The Importance of Getting Dressed in the Morning

After I graduated High School I started to question why anything was really important at all.  

Any of these things may have included:

Celebrities in the Media. Why do people play into the hands of big-name celebs who are obviously stipulating for attention? e.g. Miley Cyrus, Donald Trump . I still don’t get it.

Employment nowadays. I’m sitting in traffic on the way home from work and I look around me and wonder, why do we participate in the rat races that make up the job market economy? Whatever happened to individuality and self-reliance?

I know Ron Swanson would be proud.

College. More specifically 4-year college and questioning the glamour that comes with it (parties, greek life etc). How important is it all? Really? Cause if say you were allergic to alcohol then it seems like you wouldn’t have much to do.

 

Getting dressed in the morning. This is another one I’ve thought about which is probably typical of a quarter-system student with an 11-week long summer coming out of high school. That’s a long summer, and for the majority of it where I wasn’t working I spent the day in pajamas slipping in and out of a Netflix coma.

Cue Ty Oakley’s most relatable tweet ever:

tyler oakley, laptop, lol

 

After days drinking nothing but decaf Earl Grey and finishing Once Upon a Time I realized that some part of me was missing because I had let it go.

My confidence, my health… some of the key components to my own happiness had vanished because I was spending too much time on the internet providing my appreciation of scenes that were a part of other’s lives by double tapping, and neglecting to appreciate the life I had been given.

But Sydney…

 

Source: Pringlei on tumblr
Source: Pringlei on tumblr

how can these lovely pictures

Source: Sincerely Kinsey on tumblr
Source: Sincerely Kinsey on tumblr

have the power

Markus Haltmayr
Markus Haltmayr

to make you hate yourself?

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Simple. Because wishful thinking can be draining.

The days where I decided not to get dressed in the morning were the same days I let all the internet confabulation and rapid scrolling down news feeds define what I thought of myself… no makeup, hair in a bun, reblogging or favoriting pictures of waterfalls and berry smoothies. It seems innocent enough, until one realizes that the internet is a deadly weapon of comparison.

This is what all my time spent online had led up to and I was tired of staying in my pajamas. I realized that the key was to find beautiful content in the world around me.

Next week I’m giving a talk at church about charity. In doing research I watched this clip from the LDS Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson and it turned my world around.

(If you want to cut to the chase skip down to the underlined section)

My favorite quote is around 11 min when he says,

” A woman by the name of Mary Bartels had a home directly across the street from the entrance to a hospital clinic. Her family lived on the main floor and rented the upstairs rooms to outpatients at the clinic.

One evening a truly awful-looking old man came to the door asking if there was room for him to stay the night. He was stooped and shriveled, and his face was lopsided from swelling—red and raw. He said he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success. “I guess it’s my face,” he said. “I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says it could possibly improve after more treatments.” He indicated he’d be happy to sleep in the rocking chair on the porch. As she talked with him, Mary realized this little old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. Although her rooms were filled, she told him to wait in the chair and she’d find him a place to sleep.

At bedtime Mary’s husband set up a camp cot for the man. When she checked in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and he was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, he asked if he could return the next time he had a treatment. “I won’t put you out a bit,” he promised. “I can sleep fine in a chair.” Mary assured him he was welcome to come again.

In the several years he went for treatments and stayed in Mary’s home, the old man, who was a fisherman by trade, always had gifts of seafood or vegetables from his garden. Other times he sent packages in the mail.

When Mary received these thoughtful gifts, she often thought of a comment her next-door neighbor made after the disfigured, stooped old man had left Mary’s home that first morning. “Did you keep that awful-looking man last night? I turned him away. You can lose customers by putting up such people.”

Mary knew that maybe they had lost customers once or twice, but she thought, “Oh, if only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.”

After the man passed away, Mary was visiting with a friend who had a greenhouse. As she looked at her friend’s flowers, she noticed a beautiful golden chrysanthemum but was puzzled that it was growing in a dented, old, rusty bucket. Her friend explained, “I ran short of pots, and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, until I can put it out in the garden.”

Mary smiled as she imagined just such a scene in heaven. “Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when He came to the soul of the little old man. “He won’t mind starting in this small, misshapen body.” But that was long ago, and in God’s garden how tall this lovely soul must stand!

I cried at that part. Today I watched it again and I almost cried a second time, but then I caught myself and wondered why. It’s a lovely story that would make a great film, but there was another reason. It was the same kind of bubbled over emotion I felt when my mom sat me down one day and asked me why I seemed sad.

I described to her how ugly I felt, inside and out. I felt like a hideous burden with legs. She just stared into my eyes and said so matter-of-factly,

“Sweetie you’re beautiful.”

I bubbled over then like I bubbled over at Monson’s story. Both reminded me that because God created us, he loves us and because of that we are innately beautiful and worth saving. Sometimes he sends people to love us and remind us of that. Sometimes those same people are the ones who help us get out of bed in the morning. In case you didn’t already get that, I’m trying to say thanks Mom.

The laws of superficiality seem to dominate how many of us view ourselves, and not just when we’re looking at god-bodied models posing magazines. The erosive effects caused by living in an appearance-driven world can break us down in subtle ways, eventually leading us to doubt our worth measured by social position, financial standing, and material growth.

When we can find the moral momentum to pull ourselves into a larger perspective, we can see that these laws of comparison are trivial.

No matter what your situation looks like, remember that you’re the chrysanthemum in the tin bucket. Regardless of disabilities, physical appearance, or social standing, remember that you’re a freaking chrysanthemum and don’t forget that life is better when you love yourself.

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Your soul painted by me

Have an amazing week lovely reader,

-SJT

Graduation, Episode 1

Today there is one question I demand to have answered by someone. That is,

Where did the time go?

In a few hours, I will have walked the long green stage wearing a white flowy camping tent with an empty diploma holder tucked under one arm and by then, my question still probably won’t be answered. All I can say for sure is that High School was one of the best four seconds of my life. To any of my teen readers living in them now, I beg you not to take them for granted. Each second during high school has the potential to drastically change what happens during the millions of seconds after high school, because the teenage years are powerful ones. They are a name for a metamorphosis which takes place in innocent children and warps them into opinionated, passionate, strong-willed young people. High School is the launching pad and really, takeoff only takes what feels like four seconds. That’s shorter than a vine…

Today as I walked across campus for probably the last time, I caught myself walking at the pace I usually would sprint at to get to class, (back before second semester when still cared about being on time). I caught myself in habit and stopped for a moment. It was then when I realized I didn’t need to rush anymore, not on this campus at least. Crunch-time was over, I had already won the race. So I walked slower, more thoughtfully, down my favorite alley which lies between the tennis court fence and the swimming pool fence. I love that alley so much, because when it rained, I used to stand there and watch the water collect in puddles on the tennis courts. On the opposite side and in another time of year, the swimming pool always made me jealous with its chlorine aura challenging the oncoming summer heat of spring. These are things I’ll hope to never forget, and if my memory fails me someday it’s comforting to know I have this.

Anyway, thank you dear reader as always for doing what you do best here. May your Thursday be as great as your Sunday.

Stay tuned for pt. 2

-SJT

(via gregwasout on tumblr)
(via gregwasout on tumblr)

Bays, Biology, and Pygmy Bisons

Okay guys. This one is so important, I haven’t even taken a real shower yet… sitting here in my grimy travel clothes to get some important thoughts out. Let me tell you about a little camp, on a little bay, on a little side, of a medium-sized island, off of a big state called California. Lost yet? It’s the Catalina Island Marine Biology Institute.

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   Ask  yourself, if you had three science teachers who you absolutely adored, and they came to you with a plan to take a school trip to an island off the California Coast to go snorkeling and play with the Sea Lions, would you also stand up and salute the flag of the United States of America? Probably not, unless you were pretty patriotic and into that sort of thing… but you’d probably sign up wouldn’t you? Great! We have some common ground then.
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   Right off the bat we went snorkeling in blueberry-colored wetsuits. Loved it. A few hours later we went out again after the sun went down and when we had gotten the hang of it, we were splashing the water in the dark until we could see bio-luminescent glitter sparkling around our feet and arms. Later, we hiked to see the sunrise and instead of just that, we were given a morning light show featuring every color in the paint palette, complete with a molten-orange sun, which we realized was not the one moving, we were. For the first time, I actually saw the figures in the constellations as described by their names. A belt, a sword, a bull, a dog, there they were like glittering connect-the-dots with a series of confusing yet compelling stories attached. At another point, I thought I was really cool and painted the seascape while my feet contracted hypothermia in the sand. This morning, leaving, it felt like the final scene to a movie. We were piled on the ferry. We waved goodbye to our counselors and as we slowly slipped away, they waved back and dove into the ocean in waves.
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   Don’t you love being humbled by cool things? Nature for example. I feel like a krill or a plankton right now. I am nothing compared to everything, yet I am something and that’s important too. My religion teaches similar lessons, but it doesn’t sink in until applied and here was a prime example. I found peace in a place where I could accept myself and be boggled by Heavenly Father’s masterpiece at the same time.
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   Unbelievably sad on the trip back home, I wrote down some lessons I never want to forget. Mostly these are for me and my future self, but they’re also yours if you want them too.
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1) My she-homies and I were sitting on a bridge during some minutes of free time at some point with our feet dangling over a stream that led out to the ocean a few feet away, and ironically enough, we were talking about friends who we experienced bridge-burning experiences with and whether or not that was a bad thing. On one hand, some bridges have to go sometime, the “friends for a season” theory, and that can be totally okay and on the other hand, sometimes it’s better to work on the bridge and make it stronger.
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2) How important it is to stay busy, and not be idle. If you run out of things to do, leave your comfort zone. Be interactive with the human race. Push what you believe your limits are. Challenge old doubts and set new goals.
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3) Wake up early and crash hard each and every night.
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4) Kind of a weird but solid sea metaphor: Without Plankton, the entire ecosystem would crash and burn. Without the small things we take for granted, we wouldn’t be here. So appreciate them on a greater scale.
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5) Bison. I apologize, another metaphor. There are small Bison on the island, which are still huge creatures but I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I thought the counselors were having an elaborate leg-pulling fest when I saw one dozing in the quad when we came into camp. They’re pygmy bison though, their structures have shrunk to adapt to a smaller ecosystem. So don’t be like the bison and get trapped on a metaphorically small island, like your house or a small community. Let yourself move and expand. Maybe that means travel, maybe that means reach out to people you normally wouldn’t, whatever the case; give yourself room to grow and build a larger character.
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6) Your 20’s are a time to go and have an adventure. Take care of your body and get good at what you love while not being afraid to learn something new. Mix it with seeking a great education, and don’t be afraid of smaller schools.
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7) Take advantage of all the natural wonders in your community. Earth is a gift, unwrap it.
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8) Friendship shouldn’t have age boundaries. Don’t prevent yourself from building those bridges just because they happened to be born a year that wasn’t same year you were. And if those bridges stay strong, it won’t matter in 10… 20 years, and you’ll be so glad you made friends with a fifth grader on the way to Catalina Island when he’s a rock star Paleontologist and great listener who you’ll be able to call and complain to someday.
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9) Any idiot can take a picture. It takes someone special to sit, watch, and wait and for something beautiful. Those memories will be more useful to you in your brain storage than in your computer storage. Then take the picture, but let the memory of the moment sit with you.
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10) And lastly, sometimes social media can make us feel like we can never be alone. Like when we’re walking by ourselves, and see a stranger coming from the opposite direction, that we need to pull out a phone and pretend we’re texting or calling someone. You know yourself better than anyone, so why not get to know your own mind and strengths before you put them out in front of the world? Work on not just building a self-esteem, but retaining it, so that eventually, you can be sure of yourself in front of anybody.
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Slideshow time! To set the mood:
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Thanks dear reader for doing what you do best here… have an amazing week!
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-SJT
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p.s.
Oh yeah, guess who said yes?utahlogo
   When the family picked me up from the airport they said that a big envelope had come for me while I was gone with a big red U on the front. We got to the parking garage where I opened it and started bawling into my dad’s shoulder. I’m going to college.
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Feminist Film Camp

A few weeks ago I sat down with my college counselor for about the fourth time and something weird happened. She looked me in the eye, and without hesitation or a shadow of doubt, said that she had a good idea about what she wanted me to do in college. As in major and minor. As in future. As in career. As in something nobody had ever had the want, need, or inclination to tell me. But she did. She and her decades (but she absolutley doesn’t look it) of experience in the service of young people and more specifically their academic preparedness for college. I trust her. And that’s why what she said blew my mind, because I believed her. Whereas before I had never believed that someone would sit me down and tell me what to do with my life. Not that it matters, but I’ll tell you because it’s cool.

 

“Film… with an undergrad in business just to be safe”

 

Film. Well that part wasn’t a shock, but at the same time it was. I love it, and the people I know and love know that I love it. But even many of them wouldn’t volunteer the idea to me, for reasons I can’t really guess because it’s my blind dream we’re talking about. But I can get a feel for people, and what they usually tell me without words is “Oof that’s gonna be rough” or “Aw cute, until she decides she doesn’t want to be poor”. But again, my blind dream. And my counselor’s more than just my counselor, she’s my guru. (Yes, that good) And so she knows that when a teenager has fostered a love for something, by paying attention in that class or taught themselves a skill and has just simply made that time to love that time with that thing, whatever it may be, it’s important to not just to encourage it but to support it. So shoutout to my college counselor. And shoutout again when I’m receiving that Oscar.

It’s taken me months to get the energy to post again. It’s draining, this writing thing. Thoughts to fingertips to keys. You wouldn’t think so, but it’s a tough hobby to keep consistent with. It can only really be done when it’s from your being, because math says you can only give what you have and much as I hate to admit it, math is usually right. Math won’t allow me to write about things I haven’t fostered a care for, because the words won’t be there. So giving more of what I have is probably what I’m going to work on, and finding what those things are too. It’s easier with pictures. Anyone with my snapchat or following my instagram could tell you that. Sydneyjoto is kind of a mess there.

WHICH leads me to my next trick topic.

Film camp. More specifically, Feminist Film Camp. It has a better and more official name, which I’m not sure if I can share so we’ll just call it the former. I found out about it several weeks too late and then there was nothing short of a miracle; somehow they let me in. They turned out to be fabulous people who were incredibly talented at each of their varying jobs within the film industry. We met and skyped with movie directors, editors, PR people and went through what must be the process of making a movie because we did. We made a movie and aired it at a real premiere in a theatre. It’s two weeks later and I’m still feeling butterflies from that one. In teams of five, we wrote, directed, acted, edited, and finally produced a piece all while learning from the professionals about ways to do the best visual, audio, and story work possible. Oh and storyboarding. Almost forgot that.

Here are some notes from lunchtime speakers I took in my nerdy film journal 

• It takes both brains & luck
• Have people back you up with a common goal, but never give up creative control, even if that means you have to turn down an offer from Disney. (They have a thing about that)
• The documentarian women making “Code” always just wanted to make a film.
• On choosing a topic for a documentary, “It has to be something really important and topical.”
• Show before you tell, or just show and hope that tells enough.
• Honestly, you have no idea how an audience will take a movie. You’re just feeding your home made food to the kids and hope they like it.
• A director is the one who carries the production with his or her drive alone. The director needs to be the most passionate, the story is their baby and they want to see it succeed.
• You need a team that fills the many gaps of what you can’t do, and in the end work to create something a thousand times better than what you could’ve come up with. Notice how as movies have improved over time, the credits roll longer and longer?
• Editors push the scene layer upon layer, they have artistic license and mad organization skills
• Both creative and technical people are necessary to making movies. You just have to learn how to speak the two different languages.
• Actresses with cool roles really are the role models for young girls. Thanks to CSI, the number of women entering college since 2000 under Crime Investigation or Criminal Justice has dramatically increased
• As women, we tend to doubt ourselves. More women will walk into a job interview thinking that they’re hardly qualified, whereas men typically think “it’s all good I got this”. Know that you have got this as much as the boys do.
• Code, the language of computer code will be more and more invaluable to you in the future. Learn it, and you will almost be guaranteed to use it someday and get paid for it.
• Light is everything. In animation it makes the world seem like a place you can actually go to and visit. It converts kids to Disneyisms and in live-action can make adults cry and laugh or scream sometimes more effectively than just acting.
• A documentary is a hell of a lot of work. But so is a live-action film. And animation. All need smart and creative people and all are necessary to help tell the stories that need to be told.
• When trying to sell your movie, smile. Give gifts. I have seen grown men in suits almost get in a fist fight over a ballpoint pen that said “Sundance”.  Also, the best parties don’t serve caviar they serve hot dogs. People are hungry!

And lastly, favorite quotes:

“Smile. Love the process, and if you don’t, go be a dental hygienist.”

&

“If you love it, you’ll find a way to do it.”

let me repeat that for the haters

If you love it, you’ll find a way to do it.

 

You’re darn straight.

Something else I really love, is finding flaws in society and coming up with my own dumb solutions to fixing them. So I found a way to do that at this camp, with my production team. My problem, my solution. Please pay no attention to the lead actress she’s no Jlaw, but I think the message is something to think about. If you know a teenager or anyone with a picture-posting problem, or anyone really, please feel free to share.

You can only give what you have right? Subtraction and addition? Well here’s a story I wrote about a girl with an Instagram problem, and how I think kids should start viewing the way they view the world, which is not on a phone screen.

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HFRjtwmjbY%5D

Thank you dear reader for doing what you do best here, and I wish you all a wonderful day/evening/morning/birthday/holiday/drive/whatever else awaits you.

All the best,

Sydney

Angels, Cellos, and Corsages

You’d think second semester Junior Year would be a little more arduous, and maybe it is and we’re just numb to it. But the last few months have seemed the opposite and I know that’s a blessing, or maybe just the pleasant calm before the storm that is finals. Whatever the last month or so has been as far as the weight of the universe, it’s been a great story waiting to be told. Finally getting  around to it, thanks for being patient dear reader <3

1. Angels… or Los Angeles.

The kids in my  class in the Media Arts Program at our school were given the amazing chance to head south where the hub of our collective hobby lays, Hollywoodland and Welcome to Heaven where You’ll Meet Los Angeles. We rose a bus, somewhat set up a charging system with the one plug and all our respective chargers, and hit the i of 5 for about three years. I’ll toss a stone across the most interesting parts, as I suppose will go for this whole post. I know you want to get to the pictures anyway :)

Some things: Studio Tours including Pixar and the one with the rainbow and they shot Breaking Bad. Eh, forgot. UCLA and film school (counted how many kids were snoozing with books over their eyes in the library… 25 or something) , La Brea Tar pits (Imagine the smell of burning cabbage soaked in Soy Sauce), Comedy Sportz (Was funnier than your funniest Uncle times four is that a challenge yes. Yes it is. NATE.), Griffith Observatory (The holy conversion site of all Socal hipsters), Santa Monica Pier (They’ve got really nice staff working at Pizza hut), and a How I Met Your Mother Q&A at Paley Fest (Where Neil Patrick Harris wasn’t even present but stole the show anyway as was already expected). Dream to go to school here just kicked up three levels of motivation.

 

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2. Cello… or Monticello. And no you’re probably pronouncing it wrong. Stop saying Ch-ello say Ss-ello. Montissssssselloooo. Good job you, I’m proud. Cause das where I was born buddy-o! Double chest pound kiss the fist kind of love. Mhm.

Mi padre and history teacher does this little crazy trip every other year to get the kids “wizened up in the world” by going to the most remote corner of Utah possible. It’s incredible and you should visit sometime if you ever find yourself out in the four corners area. While there, our group of 20 or so teens and chaperones had the chance to hike and jeep and  bike and hike and hike and instagram incessantly whist whining about sunburns but most of us had no desire to leave by the end of the week. Reasons being, small towns are beautiful and small town people are even more so. Common background is closer, mentalities are lifted and having good, fun experiences are first priory. I was called “cute” multiple times for putting on a seatbelt.

We were adopted a little, and our group took back with us bits and pieces of that mentality. In the academic vortex we live in in this part of California, it felt healthy to visit another high school with simply different mental focuses. A refreshing inspiration set against those bad boys below.

Utah’s like another planet.

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 3. Corsages… or Prom and stuff

Most recently and for once, these are in order. Hair by Lisa, Makeup Bare Minerals, Dress Light in the Box, Super Chill date was M. and I just wanna thank him again for a great night. M is pretty dang rad. We did the snazzy little picture thing at a friends house surrounded by the parent possey wielding Canons and, as a certain grandma of mine likes to put it, we were off like a heard of turtles! The last sketchy picture is a little tough to make out but it’s of this little indoor creek I loved at prom itself.

Tiny dance floor, great people, good solid night of fun.

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All in all, April you’ve been very kind. Thanks boo

-SJT

I’m Alive I’m Alive I’m Alive!!!

That’s right. And it’s gonna stay that way!

 
Film, Art, Spanish 3… looks like it’s gonna be a great year. Also, I’m gonna make it a point to be blogging every wednesday morning because the teacher’s kid has some extra time while everybody else is sleeping in :)
So here are some pictures of the last few days that either made it to Instagram or were honorable mentions.
lockers cute locker ideas decorating locker diy pintrest sydneyjotoFriend’s matching lockers deserve an award. Seriously.
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My little ponies were on my physics table. Day made.
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Missed my luvie <3
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Favorite Bio teacher went to Alaska this summer… ahh now I want to go more than ever.
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From my run after school that first day. The clouds were just as happy as I was :)
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From our last day together. Have a blast at Reno N! xox

Coming soon: A reallly cool DIY to deck out your backpack

I think I like Oregon..

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Yesterday Los Torrens arrived in Oregon in the Swag-mobile. Weird and a little strange because that’s North, and our family doesn’t really go north that often. South is Disneyland and East is everything else. Now, a family reunion brings us to Seattle for the first time… like ever.  It’s exciting and so I guess that’s why I’m writing about it.
To describe the entire drive up here would be blah, so here’s a sampler. We stopped in a little railroad town for gas and because my dad’s local history app convinced him it would be a good idea, which it was :)
We found a baseball field that Babe Ruth once played a small charity game on while he was in the majors. What a nice fellow.
Weird how deserted the place was except for the community pool right next door that was hopping with music and wet bodies. Guess that just explained itself. Wow Sydney.
Anyways, we checked the field out, the boys with their recently purchased iPods and I got our Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat-worthy pictures and headed out.
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(Mhm we’re cool)
Then Urbanspoon gave us a gem when we asked for a place to get grub. The Kailaidascope Pizzeria and Pub is a place I will gladly write my one and only restaurant review for… someday. Not only was the pizza crust and cobbler incredible but so was their mission statement. Their artsy menu was designed entirely by kids with special needs. I vow to return for more.
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Then we drove back and the whole way home my addiction to cloud porn drove me to hanging out the window and snap the cotton candy sky.
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Hotel and sleep.
Sunday.
Ever notice how states have their own certain flavors of people? Not exactly sure how to describe it, but during  Sunday School, I kept watching these kids and tried to imagine them telling someone “Hi I’m from Oregon!” It was an easy thing to imagine. They were all super duper friendly and just glowed with the spirit of Oregon. Yes.
Then later that afternoon I felt the “world shrink” when dad recognized someone from his childhood at church and we were invited to her family’s house for lunch. We learned that some of the best ice breakers are sprinkle pancakes with strawberry syrup and then playing a game of Disney Apples to Apples.
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And then came the play. It’s getting late and I don’t think I have the energy to write as much as I would like but if you ever have the oppourtunity to see Robin Hood in the Elizabethan Theate at the Shakespeare Festival in Oregon, GO AND DO IT.
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Anyways, goodnight world. To be continued…