Monday, March 24, 2008

My hands are cold but my heart is warm

I spent quite a bit of time with my grandpa in the last week and every time he sees me he shakes my hand and then goes "brrr... you're hands are cold!!" he gets this really cute face and then proceed to hold my hands to get them warm. I then ask him how come his hands are so warm, he said "cause i have the heat turned up" and points to his heart. Then he suggests that if I rotate my earrings maybe I can turn my own heat up a little bit. hehe...No... it didn't work! :( My hands are still cold, and I'm afraid they always will be, but spending time with him did warm my heart.

I'm sad to say that I've never been terribly close to my grandpa and grandma clark, Elmo and Iva Lou. Elmo, my dad's father, got divorced from my biological grandma, Faye, when my dad was just a little boy. My dad lived with Faye until she passed away when he was 22 or so. (I'm so excited to meet her in heaven!) My grandpa remarried Iva Lou and shes the grandma I've always known, but because of the distance between my father and his father, we never spent much time with them. Plus they live down here in Utah and we lived up in Oregon. So... with all of this in mind I didn't think it would be too emotional to go visit my grandpa this week. He was recently put into a care home, which i knew... what i didn't know is how bad his dementia has gotten. It was harder than i ever imagined when he didn't even recognize me. After a while he started too, for which i was grateful, and by the time i left on sunday night he was doing a lot better. Its just so sad to see what old age does to someone. I'd ask him a simple question and 9 times out of 10 his response was "oh i don't know..." But i continued to ask questions and got him to tell me some things about his "younger years." It was good to be able to spend time with him and i hope i'll have time to go up and visit again soon.

(left) My dad and grandpa... I got them BOTH smiling!
(right) Too bad i didn't get him to smile in this picture with me.

(left) The whole gang! (minus david... tear)
(right) Happy 30th Anniversary!

This weekend we celebrated Easter, my dad's birthday, and my grandpa and grandma's 30th anniversary. Also, Saturday night Tyler's girlfriend Hilary was in a ballet showcase so we celebrated after that as well. Then tonight for FHE we had an easter dinner so that was quite a feast. Can you imagine how much food it takes to feed 20 hungry college students? half of which are guys! haha. It was so good though! YAY for reasons to party!

Life is a party! Live it, love it!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

on top of the world

I love this feeling! I feel so happy to be alive today and so happy to be at college and so blessed because of everything I have. Although I do have a lot of things to do today (probably more than i can even dream of getting done) I would feel really ungrateful if I didn't take this chance to write out some of my thoughts and reflect on the inspirational words i heard this morning.

I motivated myself to get out of bed this morning and on to campus to hear a guest lecture at 10am. It was put on by the Women's Services and was better than i expected. Sergeant Jill Stevens was there and shared some of her personal experiences of being in the military over in Afghanistan. She was a student at SUU and then was deployed over there on a mission as a nurse. Her passion and love for both what she does AND for the gospel were a real inspiration to me. I tried to hold back the tears multiple times during her presentation. Its hard to say how i felt or why i did, but what i do know is that it made me happy to be alive. I could feel the spirit and I got confirmation that I'm on the right track. I'm grateful for simple examples that we can look towards and for gospel truths that are undeniable. I could only hope that i can be an example like that to people in my life. We all need a little help every now and again. Life is hard, and it Satan does his best to make us feel like we are down and out, but the gospel is always there to bring us back up when we need it most.

I'm also grateful for being at BYU and having opportunities like this. In thinking about graduating and leaving byu in just over a year, i have rededicated myself to getting the most out of my time here. And, as hard as that is to accept sometimes, I'm here to get an education... which means doing the work. and so, I've gotta get back to working on my many projects. But i won't let the pressures of getting good grades get in the way of me getting my education.

Be passionate about something, feel that passion and follow that passion!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"

I don't know about the rest of you, but Google has pretty much taken over my life. Today's example involves the fact that i was completely unaware that today was the first day of spring until i noticed the change of design on the Google homepage. Its quite sad actually. But for those of you who did not know, TODAY officially starts the spring season! The title of my blog is a quote from Robin Williams, and i agree... LETS PARTY!

Speaking of spring, I woke up this morning, looked at the weather (according to Google of course) and saw that it was supposed to be cold and might snow today. I see this picture, and use it to decide what I'll wear for the day. Today's outfit consisted of a relatively new over sized gray cable knit sweater and jeans. I got a great deal on the sweater a few weeks ago even though it was out of season. The sweater reminds me of something i would wear on a lazy winter day at home- wrapped up in a blanket and reading a good book or having a long deep conversation with a friend. Unfortunately i had to leave my apt this morning at 7:30 and definitely did not get to spend the whole day at home reading. But whats most sad is that i spent the whole first day of spring wishing i was at home in a blanket. That is NOT what spring is all about. Spring is about smelling the fresh blossoms and hearing the birds, sitting outside and soaking in the sun. Spring is about feeling alive! Needless to say, i'm excited for springtime. Maybe i'll have to go shopping again for some new spring clothes! (oh how i love to shop..)

I think i'll end this blog before it turns into another novel. I have more do say (go figure) but it will have to wait until another blog.

Happy Spring Everyone!

Monday, March 17, 2008

spring cleaning!

There is something about this time of year. It makes people want to start clean and fresh. I had that feeling overcome me today after coming home from school. I had a pretty productive day at school, mostly on the planning side. I decided what i was going to do for a few projects that are coming up and so i was really relieved. Thats always a good feeling. Anyway, i got home and a sink full of dishes welcomed me. Thats not usually a good feeling... hehe. but i just decided that it was okay because i wanted to wash the dishes. Yes, thats right. I, Kirsten Clark, actually wanted to clean. Oh but it didn't stop there folks. I washed all the dishes, cleaned the counters/stove, swept the floor...went to fhe... mopped the kitchen floor, cleaned the table, swept around the carpet (you wouldn't believe how much hair was stuck there) vacuumed, partially cleaned the vanity area of the bathroom AND started cleaning my room. It felt so good! Truth be told, i could have spent that whole time just cleaning my room and still be busy cleaning...but i don't really like cleaning my room. Its interesting actually, i'd rather clean just about anything than my own bedroom. I've always blamed small spaces and lack of organization. Especially at college! It seems pointless to try and organize the endless piles because there isn't really anywhere better to put them. Sure i could throw things away, but what fun would that be?! haha Instead i just look forward to next fall/ my new house. There is SOOO much storage space in the house we are renting. Its going to be great!! Unfortunately, soon after feeling that excitement i get nervous. Its inevitable. As super excited as i am for next fall/winter it also scares me... a lot. Once next winter semester is over i'll officially be done with my undergraduate degree. And i'm still SO unsure about where to go from there. School has been my life for the last 15 years, i'm not sure i know how to do much else. Of course there is also the excitement wondering what the future holds. I'm sure its gonna be good! After all, i haven't been disappointed yet. I'll just have to hold on tight and see where the ride takes me.

final thought: have you ever tried really hard to convince yourself you don't want something. but all the thinking and convincing does is make you want it more? I strongly dislike not having control and i wish i could just stop wanting it. any advice?

final comment.. (for real this time) I decided i need more pictures in my blogs. So todays pics are in honor of today being st. patty's day and the cartoon is because although i don't hate doing the dishes... i could totally see myself buying new ones just so i didn't have to clean them!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

i'll let my fingers do the typing...

How can I start a blog when I don't have anything planned to say? I have a lot on my mind, who doesn't... but nothing of special significance that is blog worthy. And yet i can't shake the feeling that i want to type. I love typing. I love the fact that my fingers know exactly where to go to create the words to express my thoughts. and i love how writing something out helps solidify ideas and feelings into something more meaningful. I think its sad that so many people go through life without writing down their thoughts. I wish i did it more often. Writing in a journal/diary/blog is actually really therapeutic. I recommend it to all.

So i went up to Holiday (i think) tonight to eat dinner at my brother's girlfriend's mother's house. What was the special occasion, you ask? Well, my parents came into town (tyler bought the plane tickets for my dad's birthday so he could come visit his dad.. my grandpa) and this dinner was the official parents meeting parents dinner. It consisted of me, my mom and dad, tyler, hilary, her brother, their mom and their grandma and grandpa. The food was great and so were they. Its interesting how involved tyler is in their life. He actually lives up there and works for Hilary's dad. They love him. I'm still not at close to my brother as i would wish, but i look up to him and admire him and care for him in a way that i can't always explain. Anyways, back to the dinner. The house was really nice, very cutely decorated and rather spacious. I felt a little out of place, not so much for myself, but for my parents. It was obvious that hilary grew up in a different lifestyle than i did. I don't think there is anything right or wrong about either way. But i hate the fact that it makes me feel inferior like it does. I'm very intimidated by people who come from families like that. Sure they would tell you that aren't rich....and i wouldn't go as far as saying i was poor. Those two terms are so taboo in american society (everyone is "middle class"... yeah... right...). Anyway, it wasn't just the house. Its the clothes, and the food, and the lifestyle that all makes me feel inferior. Hilary is a very talented dancer and i learned tonight that so is her mom. her mom choreographs musicals and it really good at it. I couldn't help but compare that to me and my mom. I know i have my own qualities that make me special, but i wonder what it would be like to live like that. Sometimes i just feel like i'm destined to a life of mediocrity. I should really stop before this turns into a personal diary entry...heh. I'll just remember one of my favorite quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." And there is no denying that they really were nice people.

moving right along... I drove home from the dinner (in snow... which i hate...) and found my apartment rather quiet and empty. I guess that's what happens when three roommates decide to go out of town for the weekend. The free time motivated me to work on some homework, a project that simply involved coloring. Nothing too intense for a saturday night. I colored while listening to "This American Life" a program broadcasted through NPR. They have some pretty interesting topics and i rather enjoy listening to the style as well. The episode i listened to was all about memories.... 4 different people telling 4 different stories that all related back to remembering their childhood. It got me thinking about the fragile state of our memories. One of the people said something in particular that got me thinking. He said that in talking to someone from his childhood he realized that his memory of her was more realistic that his memory of himself, and vice-versa. Its interesting that we can remember other people better simply because those memories aren't tainted with the years that have since passed. Our memories of other people are like images frozen in time. Where as our images of ourself are always changing and i wonder how accurate they really are.

My main problem with memories is, like i said before, how fragile they are. Sure i can look back at a picture and recall some events of that day, i can read an old journal entry and be reminded of my younger self, and i can talk to people who knew me as a child and learn some things i had completely forgotten. But where does that leave the rest of my experiences. Memories long gone and never to be reclaimed. It saddens me to think that someday i won't remember my college years that well. I'll look back and remember some general things but not many specifics. It is sad because i really enjoy my life right now and i don't want to forget it. I don't know why, but forgetting things really bothers me. I guess that's another reason why i like writing things down. Its comforting to know that in ten years i can look back on it and remember what i used to be like. I find some satisfaction is having memories. I guess it symbolizes that my life means something.

Ironically enough, I was talking to an old friend last night about this very topic. He asked me if i would remember him in a few years. My immediate response was "of course". How could i forget someone who i was so close to? And then i began to think about previous friends i've had. Friends with whom i've shared similar bonds, but who now seem like minor characters in this movie i call my life. Sure if i think about them, i can remember their names, what they looked like, what we did together. but the memories are slowly fading and getting twisted in my head. It seriously creeps me out. .... I just got lost in a string of friends, starting as a young child and leading up until my ex-boyfriend. It startled me to end with ryan and realize that even though its just been a few months, my experiences with him have already faded. I guess there are some good reasons for this phenomenon. Afterall, i wouldn't want to remember every detail of every boy i've ever liked because someday i'll be married and those would all be pointless memories....right? i guess. but i still don't like it. maybe, hopefully, when we are all in heaven we will be blessed with a perfect remembrance of everything. That would make me happy. we are now, a few paragraphs later and its basically my bedtime. I could have spent the last little bit of time cleaning my room. It really needs it. Or doing more homework... what college student doesn't have homework they could be doing? but i'm glad i decided to write instead. Regardless of whether or not you (the reader) enjoyed this blog, i enjoyed writing it. I enjoyed thinking deeper about the otherwise meaningless parts of my day. Its funny because technically i could have thought all these things while cleaning my bedroom, but i don't. I tend to turn of my mind if i'm by myself. Its easier just not to think sometimes. But what a waste that is? I'm blessed with such a wonderful brain, i really should use it more often. But... until i can learn to think by myself, i will have to continue using blogging as a way to dive deeper into my personal thoughts. And you know what that means... many more blogs to come. Until then... :)

good night

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Can't you see that it's just raining... aint no need to go outside

(5 points if you know what those lyrics are from, and an extra 5 if you love banana pancakes as much as i do)

So, a month or so ago Chelsea and i were playing some married couple game with Joel and Elise. I don't remember what it was called, but the basic idea was that you had to answer questions about the other person to see how well you knew them. Chelsea and i were "a couple" and we were actually doing pretty well. And when i say we were doing well, i mean Chelsea was amazing me with how well she knew me. One example... the question was: who is Kirsten's favorite band/artist. I had to think about took me a while...but finally I decided that i liked Jack Johnson enough that he could be the answer. sounded good to me. So then it was Chelsea's turn to guess... and she guessed Jack Johnson! how did she know when i didn't even know?! crazy right. Anyway, the point is... i really like Jack Johnson although i didn't really realize it until that night.

So that leads us to the real issue at hand. Jack Johnson is coming to concert in Salt Lake in august (10 points if you already knew that...) but when i looked up tickets i was depressed to see that the tickets are over 50 dollars a piece. I'm not really sure how bad that is for a concert (i've never actually been to one) but i do know that its more than i can afford.... slash more than i'd want to pay. This whole thing got me thinking... why are we, as a society, so willing to pay money to go see someone sing/preform? In fact, I've struggled with this idea since high school. I remember sitting in class on day, my junior year, and just thinking how RIDICULOUS it was the Pro sport players go SOOO much money. It still blows my mind. I mean honestly, isn't there something better we could do with all that money. I know I can sure think of a few. This may all indirectly tie back to my confusion about sports in general and the sever obsession some people have about sports.... but i'm going to argue that they are separate issues. And that although i don't like sports, i still have some credibility in not liking the excessive amounts of money that are just thrown away. And yes, its not just sports. Like i already mentioned this same phenomenon occurs with concerts as well. Not to mention the billions of dollars that a new hit movie can generate in a single weekend. why??

There are families out there drowning in a pile of debt and yet they still choose to spend money on these things. Now don't get me wrong, I can see the benefit of having family outings.. going to see a movie or basketball game. I support this. I think it should be done more. Family time is essential...but at what cost? Aren't there times when a cheaper activity could substitute? Maybe going and playing a game of basketball in the local park for example. Something that would accomplish the same goal without giving into the materialistic mentality that seems to permeate our culture these days....

And what about the salaries that these "performers" get. A basketball player's yearly salary is probably more than i could ever make in a life time. According to Forbes in 2004 Micheal Jordan made 35 million dollars. And as extreme as this is, even the average player on LOWEST paying team (the new jersey nets) makes 1 million a year. for what? for saving lives? for making a difference? no. they get paid to run around and have fun. they get paid to be in the spotlight and consequently be role models (even if their actions don't merit the admiration). What does that say about our society? That we value our entertainment SOO much more than we do our own children's education. Priorities people... seriously.

So, with that said, i have to admit.... I'm still going to listen to Jack Johnson and the rest of my favorite bands. And why? because i like music. I like the escape it gives me from life. I like how i can be carried away with the melody and how it can brighten my day. I like remembering the different experiences that i associate with certain songs. And i like having that release. It would take a lot of convincing to get me to give it up. And so life goes on... just as it always has.....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I wear my heart on my tagline

yes, it is true. rewind with me back to freshman year... sitting at my computer and talking to friends on MSN. It was then that I first started "wearing my heart on my tagline" It began as a joke. Something I accused one of my roommates of doing, but secretly realizing that i do it to. Why? I could guess...and my dear friend sydney who knows me better than i know myself at times could probably guess better.... but that's not the point of this blog. What I want to do is explore my most recent choice in my tagline. I figure this is a step up from wearing my heart on my tagline, although soon i may have to change the saying to ' i wear my heart in my blog'....

"some choices are just out of reach"

So, here I am, standing in front of a vending machine. So many choices in life, what is it that i want? Each choice has a different cost, but with the cost comes a reward. If only we could open the door and have it all! I think we've all had this similar feeling. Wondering what it is we want out of life. How are we supposed to choose from 2 or more "good" things? Why can't we just have it all? But what happens when we get into the predicament that the boy in the picture is in? We finally pick what we want, we put in our money, and for whatever reason .... the chosen prize gets stuck. We are out of change and our choice is just out of reach. What is a person supposed to do?

The picture shows the boy reaching for a heart. And, if you know me at all, you know I can be dramatic, and needy, and love sick etc etc (especially late at night which is when i found this picture... and probably why i liked it so much). However, I would like to expand this concept to more than just the idea of unreachable love. I think the item that is just out of reach could be anything. Recently I've talked to a lot of people who would give just about anything to have some more sunshine and time to play in it. Seeing as I spend most of my days in the library, this shared dream is just out of reach for me. Sure I could quit my job, decide school isn't really important and be able to appreciate the daylight hours and the sun (assuming Utah decided to actually continue the nice weather). but as appealing as that sounds, its not really what I want. As so life goes on. A dream set on hold, an ideal waiting to be reached, and all of this done with the hope that someday it will all work out.

That feeling of hope is an interesting feeling. Some days I feel it strongly, and i KNOW deep down that its true. That eventually everything will work out. But then some days.. some days its not so easy. Stress builds up, country songs put ideas in our heads, and our vision gets clouded. Its days like this that I find myself dreaming and wishing and not feeling any better. What we need to do is learn to appreciate what we have an not get stuck always reaching for something that is just out of reach. And so i end this post with a personal realization that I do know life is great. And i do know that i can be happy with what i have. And i do know that someday, all my dreams will be fulfilled. And until then... i will hold on to this hope that i have. Because its this hope that will keep me from reaching for what is just out of reach.