Saturday, December 29, 2012

How to write jaw-dropping Facebook statuses.

Did you notice that I don't blog as often as I used to?  (Please, just say yes.) Even though my blogs are pretty light-hearted and maybe a bit ridiculous, they actually take quite some time to write.  I've sat down many a time with an idea in mind, tried to write, erased it, wrote some more, erased again, and then just gave up.  So that's why I don't write very often.  Did I mention I'm lazy?  As cheesy as it sounds (because it is) writing is my creative outlet, and when I'm not blogging it needs to come out in a different form. 

This different form that I am speaking of is the Facebook status.  In other words, Facebook statuses (stati?) replaced my blog.  But really, it's kind of brilliant.  Instead of writing a whole blog post, I can simply write two amazing sentences.  (Maybe not amazing, but I like to flatter myself.)  Did I mention I'm lazy?
In no way is this picture necessary.  But I still need one.

So if you want to be the envy of all your Facebook friends, then just follow these steps to making a fantabulous Facebook status.  Because these things matter.

How to write a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious status:  
(Is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious an adjective?  And if it is, is it a positive one?  Because that's what I had in mind.)
  1. Use sarcasm.
  2. Make them short.
  3. Be sarcastic.
  4. Make them surprising/shocking.
  5. Obnoxious is ok.
  6. More sarcasm. 
Maybe that wasn't very helpful.  My best advice is to apply the Golden Rule.  Don't write a status you wouldn't want to read.  Who freaking cares if you're going to the mall today?  NO ONE!  Who cares if you're stressed from school?  NO ONE!  Who cares if your husband is the best?  NO ONE!  Who cares if you're depressed?  NO ONE!  (Actually, we do care, but we also feel extremely uncomfortable with the fact that you shared it on a social networking site.)  If you want people to care about your life, you're gonna have to make it interesting.  Not your life, the status.   In other words, it's not what you write about, but how you write it.   

Man, I'm deep.

The thing is, sometimes I really want  to complain via Facebook.  Sometimes I want to slightly brag about an accomplishment.  Sometimes I want to make people think I'm doing something awesome with my life.  So this is how you do it.

Good and Bad Statuses About Random Life Examples You Want to Write About on Facebook That are Most Likely Boring:  

Life Example #1: Say I got the stomach flu and I've been puking my brains out all night.  For some reason I want all my fb friends to know, so I make a status about it.
  • DON'T WRITE: "Ugh sick all night.  I feel horrible."  
  • DO WRITE: 
    • "Pretty sure I lost 10lbs from the stomach flu last night; my butt's gonna look awesome in my skinny jeans."  
    • "The toilet and I became best of friends last night."
    • "Don't need to exercise today, puked my guts out instead!"
    • "The bad news is I got the stomach flu.  The good news is I watched a full season of Vampire Diaries on Netflix."
Life Example #2:  It's a major Holiday.  Obviously you want to remind everyone.
  • NO: 
    • "Happy Halloween!"
    • "Merry Christmas!"
    • "Happy Valentine's Day!"
  • YES: 
    • "Tonight I'm going to dress up like a fairy, knock on strangers' doors, and threaten them with tricks if they don't give me treats.  It makes sense."
    • "I bet my presents are better than yours."  
    • "For some reason I have the uncontrollable urge to gorge myself with chocolate.  I think it's about time I get a boyfriend."
 Life Example #3:  You got stellar grades this semester.  Everyone must know of your greatness.
    • "Woop, straight A's this semester!"
    • "Hard work really pays off, because I got a 4.0!"
  • Translation:
    • "Yay I'm smart!  But I'm still dying for attention!"
    • "Yeah I studied hard, but mostly I'm better than you!"
    • Nothing.  Stop bragging you meany-face.  Mediocre students (like me) hate it.
Life Example #4:  You're getting a haircut soon.
    • "Getting a hair cut today!"
    • "Any suggestions for a new hairstyle?" 
    • "Getting my hair cut today...all of them." (That one will never get old.)
    •  "I want to go for a more classic hairstyle.  Mohawk, afro, or wig?" 
See what I mean?  It's all about HOW you say it.  Words can create awesome, or they can create annoying.  It's up to you.  ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES!  What?


Monday, December 24, 2012

Oda Christmas Card of Awesomeness

So here's our Christmas card for this year.  I wrote it again.  I made sure to mention that in the first sentence.  I'm vain like that.

Well hello there, friends!                       

Once again, I (the middle daughter, Kristen) volunteered to write the Christmas letter because I had so much fun last year. Plus, it was a huge success...according to me. I’ll try to fill you in with some things that we did this year, but try not to be too impressed.

I just reviewed last year’s letter, and not much has changed since then. My dad didn’t get another detached retina this year, but he did have cataract surgery! He has 20/20 vision in his right eye...and the left needs some fine tuning. That is one miracle, the other is my mom started running!  But really, this is a miracle, and no one is more surprised than her. They also keep busy with church callings, work, and tennis. You know, exciting stuff like that.

Lily is a high school senior this year and it freaks me out. She’s basically obsessed with health (in a good way) and complains about things like how stuffed she is after eating two heads of broccoli.  She also likes to order meals like “Eggplant Cauliflower Steak.” Do not be fooled, the “steak” is actually cauliflower.  Our fridge now consists of fruits and vegetables, and more fruits and vegetables.  Oh, and Lily was an intern at the Cleveland Clinic this past summer.  I guess that’s pretty impressive or something.

Jenai and I are still living in good old Provo, Utah.  Over summer we discovered that hiking is much more exciting in Utah than Ohio-- because there are mountains. Imagine that.  So we hiked a lot and it was awesome. We also went camping in southern Utah, and it was really hot. But I’m sure you already knew that, too. Both of us have moved up positions in our stellar jobs and enjoy some more freedom.  Jenai doesn’t have to work customer service for Vivint anymore, and she gets to make her own schedule. I now supervise Night Custodial in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) cafeteria, and apparently I can’t get enough of the MTC because I’m planning on serving a mission starting sometime this summer.  1000 points to anyone who guesses where I’m going.  My bet is somewhere exotic like Wyoming or Nebraska.  I also got accepted into the  English Teaching program at BYU, so I’ll be shadowing high school and middle school teachers next semester.  Who would have thought?

We have enjoyed another great year and feel very blessed. We are thankful for your friendships, and I’m even more grateful if you’re still reading this letter. So this Christmas, hug your kids, parents, dog, etc. and tell them you love them. Maybe eat a few too many cookies, because heck, it’s Christmas!  And don’t forget to write thank you notes to your relatives for the gifts they sent you.  According to my mom, that’s very important.

Merry Christmas from the Odas!
Candid pictures are just so much more natural.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The BYU Terrace piano

One thing that has always perplexed me is the piano in the Terrace of the Wilkinson Center.  Well, not really the piano, but the people who play on it.  If you are not familiar with BYU, the Terrace is a big room which they use as the overflow near the Cougareat.  At lunch time, it's filled with students munching away at their Subway sandwiches, or crunching into some Taco Bell concoction.  Everyone is sitting in groups around the tables.  Everyone except that one guy sitting in the corner at the piano.   He probably looks something like this.
(I snapped this little photo today in later hours, hence the empty chairs.)
While everyone is busy socializing and eating, the piano guy will pound away at those ivory keys.  The skill level and pieces range on all degrees, but you can almost always count that it's very average. 

I don't really get annoyed with the playing.  It's not like he's trying to be obnoxious, but I just can't grasp WHY he insists on playing at that particular piano.  Out of all the pianos on campus (there is a piano in almost every classroom in every building because we have church meetings on campus) he decides to play in the Terrace while making hundreds of students listen to him "practice."  Believe me, I like attention every once in awhile, but this is not the attention I would ever seek out.

So maybe he just wants to practice.  Every once in awhile the player is actually reading music, and it does seem like he's practicing.  But not really.  Practicing requires stopping, and replaying difficult sections.  Practicing is not very entertaining to listen to, and it's pretty obvious that person is there to perform.

Well, maybe he just wants to mess around on the piano.  Because people like to "play around" in front of hundreds of students.

I have all these theories, but they just don't cut it for me.  The only one I can really consider is the guy wants to impress the ladies.  Notice how I've marked these unknown piano players as men (ha, players), because it's almost always a GUY playing the piano.  I have rarely seen a female serenading the crowd.  Well, I'm sorry men, but I'm not impressed.

I just don't get it.  I wish I knew what is going through their heads while they play.  This I will never know, but this is my guess.

"I feel like playing this song because it makes me happy.  Also I want to impress the ladies."

"I'm going to practice this song and watch the students' reactions to gauge my playing ability.  I also want to impress the ladies.

"I'm going to play on this piano because all the other hundreds of pianos are taken.  I also want a date this weekend.

"I love all this attention."

"Everyone is probably really impressed right now.  I'm probably going to get a bunch of girls' numbers."

Alas, I'll probably never know.  I'll just take creepy pictures of them and share my confusion with the internet.

Oh, and at one point in my dance dare video I pranced behind an unaware piano guy.  It's around the 40 second mark.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I used to be cool.

That title is a lie.  I was never necessarily "cool" at any time in my life, but there were many a time when I thought I was doing something cool.  Mostly in Middle School.  I thought I was pretty awesome back then. 

So sometime around 7th grade I made friends with a bunch of pretty cool girls.  We were skinny jocks that ate twice our weight, didn't care much about guys, and kind of had a sense of style.  ("In-style" at that time was wearing Abercrombie or Hollister.)
But we wore t-shirts and soccer shorts anytime outside of school.  I still do that...
Also, about half us played lacrosse together, so we often wore the same exact shirts.

Ahh the memories.  Anyway, we all sat at the same lunch table and since we had a full hour for lunch/recess (yes, we still had recess) we came up with a lot of stupid ways to entertain ourselves.  One of these activities was stealing plastic spoons from the cafeteria.  We called ourselves "The Spoon Mafia."  So much cool.  Basically, when we'd go through the lunch line, we'd grab as many plastic spoons as we could without getting caught.  At first we'd come back with about 5 spoons stuffed in our hoodies, but the numbers continued to increase as we got more courageous.  I think the record was around 20 spoons.  Actually, I have no idea how many, but it got pretty ridiculous.  We would keep a collection of all the spoons that we stole, and laugh because of our stealthy skills.
Our secret stash.
Yeah, I stole all these photos from facebook.
We also threw away a lot of lunch trays.  Apparently it was too much work to walk to the other side of the cafeteria to return our trays.  And after throwing away our trays into the trash cans, we'd steal those too, and roll them into the bathroom stalls.  For some reason it was really fun to watch the lunch ladies search for the trash cans.  Once at the end of lunch we rolled the trash can down the halls with the rush of students.  It got pretty far.  Jeez, we thought we were hilarious.

Once winter came, we spent most of our recess time in the cafeteria or on the stage.  On the sides of the stage there were ramps for wheelchair access, but we used them for other purposes.  We made a very exclusive group called the "Scooter Club" where we used the orchestra music stands as scooter-like devices to slide down the ramp.  Why we thought this was fun, I don't know.  Mostly we just thought we were funny.  Middle schoolers are typically thought of awkward, and a bunch of confused and depressed kids, but I'm pretty sure we all had way too much self-confidence.  Which is why we thought we were so cool.

Our friendship was greatly defined by our lunch time escapades, but the other half would be our birthday sleepovers.  We had a fairly large group of friends, so there were a lot of birthday parties.  And our birthday parties were always the same.  We'd have a sleepover in the birthday girl's basement, eat lots of food, give candy and gift cards as presents, and have an ice cream birthday cake.
Except this is the one time it wasn't an ice cream cake.
Then we'd be loud and obnoxious for the rest of the night.  Probably watch a movie that I wasn't allowed to watch, and then maybe pull some pranks on those who fell asleep first.  Sometimes we'd go and harass the neighbors by dressing up in costumes and go trick or treating in the middle of August.  Another time we went Christmas caroling.  But see, it was hilarious because it wasn't Christmas!  And I'm pretty sure we also pretended it was New Year's Eve and counted down from 10 at people's doors.  Except I'm not positive if that one actually happened. 

Then we graduated middle school.  They told us to dress up for the last day when we got our little diplomas.  Well, I wasn't about to look nice for a stupid assembly.

So I wore this pioneer dress.  It was only five sizes too small.

Once we hit high school, our little group wasn't as tight knit as it once was, but that's just how things go.  It was fun while it lasted, and most of us stayed fairly close.
But we still went to Homecoming together our freshman year.  Look, we can look presentable!

So did you know that I was on the curling team in high school?  We were undefeated.  We also never played a single game, but that's a minor detail.  We posted fliers all over the school for an informational meeting to join the curling team.  Except the date had already passed.  We also had awesome t-shirts that said "Sweep Away the Competition" on the backs.  We fooled a lot of people even though we had no idea how to curl.  I admit, I still think that was pretty funny.  Some people are so gullible.

Like I already mentioned, I was never exactly popular.  I guess a decent amount of people knew of me, but I'm pretty sure it was because I'm an Asian Mormon.  Neither are very common in Ohio.  Anyway, I never hosted any parties, because I was unsure of the turnout.  That is, until my 17th birthday when I had a dance party in my basement.  This was just the time before hipsters became an actual thing, so we were basically a bunch of pre-hipsters.  We'd dress up in crazy clothing and dance strangely.  It may look like I was high, but I wasn't being sexually inappropriate! So yeah, I had a dance party and it was awesome.  Mainly because people showed up, and I didn't look like a loser. 
All the pictures were blurry because it was so humid and sweaty. 
Look at all the shoes!  I'm popular!
So that one night I got a taste of what it would be like to be popular.  But not really, because you don't need to know the person who's hosting the dance party.  You just show up.

And that's all I remember from my middle/high school times.  It's surprising how much I've already forgotten.  Probably because the rest of my memories involved sitting in a classroom surrounded by teenagers.  I still can't believe I want to be a teacher.

Monday, November 5, 2012


So the Presidential Election is tomorrow, and I can't wait for this whole thing to be over.  Basically, I feel like this little girl.
This blog post isn't to promote Barack Obama, or Mitt Romney, and I don't plan to do any bashing.  So don't run away.  I'm not going to pretend that I know much about politics, because I don't.  And even if I did, my two-cents wouldn't hold much merit.  I'm just a college students who grew up in OHIO. 

So I should be excited shouldn't I?  My vote actually means something, since Ohio is a swing state with 18 substantial electoral votes.  My vote could decide the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Sure, that's exciting and all, but mostly I'm just frustrated.  SO MUCH FRUSTRATION. 

First off, in order to register to vote when you live out of state, you have to send the application through the mail. But seriously, what decade are we in?? I strongly suggest an online application.  And because of this, I have a confession to make.  I will not be voting tomorrow because once I planned to register to vote, I realized it wouldn't make it from Utah to Ohio in time.  Yes, I won't be voting because I'm I was too lazy to register earlier, but can you blame me?  I'm from a generation that doesn't plan ahead for things like snail mail.

I was annoyed that registering was so inconvenient, but I was also relieved.  I had no idea who I'd vote for anyway.  Considering my conservative upbringing, my fairly conservative faith, and the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon, you can probably guess who I'd vote for.  And because of that, I was all the more cautious.  I don't want to vote for someone based off personal reasons, I want my decision based off the actual politics.

So the obvious solution to my ignorance is to become informed and do some research on the candidates.  EXCEPT I DON'T TRUST ANYONE.  As a college student, we're taught repeatedly to check our sources and to make sure they're peer reviewed and legitimate.  These sources don't include most of the media, so Fox, CNN, Facebook, and Youtube really don't meet my criteria.  If I want to learn the straight up facts, I should go to the original or primary resources, but I'm way too dumb for that stuff.  I am no scholar when it comes to politics and statistics, so I need it dumbed down.   Which is what the news and other media sources are for.  But they're all biased, and all my facebook friends are biased so who do I trust?  Basically it's a Catch-22.  To get the unadulterated truth, I have to read the primary sources which make absolutely no sense to me.  To understand what I'm reading, I have to find simplified yet biased sources that aren't really informing me at all.   I'M SO CONFUSED.

Speaking of Facebook, I hate it.  But I'm addicted, so I can't break away.  I don't necessarily get mad when people post political comments or links on Facebook, because that's what social media is for.  But it starts to take its toll.  I don't pick sides to be annoyed with--I honestly get just as mad with the Democrats as the Republicans.  I often feel like a lot of the Republicans simply sound ignorant, and the Democrats angsty.  And most of the stuff is negative about the other party's candidate.  Which gets old real fast.  And mostly it's just a hate fest, and it makes me depressed that our country can be so divided.  Ok, I'll spare you this cliche rant, but really.  Why is there so much hate.  Hate starts to blur the facts with opinions, and then this whole voting thing is kind of worthless.

I probably sound more like an idiot than a weary citizen, but these are my complaints nonetheless.  And I promise I'll vote the next time.    Hopefully by then I'll be more informed.  And hopefully so will the rest of America.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume: (In which I attempt to write a book review)

The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume
by Lisa Rumsey Harris

About the book:
With her love of sweaters, goofy hair, and awkward manners—not to mention her family curse—Treasure Blume knows love is not in her future. That is, until she matches wits with Dennis Cameron, a divorced chef with a six-year-old daughter. Full of mischief, mayhem, and laugh-out-loud humor, this is an unlikely love story you’ll want to read over and over again!

Part where I talk:
Yeah, I have no idea what I'm doing.  This is obviously not a book-reviewing blog, so how did I end up in this position?  To make a long story short, I know the author as "Sister Harris" because she was my Honors Writing 150 professor a couple years ago.  We've stayed in touch ever since, and when I jokingly offered to write a review for her book, she took me up on it.  Actually, that's basically the whole story. 

The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume is unlike anything I've ever read.  That sounds over dramatic, but it's still true.  I don't even know what genre it is, so I'm going to make one up and call it "adult fictional funny romance stuff."  I guess romantic comedy might be the same thing, but I like my description better.  The thing is, Treasure Blume isn't like other romantic comedies.  First of all, she's got this twisted family curse that makes everyone besides children and old people dislike her.  (Believe me, somehow it works.)  And second, it's an adult book without all the "adult" junk included.  And when I say junk, I mean sex.  It's like a Young Adult read, but for older people.  Wow, I'm really bad at this.

I also couldn't help but imagine Treasure as a younger, more awkward Sister Harris.  The image appeared, and it stuck.  People don't like Treasure when they first meet her, but if they give her the chance, they can learn to love her.  Although Sister Harris is my favorite professor and a mentor/friend, that wasn't always the case.  The first week of the semester I was actually scared of her, and I was not happy to be in her writing class.  Hey, in her syllabus she warned us that she could be an "arbitrary and capricious woman"--how else was I supposed to react?  Anyway, my opinion of her soon changed for the better, and I obviously think very differently of her now than I did initially.  So that's why she reminds me of Treasure.  Plus, they both have blonde hair.  For some reason, that really helps with the visual.

I'm kind of getting off topic.  Anyway, Treasure Blume is a quality read that's also funny and delightful.  (I'm pretty sure I've never used the word "delightful" in my life.)  I recommend it to anyone that has a heart and a brain.  So that's basically all of you.  I don't want to hear any excuses about lack of time or energy, because I read the whole thing in a few days in the midst of midterms, homework, papers, and work.  In other words, I don't know how to prioritize.  BUT it was totally worth it.  The release date is November 13th, and you can pre-order it on Amazon.  I did.

Now that I look back, the only summary is in the beginning section that I didn't even write.  So, I guess you'll just have to read the book. 

Best Q & A ever:
I wrote up a few questions for the author.  Her answers alone are testament to how funny her book is.

Q: What’s the best and worst thing about publishing your book?

A: The best thing is that now people get to meet my imaginary friends. Honestly, Treasure and Dennis and Grammy Blume have lived in my head for so long that it’s startling to hear other people (like reviewers) talk about them.  It’s surreal and crazy and fun, especially when people get it.  The worst thing is learning and understanding the publishing process.  I guess I thought that once the book was accepted for publication, my work would be done. How very wrong I was.

Q: Do your current writing students know of TB and are they going to read it? If so, is that weird for you?

A: The current students know that my novel is being released this November. They are invited to attend the launch party at the BYU Bookstore on Nov.15 from 5 to 7 (as is everyone else in the world), but I told them that they DO NOT have to purchase my book.  But you should come: we’ll have treats and giveaways and all sorts of fun stuff. As for weirdness, it’s weird enough that YOU read it. And that you’re interviewing me for your blog. Like right now. See? It’s weird.

Q: Did you name Kristen (one of Treasure’s fellow first grade teachers) after me? Because I’m just going to assume that you did.

Absolutely.  In fact, in the original manuscript, Kristen was a much bigger character. She was an Asian superhero who single-handedly slayed Bonnie B. Baumgartner , the evil secretary.  But somehow, my editor thought that Kristen was too powerful and blood-thirsty, so she demanded that I tame Kristen into the mild-mannered teacher you see in the book (Pay no attention to the fact that I had already written the book when I met you for the first time).

Q: Is Dennis (Treasure's love interest) a hottie? At one point he's described as having "pec muscles." I couldn't shake that from my memory.

A: I think so. He’s tall and muscular from hauling around all those big boxes of heat and eat meat products at the school. But it’s an unconscious sort of ripped. He doesn’t work out. He has a high metabolism, and he’s just blessed. In my head, he looks like a younger John Corbett (the guy from My Big Fat Greek Wedding):
(Hey, she included this photo, not me.)
Just picture him buttoning up the denim shirt, and slapping an apron and a hairnet on.  Now that’s hot.

Q: I heard rumors of a sequel...any ideas of when it'll be finished?

A: Right now, I’m immersed in my next big project: baby girl #3, due January 2013.  So far, the sequel is mostly in my head. But funny things are  brewing: love, betrayal, reality TV, Donnie Osmond, and Ostrich farming. My best estimate of when it will be done is . . .  not right now.

Q: How many ugly sweaters do you own? Would you make Treasure proud?

A: I own more than I should, especially considering that I buy them for a fictional character (Sidebar: you can read my confession about shopping for Treasure’s sweaters here: ). I hesitate to tell you more about my collection because I’ll just make you envious.   And Treasure would beam with pleasure if she showed up on “Ugly Sweater Day” in my classes: extra credit for the ugliest sweater. 

Here are some of the winners from a previous class. Of course, no one can match the sheer fabulousness of my  V-8 Sweater.

About the Author:

Lisa Rumsey Harris grew up writing stories and riding horses in Southeastern Idaho. She received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from Brigham Young University, where she now teaches writing classes.  Lisa lives in Orem Utah, with her ancient Siamese cat, her husband  (who cooks nearly as well as Dennis) and her two adorable daughters. When Lisa began writing this book, her oldest daughter was in first grade. Her youngest daughter finished first grade this year. Check out her world at or on facebook under Lisa Rumsey Harris, author.


1. You can register  to win a free copy of The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume at GoodReads:

2. Or at the Book Bug’s site:  This contest is open until Nov.2: