Thursday, August 30, 2007


One of my favorite things in the world is hugging. It can be a great comfort, a greeting, a goodbye, or a just a sign of affection. I really enjoy hugs, and can never seem to get enough. It's one thing I miss about being close to my family, and I'll occasionally find myself physically craving a good hug.

That said, if you think about it, hugs are kind of weird. Once upon a time, someone had to look at someone else and think "Let's see. If I put my arms here, and they put they're arms there, and we pull each other close and squeeze, what would that be like?"

Whoever that person was - I thank you! Mostly. I could have done without the weirdness of the following:


I really like my boss most of the time. We work together well, and he's always looking out for me. I don't see him often, which is also kind of nice. About a month ago, right around my one year jobiversary, we went out to lunch for a coworker's birthday. I hadn't seen my boss, or any of my colleagues really, in several weeks, so it was going to be nice to see them. Since I was coming from a different part of the county than everyone else, I was a little late. Everyone was already seated when I arrived. As I walked up to the table, everyone gave an exclamation of greeting. My boss actually stood up (which is technically the right thing to do) and offered me kind of a side hug (both arms, but you're not necessarily looking at each other?). All I could think was "Weird. Have we ever actually hugged before? I don't think so . . . . Do people usually hug their bosses?"

But I survived, and I was even willing to hug him at our "New Year's" party last week. We're good now.


Tonight, I met my friend, Jacob, at Arundel Mills (near Baltimore). He's in town on business, and we decided to go see a movie. I arrived about twenty minutes early, and needed to make a visit to the ladies room while I waited. The restrooms are within the area you had to have a ticket for, and since Jacob was treating, I didn't have one yet. I asked the kindly, older gentleman taking tickets if I could use the facilities. He pointed me in the right direction and asked to hold onto my cell phone (so I wouldn't just sneak into a movie). When I returned, I thanked him, and he handed my phone back to me. He said something I didn't hear, but I laughed courteously and was stepping away when he said "How about a hug?" and extended his arms. Now, note, this man is probably in his 70s and was still sitting down, which would put his head at about the level of my, er, you know. I obliged, and gave him a quick side, one armed hug, all the while debating if he was creepy or still just kind and old. I'll give him the latter, since he didn't say anything creepy or weird when Jacob and I came through with our tickets a short time later. Still, it was strange.

I did get a couple good "Beast" hugs though, and that's always nice.

So go hug someone! Preferably, someone you know . . . Extra points if it's me!

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Letter to Myself

Ten years ago, the Young Women in my ward put together time capsules for ourselves. We could set to open it whenever we chose, and I decided that I would open mine in 2007, ten years to the day it was sealed. We put whatever we wanted to remember in large food storage cans and sealed them. I kept my can in my closet, and would see it every so often. 2007 seemed so far away! Since I kept seeing, and remembering a few items I had placed in it, I was afraid that opening it would be a big disappointment. I was wrong.

When I moved to my first post-college apartment, I didn't take my time capsule with me. Therefore, when I was packing to move to DC, I didn't even think about it. Home for Christmas last year, I found it in my old closet and was so excited that I would finally get to open it! I brought it back to DC and planned to have a party or something when it was Time Capsule Opening Day.

I forgot about it again until about two weeks ago, when I looked at the date and realized it was set to be opened on August 20, 2007. Great! Except that this was the day I was going to wake up in Utah, spend most of day on a plane, and fall asleep on the East Coast. I decided I'd once again take it back to my parents' house and open it with them.

I almost forgot it there too, until I was packing for my return trip. "Mom! I forgot to open my capsule! I guess we'll have to open it in the car on the way to the airport!" By this time, it was just her and me anyway, as my dad and sister were working. We brought a can opener, and on August 20, 2007, this is what I found:

A Young Women's calendar from August 1997
3 Musketeers candy bar wrapper
Piece of whatever my favorite gum was at the time
Lots of pictures (if I can access a scanner, or you ask politely in person, I will gladly share)
Copied pages from my 1996-1997 yearbook (7th grade)
Pogs (Do you remember Pogs!? They were so rad!)
A ticket from a Tracy Byrd concert I'd attended with my mom the previous year
Prairie Diamond ring
Friendship ring


Not one, but TWO letters to myself. I will share them in the order I discovered them. Keep in mind that I'd just had reconstructive foot surgery (a story for another day), that I was living in Texas, and that I'm awesome.

Dear Amanda,

Hi! It's you, as a 13-yr-old person. How ya doin'? Just somethin' to remind you of yourself. For instance, your favorite color is purple. Your Uncle Vernon is just announcing his engagement to Joshephine Preston. Vernon is 32 years old. Your favorite subject is English I, Mrs. Gerber. Your absolute best friend is Chantal Barner. You had surgery about 5 weeks ago and you are wearing a purple cast. Hopefully you still have it. You started walking one week ago. Your favorite animal is Panda (Amanda Panda Sandra Sue). I love you. Stay active in the church and love Christ. Let your light shine! DON'T BE SHY!

13-year-old Amanda

Dear Amanda,
Howz it going? I'm great. Hopefully by now you have gone on your mission. Where did you go? I hope you had a great experience. Are you dating worthy members? Great (or not?)! You are staying active right? You should be. Have humans been on Mars? Is there a colony on the Moon? What is TV like? Are cigarettes legal? Who's been president (church and U.S.)? Whatever.

:) <3 :)

<3 ya,

Apparently, some things have changed. I was amused that I didn't ask if I was married, just that I was dating. Uncle Vernon is still happily married with three lovely daughters. And no, humans have not been on Mars, though I think I've dated a few guys I wish I could send there (or that must have come from there).

I laughed and laughed when I read these letters, simply because I was the coolest 13-yr-old person on the planet. I also discovered that cards made with pressed, dried flowers do not keep well and will get flower dust everywhere. Still, I was highly amused, and hope you are too.


<3 ya!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Back From Utah

I apologize for my recent and long absence. As most of you know, I was vacationing in Utah last week to see my family. I decided that it was more important to be with them than to blog about it. However, some people don't seem to agree, and I won't be online Thursday morning to entertain them over gchat, so I bring you the highlights of my trip.

Security Boy was flying back to CO for school, and found out that I was going home the same week, so we flew out together. Another guy from our ward was on the same set of flights to, so it was a fun little reunion. Our flights were uneventful, and I was able to help teach Security Boy some flirting skills. He got home from his mission 5 months ago and hasn't normalized quite yet. I hope my tutoring comes in handy as he starts school this week.

The fam was, of course, excited to see me.

Wednesday brought family time, shopping, friends, swimming, and Invader Zim.

Thursday, I went to my old workplace, the BYU Music and Dance Library and joined them for staff meeting. We toured Level 0, which somehow I'd never done before. Cooling and heating machinery isn't that exciting, but I learned some things about preservation and fire prevention/containment. I also enjoyed a really good lunch at a Utah only restaurant (Zupa's), that I'd been craving for weeks. The company wasn't half bad either.

The biggest highlight of my week was being able to go through the temple (Mt. Timpanogos) for the first time on Thursday night. It was absolutely wonderful. I felt so much peace, and am so grateful for the experience. My mom was my escort, and I was joined by my dad, some of my best friends, and my cousin. I missed my brother and grandparents, who are serving missions, but I knew they were thinking about me. It was just awesome.

Friday, my dad took Security Boy and I to the driving range. SB did much better than I. Then, SB, Fran, and I went to see "Hairspray". That evening, my sister hosted a party for me so that I could see friends I hadn't seen in ages. Several of them were able to come and we had such a good time catching up and hugging.

Saturday was the sealing of my aforementioned cousin Wendy, in the Logan temple. I learned or was reminded of the following:

1 - No chocolate fountains.

2 - Tell your family EXACTLY what you want them to do if you want their help. Don't expect them to read your mind.

3 - Better yet. Hire people instead and let your family enjoy the festivities.

4 - Temple sealings are really cool.

It was a really neat day, even if I was already exhausted from the rest of my week. There were a lot of short tempers with several family members that day, but I think we've all talked it out and there are no more hard feelings. Best of luck to Wendy and Rich!

Sunday was just relaxing and involved final visits, a great win against the parents in Pictionary, and a great visit to my home ward.

I flew back to DC Monday afternoon, and had just enough reading material to cover the trip. Overall, I was so glad to be home. I love my family and friends, and Utah. It's always good to remember they love me back too.

For those of you I was able to see - It was so good to see you! For those of you I didn't see, I missed you, but I'm sure I'll be back soon. In the meantime, I have a futon that would love to accomodate guests.
Hooray for Utah and the wonderful people who live there!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Oh Shenando'

One of the benefits of getting up earlier than usual and driving in a comparitively opposite direction than everyone else, is enjoying a very solitary drive through the misty Shenandoah Valley. It was gorgeous! It's much better than the usual traffic and business parks I drive through most days.

On my way home from a great orientation day, I got to repeat the drive. It was less misty, but still beautiful. Since it's late summer, everything is very green. Rolling hills, huge trees, and a lovely piece of country. It was a fortunate coincidence that during my drive the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's recording of "Shenandoah" came up on my iPod.

(Disclaimer: I didn't take this or any other pictures of the Shenandoah Valley today. I was too busy driving.)

What a beautiful day!

Monday, August 13, 2007

First Day of School

A few moments ago, I suddenly had my first day of school jitters. I've kind of missed those. I found myself remembering to pack my school bag, iron my new school shirt, and trying to think of everything I needed to take with me. All I'm going to is orientation!

In honor of that fact, I leave you with this gem of a video. Miss Nemesis, a fellow spinster librarian, shared it on her blog and I thought it was too good to keep to myself.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Diet Coke and Magazines

For lunch today, I decided that fried chicken sounded good. There's a Popeye's about 5 minutes from my office, and I go there on occasion. Today should have been no different.

First, there was a line. There's never a line. Quite alright, though, I had my iPod and it went fast. I get food, fill up the new HUGE cup and head to the door.

Apparently, I was holding the cup wrong, because it fell out of my hand, broke on the floor, and spilled all 44 oz. of Diet Coke everywhere. Including my feet. I didn't need 44 oz. of Diet Coke today, but I certainly didn't need it on my feet. I picked up the pieces of the cup, threw them away, and was given a new cup which I filled and held differently. Of course, the only cute guy in the place had to step over my mess as he gave me a "Sorry you're so clumsy" look.

I was on my merry way and had just turned on my car when this guy flagged me down mouthing that he had a question to ask. He introduced himself and said he stopped me because he's having a contest and that I looked cool.

Basically, he's selling magazine subscriptions to help pay for "tuition and beer. Wait. Do you drink?" "No." "To help pay for tuition and books." He went on to explain how buying these subscriptions helps earn money and points in his contest. He had the standard questions about what I liked, what I did for a living, where I was from, and was actually really nice. I decided I'd help him, and picked out "Spin" as my magazine of choice.

The methods of payment are cash and check, and I ran out of checks last week, so he accompanied me to the ATM. He had found out earlier that I'm single, so on the way back to the car we had the following conversation:

"So, why don't you have a boyfriend? Are you just picky or you haven't found anyone or what?"

"Well, I guess I'm kinda picky, but other than that I really don't know."

"That's crazy. 'Cuz you're hot."

"Oh thanks."

"Seriously, I'd ask you out, but since I'm not from around here, we'd have to do the long-distance thing, and then argue over the phone."

"Yeah, that's never fun."

"Yeah. Well, thanks for helping me!"


And that was that. SO WEIRD!

I still haven't actually eaten yet, and I'm sure my feet smell (even taste perhaps) like Diet Coke.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I get by with a little help from my friends

As promised, here's a little more about my crazy fun weekend, complete with really big fish, restaurants run by organized crime groups, Bugs Bunny, Mii, and lots of friends!

Friday night, I went to Wolftrap to see "Bugs Bunny Over Broadway". They played Bugs Bunny cartoons on the big screen, which were accompanied live by the National Symphony Orchestra. It was a unique adventure, and highly entertaining. I went with a young doctor from one of the neighboring singles wards, and we would have sat by my roommate and her friend if we'd been able to find them. Oh well. I must include that if you're going to let members of the opposite sex be in control of the music, you probably shouldn't have a playlist called "In the Bedroom". I have no idea what was actually on the playlist, I chose John Mayer instead, but I was intensely curious. Also, walking someone to the door after a date is courteous - not even putting the car in park as you thank her for the evening is not.

Saturday was Zoo Day! First, however, we decided to go to breakfast. The first restaurant hardly acknowledged our presence, and the food just looked sad, so we left. The second restaurant was top notch though, since it was run by the Russian Em Ay Eff Eye Ay. (Sound it out, I don't want these guys googling me and then killing me in my sleep or something.) Seriously! Our host totally looked like the head dude's nephew, and everyone else looked like they could possibly be "in the family". Plus, they tried a little too hard to blend in. I think the tables were leftover from the early 80's and the decorations, well, Darin put it best when he said "It looks like my grandma's house!". (PS - Go read Darin's blog - In My Humble Opinion) Random chickens, Santa and Mrs. Claus, a mini-dress form, a Russian ballet dancer doll, and a poster of Washington, DC at night that lit up! However, the food WAS good, and we had a good time of trying to identify all the decorations.

We made it to the National Zoo just before noon, and enjoyed walking around and seeing all the animals. The Amazon exhibit had these gigantic fish I'd never seen before, but they were really cool looking. I was briefly pouty when it didn't look like we'd be able to see the pandas, but the frown was quickly turned upside down. We also saw birds, lions, tigers, beavers, a seal, orangutans (including one on loan from Hogle Zoo), gorillas, elephants, a hippo, and a guy with a really scary mullet. Since it was about a million degrees with 250% humidity, the activity was followed up with Slurpees and hanging out in the swimming pool. Perfection.

Saturday night, I survived watching a performance of the show I've been choreographing. It was fun, but I'm relieved that it's over. The evening ended with a viewing of "As Good As It Gets" with my roommate and the security boys.

Sunday morning, I visited Josh and Courtney for breakfast and Wii! I have to admit, that's pretty cool. I do realize it's been out since December, but I hadn't played until now. Courtney made me a Mii that lives on their console, and it actually does look vaguely like myself. Of course, I sucked at playing, but I'll totally get better. I was also amused that they'd made a Mii for each of the possibilities for their currently unborn child - a girl and a boy. I guess they'll just delete whichever one it really isn't. Church was good, and then I joined my Maryland friends for dinner and conversation.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend, made possible by fantastic people!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Yay! Hooray!

There is AC in my house! I came home yesterday afternoon to a house that had finally cooled down to a comfortable level. It's now almost too cold, but I'm not going to complain about that for awhile. I have no idea if our washer and dryer are back in place (they are supposed to be), but I'm not in desperate need to find out. So, in case you, my dear readers, were wondering if I was going to melt to death this weekend, I am not.

Also, my weekend was wonderful, but I'll talk about that later. Time to relax and enjoy the wonder that is a cool house.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

In case you were wondering

We still don't have AC. Apparently they have to order the unit from Richmond (about three hours away), and the soonest they can get it is tomorrow. After yesterday's fun times, Megan informed our landlord and he called the company to give them what-for. Today, he installed a window AC unit so that at least our main level is bearable, which it is.

I noticed this even more as I was walking upstairs to my bedroom and seriously hit a wall of heat. This will be even less fun when I employ the use of my blowdryer in about twenty minutes. It is entirely likely that I will take that operation downstairs so as not to melt before I go out tonight.

Here's hoping!

Friday, August 3, 2007

12 Days Ago . . .

Our townhome's AC unit died. We thought it was a little extra warm for a couple of days, then we realized that there was absolutely no cool air anywhere in our house. Super great! Megan finally called an AC company and they came to check it out on Monday. It was discovered that we needed a totally new AC unit. No problem, they said. They'd be back on Wednesday.

Wednesday comes - "Oh. Oops. We can't get in to install the unit without moving the washer/dryer combo, and we're not going to move it ourselves because of liability." That would have been useful to know on Monday. Megan calls our landlord, AKA her brother-in-law, and he comes and moves it Wednesday night so the AC guys can come back Thursday morning.

This morning - "Oh. Oops. We brought the wrong size unit. We'll be back again tomorrow." Again, measurements would have been useful on MONDAY! Will they really have the right unit tomorrow? Do they realize that it's the end of July/beginning of August, which equals lots o' humidity and high 90s temperatures? Who knows!?

In the meantime, we're dying. Luckily for me, I've been able to escape the heat by going to work and rehearsal all week. When I have been home, including now, I don't wear very much, take quick showers, and generally don't do anything. Simple tasks such as makeup application and dishwasher emptying have caused me to break a sweat. Ugh. It wasn't particularly helpful when one of my roommates decided to bake with the oven and cook stovetop last night. I wasn't annoyed for too long, but it did get noticeably hotter for a little bit. It's way too hot to sleep comfortably, which is one reason I'm posting this after midnight.

Jane, however, has not been so fortunate. She suffered a concussion on Monday when we were helping some of my friends move (something fell out of the closet onto her head), and hasn't felt up to going to work since Tuesday. Simply walking out to our mailbox caused nausea today. She's been in touch with and seen her doctor, and is going to the neurologist tomorrow. However, in the meantime, she's been stuck in the house all week. Tank tops and linen pants have been her comfort clothing of choice as she sits by an open window that very occasionally has a breeze.

I'm actually sweating (the backs of my knees) just sitting here on my bedroom floor typing this. I no longer have the laptop on my lap, because that was oppressive. And it was 11:30 PM!! I don't mind the heat when I'm outside doing something. I may complain a little, but I expect it. I do not expect to be sweltering when it's after midnight and I should be sleeping.

*sigh* Let's just pray that these guys get it right tomorrow. On the bright side, our utility bill for July should be just a wee bit lower. And that, my friends, is good news.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Today's Visitor

As I've discussed before, working alone does have its perks. I don't even get visitors very often.

I finally had a visitor a few minutes ago. I was just minding my own business when I glanced over to my left, and saw him.

And I suddenly wished I had someone else in the office with me.
Seeing how big it was, I decided this was going to involve a shoe and lots of paper towels. (I won't smush or bother insects outside, but inside is my turf.) I did have the presence of mind to take a picture first, since it would make a great blog post. Though as I was taking the first one I thought "Oh shoot. The spider's going to hear my camera go off and attack me!" So, I pulled my camera/phone away as it was taking the picture. My visitor didn't budge, so I took a deep breath and tried again. This one took, so I put my phone down, pulled off my shoe, and smashed him. Twice.
Then I grabbed a handful of napkins from my desk drawer and disposed of my visitor in my trashcan. It was about this time that I really wanted to throw up, but I didn't.
I am so brave.
I just hope he didn't invite any of his friends.