"I can go the distance," said Herc.

"I can go the distance," said Herc.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Poem: My Home

One of my absolute favorite things to do when I come home to visit my parents in the summer is sit out on the driveway from sunset to dusk. The peace, warmth, and beauty are my version of nirvana. Tonight I had the urge to describe it, and of course it turned into verse:
My Home
The warm pavement
cooling off from the day
beneath my legs.
Lean back, and
at the soft blue sky
streaked with occasional
clouds golden with sunset.
The put, put, put
of the neighbor's sprinkler.
Listen to a nearby
lawn mower and
A bird chirping in a tree
across the street.
Distant laughter of children.
The freshly cut grass.
an airplane fly lazily overhead.
Fat dragonflies
chase each other in the air.
Bark, bark.
The air is warm,
with a nip of cool
breaking through (just barely)
to signify the end of summer.
on the next street over
is busy,
the metallic whack of a truck bed
echoes through suburbia.
This is my home.
This is my childhood.
My bare feet have
pattered across
pitted pavement,
dodging pebbles,
chasing the ice cream truck.
We played house on this green,
sometimes spotted
lawn and
dreamed on our backs
beneath that leafy tree.
I've said goodbyes
by this garbage can,
greeted new friends
at that door.
I glance at the gutter
and see ghosts of the tin boats
we set afloat
on adventures unknown.
The yard has changed a little
-the fence is gone
and the red posts of our rusty mailbox
are peeling and faded.
I now drive a car
instead of a pink bicycle,
But the place is the same.
The main thing
that changed
is me.
--By Lis Stewart

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What Can Poor Mormon College Students Do In Vegas?

So I've completely failed on my summer resolution to write a post every week. And learn a song on the guitar every week. And read a book every week. However, I have been reading. And, I practice my guitar a lot. Sorry, dear blog. You are neglected like always.

Here's some pictures my random trip to Vegas last week!

It started out, as everything should, at WinCo. This is Doug, Tim and Mason's garden gnome. They've got quite the collection of pictures 
of him tagging along to all their adventures. Isn't he cute?
After six hours of driving, a stop in St George, and enduring an annoying Del Sol employee who wouldn't stop hitting on Amber, we made it to Arizona! ...And two more hours to go. Sigh.
First view of Vegas. I've only ever driven by it in the daytime, so this was a very striking view. We crested the hill and suddenly- bam! Out of a barren desert sprang the colorful lights of Sin City. And Sin City it is...
Above is three of the silly folks who made the journey with us. Amber, Tim, and Mason. We stopped at the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden first. The cacti were... cool. Alien-like. The chocolate factory was not as exciting as I'd hoped. I suppose I was picturing more Willie Wonka. Instead of giant vats with open tops revealing gallons of bubbling chocolate, we only got to see the workers pressing dipped granola bars into trays. Still, it was neat, and the gift shop was delectable.
The only slot machine Erika got to play. She is just shy of 21.
Giant pineapple! Okay, it was just a palm tree. But you see the resemblance, right?
The Vegas temple is situated on the farthest end of the city possible, with the Angel Moroni facing east- and away from the city.
After much driving around, we finally found the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Here we came upon the first of many people who offer "free" services to tourists, and then demand a tip afterwards. It should have been our lesson that nothing comes for free, but we didn't learn it until we were outside the Hard Rock Cafe- where we splurged and had dinner. Of course, we didn't order alcohol. Two of us were under 21 and besides that we are for the most part good Mormon kids. It was rather amusing when the waitress stopped in the middle of asking us what we wanted to drink and just said, "Water, water, water, water, water?" -pointing at each of us. We nodded. "Ok, kids," she said. Everyone there called us "kids" for the rest of the night. It's all cool.
Mason was so excited to see two Autobots from Transformers hanging out on the sidewalk. We also saw Michael Jackson working a street corner, Dora the Explorer, Elmo, the Count, loads of showgirls, and other famous figures I didn't recognize. (But no Elvis. I was very disappointed.) Well, Mason was excited because he was wearing his Transformers T-shirt. So of course he wanted a picture with them. It wasn't until after that they kind of held onto him before he forked over a dollar. They were like, "That's all you got?" -but they finally let him go. I was worried we were going to have to run from Autobots. Never upset Bumblebee. 
Oh, and a piece of advice. Don't look at the ground and don't take any free flyers or newspapers. It's not what you want to see.
(cough, cough) We had fun trying to convince Tim's mom that he and Amber got married in Vegas. They even posted they were married on Facebook the next morning. Sadly, she didn't believe it.
OK, I am posting this because of a tweet I sent out. Doesn't Trump Tower look like a giant legal pad to you?
So Vegas is really opulent. I mean, really. The casinos themselves are works of art. There's the New York skyline jammed together as one building, a smaller version of the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, Caesar's Palace decked out in full Roman complete with a mini Colosseum.... etc. Well, we headed inside Caesar's Palace to look around... and ended up on the 67th floor. You could tell the suites were way nice because there were only half as many doors as our little hotel in Henderson, signifying that these rooms were twice as large. There were all these Classical murals and paintings, too. The picture above is of Erika's reflection in the window looking out at the city. (And the ghost of the Blue Lady still haunts the 67th floor to this day... mwa, ha.) 
I'll confess something here. I have a thing for stealing from hotels. It's like souvenir collecting. There was a maid's cart in the hallway at Caesar's Palace, and I couldn't help casually walking by it... I can't wait try my new soap. It looks like waaaay better quality than the soap at our hotel. Just sayin'.

And then we scurried back to the elevator. It was then that I decided I do not like riding in small boxes attached to cables to very great heights. The thought of what the drop would be like was disturbing. I almost suggested we find the stairs. I was also feeling a little anxious because of the, um, box now in my back pocket. Was security on its way to catch us? What do they really do to you in Vegas? I've seen the movie 21- I know how ruthless those security guys are.
And then the car stopped on floor 50-something and a young man in a suit got on. He was rather quiet. Tim tried making small talk with him as the car slowly headed down:
Tim: "You here for the weekend?"
Man: "No I've been here two weeks."
Tim: "Oh. How is it?"
Man: "Great, the poker tables have been treating me well."
Tim: "Oh, well, that's good."
Man: "Yeah, but I've got to dress up for tonight, being Friday and all."
And then the elevator stalled on floor 53. We stared at the doors, waiting for them to open. They weren't. The guy cursed (and promptly apologized cause he probably thought we were high schoolers messing around) and said it must be a wheelchair. I don't remember his excuse, just that he was talking big to try and look important. It was obviously a show. He didn't know what he was doing at all.
The doors opened... and no one was there. Creepy.
We finally made it down, and the guy went the wrong way to the tables. A security guard was kind enough to point him in the right direction. 2 weeks, huh? It's a shame you haven't figured out where everything is yet.
The Bellagio fountain is amazing! They play music and a choreographed water and light show every fifteen minutes from 8 p.m. to midnight. There was a spare goblet sitting in the edge of the railing, so I thought it would be
 fun to shoot pictures through it. I love how everything is just a little distorted in the glass. 
We cruised down the strip to Circus Circus in Amber's car, blasting Ke$ha. Somehow the song "Blow" became the theme song of the trip. Everyone was randomly saying "Throw some glitter make it rain" and "Go insane, go insane" at various points.
Overall, a fun trip. No, we did not get wasted, or gamble all our money away (Though I confess to playing the slot machine. Losing money like that completely cured me of any future desire to gamble. What a waste! I want my $2 back.). None of us got married, though we tried to convince people otherwise. We didn't go to any shows because we are poor college students and watching overly make-upped women parade around while taking their clothes off held no allure. 
I do want to go back and see Phantom someday, though I think I will fly. 

What can poor Mormon college students do in Vegas? Sight see. Visit the gorgeous temple. Explore the casinos and see where you can go before they'll kick you out, eat at Hard Rock Cafe, explore M&M world, watch the fountain at the Bellagio, see the acts at Circus Circus, try not upset Autobots when they demand money, and try to convince people that you got married by Elvis. Believe me, it will be a fun trip. Not rewarding in the same way as others who go to Vegas, but still a good, hangover-free time.

Friday, June 29, 2012

My Love Affair With Cookie Dough

Dear Papa Murphy's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
Oh, how I love you so.
With your buttery goodness
So smooth on my spoon,
Laced with thick chocolate chips
That make my taste buds swoon.
From a sixteen-ounce plastic container you woo,
There are many things for your favor I'd do.

When I need you, dear, you are always there.
Unlike things that are not constant,
I know that you care.
I'll eat my veggies, fruits, and grain
So long as after I can have you again.
Fear not, my little sweet,
You were meant for me.

Please, Papa Murphy's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough,

Don't give me salmonella.

By Lis Stewart :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Asthma, You Suck

I hate not being able to breathe, but not being able to sleep because of it is even more annoying.

The first year I came to college, I got sick a lot. Part of that reason is because of the horrible diet, lack of sleep, and a roommate who catches every cold that is going around (thanks, Amber), but the other part I found out when I went to see the doctor for a particularly miserable cold halfway through my first semester. He informed me I have asthma. Asthma can affect a few of things about you. One is that you have trouble breathing, and another is you get sick a lot easier.

Luckily for me, I don't have a particularly strong case of asthma. It is mostly set off by allergies and bad air. Unfortunately, I have year-round allergies and I decided to go to school in Cache Valley, where the inversion every winter makes national television because it is so bad. I used to make fun of the group of people who were cautioned every morning on the weather forecast not to go outside, and now I am one of them.

People think asthma is funny. I am here to tell you that no, it is not funny to those who have it. I have on occasion made a crack about using my inhaler, but I am very grateful for it. When asthma symptoms get worse, your airways constrict and your nasal passages start producing lots of mucus that goes down your throat (yuck!). With this lovely combination in mind, imagine how difficult it would be to breathe. Not fun. Inhalers save lives.

Now for the annoying side of inhalers. The one that is very common is called Albuterol Inhl.The most common side affect is hyperactivity and nervousness. At around 3:30 a.m. today I woke up realizing that I could not breathe very well. I tried everything I could before reaching for my Albuterol. I shut the window because it was cold (trigger) and was letting in allergies (trigger), sat up in my bed, and drank water (WebMD says it is not useful to do that but I still try anyway). No good. Fine. I took one puff and hoped that was good enough. An hour later, I took another puff. Now, I am in this wide awake/exhausted state of mind and I can't sleep because I still have trouble breathing. I refuse to take more inhaler because I'm scared of what it will do to me. All I can do is wait for 8:30 a.m. to roll around so I can call the doctor and get my Singular refilled.

It really bugs me that people don't take asthma seriously. When people think of an asthma attack they think of that kid from Goonies who puffs on his inhaler every five seconds. Adversely, I hate to use it as a crutch. I let my asthma be my excuse for the first year or so. I remember walking around campus one day, and I saw the woman's rugby team running the stairs on Old Main. I exchanged hellos with the coach, and he asked me if I have ever been interested in playing rugby (they're always so willing to recruit). I said, "No thanks, I have asthma." He replied, "Well we've got several girls with asthma on the team, and I keep a whole sack of inhalers in my car."

I never joined the rugby team, but that stuck with me. I doubt he had a whole sack of inhalers, but the fact that people still remain active with asthma made me calm down a bit. We who suffer from asthma are just the same as everyone else- we just carry an inhaler wherever we go.

Now I am running on about two hours of sleep. Oh, joy. Two hours and twenty minutes before I can call the Student Wellness Center. I still can't sleep for fear of dying, and I can't eat the toast I fixed because there isn't a lot of room to swallow. Asthma may be manageable, but it sucks.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2012 Summer Bucket List

Hm... what should I do this summer? If you've read much of this blog, you know I love lists. Here is mine (so far):

  1. Do an absolutely randomly insane thing, like sky dive or cliff jump.
  2. Visit those silly roommates who are leaving me for Provo this summer.
  3. Rock climb outdoors.
  4. Climb 5.9
  5. Twilight Concert Series. They seriously need to post the schedule soon. I am getting antsy.
  6. Memorize 1 song on the guitar each week.
  7. Read at least one book a week. I need to catch up!!
  8. On that note, finish the John Adams biography (this is allowed an exception because it will take longer than a week).
  9. In order to make me stick with the goal, I will post a review of the weekly book and report on the song on this blog every week.
  10. See the Dark Knight Rises.
  11. Go to Freedom Fire to see Kansas. Yeah, baby!
  12. Longboard every Saturday or Sunday. I consider longboarding OK for Sunday, provided it is not to the store or some other commandment-breaking activity.
  13. Daily picture. -Post that on the blog, too.
  14. Throw a rocking awesome bachelorette party for my best friend, Elise. (Girl, do Amber and I have plans for you!)
  15. Go to an assortment of festivals, including the Llama Festival in Spanish Fork on July 14.
  16. Travel to SW Utah to watch the total eclipse of the sun May 20!
  17. Go star gazing. :)
  18. Work on my family history project of awesomeness.
  19. Go on a road trip with my girlfriends.
  20. Reunite with a lost friend.
  21. The 1812 Overture at WSU (with real cannons and the Utah Symphony!).
And that, dear folks, will be my summer. What are your plans?