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.

.
   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.
.
   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.
.
   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.
.
   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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
3) Wake up early and crash hard each and every night.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
7) Take advantage of all the natural wonders in your community. Earth is a gift, unwrap it.
.
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.
.
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.
.
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.
.
Slideshow time! To set the mood:
DSCN0152 DSCN0160 DSCN0161 DSCN0166 DSCN0173 DSCN0179 DSCN0189 DSCN0198 DSCN0208 DSCN0210 DSCN0212 DSCN0213 DSCN0169
Thanks dear reader for doing what you do best here… have an amazing week!
.
-SJT
.
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.
BD026820-8ABA-4486-B8CF-37340C8160B3

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.

 

IMGP0291IMGP0356IMGP0386IMGP0444IMGP0447IMGP0449IMGP0460IMGP0479IMGP0503IMGP0506IMGP0522IMGP0570IMGP0584IMGP0591IMGP0598


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.

IMG_9622Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetIMG_9705IMG_9733IMG_9818IMG_9820IMG_9842Processed with VSCOcam with m3 presetIMG_9861IMG_9864
 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.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with x1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_0082promlook


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

-SJT

I think I like Oregon..

oregon instagram tumblr amazing states
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.
IMG_9416
(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.
drumma
IMG_9427IMG_9425IMG_9429
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.
IMG_8064
IMG_9455
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.
IMG_9472
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.
IMG_9497IMG_9514IMG_9520
Anyways, goodnight world. To be continued…

Just Thinking About Colleges Tonight…

My history teacher’s a basketball buff. Today in class, he passed around a sheet along with a hat {the black silky kind, resembling that of Abe L} filled with slips of paper. On each was a college basketball team on the roster-thing for March Madness. The point of all this was to 1) have us research a college we would have never probably heard of, and 2) get extra credit points for each game won by our team during this season. I can’t say that I’m happy with leaving bonuses to chance especially because mine is ranked number #16… Southern U {now all you March Madmen groan.

march madness pick ugh
Can somebody explain the “(23-9)” por favor?!

So I got on my school’s college search website. It’s actually pretty cool how technology can help kids make educated decisions on a personal level, by comparing important factors like majors offered, tuition fees, and campus life according to how I’ve tested during

College Blog
decisions decisions…

personality evaluations.

You wanna know what my compilation came to?

    University of Oregon. Yeah… the Ducks.

I perused College options out of interest and boredom. A dangerous couple.

Then I got frustrated because, well, I don’t want to think about all that. Dorms and majors and fees  and the future…

•••

I want to pig out in my parents kitchen with friends and enjoy my schoolwork while hating at the same time. I don’t want to take my final driving lesson because it means that I’m that much closer to taking my license test… with the little bald man in the passenger’s seat with his nose hairs brushing the clipboard. I want to pick the grass in P.E. class as kids try to draw out the workout by asking stupid questions to the teacher. I want to be there when the last of my brothers graduates 6th grade. I want to watch Downton Abbey and Sherlock Holmes and think I can pull off a fabulous British Accent. I like my backpack and I think it’s funny when the person who has gum in class is suddenly the most popular. I love dem boys {or at least talking about them }. I love babysitting for really nice families. I love being sixteen.

•••

Pop-culture, technology… it all changes and so do the Youth it raises. The teens I mean. We are taught to live in a world we have not yet experienced, a world no one ban predict. So we must be taught to adapt given basic skills and then not-so-basic, which would be developing our talents. And that will determine if our future consists of a cubby-hole career or other.

But for now, I’m going to enjoy my life as it is. Light as a feather and fun. I’m going to take advantage of the benefits of living at home and develop those talents as well as find some new ones. Blogging, yes. You are most certainly here to stay. {As much as my parents dislike it ;) } And those pesky poopy brothers… I hope they know that the tackles and noogies are out of love. Three big buckets-full.

If there are any words of wisdom I have developed in these last few years of developing maturity they are, “Life is good, even when it sucks.”

And with that dear reader, I bid you adios. Because I have a spanish test tomorrow. Your lovely advice to teens everywhere would be much appreciated down below :)

-SJT

IMG_4562

“It’s about a girl who is on the cusp of becoming someone.. A girl who may not know what she wants right now, and she may not know who she is right now, but who deserves the chance to find out.” ― Jodi Picoult

The Foul Ball

Blessed blessed weekends. Later, a more serious post, that will tell you why I so needed a break, why school was so especially backbreaking these last few days.

But first, a story.

It’s Blessed Saturday. My brother T plays baseball. Little League Baseball. (No I don’t live in Petaluma although we have several baseball-ecstatic relatives who do.) T had a game yesterday at a middle school, and I went bearing my Canon THANK HEAVEN. Or else you wouldn’t have believed me when I told you he chased off a motorcycle gang with a foul ball.

Backstory

Next door, there’s a church, and they were having some sort of Walkathon Fundraiser behind us on the track. Bouncy houses and hundreds of people cheering for their Athletes was enough. But then we heard the revving. They weren’t exactly a motorcycle gang, but more like a christian group of harley owners… all sitting on the opposite side of the field figuring out how to get across to their event, which was behind us. “Awh NU-uh they BETTER not cross our field!”

Thankfully they chose the other way, but they were still sitting on roaring, oil spitting dinosaurs. My brother was up to bat, but procrastinated getting into his stance until they’d mostly passed.

They park their giant stereos and wheels behind us, and T swings.

Foul Ball, right over our heads, “Heads Up!”, and into the sea of Cyclists.

They Shortly disperse thereafter.

‘Atta boy T!

Utah Trip… pronounced “Yewtah Chripp”

I’ve flown on a plane solo before.  The first time was out and back to Utah when I was twelve (unaccompanied minor), the second was home from Utah, and this time was out and back from Utah ONCE AGAIN. So many things rock out in Utah… including BYU’s Volleyball Camp. I flew out a few days prior to hang with my rock’n Aunt and Grandma, then to the other Grandparents briefly, and off to camp for the kernel of the trip. It was a marvelous trip.

Things I learned?

• One can have church on a mountain

• Water tastes twenty times better once you realize how good over hydration feels

• All dogs are puppies at heart

• “The Office” never gets old, as well as British “Who done it?” shows. (thank YOUU Netflix!)

• Little recycled clock-compass men are adorable

• Salt Lake isn’t that far from Provo

Saying “Goodbye” is hard

• The friendliest horses are males

• Mountain Air makes for a gorgeous sunset

• BYU is pretty quiet during the summer, until the camp kids come

• BYU truffles are the best in the world…. topping Lindor shockingly.

• Volleyball is nothing more than being uncomfortable in the squatting position, or awkwardly smacking a ball over a net. Tough stuff man.

• Guy coaches are an utter blast

• You don’t have to be some athletic god to play @ college level

• Missionaries love Hi-Chew

• A mob of hungry teenagers can be dangerous

• Seven Peaks is a rip-off ($10 for a plastic doughnut)

• The Cafe is not in the least

Saying “Goodbye” is hard

• Advil can prevent painful misery

• Ice Cream and twelve hours of sleep in a dark Utah basement is the best recovery

• “Crazy for You” is the all-time best American play the U.S. has ever seen. Go see it.

• Do all your wash before going home to make unpacking a synch

Saying “Goodbye” is hard

• Sometimes the best friends aren’t roommates, but strangers on plane next to you.

• Temple Run is depressing

• You haven’t felt statehood pride until you’ve flown over California as a Californian.

•  Saying “Hey guys I missed you!” is really fun.


Journal Entry #1

What was the nicest dream you ever had?

Ah, the ‘ole, “soaring  over the city” dream. It was probably third grade (that was a good year) and I dreampt a glorious dream. I walked out to the kitchen and sitting on the counter, was a cup full of thick, purple liquid. I think that this came from a book I had read and my dream followed the same plot. Weird. I digress, I drank the liquid and had the sudden impulse to run down the hallway and out the front door. I’m seven years old. I remember flailing my arms and a gush of wind carried me gusty hands towards the heavens. Flash to first person and I’m soaring over the ocean, farmlands, cities, but it all seems mechanical. Like I’m not really the one in control. I descended and the clearest part of the dream was me, floating on my belly arms outstretched, flying over city streets just four feet above the asphalt. The exuberance of nobody being around, and controlling which streets I could turn down… I remember waving my spine like a New Years Dragon up and down for a more circulated movement. I love circulation. I also love independent directional transportation. Horses and Cars get me giddy. Flying is unreal, and provides for the finest of dreams. I’m going to bed early tonight.