Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting into the spirit of things

I’m really picky about my holiday music. For the most part, my holiday music collection consists of CDs my parents own: Harry Connick Jr., Bob Rivers, Natalie Cole, Home Alone Christmas, and some various artist mixes. Oh, and let’s not forget my mother’s favorite: Christmas Portrait from The Carpenters (it doesn’t begin to feel like Christmas until I play the CD through at least once). However, I did recently discover Sarah McLachlan’s Wintersong album and absolutely love it. Seriously.

I don’t know why I’m so picky, but I am. But this post isn’t about least favorites—that would be negative of me and not reflective of the season at all. So that’s why I’m listing my favorites from the holiday season.

Mary’s Top 5 Holiday Songs

5. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

4. Christmas Time is Here

3. Carol of the Bells

2. Merry Christmas Darling

1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Honorable Mentions: Happy Xmas (War is Over), Ave Maria, O Holy Night, Cool Yule, What Child is This?, Sweet Little Jesus Boy, and Who Would Imagine a King. (Okay, so maybe I'll not picky--just unusual in my choices.)

Mary’s Top 5 Holiday Movies

**Numbers 4 and 5 were actually tough to come up with. I have my staple movies and I’m lucky if I see them once a year. So I dug deep and searched for some movies I enjoy and that were a part of my childhood. No, they aren’t classics. (It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t on here because I grew up thinking it was the longest movie ever—I’ll have to give it another go.) However, movies you watched as a child always hold a special place in your heart. So don’t judge me and I won’t judge you on your love for those terrible claymation movies they made me watch in school.

5. Home Alone 2 – That’s right. Number 2. Thanks to my grandparents’ annual Christmas (large) box, we were gifted with a Macaulay Culkin classic. I’ve probably seen the first film two or three times, whereas I watched Home Alone 2 faithfully every Christmas. And it includes this great scene.

4. Miracle on 34th Street (1994) – I’ve never actually seen the 1947 original film. I heard it’s very good. But my family owned this movie, and my sister and I watched it at least twice each December. It’s a great, feel-good movie that asks you one question: “Do you believe?”

3. Meet Me in St. Louis – It’s not technically a Christmas movie since it covers all seasons. However, I consider it so because of the classic scene with Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” This is one of my favorite musicals and why the aforementioned song is my number one Christmas song. When you put the song in context, you realize what it’s really about. It’s sung to a little girl who really doesn’t move away from her childhood home—a situation I know oh so well. It's one of the few songs/scenes pretty much guaranteed to make me cry.

2. A Christmas Story – This should be on everyone’s list. How can you not feel for Ralphie and his plight? (“C+!”) Plus, my nephew is Ralphie. I tried to be like Aunt Clara, but they were sold out…and expensive.

1. A Muppet Christmas Carol – If you’re questioning this choice, go watch it again. Just for Sam the Eagle. “It is the American way!...It is the British way!” Love it. Family staple.

I hope you all get into the spirit of the season, and treasure your favorites as well as the people near and dear to you. After all, "Wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas!"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be

Did you know that nostalgia was once considered an illness? If so, then consider me deathly ill.

The summer of 2009 was quite possibly the best summer of my life. The only other contender is the summer of 2008—but that’s another story...that you may never hear here.

Those four months were a rough period in my life. I was going through a couple different struggles. And I cut ties with two very, very close friends. I was struggling internally with many emotions and frustrations that I didn’t know how to handle and am still feeling the effects of.

However, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized that though I was going through these trials, I was so completely blessed. I thought God had stopped blessing me because of my actions and thoughts, but I now understand that He was doing the opposite (as He usually does). He sent me a wonderful support system to help me through that time. The friends I made that summer often distracted me from the things I was dealing with and made it easier to make it through the summer. Though I had severed ties with two friends, I had gained friendships and memories with half a dozen more. It took me over a year to get that—to see that God was blessing me in my time of need with people who I consider the best friends I’ve ever made in college.

I would repeat that summer in a heartbeat in spite of the hardships I went through. Though most of those friends have moved on (and it pains me to see them do so), I keep the memories near and dear to my heart. And they all hold a special place there too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

News as of late...

Harry Potter! That was the highlight of the last 3 months. I'm still processing the fact that I've seen it after waiting 1.5 years. I'll wait to post my thoughts until I've seen it again. Yes, I'm going to see it again. My little sister wants to see it with me this weekend. *collective 'aww'* Of course that could just mean that all her friends have already seen it, and they don't want to go again. But I like to think that she loves me that much.

In case I forget, highlights of the HP night:
  1. Spilling water all over our slab of sidewalk, resulting in us standing the rest of the time. (The cement was cold anyway, right?)
  2. My dear friend makes a really bad "I'm ready to make-out face."
    Me: "Where did you learn that!?!?"
    Friend: "*Ex-girlfriend's name*"
    Me: "Was she bad at everything?!?"
    Friend: "No. She was good at physical science."
  3. Waiting in line for 4+ hours to just get inside. My awesome friend waited 5+ hours 'cause she's just that awesome...and hardcore about her first midnight showing. And that includes the 1.5 hours spent waiting in the wrong line. But I totally forgave her for that already. We still got awesome seats.
  4. Seeing my friend's reaction to a scary part. Seriously, it was the best thing ever. A jump back in his seat, petrified look on his face, and hands flailing. I don't even care that I missed the end of the scene; it was worth it.
And now for something completely different: I have a billboard! On I-15! Quite a few actually, though I don't know where they're all located. But one is about 2 minutes from my house. It's not really my best work; I just do what the customers want. And they wanted a silver billboard. Advertising their holiday parties. Lame. But awesome for me.

So, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. I know I will. TSA screenings and all. And if you get bored, watch this week's Glee episode. It features one of my favorite comedians ever.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Did I mention I'm ready?

Today was a good day.

I don't know why. I don't know how. We were slammed at work--non-stop work. It was stressful...but not at the same time. I was busy and turning out work that my supervisor and boss liked. Really liked. So that's why.

But there was something else. Is it because I woke up with "The Wizard and I" AND "Black Horse and a Cherry Tree" both stuck in my head? Maybe. Is it because when I got on the freeway, right by my apartment is a billboard for "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"? (Seriously, it's just this huge picture of Aslan's face. It's awesome.) Quite possibly. Is it because this video came up on my Facebook feed? Oh, I know that played a big part (minus the awful auto-tuning). Is it because that today I realized it is November and in 2.5 weeks, I will see my family? Yes. Yes, I think that's the main reason.

I haven't seen 11 of my 17 family members in nearly a year. I haven't spent Thanksgiving with them in 5 years. So, really, I'm excited. And I'm excited to get out of here. Not by choice, my summer was spent working full-time, with no vacations. I'm ready. I don't know what I'm doing for Christmas, but I'm ready for Thanksgiving. So ready. Bring on the madness.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How did I get here?

The past few days, I’ve been asking myself that question: “How did I get here?” More specifically, how did I get to this point in my life. I don’t remember growing up. When did college end? When did I get an adult job, making stuff for huge companies? I’m a career woman. Whoa. Who trusted me with that responsibility? And my car—I drive a car. My own car. I paid for it. I’m in charge of keeping it in working condition (speaking of which, it’s way overdue for its check-up).

And Utah. Why am I still here? Not my first choice. Or my tenth…or twentieth. How did I wind up here, living on my own (-ish—I still have roommates) and taking care of myself. Sometimes I'll just walk out of work and think, "This isn't my life. It's all a dream." (Thank you, Leo!)

This week I really miss being a college student. No, I don’t miss the homework or the tests. I miss the people. I miss having my friends surround me and live nearby. I miss staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning just because (or because of some homework). I wake up at 8am every morning. Ugh. I know it could be worse, but really I miss having flexibility in my life. Now my life is structured by work. I can’t spend 10 days at home for Christmas break because I have to come back and work. I will miss New Year’s with my family. I will be lucky to spend 5 days with them. I can’t just pick up and take a roadtrip. Vacation days are carefully planned and allotted, especially when you work in a very small office.

I haven’t grown up yet. I’m still growing. But I’m being pushed into a grown-up world—one that feels even more restrictive than the college world. I used to envy those who just worked all day and didn’t worry about school. Now, I envy those darn, crazy college kids with all their friends and freedom and fun. I hope I don’t have to work my entire life. And if I do, I will be so powerful and high up that I can do whatever I want. I can travel and take time off of my own choosing. Or maybe I’ll just freelance. That’s looking mighty appealing…

Sorry, dear two readers, for such a downer post. Next time, I’ll look for a more light-hearted topic to brighten the mood.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?”

Do you ever have those dreams that, when you wake up, seem like they really happened? Well, it doesn't happen to me very often, but it did on Sunday.

I took a nice, long nap--scratch that. I slept. For three hours. I had what I call a nightmare because it seemed so real that it freaked me out. The essence of the dream was that my roommate told me a girl killed herself in our apartment. Even now that I'm typing this, it freaks me out a bit.

One thing that I like to do with dreams--when I remember them--is trace back the possible origins of the dream. I once read that dreams are the brain's way of sorting out all the things you're storing in there, particularly the new ideas. So, I traced back my dream in an effort to convince myself that it was just a dream (since I was very tempted to ask my roommate if someone had died in our apartment). Here's what I figured out:

- Friday afternoon was spent researching commercial haunted houses and Halloween events within Utah. One place in particular was an actual haunted mill near Salt Lake. I read (very) briefly on a few people's experiences there.

- I now live in an apartment complex with people in various stages of life--single, married, young, old, etc. I hear my neighbors upstairs fighting and get this "Rear Window," L.B Jeffries syndrome.

- Lame point, but half the doors in the apartment squeak when you open or close them. The bathroom door is especially annoying/creepy because it does this loud, slow creak as it slowly closes--just like in all those horror movies right before the stupid blonde gets attacked because she ran upstairs instead of out the front door. During my "nap," I was actually woken up by said door. A very possible reason for my dream subject.

So, the rest of the Sunday, I was a little creeped out by my apartment. I still am and not just at home. I freaked myself out when I was alone at work this morning and closing up tonight (both in full daylight still). It's not as bad as it was on Sunday though. Perhaps I'm just getting myself prepared for the upcoming Halloween season. For which I need a killer* costume. Ideas?

*"Killer" meaning "really good" in this instance. I don't want my dream come true. I really like my apartment and don't want to move.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Our deepest secret

I think secretly, deep down, we all want to be part of a relationship like this--to be loved like this.

Because I know I do.

Danny & Annie from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Let's give this another go, shall we?

So, I thought that I’d give the whole blog thing another go. I’m done with school and have very little going on in my life, so what better way to spend it than talking about myself?

Well, the truth is, I’ve never really blogged because the whole design/template aspect of blogger confuses me like none other. I want to have complete control over my pictures, colors, and placement. I’m suppose to be computer literate—I took a programming class for goodness sake. How do all these people develop beautiful blogs? It frustrates me to no end.

Thankfully, blogger has given a bit more freedom in blog design, which has led me to rethink this medium of communication. And I’ve followed more successful blogs more closely, so I think I have a better understanding of what makes a good blog.

So, here I go. We’ll see how long I last.