Thursday, March 31, 2011

Aaron's Birthday - March 5th

Sparkling Apple Cider
I know this doesnt seem like much, but this here bottle of sparkling cider is one of the most thoughtful things I've ever been presented with. It doesnt just represent a choice of drink. No, it is much deeper than that. For me, this bottle represents my friends' desires to include me. It makes me feel such a deep gratitude for the friendships I've made in Boston. There's a lot of joking and razzing in my group, but when it comes right down to it, I know that they like me, exactly as I am. They dont judge me for not being better at this or that. Or for saying stupid things. They dont care that I dont do all the same things they do. 
So to show up at Aaron's and find that he and Sabrina made sure I felt included and had something to drink... well, it was a really nice moment. And very, very thoughtful. Making sure I had some nice mormon drinkage was completely unnecessary.
My friends are like that though.
Wonderfully accepting, accommodating and considerate.
I legitimately could not survive school without them.

But Sabrina planned a surprise lunch for Aaron. We played a couple minute to win it games, had some Upper Crust Pizza and probably the best ice cream cake of my life (from that Cold Stone homie).

After their pubcrawl, Aaron wanted people to come back over to his house to play games.
He opened gifts, and we hung out.
Sabrina also got Aaron a sweet tea pot and awesome Jurassic Park book. 
I like that I caught this action shot.

And this one.
I love this photo! 
We played some NBA Jam on Wii.
I forgot what an awesome game that is.
And that occasionally I like video games.
And yes, Derrick is completely serious about this game.
Lucinda and I played together, and we did pretty well for ourselves, considering neither of us plays video games ever.
It was a really fun night. And I was so glad I got to celebrate Aaron's birthday! He's one of my favorite people at dental school and so ridiculously funny. And any reason to get together and hang out with my friends is a good reason!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cake Pops

Once upon a time, I took a soiree into domesticity.
I'd heard about cake pops and wanted to try making them.
We were having a girls night, so I decided to try making them.
This is what I did...

Some things I wish I knew before making Cake Pops:
1. When in doubt, freeze it out - The cake balls should be frozen before you attempt to coat them in chocolate. Because if they arent set enough, they fall apart. And after you stick the sticks in with chocolate, that should be frozen too. Otherwise as you're coating with chocolate the balls fall off the sticks.
2. Microwaving the chocolate works the best. Just microwave it till melted and then re-heat 15-20 seconds if the chocolate stiffens. I completely ruined an entire bag of chocolate chips by heating the chocolate on the stove. 
3. I didnt have lollipop sticks, but I took shish-kabob sticks and cut the pointy end off and cut them in half and they worked great
4. The back of a spoon works great for spreading the chocolate around the balls.
5. Size matters. Smaller cake balls were easier to coat in chocolate than bigger cake balls.

So they say to let the chocolate coated cake balls set stick side down in styrofoam, but I just set them cake/chocolate side down on the tray. They werent pretty by any means but they worked out just fine.
And they were a big hit at both the girl night and the book club I went to.
The hardest part was coating them in chocolate. And if I had thought to freeze them I'm sure I would of had less issues.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

A First

... Yup, you read that right.
After 24 years, I have my first cavity.
... In dental school.
Thats only slightly ironic. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Ups

I made my own mac and cheese.
I was kinda unaware that making mac and cheese without Kraft or Cheese Whiz was possible until just recently. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I'd never seen it done before. Of course I'd heard of it being possible. But I had no concrete proof things of that nature werent just a rumor. But I gave it a go tonite. And I'm not terribly upset at the result. I cooked my pasta, added some milk and then stirred in a bunch of cheese. And suddenly it was a cheesy sauce like concoction.

Talking to my cousin Jesse.
The thing I like most about Jesse is that when I say or ask something that sounds fundamentally stupid, he doesnt dwell on the stupidity of the question (for instance, I told him today that I really have no idea how to go about getting a job upon graduation, considering I will have never worked as a dentist). No, instead of making me feel even dumber, he talks me through it like its the most natural thing in the world. And he acts as though this next phase of uncertainty in my life, while challenging, will be completely exciting. His complete faith in my ability to figure my life out is contagious. He talks me through the process and makes the theory of it sound so simple. Add to that the fact that he relates everything to the gospel, and talking with him reminds me to take note of the blessings the gospel brings. He told me today that he got in a fight over the weekend. Some big, tough island guys started the fight, and he believes that, like the Nephites, he was able to overcome these guys, because he was strengthened by a righteous desire to defend. He didnt go out looking for the fight, but he also wasnt going to let them walk all over him. Its really refreshing to hear the gospel related to everyday life like that. And talking to Jesse is always a nice little reminder to continue working to become the best version of myself that I can. I just really love my friendship with Jess.

I ran 5 miles.
I'm trying to become a better runner. With that half mile (erm I mean marathon not mile), looming ever nearer, I want to be prepared. So I'm trying to get my body used to running longer distances. I know that if I run consistently my running improves. And it always feels great to tack on a distance that used to feel impossibly long. I hope that one day, running five miles will feel easy. But I suppose, three miles doesnt yet feel easy to me, even though I know I could get up from the couch and do it.  I think I will always struggle to feel accomplished in what I do. Its so easy to not feel good enough. But I'm really trying hard to change how I think. It may seem strange, but I have a knowledge that I dont completely suck, while at the same time I find it impossible to believe that I could be good at anything.

I got a Written Analysis and Occlusal Analysis signed.
I know it doesnt sound like much, but getting signatures is one of the most challenging thing about dental school. We have to have everything signed off. And the simple act of getting a signature, immediately leads me to feel very accomplished for that day. With the end of the semester, comes the stress of completing the required number of activities and points. And each signature is a micro-step toward it. It honestly feels great when things are approved and I get to check one more thing off my list.

Spring Softball Round 1 goes to the Ball Burnishers.
I have great friends. And I have so much fun with them. I was anxious about softball. And I had a rather trying day. But our game, well, it brought the joy bubbling back up to the surface. Its just a really fun game. And there is such a camaraderie among us. I got on base each time I was at bat, and I didnt do anything terribly embarrassing when we were on the field. I just like us.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Responsible Responsibility

I guess I'm going to preface this post with the fact that this is a pin-point estimation of what I'm feeling. Dont take it for solid fact that I always feel like this. Cause I dont. And I will tell you its stupid to assume I would. And this is on the cusp of being too personal. I dont mean to sound ungrateful for my life or what I have been given. Because I am extremely grateful for everything. But for tonight, I feel like sharing. So share I am. 

Sometimes I get in moods. I've only once had it described so point blank, in such a poetic and devastatingly heartwrenching way.  

"If you yet remain as the you I once knew, I imagine you still harbor heavy thoughts from time to time; thoughts that weigh you down and make a slightly-off day near unbearable."

Its odd to have yourself described in a poignantly true manner. 
Most of the time people ignore my mood; knowing full well that it will pass. Just like the rest of the world, I cant help but move on. And my murky thoughts never stay murky for long. It is one of my best features I think, that I move past disappointment in such an efficient manner. Tucking my chin, and bearing forward, despite any residual feet dragging. There is always work to do, and I have it ingrained in my head that responsibility comes before all else. By no means, does that mean I get over it; thats one of my worst features, I store it all away in a quiet place, to be looked at and tormented with later. But routine and responsibility have a way of dampening all other feelings.
Why am I thinking about this?
Because I'm in a mood.
I have often felt, that I was a hairsbreadth away from being over the designated line. The line set by expectations, responsibility, morality.
But I toe the line, like a champion tight rope walker. 
As a teenager, just about every adult I knew thought I was a bad kid. An outspoken nature, and a stubborn streak will do that for you. And I felt no need to let them read me the right way. They'd made up their minds about me based on my unwillingness to be strong-armed into a typical model of acceptability. And being arrogant, I let them think it. Because I wasnt doing anything for their public approval. And I didnt need their acceptance. I did my entire young womans achievement book secretly (with the help of my mother of course). And when I finished it, my mother thought I should turn it in. To which I scoffed. Because I didnt do it for the recognition. I did it for my own personal satisfaction.
But it irritated me. I wont pretend it didnt. Even still, it irritates me that I was so wrongly judged. 
Here, quite a few of my junior high friends were going off getting drunk, lying to their parents and doing drugs.
And it would have been so easy, with so much acceptance, to follow suit.
Much more acceptance than I was ever offered anywhere else at that time.
 I chose to be separate though. 
I've always been filled with a sense of... I suppose it is responsibility, perhaps morality... And I knew that whatever teenage acceptance those friends offered, it wasnt worth it. Not to me anyways. (Add to that the completely fickle and backbiting nature of most teenage girls...)
I often felt left out. And out of place. And alone.  
I chose to be a secretly good kid, whose friends could care less and who adults were wary of.
And it was the right choice - and I'd do it the same way if I had to. 
But it wasnt easy.
For years I have toed the line of what is expected of me. What is the responsible way to behave. And truthfully, sometimes being so responsible wears on a person. It makes me feel like I'm much too serious and missing out. Like I am wasting my youth. Sometimes I think the expectations of others and myself will crush me. And maybe those expectations are just my own perception. But real or not, they still affect me. Because the thing about expectations is you never really live up to them. I will never fully be the person people think I ought to be. I will never behave in exactly the way people think I ought to. There will always be that tiny layer of disappointment. And occasionally that layer of disappointment rises up and suffocates me. 
I know that people envy my situation in life. I am nigh unto being done with my formal education. And I will finish with a career. I have cousins who are adventurous and irresponsible. Just starting to buckle down and become responsible. And they would trade places with me if given the chance. But I envy them, even as in the same breath, I know I could never shirk my life plan as completely as they used to. But I would dabble in adventure. Because when I finish school I will have nothing but a piece of paper and a working knowledge of how to get through school. And their adventures have been calling to me for years. And I suppose they have been calling to me too - even with my sad smiles and sober realities - they have always made me feel like I could be so fun and carefree.
Somewhere along the line I've lost the point.
I guess the point is, that there is a price for every action. And even though being responsible, smart and doing whats expected of you is good, it has its cost. My parents think I'm selfish - and I probably am - but I also think that I have paid my dues at being responsible. And its frustrating to have been working for so long and so hard, only to be told, that alas, in another five to ten years you'll find your reprieve, when you've good and earned it. Because I honestly feel like I've earned it right now. And I cant think of anything worse than getting stuck in the complacent, completely responsible path. Because it would be so easy to put off adventure. At first it would only be for a couple years. But that couple would turn into five, which would multiply into ten. And before I know it, I'm old, and havent done any of the things I wanted to do. All because work came first. Sure, being responsible is important and I'm not discrediting that. But it isnt the only way to experience life. And I already know that I want more than it offers alone.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

We've Got Our Obsessions

You know what irritates me?
Book snobs.
People that ask what I've been reading. And then scoff and turn their nose up.
"Oh, so you read children literature?"
It makes me forever want to keep what I'm reading to myself.
Sometimes I just want to be entertained. To enter a world created by the author. To be enveloped in the characters presented to me. Thinking is great and all. But sometimes if a book makes me think too hard, I cant hardly read it. Because it starts to feel like work, rather than the break I needed. I know I'm not great at deep thinking. Pondering the underlying morale and message of the book. (Or even the hard topics in my everyday life.) An interesting story, well written is usually enough for me. I enjoy reading some books that are at easy reading levels. But then again, I enjoy reading lots of different types of books. And I hate being pigeon-holed. 
A good book is a good book.
Whatever its pomp and circumstance.

That being said - I do prefer some books over others. 

On a separate note, here's what I thought of the books I've read.

1. The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod
 As someone who supremely hated junior high, what appealed to me about this book (and the subsequent novels) were the titles. Eighth Grade Bites. Amen. Ninth Grade Slays. Why yes, yes it does. And the covers. That being said, it felt a little like the story was a non-story. It didnt contain nearly enough substance for my taste. It was like an outline to a story, waiting to be filled in. And yes, the reading level was easy. But even with that, I still might read the others. It was a quick read, and entertaining enough. I think I finished it in under four hours.

2. The Replacement
I have a preference for things that are a bit dark and twisty. So a story about a town where children are snatched from their beds and replaced with creepy look-a-like creatures? Ya, I'll read that. I liked the book. But it was just good. Not great, not bad. 

3. An Abundance of Katherines
I have a thing for any words that John Green writes. Or speaks for that matter. Thats the author, John Green. I watch his vlog, and well, he's pretty much brilliant. I've read two other John Green novels (Looking For Alaska and Will Grayson, Will Grayson) and I loved what each of them had to say. 

Two of my favorite quotes from Looking For Alaska:

When adults say, "Teenagers think they are invincible" with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.

Because while John Green is an entertaining writer, he usually has a point - some truth he wants to share. And presenting truth in an entertaining way? Ya, I'm down with that. I'm not against being enlightened by the books I read. I just sometimes dont cause I get tired. This book though. I think I hated the main character. I just didnt bond with him. And mostly found him terribly annoying. Which is unfortunate, since the book is, ya know, about him. But it still wasnt a terrible book. Just not my favorite by any stretch of the word.

4. A Tale Dark and Grimm
This was just a really easy read, re-telling the Grimm fairy tales. The underlying message is that children are far more capable than we often give them credit, and dont need to be sheltered as much as people often do. Of course that would appeal to me, seeing as I still have some residual teenage angst and have always believed as a child that I was much more capable than adults gave me credit for. 

5. Stolen
I liked this book. Its about a teenage girl that is abducted and carted off to the outback desert. Its her letter to her captor. And I love how complicated it all is. I couldnt help but root a little for the kidnapper. It was a really well done book in my opinion. 

6. The Scarlet Letter
So sometimes when movies come out that reference books, I feel the need to then read the book. It actually was pretty good. Hester is a strong willed girl who, despite public humiliation, bears her burden with an attitude of fortitude and perseverance. So the story appealed to me. I also liked that it actually had an ending. Occasionally with classic literature, I find their endings a little too neatly wrapped up. (Like in Wuthering Heights when all the sudden everything goes right and rosy?) I read this at the gym and it was enthralling enough for me to not notice how tedious exercise can be sometimes.

7. Red Riding Hood
A book based on a screenplay. Thats a twist if ever there was one. The book totally ended in a huge cliff hanger... which I totally thought the movie would too, but I suppose I should of been smarter and realized they didnt want to spoil the ending of the movie. It was an alright read. The acting in the movie was kinda terrible but visually it was great. And I kept thinking that a simple way to discover the wolf would be to make everyone go into the church (since the wolf cant go on church property). But overall it was entertaining on both fronts. And apparently you can read the final chapters of the book online. I didnt even know there were going to be more chapters. Truthfully I dont know if I liked the book more than the movie or vice versa. 

8. I'm just about finished reading Peace Like A River which I like. I find that a lot of adult fiction, has a big focus on religion and faith. Which is kind of interesting. But this book is about family loyalty, and faith. And really well done. Even if it does make me think hard and get tired.  

Monday, March 14, 2011


There's a party.
You arent invited.
Only I'm invited.
But not really.
Because this party involves my bed.
And pajamas.
And a bad attitude.
And perhaps if I become desperate, food.
Oh, and pity.
He'll be there too.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Glass Blush

I got new glasses. And well, people have noticed.
I was telling Alisun about them and mentioned that I dont actually need glasses. I just wear them because 1. They function as safety glasses and 2. They're cute.
Ever since I first saw my always cool cousin Angie wear fake glasses, I've loved the idea. 
Because it allows you to change up your look so simply.
Cause sometimes glasses are darling.
Dont judge me for  being a poser.
But Alisun thought this small fact was ridiculous. Cause I wear fake glasses so I'm cute.
And it is ridiculous a little, but I'll defend the virtues of it to the death (for starters, fake glasses fit so much better than my crappy safety glasses...)

Fast forward to yesterday.
I see Alisun sitting at a table for lunch. And she's talking with this guy that I dont know.
He's cute. And cute enough that you notice he's cute.
So they're talking and I come and sit down.
And Alisun goes to the guy "Oh hey... do you know Melissa here? Well, she wears glasses so that she can be cute." And he laughs and I shake my head.
And the conversation moves on and past that.
Well, as he's leaving this cute second year goes "Oh, and Melissa? You look really cute with your glasses."
To which I blush and become a teenage girl and stammer what I hope sounded like a thank you.
And beside me Alisun dies laughing.
I made her day getting flustered because of that compliment.
And she told a few other people how flustered I got cause a 2nd year thought my glasses were cute.

So today, we're sitting in a room working on some busy work. And I look up and who should be poking his head in the window but the second year... and he makes a glasses sign through the window and gives me a thumbs up. I died... and Alisun laughed.

Turns out I need to work on not embarrassing so easily.
Really though. It is a little funny.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sneezing is the Gateway

I always know that something is coming if I start sneezing.
Because it starts out innocently enough.
Just a little sneeze here or there.
But it always progresses.
After the sneezing comes the head pressure.
Then the runny nose.
And just like that, I dont feel well at all.
And it didnt even take much time at all.
Maybe if I take some advil and sleep it wont turn into a full on cold.
Cross your fingers.

I Went To Utah

I've never really travelled any place other than my home. Not without my parents that is. I've never bought a plane ticket, just so I could visit someone. I've never even thought of taking a mini-vacation from school that wasnt Christmas vacation or Summer vacation. So going to Utah for a long weekend was a big deal for me. It was out of the ordinary. It was out of character for me, who has never been willing to fit in irrational and impromptu trips into my always busy school schedule. But building up anything in your mind, always leads to a slight let-down. Not cause it wasnt great in its own way. But because its always different from how you picture it in your mind. Reality is always different from fantasy. And thats not necessarily bad. But it is different and with that difference needs to come a level of acceptance. Accepting that things dont turn out how you expect. Lately, I've been feeling this very lofty feeling that my experiences (and certain let-downs) are making me into a better person. I was at the gym, running on a treadmill, and suddenly I could see my disappointments from a much more grandiose perspective. They have made me kinder, more understanding - softer. They absolutely were disappointing. Hence being "disappointment". But for that moment, as I let my thoughts run free, I felt a certain growth that hadnt been there a moment before. Sure, it means that my hard edges have been worn down a bit, leaving me more exposed; there's always a trade-off with change. But this last week, I was grateful for that empathy I have developed. I was grateful for the fact that I'm not so stupid stubborn about everything. I absolutely am willing to let someone change my opinion. And even if they dont, I am willing to see the value their opinion holds. I'm not perfect. But its unrealistic to expect that I would be anything but a work in progress. I think there are many different truths in this life. And sometimes you find them in unlikely places - and not everyone need hold the same truths tight. Our experiences shape everything about us. And being different and valuing different things isnt wrong - it makes us individual.

But Utah. The highlights:

1. It really is beautiful there. Those mountains always looming close, make it feel safe and majestic there. And I wish I had taken a picture. But it was one of those weekends where my camera was too shy to come out. 

2. The Carl Bloch exhibit. 
These are my two favorite paintings. They are beautiful to me deep down. 

3. Zupas

Seriously who knew that a place this delicious existed. I'm actually offended (but not really) 
that I hadnt known about it before. It was good enough that 
I wished it had been a part of my life before that moment. 
I went three or four times. 
And it was amazing each time.

4. Sweethearts
I met a lovely BYU couple.
They were barely 18/19.
But they were funny, easygoing and hopeful.
And the little I knew about them, made me envious.
I shared with them how fun Rook can be.
And they shared Sweetheart candy with me.
Upon discovering that I'm a kindred soul in candy preferences,
they got me a few boxes to take on the plane back to Boston.
It was terribly thoughtful.
And made me even sadder to leave.
Because for a moment, I wished I was staying.
They have a constant stream of people who 
just stop by to hang out and do homework.
And I wished that I could 
play cards and become a friend who just dropped in too.

4. Even though I didnt see a ton of them, I was happy for
the family I have in Utah.
I enjoyed our little conversations.
And that they were so willing to let me roam as I pleased.

5. I am number four.
I went and saw this opening night.
And while, it did differ from the book (which I recommend people read),
the differences werent bad.
And I really enjoyed the movie.

5. Peyton Sevy
This is my cousin Brit's daughter.
So my cousin once removed I think.
But this child is completely darling.
She set up a pajama party and made us all place settings.
We limboed and played UNO attack.
And she dominated both.
We played a lovely version of soccer where I dominated.
She's a funny little child.
And I like her very much.

6. My favorite moments werent anything big or grand.
They were the moments where I was just sitting
and listening to a guitar or someone talking.
They almost felt routine and like life would continue
on that way forever.
And it was the simplicity of 
those moments that made them lovely.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Reblogged from busybeetumblr

Holding hands may seem like an innocent gesture, but they show more than a simple interlocking of fingers. Your hands are one of the most essential parts of your body: you build with them, feed with them, hold with them, touch with them, fight with them; they are the tools of the human body. To take a hold of another’s hand is to break from living individually. It is to link yourself to another being, to momentarily entwine your life with another’s, to promise, for a moment, that you need not face the world alone. More simple, more aesthetically naive than other forms of affection, i.e kissing, hugging, sexing…, the act of holding hands is often trivialized in its true implications. As the Beatles once said ”all I want to do is hold your hand.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

State of Affairs

1. My room is disgusting. As in the space left for my feet to stand is progressively diminishing everyday (dont judge me). As in the space pretty much does not exist anymore (go ahead, judge me). Its a little horrifying... and needs to be remedied ASAP. But obviously not before my huge four hour Perio Final. I wish my parents could come and clean my room again... or come do my laundry.

2. Oh Exercise. Remember when I was a dedicated soul? And now I cant bring myself to do anything? I blame it on my need for new runners. So I guess add that to the list - Buy new runners. But I think I'm doing another 10K in April, a tri in July and a half marathon in August. Turns out I should probably get over my mental block and start doing stuff.

3. I've recently become very insomnia prone. Blame stress. Blame school. Blame foolishness on my part. Blame drama. Blame all of the above. This wont end well though. Tomorrow is going to be a LONG day.

4. Being masterful at procrastinating, I've currently been obsessing about what I'm going to do when I graduate and where in this massive world I'll run off to. Being done has stopped being a far off thing that happens ages from now. And I've started getting the sinking feeling that maybe I ought to at least pretend to make plans.

5. I'm starving. All the time. Maybe I'm going through obesity puberty (that lovely stage of life where you eat and gain enough to send you into your obesity stage of life)... but I've seriously been ravenous.

6. I was grumpy and unfocused during studying today. That should make tomorrow's test a delight.