Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lights, Camera, Action!

I moved in with my Grandma last week. She's given me a place to stay while my life figures itself out. I say that because I'm no longer taking an active role in this process. I applied for a summer internship in New York and I am waiting for a reply that should come either this week or next. If it's no, I will go back to actively taking control of my own fate- if it's yes, I will happily pack my bags for a summer of uncertainty and adventure in the Great Apple (it shouldn't be surprising that this is the option I prefer).

So living with my grandma is fun :) But in keeping with the purpose of this blog as a place for sentiment I have a story to tell.

When I was a kid I wanted to be an actress. Unfortunately for me, I don't have a type A personality and turned out far to shy for that kind of thing. Granted I have a bizarre natural talent for memorizing lines and reciting them which I proudly demonstrated to my fourth grade class one talent show. They were unimpressed with my memorized recitation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" and embarrassed, I gave up the idea of acting, adopting a dream to live a secluded life as a life house operator.

I also loved to play dress-up, something that would have recommended me to the theater well.

While my shyness kept me from pursuing childhood fantasies on the stage, it didn't keep me from loving the theater. Gaithersburg, Maryland where I grew up doesn't have many playhouses, but my parents used to take me and my brother to see all the local high school plays. The first one I remember was Little Shoppe of Horrors-- I remember it being a five star production complete with green streamers that fell from the rafters as the man-eating green plant devoured all the characters and proceeded to take over the world. I was hooked! Imagine my delight when my dad told me the play had been turned into a movie! You haven't seen Rick Moranis until you've seen him play Seymour Krelborn

or Steve Martin as Orin Scrivello, DDS. And they sing, it's cinematic heaven.

I didn't fully appreciate the twisted nature of this song until I was older, but I loved Steve Martin on his motorcycle.

Back to theater... When I was 10 my mom took me and my friend Nicole out of school one afternoon to see "The Fantasticks" at Ford's Theater. I remember after the play we looked around the museum there, I think they had the bullet there that killed President Lincoln and I remember thinking What an awful way to die, he didn't even get to see the end of the play!

In Junior High I decided if I was too shy to be in front of the stage I would go behind it, and I joined stage crew. That was loads of good fun! Building sets, playing with lighting and sound effects. I think I could be happy doing that for life. I was prop master for our production of "Kilroy was here" and stage assistant for "Annie." The only downside of being in a production is wanting to shoot someone every time "The sun will come out tomorrow" starts up again. I swear I couldn't listen to the soundtrack for Annie for at least 2 years after that play.

I gave up the theater in High School and stuck to Photography classes. I tried to take it back up in college but apparently you're only allowed to "explore your interests" at ASU as long as they are in Math or Science. If you want to take classes like stage crew, you need to declare a theater major.

I still love a good play! And I'll go as often as my pocketbook allows. Last night Grandma and I went to see "Sunset Boulevard." It's a musical-- "That means that the performers will periodically dance about and burst into song." (Mack, in Sabrina, the 2006 version). It's kind of a strange story-- sort of Breakfast at Tiffany's meets An American in Paris. It was one of those plays that you know Hollywood loves, because Hollywood loves stories about Hollywood. The music wasn't that great, but the sets were amazing, and the props were incredible (they had great looking old car from the 1940's that was in pristine condition!). I had a great time, and it reminded me how much I love going to plays.

Courtesy of the Salt Lake Tribune.

I'm considering adding participate in a play to my bucket list-- It would be fun to be a do-er and not just be a spectator in life :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Vacuum Repair extraordinaire by day, Cable repair woman by night

I like to fix things.
And I'm good at it.

I discovered this talent in Russia. In might have come from necessity when I found it difficult to communicate to people what the problem was so I just thought it was simpler to fix it myself, or maybe it arose from the fact that things kept breaking. Either way, I repaired door knobs, kitchen sinks, a shower hose (which in Russian is called a "Shlong" in case that ever comes up again, I'm ready for it), and a washer (before it broke again just before I found out I was moving to a new city, to which I replied "Ha! Now I don't have to deal with the washer!"). My theory is: it's not working, I can't hurt it worse right?

Today was the first stress-free day I've had in several weeks so I was going to clean my room and vacuum the house (Crazy fun, I know). And surprise! The vacuum cleaner was broken. (I'm about to amaze you with my vacuum cleaner terminology here...) The brush thing wasn't spinning. So I removed the screws on the plastic thing and the rubber-loopy thing that connected the brush to a metal post was broken.

I took the broken rubber piece to the vacuum store and bought a replacement for $2.77. I then spent a good 40 minutes trying to stretch the stupid rubber piece so that it would attach to the metal post. This was very difficult. I've since decided that upright Hoover vacuums are the most poorly designed pieces of machinery EVER! I say that only because I've had to attach that rubber thing back to its metal post 3 times since I've been acquainted with this vacuum... two of those times were today. After I managed to attach it, it ricocheted off not 15 minutes later. Granted I ran over the curtains while vacuuming, which were then promptly eaten by the vacuum, causing the rubber thing to dislodge... but STILL it shouldn't be that easy for it to come off; I've never had a vacuum do this before.

Hoover, I ask you, did you create a flimsy rubber-loopy thing/ metal post relationship just to torture people?! Let me explain the flaws in your design: 1) clearly the metal post should have something that keeps the rubber from escaping so easily. 2) The plastic piece that is in the way of the metal post serves NO purpose EXCEPT to make it very difficult to stretch the rubber from the brush to the post. I scraped at least 3 fingers on this blasted, useless piece of plastic. And 3) 5 screws, really?! If your customers are going to have to play the rubber attaching tango ever time they use their vacuum cleaner, you could have made a pop-off plastic guard. It would have made me much happier.

On the positive side--I am a vacuum cleaner repair extraordinaire! I do intend to put that on my resume.

Two weeks ago our cable went out in the family room. I was studying for my comprehensive exams so I had no intention on repairing it over the last two weeks. Plus the cable in my room was working fine so I figured it was a problem with the modem and not the provider. All the same, I wasn't going to mess with it until after comps. Today, I pulled out all the cables, reset the modem, attached everything back into place and voilĂ ! Cable is back on.

I have talents. At least, I like to think so.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sick Days

I haven't blogged in a while because I haven't been feeling well. Nothing serious--just tired, achy, and coughy for the last two weeks.

I haven’t been sick in a while. In four years of college, I never missed a day of class because of illness (yes, I skipped one or two because of a hockey game, but what else would you expect?) Being sick on my mission was no fun—all we could do was drink a coke and sleep. But given the 6:00 am to 10 pm mission schedule, sleeping was much needed!

But when I was a kid, being sick was fun. I enjoyed being a little sick (not miserably sick mind you, just a little) because of the rituals I had when I got to stay home. First of all, nothing helps you feel less miserable like a little distraction; and nothing is more distracting than the television. So my mom would make up a bed on the living room sofa with blankets and pillows. Then she would surround me with the necessities: the remote control, a box of tissues, water, and a bell to ring if I needed her (no one can yell “Mom!” with a sore throat!)

Then I would always watch the same movies—my sick movies. First on the list: The Princess Bride. I think I liked it so much because the little boy at the beginning is sick and his Grandpa comes to read to him.
Look at the cute little Fred Savage!

Other common I’m-home-for-a-sick-day movies included Willow, The Little Mermaid, and Cinderella (the version called The Slipper and the Rose, with Richard Chamberlin who swings from the pipes. It’s one of the greatest movies that I don’t own. Sure I could buy it new on DVD for $124 on Amazon.com, but somehow I can’t justify spending that much on a movie, go figure.)
Scene from The Slipper and the Rose

Other things I loved about sick days: Ginger ale. We were never big soda drinkers growing up (believe me, Chuck and I would have been if we could, but mom just never bought it that often). Nothing calms an upset stomach like ginger ale. It’s better if you mix it with juice too—orange juice or apple juice. And when you’re confined to a diet of liquids—Tomato soup is like divine. Ever since my mission in Russia, what I really love when I'm sick is a cup of hot lemon and honey tea. If you ever feel the slightest bit ill in Russia, the cure is lemon and honey tea drunk as hot as you can stand it.

I used to really like cream of wheat when I was sick. However, once I woke up with an upset stomach, came down for breakfast and mom made me cream of wheat and I threw up in the bowl. The best part was it was one of those bowls that changed color with hot cereal- so it was pink on the bottom half where the cream of wheat was, and purple on the top where I threw up. I cried. That whole image has kind of turned me off to cream of wheat, especially when I have the flu. Now I’ll only eat it when I feel perfectly healthy... and not in color-changing bowls!

The worse illness I’ve ever had was the chicken pox. I know what you’re thinking: “Katie, all kids get the chicken pox! How can that be the worst?” Well, because it was so miserably memorable. All the kids in our neighborhood came down with the pox in turns. My best friend Jade got it first, my brother Chuck got it next, Jade’s brother Jesse came down with it a week later, and I was last. I thought it would be fun because since everyone had already had it, I could go out and play. Wrong. I can down with the worst case and was completely miserable the whole time. My mom had to give me oatmeal baths 4 times a day to keep me from itching so bad.
Somewhere in Mesa there's a picture of me covered in pox, holding my teddy bear. This is a picture of me at about the same age I was when I got the chicken pox. In the back ground there is the rocking chair I'll tell you about.

I don’t remember a lot of specifics from my childhood, but I remember chicken pox. Once I had a funny virus that made me lose strength in my legs and I couldn’t walk, and once I came close to getting scarlet fever—but I don’t remember any particulars.

Although, one of my favorite memories of my dad comes from my chicken pox episode: I couldn’t go to sleep and it was about midnight and my dad wrapped me in a blanket and took me downstairs. He put on Disney’s Fantasia and rocked me in our rocking chair, holding down my arms to keep me from scratching. I never liked Fantasia before that night, I always thought it was boring. But after that night I can say I’m a big fan of Fantasia!

I don't have any of my sick-movies here in Provo, so for my quarantined stay at home I've been watching Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoons on netflix. I may be addicted. Don't judge me, I am not too old for cartoons. Besides, being sick is the perfect excuse for watching cartoons as an adult! Also, I think the characters are diverse and really well-developed and the plot is intriguing. So as soon as I'm done coughing up a lung, I'm going to fill up my cup with lemon/honey tea and curl up to watch more.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Grandma's Rose Garden

My Grandma, Nadine Brewster Burnett, is the daughter of Sheldon and Edna Leone Brewster (married 1921). She currently resides in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the house her father built. This is the story of the rose garden in front of that house.

When my Great Grandpa built that house on the hill, the one thing he and my Great Grandma wanted was a rose garden. I asked my Grandma if rose are easy to grow, she said “I think this rose garden is blessed.” After the house was finished, Sheldon and Edna planted rose bushes one by one.

After Sheldon died, my grandparents came to live at the house to take care of Edna and the rose garden. When they relayed concrete for front driveway they had this commemorative brick made:

"Edna and Sheldon Rose Garden 1966"

1966 is the year they moved into the house. Of course, when the brick makers first made the brick they put 1996 instead of 1966. Grandma and Grandpa complained, so they made another one but didn’t have to send the first one back. So the brick with the wrong date is also a part of the rose garden, on the other side of the driveway, hidden under the over grown roses on that side.

Aren't the roses beautiful?

Grandma’s are amazing people—they know a lot about things I would never think to learn. Today my grandma taught me something I’m sure she learned from her parents— I was gardening with Grandma and she taught me how to properly cut-back rose bushes. She calls it “heading” the roses. Here’s how: You have to clip the dead rose hips. Cute right? When all the petals fall off, the left over bit is called hips. It doesn’t make much sense when you realize you’re ‘heading’ the roses, you would think it would be ‘hipping’ roses. Anyway, you have to snip the hips and the stem off before the first five-leaved leaf because it does no good to just cut off the hips. I never realized that roses had different amounts of leaves on their stems. As they grow toward the bud, the leaves go from groups of 5 to groups of 3. When they sprout new buds, the new 3-leaved stem starts growing from the 5-leaved spots.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A place for sentiment

My friend Kait inspired me to start this blog. She has a brilliant blog (read it here). I thought her idea was so clever, I came up with my own rendition.

My sentimental side is not one that comes out much, but this blog may very well be full of it. My cynical, complaining, or sarcastic personality traits usually show up most often, but here in this blog I wanted to reserve a spot for the things of meaning in my life. I wanted a place for sentiment.

Sentiment: a refined feeling; a romantic or nostalgic feeling verging on sentimentality. Ah yes, make way for the sappiness!

A person is never simply who they appear to be. They are made up of the people around them, friends and family. They are not only the experiences they've had in life, but are also a product of the experiences of others. I find that the people around me have contributed different pieces to my life as a whole-- often it's from close family and friends, but sometimes it's from someone I have nothing in common with, sometimes it's remembered from a past friendship that's faded, sometimes it's from a casual acquaintance-- but all of it makes me who I am.

I promise not to be too sentimental, I've never been good at sharing things that are truly important to me. I had a difficult time coming up with a mini-biography of myself to include in this inaugural post. But luckily for me, that's the point. I am more than who I tell you I am. I can be found in the things I share here.

But here's some things you should know about me:

I was raised in Gaithersburg, MD and love the east coast! My family moved to Arizona when I was 12 and the dry, brown desert has grown on me to the point where I now find myself home-sick for the wide-open blue skies, the beautiful red rocks, and the cactus-strewn landscapes of Arizona. I'm currently living in Utah, which despite it's picturesque landscapes, is not my favorite place to live--I'm here while getting a masters degree.

I love hockey! If I had stronger words for that I would use them. Hockey makes me happy, ridiculously happy. I'm a devoted fan. Some day I'll explain how that happened, but for now know that I root for my Phoenix Coyotes and detest the Redwings (don't take it personally if you happen to be a fan, we can still be friends, just maybe not during playoffs).

I love music and movies. I like to read, although not at my reading level--I adore fairy tales and children's stories.

I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (that's right, I said I'm a Mormon), and it has made all the difference in my life. My faith in Jesus Christ gives me purpose, direction, and strength.

I served a mission for my church in Rostov, Russia. Not a day goes by that I don't think about Russia. I left my heart there. I love the people, the culture, and the food (that's right, the food! Don't let anyone tell you Russian food is gross! I'll share some recipes on this blog when I get a chance).

If you want to know more, you'll have to piece it together from what I share here!