Friday, February 29, 2008

One more.

Sometimes I feel so hungry for something, I feel I could eat the whole world.

And yet I'm still hungry.

And the world still remains.

Is that not strange?

Are you not grateful?

I wonder.

Emotions fly across my surface like the shadows of wind-driven clouds.

Which leads me to wonder:

In my dumb simile, what am I?

The patterns of light and dark?

Or the shape of the earth beneath,

Soil and rock and fire?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Why love is like reading something from BYU Studies:

Are you...

Are you allowed to fall in love with an article? If so, I think I just have.

With this one, in fact.

And maybe it's just the way I've been feeling today: a little bit mind-weary, a little bit inclined to be a little heartsick, but this talk was pretty much exactly what I needed to read at this moment.

Experiencing it was like the best parts of being in love: joyful self-discovery and intense affirmation.

I feel better about myself than I have in a long time. And that's a pretty darn good thing indeed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I love three-year-olds.

Here's one reason why:

My favorite thing? When she says, "The siney guy always worries."

In Other News

I really, really wish men with beards would just stop being in my classes. Or on the T. Or walking around on the sidewalk.

Because they're just way too distracting.



In other news...

I heard from Cathy that a fellow far too young to have a beard has just joined their family, which means that she and her husband are now outnumbered by their children.

And also that there is one more small, wonderful person to love in the world.

Welcome, Theo.

(Here are some pictures, for those of you who are visually minded.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sage Advice

If, on a whim, you decide to brush your teeth while completely naked,

Be forewarned:

It's not as exciting as it sounds.

Friday, February 22, 2008

On Settling

I found this article both strangely compelling and rather disturbing. My roommate Pinto and I had a long discussion about it and came to the conclusion that there's settling and then there's Settling. (Obviously, the capitalized, italicized version is the one not to be done.)

The lower-case (non-italicized) settling is basically just another word for humility, for realizing that we are just as flawed as the people we're evaluating in our dating relationships. This kind of settling allows us to be realistic enough to accept the flaws of an individual, and humble enough to realize we have plenty of flaws on our own. It may also, my roommate mentioned, involve getting away from the BYU mentality of dating (in which it's easy to give up on any given relationship (sometimes for really tiny reasons) because there are just so many young, single, and dateable people out there).

Now Settling is different: it's when a person begins to compromise on things that are really important, when settling is not just saying, "It's okay that he isn't as witty and romantic as I'd like," but, "It's okay that he occasionally puts me down in front of my friends," or, "I can accept that he ignores my kids."

So. I'm curious. To you, what are things that indicate settling and Settling? In what ways do you thing you settled? (Lowercase! I hope none of you Settled.) And do you think it was a wise move or not?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Some things I love:

I love the feeling you get right after you've washed the last dish after doing some intense cooking. It's the satisfaction of completion, of finishing, of being able to sit on your bed and put your feet up for a while.

I love long intellectual conversations with my roommate, about theology and love lives and why being kind to people just makes good sense.

I love a book I just checked out from the library: The Arrival. I'd been curious about it for some time, but hadn't yet had an opportunity to look at a copy. It's an immigrant story, done entirely by pictures, so it's more of a graphic novel than anything. It's beautiful and strangely moving. I also love what the author Shaun Tan has to say about it.

I love finding out that I'm an aunt all over again, and seeing pictures of this very small person who, although I've never met her, is already so dear to me.

There are, indeed, so many things to love.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Flat Stanley's Last Day in Boston!

On Saturday, Stanley and I finally, finally, finally did something interesting. First of all, we got on the T to go to downtown Boston. Here's Stanley waiting impatiently at the T stop:

I'm not sure if it was because it was a holiday weekend, or because it was early-ish on Saturday morning, but the train was pretty darn empty. Stanley still seemed to be enjoying himself, though. (And I felt decidedly less embarrassed about taking pictures.)

We got off the Aquarium stop (which, unsurprisingly, comes out right by the New England Aquarium, which I have previously visited) and started a-wandering. We found this cool sculpture of frolicking dolphins, and Stanley wanted to climb aboard, so I obliged him.

You just can't get enough of cool frolicking dolphin sculptures.

Next, Stanley and I walked in back of a building (I think it might have been an apartment building? Or a hotel, maybe?) and found a lovely spot to sit and admire the harbor and also all the seagulls that flew up to us all of a sudden in apparent expectation of an outpouring of breadcrusts. (I almost got a picture of them, but they flew off again in disgust as soon as it became apparent that all I had to feed them was a flat boy made of paper and a shiny silver box that made irritating whirring noises.)

So, here's a shot of Stanley in front of Boston Harbor:

And another shot from the same location, facing a different direction:

And, just because I'm kind of silly, here's a video that pans around so you can get a sense of the view from there.

Ohyeah. And that wind? It made it all feel about 5 degrees or so. Wee bit chilly, I say.

Stanley and I got up then and kept meandering, where we found (if you can see it--it's a pretty bad picture) this building with an AH-mazing entrance: the Boston Harbor Hotel. (Which...Oh my. Hello, Fanciness.) Hm. Kind of funny, actually; as I was taking the picture, a couple of women were walking by, and I could see them making confused gestures from the corner of my eye. Suddenly, one of them laughed, and I heard her say something like, "Oh, it's Flat Stanley!" I turned and laughed and said, "Yeah." I've been amazed how many people know about Flat Stanley. He sure is one popular guy!

Here's a shot of some buildings downtown right by the Boston Harbor Hotel.

Stanley and I still weren't tired enough to stop exploring, and our noses hadn't yet become frostbitten, so we decided to keep going. We found this cool bridge:

(and here's a view to the side):

(and a look back from whence we came):

which led out to the Fan Pier. There's a long curving walkway that goes around this crazy-looking courthouse building. Along the way are plenty of benches and a good deal of thorny bushes that I'm pretty sure are roses (although I'll need to come back in the summer to make sure). All along are these gorgeous views of the harbor, like this one:

And this:

And here's another panorama video, in which Stanley becomes a serious camera-hog. (Yeesh, Stanley!)

We got really, really, really cold on the Fan Pier, so we walked a little bit further to the South Station T stop to get warm for a bit before heading out to see more stuff. Here's a picture of the South Station building (which is the station all south-bound commuter rail and Amtrak trains head out from):

We got off at Copley Square, which is one of my favorite places in Boston. First reason, it has the beautiful and impressive Trinity Church:

And the main, bigger, BIGGEST reason I love Copley Square, the Boston Public Library:

And here's Flat Stanley in the stacks:

As I was taking the above picture, a woman actually came up to me and talked about how her niece had sent her Flat Stanley to show around Boston, too! Crazy! She suggested that I check out an exhibit the library was doing of some bird's-eye-view drawings and photographs of Boston. So, I did. And Flat Stanley really enjoyed it! First, of course, we had to pass through the BPL's gorgeous courtyard:

Then, we found the exhibit. Here's Stanley hovering over an old view of Boston inlaid in the floor:

And here's Stanley with a more modern photograph of the city:

This picture shows how Boston has changed over time. As you can see, the land area just keeps growing and growing. Boston is like an enormous lichen! Or. Something. (You can tell by Stanley's expression that he thinks my jokes are lame.)

Then, because it was getting pretty close to my working time, we decided to head off to, On the way, we stopped and looked at the Museum of Fine Arts, just because it's a cool building and I wish we'd had time to visit it. But alas, 'twas not to be.

So that, my friends is the end of Stanley's adventures in Boston. (With me, at least. Apparently he's visited here before in other incarnations, and is, very likely, visiting it right now and will be visiting it again for a long, long time to come.)

I'll be sending Stanley back to my niece with an accounting of all our doings together.

Adieu, Stanley. It's been fun.

And really, we must do this again sometime.

Flat Stanley's Super Super Friday


So, on Friday, I only took one picture with Flat Stanley, mostly because I spent the whole day being busy and rather bothered.

The day began in the early am hours with Stanley working furiously with me to finish up an assignment that was due at 8am Friday morning. Unfortunately, I had seriously misjudged how long the assignment would take me, so I stayed up most of the night working on it and well into the morning, snatching a couple of hours that I really should have skipped because I didn't actually finish the darn thing until about 12:30 Friday afternoon. So, blast. It was a little late.

At about 8 or 9am or so, realizing that my computer's tiff with the ISP at my apartment was not going to abate in time for me to complete the assignment, I decided to head off to the library on campus so I could use the wireless network there to finish everything up. Then, just as I was working on the reference list for the assignment (just finishing up, basically), the fire alarm in the library started blaring, and everyone had to be evacuated. Utterly fed up (and secretly convinced that the whole thing was due to some ignorant student opening up one of the emergency exit doors by mistake) I packed up my stuff and headed outside where I heard that there had been some sort of gas leak and they were evacuating the building as a precaution.


I had an assignment to finish!

Luckily, Flat Stanley was safely tucked inside my backpack (which I was not going to leave behind, lemme tell you) so he didn't get lost in the potentially blow-up-able building.

So, I went to another building on campus, where I reconnected to the wireless, finished the assignment and submitted it about a half hour before class started.


Class was fine, but I felt slightly exhausted, and so didn't pay quite as much attention as I should have. And I neglected to take any pictures. (Sad.) However, the class took place in the same room as the first class of the week, so just check out the picture from that class again, and you should get an idea of where all this...Friday classness...happened.


Uuuhmm...I'm pretty sure I went straight back to my apartment after that, because I was tired and hungry. Then, on the way back on the T, this elderly gentleman with some missing teeth leaned forward towards me and said, "You have such lovely green hair!" Wanting to be nice (and not weirded-out), I said, "Well, thank you!" and smiled. The elderly gentleman continued to exchange pleasantries such as kind of half acting a little crazy and then kind of half acknowledging that he was acting a little crazy and sharing a photocopy of a 'Dear Abby' column.

When he got off at my normal stop, I decided it would be prudent to just keep going on the train and get off at the next stop instead. He was nice, but I wasn't entirely sure whether the 'acting a little crazy' part was for real, and felt it would be wisest not to have him following me to my apartment. (So, so sad that the only compliments I get are from half-crazy old gentlemen. Ah, well. At least I get something.)

Anyway. So, I went one stop further and decided to walk back to my apartment rather than wait for a train going the other direction. It was a lovely, lovely late afternoon, with cool wet air, low and rushing clouds, and the waxing gibbous moon (my favorite phase) shining with strange clarity through the clouds, and so so white against the paling blue sky.

During the walk, I took my one picture of the day, when Stanley and I passed this awesome, awesome Victorian house with an awesome, awesome, old tree:

And that was it. That was the day. I think I went to bed at, like, 6pm. (Or maybe slightly later.) But, luckily, Stanley and I had one more day together...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tooooooo Tiiiiiiired

I can't write a full post now. I'm just too tired.

Suffice it to say that Stanley and I had a full day of staying up mostly all night to finish an assignment that got turned in late (Gargh!), along with evacuating buildings and lots of walking and photographing Victorian buildings and encountering elderly gentlemen who complimented me on my lovely green hair.

Ah yes.

A day indeed.

More tomorrow.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stanley does boring stuff.

Oh, you guys. I'm so sorry.

Today, you see, is Thursday, which (because of its class-less and job-less nature) is my free day, which means that it's the day I do errand-type stuff. So today, Stanley's adventures were...less exciting.

For instance: this morning, Stanley helped me to...DO LAUNDRY! Hooray! Laundry is just SO EXCITING!

Um. And while we did laundry, Stanley helped me to...

learn about metadata! Specifically about MARC records, (Lib Sci Term o' te Day) which is a way for libraries to share cataloging they've done with other libraries, so librarians don't have to keep cataloging the same items over and over and over again. MARC stands for 'MAchine Readable Cataloging,' and is a way for catalog records (basically all the information about a certain item, including author, title, etc.) to be sent from computer to computer without getting all garbled and confused.


So, basically I'm pretty much lost when it comes to all this technical stuff. But some of it's getting through. With Stanley's help, of course.

After doing laundry, then hauling the full bag all the way back up the [cursecursecurse] FOUR flights of stairs, I settled down to do some more reading and promptly fell asleep for several hours. 'Twas nice. (Poor Stanley stayed squashed between the pages of my textbook.)

Later, my roommate reserved a Zip Car so we could go grocery shopping at NIGHT without having to walk all the way to the store and back with our fingers falling off from those grocery bags that cut off your circulation and. You know. It being dark. And cold. And stuff.

Cars are nice.

Particularly this red one, which was a rather appropriate color for Valentine's Day. Stanley was gentlemanly enough to open my door for me. (Which was pretty tricky for a flat fellow, lemme tell you.)

At the grocery store, Stanley admired the lovely display of eggplants, artichokes, cauliflower, and whatnot. (Unfortunately, I didn't buy any of this stuff. However, I did pick up some nice asparagus that was lovely and thin and will taste smashing after being broiled in a little olive oil and salt and pepper...mmmm...)

Yeah. So... That's about it, folks. I'm sorry the day was so boring, but that's just what Thursdays are usually like: laundry, sleep and food (although the order can vary a bit). Tomorrow's my last class for the week, and I've got to work on an assignment due tomorrow morning so I must leave you now. But cross your fingers (seriously--do it now) so that Stanley and I can do something a little more interesting next time.

Stanley visits the public library.

Well, all. Today was very, very, very, very rainy and wet and kind of miserable when you walked around in it wearing canvas shoes that soaked through approximately twenty seconds after you stepped outside and kept squelching when you walked.

Luckily, Stanley got through it okay by remaining safely tucked into books or notebooks that were, in turn, safely tucked into my backpack, which I tried my best to cover up with my umbrella.

It would, in fact, have been a perfect day to stay inside. However, I found that I needed some serious bookage. Some serious Young Adult (YA) Literature bookage, to be specific. And as we all know, the best place to find YA Lit is...

That's right! Your local public library! (And as I plan to work in a public library after graduation, I am particularly fond of recommending visits to 'em.)

So, Stanley and I made our way past rivers and ponds (previously known as roads and crosswalks) and made it to the local public library, where we perused the shelves in the YA room and came away with such notable titles as Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes, and Just Listen by Sarah Dessen.

Of course, before leaving, I had to show Stanley my favorite spot to stop and peruse a magazine (like The Writer or Astronomy):

Then, Stanley and I came back to my apartment, where I put my shoes on the radiator in an attempt (which turned out to be futile) to dry them off before I left for class. In the interim, Stanley helped me muddle through the intricacies of the articles we were assigned to read for today's lecture:

Later, during class this evening, Stanley was good enough to take notes while I dozed off. (However, for all of you who like that idea, I encourage you to resist the impulse to have Flat Stanley take notes for you. Flat people don't seem able to hold pens very well.)

Finally, Stanley and I went to work, where we were pretty bored for several hours. When the shift ended at 1am, we took a taxi home to my apartment. (I would have taken a picture of the taxi driver, but...I felt kind of shy.)

Tomorrow's my day off, so, although I have errands to run and lots of homework to do, I'll try to find something interesting for Stanley and me to do as well.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stanley goes to library school.

Hello, all.

Today Stanley went to, you guessed it, even more libraries.

First off, we went to work again, where (after my shift was over), we went to find that book we looked up on the computer yesterday.

So, first, we went to the Juvenile section of the library, then we found which set of shelves had the call number we were looking for (remember, the call number started with 'J B':

Then, we found the book on the shelf itself:

Way to go, Stanley! (Note, if you will, the subtle expression of humble triumph Stanley is sporting in this photograph.)

Stanley also met a stone owl named Minerva. I have no idea why she is named Minerva, nor why a stone owl resides in this library. These mysteries aside, Stanley thought she was pretty darn cool.

Righto. Well, after that, Stanley and I meandered off to Simmons, where we went to the library over there ("Good grief," cried Stanley. "Not another one!") and I made copies of some journal articles I was supposed to read and...didn't quite get through...and where I also checked out a course reserve book to read about ways to help teenagers who use libraries.

Then, at last, Stanley came with me to the building where most of the library school classes are held. Here's a picture of the outside (with the library school banner neatly displayed). (Also, just FYI, today was wretched cold, so those fingers holding Stanley up are freezing OFF.)

And here's a picture of Stanley inside the classroom:

(Don't worry about the lack of students; I just got there a little early, which is why the room's so empty-looking. But the two students you see in the background? Typically intelligent. Like pretty much every single library student. We're also a humble bunch.)

That's mostly it. Stanley and I went grocery shopping after class, and I bought bread, milk, eggs, cereal and bananas, and also rubbing alcohol because I tripped coming up the stairs at a T station yesterday, scraped my knee up and made it bleed through my jeans. I figured rubbing alcohol was a pretty good idea.

And now we're back at my apartment! So, I will bid you all adieu until tomorrow, when I will recount more adventures with the indefatigable Stanley.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Stanley volunteers.

Hi, all!

I'm afraid I didn't get pictures of everything I wanted to today, so the visual aspect of this post will be a bit limited. I will, however, give you a little run-down of our activities this fine Monday. (Actually, it was freezing cold, but I won't go into that, as it's unfortunately quite irrelevant.)

This morning, I took Stanley to work with me again, where he got introduced to some of my coworkers (who had apparently met other incarnations of Flat Stanley hanging out in such places as Fenway Park). Stanley and I looked up a call number of a book, just so he could practice his library skills. (If you will, please note the title of the book he searched for. Stanley is perhaps just the teensiest bit self-obsessed.)

So, like all good library catalog users, Stanley found the book he was looking for on the OPAC or Online Public Access Catalog (Feb 11th's Library Science Term of the Day) and then wrote down the call number, or the special number a book has that helps you to find it on the shelves. The J on the call number below means that it's located in the Juvenile section, or the part of the library that has kids' books. The B815 refers to the author of the book, Jeff Brown (the B for his last name and the 815 is to keep all the books by 'B' authors in alphabetical order when you put them on the shelf) and the 'f' is for the title of the book: Flat Stanley.

We were going to go and look for the book itself, but unfortunately I had to do some real work, so I didn't end up having time. Bother.

Right after work, I went up into Cambridge again. But this time, instead of going to church (and walking near Harvard) we got out at the Porter Square stop (see the sign below)...

...from which I walked to yet another library where I volunteer once a week. This library's at an elementary school, so Stanley and I saw a lot of kids today. In fact, I helped check some books out to them. But mostly I helped the librarian (who's a friend of mine) check books in and shelve them. (Which kind of makes your hands gross and dirty, (books are dusty) but it's still pretty satisfying.)

Um. Aaaaand... I forgot to take pictures at the school. Sorry!

But, to make up for it, I made a video of Stanley going back down the escalator at Porter Square so we could catch a train going back home. The ceiling over the escalator (which is just enormously long, by the way) is made up of these huge triangles that kind of hang down over you. As you go up the escalator, you see white silhouettes of birds on a light blue background. As you go down the escalator, you see old-fashioned trains (appropriately enough). What's cool is that as you go down (or up) the pictures look like they're moving a little. Watch the video--it's short, but it's kind of fun:

Alright! And that's it for today. Tomorrow, Stanley and I will be going to work again, so maybe we can actually find a copy of that book. We'll also be going to library school. HOLY EXCITING! (Well, maybe just for librarians-in-training...but still. It'll be mildly entertaining for the rest of you, I'm sure. Maybe.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Stanley goes to church!

It's true, gentle readers: our intrepid explorer was kind enough to attend church with me, and later we saw a few sights while walking around Cambridge this afternoon.

It was, in fact, pretty good times.

Above is Stanley in front of the church building, which is this nice oldish brick building with kind of fun white columns out front.

After church, we walked over to the house where the famous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow lived. In fact, Longfellow wasn't the only famous person to live in this house: George Washington did too!

(By the way, I'm so sorry that the backgrounds on the pictures are blurry. I told Stanley to stand back a bit, but he just wouldn't let go of my fingers. Silly paper boy.)

Later, as we walked some more around Cambridge, we walked past this old cemetery. There are plenty of old graveyards in and around Boston; one of the fun things to do here is to see who is buried in them and imagine what sort of lives they lived. Earlier in the year, I even saw a gravestone for a man who had been a librarian!

Then, just across the street from the graveyard, is Harvard University.

You can't see much of it here, but a lot of the buildings are red brick. (In fact, there are a lot of brick buildings around Boston...)

Then, we decided it was time to head for home, so we got on the subway to come back to my apartment. See that circle with the black capital T? That means that this is an entrance to the subway! Here in Boston, we call the subway "The T," which is short for MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority). There are several different lines on the T (each has a different color assigned to it, like red, orange, blue, green and silver) and each goes through different places. The red line (the one you see in these pictures) goes through Cambridge, then down into Boston, then to other places south of Boston.

And here's a (blurry) picture of Stanley on the subway with me. It was only a little crowded this afternoon. Sometimes, if a lot of people need to ride the subway trains, the whole middle part is filled up with people standing, crammed in next to each other so close that you feel a little like one little baby carrot in a whole bag full of 'em.

Well. That's about it for Flat Stanley's adventures today. We'll both talk to you again tomorrow (or so I anticipate).

Edit: Sorry! I posted this last night and then realized this morning that I had left an entire paragraph (the one about the T) uncompleted. It's all written up now, though. So. Go read it and stuff.

Oh, heavens.

You know, if I had an extra $4,400 and also a passport, I would SO be doing this during the coming summer. It would be my dream trip.


Edit at 4:08am: Why. Why, oh why am I not asleep?

I must still be thinking about Oxford.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Well, welcome to Boston, Stanley!

This afternoon, to my great delight, I received a letter from my niece who lives in the far-off western part of the states. Imagine my surprise when, upon opening the envelope, I discovered not only the expected letter (written very neatly indeed on that beige lined paper you get in elementary school) but a stowaway as well:

That's right, gentle readers. Flat Stanley has come to Boston.

Since he'll be staying with me for a week and will pretty much go everywhere I go, (except the bathroom, of course--that would be gross, people), I thought I'd document our good times together on the blog, partly as a reminder of what to write my neice about when I send Stanley back home, and partly as a way to share what I do every day (and to amaze you with the boring-osity of it all).

Luckily, Stanley arrived at my apartment today just before I had to go to work, so work was, in fact, the first place he and I went. We took the subway there, where Stanley helped me check out some books to patrons using our Integrated Library System (that's your 'Library Science Term of the Day,' btw):

(Note, if you will, the holy light emanating from said ILS.)

Then Stanley thought it would be funny to jump out of the stacks at me:

(Yah. Hilarious, Stanley.)

Fortunately, Stanley also helped me find a discarded book that's over 100 years old (!), so I couldn't stay mad at him for too long.

We decided to bring it back to my apartment and give it a nice home. (Mostly so I can sniff right in the creases and get that 'old book' feeling and swoon. Also, I love that title page. Seriously. I would marry it. If it proposed.)

Well, that's it for Stanley's Adventures in Boston today. We'll see what our flat friend gets up to tomorrow...