning. I've been known to wake up from an afternoon nap thinking that it's already morning.

2) When I walked to class at 7:45, there was hardly anyone on campus. Usually there are lots of people heading to their 8 o'clock jobs or classes and such. I wondered if it was really Saturday instead of Friday.

3) The clock in the Eyring Science Center was 5 minutes fast so I thought I was running late. But I wasn't.

4) The bells did not ring at 8am when class was supposed to be starting. I just had to start teaching.

5) The bells finally rang at 8:20. Three times. In succession.

6) I sat down next to a random person in the library and upon closer inspection, I discovered that it was Jess, my roommate.

7) The clocks in the Jesse Knight Building were 2 hours and 5 minutes slow. At 11:20, they read 9:15.

Cue the Twilight Zone music.

Have you ever had a spooky day? Tell me about it!

Friday, November 12, 2010


Allow me to list the things that I love about this month:

Needing to wear warm socks and boots
Old music (I've starting listening to Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra Christmas songs!)
Veterans Day
Eating turkey and potatoes and gravy and onions and stuffing
Making Christmas plans
Believing that there is something to be thankful for
Embers in the fireplace
Random childhood memories

Also, I made this graphic with Paint. It is beautimous, no? I worked so hard on it...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallow's Eve

I'm not afraid of no ghost.
It's all a bunch of hocus pocus
And pickles
And llamas
And other scary things
And there was this once,
Upon a midnight dreary,
While I pondered, weak and weary,
That everyone hailed to the pumpkin throne.

I chat with my sister about bloody hands and time travel
And we search for pirates and hoverboards on Amazon.
We have a theory about velociraptors.
And, by the way,
I am a murderess,
She is a jazzerciser.
And a hitchhiking ghost follows us home
For Family Home Evening.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

NCIS Pumpkinheads

I have an obsession. It's unhealthy, I know. But my obsession cannot help itself. It just is. And it belongs to NCIS. Great show. Mum can't stand it because "it's so unrealistic." So I tell her to go watch reality TV. Leave the stories and characters of NCIS to me.

To honor my friends at the fictional version of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, I decided to draw their faces on my mini-pumpkin, as such:

All he needs is a bow tie.

He is a goof.

She rocks!

Because he's lethal.

She's so mysterious.

My favorite! Also, we saw him a few weeks ago on this blog as Thackery Binx. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 26th

Happy Marty McFly Day!

Marty began his three-movie journey when he hit 88 miles per hour on October 26th, 1985, making today the 25th anniversary! Wah!

And in his honor, my car transformed into a time machine. I installed a flux capacitor. It was awesome.

Happy Feet

How can you get overwhelmed or discouraged when your feet look like this?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday morning

It's raining.
I do not have makeup on.
I'm wearing red socks and perfecting my moonwalk on the kitchen floor.
I made a bet that it would snow on October 31st.
I hope I'm right.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sensible Assumptions

Glort you.

That's right. Glort you. After a dropped call to my mother, I tried to text "I lost you." I forgot the space and my phone assumed I was writing "Glort you." Makes sense. Especially since glort is a real word. Psych! (O the good old '90s!)

Let's play Balderdash. If glort were a real word, what would it mean? Here is my submission.

Glort: verb, to gleefully snort insomuch that an eyeball pops out of its socket.

So when I say "glort you," I am cursing you with the ability to gleefully snort insomuch that one of your eyeballs pops out. I'll let you choose which eyeball. Now there's an image for you. And speaking of images, I have some poetic autumnal pictures to share with you. This is the view from where I stand:

All gold and bright!

Are we actually leaning? Trippy. Hehe.
I liked the blanket of leaves on the ground.

Red and orange and green, oh my!

This tree took the book Catching Fire a wee bit too literally.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Black Flame Candle

Have you done anything poetic yet? Me either. I'm still trying to come up with something really clever. Do not doubt me, gentle readers.

In the meantime, I have a message for you from my dear friend and probable true love, Thackery Binx: Don't light the black flame candle on All Hallow's Eve. You might bring someone undesirable back to life.

Like these lovely ladies. Coughcough.

And here is Binx in all his glorious kitty-ness.

And in his Thackery normal-ness. Isn't he cute?
We're totally probable true loves.

Enjoy your favorite childhood Halloween movies! Mine is obviously Hocus Pocus, but there are a lot of other great ones out there. I like Nightmare Before Christmas, too. What movies did you and, hopefully, do you still love?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Do something poetic

Random Hypothetical Person: What do you do for a living?

Me: Oh, you know. I read.

RHP: You read?

Me: Yes.

RHP: Well, I read, too. But it is not a living. It's not a real way to spend your time.

Me: I read a lot. Trust me, it is a real way to spend your time.

RHP: I read a lot, too. And you don't really accomplish anything when you read.

*crickets chirping*

Me: I don't think you quite understand.

Me: It's a living.

So, just in case you ever wonder what the heck I'm doing with my life, now you know. I read, and I learn how to be a human being.

Also, in light of President Uchtdorf's General Conference message, in which he encourages us to (among many other wunderbar things) rejoice in the simple things of life, I would like to issue a challenge to my readership. All both of you.

CHALLENGE: Do something poetic. What do I mean by this?

Recreate some image or scene from a poem. Take part in the beauty of living. Poetry explores the nuances of life: the beautiful, the ugly, the tragic, the peaceful, the humorous, the bizarre, etc. You want an example or two or five? You got it.

As it gets closer to Halloween, I might tap on a friend's window and chant "nevermore."

On a sunny day, I might try to outrun my shadow.

I might finger a jewel as I fall to sleep.

I might dance with the daffodils.

I might take a road that runs uphill.

So be creative. Have fun. Simple fun. Are we good with that? I sure hope so, because I'm excited to hear about the poetic things you do!

And, of course, I'll still be reading.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October Friends

It's October 2nd! That means that today I made a new friend.

Pumpkin-butt and I got along so well from the start that I can already put rabbit ears on him in our pictures. Isn't it wonderful? 'Tis the season to make friends! Just don't tell them what you're going to do to them later on in the month.

Awkward conversation
Pumpkin-butt: Hi, Toni.
Me: Hi, Pumpkin-butt. Hey, can I...carve you?
Pumpkin-butt: Can you what?
Me: Carve you. You know, with a...knife.
Pumpkin-butt: Ha ha, very funny. I suppose you'll be wanting to yank my guts out, too.
Me: ...
Pumpkin-butt: Great Gourd! You're being serious!

Let's avoid this as much as possible. Don't worry about introducing the concept of carving to your new friend; just stab away. He won't even bleed.

Happy October!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Secret State Crushes

I just took a quiz on what state I should live in. The result was Alaska. The two other "good fit" states were two of my personal favorites/secret state crushes: Colorado and Montana. I consider this quiz to be accurate.

Also, I just tried to write the following made-up word because my train of thought changed tracks in the middle of writing it: Alaskarado. Really? I guess it could be an interesting place. Hmmm...

Governor of Alaskarado:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

So, birds.

Humans seek transcendence. We just do. We always want to overcome the limits and boundaries that have been placed on us. You might call it human nature.

Well, we have this particular boundary called Earth, and we're pretty good at everything that can be done inside this boundary. But we often get bored with the things we master. So we took to the sea. Water was an ancient symbol for chaos because it is always moving, often dark, sometimes dangerous. For myself, I'm still a little afraid of large bodies of water because I can't see what's in them. However, humans in general have been using water for business, fun, and war for hundreds--even thousands--of years. We had expanded our mastery to include Earth and water, but we were itching to transcend even those boundaries. So we turned our gaze upward and saw the birds.

Birds have been ahead of us for a long, long time. They use Earth, they use water, and they are very good at using the sky. We envied them. They could transcend all boundaries. In short, birds were, and are, awesome.

Now, humans eventually figured out how to enter the realm of the sky and even outer space, but there is just something so powerful about the natural way that birds inhabit the air, about their inherent symbolic qualities.

I love birds. I've been learning how to identify them by sight and by song. The chickadee has, for me, the easiest song to recognize.

Just two notes. One high, the other a few steps lower. Hree-hoo.

But one of my favorite birds of all is the only kind with sickle-shaped wings and a death-cry: the peregrine falcon.

They're also wicked fast. In fact, they're the fastest animals on the planet.

So, birds. Gotta love 'em. Wanna be one when I grow up.

And now, a testimonial from my dear friend, Emily Dickinson, on how birds can be used as awesome symbols:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Social Editing

I am a social editor. No, that does not mean that I edit people's words as they speak them. No, that does not mean that I edit societal sayings. It means that I edit out loud.

One of my first editing professors instructed me to question every comma to make sure that it actually belongs where it is. I took this to heart.

Yesterday at work:

"Hello, Mr. Comma," I said. Commas are almost always male.

"Hey, dude," he replied.

"What are you doing there?" I made my voice deep and scary, like a serial killer's voice.


So I axed him. It was bloody, I'll admit, but it felt so good to get rid of him. I was like a bloodthirsty exterminator on the prowl. If a comma couldn't explain why he was there, my red pen swung down on him.

I approached my next potential prey.

"Hello, Mr. Comma."

"Greetings!" My spirits fell a little. This comma was pretty polite. It would be harder to exterminate him.

"What are you doing there?"

"Well, I'm connecting two complete but related sentences with my friend, here, Mr. And."

"Oh," I said. I blinked.

"Yes, well, sorry to disappoint you, but I do believe we belong here."

"Yes." I lowered my pen with great sorrow. "Nice to meet you, Mr. And."

"Carry on."

At this point, my boss turned around. "Who are you talking to?"

A hundred misplaced commas giggled on the page. They can be so stupid. I smiled and said, "I'm talking to my victims." And the giggling stopped.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Do zombies dream?


Zombies dream.

The night after I wrote my last post, in which I asked if zombies dream, I dreamt of gigantic moths like this one:

And they were crawling up a dude just like that! And while they were crawling on this poor dude, I started to say, "Watch out, dude! There's a dozen giant moths on you!" And then I saw this yummy little creature, who was also crawling on the dude:

Yipes! The giant spider crawled up and ate the giant moths! And all on the dude! I stood there, frozen, unable to say anything. It was horrific. It was tragic. It was terrifying. And then I woke up. So, yes, zombies dream. At least, they nightmare. Can we make "nightmare" into a verb? I think we should be able to. After all, "dream" is both a noun and a verb. I dreamed a dream. See? So it follows that we should be able to say I nightmared a nightmare.

Think about it.

Unless you would rather think about the giant spider, in which case you probably shouldn't be my friend.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I want brains

Another 11-hour day on campus. I firmly believe now that graduate school turns respectable people into zombies. My reasoning? Simple. Graduate students are a bunch of bedraggled, sleepy, starving students who are after one thing only: braaaiiins. Oh, and we also have wicked dance moves; see also Thriller.

It should not be surprising, then, that the first thing that came to my mind as I was trudging home was this: Gee, I really want to read some Edgar Allan Poe tonight.

You see, last fall semester, I took a class all about Poe. We studied everything he wrote, read, and sneezed on. He wrote much more than just the Gothic, creepy stuff we learn about in high school. Although he was definitely a master at that, too. It was a particularly fun class during the Halloween season, which (for me) lasts from Labor Day up to November 3rd. The extension after October 31st is, of course, to accommodate celebrations for the Day of the Dead. I'm totally getting myself some pan de muerto this year. At any rate, this season is one of my favorite times of the year!

So I wonder which Poe piece I will be reading as I fall asleep tonight. Will it give me nightmares? Actually, it will probably make my dreams calmer than they normally are. No more epic floods and swimming from Utah to Michigan with aquatic velociraptors on my tail for me!

But, my question to you is, do zombies even dream?

I guess we're going to find out.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I have four jobs. Four. Quatro. As many jobs as there are Italian cheeses. As many jobs as there are wings on an X-wing fighter. As many jobs as there are letters in a four-letter word. Allow me to explain. No, strike that: I'll just let you figure it out on your own.

Job I
Editorial Assistant for Western North American Naturalist
@ the Bean Museum

Job II
Writing 150 Instructor
@ BYU Writing Program

Primary Author of a chapter on LDS contributions to young adult literature
@ BYU English Program

Job IV
Writer of children's books, middle grade books, and young adult novels
@ My Desk

So, let us call upon The Great Pen of the Sky. Great Pen of the Sky, please please please turn me into this:

Um, thank you, that is all.

(squeezes eyes shut) Is it working?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Awesome all day long

Tuesdays are going to be my long days this semester. I was on campus for 11 hours straight. But it was 11 hours of awesome! I love my studies, I love my jobs, I love my friends, and I especially love my soft, fluffy pillow and the nice little way it greets me when I come home (basically, I flop onto it and it sits there all squishy and warm). This is essentially how my day went today.

Disclaimer: this may or may not be a bit fictionalized. For example, no, I did not wear this many outfits today.

6:00AM The Dread Alarm goes off. I bound out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed...at 6:20.

8:00AM I teach Writing 150. I be smart.

9:30AM I go to my creative writing class. I revel in nerd-dom. My writing project has kitties in it. Samwise (shown here) provides the inspiration.

11:00AM I go to the BYU devotional. President Samuelson warns us not to be over-zealous. I zealously vow to be more careful about it.

12:00PM I work through my office hours in the Writing instructor carrels, which is a fancy way of saying "Studying Stalls," not unlike the one in the image below.

2:00PM I work through my office hours in the Bean Museum. I read about Lepus americanus. It's not as scary as I make it look.

4:00PM I eat dinner. Nom nom nom.

5:00PM I go to Introduction to Graduate Studies in English, where I appear all scholarly and such.

7:00PM I walk home. To start my homework. And eat Second Dinner.

And that pretty much explains my whole schedule for those of you who wonder what a graduate student in English does. Basically, I'm awesome all day long. Who would have guessed!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bring it.

I survived my first week of graduate school! Allow me to illustrate how I feel with the following photographs, which are actual pictures of me studying/researching/writing essays/etc:

I feel like Link behind the power of his favorite weapon.

I feel like Ron, having just achieved the impossible.

I feel like Michael about to deliver the coup de grace to the devil-dragon.

I feel like Aragorn, ready to conquer the army ahead.

To grad school, I say, "You will release Captain Solo and the Wookie to me."
Metaphorically speaking, of course.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Master Toni

I've been training all week. I'm exhausted, but that's kind of the point of training. Soon, I will be implementing everything I have learned because I am too tired to resist (in Vader's words, "It is pointless to resist"). Soon, I will be a Jedi Master. Soon, I will have padawans. Yes, I have confirmed that "padawans" is the plural of "padawan." Just to be sure. Because a Jedi Master must be sure. And tough. In fact, I have been practicing this line: If you don't do as I say, I will become angry and use my magic. (Thanks to Luke and C3P0 for the idea!)

My magics. And a blaster gun cleverly disguised as an Earthbound water gun.

In the first week of class, we will go over the syllabus and begin the first unit, basic mind tricks. My goal is to progress the padawan learners to advanced mind tricks, force grip, and lightsaber construction by the end of the semester. This is going to be fairly intense for the younglings, but I have great faith in their abilities to learn and grow.

As for myself, I have been trained by the Greats. Few people know that Shakespeare was a Jedi Master. Chaucer was also a Jedi, though he was always rebelling against the Council. And then there was Homer, one of the most famous Jedi Knights. You'll be surprised what you learn in the Jedi Academy.

And let's not forget The Bestest Jedi Master Ever. I understand that he almost took home the award for Grumpiest Jedi Master Ever, but he lost it to Samuel L. Jackson.

In his natural habitat.

Mmmm. Hidden your future is.

May the Force be with my classroom!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Burrow

If you were to come to my room, I would say, "Welcome to The Burrow!" You see, I've named it The Burrow because it is a small hole in the basement of my apartment. So, I kind of live like a rabbit. But I'm a very happy rabbit. Let's take a quick tour of my itty-bitty living space! Please note that this room is my attempt to create a haven for a graduate student studying children's and young adult literature. Also note that each caption is below the picture it describes.

This is my I'm-Still-A-Kid Area.

Please appreciate my line-up of heroes: Captain Moroni, Prince Philip, King Peter, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Mario, who is being a creep in the background. Also visible in this shot: (giant) Flora from Sleeping Beauty and a snowglobe with the girl from The Nutcracker.

This is my Where Books Can Take You display. In the center is a picture of Lucy opening the wardrobe door, and spread around the outside are maps from children's books: Panem (from the Hunger Games), Neverland, Wonderland, Narnia, etc. I'm hoping to add more soon!

This is my weapons arsenal. Please appreciate my lightsaber. It makes me so proud.

I have decorated with birds and their homes. Everywhere.

This is my Classic Children's Books corner. It's right over my head when I sleep at night. So if the shelf fails one night and kills me, know that I died happy.

This might be hard to see, but on the back of my door is my pretty white princess/Jane Austen dress. Alex, check out the bow at the top! I made it just for you! And what are those straps hanging from the doorknob...

Why, it's a pretty red purse! I put all my pretty stuff on my door so that I remember to put on make-up before I leave. I'm a little lazy about that.

And what is a college room without a media center?! Right next to this is my tupperware tub of movies and DVDS, and right next to that is my glorious TV, shown in the first picture. Please note that the box of CDs says "Achmed was here! Mwah ha ha!" because my sister thought it would be funny.

And look, no room would be complete without a cat (albeit a stuffed cat in this case) curled up asleep on the bed.

So, all in all, I still have some blank walls to decorate (I just ordered a tasty poster that I can't wait to hang up) and some areas to organize. But in general, my room is my haven! I'm excited to try it out when school actually starts. Less than 3 weeks, gentle readers! Ack! I best get crackin' on that readings list.

My Muchness: I discovered the other day that I really like Converse sneakers...on cute guys. Now that I mention it, I feel the need to watch Back to the Future again. :)