Archive | January, 2011

Dear Annette,

30 Jan

Let me tell you a tale about my Friday morning. My early Friday morning – you could practically consider it late Thursday night. I know I am typically up really late, but on Thursday, I decided to go to bed before midnight because I had to get up to get ready for work at 5. Lifeguarding that early in the morning is my absolute favorite activity, as you may well know. I just love seeing the shining faces of all of the swim team, and I bet 5 dollars that they love seeing me too! Anyways, back to the tale. I went to sleep before midnight, and it was amazing. I was having an awesome, vibrant dream, as I am so inclined to do, but I forget what it was about.

Then, my phone went off. Now, because I only have one outlet in my room, I just use my phone for an alarm instead of a typical clock. So, naturally, because I heard my phone at such a late hour, I assumed it was just my alarm. I hit some random buttons, thinking I was turning off the alarm, and just laid there briefly. I went to bed so early – why did I feel like I was getting so little sleep?

I drowsily glanced at my phone, and only saw the minutes on the digital display. :37.


I had to leave for work by the :30 at the very latest! I typically leave at 5:20 to get there comfortably on time. 5:30 meant an all-out power walk.

Absolutely FREAKED, I jumped out of bed and grabbed my uniform. It’s a really cute tanktop. I clumsily put it on – of course, I didn’t even think to grab my glasses in my panic. I stumbled around my tiny room and put on what I thought was a pair of brown shoes. I ran into the bathroom to brush my teeth, and then came back to grab my coat and put on my glasses.

But, wait a minute. Before I went out the door, I looked at my phone one more time to see how fast I was going to have to run to the pool. More awake, I looked at the time more closely.

It was 2:40.

I stopped to look at myself. My tank top was inside out and backwards. I was still wearing pajama pants with puppies on them. I was wearing one brown slipper and one brown Converse lowtop. And I was going to run to campus at 2:40 in the morning, looking a little like a hobo.

So why did I tell you all of this? Upon investigation, I discovered the source of my panic! You texted me at 2:37 my time, 12:37 your time. Which is way past your bedtime, grandma. Much to my bemusement, you had very much sent me a blank text in your sleep, yet again. I know no one else with those kind of sweet skills. I am so impressed that I am not even the least bit vexed!

This is definitely going in the movie, best friend.





The universe was nice to me

27 Jan

I find that one of the only things that makes lifeguarding enjoyable is the amount of reading I get to do when I’m not in the chair. Recently, I have been reading a lot of countercultural literature. Namely, The Portable Beat Reader compiled by Ann Charters, and Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. The stories in these books are a trip out of comfortable. The absurd is coupled with the beautiful, rebellion is countered by the necessity for mass appeal and a place to belong in the music industry, and in countercultural social settings. The punk rock movement would not have been the same without the collectivism that was CBGB, nor would the Beat movement be as groundbreaking as it was without the group dynamic of Greenwich Village and San Francisco in the 1950s.

But besides that, I think I like reading these books at work because it makes me feel like I’m fighting the devastatingly boring aquatic status quo. So ha!

The main thing I wanted to do was to share this poem I came across in the Beat Reader. I read it and was immediately struck by it’s simple power. It’s by Michael McClure, a Beat poet based out of San Francisco that read at Six Gallery Reading, along with Allen Ginsberg (it was when he read Howl for the first time), in 1955. I’ll just let you check it out for yourself.

“Watching the Stolen Rose”

The rose is a pink-yellow universe unfolding.

layer upon
luminous layer

petal to petal

unsteady yet
perfectly balanced

as the curling
of smoke

from a mind
on fire.

It’s legit like 2 sentences long. I’m not going to go all my-mother-is-an-English-teacher-and-we-break-down-every-poem-and-Lil-Wayne-rap-like-it’s-our-job on you, but I just really dig what I get out of it. I get entropy, a tendency to completely fall apart. Yet, alternately, the inevitable rebuilding. “Unsteady yet perfectly balanced, like the curling of smoke from a mind on fire.” Sure, it sounds destructive, but, ironically, I glean hope out of that. I take it to mean that, in all of the nastiness, all of the burning, all of the yucky descents into madness, there is always a wealth of beauty, balance, depth, and importance waiting to piece us back together again

Maybe I am way off base. I don’t know what Mr.McClure was thinking when he put those 6 stanzas together. Maybe he was really high and he stole a pink-yellow rose out of a dumpster, and this is what he threw together as a result. Maybe he wrote it to impress a lady he met in a hip, San Francisco bar. Who knows!

What I do know is this: I read this poem sitting by myself in a little green chair, in a big empty room, next to a big empty pool at 6 in the morning. And sitting in the giant empty room made me feel so very, very alone in the great big universe. I was probably sleep deprived and it made it even worse. But after I read those two whole sentences, I felt that much better.

It just reminded me of what I knew all along – that loneliness is relative, that something better is right around the corner, and that comfort can come in the smallest, simplest packages, if you keep your mind and heart open to it.


25 Jan

Life is great right this moment.

What am I doing right now? Reading up on lab procedures for chemistry. We’re synthesizing an alum today, in the form of KAl(SO)412H2O. What did I do this morning? I memorized standard troop leading procedures (TLPs) and the format for operational orders (OPORD). And then I took a quiz on it. And then I aced it. I even remembered what part of the OPORD format includes protocol for dealing with enemy POWs. What did I do yesterday? I charged, cleared, and disassembled an M-16 rifle super quick. Putting it back together was more of a problemo, but when I walked out of the class with grease on my hands and scuffy thumbs, I felt like a champ. And what did I do this weekend? I helped infants learn how to swim. And I didn’t make any of them cry.

I have this sweet feeling. I thoroughly feel like this is the direction I am supposed to go in. It just makes sense, you know? I love animals so much. I think they are some of God’s most blessed creations (and I am going to be controversial and just say that they are creations that straight-up evolved. Deal with it.) that are on Earth to not only help us, but to also teach us volumes about loyalty, respect, responsibility, and love. Serving animals is a duty that is guided by compassion and strengthened by acknowledging the dignity in each and every creature. Think about how that can be related to humans, and how it tempers our interactions with each other. I want to be a part of that! I am supposed to be a part of that.

Which leads me to the next facet of my career. I recently joined Army ROTC at school. My goal is to, ultimately, after years of inevitable (yet much more interesting!) school, is to serve as an Army veterinarian. I feel like I am called to do this. Every day, hundreds of Army-trained service dogs are out in the field, keeping our soldiers and our country safe. I think looking out for the health of these unfailingly loyal dogs is just the right way to pay them back.

Plus, dogs are really cute.

Even when they look hardcore sitting on a tank.

Valene Healey Harris–AKA “The Mom”, “Mama”, “Rockstar Runner”

25 Jan

Today, I missed my Mom a lot.

I just wanted to talk girl talk with her or something.  But here is the thing…

1908 miles between my apartment and her house

Sigh. Sad but true.  And I always say I will call her when I finish class…but when I finish class it is late o’clock her time.


She is basically the best mom in the whole wide universe in case you haven’t heard.


21 Jan

Ok. So currently I am waging war on the format of this blog, and I am sorely losing at this point in time. The final product will have pictures! And bright colors! And pretty fonts that aren’t so in your face. But, until then, like the end of this weekend, the blog is going to look like a construction site. You know, sawdust and shingles everywhere! Just roll with it!

The Best Thing

18 Jan

This past weekend has been off the chain. In procrastinating on cleaning my room (seriously, it looks like an episode of Hoarders is going on), I have discovered, remembered and been introduced to the best music. Seriously. What a difference some sweet songs can do. Forget the fact that its 28 degrees with freezing rain and that the water bill is due – I have been in the best mood. So, in a last ditch effort to avoid cleaning, let me share with you some amazing things.

1.  The Black Keys

Before this weekend, I never really listened to the Black Keys. I pretty much knew that they sounded kind of similar to the White Stripes, and then I promptly forgot about them. In reflection, what the heck was wrong with me? So much blues. Yet, so much rock. Joey played a song for me, shown below, and I was hooked. I’ve been listening almost nonstop since Friday. Here are some songs:

Girl Is On My Mind – The Black Keys (the one Joey played for me!)

Everlasting Light – The Black Keys

I Got Mine – The Black Keys

2. Ray Lamontagne

I listened to the song Hold You In My Arms on a mix CD I bought for $2.00 when I was 14. I woke up one morning with it stuck in my head, so I listened to that song and then discovered how absolutely legit Ray Lamontagne is. I just want to restore my ’66 Plymouth Barracuda and listen to this guy while I drive around the country looking for kicks. That is a mild On The Road reference. On a slightly related note, I finally realized how to make lifeguarding more enjoyable! Read lots and lots of Beat literature while in the break room! I started reading excerpts from Kerouac and poetry by Gregory Corso, and life is good again. Anyways. Here are some songs by Ray Lamontagne.

Hold You In My Arms – Ray Lamontagne

You Are The Best Thing – Ray Lamontagne

3. The Autumn Film

I love following random Youtube suggestions. I cam across this one after clicking on a picture that looked like an album of a random artist on the Coldplay website. Something nice and random like that. And I found this woman with a lovely voice, the lead singer for the Autumn Film. Beautiful!

Mended – The Autumn Film

Follow The Sound – The Autumn Film

4. Ennio Morricone

This one is classic. Do you remember Spaghetti Westerns? You know, those old Westerns from the 1960s filmed in Italy, with dubbed over English? Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone? Think of how iconic the music was. One guy was mad famous for that, and his name was Ennio Morricone. The guy is a rad composer that made the music for those films. I watched a Nike commercial and I was like, where did the music come from in the background? A little research later, and I realized it was a remix of Morricone’s Ecstasy of Gold, which was a song from the score of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. I listened to this, and it was just wow. Talk about the soundtrack to an epic afternoon.

The Ecstasy of Gold – Ennio Morricone

5. Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles

I’m familiar with these fellows from the 60s, but just recently have I really been listening to them. I really like baking cupcakes while listening to Frank Sinatra. It’s either him or Lil Weezy, you know how it is. And Georgia on My Mind is the state song of Georgia. I think I will always be a Georgia peach. Falcons, FTW. And ATL shorty, this is where I stay. Right? Right. I only spent like 10 years of my life in that place! So I have always had a soft spot for Ray Charles. Here are two of my favorites.

That’s Life – Frank Sinatra

Georgia On My Mind – Ray Charles

I should have done a post about my parents’ anniversary. Or my brother’s birthday. Or Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Instead, I (selfishly!) chose to take this route. Music. I don’t have to think about. I just have to enjoy it. And you know what? I think this music made all of the previously mentioned events (except for mom and pop’s 22nd, which was on December 28) even more memorable. So take that!

Oh yeah. Do you know what else made this weekend better?

I wore a Voltron shirt for like 2 days. And it was awesome.

Yes. Voltron.

I would have typed more if I could feel my fingers

14 Jan

I have noticed a terrible phenomenon.

When it is freezing cold (as it is…for months and months here in Provo) you want to walk fast to class or the grocery store or to Evan’s house to cut down on time in the freaking arctic weather.  Because it makes you want to die.

BUT, if you walk fast the sheets of ice, slush and other winter created atrocities you will kill yourself dead.  Everytime. 

So we are reduced to shuffling around with wet, cold feet and numb noses trying to stay standing on the ice and cursing the tilt of the Earth every extra second we have to be outside.

and don’t even get me started on the terrible TERRIBLE things that happen on sundays when you add church shoes and skirts to the equation.

Approximately 292,010,089 miles

5 Jan



“Six months ago the Earth was on the other side of the Sun.  Look how far we have come!”–Evan