it still feels like everyone I know is getting married. but the most important person I know is Megan. she's coming up tonight to do some wedding things. oh what an exciting time to be a friend.


on wanting to go to india.

I don't know why, but I've always wanted to go to India. since I could remember. I think I really liked one issue of the National Geographic about India. or maybe it was Newsweek. But my desires were really perpetuated when my cousin Caitlin went. I started asking around and found out that it wasn't that hard to go with BYU. my desires were no more than a lingering interest. I went to information meetings and such--but I never really planned on it until I applied to do a field study.

a lot of things happened with the field study--but the final was that they were postponing the field study to India and starting a study abroad. and a study abroad is the last thing I want to do in India. a friend introduced me to Shanti Bhavan. you can read about it more there, but in short, it is a children's school for children considered 'untouchable' in the India caste system. they wouldn't recieve an education otherwise. Melissa and I are in the process of applying. so...we'll see how it goes. the friend who generously introduced SB to me is there now, Molly. read of her experiences. also, Genevieve returned from SB a month ago.

I am taking a course called Survey of World Religions. it is such a great class taught by one of my favorite-ever professors. on Monday we discussed Hinduism. I just felt such a reassuring excitement and peace that this is what I want. India.

nothing is for sure. like I said, I'm still in the middle of the application process. but for now, my mind is on it. and I'm really, really excited. if it all goes through, I can't wait to turn the old try international.

thank you u.s. postal service.

a lot of people are talking about domino, which is definitely a tragedy.

I'm more troubled over the u.s. postal service. 5 days? 5 days? if you care, go buy some stamps.

i didn't send these through the mail. but the principle remains. :)


i need a fix.

I could really use a viewing or 2 of this movie tonight.

daily universe firsts.

one about a dead poet. *
upcoming lecture.
the mystery of field studies. *
the world on campus.
first article ever.
bridging the divide. *

I'm in Comms 321 this semester--news reporting. in other words--like 30 hours a week worth of work for 3 credits. but super fun. reporting for the daily campus newspaper is leagues better than I anticipated. I have discovered I like telling peoples' stories. I like seeing what brings them together. don't spend too much time reading these. the * are the ones I'm most proud of. more to come to be sure


he didn't have to.

by Amy McDonald

I can tell by
the paper-white of your
crisped with
the starch of sails.

You bend to the
of both my lurking observation
and the age heralded by
the chalk of your hair.

And I can tell
by my reflection
in the midnight ink
of your belt
and the urgent lineup
of big-ticket purchases
draped securely on it.

that you
are no maintenance man.


my roommate Ariel unprivatized her blog. hooray! do yourself a favor.

Ariel and I are so much alike. she is the strongest example of faith and courage to me. I couldn't ask for a better roommate.

evolution of love.

if I had a valentine I would definitely buy this card.


101 things i love about dad.

1. He just bought some jeans
2. He plays the Cello
3. He taught his children to love music
4. His patients love him
5. He dances with his daughters
6. He likes puns
7. He still has a palm pilot
8. He always carries his palm, pager, and cell phone
9. His voicemail greeting is 2 minutes long
10. He used to be in the glee club
11. He has a million vinyl records
12. He is a doctor
13. He has too many bicycles
14. He always says “bicycle” instead of “bike”
15. He wears a tie every day
16. He rides his bicycle to work
17. There is always a stethoscope in his car
18. He shakes hands with the same hand as you
19. He loves Anthony Trollope novels
20. He is married to Mom
21. He calls Mom Mommers
22. He likes it when we call him Pops
23. He really enjoyed Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
24. He eats dinner fast
25. He teaches Gospel Essentials
26. He is a big believer in nasal spray
27. He is handy around the house
28. He always makes sure our tires are full and oil is changed
29. He makes us go on bicycle rides
30. He rides the tandem-bike with us
31. He owns a tandem-bike
32. He folds his bed pillow in half
33. He has curly hair
34. He sends me short e-mails when I’m at college
35. He helps Grandma brush her teeth every night
36. He likes to save money and taught his kids to save it too
37. He buys store-brand diet soda and cereal in bulk
38. He parks far on the left side of the garage to give Mom plenty of room
39. He and mom have a garden
40. He feeds the dogs canned dog food
41. He gave me his big orange coat last winter
42. He is always wishing he wrote in his journal more
43. He has a million books he wants to read
44. He keeps a comb in his pant-pocket and pens in his shirt pocket
45. His old tweed sports coat has elbow pads
46. He bought an iPod for the first time recently
47. He makes bets in terms of ironing shirts
48. He has a tan leather briefcase that he still uses
49. He plays music too loud
50. He turns on radio static on long car drives
51. He listens to NPR
52. He likes James Taylor
53. He plays cello in the Southwest Symphony
54. He is a fierce competitor in Speed Scrabble
55. He really got into the Horatio Hornblower series
56. He sometimes gets his daughters’ names mixed up
57. He goes to Ben Franklin instead of Lowe’s or Home Depot
58. He has a great smile
59. He let Mom give me a middle name
60. He has had some strange friends over the years
61. He used to smoke a pipe
62. He can play the guitar
63. He sings “How ‘bout them dogkickers”
64. He answers his cell phone even when he’s at work
65. He pronounces it I-talian
66. His blue/green eyes change color
67. He puts labels on his home-office supplies so no one takes them
68. He asks you to go on errands with him
69. When he really laughs, he really laughs
70. He sings in the morning
71. He eats cracked wheat every day
72. He pays $20 to mow the lawn
73. He is very particular about how you mow the lawn
74. He knows his classical music history
75. His favorite era of music is the Baroque era
76. He uses his middle initial – “Kent B. McDonald”
77. He signs his name very quickly
78. He uses nicknames like “my girl” and “princess”
79. He says “hi guy” to people whose names he can’t remember
80. He says “woah”
81. He empties the dishwasher each morning
82. He wears reading glasses to read
83. He is left-handed
84. He always wears a watch
85. He likes to know what temperature it is on the deck or porch
86. He can do 58 push-ups
87. He is a pro whistler
88. He always has a healthy supply of batteries
89. He’ll do whatever it takes to keep the electricity bill down
90. He uses mouthwash
91. He writes down important things on an index card kept in his shirt pocket
92. He is a photographer
93. He is from Heber City, Utah
94. He sets his clocks a few minutes fast
95. He doesn’t like being cold
96. He wants his kids to follow their dreams
97. He reads my blog every now and then
98. He used to be the bishop
99. He doesn’t mind lending things to his kids (usually)
100. He laughs out loud reading Dave Barry
101. He is a faithful home teacher


american heritage.

American Heritage is a huge part of my life. and I want everyone who knows me to know why. so I'm setting a goal to give a weekly post of something taught in American Heritage that week. yesterday in my labs I taught about the Puritans and civil liberty.

in "On Liberty," John Winthrop (Puritan Mayflower man and Mass. Bay governor) defines 2 kinds of liberty:

1. natural liberty--the freedom to do as you choose: good or evil.
2. civil liberty--the freedom to do good.

the importance of this today, is that we encounter both kinds. yes, all choices have consequences. but you do have the natural liberty--the freedom to go 90 mph on I-15 today (probably without getting a ticket). and you do have the freedom to sit on your couch watching L&O until the sun goes down. you can do whatever you want. it's a free country. right?

but all of us have spheres of civil liberty. just a week ago Tuesday, President Obama said we all need to rise to the call and pay the price of citizenship--we are all responsible for each other's plight. at BYU, the Honor Code acts as a form of civil liberty. of course there is always the option to do good or bad at BYU (and people definitely do both!), but the consequences are more immediate. so the only real choice is the choice to do good.


photo via mommycoddle

I felt like doing a post, but didn't know on what. until I visited MommyCoddle. she's so great. and boy does she make me feel that I want to live on a farm. I know you are thinking I am the last person that could handle living on a farm. true, sometimes my taste and my ideal future don't exactly match up. but how beautiful is her life?

additionally, I've been up with the roosters this week. haven't been sleeping well. who knows why?


the oath.

I really loved that the whole oath of office was so...human. something that would happen in a work meeting or sunday school class that would be normal and embarrassing and people would laugh at it.  it was so imperfect even though it was a most significant moment in both their lives, not to mention every American's life.  George Washington, the American demigod, took the same exact oath.  that's why the oath of office is SO dang cool. it's historical and relevant and huge! so I love that these two men--two of my favorite men--who happen to have very fundamental disagreements with each other, and happen to be the two most important people in America, not to mention the smartest, messed the oath up.  do you think they could have practiced beforehand? obviously, I can't really articulate why I love it so much--but I do. I love that President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts stumbled slightly over the oath of office in front of the whole world. and I love that they're doing it over again. 


hope is a terrible thing to waste.

my life is so up and down. yesterday was such a great day. hope is a terrible thing to waste, and I feel like a lot of people around me are wasting it. whether or not BYU students like Obama, he is the president of the country in which we all currently live. I think most of my classmates want to improve their country, or if not, want their country to improve. it just seems like people are more mad. no matter political affiliation, I wish people had more hope.

the problem with me is that soon after I clean up one mess, I create another. I've made my life so much harder than it has to be. I've made mistakes recently that I can honestly say I wish I never would have made. truthfully.

people have been so incredibly kind to me lately. I spent a fabulous weekend with my sisters. and just before that it seemed like someone from every sphere I belong to was feeding me compliments. I've alluded to this sentiment before--but I don't deserve it. my friends are so generous with their praises, forming friendly bonds with me while I create enemies out of thin air.

some freshman girls came by our apartment on friday to see what CP was like. I gave them 3 pieces of advice: make freshman year last, next year is not like freshman year, and nothing is as good as the dorms. no really, what I said was, CP is a dump, but all that really matters is that you have good roommates. I said some other things about the ward and my social experience in CP (essentially, I won’t do my laundry here because I don’t want to see anyone). which led to a later discussion on monday night, as I instructed my roommates to tell anyone who comes to the door for me that I was not there. they informed me that I probably care a little too much what people think of me.

I’ve never really thought of myself that way—or at least not recently. I have confidence in me, you know? I have always just done things my way. I can’t remember ever really questioned what the general opinion was on what I should or should not do. but my roommates are right. I change my outfit like 20 times a day. I don’t know if you know that about me. I do. I change a minimum of 5 times every morning—and Sunday’s are the worst. they are the absolute worst. and you know why—because I see people I know on Sunday. and I care what they—probably more than anyone—think. it’s terrible.

so yesterday, I had just started cleaning up a mistake I made a year ago, when I created another one. the old mess has nothing to do with my worries about others’ perceptions of me. the new mess, though, has brought me an enormous amount of pain in just 24 hours. I won’t go into detail because as you might guess, I’m still swimming in it. but I dug up a part of my past that I’m still slightly bitter about, and I was overly harsh and hurt people who the

I’m scared of other people viewing me in a way I don’t want them to. I’m scared of who I am to these people. In their eyes, I’m the person I intended never to be.

I guess being an adult is about learning how to fix your mistakes. I just wish I didn't make any. this poem, and this one, are all about keeping your head up. making it through your trials. all of my problems are ones I have brought on myself.

italian christmas cookies.

these are my grandma Soniat's Italian Christmas cookies. thought I would post pictures, even though it's january 21.


happy inaugural day.

january 20, 2009.



I got counseling today. from several different people. the best advice from one of the best people ever. the professor I ta'd for. some things he told me:

talk to people who have my best interest at heart
be prayerful and careful
I am not obligated to choose a certain major
seek out the best books
follow your heart--do what you enjoy
big decisions will get answered
sometimes you have to step into the darkness--but light will come

I'm still not sure what I'm doing. let alone how I'm going to do whatever I choose. thank you all for your support. I know it's heaven sent. my knees hold the answer.


behind the scenes.

I really love these inspiration boards Martha shared in this month's Living. called Behind the Scenes: Creativity at Work. if only I had a space of my own! wandering into the Visual Arts advisement center (they were giving out free books--otherwise I had no business there), I saw one of plain brown walls with a white alphabet from a-z. I would love to do something like that.
Melissa got accepted to medical school at University of Michigan. she's such a genius.

blank canvas.

I looove the first day of school. it was snowy and what I would normally term as miserable. but today I was not miserable. I was soooo glad to be back. the first day of winter semester feels so crisp. and I know it is mostly the bitter cold biting my un-stockinged toes that leaves me feeling crispened, but it's also the clean slate. it's a new year, a new semester. the snow is quiet and pure white--a blank canvas. the cliche lends itself freely to my day.

I pointed out, and Mere agreed, that everyone was making eye contact today. the 2 of us waltzed around the bookstore, chatting and avoiding the snowstorm while we made eye contact with attractive and eligible young men. a new semester not only brings with it new classes, new books, and new friends, but new prospects.

people term BYU a 'meat market.' which is a hasty generalization, but a true one. the way I see it, people are always buying meat. but at the meat market, no one is embarrassed about it. so yes. by the end of the day I was intentionally making eye contact with the hooded, Converse-wearing blond who passed me in the library. go cougs.

and I embraced the snow today. it really wasn't that bad. I think driving in it is what makes me nervous. I know driving in it makes me nervous. I just didn't mind walking in it at all today. but we'll see if my self-diagnosis of SAD holds true this winter.

my first day was pretty great. except for the angst my major is causing me (I have 2 majors and a minor. major 1 - Communications: Print Journalism. major 2 - American Studies. minor - International Development). the major causing me pure joy is major 2, American Studies. but the major causing me to roll my eyes and rub my forehead and sigh really loudly in class is major 1, Print Journalism. seriously.

I was pretty set on majoring in Violin Performance while I was in high school. after all, BYU gave me a scholarship for playing. but I had studied with some BYU violin people and wasn't into it. so I auditioned at Utah State. they graciously accepted me and I was going to be there. but as my mom and I drove from Logan through Provo, I just decided--I want to go to BYU. so I decided I was going to do violin my way, singing Defying Gravity helped me believe I could. and I can't really remember when, but I decided not to pursue music. that's a heartbreak we can talk about some time later.

but I decided to write. to be a journalist. to be the words in the Atlantic Monthly my parents subscribed to, or the voice above the static on NPR, or the column torn out of Newsweek. I've been pretty happy about it--like fairly excited and really quite pleased. and it fit well with who I am. the major is unique, probably about 30 people per class. when I tell people my major, I usually get a positive response--with the occasional, "oh I guess someone has to do that."

but as I took the pre-requisites and applied and got accepted and orientationed, it didn't sit well. and today, oh today. I was assigned a story. a story! I am currently taking the class that requires 7 scheduled hours, and a minimum of 2 stories per week. not to mention they are all published in the university newspaper. the situation should make me happy--seeing as it is a semester-long taste of what I have designated myself to do for the rest of my life. but it doesn't.

I just don't know what I am doing. really. I need counseling.

what made me happy was American Heritage. was my American Humanities class. was my World Religions class. not my Reporting class. my Journalism professors were dry and bitter. I'm sure they're great people--real experienced journalists as they were so quick to inform us. but they are not who I want to be. I want to be my fellow A HTG ta's. I want to be the professors I TA for. I want to be animated and funny and passionate and not cut any corners. not short change myself.

I want to help people. that is my number one piece of knowledge. and I was pretty sure I wanted to help people by exposing social ills and investigating corrupt institutions. but now I am just not sure. it's not what I want. it's not what I want.

and I keep returning to the same processes that I endured when deciding against Violin Performance. I couldn't give it up. I didn't want someone else doing my thing, especially if I wasn't doing it. and I wanted it for myself too. I loved music. it was a huge part of me--something I'd invested a huge portion of myself into. something I wept over and joyed in. but ultimately, I had to choose to spectate. to be a patron, not a participant.

am I to do the same with journalism? after all, my parents--who I gained a love of journalism from in the first place--subscribe to the Atlantic and Newsweek and NPR and This American Life and everything in between. can I be a patron of the news? can I watch someone else be the next generation of Jacob A. Riis's and Bob Woodward's--the reporters I want to be?

I'm afraid my canvas isn't blank. why am I so keen on one that is? the new year gives me the illusion that I am blank. but I am not. there is a lot of mess on my canvas and I'm just wondering if I'll ever be able to be one that's decent. I don't know what I want to paint on mine--and the disarray of colors that is already splashed on it has mystified me.


I'm so happy for meg + blake.

erica's blog.

I am so so glad that Erica started a blog. she is like a sister to me and I want to keep up with her life. and visiting her blog is a visual experience! it is beautiful. she not only does wonders with photos but her writing is great, as she is. not to mention that babe. you would do well to drop by every once in a while.


happy 2009.

i really like the new year. i suspect it's all marketing, but i really feel like it's a fresh start. it usually doesn't last long for me, but i still like my tabula rasa. serendipitously, i finished my journal yesterday--the last day of 2008. and now starting a new one, only adding to my blank slate paradigm.

there are a lot of things i'm holding my breath for in 2009:

better blogging (hopefully!)
being a better friend
practice sketching
make time for leisure/personal reading
go to india
attend a wedding
save money to spend it
throw the valentines party i've always wanted
confirm a career/major (perhaps)
memorize some poetry