Saturday, August 27, 2011

I cried at work today.

No biggie.

You might think I'm a loser. But, I would (and likely will) do it again.

A short while ago, I got a job as a teacher at the MTC. So far, it has been unbelievable. Basically, I get to do something that I love and be involved in something I'm passionate about. Brilliant!

This morning, I was crouched down by a couple of missionaries who had just finished a role-play and I was discussing with them how they felt about it. As I asked one Elder how he felt, he looked me in the eye and I could almost see things begin to click in his head. Tears filled his eyes as he spoke, but he managed to keep himself composed as he shared his experience with me. As he went on, I realized that small tears were rolling down my own cheeks.

Initially, I had the urge to quickly hide my tears. I didn't want anyone to see me in my weakness. Then, as flashback after flashback of my own mission sped through my mind, I thought to myself, "Why not show a little emotion?"

So I did.

As I walked to my car after work, I was elated.

Made my day.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wild Cherry Trees and Yes, More Goldfish

The month after I turned eighteen, I thought my life was going to end.  I was confused about some silly teenage boys, I was stressed about AP and IB tests, and I had my braces tightened.  Because of probably all three, I had not been able to eat for about a weekend.  Which is a severely  l o n g  time.  Anyway, whilst on the fifteen-minute nutrition break my school offered, I remembered I had "fishie-crackers" in my locker.  I grabbed the bag, and directed myself to my English classroom where I promptly sat down.

So there I sat, plopping one goldfish at a time onto my tongue.  I'd wait a little bit, and then, using my tongue, I'd squish the fish until it was swallow-able. It was quite a method.  I sat there, unstable and hungry, for about ten minutes, until a friend came in.  With a "Cebre! I haven't hugged you for a while..." he reached down and bent over to rectify that problem.  But as he did, instead of finding comfort and camaraderie, I found horror.

In slow motion, I saw my fishies, bag and all, falling to the floor.  Of course, the open end of the bag faced the ground, and so the floor was quickly adorned with little orange crackers.  I broke.  All of my usual composure and calmness (...) left. I broke into sobs as the bell rang and my fellow Seniors flooded in.

The funny thing was, although some of the boys in my class were freaked out and offered to ditch class to go buy me more goldfish at the 7-Eleven down the street, the majority of my class looked at me, and then took their seats. Apparently it was not surprising to see me weeping over a pile of crackers.

Growing up, on visits to our home, my grandma would say, "Terra trauma, Cebre melodrama."  She apologized a few years back for labeling us as such, but in all honesty, she was right.  I can't fully speak for Terra anymore, but I'm pretty sure I was and am still melodramatic.

My friend, Chelsea, and I imagined up so many different things when we were younger.  Probably inspired by Britney Spears' "Lucky", we were teen pop stars who, despite our fame, were still unhappy.  We'd swing on the swings in the top level of my garage, and sing songs about the unsatisfying life of grass.  Sitting on a stump in her horse pasture, we were princesses living on some distant island.  On our playground at school we'd run around, tapping and knocking into all sorts of poles.  Of course, there were secret buttons on the playground that would open up a new technological world.  In our minds, the computers could do anything--change our handwriting into type font, call people with video... honestly, Apple and other companies stole our ideas.  We were so innovative, really.  Like how, as mentioned above, in my garage we'd swing on the swings singing about our secret lives as stars.  We were Hannah Montana before she was even an idea.

Perhaps that's why I've always loved Anne of Green Gables, both the books and the movies.  As a dramatic little girl, I could totally relate to her feeling in the "depths of despair." (Secretly, sometimes I still do.) Like Anne, I had a craving for reading and an active imagination.  Days on end I'd rock in our hammock, looking at my shadow-speckled body and then back up into the trees that would cast the shadows, wondering if there were fairies hiding among the fruit-tree leaves.

Or perhaps I just love Gilbert Blythe.  He's so ideal (with the exception of his name). 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sleeping in garbage bags? A good idea!

My sister recently received a letter from a missionary, Cameron, who happens to be one of my good friends. In his letter, he reminisced about one of our many adventures together - the time we out smarted the rest of our scouting troop by using garbage bags as sleeping bags... Here's the scoop:

My scout master, at the time was an avid hiker and outdoorsman. This, was both a blessing and a curse. Blessing, because he took us to obscure places that I would have never seen otherwise. Curse, because he LOVED hiking - and hiking FAR.

On one particular occasion, we traveled to Havasupai - an Indian reservation in the Grand Canyon. Honest, this has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

If you were to hike through Havasupai, you'd see dazzling water cascading over awe-inspiring waterfalls. How's that for imagery? Breathtaking.

But, there's a catch - in order to get a glimpse of this natural wonder, you have to hike (backpack) for AGES through the Grand Canyon. I don't remember the exact distance, (I'm scared to look it up for fear that it actually isn't that far) but, I remember feeling utterly exhausted.

Knowing that it was going to be a difficult hike, and being the logical people that we are, Cameron and I put our heads together to come up with ways to minimize the amount of weight we would have to pack.

Your average hiker might think that a great way to minimize weight would be to scratch the tent and pack a small tarp instead, or to only pack light-weight clothing. Both are good ideas. Yet, Cameron and I, are not your average hiker.

Being not only logical, but also resourceful, we came up with the idea of taping two garbage bags together and sleeping in them. After all, they're water proof, so no tent would be needed. And, we were told that it would be warm, so no need to worry about getting cold. Ingenious!

So, that's what we did.

As we hiked, we watched as few members of our troop struggled, the hike seemed easier to us as we joyfully thought of how clever we were.

From then on, everything went well... Until our first night...

With all the careful planning that Cameron and I did, we somehow overlooked the possibility of a torrential rainstorm happening. Darn.

Garbage bags are waterproof, so at least we had that going for us. But, you can't exactly cover your head with a garbage bag for an extended amount of time. We had to come up with a plan and fast!

Being the logical, resourceful, and clever people that we are, we quickly huddled under someone else's tarp and stayed there for much of the first night. Bless their heart.

We made sure to pack their tarp out of the canyon for them.

The extra weight nearly killed us, but we figured it was the least we could do.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tribute to Papanwa

As we dive into this entry, I have to cover a few things:

First, if you don't understand the term, Papanwa, that means you haven't watched the movie,"The Testaments" enough. Go check it out.

Second, this post might only be interesting to immediate family. Or, if I'm lucky, to all those who love their fathers. You'll have to decide.

I have a pretty sweet dad, one of the best. And, here's why:

1. My dad is one of the world's best story tellers

As a little boy, I looked forward to hearing a bedtime story every single night from my dad. Some of his more notorious stories are about: His life growing up on a ranch - these usually include him rescuing the family sheep or eluding death by inches or, they're about his times serving as a missionary in Japan - these stories usually include freezing conditions and/or drowning rats in his apartment.

I can't forget to mention how many of his stories begin with, "When I was a little girl..." rather than, "Once upon a time..." A classic in our home.

2. My dad is an avid videographer/photographer

My siblings and I often joke about the fact that we have lived the life of movie stars. I would wager that all totalled, I have more film time than Brad Pitt. If you think I'm joking, I'll show you the hundreds of DVDs my dad has burned, each of which has endless hours of family videos on it. Honest, anytime I want to, I can go look up any event in my life and watch it. And, I do mean ANY event. He has it all, from losing my first tooth, to skits that my siblings and I would put on, to my high school graduation. My life has been well documented.

Believe it or not, there are some set backs to living a life "under the spotlight". Not only do you have to be careful about what you do on film, because, who knows who will eventually see it. But, there are also those times when you just don't want to be filmed. Anytime my siblings or I would protest as my dad pulled out it his faithful camera, the phrase, "This is for posterity" would echo in our ears. This phrase is now one of our families biggest inside jokes.

3. My dad is a pretty good cook

Ever heard of mush? Basically, it's a thick porridge. And, it's what I ate every morning before school. To be honest, I hated it. But, I love the memories.

As my siblings and I would be sitting around the table, none of us finishing our mush, we would receive words of encouragement from our father:

"Come on Hiram, it will make a man out of you
, like it did me"

Or, "Come on Hannah, it will put hair on your chest, like it did me."

Who wouldn't eat their mush after receiving such encouragement?

Recently, it was my Dad's birthday. The big 60. You wouldn't guess his age by looking at him though. He has "young genes". Still, it's pretty crazy.

My Dad doesn't even know I blog, so, without trying to make this blog one of those "public expressions of love". I just wanted to thank my Dad for all the good times.

Thanks for the memories, Dad. I love you!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

So I'm a mouth breather.

I knew I would get sick--it's pretty typical stuff.  I, of course, got sick from driving back from California and probably some ear infection from ocean water... the good news is I'm on the mend!  Even if I still have to breathe through my mouth.

These past couple of days I've been spending the majority of my time with my beautiful and compassionate sister, Terra.  She's been the most available assistant, driving me to work, picking me up from work, packing my jeans into air-compressing bags, and packing my shoes in a bucket.  She's also helped me carry my tons of junk (really, I have tons) from my room, to the car, and then even to Stephanie's living room.  Stephanie's also compassionate, and is letting me store my stuff with her while I'm temporarily homeless.  BYU Contracted Housing should really figure something out with the housing check-out and check-in dates around here.  It's ridiculous.

I experienced Terra's love and sensitivity last night as we finished dropping off the last of my things at Stephanie's new apartment.  I was telling her a story (honestly, I have NO idea what I was talking about) and my car door shut on my left three tall fingers.  While I stared at Terra with shock and pain, she laughed.  I stood there, with my fingers squished, wondering if she was going to open the door for me.  She did move toward me, but it was only to double over in laughter, and slap her hand on the back car door.  So I opened the door with my right hand.

So this afternoon, as we were over in Stephanie's apartment, Terra asked if she could play my guitar.  I said yes, because I was just concentrating on breathing through my nose.  It wasn't quite working, so I moved my face into my arm to hide the fact that I was breathing through my mouth.  Then all of the sudden I heard metal slap wood.  Yeah, my guitar string broke.  Well, we'll get that fixed.

Later, Terra and I went to go take some pictures outside.  After we took one outfit's set, we decided to go back for Terra so she could change.  She opened the door and went in before me, and as I stepped forward I felt the door catch on my middle right toe.  I looked down, as a small pool of blood started to form.  I was wearing some of my favorite sandals, and I didn't want blood on them.  So holding the door open with my elbow, and using my wrist to flip the camera hanging down away from my toes, I attempted to take off my sandal.  I then looked up at Terra, who stood in the doorway, looking.
"Terra, can't you see this?"
"Terra, do you see my toe?"
"Terra, can you hold open the door?"
Well, she did.  And she ran and got me paper towels from the vending machine room so that I could staunch the blood. There was a lot.

Oh, but the day gets better.  After numbing my toe under cold water and laying down on the couch for a bit, we went outside to take pictures of Terra's second outfit.  I was reminded of how I needed to bring my key back to The Colony (my old apartment complex), and so, distracted, I asked Terra if she'd just leave with me.  We drove to the complex, I dropped off my key, and then we went to a Redbox to find our movies.

See, I had a PROMO code for this weekend, for 50% off of redbox videos. Not that $.50 is a super big save.  The code was on an email I had saved on my phone, but... I couldn't find my phone.  I had Terra call it, and it immediately went to voicemail.

 "Terra, I think my phone fell out of the car.  I think someone ran over it."

Well, I was right.  They did.  When we found it, it was under an SUV and there were tire markings across the screen of my iPhone.  I tried to turn it on.  I pushed the top button and the home button, trying to reset the phone, but it wouldn't work.  I looked at Terra, tears welling up, as she told me that everything was going to be okay, that I was lucky the screen wasn't cracked, and that it could probably be turned back on.

We drove to the Mac store, where, yeah, they turned it on after resetting some things.

But man, I was exhausted!  And ultimately, Terra and I buckled down and went to Macey's for ice cream, and to Blockbuster for three movies:
Blockbuster Manager (BM): Do you have an account number or an ID?
Me: Yes. To Terra: I've been here with friends before who have accounts but I've never purchased anything.
BM: What's your first name?
Me: March 29, 1990.
BM: What's your first name?
Me: March 29, 1990. Oh, it's hard to see my information, huh? Took out the card.
BM: What's your first name?
Me: Oh, it's Cebre.  Hard to understand it.
BM: You don't have an account with this ID.
Me: ...
BM: You don't have an account.
Me: Yes, I know that.
BM: Do you want to set up an account?
Me: ...
BM: Do you want to set up an account with this ID?
Me: No.
BM: You can't rent the movies without an account.
Me: Oh, yes.  Sorry, I have bad hearing.
 Oh, but the ice cream was good.
And we saw Jimmer.  I was driving, and Terra and I both screamed as I waved my hands in the air to celebrate.

And that, dear friends, was my Saturday.  For the remainder of the weekend, I'm going to steer clear of doors, and hope that my nasal passages clear up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My version of Jiminy Cricket

When I was four years old, my family lived in Westhaven, CA.  It's a small town/area, with beach homes on the hillside.  We were renting a lovely carpeted house (from what I recall of the prior home was a ton of wood), and I remember riding my plastic tricycle in the sunshine on our concrete driveway.  The driveway was huge, according to my memories, and it had grass growing through the cracks.

Even though my tricycle seemed to burn out quite often (not the best traction on plastic wheels), I loved it.  The seat opened up so I could put my goldfish crackers inside, and if I wanted to, I could put my legs over the handlebars and ride that way. While riding it, I made all sorts of discoveries.  I remember parking my trike alongside the house, and realizing how eyes were made.

Oh! The discovery!  All that happened, really, was people took marbles, and put whipped cream around them, and then placed a Saran Wrap-like substance to keep it all together.  I mean, of course.  What else would eyes be made of?

Or how about how to stop pain? "Mommy, I figured it all out. When you fall over," which I did a lot, "all you have to do is this."  I then proceeded to clench my teeth together tightly, touch my tongue to the roof of my mouth, widen my lips to a grimace, and breath in a sharp gulp of air. Try it yourself.  Honestly, I've been trying for the past couple of minutes to find an onomatopoeia to label it, but I can't.  It needs an "h", and maybe an "s," a soft "k" or "q"... and maybe a silent "l"?

Anyway, upon hearing my discoveries, my mom would congratulate me on my wisdom, and ask me how I knew so much.

"Momma, I know it because of the schoolhouse in my heart."

The schoolhouse in my heart taught me many things.  I mean, how else could I have spoken my first poem? (Yes, these blogposts run together.)  I remember knowing the answers to so many of my own questions (What are strawberries made of? What happens when we cry?), but the strongest lesson I learned was about goldfish.

It's bad to eat stale goldfish.  The crackers, not our watery (and fragile) friends.

One of those rare sunny days in Westhaven, I rode my tricycle to the end of my driveway, and opened up the seat.  Inside were my old "fishie crackers".  I put them on the grass-growing concrete, and began to eat them.  They tasted different, and they were kind of squishy.  When I looked down again at the ground, there were ants all over! I looked inside of my tricycle seat, and there were ants there as well.

The audacity of those ants! The schoolhouse in my heart was rallying.  Not only had they decided to reside in my tricycle, but they changed the flavor of my beloved fishie crackers.

It apparently wasn't horribly traumatic, for I simply went inside and asked my mom for different crackers that didn't taste like the ants.  Although sometimes dramatic, I could also be practical.

But still today, when I eat stale crackers, fishie crackers especially, a little something whispers inside of me that they taste like ants.

What RMs don't mention in their homecoming talks

Things they cooked/ate.

The time they smashed their own windshield, by throwing water balloons out of their fifth-story window.

When they found candy in a pile of rubbish...

and ate it.

Don't freak out. It was "Foil Fresh".

And, those times they spent hours on the phone taking the brunt of someone's furry.

Missions really are the best.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Mailbox

I have lived in the same house my entire life. My house is full of memories, it's a great place to be.

Because I have lived in the same house my whole life, I have also grown up with the same neighbors. This post, is about one of those neighbors. Or, at least, about their mailbox.

Growing up, my house was on a dead end. This was great for many reasons, one of which being that I could play in the street and my parents wouldn't be too concerned. The house two down from mine was the place that all the neighborhood kids would play at. The best feature of this house was the sparkly white rocks all around it's yard. It might not sound like much, but trust me, these were cool rocks - especially for a seven-year old.

One day while playing with my best friend, Tyler, we discovered that these sparkly white rocks were perfect for scratching our name into things. So, that's what we did.

14 years later, and still there. Bless my neighbor's heart.

I really should repaint it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Become as a Little Child

"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child..."

Lately, I've been attending an institute class taught specifically to those with special needs. This has been one of the highlights of my week, here's why:

Big smiling faces, playdough, sitting by Carl, signing, drawing, matching games, acting, laughing, occasionally dancing, and best of all - learning life lessons from people who truly are as little children.

One of the latest lessons I've learned comes from the example of a couple of wonderful girls named Jessica and Andie. Jessica is shy. Andie is loving. Both are lovely. Recently, as Jessica stood in front of the class, she started to cry as she shared a few thoughts about Christ. She then sat in her seat and proceeded to cry silently. Andie, took note of this, and was (I'm a little ashamed to say) the only one who cared enough to go over and comfort Jessica.

As the two embraced, our attention was drawn to Andie, who proceeded to flip through her scriptures. Once she found the scripture she was searching for, she read aloud;

"And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." - D&C 84:88

Some experiences are impossible to put into words. In this case, all I can tell you is, that at that moment, the class went silent and the Spirit of love was felt by all.

The thing that struck me about this whole experience was the thought of just how much I can learn from everyone, especially those who are "childlike".

"And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child..."

Friday, August 5, 2011

Breaking the Ice

Seeing how I am new to this whole blogging thing, I figured it would be good to play a get-to-know-you game.

Two truths and a lie, here we go.

1) I have sung soprano in General Conference

2) I have been interrogated by the police for arson

3) I have been attacked by a trained police dog

Think about it for a minute, the answers/explanations are in the comment section.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


After years of resisting the itch, I've decided to scratch. I'm starting a blog.