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Monday, August 31, 2009

behind enemy lines

The Great Move, part deux finally took place over the weekend and I am now located in Columbus, Ohio. I have a room all to myself in my surrogate grandmother's house. I can drive around and not get lost thanks to the placement of various stores, coffee shops, and golf courses. But more importantly, as of yesterday morning, I have a social network in the making.

As has been explained, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The congregational bodies of the church are set up on a geographic basis. The individual units where people meet weekly for their Sunday worship are known as wards or branches. Wards are given geopgraphic barriers and all those members of the church within those barriers attend that ward. For example, if I were living in San Francisco, I would attend the ward or branch* there in the city rather than crossing the bay to attend a ward in Oakland.

This system of wards and branches is established worldwide and has been a matter of comfort to me on many occassions. I know that where ever I go, there will always be a ward waiting for me. The faces may be different, but there will always be three meetings (sacrament meeting, Sunday school, and Relief Society/Elders' Quorum/Primary), the truths of the gospel will always be the same, and I will instantly have a home.

Two years ago I found myself in a similar situation where I was moving to a highly unfamiliar place on my own. In Brussels, Belgium I initially knew no one outside of my travelling party of interns. That changed my first Sunday, a few sparse days after my international debut. I walked into the church building located on the north end of the city and was bombarded with hugs, handshakes, smiling faces, and a whole new family waiting for me. These people became travel partners, fellow musicians, and, in a few cases, lifelong friends. Most of us were expats, but through our mutual faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ, we found a familiar home in one another.

The same thing happened to me yesterday morning as I drove through Ohio State's campus to the institute building for my Sunday worship. Just like so many times before, not a face in the crowd was familiar, but it didn't matter. Handshakes and introductions were made in rapid procession. I sat in between new friends and made jokes about the customary Sunday school lesson on temple marriage*. By the end of the three-hour block I had spiritually fed as well as befriended and introduced into a whole new social sphere.

After the past few days I feel reinvigorated about this move and what lays before me. There are still a great many unknowns to tackle, but I have a sure foundation here that will never let me down. I am so grateful for my membership in a worldwide church where faith and love are universal and never regional.

Friday, August 28, 2009

the lion fights back

I'm moving, again, tomorrow! Nothing is packed. My application is not done (but it's getting ever so much closer!). It's raining. I don't know if my little car will make another trip. I have no job. No friends. But I'm moving. Tomorrow. Boo. Yah.

This move should have been easier than my cross-country hiatus, but it wasn't. I knew I was supposed to leave Utah and that it was supposed to happen in an expedient fashion. So I did it. It wasn't me being overly in tune with anything or being brave, it was just me doing what I knew had to be done. That's it.

The move to Columbus has always been a bit of a question mark in my mind. Home has been comforting as I recharged after a hasty few months of making major life decisions. I've read, relaxed, traveled, sketched, written, cleaned, ate, talked, listened, watched movies, helped my family, and helped myself. It was easy to grow complacent and avoid the Great Unknown. Not anymore. It's time to jump into my new life, whatever it may be. A new license, a new school, a new start.

Monday, August 24, 2009

"we ain't got it!"

I'm broke. No denero for me. None. Nowhere, zip, zilch, nada. But I like stuff. It's a weakness, I know. So I thought I would share some of the results of items that have been tempting me to dig deep into my nonexistent coffers.

Craft in America. Best freaking documentary EVER..so long as you are a complete and utter art geek. Fortunately for me, I am!

Oh yes, there's a book, too. A gorgeous book! Dang PBS and all of the wonders it reveals to me...

100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names is a darling little book I found at the library and fell in love with (go figure!). It gives the etymology of each flower and a little about where the flower can be found with a sweet black and white sketched image of each blossom. The drawings are fantastic and the history is just genius. Plus, I like the flower names. Some of them are rather cute.

Breast cancer awareness at its best. Is there really a need for more explanation to this? I think not. There's also a shirt that says "Thanks for noticing, Save the Tatas" but I opted out of the image for it. Still on the list though.

This list is not including the blouses from J.Crew, the beautiful navy blue sweater with leather buttons, or the soundtrack for (500) Days of Summer. Or cake from Pronto. Or cocoa from Caribou. Or the cool Michigan book I saw at Borders last week. Or the random tree book I haven't found yet.

Moral of the story: I am not cut out for poverty; I like helping the economy too much.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

action hero awareness day

As I've mentioned before, Wednesdays rock my nonexistent socks for two reasons: the temple, and I get to hear from this dude.

This is my brother, Joe Studly, who is currently serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Milan, Italy. Every Wednesday morning, but two thus far when life got the better of him and he had to write on Thursday, I get an email from him. He fills my family and me in on what he's been up to, who he's been serving, how many times he's danced to Chris Brown's song Forever, what he's been learning, and so much more. It's awesome.

While it may appear that he is just one tall, ridiculous dork hanging over a wall to pick berries, this kid just happens to be my best friend. And I miss him desperately.

The thing is, I know he is exactly where he needs to be right now. His letters are always so upbeat, just like him, oozing with personality and a love for the Italian people that makes me love them just as much. He takes his work seriously, dedicating two years of his life to serve people he's never met before.

He's just a stud. And a half. I love Wednesdays, but I love him even more.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

the lion's tale

I'm a coward. There! I said it! I'm a coward. A chicken. A ninny. Big one!

Why am I a coward? I'm too big of a chicken to get this application done. The idea of not getting into school terrifies me and I'd rather not even finish the application process. Ridiculous, right? I know! I just moved 2,000 miles on a whim and can't even take a test and write a paper!

To all of you who have successfully applied to graduate school, taken the GRE, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, or whatever, you have my utmost respect. That requires a level of courage that is sending me on a quest to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard. My hat's off to you, and thank you for inspiring me to keep trying.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


My computer died last year.

It was a tragic affair heavy laden with unfortunate events, the help of dear friends, spilled cake, movies, three hard drives, and a new operating system. My brave little laptop met its end just as my undergraduate career wrapped up, thank heavens! There was no last minute scrambling to rewrite papers, find lost research, or any such chaos. I just lost everything and have mourned it ever since.

Due to this, I have been spending the past week working on transcribing my final paper at BYU to be reused as my writing sample for my OSU application. I love this paper, really I do. It's written with the best I have. It encompasses my passions neatly and makes me sound a great deal more intelligent and well-rounded than I feel I am in reality. This paper, it's called Språk: A look at language usage in the European Union, may be reused time and time again. I have been collecting more research for it over the past year and have plans to add on to it, potentially even use it for the basis for my graduate thesis.

My problem? I want to add on to it now as I prepare to send it in. Why is this a problem? Well, while I have been collecting research, I don't have access to all of the resources I need right now to cite my findings properly without all of my musing coming across as totally speculative. That, and I'm afraid of losing more time in this process. I need to get this application in, the sooner, the better. I still have to rework my resume, write my personal statement (AHHH!!), take the GRE (AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!), move, not freak out. That's a lot to handle! I just don't know if adding on to my already fantastic -I'm not biased, what are you talking about?- paper would be prudent right now. Then again, this is also coming from the girl who keeps passing up getting work done for the sake of a new book.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

dr. freud, party of two

"We have so many issues we make Time Magazine jealous."

Monday, August 10, 2009


Turner Classic Movies, better known in the colloquial as TCM is both a virtue and a vice. For me at least. August they are running a series called Summer Under the Stars where each day of the month is devoted to one iconic film star. All day. Every day. Thirty-one days. That's a lot of films that I either love, rarely get to see, or have never seen before. Great news for my film loving sensibilities, plague-like news for my OSU application.

First there was the day of Harold Lloyd, silent film genius who I knew absolutely nothing about until last week. He was brilliant! The films were fantastic! And they were on average only about an hour long. Do you realize how many movies that is? Then there was the day of Judy Garland films, beginning with her early career working with Mickey Rooney in the "Andy" movies. Those I can typically avoid fairly well. But then, ,then the demonic forces of TCM unleashed films like Summer Stock and In the Good Old Summertime. Both of those are on my all-time favorites list as the diva-like Judy pairs up with the likes of Gene Kelly (be still my dancer loving heart!) and Van Johnson (seriously underestimated film legend, in my approximation). Here's the thing: I didn't get to watch the former of the two, and for good reason.

I was out watching another film. It's a disease I have, really. Me and my partners in crime rustled up some free tickets to the film Adam, an absolutley fantastic piece! It's about a young man with Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, who struggles to find himself, work with Asperger's, and to find his place in the world. I'd watch it again in a heartbeat and listen to the soundtrack even sooner.

TCM really did a number on me yesterday though. One solid day of Cary Grant. This wouldn't have been as bad were it not for the fact that I watched An Affair to Remember before the Cary Grant-a-thon even began. So it was that late yesterday, I curled up at home after a day at the beach to watch Mr. Grant in Notorious and Houseboat. The latter of these films I have seen several times before. It is a light-hearted romance in which he stars with Sophia Loren. Good grief! That woman is a knockout!

The former of the two films, however, was new to me. Notorious is a Hitchcock film from 1946 in which Grant plays against Ingrid Bergman. Without even seeing the film, these three names should give a sense that it is fantastic. In reality though, this film is even better than you could imagine. Cary Grant, the total dreamboat that he is, has been inconized for his roles as a suave, debonnaire, witty man. He's absolutely brilliant at it. In Notorious, however, he is none of those things. Devastatingly handsome, to be sure. But his character is cold, distant, and brooding. I fell in love with him all over again feeling like I'd found a whole new side to him. The swooning that took place during that film was utterly absurd.

Luckily Cary Grant day came fairly early in the month giving me ample time to try to avoid TCM until Frank Sinatra day in the latter portion of August. That way I can focus on my appli-oh! Fun movie I've never seen before! Gotta go!

Monday, August 03, 2009

oh, the fates

This past weekend was my test run with Columbus. Register at the DMV, set up a new bank account, try out a concert in the park. It was going to be totally productive, set my nerves at ease, and convince me once and for all that I was ultimately fine with applying to OSU.

None of those things happened the way they were supposed to. Not one.

I am still happily a resident of Michigan for the time being because I inadvertently forgot all the necessary paperwork to meet the requirements at the DMV. Completely negates the purpose of going down to Columbus, but somehow, I'm just fine with my perpetuated status as a Michigander.

The concert in the park was a lot of fun, really, it was. The Columbus Symphony Orchestra puts on a series every summer called Picnic With the Pops. Every weekend for about two months, a guest artist appears with the orchestra for an outdoors extravaganza. What no one mentioned to me before arriving at last weekend's concert was that the freaking Ohio State Marching Band was the guest artist. How did I find out? The blazing sea of scarlet and grey surrounding me. I was wearing a solid blue shirt. Cobalt. Freaking. Blue.

As the concert began, I dove deep into the familiar world of the performing arts as the orchestra played pieces I've studied for several years now and a few I'd gladly hear again. (Concerto for Cellphone, bound to be a classic.) Then it was time for, and I quote, "The Best Damn Band in the Land" to play. Gag me now...the best damn band in the land? Seriously?

I'm sad to report, they were pretty damn good. Feathered hats off to them as they are incredible group of musicians. But they totally lost me when they started up on a rousing rendition of "I Don't Give a Damn About the Whole State of Michigan." Catchy tune that it is, I have no recollection of any of the music played after that. We weren't ten minutes into the set and I had heard more Michigan jokes than I'd ever like to hear again.

Despite that, I'm really grateful for this past weekend. I refamiliarized myself with parts of Columbus, found a fantastic market, discovered that the Ann Arbor based bookstore Borders DOES exist in OSU territory, and that I really will be fine.

Even if no one else there gives a damn about the whole state of Michigan.

three days

That's the amount of time I spent away from a computer.

And loved it.

But I'm weak and the first thing I did when I got home from a weekend away was jump onto the internet.