Friday, September 28, 2012

A Friday Song

I love this song.  When I first heard it, I thought it had to do with romantic love.  I mean, who doesn't like the concept of someone waiting for them?  Waiting for them to move, to change, to be ready.

I typically like love songs with a twist, though, so I wondered why I liked this one so much.  I've listened to it a bit more intensely a few times, and I've decided that it's a love song for God.  I haven't worked out all the lines yet, but take a look and see what you think: I Will Wait lyrics.

Thing I'm thankful for: cloudy skies

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Airport Etiquette

I like driving to and from the airport.  In a nutshell,

I love early-morning driving as well as night-driving. There's really something invigorating about driving on an empty interstate. My mind seems to work best during these solitary driving moments when I feel like I'm one of the only people awake in the world. I cherish that time.

Airports have always been fascinating to me, anyway, and I remember loving to see people off or welcome them home. I wonder if seeing and hearing planes or watching the bustle of people run like mad to catch their plane incites some kind of adventurous spirit in me. I go to the airport, and I want to see the world!

As someone who is well-versed in the rules of pick-ups and drop-offs, let me give you some tips:

  1. No one should ever carry all of their bags.  Barring any physical limitations, the driver must carry as many bags to the car as she/he can hold.
  2. Everyone needs a send-off hug.

  1. Drive-by pick-ups are okay, but it's best to park.  (And the driver must pay for parking.)
  2. Everyone needs a welcome hug.
  3. No one should ever carry all of their bags.  Barring any physical limitations, the driver must carry as many bags to the car as she/he can hold.
  4. The driver must offer to stop for food.  It can be fast-food or a sit-down place, but it has to be offered.
  5. Again with the bag thing.  The driver must carry as many bags inside as she/he can hold.

In a week, I'll be moving farther away from the airport, which is slightly disappointing, especially since I'll be traveling quite a bit this fall.  Still, if you ever fly into or out of the Austin airport, let me know, and I'll try to pick you up or drop you off.

Thing I'm thankful for: funny conversations in the middle of the night.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rock Songs I Could Listen to Over and Over Again

Lately, I've been bored with soft indie rock music.  I just want to listen to songs that make me feel pumped up and fully alive.  You know what I mean -- songs that make you feel confident.  The kind you listen to as you're driving to a party.

So here's what I listen to a lot.  (And when I say "a lot," I mean that I listen to these songs over and over and over again.)

1. The Killers, "Read My Mind"  I love it when Brandon Flowers yell-sings.

2. The Black Keys, "Tighten Up"

3. Franz Ferdinand, "40'"  I realize this is fairly old (eight years, to be exact), but I recently came across the CD in my collection and have had it in the car for quite some time.

Thing I'm thankful for: funny, nerdy co-workers

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mormons and Musicals

I grew up on the following musicals:
  • The Sound of Music
  • Mary Poppins
  • Annie
  • Oklahoma!*
  • My Fair Lady
  • The King and I
  • Funny Girl
When I say "grew up," I mean that I watched those movies somewhere in the neighborhood of once a year.  (Okay, okay -- "Funny Girl" was probably played more than that.  But really, how can you not love this scene: Roller Skate Rag?)

I knew most of the words to most of the songs, and so did the rest of my siblings.  I thought my family must be an anomaly; in my mind, the fact that we watched musicals was a direct result of my mother's taste in wholesome stories and well-written music.  I thought, "I'm glad my mom introduced me to such good, old movies."  So I passed through my childhood and adolescent years thinking I was well-versed in musicals.  I certainly knew more about them than my friends.  I mean, I knew the showstoppers, the big guns.

But the joke was on me.  My knowledge of musicals is child's play.  It pales in comparison to the songs my friends know.  They know the lyrics and the music.  They know the names of the people who sang each song, and they know who sang it best.  They have multiple recordings of the same musical, and they keep them in their cars so they can belt out songs during a long -- or even short -- commute.  When they go to New York City, their first stop is Broadway.  In some cases, the sole reason for a trip to New York is to see a musical.

It wasn't until I moved to Texas that I learned what was going on.  I realized that while my mom does have good taste in movies and music, she is -- and now I am -- part of a larger cultural tradition.  That is, Mormons like musicals.  Nay, they love musicals; they are obsessed with them.**  In Austin -- at least, from my perspective -- Mormons seem to be everywhere.  I've never lived in a place so heavily populated with Mormons, and I've never known a group of people to have such a deep and abiding love for musicals.  I've noticed that there are some common favorites:
  • Les Miserables
  • Fiddler on the Roof
  • Newsies
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Wicked
  • The Music Man
  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
So what am I saying with this post exactly?  I guess I'm saying a few things:
  1. I'm still learning about the culture of my own people.  It's sort of strange to think about.  Sometimes I wish I had grown up in Utah or Idaho or Arizona -- just to understand Mormon culture a bit more.
  2. If you want to know the way to a Mormon's heart, learn about musicals.
  3. It's really not surprising that Trey Parker and Matt Stone wanted to use Mormons in their musical.  (See The Book of Mormon Musical.)
*My mom basically made us learn all the lyrics to "Oklahoma!" because we lived there.  To this day, we are the only people I know who know the whole song.  It's probably because no one likes the musical enough to learn it.  There's this weird stylized dream sequence somewhere in the middle that kinda ruins the whole thing.

**I use "they" because in many ways, I don't identify with the stereotypical Mormon -- at least, not the one who knows all about musicals.  I grew up in two predominantly non-Mormon towns, and there are a lot of things I was completely unaware of until I was nearly out of college.

Thing I'm thankful for: my Converse All-Stars.  I love them.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Love Iron Man

At some point in life, people ask you the big question:  Who is your favorite superhero?

I didn't read comics as a kid (and I don't read them now); the only thing I knew about superheroes was what I learned from the movies and TV.  By the time anyone asked me about my favorite superhero, I had seen the Superman movies and the Batman movies.  I waffled between the two heroes, but even when I used one of them as my answer, I knew it wasn't right.  Superman wore tights, which bothered me, and even at a young age, I recognized that Batman was somewhat of a womanizer, which also bothered me.  When I was older, Spidey got popular, and he was a bit closer to my idea of a superhero.  Still, I never quite got on board with any of them.

And then I saw "Iron Man."  He was cocky (I bet anything he's a Leo.), slightly irreverent, unconventional, and funny.  He had only one woman in his life, who he treated as an equal (okay, okay -- that was after his womanizing days), and above all, he was genius-level smart and creative.  As soon as I saw him onscreen, I thought, "This is my favorite superhero."

I kept thinking the same thing tonight while I watched "The Avengers."  Truth be told, I may not have even watched the movie at all had Iron Man not played a huge role in it.  He's just so great.  Girls these days seem to swoon over Captain America, but I'd take Iron Man over him any day.  (And brown hair isn't even my favorite!)

I'll leave you with the best "Iron Man" scene that never was:

Who is your favorite superhero, readers? Why?

Thing I'm thankful for: eating lunch outside

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Persecution and Discovery

With the exception of 2009, this has probably been the hardest year of my life.  As a result, I don't quite feel like myself, and I don't know whether I'm supposed to get back to that version of myself that I think I am or whether I'm becoming someone altogether different -- someone who's better than before.

What I do know is that years from now, I will remember this year as one that changed me, and the best way I can explain it is to quote J. Reuben Clark, who was an apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the early '30s to the '60s:
In the providence of the Almighty, persecution serves a most useful purpose.  Every faithful Saint must perceive and acknowledge this.  Each one feels its effect upon himself, he sees its effect upon his friends and neighbors.  Persecution develops character.  Under its influence, we all know ourselves better than we did before we felt its pressure, and we discover traits in our brethren and sisters of the existence of which, perhaps, we were in entire ignorance.*
I think I need to stop paying so much attention to myself and instead focus on discovering the traits in my brethren and sisters of which I am in entire ignorance.  There's so much more to the world than me.

*I think the book is called Messages of the First Presidency, and it's Volume 3, page 48.

Thing I'm thankful for: quiet rainy days

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Things that Make You Go "Hmmm"

I think single people talk a lot about dealbreakers, so I'm gonna take a tip from my friend Aubrey and talk about deal makers.  Or maybe they're not really dealmakers because really, they're just the little things that make you go, "Hm.  Hmmm . . .  I think I like that."  For Aubrey, it could be anything from using the word "blouse" to riding a bike.  For me, it's things like this:
  • Big feet
  • Ugly feet
  • A nicely-chosen tie
  • Glasses
  • Being able to fix something that's broken
  • Cracking appropriate jokes during a church talk
  • Wearing Converse or Vans
  • Pulling off a mohawk
  • Facial hair/scruff
  • Owning a truck or a Jeep Wrangler
  • Shopping at REI
  • Recycling
  • Good penmanship
Here's something else:  I like it when a guy pays for stuff -- not just for me, but for anyone around.  My brother pays for all kinds of stuff that isn't for himself, and he just does it out of sheer kindness.  He expects absolutely nothing in return for the money he plunks down on say, securing a campsite for him and his friends.  Or paying for everyone's movie tickets.  Or buying several bags of popcorn and plenty of drinks at the movies.  Whatever it is -- if my brother has the money, he'll cover the cost for everyone, if possible.

Today I went to lunch with two girls and a guy, and the guy paid for all of us.  Sure, it wasn't an expensive meal, and no, he isn't made of money.  But he paid for all of us, anyway.  Just because.

Thing I'm thankful for: laughing

Friday, September 14, 2012

Rain Songs

I dunno if it has to do with my last name, but I'm a fan of all forms of precipitation.  (I like fog and mist, too, but those are suspensions.  It's a good thing I took organic chemistry in college and understand the distinction.  Thanks, o. chem.; you were good for somethin'!)

Anyway, here are my favorite rain songs.  In order, maybe?  It's a tough call.

Am I missing any?  What are your favorite rain songs?

(I know, I know -- November Rain is noticeably absent, but I asked myself this question:  If I were to hear it on the radio, would I listen to it in its entirety?  The answer is no.  I think.)

Thing I'm thankful for: Internet friendships

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Bought Skinny Jeans.

It started with a nonchalant shopping trip to Ross Dress for Less with my friend Brooke.  I thought it might be nice to find a dress or maybe a pretty blouse, but I had no concrete expectations.  After a few minutes of flicking through the shirts, I found one, then another, and then another.  I thought about checking out the pants rack, but then I remembered that I hate trying on pants.  You have to take your shoes off, which is a pain, and then you have to go through the disappointment of trying on a bazillion pairs before one actually fits -- and that's on a good day.

So I moved on to the dresses, and I came up with some possibilities there.  (In the end, none of them fit quite right.)  Finally, after I had skimmed through everything in my size, I glanced over at the pants again.  Is it worth it?  It seems pointless . . .  It looks like all they have are skinny pants, anyway . . .  But I went.  And I picked out a pair of skinny black pants.  Calvin Klein.  Originally 80 bucks, now on sale for 25.  Huh.  That's pretty good.  Maybe I'll just try them on for kicks.  And that's exactly what I did.

It turns out that they looked really good on me.  They were just stretchy enough to fit my gigantic calves.  (Oy vey!  I have next to no hips and fairly thin thighs like the Snows, but big, big Schmitt calves.  I shoulda been a basketball player!)  So I went for it.  I bought them and wore them two days later with a black- and white-striped t-shirt and black flats.  I loved them, other people loved them.  It was great.

A few days later . . .

Hm.  Those pants are pretty great.  They fit perfectly.  I look like I belong in the 21st Century now, but I don't really look like a hipster.  So that's good.  They fit perfectly.

A couple of weeks later . . .

I am the owner of precisely one pair of black skinny pants, one pair of skinny blue jeans, and two pairs of brightly-colored ultimate skinny jeans, otherwise known as "jeggings."  JEGGINGS!  Gross.  (I like to refer to them as "matchstick jeans;" thanks for that pleasant moniker, J. Crew.)  I'm probably crazy, and I'll probably laugh at myself about these purchases later.  (But that doesn't mean you can!)

Thing I'm thankful for: eating tacos at a picnic table, in the breeze.

Tears of Joy

To all you big-footed women* out there, take heart.  I found some shoe sites for us:

*To answer your unspoken question -- yes.  Yes, I've met one woman whose feet are bigger than mine.  In that moment, I said a silent prayer of thanks that my feet are only a size 12.  (See Shoe Shopping Just Got a Little Easier.)

Thing I'm thankful for: signs of Fall

Monday, September 10, 2012

What I Want in a Husband, Part 3

Lately I've been thinking about my list -- you know, the What I Want in a Husband list.  Over the last few months, I've realized that something significant is missing from it, and it is this:  I want a husband who believes that everyone on this earth really is a child of God, and because of that innate divinity, there is at least one extremely beautiful thing about every single person.  As such, he'll take the time to get to know people and to find something great about the people he gets to know.  He won't demean, laugh at, or use anyone.  If he hurts someone, he'll do whatever he can to fix the situation and remove the pain.  He'll appreciate that two of my mantras in life are the following:
  1. People are more important than things.
  2. It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.
It seems like a given, right?  It seems like everyone should recognize the value of people, and yet, they don't.  So I'm writing it down, so I don't forget.

(See also: What I Want in a Husband, Part 2.)

Thing I'm thankful for: kettle corn

Saturday, September 08, 2012

This Is Just Getting Ridiculous.

Year of the Thief, indeed.

My car got broken into today.  Don't worry, though -- no windows were smashed.  Either I left my car unlocked or the thief jimmied the lock.  Whatever the case, my friend's wallet and cell phone got stolen, and I chalked it up to just another day in Texas.

I'm not telling this snippet of a story to garner sympathy; I'm telling it to show you how crazy the last year and a half has been.  I've never experienced so many changes or faced so many challenges in such a short amount of time!  I often wonder why I chose to move here and stay here.  Looking back, I have to admit that I did feel pulled to this place, but day-to-day, I wonder.  I think I have about a zillion posts about Texas and why I love it or why I hated it at first or what I'm learning to love.  And now I'm writing about how I wonder why I'm here.  I've never been so wishy-washy in my whole life!

Nevertheless, here I am, and here I'll stay.  For a while, at least.

And now, I think it's time for me to count (some of) my blessings and name then one by one:
  1. I get chance after chance after chance to correct poor decisions.
  2. I was born of goodly parents.
  3. I have five great older siblings.
  4. I have a bed to sleep in at night and an apartment to store all my stuff.
  5. I have shelves and shelves of books.
  6. The weather was great today.
  7. I own a car that works.
  8. I am attending school.
  9. I don't ever get bored.
  10. Shoe stores are starting to carry my size.
  11. I have fairly good vision.
  12. I have enough food to eat.
  13. I have plenty of clothes to wear.
  14. Work is going really great.
  15. I can attend any LDS Temple I want.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

I Heart NPR

As I drove to school this morning, I thought about Solenosteira macrospira -- marine snails that live off the coast of California.  They were the topic of a story I heard on NPR, and they got me thinking, "Is it just me, or has NPR gotten cooler in the last few years?"  It could be that as I get older, I go the way of most adults and develop the patience for talk radio.  It could also be that I live in a city like Austin, where all things weird and idiosyncratic are celebrated and intellectualism is the way of life.  (It is home to one of the largest research universities in the world, after all.)

I remember listening to NPR when I lived in Atlanta.  I got into it because it seemed the most effective way to spend my time while I drove the 45 minutes to and from work each day.  Some days, I would be so riveted with a story that I'd just sit in my parked car in the driveway and finish listening.  (Usually it was an interview with Terry Gross.  Ohhh, to have her job . . .)

Back then, NPR had a decidedly high-brow kind of feel.  These days, it seems to be the hippest thing on the air.  They have Tiny Desk Concerts, an eclectic food blog, and a wide range of news stories that are sure to appeal to someone.  Even the website,, is hip -- with its user-friendliness and NPR Shop of cool merchandise.  (And have you checked out their Valentine's e-cards?)

So this is a question for you, readers.  Is it really just me, or has NPR gotten cooler?  If it has, why?  What has changed?

Addendum:  Because I'm a nerd, I checked out a couple of books about the history and culture of NPR, and here's what I found:  From 1980 to 2010, the total number of radio listeners increased by about 38%.  The total number of NPR listeners increased by 765% in that same time period!  So something is happening . . .

Thing I'm thankful for: alarm clocks

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


Sometimes I like to visit Pinterest and congratulate myself on my incredible taste in fine art.  I mean, look at this: Everything is Holy.

You do what it takes, you know?  When you wake up from a long nap of weird dreams and nightmares and your sunburn is making you ache and you feel a general sense of stress and anxiety, you just need a little pick-me-up.  Just a feeling of hey-you-are-pretty-awesome.  So you look at your virtual collection of art and feel a small sense of peace and confidence.  And this one, especially, makes you feel important.  Not just "good" or "grateful" or "happy," but "important."

Not everyone is a Christian, and not everyone will see the Pietà the way I do, but it's what helps me get through hard times.

One of my friends wrote this to me today:
If we were always given trials we could handle by ourselves, then the Atonement wouldn't be the miraculous thing that it is. The point of trials is not to handle them, but to develop a relationship with Christ. The degree to which we allow him to partner with us daily in overcoming whatever we need to overcome that day is the degree to which we are successful people.
I had forgotten, for a day, to focus on Christ.  I think I've been forgetting that for a while, actually.  Here's to doing better!

Thing I'm thankful for: Melissa from Kansas.  Thanks, Melissa.  :)

Sunday, September 02, 2012

On Church Dances

  1. If you can't immediately determine whether it's a slow song or a fast song, don't play it.
  2. Don't play medleys.
  3. Don't take unbecoming photos of people and then post them on Facebook.  (Remember no. 3 of Ranting but Not Raving?  It's still true, folks.  You'd think a couple years of Facebook and lay photography later, we'd be in a better spot.  We're not.)
I think that's it for the night.
I'm tired.

Thing I'm thankful for: stand-up paddling on the lake.  It always makes me feel better.