Tuesday, September 30

Puppies and Brothers

This conversation happened today. I try to relay to friends and relatives what exactly it is like to have William and Andrew for older brothers. This really shows it for me. Enjoy. :)

Emma: I'm renting a puppy for Sunday at puppiesforrent.com
E: This one.

E: No puppy feedback?

Andrew: Falcor! Dread Lord of The High Order!!!

E: He's so DANG CUTE!!!

Beth: Wait, you are getting a puppy?

A: She is. Puppy prostitution is a real thing.

B: 0.o

A: Well you can't afford to keep him.

E: He's totally not a prostitute. :( He's adorable. I'm just renting!!

A: Just leave his money on the dresser. And cab fare.

E: Grrrr...

B: Em, I think puppies need way more attention than you have time to give. :/

A: Haha she's just renting.


A: It's a trick. You rent them and then you can't bear to give them back! Ha

B: Ha true :) how long would you have him?

A: Also. Falcor is such a rad name.

E: There are hardly any slots to even rent. They are all full, and you have to apply to adopt after renting and its first come first serve basis on qualified applicants.
E: I'll have him for 2 hours.

B: Yeah, I feel like someone in this family needs a pet named Falcor.

A: But not a bird. No birds.

E: STAHP! Falcor is mine.

A: He is... for 2 hours.

E: Yup. Then NEXT Sunday I'm renting this one.

A: Then I'm naming Will's 4th born Falcor!


B: False. Just for 2 hours.


A: How much is the rent?

You added William Black to the conversation.

B: Will, you need to name your next child Falcor.

E: Hahahahahah KEEP HIM OUT OF THIS!

B: Too late I invited him to the convo. I think. Not sure how that works.

E: $15 for the first hour, add $5 every extra 30 mins. My friend is going in on it with me.

A: It says you did. Whether he's grateful or not remains to be seen.


A: That sounds fun.

B: Yeah Em. Do it. :)

A: What do you have planned for your puppy play date?

E: We are going up to Sundance to play and take cute pics...

A: I'm gonna do that for a date with a girl.

E: Puppies are better than relationships. I'm going to have puppy date night once a week since Brok's not here to date.

B: Haha are you going to tell him.

E: No. :| He gets jealous. Not Brock... falcor.

A: I knew what you meant.

B: ?

E: I <3 puppies.

Will: I'm bothered. And I didn't get the first part of this so I'm confused too. I am in law school so I can deduce that Emma broke up with Brock and is now dating a guy or girl named falcor who looks like a bichon frise, but beyond that I don't know what you're talking about.

B: Oh sorry! Haha, Emma is renting a puppy named Falcor.

W: Renting?

B: Yep. For 2 hours. We liked the name Falcor though and would like it to remain in the family.

A: It's immoral. Borderline prostitution.

E: :(

W: When?

E: Sunday.

W: Wtfetch Emma?

B: I think it's a cool idea. :) Kind of expensive to do it regularly though...

W: You better take it to a nursing home at least.

A: Of all days.

W: Can you dye it's fur?

E: No Will!!! He's perfect the way he is!!

A: He has a lazy eye though.

W: No rental is perfect.

E: He does not have a lazy eye!!

W: Is he vaccinated?

E: Yes sir.

W: What kind of puppy is it?

A: Canine.

W: Oh for cute!!!!!!!


W: Oh Emma! You don't see what this is?!

E: I know EXACTLY what it is. Hahaha.

W: You'll break its heart? What if ppl went to orphanages and rented kids for the day. Just to see. Except the kids were too dumb to know it wasn't permanent?

E: He gets rented all day every day!!

W: And he gets his heart ripped out every time they put him back in his CAGE and he never ever sees his "new mommy" ever again. I don't want to tell you about the lasting effects on his self esteem and sense of self worth.

A: I wonder how these dogs develop socially. What kind of identity will he have?

W: Further, he's gonna start going to greater lengths to achieve approval from others in hopes that eventually someone will actually want him for more than his body.

E: STAAAAAAHHHPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'd keep him but Brock will get mad! D:

W: No Emma. You stop. You. Stop!

A: So the truth comes out.

W: Gotcha.

E: D: I want him!!!!

W: Got her. He wants you too.


B: Woah. What have I done.

W: Hi Beth

A: Stop running from your feelings.

E: :( How do you leave group messages...

Emma Black left the conversation. 4:00 PM

New iMessage 4:00 PM

W: Same way you leave a puppy after raising his hopes. Drop him. Hard and fast.


W: I think it's a good idea Em. They should do this with orphans. And refugees.

E: I just wanna puppy for 2 hours... :(

W: Yeah some ppl just want a kid for 2! No commitment, no responsibility.  I totally agree.

A: puppy>human

W: Oh. Right I forgot.

A: monkey>human

W: Haha. Higher standards.

E: ABORT ADOPTING FALCOR!!!!! AAAABBBOORRTT!!!!! Does anyone remember what movie that name is from?!

B: Neverending Story?

E: Yes!!!!! EW!!!


E: Ahhh!!! I want him!!!!!

W: I'll rent him to ya.

E: By the time he is shipped from Iowa... He'll be dead.

W: How do you know that

A: Haha was that a jab at the postal service em?

E: Yes. Yes it was.

A: Well done!

B: Haha. Cool. So... Verdict?

E: Uhm... undecided.

W: Yeah it's a toss up. If I send him by USPS he'll almost certainly die. But he's so cute!

A: I still vote monkey.

W: Monkeys are survivalists. They could be shipped.

A: Easy.

E: Just get me a baby pet here by Sunday.


So, thoughts? Similar feelings? Older brother woes? :) Frankly, now that I'm older I realize that they way they tease beyond fairness is one of my favorite things about them.

Tuesday, September 23

The 11th Virgin

The Book of St Matthew, Chapter 25


Verse 1: "Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Verse 2: "And five of them were wise, and five were foolish [ . . . ]
Verse 5: "While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept."

The iPhone tone "silk" begins to twinkle through the room.
I struggle awake and lean down to the floor to switch the alarm off.
With a stretch, I turn over and accidentally kick my stinky dog. She grunts but remains asleep.

Sunday. Go back to sleep, says my brain.

Internally, I sigh with contentment. Today is the temple dedication. Therefore, I don't have to be anywhere until 10.

Verse 6: "And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Verse 7: "Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps."

I glance blearily at the window. Somehow, the rainy gray shining through is more lovely than anything I've seen for days. I look back at my phone. It's 8:00. I stretch again, roll out of bed, and go upstairs to shower. With the morning ahead, I am in no hurry.
A luxurious 20 minutes later, I am eating breakfast and doing my hair.

Verse 8: "And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Verse 9: "But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you."

I shrug on some comfortable church clothes and start reading my scriptures. I'm in lazy sunday morning mode. The rain continues to drizzle outside, and I feel light.  I send a text to Ian:

9:18 AM "Did you want to come?"
9:22 AM "Oh poop. I just woke up. Let me see if I can hurry."
9:23 AM  "K bro."

I run upstairs to find my mom ready and (slightly) dismayed. Apparently Moroni is on his computer, undressed.

"Aren't we supposed to be seated a half hour early?" she asks worriedly.
I run downstairs and look at my recommend. Indeed, it requests that all be seated 30 minutes early. The service will begin on the hour, the doors will shut, and no one will be allowed in after.

I run upstairs again, this time with a Clif bar. Mum leaves, and I tell her not to wait.

Verse 10: "[ . . . ] the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut."

9:33 AM
Ian: "Are you still at your house, bro?"
Me: "Yeah bro."
9:37 AM
Ian: "Jk, my car has no gas. I'm just going to the church by my house."
9:38 AM
Me: "Boo. We can drive to you..."
9:38 AM
Ian: "Just go without me. Ttyl I am about to go in."

I run upstairs. Moroni is dressed and ready minus an impressive mop of hair. I hand him the Clif bar, suggesting he have it for breakfast.

He goes into the bathroom to do his hair.
He comes down the stairs.
We leave the house in a rush, locking the door behind us.
It's raining.

"Oh!" I look down at my white shirt, realize some untoward implications, and turn to try the door. It's quite locked." Moroni shrugs and heads off into the rain at a light jog. I start after him, my heels clonking. Immediately I take them off and we sprint - me barefoot - towards the church. Moroni is scarfing down his breakfast.

Verse 11: "And afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us."

We arrive. The wind is crazy. My skirt is blowing around. My feet are covered in bits of wet plant and who knows. I shove them into my heels and we rush in. Dripping stingy wet hair plasters my face. We are both out of breath.

Ushers are waiting. One, obviously the elder, looks disapprovingly at me. I hope he didn't see my skirt blow up. He takes my recommend and examines it. Moroni is behind me.

The second usher, slightly younger, looks highly entertained. His kind eyes glimmer delightedly. I smile at him and he grins back.

Verse 12: "But he answered and said..."

"Alright, go on in." Usher 1 hands back my recommend. I walk over to the doors. I see mum. She saved us seats despite all doubt.

We settle in and wait.
It is about to start.

"The bridegroom looked the virgin over with amusement. 
"We are so happy you got here in time," he smiled, at last embracing her. "Come inside, we will find you some dry clothes."
"Sorry I am so late, I didn't realize we had to be there 30 minutes early and I was trying to work out meeting up with someone but it didn't' work out and-"
"No matter, all is well." He ushered her inside. "You look lovely."

Thursday, September 18

A Relatable Post?

I am neither analytical enough to be a scientist,
nor fluid enough to be a philosopher.

I am neither pensive enough to study the arts,
nor confident enough to create them.

I am neither empathetic enough to be a teacher,
nor persistent enough to be a student.

I am neither precise enough to be a cook
nor complex enough to engineer.

I am neither passionate enough to be a historian
nor observational enough to be a sociologist.

You get the idea.

But, I am analytical enough to enjoy science.
Fluid enough to absorb philosophical ideas.

Pensive enough to wish I could study the arts.
Confident enough to create art . . . for myself.

Empathetic enough to try to teach . . . when I get the opportunity.
Persistent enough that I want to be a student forever . . . although I will never be a really good one.

I am precise enough to create reasonably good food.
Complex enough to appreciate and get excited about engineering.

Passionate enough to study history in spastic bursts of enthusiasm.
Observational enough to question as a sociologist does and then lament lacking the necessary skills to seek answers.

I like to float along. Absorb a little here, a little there.

Because I am nothing strongly, I am everything vaguely.
I experience sudden, powerful addictions that suddenly fade.

But they remain, like scabs. And when I am not paying attention suddenly I am addicted again, acting against reason to pick at them. Gross, but accurate.

I don't have the time. I need to focus. I need to become somebody and benefit society.
If I follow one track, my heart secretly pouts because I am ignoring the others.

Call it what you like, multiple pursuit disorder or something.
This is why I am the way I am. And this is why I will never be satisfied.


p.s. I wrote this to practice my ellipses because despite Grosland and various English teachers correcting x amount of papers and each time pointing out how to do them properly, I still suffer from incorrect-ellipses-syndrome. Woe is my ellipses . . .

Wednesday, September 17

Inadequacy (Another rant and/or attempt to understand myself.)

I'm beginning to recognize a pattern of stress in my life. I used to think it was all about my workload, a result of having too many things to do at once. At the same time, I have often recognized that one of my favorite ways to live is to have many diverse responsibilities and opportunities.

In fact, I need the resulting level of "comfortable stress" that this way of life brings. I thrive on it, I accomplish more, I feel better about myself, and I don't focus on the negative aspects of my life.

So why do I go into phases of intense stress? Is it because the work load tips over the edge? Just 0.009 mm beyond my breaking point? Do I really live in such a way that I am always hovering near "too much"?

Today I finally realized what causes stress for me. It is when I feel inadequate.

I make an accident in an experiment. I get a poor result in an exam. I don't understand a concept we're covering in class. I feel poorly about how I am performing at my calling. I'm trying to apply to programs for grad school and my qualifications are repeatedly scraping "barely adequate" because I am trying to skip a Masters and go straight into a PhD.


Now, as far as I can tell, life requires us to recognize our weaknesses and learn to overcome or cope with them; we learn to rely on God more and to allow his grace to show through our inadequacies and teach others of their potential.

So... I guess there's not much I can do.

I mean, I am following a non-medical biological track at BYU. Guaranteed that there are feelings of inadequacy in store. I already feel like I'm out of my league. But I love what I'm learning and, even if I am not the best, I want to learn it. So that's good.

What I need to do, I suppose, is to focus on my success. I mean, this entire situation is a secular replication of my mission. In order to function appropriately as a missionary, you have to learn to accept correction while still recognizing and appreciating your capability.

Sister Bastian would always quote: "You're doing so much better than you think. But you can also always do better than you are."

I need to remember this. And keep trying.

Frankly, understanding this might help. I don't need to blame stress on my way of life (which isn't something I can easily change) but I can blame it appropriately on my attitude (something I know I can adjust.) I guess I have more control than I thought...

p.s. Haters gon' hate, but here's my Christmas countdown chain. :)

Sorry, I just love Christmas. And this Christmas marks the end of a really stressful period for me, so I have more reasons than ever to look forward to it...

Sunday, September 7

Sunday Thoughts

I am prepping for my institute lesson on Wednesday. (Ian and I are teaching a class about the Book of Mormon to the Springville "Young Adults" every week.) Needless to say, I am very nervous. Despite teaching on a daily basis for a year and a half, I still dislike standing up in front of people and speaking from my heart about what I believe.

Anyways, we'll see how it goes. 0_o I can't believe how lucky I am to teach with Ian. I'd been praying for ways to increase the depth of spiritual discussion and focus in our relationship (which is generally really hard due to both of us being school-a-holics) and I consider this calling an answer to those petitions. Funny how directly we can receive answers sometimes...

This week we are discussing the introduction and the testimonies of the witnesses. I was reading through some stuff about the experiences the witnesses had, and I came across this awesome quote from the History of the Church by Joseph Smith:

"...we beheld a light above us in the air, of exceeding 
and behold, an angel stood before us. In his hands he held the plates which 
we had been praying for these to have a view of. He turned over the 
leaves one by one, so that we could see them, and discern the engravings 
thereon distinctly. He then addressed himself to David Whitmer, and 
said, 'David, blessed is the Lord, and he that keeps His commandments;' 
when, immediately afterwards, we heard a voice from out of the bright 
light above us, saying, 'These plates have been revealed by the power 
of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. 
The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I 
command you to bear record of what you now see and hear.'" 
(History of the Church, 1:54-55)

Isn't that beautiful? I can't help but think of the few (private) but powerful instances when I have been told, perhaps not in words, that the Book of Mormon has been revealed by the power of God.

Obviously I am not a perfect witness, nor a perfect scholar of the Book of Mormon. But I am grateful to teach and learn about it more this next semester. I have a testimony that it is true and that, most importantly, the experience of studying the Book of Mormon will draw you closer to God. It testifies of Christ with perfect purity and directness. It is precious to me.

Well, wish me luck!