Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2007

What remains.

What remains? The remains of my body after I die.

This weekend I told my mother that I would like to be cremated when I die, and if I go before she, then I would like her to see it through. She didn't seem so pleased...

She asked one critical question. "Why?"

Traditional burials are a bit foolish; Not only are they expensive and (in my opinion) a waste of space-- a field is set aside for the purpose of storing dead bodies in heavy metal and wooden boxes-- but so much of the purpose behind the practice is religiously based, and thus in my mind, rather superstitious.

"In many cemeteries, the vast majority of graves are oriented in such a manner that the bodies lie with their heads to the West and their feet to the East. This very old custom appears to originate with the Pagan sun worshipers, but is primarily attributed to Christians who believe that the final summons to Judgment will come from the East."

I love the sun, and if I wanted my body to be stored in a manner…

Web-cam Christmas

Today we were discussing Britney leaving to SLC earlier than planned. Her mom is leaving to Arizona for the Holidays and Britney would like to see her; when she told her mom this, her mom said "we have a web-cam."

Britney says:

"NO! Not the same! I won't do web-cam Christmas!!!"

Britney also says:

"Everything is going to be ok. Something about the curtain of brewed tea bags hanging from the handles of our kitchen cabinets reinforces my certainty. "

12/20

"Just so you guys know, I have been going against our social norms and listened to R&B all morning."

--Amanda
(Addressed to Britney and Justin).


"What kind of shit is this? Are they saying I'm not Fresh?!"

--Amanda
(In response to Smith's new self-checkout system. The system no longer greets the customer as a "fresh values customer" but simply as a "valued customer." It should be noted that I hadn't showered for a few days when I made this remark.)

Sister, Sister.

My sis Meisha is great. Of all the friends I've ever had, none were so likable as her. I guess that's the beauty of family. This is Meisha's most recent blog entry, and my response.



I sit in my math class, the chatter around me. I try to focus on my assignment but my attempts fail. I contemplate my life, where I fit in this world. What is my role? How can I help? Who's life have I impacted? I try to look into the near future. What choices can I make to change everything for the better? Confusion sets in. Who are my true friends? Who can I really talk to? Who am I? I often wonder who really cares about me. I know a lot of people care, but who would really miss me if I were to leave? As I walk through the halls between classes, I see cliques and couples everywhere. Obviously I am alone. Do I try to force myself into a group that doesn't really like me and where I feel I don't belong? Or do I accept being alone and focus on building my family relationships? If I ch…

Babies on the brain.

I dreamed a few nights ago about having a baby. This is the story:

I gave birth to a child, but when I held it in my arms I saw that the baby (a boy) had white skin, not black, and I thought the father was a black man I see at my workplace. So I went and found the man I thought to be the father but he was golfing and uninterested in the child. I was very panicked that I did not know who the father was.

So, I gave the child away. I think it was some form of adoption, but in the dream I just kind of gave it to someone, like "here, have this baby." The next thing I remember is trying to get my baby back because I knew I wanted to raise him, but that I couldn't find him anywhere. I searched and searched, and eventually found him at a house that very closely resembled my grandpas. I took the baby out into the carport where we usually feed kittens and he smiled at me and told me how much he loved me. And then I breastfed him.

The end.

Yes, it's not a terribly exciting story, b…

Sunday dinner

I am laying on the bathroom floor of my apartment as I type this blog. The heat vent in this room is positioned advantageously for me to absorb the most possible heat; unfortunately, I am very uncomfortable on the tile floor.

Many winter mornings of my childhood were spent sitting atop the heat vents in the living room next to the big picture window, watching and waiting for the bus to come down the back road. I would pull a blanket around me and the air would blow up my covers to balloon-like proportions. And I especially remember those heat vents at holiday time-- they blew right at the Christmas tree and the smell of pine would fill our house.

Anyway, I really meant to write about Sunday dinners. Sunday evenings are almost always spent at home with my family, and friends often come along for the good meal. Tonight Sara and Britney (my roommates) joined me for Shepard's pie, hot rolls, pickled beets, etc.... MMM!

Missing family and Sunday dinners will possibly be the hardest part o…

Community

According to Wikipedia, community is a social group of organisms sharing an environment, normally with shared interests. In human communities, intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks and a number of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.

I like to ask myself who makes up my community. Family? Yes. Friends? Yes. Coworkers and volunteers and associates from all my jobs? Yes! The community I am part of is large, but as time passes I begin to see the beauty in my growing community; the larger it becomes, the smaller it feels.

Britney, my friend and roommate, is working on a folklore project about our friends and how our sense of community is defined. Bicycles, laughter, good drinks and good food, a kitchen table and lots of conversation are the most basic characteristics of our family of friends. We also enjoy "making things" with our hands, and we each have our areas of expertise. In th…

Temple Square

Family tradition says every year we will make it down to SLC at Christmas time for a walk through Temple Square, the hub of the LDS church, when they have nativities and beautiful lights all on display. Some years we don't make it, and others we do, but it's never the same-- and this year was no different.


When the farm took the turn it did (no profit, not able to support a family), my father took on truck driving as his new career. He's gone, A LOT; I think he's usually home only a couple days a week, and I'm lucky if I get to see him since he usually departs on Sunday mornings, and I don't arrive home until Sunday evening. Despite his absence we still have love and fun as a family, and he's always in our thoughts if he's not around.

Back to the subject, temple square, part of our family went down on Sunday night to take in the experience and it was wonderful! My brother, sister-in law & nephew had to miss out as they were working on their building p…

TAL; The Competition

This particular episode of NPR's This American Life, aired Nov. 30 2007, is unusually moving as it deals with business ethics, a subject I have been inadvertently studying while helping a friend work on his final paper.


"Stories of the unintended consequences of market forces.

Prologue.Host Ira Glass talks to reporter John Bowe about the story of John Nash Pickle, who ran a company in Tulsa, Oklahoma that made steel tanks used in the oil industry. According to 52 Indian men whom Pickle hired and brought to America, Pickle was trying to compete with foreign companies, doing something most companies never try. Instead of simply opening a factory overseas with cheap labor, the men say, Pickle decided to run an overseas factory with cheap labor...on American soil...inside his own Tulsa Oklahoma plant. (3 minutes)

Act One. Cowboys and Indians.We continue the story of John Pickle. He hires skilled, experienced welders in India and brings them to the United States. He takes their passp…

Stretched too thin.

Stay awake until 2, 3, or 4 am. Crochet, browse the Internet, listen to music, write in my journal. Wake up 5 hours later to work more than a full day, come home, and do it all again.

Since beginning college I've thought I am superhuman, committing to more than I can feasibly do, and letting my personal time fall to the wayside (or until the wee hours of the morning). I remember the early spring last year-- spearheading the use of the new Point of Sale program at GVG, requiring approximately 20 hours per week of volunteer time, going to school 3/4 time (10 credits), and working 30 hours a week at my regular job, while trying my hardest to salvage a failing relationship. I found myself sleeping one night on, one night off, only to stay awake and do "nothing" on those nights I skipped sleep. I sat on the couch alone, staring out dark windows at the shadows of trees while I made doily after doily, and contemplated the meaning of life.

I changed over the summer.

The old me is b…

Alternative Gifts

"I do what I can to help; if everyone put just one bean in a pot, soon, nobody would go hungry." --Gerald Robillard.

At Global Village Gifts, a non-profit, fair trade gift shop, we are selling shares from the Alternative Gift Market catalog, a compilation of humanitarian projects than need funding.

"The global mission of AGI is to send authentic, life-giving gifts to a needy world--gifts that build a partnership with people in crisis and that protect and preserve the earth's endangered environment--to nourish and sustain a more equitable and peaceful global community.
AGI is a nonprofit, interfaith agency. AGI provides education for people of all ages about global needs and raises funds each year in its Alternative Gift Markets and from individual donors to respond to those needs. Designated grants then are sent to the established international projects of several reputable nonprofit agencies for relief and development." -- Alt. Gift website


We tell our customer…

Yikes!

I'm leaving soon... 1 month to the day.

Bus ticket says January 8th, and I'm excited. 3 week vacation. Bus to San Fran, train to Tuscon, New Orleans, Birmingham, DC, and then on to Maryland. Wahoo!

Crochet a doily. NOW!

Adieu

Dear friends and family,

My departure is soon arriving, only a month left in Utah, and while getting things in order I decided sending you all an update is something important to me. As some of you already know, I am moving in January to Perry Point, Maryland for a year-long AmeriCorps program. The program I am participating in-- NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps)-- dictates that I will be in MD for roughly a month, and at the end of the month I will be sent somewhere within my region to do service work. I am serving in the Eastern US region, which includes 17 states + gulf states + Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The projects in which I will participate vary widely, and I (and the team I work with) will be moved around from place to place as needed...

"Service projects, which typically last from six to eight weeks, address critical needs in education, public safety, the environment, and other unmet needs. Members tutor students, construct and rehabilitate low-income hou…

Interracial Relations

Today in the Statesman, USU's student newspaper, there is an article titled "Interracial dating becoming more common." I'm a bit perturbed that it is implied the article will discuss interracial dating, when in reality it is discussing the potential for personal growth and/or problems in intercultural as well as interracial dating. Race and ethnicity and culture are different-- the statesman should know this.

I'm no stranger to the idea of interracial and/or inter-cultural dating, and have in fact experienced personal growth and problems because of it.

I've dated African, Latino, and your run-of-mill Utahns. Black, White, Mixed race. Muslim, Catholic, Atheist.

Me: White Utahn, raised Mormon, no religion

I think the first time I really considered the impact of an interracial/intercultural relationship was when I thought of children being involved-- what happens when you combine a relatively atheist mother with a Muslim father, and thrown in some pretty dark skin a…

Most Thankful.

I am most thankful for love, especially that of my family. I cherish the friendship I have with my sister, and the example of virtuous womanhood my mother provides for us.



Crochetting, cooking, sewing, cleaning, canning, gardening. Some of the past times (and lifelong skills) we all share and enjoy together, taught to us daughters by great mothers.



Last night after eating a huge home-cooked meal at my grandpa's house we all came home to relax and spend more time together as a family. We three ladies lined up all in a row on the couch with our threads and crochet hooks in hand, busying ourselves by making. I love that I can spend hours entertaining myself without the blare of the tv, or even the need for conversation. I enjoy sitting at the kitchen table with something in my hands, perhaps some talk-radio or music in the background, and a look of concentration on my face as I spin out yet another doily or scarf.

There was a time in my life when I wondered what people did with their sp…

Needs.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs:



Please review the preceding levels of Maslow'shierarchy of needs.

This summary of the theory of self actualization made clear to me the beauty of the life I live, and reminded me that while my happiness seems inherent to my being, it may be because I'm simply more able to have that joy because my needs are being met.

I've asked myself (even in previous blog entries) how it is I can help others-- what impact can I truly have if my love and compassion are not producing any results? Perhaps it's a matter of combining love and compassion with action to get results... if I want happiness for others, it's only logical that their basic needs must be met first.

Hopeful that AmeriCorps*NCCC will help me see this theory through, and experience firsthand unmet needs, I look forward to leaving in January. My own moral growth has great potential in this upcoming endeavor. I'm beginning to believe that giving myself to the needs of others is the …

Devastation

Reading news articles documenting widespread destruction and chaos by natural disasters is always disheartening, but today seems even more heartbreaking than usual.

http://www.msnbc.com/modules/interactive.aspx?type=ss&launch=21832678,12784349&pg=19

The slideshow makes their sadness this much more tangible. The tears running down their faces forces my own to well up and wet my face.

Think of your only income being ripped apart and thrown away, buried under 4 feet of water. Imagine your home and all belongings washed away. Imagine entire communities wiped out, with those alive left to deal with masses of bodies. Imagine your family members dying, possibly all of them. Or perhaps only the providers of the family. Imagine being left alone or with small children to take care of, with no shelter, and not knowing how anyone will stay alive for lack of drinking water and food. And consider all of these happening at once.

My lifestyle is so luxurious and mostly taken for granted, and when…

Letter to a friend.

Dear B,

Surfing the internet is a great way to pass time when one is not tired because of a 4 hour nap, and I have taken on the role of internet surfer wannabe couch surfer.

Throughout my travels of cyberspace I've read some interesting blogs, some crap, and some really, really great shit.

If it were feasible, if it were realistic, if it were not selfish and a bit ridiculous, I would suggest that together we run away and spend our lives making. Making, doing, being. Growing our vegetables, putting squash in the cellar to keep us full in the winter months. Knitting dish rags and dancing in the wind. Holding hands and laughing and singing songs and cooking meals for friends.

I'm reading a good blog. No, I'm reading an inspiring blog. A man (+ his small family) in NYC is trying to reduce his impact by living off the grid in an apartment downtown, purchasing local foods, baking, sewing, reducing, reusing, recycling. Stumbling upon such a website with great information seems so iro…

Consumerist Ways

A few months ago I was asked to meet my mother at the local Sam's club for a quick chat and transfer of goods-- a pair of pants she made for me in exchange for a big thank you and warm hug. Seems easy? That's what I thought until I arrived.

Approximately 3 years ago I boycotted Wal-Mart on what I thought were solid grounds: unfair wages, purchasing products from impoverished countries at ridiculous prices, no respect for local economy, etc. Over time my reasons for avoiding that store has changed (some stay the same), and my weariness of big-box stores has increased; I try to shop local and purchase only (mostly) what I need. I avidly avoid the consumerist centers, and instead focus my time on promoting fair trade awareness. My actions, or lack thereof, have produced very negative reactions within myself, such as those I felt when I stepped inside that Sam's club.

Rows and rows of flat screen televisions flashing bright blue pictures, salesman waving and persuading "Com…

In preparation

I will be leaving in January... 81 days until my position with AmeriCorps officially begins. Approximately 60 days until I leave Utah with all the personally owned belongings I will carry for the next year stuffed into one bag.

60 days. That's two months. 8 weeks. It's beginning to sink in... and freak me out.

I need to sell my car. Buy a backpack. Battery charger for my camera. Defer my student loans. Take care of cell phone crap. Pay off debt. Accumulate monetary savings. Spend time with family and friends. Work. Organize. Buy my train tickets. Find accommodations.

Belongings I will carry for the next year:

They provide (upon arrival):

2 khaki cargo slacks
2 khaki cargo shorts
2 gray long-sleeve shirts
3 gray short-sleeve shirts
1 gray sweatshirt
1 white polo shirt
1 black pair cargo slacks
1 gray long-sleeve rugby shirt
1 black adjustable belt
1 black vest
1 winter coat
1 work boots

Items I need to pack:

Personal Toiletries
Towels
Soft laundry hamper & detergent
Bedding (sheets, blankets, p…

Reflection: good vs. bad

Update: I am here in New Mexico, relaxing under the warm sun and blue skies, walking the dog, drinking coffee at the cafe down the road, riding the bike, hiking in the mountains, revisiting family, and even learning new activities -- like knitting. The weekend in Angel Fire was filled with good meals, lots of sleep, and some serious catching up in our lives. Santa Fe was dreamy. Albuquerque.... has lots of cars. Aunties K & S have been very, very sweet to me.

With all of this extra time I've had on my hands while vacationing, I thought it wise to do some self-reflection... a deep gaze into myself, my values, my actions, my friends. The big finding? I am a good person.

Many times in my life I have been warned that I need to be careful of the people I associate with. It's common knowledge that I generally presume the people with whom I choose to associate will strive to live their lives in a manner that is positive to everyone around them.

Announcement: I realize this belief i…

Departure

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

Wouldn't you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same. You wanna be where everybody knows your name.

You wanna go where people know, people are all the same. You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have lived here my entire existence. Year after year after I add experiences to the old, and the more I do, the more I spread. More people know my name than I had ever planned.

I enjoy the familiarity of the faces and places. I call this home.

My departure date is near but I have already left and you'll have a hard time catching me. I come and go like warm spells in changing seasons. I wander with lust …

Tetons, again.

I just returned from backpacking in the Tetons. Again. The first weekend (the 28th through the 1st) we backpacked up paintbrush canyon, camped above Holly Lake, and relished in the beauty of Autumn alpine glow.


We didn't see a lot of wildlife, it was VERY cold, but man oh man was it fun. To give you an idea of just how cold.... we cooked dinner the first night, and I set my bowl of hot steaming food on the rock next to me for about 5 minutes while I drank my hot cocoa, and when I took the next bite it was full of ice crystals. Brrr!




The 2nd weekend trip I just returned from at 2 am last night. We did a days work atop the ridge behind Rendezvous Mountain at Teton Village, trudging through knee deep snow to get to our plots, but the views were awesome.





Our fieldwork ended up taking much longer than expected, so instead of having a ride down we hiked to the gondola. So there we are, braving the 30-40 mph winds, squinting our eyes when we hear a strange noise and loud thud just behind u…

Toilet Talk

An interesting experience was had this morning.

I walk into the women's restroom on campus, and every stall except one smack dab in the middle was in use. I glance around and dart into the open door-- urine is heavy in my bladder, a result of too much coffee.

But something strange is going on... silence. Absolute silence. No sounds of urine, shit, zippers, or even breathing are present, as if I'm in the room alone. I'm not alone; I'm sharing the restroom with approximately 8 other women! Why are there no noises?

Pssssssssssss. I break the silence with my urine and the splash of waterfalls follow. I hear a bowel movement in the background, someone rolling toilet paper out of the dispenser, and the two toilets opposite me flush in unison. Zip, clank, scrub scrub scrub. It was as if MY stream of urine was the conductor's cue to the chorus of bathroom noise.

Audial pleasure.

Thoughts of Childhood

The only posters I've had on my walls are the following, and were all up at the same time (right around 5th or 6th grade):

Poster of happy gray kitten
Poster of band TLC
Posters of Jesus and mormon love.

How very strange.

Did anyone else get into the Macarena? hahaha. We had an assembly and I showcased my macarena moves, teaching other little elementary school children how to grope themselves and get away with it.

I used to collect cow bones. I thought they were really cool... I wonder if I could go back to that field and find my stash. It's been over 10 years; they might be buried by dust blown in the wind.

And I liked to ride my bike. I guess I haven't changed much.

Ah, the joys of childhood.

Bicycle bicycle bicycle. I love my bicycle. Someday I WILL ride from coast to coast of the US. I just can't say when, because I don't know when my financial position will be right... but someday. You just wait and see.

Grocery Biking?

http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/936/

Written by Hank Green Thursday, 06 September 2007

Fan-frikkin-tastic... I'm not entirely familiar with the intricacies of this design, but while not exactly practical, it does say a lot without, y'know...words. In fact, lets make a list of what it says to me:
I want to ride my bike in the grocery store. Why don't they let us ride our bikes in the grocery store!If the cart could detach from the front wheel, and re-attach without trouble, grocery runs on your bike would become excitingly simple.
The wobbly wheel effect becomes much more of a problem. Let's get this thing some rubber tires.How the frak does he turn!!!
That's all.

Via Reuben Miller

Summer Summary

Rain Rain come and play, stay please for another day. You know, the other night I went on a long night hike, in my glorious skin and sandals, and the rain started coming down lightly. Utah is a dry place, but on that night it was humid from the clouds and moisture, and when those cool droplets fell, it was in contrast with the heat of the night.

One day I was working in the soils lab at the University, when the rain came down in torrents. I quickly took off my latex gloves, and ran down the hall, out the front doors, into the grassy corridor hidden by buildings, and I danced. I spun in circles, and drenched myself with the sweet water that earth blesses us with. It took nearly 2 hours to dry once I re-entered the air conditioned building, but the memories of that sweet rainfall will never be forgotten.

Tonight my friend came over for dinner, and as we sat outside, plates in our laps and feet in the gutter, letting the irrigation water cool us, we decided to walk around the block. Soon w…

The beauty in solitude

Riding my bike down a solitary road, to a solitary corner, where my new temporary, solitary home resides, a quiet and hidden sidwalk caught my eye. "Private Sidewalk, Use At Own Risk." It reached out to me; it's twiggy branches beckoning me like an old friend motioning to come near. "Visit me. Rejoice in all I have to offer: solitude, solidarity, and peace." Stumbling in silence, I visit you. I creep through your webs, rustle through the bushes, and run my hand down your cold, rough sides. "Amanda, welcome." The smell of moist, rotting organic matter fills my nasal passages and I am comforted; the sweet mold is a sign of decay, regrowth, and beautiful life- my own life mimics its pattern.

I am told the history of this welcoming path: community members need a walkway to important places, and like my own path, it leads them to their sweet, sweet salvation.

The path grabs me by the shoulders and says, " You are youthful! You are strong! You are bold! …

Catching up on life

I've neglected my blog responsibilities, and reflecting back on the past few weeks of my life is giving me a headache!

Let's see... where do I start?

I'll start with the first week of July, and the predicament I had been put in at work. Because summer classes decrease so much during the 2nd session, my hours at work were cut from 40-12. I was definitely upset and worried about how I could off a meager... but was soon presented with an alternative: go backpacking in the tetons, and be reimbursed for my pack-mule abilities. YES! Of course, I chose the adventure, and quit my job. Here's an excerpt from bragablog.


"You want jealousy! Take this!


I'm here at AMK Ranch in the tetons, we got back last night from four days of hiking. I just wanted to give you guys an update of my amazing week. I'll do all of my reading once I'm back home with high speed internet connection.


So, I'm here sitting in a room overlooking the teton lake. It's amazing! I wish yo…

Swimming and Packing

I couldn't have asked for a more pleasing weekend-- we'll begin with Friday.

Tanya stopped in at GVG and surprised me with fun plans to go swimming when I was done!

I went out to their house as fast as I could after finishing, and having just taken the pizza out of the oven, we hopped in the car (with the pizza resting on a towel) and took off for Porupine Reservoir. We arrived, ate, laughed at some 17 years old boys that dropped their pants and asked about their penis size, and swam out across the span of water that was in front of us. It was very refreshing to bathe our bodies in the cold water! After getting out we took over the fire the high school boys had left behind (irresponsibile, grrrr), warmed ourselves, and eventually put out the fire so we could head back to town.


On Saturday afternoon I went home for the family festivites (it was my brother's 8th birthday and baptism) -- a fun bbq with family members I don't get to see often. Anyway, the big part of Saturday…
I couldn't have asked for a more pleasing weekend-- we'll begin with Friday.

My work classes were canceled for Friday morning, so I went in to GVG (the volunteer position) and did some organization and inventory while waiting to open the store for the volunteers that were coming in- it was a great to spend some silent time alone with my thoughts and work. I came home for a couple hours and went back to the store for my 3-6 shift (which was extremely boring), but while there Tanya stopped in and surprised me with fun plans to go swimming when I was done!



After work I went out to their house as fast as I could, and having just taken the pizza out of the oven, we hopped in the car (with the pizza resting on a towel) and took off for Porcupine Reservoir. We arrived, ate, laughed at some 17 years old boys that dropped their pants and asked about their penis size, and swam out across the span of water that was in front of us. It was very refreshing to bathe our bodies in the cold wate…