Monday, May 25, 2015

A Symbol of Democracy and Freedom

During World War II, my Grandpa Max Snow served in the Philippines, as a clerk in an office right next to General MacArthur. He was one of the first people to get official notice of "Japanese capitulation," or the end to the war in the Pacific.

Just before he left, my grandpa started a short journal. He wrote about the heat and how he missed ice cream and "cold drinks." He wrote about my grandma and how much he loved her, and he wrote about becoming a dad. (My uncle was born while he was away at war.) He alluded to some of the horrible things he saw, and he vaguely described some of the others.

One of the things I like most, though, is at the beginning of the journal, where he wrote about leaving America:
The Golden Gate was beautiful and looked so strong and defiant, as we sailed under it, all troops were piled together, seeing it for perhaps the last time for many of us, and certainly a long time for the rest. It seemed to me as though that bridge more than anything I have ever seen, was the symbol of democracy & freedom [. . .].

My grandpa had been where I have been . . . Has looked at that bridge with awe and wonder. It seems . . . special to me. What an incredible opportunity—to read his words and feel their power, even though he is gone. And what an odd feeling it must be to expect to never see your home country again. (And what a beautiful country this is!)

Two takeaways come to mind when I read my grandpa's journal: 1) Be grateful, and 2) Keep a record of your life! I suppose those are the things that motivate me to blog. So I say to you, readers: Go forth and blog. Write in a private journal, at least. Your grandchildren won't regret it.

Thing I'm thankful for: soldiers who have died in combat. Thank you.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


I missed California today, and it made me think about goals and dreams and expectations and plans. It also made me think about change—more specifically, the ability for people to change.

Let's go back several years. Decades, actually.

I think I was 8 or 9 years old. My oldest sister Cami was going to college in Idaho, and my parents used it as an excuse to take a family vacation. We drove up through Kansas and Colorado, up to Wyoming and Yellowstone, and then slightly down and left to Boise. I remember one particular rest stop somewhere near Denver. Everyone was on their own for a few precious moments, and I spent my time walking around the parking lot. I was a little chilly, but I liked it. I also liked the feeling in the air and the tone of people's voices. Looking back, I think what I liked was the altitude.

Fast forward to a visit to Utah in 2007. I was in Provo for a cousin's wedding, and I remember thinking, "This feels like home." The West felt like home. The mountains felt like home.

So I spent the better part of the last decade feeling like I had to get to Utah. I needed to get to Utah. Everything pointed to Utah.

But I don't feel like that anymore. I don't mean that I wish I wasn't here in Utah; I mean that people change. Dreams change.

My life has taken so many unexpected turns in the last year . . . Or put more accurately, I've chosen so many unexpected things in the last year, and because of that, I sense changes within myself. I'm not entirely the same person as I was in 2007, and I'm certainly not entirely the same person I was when I was 8 or 9. And I'm glad. I'm glad I can change and that people can change. What would life be like if we couldn't? It would be boring. And really depressing.

Thing I'm thankful for: Brant and Jordann

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Movie Review: Cinderella

Some things:
  1. Helena Bonham Carter is fantastic. She is perfectly cast as offbeat characters. It was her appearance in this movie that immediately made me like it more.
  2. The theme of the movie is to "have courage and be kind." That's great. Really, really great.
  3. The musical score was also really, really great.
  4. What's up with Disney and princess cleavage? I can't take it anymore. Why do princesses have to show cleavage? Call me a prude or a feminist or both—I'll say it anyway: I'm tired of seeing princesses as sex objects. Sensual objects, at the very least. I mean, Disney's doing well to move away from the kind of cleavage we see in "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast," but c'mon! What happened to the modest* necklines of the original animated Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White?

Overall, I'd give it a 2.7 out of 5 stars. I liked it, but I wouldn't watch it again.

*When I say "modest," I mean that no cleavage is showing. I get that women these days talk of modesty as being a state of mind more than anything, but I think modesty has some pretty clear practical guidelines as well, and necklines that cover up cleavage is one of them. Sure, there are times when exposed cleavage is unavoidable, but it's the exception.

Thing I'm thankful for: my Snow cousins

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Rain, Rain, Go to California, Or Two Posts in One

It's been raining a lot in Salt Lake City. Here are the two thoughts that keep running through my mind:
  1. I wish I could send all this rain to California!
  2. Wow, Utahns stink at driving in the rain!
Let's explore these points in finer detail:
  1. I've experienced droughts in multiple states, but living with drought in California was a whole new ballgame. Driving north through the Central Valley on my way to the South Bay and then driving to Sacramento a few times while I lived in California was so eye-opening. For miles and miles, all you can see are fields of leafy greens and strawberries or almond orchards and peach trees forever and ever. There's even more than that, of course. There are avocados and apples and grapes and oranges and cherries and broccoli and artichokes and on and on and on. California, I learned, grows most of the produce in the United States.* It's incredible! (Seriously, it's absolutely incredible and astonishing. Read that link now. Do it now. You'll never think of California the same again.)

    So a drought in California is a drought that Americans everywhere should be concerned about. It's something I'm concerned about. I was grateful for rain before and loved how beautiful it made Georgia trees and kudzu look, but I'm grateful for it in a different way now, after having lived in California. And if that's the only thing I learned while I lived there (it's not), then going was well worth it.

  2. Utahns, other Westerners, and Midwesterners constantly laugh at the Southern states for shutting down when it snows or when there is a threat of snow. And it's true; they do. Schools close, grocery stores get cleaned out of bread and milk, and companies allow their employees to work from home. Why? The simple answer is that Southerners don't know how to drive in snow. That's not the whole truth, though. The whole truth is that Southern roads aren't built for snow. And why should they be? It rarely snows in the South!

    You know what the weather does do in the South, though? It rains! It rains and rains and rains. In fact, the South gets more rainfall than any other region of the country. Utah, on the other hand is typically as dry as a bone. When it rains, drivers move at a snail's pace. In other words, Westerners (well, Utahns, in my experience) don't know how to drive in rain. And yet, that's also not the whole truth. The whole truth is that Utah roads don't get the help they need from regular soaking rains. Huge puddles of water accumulate on the uneven surfaces of the Interstate and other roads; that's a rare occurrence in the South.

    So Utahns, do me a favor and quit making fun of your Southern countrymen; remember, you have a driving weak spot, too.

*In the 90s, there was some nonsense about California eventually "falling" into the ocean. Let's all hope and pray that that idea is as absurd as it sounds because I want my fruits and vegetables and almonds, dangit!

Thing I'm thankful for: the rabbit hole that is this blog post. I love hyperlinks. :)