Saturday, May 26, 2012

Some Memories

Driving to School early in the morning in Mike Sanderson's car with Annabell and Nick.  Mike would always listen to the morning show on 93X Radio.
Speaking of 93X, listening to that station in my room on a Summer's day.  I remember hearing Evanescence's "Call Me When You're Sober," as well as StoneSour's "Through the Glass" and Three Days Grace, "Animal I have Become."
Watching the entire series of Bones in my room until four in the morning one night, when I was home for the Summer in Minnesota after Freshman year.
Running up and down flights of stairs for Gym class with Kellie Dexter in eighth grade.  I hated gym.
Running around and smiling at everyone after my High School graduation.  The grass was dry.  Elizabeth Klebenow said it looked like hay.  It was slightly overcast and very windy.
The ninth-grade lock in, trying to catch a glimpse of Jake Gamauf wherever I went and sometimes going down to sing karaoke in the choir room.
Watching Clue with my theater friends in Wes's basement.
Storytime at Barnes and Noble, back when it was in that strip mall by Toys R' Us.  My favorite lady at Storeytime had short red hair, smiley wrinkles, and big glasses.
Having the Stratmans show up at my door one day.  Aaron said, "We're not here to play."  And then Shannon said, "We're just here to deliver a table."
Talking to Ingrid on the bus about how a bag of some sort of snack said it had both natural AND artificial flavors.  We wondered how that could even be.
Having this girl named Chelsea complain about her boobs as we changed into our pajamas one night, after she invited herself to sleep over at my house.
Turning up "Poker Face" as loud as possible as I drove my jeep out of the Senior Campus parking lot.  In front of Jack Lassonde.
Learning the word "pusillanimous" in my tenth-grade English class.  Ms. Sadar always wore clothing that reminded me of the "avant-garde."
Singing a high G on a thursday morning as the Singers n' Swingers sang "Let there be peace on earth."  Ms. Bakken said, "Good job, Hannah."
Senora Walls teaching us Spanish back in elementary school.  Whenever a certain part of one of the songs came on, she wagged her head around, and her big hair would whip back and forth.
Wearing Caitlyn's multi-colored skirt to Provo church one day, and feeling uncomfortable about how short it was, and how I would have rather worn her big green flowy skirt.
Talking with my mom about politics until we were both crying in the unique parking lot.
Watching the first ten minutes of the movie "Easy A" with Mark before turning it off.
Having Jeramy and Ashley sing the "Happy Happy Hannah, you look like a Banana" song.
Sitting with Liseth Flores and Allison Oatley at lunch in seventh grade.
Making chocolate pudding with Ellen.

Listening to:  Aubrey Growling.
Things Going On Today: Boyfriend.
Blessings: Orange Juice.
Learned:  A little about the Salt Lake Temple building structure.

Let's Play the Guessing Game...

My next reading adventure:


I'll give you a clue.  What do all of these pictures have in common?

Listening to:  "He Calls Home" by Candlebox
Things Going On Today:  Come home from a Girl's night sleepover with my old roommate.
Learned:  Candlebox...  Why it exists.
Blessings:  Rain.

Anna Anna Bo-Banna

FINISHED Anna Karenina. 


That took FOREVER.  Over eight hundred pages and two whole semesters later, I can finally say that I have completely read an entire work by Leo Tolstoy.  I am so proud of myself, and the best part is that it was IN NO WAY a waste of time, reading that book.  

Tolstoy lived during a time when the family unit was beginning to fall under a lot of scrutiny and ridicule.  For many, families weren't the solution to society's problems anymore.  Love between couples didn't always last.  Divorce became more acceptable and frequent. Tolstoy, however, believed that the family had an important role in society.  He shared a lot of similar beliefs that members of the LDS Church have about divorce and family relationships.  He also had strong feelings about equality in society, as well as the Russian systems of government.  I won't go into the political can of worms, but I'd like to talk a little bit more about the more social aspects discussed in Anna Karenina.     

Anna Karenina is all about relationships.  Relationships that work, and relationships that don't work. Tolstoy begins his novel by saying, "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."  He then backs up this profound statement by telling the stories of a series of characters who form relationships with each other.  Even though they all have different circumstances, I see that they all have one thing in common:  They are all seeking happiness for themselves, and almost all of them fail miserably at finding it.  Anna ends up super paranoid that Vronsky's going to abandon her.  Dolly becomes this jaded and miserable woman who doesn't understand her husband. Oblonsky falls into debt. Vronsky is so worked up about his image in society that he kind of ignores the really important problems that are going on at home.  Kitty ends up getting her heart broken hard-core when Vronsky picks Anna over her. Shortly put, there are lots of unhappy people in this novel, and they all become unhappy for a variety of reasons, just as Tolstoy hypothesized.  

BUT.. there is one couple in the novel that ends up happy in the end.  That is Levin and Kitty.  Why?  What is that thing that they share with other happy families?  I think Tolstoy hits on the answer to that question in the last few pages of his book.  My favorite character in the book is Levin, because he's always so sincere and meek and he just wants to make the world a better place.  He's falls in love with Kitty, and after a lot of pursuing, he finally wins her and they end up married.  But then he learns pretty fast that marriage ain't one big picnic and he still has the same insecurities and problems that he had before.  Levin is struggling over the moral dilemma of how to treat the poor, and he wonders if there really is a God out there who cares.  After months of depression and confusion, Levin finally has this epiphany and learns that TRUE happiness comes from TRUE goodness, and TRUE goodness is free from selfishness and thought of reward.  We shouldn't be doing good things in order to avoid a punishment or to get a blessing.  We should just be good because good is good.  It has nothing to do with what we want, or what someone else wants, or what the world wants.  We just need to care about what God, who is the ultimate epitome of goodness, wants. It's a "My will, not thy will" philosophy.  And that's the key to a happy life and a happy marriage.  If both you and your spouse are working to do what God wants you to do, you'll be happy together. Levin soon finds out that it's not as easy as it sounds, being good ALL the time, but as long as you've got the right attitude, you're trying hard, and you have the goal in mind, you can be assured that you will be able to find happiness in any situation.  

On the more negative flip side, there are characters in the book who THINK they can find happiness by being selfish and only caring about fulfilling their own desires, but that only leads to a world of instability, heartache, and misery.  Look at Anna.  She thought that she'd be happy with Vronsky, but by having the affair she lost the respect of people she cared about, and she was forever separated from her son (who was a much more true source of happiness), and she ended up killing herself out of jealousy and revenge for something Vronsky never did.  What I've learned from Anna is this: Disobedience and dishonesty eventually will lead to bad things.  There's a very practical thing that I sort of wish couples today could understand. If you are unfaithful to your spouse or partner, who's to say that the person you're cheating with won't up and betray you just as quickly?  And really, deep down, I think Anna knew that what she did was wrong, and you just can't be happy if you're living in constant guilt and shame.  Furthermore, I think another reason why Anna and Vronsky failed was because they didn't really communicate.  Vronsky tried really hard, but Anna never really said exactly what was on her mind.   She'd just get mad for no apparent reason.  How do you think that made Vronsky feel?  The key here is this:  You need to actually TELL your husband what's wrong.  If you have a problem, talk about it.  Be candid.  Say how you feel.  Be specific.  If you bottle up your feelings, you may end up going stinking crazy like Anna did.  You may not end up throwing yourself under a train, but I'll tell ya, it's a miserable existence when you constantly feel misunderstood.  You don't have to feel that way.  

This book hit on a lot of subjects that I think are very important for us today.  It's definitely shaped the way I go about my relationships with my roommates, my family, and my boyfriend.  I think good novels reveal truth about the human experience.  Anna Karenina definitely does this for me.  

Remember those pictures of Kierra Knightly and Jude Law that I posted?  The reason why I used them as clues for guessing this book is because there is a MOVIE being made based off of this novel.  It's currently in post-production and is set to release on the Ninth of November.  Kierra, of course, is playing Anna and Jude Law is going to be her husband Karenin.  Check out this picture!  It's so epic!!  I'm SO EXCITED.  

Listening to:  "All Alone" by Fun. 
Blessings: Three-day Weekends. 
Learned:  Leo Tolstoy had thirteen children.  He was born in 1828 and he died at a Railway station (which is ironic... That's where Anna died.) in 1910. This was right before the Communist revolution in 1917.  I wonder how Tolstoy felt about the Communists.  
Things Going On Today:  A barbecue... or maybe a recital.  I don't know which one I'm going to yet.   

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Few of the Lesser-Known Reasons Why Having a Boyfriend is So Great

So if you don't know yet, I have recently acquired a boyfriend.  And since I have made this acquisition, I have discovered a lot of really good uses for boyfriends -- and not just the kinds of uses you expect, like how he pays for your movie ticket or gives you kisses.  Those are always nice, of course, but there are other things I didn't really take notice of until now...
So here it is.  My list of some great things that come with having a boyfriend.  It's an ever-growing list, I'm sure.

1.  Someone to serve.  One of my first resolutions I made after making the realization that we were dating was this:  To make his life easier in any way possible, big or small.  I got him a microwave a while back, and it felt SO GOOD showing up at his house and seeing him smile at the sight of it.  I've helped him with homework, lent him my printer, given him compliments.  He's always so thankful.  It's like a high.
Sidenote:  It's funny... ever since Boyfriend happened, I've had this strange urge to do... dare I say it this way?... domestic things.  Like make him food and clean his house and be a total girl.  And if you know anything about me, I'm not that kind of girl, normally.  Boyfriend has a strange influence over me that way.
2.  A greater appreciation for time management.  Now that Boyfriend is around, I naturally want to spend time with him.  But that can only happen if I have finished all the things I need to do, first.  Homework, shower, clean, work, then Boyfriend.  I kid you not, I have never EVER gotten things done so fast in my LIFE.  I get all my homework done, and even get ahead (gasp!) before six o'clock every night.  And I even usually have time to take a decent shower, look nice, clean a little...  It's great!
3.  Boyfriend knows a ton about movies.  I've seen more films in the past month than I've seen for the whole rest of this year.  Avengers, Chronicle, Waiting for Guffman, my first Mission Impossible movie... The list does go on. We have a growing list of movies I haven't seen that I need to see.  And he has a lot of random facts and trivia about movies swimming around in his head, and on a rare occasion, he's willing to geek out in my presence and I gain a lot of film-major insights.  The same thing happens with baseball, male hygiene, and Bob Dylan.
4.  I now have a reason to wear perfume.  Boyfriend is a little more smell-conscious than I have ever been.  If I can't appreciate the aroma of perfume and body spray, maybe he at least will.  The same applies to shaving my legs... I never saw the point, but now I think it's worth investing time into that activity, for his sake.

Listening to:  Rhett and Link

Monday, May 14, 2012

Moment I Wish To Remember: May 12, 2012

I'm still stuck in April in regards to my journal keeping.  I have a lot to write about and document, so I'm taking my time doing it.  BUT, in the meantime, life is still going on now and there are little things that happen every day that I probably should write down.  So until Watson is all caught up (which may be a while), I'm going to mention one little moment I had with Ryan this past weekend here.

We were on our way to the Creamery last Saturday, passing by a small construction zone in between the Eyring Science Center and the SWKT.  We were talking about holding hands or something, and this bird whizzes above our heads.  All seemed right and good with that, except it crashed into the nearby chainlink fence with a loud "CLING."  It was loud enough for Ryan to turn around and look in the general direction the bird was flying.  My gaze shortly caught up with his.
And there it was, lying on the dusty ground, writhing in hopeless circles, only able to move one wing. It must have hit its head.  It opened its beak wide over and over again, as if it were crowing out silent calls that we couldn't hear.
It died within thirty seconds.  We saw it crowing, writhing, then it was still.
Wow.  Watching something die is hard.  Watching it with someone like Ryan makes it a little better.

Listening to:  October 2007 General Conference.
Things Going On Today:  FHE.  Monday.
Learned:  Elder Wirthlin's last talk standing up was October 2007.  Elder Nelson came up to support his trembling body as he spoke.
Blessings:  Sleeping in.  Friends who give me rides home from work.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Two, Four, Six, Eight... I WILL NEVER GRADUATE!

It looks as if everyone and their mother is going to get out of school before me.  Here I am, almost finished with year 3 at BYU, and I still have another two years to go before I finish my undergrad.  There are people who graduated high school AFTER me who are getting out of college THIS YEAR.  How does that happen??

And how does it happen that there are girls two years younger than me who are MARRIED and even have KIDS?  And how does it happen that there are boys younger than me who are now DONE with their missions??  Where has my youth gone???

It's not like I don't love school.  Matter of fact, there are days when I wonder if I would even mind just going to classes forever.  I love sitting in a desk, taking notes, being around so many smart people, and learning new things.  I do plan on attending Graduate School after I graduate with my Music Ed degree here at BYU, and if God wills it, I even want to try and get a PhD in something.  (Or maybe two...)  I like school.  I love BYU.  But what I DON'T love is how I've been here for three years and have nothing to show for it... at least not officially.  I'm nowhere close to getting a really good job that I wouldn't feel ashamed to have.  I may have taken sixteen credits worth of ASL, but I have no interpreting license.  I don't even have a completed minor.  I've learned so much these past few years, but my resume is almost just as blank as it was when I first came to college.  Learning and getting A's is okay, but that's not what's going to help me succeed -- at least on a financial level.

And it's not like I don't like being single, either.  I love my ward.  I love my independence.  And there's NO WAY I'm ready to start popping out babies.  But sometimes I find myself feeling like starting your own family is like this rite of passage between  being only sort of a grown-up to being a complete grown-up...  Now of course that's not true, but I think that way sometimes.  There are 19-year-old girls I know who seem to just automatically become a little more mature now that they have husbands and "married-people-problems."  And I can't deny that I see some prejudices against single people in this here Mormon society and I get a little sucked into that mindset.  Sometimes I get this feeling that if I'm not getting married, I'm being disobedient or unrighteous in some way.  After all, we have General Authorities basically BEGGING us to get married over the pulpit at Conference.  Yeah, I need to get rid of those feelings.  I'm a perfectly worthy and good person, even if I'm not married.  But I'd still LIKE to be married, if not just to show the world that I'm on the right track in life.  Moving forward.

I just wanna see some real, honest-to-goodness progress.  And a diploma or a marriage license would be a nice physical representation of that progress.

I forget sometimes that I'm only 21.  I've got time on my hands -- time to figure my life out, graduate, start a family, be a rock star, and still have time to watch 30Rock and Community on Friday mornings.

Listening to:  "Who's That Girl" by Robyn
Things Going On Today:  A recital, a rehearsal, and maybe the giving of a tasty gift.
Blessings:  Weekends.  Not a lot of homework.
Learned:  Bleach can eat through a washcloth.  How to make Blondies.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

High Times

So a lot of good things have been happening to me these past couple of weeks, and I feel like I need to make an official documentation of these happy events, because I know one of these days I'm going to feel like my whole life just sucks and I have nothing to be thankful for and 2012 has been one giant crap-shoot of a year.  I mustn't let that happen.  So here we go...


Be it Known By All...

That Upon this past week, being the week of the 30th of April, Miss Hannah Johnson has been a happy receiver and beneficiary of the following good things:

Successful survival of hell week at work, along with receiving the coveted additional responsibility of weed chemical spraying.

The waiving of Dictation 3.

Successfully winning the heart of her favorite male, and attending a date with said male to see Avengers (which is a totally awesome movie, by the way). 

The removal of a feline from living quarters.

Receiving an A on the first Sight Singing test, as well as the second theory quiz.

Having an overall good weekend without dying, losing their sanity, or causing accidental bodily harm to herself or to others.

400 dollars in tax returns.

This online document has been approved by Miss Hannah Johnson and is now legal and official "good news" worthy of presenting to friends, family, and the general public.  Additionally, this written documentation testifies that the beginning of Summer of 2012 was in no way terrible.

Listening to:  "Living on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi
Things going on Today:  Um... Choir homework?  Root Beer floats at work?
Blessings:  Sleep.  Grooveshark.
Learned:  All about Italian, German, and French augmented 6th chords. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Holy Toledo..."

"I have a girlfriend."

Oh, Kevin, I now understand your sentiments!

Listening to:  Beez in the Trap by Nicki Minaj
Learned:  Movement from a Neapolitan sixth chord to a I6/4 is harder than it looks.  You must avoid creating a perfect fifth in the Neapolitan, or else it will move in parallel fifths to the second-inversion I chord, and that's bad.
Things Going on today:  First day of English diction.
Blessings:  Boyfriends, cell phones, one-hour classes. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Official Statement Regarding Holding Hands

I'm sorry to gruel my readers with another post about romance, but it's something I've been thinking a lot about lately and I sort of feel strongly about this...  I live in the land of Mormanity.  Couples -- dating, engaged, married, whatever -- are EVERYWHERE.  And casual PDA is rampant and pretty much acceptable in our society.  Everyone's got their beef about what is appropriate and what is not.  I thought I'd get my two cents in.

I have said for a long time that a couple should not hold hands until they are ACTUALLY a couple.  I still stand by that rule over all.  If I see two people holding hands in a public place -- while walking down the street or while sitting together in sacrament meeting -- I'd like to be able to safely assume that those two people are an item.  I think holding hands is sort of a statement of ownership of a relationship.  It's as if you're saying "This one is MINE, see?  We're holding hands and stuff."  I mean, why else would you do something as arbitrary and ridiculous as hold another person's hand?  It's so pointless!  You're now down one hand that you can use for other things... like maybe holding books or carrying groceries, or maybe even touching a more significant body part.  The way I see it, holding hands is something you do for other people, not just your spouse or significant other.  It's a public gesture used to express more private feelings.

But I'm learning not to jump too quickly to that conclusion, because it turns out that holding hands may not be as grand of a statement of affection as people might think.  Nor is it only for the sake of other people.

I've had my hand held before, and while at times, it has been sort of this proclamation to the world that we are now officially TOGETHER, there have been times when I've held a person's hand and no one has been there to witness it.  If holding hands is simply an act of PDA, why does this happen?  Why do we hold hands when no one is watching?

I've discovered the reason why I hold someone's hand:  I want that person to know he is special.  Maybe we aren't a facebook-official couple, yet.  Maybe we never will be.  But in a moment of closeness and, well, rightness, I feel like I should hold a person's hand, regardless.  He's someone I care about in particular, above others.  He's important.  Our relationship is important.  Holding one's hand is a platonic, simple, and powerful gesture that shows feelings of particular affection and a desire for further intimacy.

Aren't there times when you feel you just HAVE to touch someone?  It doesn't matter how much, you just need to have some level of physical contact with another person or you just might die.  Holding hands can relieve that tension you feel.  You're always touching when you're holding hands.  And, let's be honest, you have to make a pretty sincere effort to STOP holding someone's hand once you've started.  When your fingers are intertwined with someone else's, some considerable effort is required to unlace your fingers from the other's grasp.

There is something physically stirring about getting your hand held.  The hand is one of the most sensitive parts of the body.  The palm is vulnerable, thin, and soft.  And the fingertips can move in the most subtle gestures and pick up the body's tiniest movements.  Hands are nice things to play with, and they fit so well together.  I, myself, have the tiniest hands, and when a man's bigger hands clutch at mine, I feel like I am protected and surrounded by good things.  At least, my hand feels thatway.  Have you ever compared a man's hand to a woman's hand?  My fingers are so small and delicate, compared to those of a man.  The holding of hands is almost like the merging of two very positive forces in nature:  the masculine and the feminine.

Alright, I think I'm done with my holding-hand monologue.  The bottom line is I have come to appreciate this gesture a little bit more than I used to.  I realize now that holding hands sends just as powerful of a message within the couple as it does without.

And with that...  A song!

More songs about holding hands:
"Hold my Hand" by Hootie and the Blowfish (LOVE this song.)  
"Oh It Is Love" by Hellogoodbye

Listening to:  "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton
Blessings:  Rain.
Things Going On Today:  No Diction Lab!
Learned:  The Beatles were around in 1967.  Wow.  That was a long time ago.