Life Lately

I know I made a brief list for my last post, but there are so many things on my mind that I couldn’t possibly write about each one without boring you out of your mind. So here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

  • Did you ever read the jokes in the back of Reader’s Digest? I did. To this day I consider those cheesy jokes the source of my sparkling wit. Those and my dad’s lame ones, of course.
  • Pändo is basically my favorite band, and I got to sing with them. Twice. Booyah.
  • I find great fulfillment in what I consider to be intellectual conversations. I’m sure most of the things I say make me seem dumber than a fence post, but talking out my thoughts and ideas with someone who is willing to talk with me is a great feeling. Also, what is the IQ of a fence post?
  • Life is short.
  • Sometimes your best friends get married. But even if and when they do, you’ll still be best friends and take ridiculous pictures by the duck pond to relive the good ole days.
  • You may not be taking classes, but life is still busy. So busy the only time you have to write a blog post about our thoughts is 1:20 in the morning.
  • Great hair days.
  • John Williams is the man. I had a dream the other night that I was being chased by a dinosaur in Jurassic Park, but John Williams’ music started playing and the dinosaur was so mesmerized by the beautiful music, I was able to domesticate him and ride him around without him eating me.
  •  Music, huh? And literature. And history. And art. And just…life. Excuse me for love bursting all over the place here.
  • Heritage. From both your ancestors and even the people who have had a big influence on your life. I am surrounded by so many wonderful people. Love burst again.
  • Sometimes you take really good pictures with your really good friends. But then you make it your profile picture on Facebook and all of a sudden everyone thinks you’re dating. Oops. But just to demonstrate:
Like I was just supposed to NOT make this my profile picture??
  • Being a responsible adult is hard work. But if you go to Wendy’s late at night to get dinner in the form of your favorite fries because you forgot to eat, it can be fun, too.
  • Commuting to work.
  • Reading the General Conference issue of the Ensign is amazing. This is my most recent favorite, and even though it’s to the priesthood holders, I think we can learn a lot from our roles in our Father’s kingdom.
  • Why do the British spell it favourite? Or colour? Don’t their spellings make them seem even more pretentious?
  • America!
  • Parallel structure and this post’s complete lack of anything resembling it.
  • We never had a season they like to call Spring in Arizona, and I have just been loving the beautiful weather and green mountains. Mmm.
  • Gilbert Blythe and the rule that bosom friends can hold hands whether their husbands are out of town or not.
I’ll take one to go, please.

I already have a bosom friend, though, but thanks for asking.

  • Piles of laundry
  • How much I love education. I recently sat through a teacher training for a private school. Like, on my own. And, like, I kind of wanted to be there. Voluntarily. And I thought it was really interesting. I think I must be in the right major–yay!
  • This post was supposed to be short.
  • Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. But sometimes that’s ok, and life is even better than you could have imagined it. Thanks Heaven for that. And I do.

Recent Love Bursts

Here are few things that have made me especially happy lately:

  • Filling up my bookshelf. Usually I’m all for sharing space with roommate, but there’s something about having a bookshelf full of your favorite things that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and like maybe even though you live in a ghetto apartment in Provo, maybe it can be home.
  • Hot steering wheels. Yesterday, my car was that perfect blend of hot, black leather and stifling summer heat, but not so hot the seat belt buckle burned my fingers. Summer is upon us.
  • A new bath mat. I had had my old orange one for a while and it was starting to ooze an off-colored goo so I bought a new one. And it is the plushiest, most luxurious experience my feet have ever had. And it’s pink, which feels fun.
  • Dresses with pockets. I splurged this week and bought an adorable dress. And I don’t even feel bad about it, because it has pockets, which means it’s perfect.
  • Working hard. I’m loving my new jobs. I just can’t get over how supremely lucky I am to be in the position I am and working three jobs that I love and not going crazy…yet.
  • Strawberries dipped in sour cream and brown sugar. I bought strawberries when they were on sale last week, and they have just turned into the most deliciously ripe beauties on the planet. Dipping them in sour cream and brown sugar remind me of when my whole family would sit around the table and go at it. I think sharing strawberries may be the only time we’re civil with one another and wait our turns. Well, that and Christmas. And by the way–I know sour cream and brown sugar sounds like a interesting combo (like, interesting in a bad way), but you should try it. It’s magical. And brings families together.
  • Life. How did I get so lucky?

Channeling your Inner Transcendentalist


Mm. Gives you shivers, doesn’t it? Transcendentalism is a really long and complicated-sounding word to describe an American literary period in which writers strove to become one with nature and really find themselves and all that hippy nonsense. I know this because for my new job as a course designer for BYU’s Independent Study high school program, I am reading all about it. 
Also, I am an English major.
In one of today’s readings, I read a poem by Walt Whitman (THE transcendentalist)  I had never read before called  “There was a Child went Forth.” And I loved it. It’s about a boy who goes around seeing all these marvelous things and meeting all these wonderful people and being in all these amazing places and becoming better for them. So I decided to write my own poem called:
There was a Rylee went Forth

And then I remembered.
I can’t write poetry.
I would much rather create long lines of well-crafted sentences than spend years trying to find that one word. Why not use all the words? Why not find music in the long and winding sentences of prose than attempt a sentimental structure of poetry that may or may not end up working anyway?

Don’t get me wrong–I adore poetry. Wordsworth and Whitman speak to my soul as if they were my own voice trying to express the beauty of nature.

But their voices are not mine. Nor is mine theirs.

My voice is casual–it’s conversational–it’s borderline irreverent. Wordsworth is a well of profound eloquence–mine is a bucket-full of sass:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats high o’er vales and hills
When all at once I spy a crowd
of delicious, cheesy Ritz Bitz.

Sure, my soul is moved when I walk down a tree-lit path and I’m so overcome with the beauty of the deep green against the clear blue sky and the deliciously fresh spring air that something wells up in my chest and all of a sudden it’s hard to breathe through all this gratitude. But I am not moved beyond words.

Apparently I’m just moved beyond poetry.

I try–I do. After reading Whitman today and walking home through that same tree-lined path and being overcome with all that same emotion, I decided to channel my inner transcendentalist and write poetry on a nice, sensationally lush patch of grass. After all–I was so inspired. It couldn’t be that hard to express myself through poetry with that much love-bursting flowing through my veins, could it?

Yes. Yes it could.

I tried. I took Whitman’s poem and began to simply model my own poem after his–I even began with the same lines and used same subjects and tried to make his words my own. Maybe I’m just impatient, but I just couldn’t get my words to have the same meaning or to convey what I was really feeling.

So I started this. A rant about my apparent inability to write poetry and express my immense satisfaction with this transcendentalist’s dream-come-true type of day. And you know what–it gets the job done.

Part of me wishes you could see what I saw envisioned in that poem of mine. It was beautiful–a tribute to the things and people and places that contribute to who I am, even if it is something that only stays with me for a week, like my obsession with X-Files, or something that serves as a constant reminder of who I am–a picture of the temple or love for my family.

So even if I can’t show you the poem that I want to write, I can tell you about it. I can tell you about how in love I am with this incredibly beautiful day. I can tell you about how happy my flowy pink and white striped skirt is making me as I lay here on my front lawn. I can tell you about how much I love poetry and how perfectly content I am to simply be alive and sitting in the sunshine.

Even if I can’t write poetry.

Time Flies

I’m sitting here, 10 minutes to midnight, trying to wrap my head around the fact that tomorrow is Monday and I do, indeed, have class and work and homework to attend to.

Where did my weekend go?

I mean, I know where it went. It went to:

  • My family coming into town on Thursday night. (Yay!)
  • Family fun on Friday. (Yay!)
  • My last Women’s Chorus concert Friday night. (Yay!-slash-Boo!)
  • Watching The Hobbit Friday night (Neutral Face)
  • Not being able to sleep that night because it was like Christmas because the next day was dedicated to:
  • Singing in General Conference! (YAY! YAY! YAY!)
  • More family fun Saturday night, including:
  • Eating pizza benders from Italian Village. (Yum!)
  • A ward party involving brownie waffles
  • An early-morning birthday celebration for my dad (Yay Dad!)
  • Breakfast burritos and conference with my friends
  • Watching conference in the Conference Center with the Blue-Eye Club
  • Seeing Les Mis for the first time on DVD. (Tears. But happy-ish tears.)
See? I know exactly where my weekend went. I’m just wondering if I can request another one so I can actually catch up on life…oh well. Guess that’s what this week is for, eh?

Mahler and Mozart and MoTab, Oh My!

Warning: You are about to experience a whole new side of Rylee. You thought she was a nerd? You haven’t seen anything yet, people.

Warning #2: I’m not sure there is a single coherent thought going into this blog post. I apologize in advance.

For those of you who have missed the past 17 years of my life, I LOVE music. I started playing the violin at age 4, took piano lessons for a while, and am pretty sure I came out of the womb singing. I’ve been involved with choir and orchestra for as long as I can remember, and the one thing on my bucket list is to be a member of Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Someday, this will be me.

Confession: You know how sometimes when you’re listening to music through headphones and the producers make it so different sounds are emphasized in different ear buds. While in high school, I discovered that when you listen to MoTab, the men’s sound comes out of the right earbud and the women sing in the left, as if you are hearing them while sitting in the Tabernacle. I, being the nerd I am, like to switch the earbuds so that I can pretend I’m actually getting this view instead.
See? I told you I was a nerd.
The other day at work, one of the counselors came in and asked me how my Women’s Chorus concert went the previous night. I told him it went well, and we started talking about Mack Wilberg and MoTab, which launched into a discussion of violin concertos and Mahler symphonies and Beethoven and all that good stuff. He left after we were music nerds for a few minutes, thanking me for the conversation.

I don’t have anyone in my family I can talk with about this stuff. It’s nice to be able to find someone who appreciates music.

My thoughts immediately went to my parents. I thought about my dad who offered to let me borrow his Copland Appalachian Spring Suite CD as I drove across the country. I thought about how he’s the one I called after I saw the Utah Symphony play at BYU and was blown away by the emotions I felt. I thought of the way my mom drove me to countless violin and piano and voice lessons. I thought of how she was at every single concert I’ve ever been in. I thought about how both of them are the number one supports in my life and how grateful I am that they’ve both instilled this love of music and helped me to develop this passion that has become so important to me.

Remember how I told you this post would have no rhyme or reason to it? Well, there’s your proof. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about. So there you go.

Thirsty Thursday

Sometimes I’m bad at blogging.

And other times I feel so guilty about it, I write about something lame so I don’t feel bad that my last post is 3 weeks old.

This is not one of those times.

Because this topic is not lame.

What I have to write about today is something that has becoming increasingly important to me as the semester has continued. It’s a Provo YSA 9th ward tradition that has been passed down through the Belmont generations and landed squarely in my lap. It’s a celebration of life and happiness, and a responsibility I feel firmly on my shoulders.

It’s Thirsty Thursday.

My lovely neighbor Olivia started this tradition last year. She would announce it at ward prayer every week, using the same old spiel:

Hey, guys. So Thirsty Thursday this week at my apartment. I’ll have cups and sharpies, so you can write down all your sorrows on your cup and then drink them away. I know, it sounds weird, but it’ll be fun! Bring a drink to share.

I have to admit that last year I was a total Lame-o and did not really socialize that much with people in my ward. Which is lame and I regret deeply. But I started going over the summer and thought–wow! This is fun! Olivia is one of the coolest people I know! I wish I could be like her!

Little did I know, I would have the opportunity to be like Olivia would be coming very soon.

Disclaimer: I am in no way implying I am as cool as Olivia. It would take me years to reach that status of awesomeness.

A week or two before school started, many of my summer friends left the ward, including Olivia. On our last Thirsty Thursday, we bemoaned the fact we would no longer be able to gather once a week and share our sorrows with our friends. We hoped that we would all be able to get together still, but let’s be honest–it’s hard to be friends unless you have some sort of consistent activity to invite those you love to partake in the simple pleasures of life with you.


When I was talking with my new roommate Desiree about Olivia’s unreachable level of coolness and how we wish we could be like her, Desiree had the thought: Hey! Why don’t we take over Thirsty Thursday?

Psh–why hadn’t we thought of this before!

The first Thirsty Thursday was nerve-wracking. 10 minutes to the appointed time, I broke out in a cold sweat. What if no one came? What if there weren’t enough drinks? What if everyone thinks that I’m an impostor and not nearly cool enough to do Thirsty Thursday? When people started showing up, I acted like I hadn’t just had a mini panic attack and started playing hostess.

As so often happens to me, it turns out my episode was completely unwarranted. People came, there were enough drinks for everyone, and all the chatting among friends meant that I didn’t have to do any awkward-silence entertaining.

Thirsty Thursday was a hit.

And so, every Thursday at 9 o’clock, you can find our apartment filled with friends, sharing sorrows and drinking away their woes. I understand that at most college campuses, Thirsty Thursday has a very different connotation than our little ward tradition does. But in the 9th ward, we get together not to drink away our sorrows, but to celebrate the blessing we have in the great friends around us.

So if you’re ever free on a Thursday night, drop by Belmont 16. You’ll be glad you did.