مرحبا عليكم!

I study languages.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


The truth is, all my As kind of look like they're screaming.
I have forty-one of them.

Ever since--well, ever--I have sacrificed sleep, friends, time, happiness, family, sports, dates, sanity, and all other components of general well-being for 41 copies of the same stupid letter, a letter that will only ever appear on one specially ordered piece of paper from some musty Internet filing cabinet that claims to hold my academic worth. I can't even get a copy without paying the administration office. I can't hang my strings of As in my room or sew them into my clothes. No one but me will ever even see them except committees of skinny, bug-eyed "intellectuals" in coke-bottle glasses and Harris tweed, pouring each other scotch and soda in some smoky seminar room while pondering the merits of my collection. The man at the head of the table will pick up each of my tiny As in turn and weigh them in his hands, poking his fingers on their peaks to see if they're sharp enough to draw blood (the more painful, the better). And then, if I'm lucky, he'll let me pursue my chosen career, after we agree that his decision will leave me hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


One more time!
My 4.0 survives its fifth running semester at BYU, despite the malicious efforts of the evil demons of Honors 261 (the course listing and title looks innocuous, but I was scared for my grade all semester). Basically, the class consisted of weekly quizzes with no retakes (worth anywhere from 3 points to 40 points, subject only to professor whim), the buying and reading of eight mildly interesting books that the Bookstore won't buy back (so not worth it), getting totally left out in the cold by my freeloading partner on the twelve-page written midterm and having him take half of the credit for our A, and--the piece de resistance!--me writing/editing 80% of a 20-page paper on the evolutionarily adaptive value of music for which my entire four-person group received equivalent credit. I AM SO GLAD TO BE OUT OF THAT CLASS. There's no freeloading in science. LUCKILY.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Today was a very good skating day! My practice is starting to pay off, and it didn't take me nearly as long as usual to feel comfortable on the ice.
My two-foot spins were pretty, if a little slow.
My pivots, strokes (push with the foot!), swizzles, and one-foot/two-foot glides were smooth.
My chasses in a circle were fun.
I made progress toward a backward crossover--aligning my feet toe to heel before I shift my weight will help (and remembering to always step outside to inside).
My stops were nice (but I need to practice throwing my weight onto my left foot).
AND, I learned a new turn: a forward to backward half-rotation, with knees bent, straight, then bent, while keeping my arms in the same position. The key is to move quickly and with confidence--if you scare yourself, hold back mid-cruise, and don't throw all of your weight, you'll fall.
I've learned (if not mastered) all Adult 2 maneuvers in record time, and now am officially an Adult 3! :-)

It's funny; since there are so few adults on the ice during lesson time, and since 90% of adults on the ice are college-age (or slightly older) teachers, children often mistake me for an instructor. One precious, ponytailed five-year-old tugged on my pant leg tonight and sweetly asked if it was time for her to get on the ice yet. Another little boy asked, "How do you do that?" after I demonstrated a snowplow stop (one of the few things I've worked hard enough on to have mastered!) and asked if I would teach him.

I'm also getting to know my classmates a little better. I skate with two older, male BYU professors (chemistry & econ?), a girl whose roommate is my ex-student, and one precocious high school girl. An eclectic mix, to be sure.

I really did feel comfortable and confident on the ice today, and I hope that feeling continues. :-)

To Work On:
One-foot backward glides & progressive steps toward a backward crossover
Chasses, forward and backward
Two-foot spins (pivots, too) and quick front-to-back turns at high speed, straight and on a curve

I worked today, too, as a consultant and as a PT receptionist, and made some almost-final strides in organizing my room. I'm working 8 hours tomorrow. And P.S., I can't BELIEVE there wasn't a new Lost episode tonight. Honestly. Do they think I live for anything else?

One year ago today, I left for Jerusalem. I'm different because I went, and for that I am grateful. :-)

Monday, April 26, 2010


Headline: Science major strikes gold in Internet business!
Jessica S., image consultant.
Weird, I know.

I've been recruited for an intellectually exciting job during the month I'm in Provo: Make a local business sound good online and in brochures through composing sets of accessible, enticing, and people-friendly paragraphs. We've got a graphic/web design student working on formats and page layouts, but I'm handling all professional editing and content management issues. Basically, I interrogate a small business owner about his company and translate the elements he explains to me into a professional image for his website and promotional materials. It's going really well so far; the work comes naturally and if you know me, you know I love nit-picking over making things sound exactly the way I want them to sound.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I can make this. Maybe I will. Mine looks better. ;-) So there, Martha Stewart! (original)
Summer is here! :-D
Of course, the on/off snow, rain, hail, etc. makes it feel more like February than April, but I digress.

I have, of course, made the best of my first three days of summer by laboriously moving out of my apartment (and spending hours scrubbing the bathroom I was in charge of in an alternating fashion with straight bleach and oxalic acid, SO DO NOT EVEN TRY AND CHARGE ME, LIBERTY SQUARE), laboriously moving all my things back into my house (I'm living at home for a month until I leave for Harvard), clearing out the computer room and redecorating it with IKEA finds so I can have some semblance of a bedroom while I'm here (foldable denim couch bed with adorable black-and-white flowered pillows; huge aged-wood wardrobe dresser I assembled myself with only a hammer, assorted screwdrivers, and my naked intellect!; deliciously minimalist side table; dress rack; colored storage boxes, etc.), doing five full loads of laundry, and skating, of course.

I know when to go to the rink so that there's almost no one there, but those who are there are invariably AWESOME, which makes me really self-conscious and inhibits the degree to which I feel comfortable practicing. I slowly work on balancing around a circle and lifting my non-skating foot just above the ice to control my forward crossovers while the others (adult ex-skaters who come to keep up their talent and/or train their little kids, or young competitive skaters who wear little dresses and fine-tune transitions) jump, weave, and spin like experts, periodically offering me really nice advice about stabilizing my upper body and/or bending my knees more. I suck, and I can't hide it, but I still love the feeling of doing something entirely new to me. Every tiny success--and there are very, very few so far!--feels absolutely brilliant. :-) I think I'm going to invest in some skates and ask for private lessons for my birthday (which is in August, after which I will be twenty).

I haven't been home for my birthday in years. I spent my sweet sixteenth on an all-day flight from London; my seventeenth in West Yellowstone or Orlando (I can't remember which); my eighteenth in Dallas?; my nineteenth in Jerusalem and my twentieth I will spend in Boston. Hopefully by the time my birthday rolls around I will have found a favorite restaurant or cupcake place in which to spend it (and some lovely friends with whom to spend it). :-) Which reminds me, I still haven't found an apartment there...augh; sublease an apartment? Am I that old?

To Do:
1) Find a Boston apartment within walking distance to Harvard Square, as I don't think I'm going to live on campus any more, considering I can cut my rent in half if I sublease an apartment...
2) Find a Provo apartment for fall/winter '10/'11, as Foreign Language housing just fell through :-(
3) Learn to complete a backward crossover. I CANNOT DO THEM. THEY CONFUSE MY LEGS.
4) Design (and stick to!) a fun exercise routine--some combination of swimming, biking, skating, weights, core training, and running, preferably outside because in color and consistency I currently resemble a marshmallow
5) Make a hair appointment (I was serious about those purple-red streaks)
"Marshmallow" is spelled wrong. But this is adorable. (original)

Malted Marshmallow White Chocolate Royale!
It's hot chocolate...with whole milk, heavy cream, marshmallow creme, white chocolate, and malted milk. Wow. Food Network, you never cease to amaze me.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


There's a folder on my laptop's desktop labeled ISD. It stands for "idiots' self-descriptions," and in it I put screenshots of the most laughable "About Me" sections I can find on Facebook. I don't include names, and once I take each screenshot, I forget who it is attributable to (what I'm trying to say is that this isn't mean-spirited; I don't hate people for writing stupid things about themselves, but it entertains me to collect these descriptions).

Enjoy my favorite so far:
I think there's a bit of a disconnect between this kid and the word "ignorant." He feels targeted when he is making rude comments that provoke the response, "You're being ignorant." Of course, if he is making his rude comments about something he does not know much about, he is indeed being ignorant, justifying the comment (and its apparent frequency; if it's quoted in a paragraph-long self-description, it's probably common). I don't know; maybe we should trust him. He IS the dumbest smart person we will ever meet. I mean, he doesn't believe in paragraphs OR punctuality.


Today I shakily learned my first two-foot spin and attempted a Mohawk, which, unlike the hairstyle, entails switching from a forward glide to a backward glide in a single graceful bound. Now that I've been moved up (I was promoted to the general adult class from the exclusively beginner class, so most of my classmates are ex-skaters trying to get back in the groove), I'm the worst in my class by far, so I have extra motivation to practice. I feel like I need to learn the basics really well, though, before I move on to these new things, as exciting as they are--I mean, I can't do a Mohawk until I feel comfortable in a backward glide, right? And I won't feel comfortable in a backward glide until I can do perfect backward crossovers, and I can't do backward crossovers until I master my back inside and back outside edges...I need practice. I feel like when I practice by myself, though, it takes me forever, and I still don't know if what I'm doing is right. Perfect practice makes perfect. Misguided practice makes misguided habits. I don't want to dominate the attention of my teacher, a tall, graceful, thin blonde who makes everything look only beautiful but incredibly easy on ice, because I know my classmates are anxious to move on, so I'm going to have to catch up on my own.

My backward half-swizzles, though, that I worked on for so long last time I practiced, were perfect. :-)

Learn to skate with me!
Two-Foot Spin:
Plant your left toe pick into the ice. Extend your left arm straight out from your body and extend your right arm at a right angle from there. Use your right foot to propel yourself forward in a half swizzle without lifting your skate from the ice, and as you do so, bring your right arm into your left arm. Bring your skates together, cross your arms, and shift your weight to the front third of your skate as you spin.

Practice by standing your feet heel to heel on the ice and gliding from one onto the other (don't change the direction of your movement, just change the way you face). Begin a one-foot glide on your right inside edge. Bring your left foot in line with your right foot, heel to heel, just above the ice. Quickly shift your weight and plant your left (backwards) foot downward to continue your forward glide on your left outside edge.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fine print.

What those beautiful Olympic figure skating costumes hide.
This picture does NOT do my knees justice. And they'll be even worse tomorrow, once the blood has time to congeal and turn purple/black.
On the bright side, I zoomed right on through Adult 1 and into Adult 2!
After much practice, I can now do perfect swizzles and half-swizzles, backwards and forwards. I can go backwards smoothly and quickly, perform really fast forward crossovers (inside edges) (you know, this is the kind of skating you see when someone's trying to gain a lot of speed--feet sequentially in front of each other, toe to heel) and two kinds of stops!

I'm loving life. But I skated for two hours tonight instead of listening to the قصص or المذاكرة المفردات for my Arabic final tomorrow. There's still a list of verbs I don't know, and I need to fine-tune my table of اوزان الفعل and brush up on some obscure concepts. You never know what you'll be tested on in this class...so maybe I'll just  !سأذهب الى سريري و أنام . ليلة سعيدة

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I have a story to tell, but it will have to wait.
In the meantime, enjoy the fact that I was quoted in the school newspaper.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Today's happy moment is brought to you by my favorite professor (from comments on my final paper, a 20-page analysis of five poems presented as an aesthetic chronology of the Shoah):

100% + "Ms. Sagers: This is a flawless paper. I congratulate you on your literary capabilities. You write convincingly, graciously, and the secondary research shines through just about every paragraph. Your own poetic analyses are throrough and perceptive. Excellent work!"

Yesterday's happy moments:
Garlic naan and lamb coconut korma from Bombay House for dinner, public ice skating, and a late-night movie, all with people I love.

Still to come: Tonight's episode of Lost and my first figure skating lesson! (oh, and finals...about those...) Really, though, the only final I'm worried about will take place on Friday, in Arabic. I'll have to fine-tune short vowel patterns for each of ten verb forms and their respective مصادر, go over grammar structures, review all my vocab, etc. Physics will be a snap; I've aced my other exams and can get 60% on this test and still end up with an A. I'll have to write seven or eight pages each for Miller's and Klein's classes, but at least it won't be stressful.

P.S. Enjoy this music video, forget that it's finals week, and forget having to scrape the snow and ice off your car this morning despite it being mid-April. Zooey's clothes are adorable, especially the polka-dot dress!

She & Him - In The Sun from Merge Records on Vimeo.


Thursday, April 8, 2010


I just received the roster for my Harvard internship!
There are 35 interns, and I'm the only one from BYU. The others hail from Harvard, UC Davis, Univ. of VA, Olin, Cambridge, Oxford, Carleton, Stanford, British Columbia, Rutgers, Brown, Wellesley, Universidad de Costa Rica, North Carolina State, Wesleyan, Ripon, Univ. of PA, Mt. Holyoke, and Aga Khan (in Pakistan)!


I can't wait to meet البنت الباكستانية; I Googled her university and Arabic studies are central to their curriculum. Guess I'll have someone to practice with! :-)

A Collection of Facts I Can Hardly Believe:
This summer I will live on campus at Harvard University.
I will live in a single bedroom (!!!) in a suite with 3, 4, or 5 roommates.
I will pay $1260 a month for rent.
I will be paid $4320 for doing biomedical research at Boston Children's Hospital alongside two pediatric endocrinologists.
I will be issued an official hospital ID badge.
I will take the M2 shuttle from Harvard Square to the Longwood Medical Plaza every day, and this transportation will be free with the Harvard ID I will be issued.
I will attend a stem cell research class and weekly lectures on campus.

...I am officially an adult scientist.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Life's been slow on the blogosphere as of late, mainly because there is only so much people can take of you complaining about how all you want to do is stuff generously frosted cupcakes down your throat and pass out to figure skating documentaries (wow, ironic combo), but how instead you have to wake up early and take showers and straighten your hair and put on your mascara and dig out some wrinkly outfit that doesn't make you look like a complete mess and arrive at school and hurry to be on time and pretend to smile when people ask you for the ten millionth time how to distinguish Trypanosoma epimastigotes from Leishmania promastigotes, and how all this is necessary BECAUSE YOU CANNOT SIT ON THE COUCH IN A SNUGGIE YOUR WHOLE LIFE, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO.

Which is depressing.
Because for at least sixty more years I will have to wake up early and shower and get dressed and put on makeup and smile at people I don't want to smile at.
Also, I got my fourth BYU ticket of 2010 two days ago. I just can't pass up the convenience of faculty parking, and I think the mindblowing vehicular proximity I manage to obtain every morning is well worth the $100 I've shelled out since last August for what I consider my "parking pass." But when I get three more tickets this year (a certainty, not a possibility) I will be officially banned from on-campus parking. LAME.

Unrelated but fun thought: Imagine if you were given one day to eat whatever and however much you wanted with no caloric consequences.
I don't think I've ever tapped my capacity to eat. Not just to eat, I mean to really eat. Oh, you'll often hear me say I'm full because it's the polite and healthy thing to do, and because nice, emotionally balanced girls don't eat twelve burritos in one sitting. But I really think I could, if I let myself try. I could eat a whole batch of cookie dough. Or a whole can of buttercream frosting. Or four savory crepes topped off by two sweet ones and a cupcake for dessert, followed by soft macaroni dripping in multiple cheeses for an after-dinner snack. And then maybe another cupcake. OH, THE GLORY.

I would be a fugly fat-a. But I would be a satisfied fugly fat-a.

To prevent myself from becoming a fugly fat-a in the near future, I have lined up an engagement in which I cannot wait to participate. And no, it's not at the local In 'N Out Burger.


That's right; starting next Tuesday evening, yours truly will be joining the local rink's Adult Beginning class. My course material includes such daunting and awe-inspiring feats of sheer Olympic strength as "Falling and recovery" and "Smooth and effective forward motion."

I cannot wait.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I am so glad I discovered this man.