Monday, October 31, 2011

Love is a Choice

This post may seem an odd one after Halloween, but a friend just e-mailed me a link to an article about love that I thought was too interesting not to remark on.

In the article (When the Words Don't Fit), the author states that "love chooses us." I think that's crazy. What does that even mean? Love chooses us. Ha!

We choose love! Or put in a different way, we choose to love. Love is a choice. It's not magic, and it's not some intangible, indescribable thing that just floats around in the clouds and plops on two random people at a time. It's not like Cupid, shooting arrows. I have enough love in my life to know that to love is something we consciously and conscientiously do. It involves getting to know someone, sharing special moments with that person, and doing acts of service. Love isn't "a fancy or a feeling," as Hartley Coleridge rightly observed. It's an action.

I'm so tired of people pretending like it's magic, as if it makes romantic relationships more romantic.

The one benefit about this false concept of love, is that I can immediately tell whether I will truly get along with someone. That is, if someone starts to act like love is some sparkly, pink, ethereal thing, then I know we will never really understand each other. It's an easy way to filter the so-so friends and dates from the wonderful, kindred-spirit types. :)

Thing I'm thankful for: my roommate's bobby-pinning skills. I needed hair help!


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Halloween is my favorite holiday!

Thing I'm thankful for: class that doesn't start until noon!


I'm baking pumpkin pies right now. Well, the oven is baking my pumpkin pies right now. While I wait, I listen to the soundtrack for Amadeus, which is quite possibly one of the best movies in the whole wide world. The soundtrack is even better!

The whole thing was recorded exclusively for the film by London's Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and they play every Mozart piece excellently.

What I love, love, love more than anything about this soundtrack, though, is the music selection. Everyone knows Mozart was brilliant, but I don't think everyone really knows why. We learn about him in grade school -- that he began composing music as a child and that his body of work includes over 600 pieces. Everyone knows that despite his great influence on classical music, he was buried in a common grave, and his funeral was not well attended. But does everyone know his music?

If you don't, get this soundtrack immediately. Neville Marriner picked the best works for the score. It is a wonderful introduction to Mozart. It makes me feel creative, invigorated, intellectual, and . . . well, frankly -- it makes me feel closer to God. There. I said it. That's what great art does for me.

Just listen to it, already.

Thing I'm thankful for: Chocolate Silk

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hey, Way to Go, Nicole Richie!

Apparently, she posted this on Facebook:
"Girls, can we all pledge that we will not dress slutty for this Halloween?"

I think that's pretty cool.

Her Halloween costume this year? Toy Story's Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl -- and not a sexy one. Just a modest, family-friendly character. See for yourself: Nicole Richie as Jessie.

Thing I'm thankful for: good, clean Halloween costumes

Happy Birthday to ME!

I had a birthday this week. My old housemates threw me a party a few days before; everyone mingled and ate dessert -- two of my favorite things. We had pie and mini-cheesecakes and chocolate truffles and chocolate oatmeal square thingies and flan and more pie. I probably had my entire caloric intake for the week in one night. Oh, well . . .

My friend Tony got me a pink cupcake holder (in the shape of a cupcake) in a pink polka-dotted bag. He also gave my pink Kitchenaid bowl back, so . . . since I happened to be wearing pink that day, we took a picture of all of it. All of the pink! Pink shirt, pink shoes, pink bag. Everything pink!

It was a happy day. People were so nice -- giving me flowers, a gift card to Cold Stone, balloons and streamers, cupcakes, lunch, dinner, a mix CD, and a guitar-shaped spatula. :) It was really nice. Ten months ago -- even six months ago -- I only had about three friends in Austin, and they were more like acquaintances. Now, I have lots of friends, and they are so good to me.

One other thing that made this birthday great was all the calls, texts, and Facebook wall posts of people wishing me a happy birthday. I know the best people. :)

All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better day.

Thing I'm thankful for: time

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

April in October

My friend April came to visit this week, and I loved every second of it. We went to a mid-singles conference, where we chewed the fat, cruised around Lake Austin, roller skated, and played air hockey. We also laughed a lot and ate a lot of food. What could be better?

April is from Valdosta, Georgia, a mid-size town about 4 hours south of Atlanta. She has a genuine genteel Southern drawl, and everyone loved hearing her speak. She is the kind of friend who is easy to be around; it's not really work at all to maintain a good connection with her. I love those kind of friends. I had as much fun with her as soon as I picked her up from the airport as I did the last time I saw her.

Here's something funny, though: All of my friends said I sounded Southern this weekend. I guess I was mimicking April's South Georgia accent or something . . . Or maybe I actually did pick up somewhat of a Southern accent in my 18 years of living there. I thought I was so successful at maintaining a nondescript Oklahoma accent . . . Hm.

Thing I'm thankful for: April!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What Happened to Me?

Today was the second day this week that I ate a cheeseburger and fries for lunch! I have eaten probably 5 hamburgers this year and have ordered french fries maaaybe 5 times in the last couple of years. And yet . . . Twice this week, all I wanted was a juicy cheeseburger with tomatoes and pickles and salty, soggy fries.

I felt a little gross to be eating so poorly, but sitting in the sunshine on the steps of the Jester Center and munching on fatty foods made me happy.

What is wrong with me???

Thing I'm thankful for: my roommate, for letting me cry and giving me quarters for laundry

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hell is Freezing Over

When I left my apartment this morning, I actually felt chilly. There was a slight breeze in the air, and I immediately thought, "Gosh, I better grab a cardigan!"

Do you know what the temperature was? A balmy 65 degrees.

Yep -- I have acclimated to Texas weather. Anything under 70 degrees feels cool to me. It's a shame. And terribly embarrassing.

Thing I'm thankful for: yesterday

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cult or No Cult? Whatever.

I don't really understand what all the hullabaloo is about. People have been calling The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a cult for years; what's the big deal? I suppose it could be the fact that politics are involved this time. Votes are involved this time.

Still, I don't understand the fuss. People who think Mormons belong to a cult will probably still think that, despite attempts to correct the misconception. They were never going to support Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate, anyway. People who don't know what to think will ask questions. Perhaps it'll sway their support; perhaps it won't. It all smooths itself out in the end.

The plus side of this cult/no cult thing is that non-Mormons may just ask me questions about my church, and that is fun for me. I like talking about my faith. I get a kick from talking about it -- a real kick. I grew up in The Deep South after all; I've had lots of practice.

Thing I'm thankful for: non-cherry-flavored cough drops. Hallelujah!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Call Me a Feminist

Today I helped sort through the ashes of two houses that were destroyed in the Texas Wildfires this summer. We separated metal and cement from the ashes. My understanding is that both materials could be recycled, and the leftover ashes and glass could be taken to landfills.

I spent the morning sorting metal and cement from ashes. When I first got there, I mainly stuck to the detailed work of finding pieces of metal. There was a lot of bending, squatting, ashes blowing in my eyes -- that kind of thing. After a while, I was tired and bored of doing that, so I did what any normal person would do and changed things up a bit. I began to pick up the cement blocks. I found that the small, crumbled blocks were difficult to carry in my arms, so I decided to go for the big blocks. As soon as I picked a heavy one up, a guy friend said, "Oh, let me get that for you." I think I shook my head no, and he responded with something like, "Or are you gonna be stubborn and do it yourself? Okay -- be stubborn." Other people watched me carry my large loads and said things like, "Ohhhh, look at Sara showing off!" Or "Whoa! Watch out!" Once, one of the men took a block from me when I was about four feet from where it needed to be set down.

In the moment, I laughed and shrugged, but after a while of those kind of comments, I wanted to roll my eyes and give the offending parties a lesson in equality. Why is it that because I don't want help lifting a heavy object, I am stubborn? And why isn't a girl supposed to lift a heavy object, anyway? Part of the reason I like volunteering is because often, it involves manual labor. At least half the volunteer projects I've helped with in the past have been about sheer manpower -- projects that just needed more people in order to get the job done. When a volunteer activity has the word "cleanup" in it -- as in "Texas Wildfire Cleanup" -- I immediately recognize that all these people need help with is manual labor. They need able bodies to lift and move things.

I happen to have an able body. I am healthy and strong, and I can perform physical labor for people who need help. And I like it. I like using my muscles as much as men do sometimes, and when I sign up for something I know will involve me using my muscles, I don't mind using them. Also, I doubt all the men there would've wanted to sort through metal for the entirety of the project. Neither did I! I was bored, so I wanted to break things up and see what my body was capable of. I wanted to strengthen my arms a bit and burn some calories.

I don't understand why it was such a big deal for me to move a heavy object. There are things I could never move on my own, and I wouldn't hesitate asking someone -- male or female -- for help. There are things I know men are often better at, and I don't mind admitting it. But when a women is truly equal to a man for a particular job, then I will gladly take on the job!

I was just a bit stupefied this morning at obvious displays of sexism. It made me really feel for the suffragettes of the early 20th Century. What an awful road they walked. I am grateful for them and hope I live my life in ways that would make them proud.

Thing I'm thankful for: chicken noodle soup

A Bird Crapped on My Hair


My sister said it's good luck.

She may be onto something. I googled "bird poop good luck," and one of the results directed me to this:
When Bird Droppings Land On Your Head
Many people believe this to be a major sign of wealth coming from heaven. Hence, although, it is really yucky and a major inconvenience, when something like this happens to you, take comfort in the fact that this is described as good luck being just around the corner! In fact, most things associated with birds tend to spell good fortune, such as when birds fly to your home and start making nests in and around your house. While bats bring abundance, birds bring good news and opportunities. The next time a flock of ravens, pigeons or magpies come to your home, feed them with bird seeds. Birds are also said to be powerful protectors and guardians. Even crows are said to be messengers of the Gods. So welcome birds with open arms. (

Thing I'm thankful for: windy Texas nights

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Why Men Are In Trouble

I think I post at least one controversial message about men per year. Isn't that about right? ;)
Here's one I won't comment on; I'll just point out that it is written by a man. Take what you like from the article and then leave a comment on this here blog. I'm interested to see what you all think!

Why Men Are In Trouble

Thing I'm thankful for: salads with strawberries and poppyseed dressing!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Who's the Favorite Now?

The cover story for this month's issue of TIME is "Playing Favorites," an article adapted from the book The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveals About Us. The author, Jeffrey Kluger, writes about the inevitable act of parents favoring one child over another. It is also inevitable, he says, that parents will deny they have a favorite, but they do have one, and siblings know it. Usually favored are the oldest children, simply because parents have invested the most resources into them. The more attractive and stronger children usually get parents' attention, too. And what of gender? Kluger explains that mothers favor first-born sons and fathers favor youngest daughters.

The article got me thinking about my own family and my parents' favorites. I think we would all agree that my mother favored my oldest brother Brooks. My sisters and I even turned it into a joke by putting our hands in the shape of halos over our heads whenever mom mentioned something he said. My dad, on the other hand, favored my two older sisters. Things changed somewhat when my second-oldest sister developed juvenile diabetes. When that happened, she was the clear favorite. But why?

"Favoring the most vulnerable child is a counterintuitive choice, at least in survival terms," Kluger says. However, in evolutionary terms, spreading care around "in the hope of maximizing the raw number of offspring that survive" is at play, too. "This can mean not just remembering to treat the weakest of your offspring equally but favoring them, since they're the ones that need the help."

For my diabetic sister, that meant the most hugs and concerned and loving looks from my dad.

Lucky for me, it's also the reason I am now the clear favorite of both my parents. :) Here's why: I am the only single child left. Everyone else has someone to love them. Everyone else has clearly succeeded, and my parents don't have to worry about them anymore. I, however, am all alone in a big city. To my parents, I am vulnerable, and as such, they shower their compassion -- and favoritism -- on me. It's a good spot to be in. ;)

Thing I'm thankful for: allergies instead of colds