Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Look at me, way up high!

My family teases me for having an iPhone, but really they get as much help from it as I do. On Christmas Eve, my dad was playing Name That Tune-Classic Rock Station Style with Brotherface and I, a game we've played numerous times growing up. On the plus side, Dad's love for the music of his teenage and young adult years has fueled the love my brother and I have for it. On the negative side, it's still not an era I can Name That Tune very well.

So, I cheated. I was in the backseat. I have Shazam (a music identification app). It took Dad three songs to realize the source of my knowledge. If I hasn't shown him that app the last time I was home, he may never had guessed!

In church on Sunday, a recently returned missionary was reporting on his service in Mexico. He remarked that he knew the Spirit was helping him teach, because he once taught someone that smoking is bad for your doves instead of lungs, and he was still able to get his message across. Mom turned to me and asked what lungs was in Spanish. I couldn't remember, and using my phone during Sacrament isn't my usual habit, but I told her I had a translator app and fished my phone out and looked it up. She softly chuckled, and we went back to enjoying the talk without that question lingering and distracting us.

Incidentally, that missionary was later confused for my husband, circumstantially. Also, doves=palomas and lungs=pulmones. Totally understandable mistake.

I looked up something on IMDB for Sisterpants during a movie (yes, the Jonas Brothers ARE playing the Cupids in Night at the Museum 2) instead of after. Brotherface downloaded a game to play on the drive back from our aunt's house.

Obviously, I'm happy to spread the iPhone joy, but I've done some pretty cool things for myself on it just today. I ordered my H and I books from the app while waiting for my flight. And! I'm posting this at 30,000 feet!

Free trial Onboard wi-fi + iPhone = Love

Even though I'm a little bummed the flight attendant woke me up from a perfectly good nap and there is no way I'm falling back asleep, at least I have the Internet to entertain me for the next two hours! And books. Always books.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone somewhere a mile above the Midwest

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Walking in a winter wonderland!

By now, you've probably heard of the crazy blizzard that hit the mid-Atlantic this last weekend. Well, it wasn't just any snowstorm, it was the Snowpocalypse! Fortunately, I knew it was coming, so I made a quick midnight grocery run after my babysitting gig and picked up a few things to last me the weekend. (All of the following pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

Here's what I woke up to Saturday morning

Much of my weekend revolved around food. And pajamas.

This is Saturday evening (the darker pictures) and Sunday morning, when I spent 3 hours shoveling, instead of 3 hours of church (which was canceled), most of the driveway and all of my car. You can also see what my footprint looked like 5 hours after I made it.

This weekend was also the perfect time to break out the 1000 piece puzzle I've been carrying around for a few years. And, after three days, the upper right picture shows as far as I've gotten to this point. I've packed it up and I'm taking it home so my family can help over Christmas. Other activities that kept me sane were season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, finishing my F book, a nap here and there, and the internet. If I didn't have friends present, at least I had electricity and wi-fi!
As much as I loved wearing jammies for three days, my favorite part was Monday afternoon. Despite a long delay, Captain Deviance finally made it to DC (his mom moved here this summer) and we got to hang out for the first time since 1998! After lunch with his mom (also, the first time I wore something other than pjs and snowpants all weekend), I took him to the monuments, which looked especially pretty in the snow. The reflecting pool was frozen over, so we glided around on it for a few minutes.
It was so good to see him. Since we're both geeks, we've been communicating over the internet all these years, long before it was cool. Still, getting together in person at least once a decade is helpful for hugs, snowball fights, and having someone to help you up when you fall on the ice (which we each did, more than once). I'm grateful for long-time friends, especially this one. I'm also grateful for other friends and family who checked on me throughout the weekend, just to make sure I was okay.

It was a fantastic little vacation. The snow outside isn't going anywhere soon, but at least most of the roads are passable now, even if mine is reduced to one lane in places. The snow is gorgeous, and the air clear. We Virginians definitely got our white Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Just as we go on pretending tonight

If I had a husband waiting for me when I got home from work today, he might have asked me this:

"Hi honey. How was your day?"

"It was good, thanks! Sarah came by. We knew each other at BYU, sort of. She came into that library sometimes too."

"Yeah? That's cool. Anything else interesting happen?"

"Well, I did finish muddling through one that one book truck and half of the other. Oh. And I guess I did roll my ankle and fall and scraped my knee."


"Yeah. Walking, just walking, on the even floor carrying a bunch of empty music boxes. Those spilled everywhere. See?"

"Oh sweetie, I'm sorry. Does your ankle feel better?"

"Yeah, just a little sore. Oddly, my knees stings worse than my ankle hurts."

"Well, we'll just have to fix that."

And then he'd kiss it better.

But I don't have a husband. Nor have I even been home yet. I'll put some Neosporin on it when I am.

I can, however, play Mom for the evening. A couple of my married high schools friends are celebrating their 2nd anniversary on Monday, and he just finished this semester's law finals, so I volunteered to watch their 8 week old son so she could take her husband on a surprise date.

He sure is a cutie!

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Here we come a-wassailin'

If your iPod is anything like mine, there are songs you don't know that have magically found their way into your collection. So, putting my iPod on Shuffle Songs can lead to some interesting discoveries. Sometimes it's "meh", but sometimes it's "I LOVE this song! And I already own it! Score!"

Like Sunday Morning Yellow Sky by October Project. Sure, they haven't done anything since 2006, so I'm way behind, but better late than never! I know it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm glad for the find.

In the holiday music world, I'm really digging Pat a Pan by David Archuleta. I love the opening in French and the groove of the rest of the song. I've always liked Pat a Pan, and this arrangement is new and different compared to, say, yet another version of "(Christmas) Baby Please Come Home".

Also, more Muppets.

And, finally, courtesy of Theater Geek - a little Christmas-themed musical quiz. I've been working on it on and off all day, and only have 5 more to go. How many can you name?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And a partridge in a pear tree

Each year for Christmas, my mother has sewn a Christmas dress for my sister and me. I've loved them, and wear the ones that still fit often. So, this year, when I found out she had decided not to make a dress for various and understandable reasons, I actually cried a little. It's tradition, and one I was going to miss.

My family celebrates the 12 Days of Christmas. We have a set of nesting cans we stack on top of each other, so they get bigger each day, and each day we sang whichever verse of the Twelve Days of Christmas we were on and "opened" the corresponding can. They're often little things - jewelry, bookmarks, cute notepads, etc. If we're away from home, Mom sends us the gifts for the days we'll be missing in individual envelopes and we all open them together on the phone. So, this year, when I found out that she was running so far behind in the Christmas planning that she hadn't sent them out in time and would just be holding onto them until my sister and I each get home and my brother would just be telling us what they were each day, I cried a little again.

What I'm sad about is not that I'm not getting all these presents, it's that our traditions, some of my favorites, are changing, and I was unprepared for that. For me, I'm not 100% feeling the Christmas spirit until I spend time with family, and since I don't get home until a day or two before the holiday, I spend quite a bit of December wishing I was already there. Doing the 12 Days of Christmas together alleviates that a little as I know that for a few minutes each day we're spending time together. In our discussion about the Christmas dresses, Mom mentioned that her mom stopped making dresses eventually too, but it was then I remembered that my mom was married by the time she was my age, which didn't really help matters.

It was as I was pondering the change in our 12 Days that I finally realized what the real problem was - I have no idea how to celebrate Christmas when it's just me. This is my fourth Christmas I've had to start celebrating long before I see my family, and I shouldn't have to wait until that time to really get into the Christmas spirit. It's not that I'm a Scrooge about the whole thing before Christmas Eve, just that I don't really believe it's holiday time until it's almost over. I sing Christmas songs from October on (thank you, Mormon Choir). I don't see my family. I don't have enough decorations to completely transform my apartment like my mom does with our house. And I haven't done what most other adults have seemed to - that you take the traditions and meanings of Christmas you learned as a child and incorporate them into your own family's as you see fit. My "family" is just me right now, so I need to decide what it is that I can do, on my own, to make it really seem like Christmas.

But what?

I tried a tradition of getting a new nativity set every year, five Christmases ago, but in those five Christmases, I've only acquired two. I do have a tree and a small handful of other decorations, but even in my tiny home, they don't seem to make much of a dent.

Then I remembered another 12 Days of Christmas tradition. Each day, we'd burn a section of a taper candle and read a scripture prophesying of the birth of Christ, but from the Book of Mormon.

I can do that.

On Saturday, I visited the Dollar Tree, picked up a taper and the only holder they had, plus a few more Christmas decorations, and asked my mom to email me that list of scriptures. My kitchen looks downright festive now, and I started reading the scripture chain last night.
I already feel more Christmas-y, and I'm glad for that. Here's that scripture list, in case you're interested in joining me.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, another personal tradition I realized I've had for three years running now.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

I really missed decorating for Christmas last year. Our poor little house was so drab and lacking in holiday cheer. I was determined not to have the same problem this year. The only problem? A teeny little apartment with no space for a Christmas tree. Fortunately, it didn't take long to realize I don't use my dining room table much, so I wouldn't miss it if I put a Christmas tree there. The next problem was going to be finding a tree that wouldn't be too tall or too small. Rather than schlepping around town to find a tree that size, I decided I'd just have to go with an artificial tree.

Now, I'm not proud of my decision. I LOVE real tree smell and feel (you know, as you're decorating it, not that I go around feeling Christmas trees) and look. But, a 4' tree from a big box store was a rather practical decision, and by golly is it convenient. No watering? Easy setup? No daily vacuuming? Pre-lit?

Still, I maintain that when I have space again, I will go back to real trees and this new permanent addition to my decorations will be relegated to being my "extra tree".

Yes, I just made that up.

So, Sunday night, I turned on the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, made myself a mug of hot chocolate, and set to work. You can't see it in the picture, but I also strung some random strings of lights around kitchen. Sure, it's all a little haphazard (I'm reminded of how they strung their lights in Whoville before the Grinch stole them), but I like it. So there. If you look closely, you'll notice that Andre The Car Bear approves (he was inside for a cleaning because he managed to get a Starburst stuck to his back).

Also, here are a few pictures from my Thanksgiving trip. This is my aunt (and me), taking a quick photo break from the craziness that is 20 some odd members of my uncle's family:

Friday night, we went to Light Up Louisville with my uncle's sister and her husband and made it just in time for the lighting ceremony. Yes, that is a panda Christmas ornament in my hand.

And my cute aunt and uncle. I love them.

You should also notice that I've changed my music player to Christmas songs. I've added a few new ones this year, and will continue to do so throughout the month. Any favorites I'm missing?

My other favorite thing about this weekend was that it snowed! It rarely snows this much in December in these parts, and I always have a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit without it. So, to have a snowstorm the same weekend I'm decorating for Christmas makes me very happy indeed. Even better was the fact that I go to stay in my purple with snowflake fleece PJs all day, since our ward Christmas party was "Christmas morning" dress. Don't worry, I still showered.

What are you doing to get ready for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just nod if you can hear me

Dear Readers,

I like to think you are, collectively, an intelligent, observant group. Sometimes you prove that to me. For instance, Mom, you noticed that there was a problem the order my posts were in, which, as I suspected, was a result of working on a certain post from three different places. I've fixed it now, so thank you. There have been other instances where you have noticed something about the content or layout of my blog that have spawned good discussions elsewhere. And I always appreciate the comments.

However, you have all missed something about my posts this month. I was sure someone would have noticed and said something by now, but nary a word. 30 little clues and no one caught on.

Now, a few of you already know what I've been adding, so you don't get to play. Sorry about that. The rest of you - here's your chance. You now know there is something to look for, and, as an extra hint, it was Eilonwy's idea, another one of the challenges she and I issue each other. If you read her blog, and mine, you may notice the clues twice as fast.

Let me know when you figure it out, and there may be something in it for you.*

As always, thank you for reading my randomness. Here's to another successful NaBloPoMo!

*Honestly, I have no idea what that might be right now. I have post-vacation-maybe-have-a-cold brain fog, but we'll figure something out.

Monday, November 30, 2009

You wanna know how many letters there are?

Hay 29 letras del alfabeto en español. Me gusta la idioma, pero necesito practicar. Normalmente, puedo recordar las palabras necesito, pero no siempre. Me olvide mucho. Quieres hablar en español conmigo?

There are 29 letters of the alphabet in Spanish. I like the language, but I need to practice. Usually, I can remember the words I need, but always. I forget a lot. Do you want to practice with me?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone in the car in front of my house because it would be after midnight if I went inside first and it means vacation is really over.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I am like a star shining brightly

My parents have set a wonderful example of missionary work for their children. 28 years ago, they were both serving full-time missions for our church - Mom in Ecuador and Dad in Salt Lake City (yes, really). Since then, they have continued to exemplify the meaning of being a member missionary - reaching out to those less active or not of our faith, especially my father's family, as he is the only member.

My siblings have followed in their footsteps in regards to serving full-time missions - Brotherface in Atlanta, GA, and Baltimore, MD, and Sisterpants preparing to serve in Houston, Texas come January. Brotherface was a great missionary, and really enjoyed his time serving (minus the shattering his elbow part-way through), and I'm sure Sisterpants will too.

I, on the other hand, will probably just stick with being a member missionary. I considered a full-time mission as I was growing up, especially because my mother had served, but once I was old enough to go, it wasn't something I felt strongly about doing. I did pray about it a little more earnestly as I was considering the job offer that took me to DC, but felt peace about the decision not to go, and still do.

As a member missionary, I do pray and look for opportunities to share what I believe, but I usually let them happen as part of a usual conversation. When my beliefs come up, I'll share as much or as little as the person I'm discussing them with wants me to. I'm quite open about my faith and don't try to hide its impact on my life, but I also don't try to force it on anyone. I have a fairly open "live and let live" attitude, especially as most of the people I see on a regular basis are truly good, moral people, regardless of religion or background, and I'm glad for that.

Mostly, I just try to live my own good, moral life, according the standards and faith I have, just as I would expect others around me to do with theirs. I'm happy to share what I believe and why, but and I'm just also just as happy to be friends with the good people who have become part of my life.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I dream my winter dream

27 hours ago, our Thanksgiving dinner was winding down. The screaming children (oh the screaming, that magnifies exponentially in a house with stone floors and vaulted ceilings) had gone home with the parents and the pie was settling in our stomachs.

I'm celebrating the holiday this year with my aunt and uncle who live in Indiana, across the river from Louisville, KY. My uncle's siblings and family joined us for dinner. Lots of people I didn't know but whose company I found myself enjoying. Good people. Good food. Good times.

Sometimes I'm sad that my closest family is more than ten hours away, but then ten hours isn't that far after all!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone as fast as I can before I lose signal again!

Friday, November 27, 2009

We gather together

Today - a list of 26 things I am thankful for, in alphabetical order!

But first, a sidenote. A conversation I had with Eilonwy, that went something like this:

Eilonwy: I figured out what I'm going to post about on Thursday.

Me: list of 26 things you are grateful for in alphabetical order?

Eilonwy: Yes!

Us: We're brilliant.

I love knowing my friends so well. :)

And now, the list, which Eilonwy said I could do too, as long as my B wasn't the same. Which it isn't.

A is for Aunt Amanda - My namesake. I'm grateful that she was such a wonderful woman that her name is the only one my mom really considered for me. I really love both her, my mother, and my name.

B is for Blogging - Writing is very therapeutic.

C is for Cookies - That's good enough for me.

D is for Dance - Love. It. I dance around my apartment. In my car. Anywhere I can. Am I great? Nah. But I love it.

E is for Energy - When I have just enough to accomplish what I've set out to accomplish, it makes a huge difference.

F is for Firefox - I'm writing this in IE, on my uncle's laptop, and I miss Firefox.

G is for Girlfriends - Especially Fran and Eilonwy. Thanks ladies for taking a chance on befriending a 19-year-old! Look how far we've all come!

H is for Happiness - I am truly happy with my life right now, and that is wonderful.

I is for Independence - I'm so glad I'm calling the shots right now.

J is for Joking - I'm no stand up comic, but a well-timed joke always appreciated.

K is for Knives - Yeah, Cutco was pretty awful to work for, but I really am grateful for the stellar knives I got out of the deal.

L is for Love - I love feeling loved, even if right now there is no romantic love in my life. My friends and family are enough.

M is for Muppets - Sesame Street is awesome. Muppet movies are awesome. This video?

IS AWESOME. Watch it again.

N is for Noodles - Easy to cook. Versatile. Filling. Tasty.

O is for Octopi - They're just so cool. Don't you wish you had 8 legs with suction cups on them?

P is for Pandora - Couldn't get through my work day without it.

Q is for Quiet - Sometimes, anyway.

R is for Reading - I fully intend to finish the David Sedaris book I picked up this morning before the end of the day.

S is for Showers - The shower in my apartment is pretty awful - little pressure, tiny space - so I appreciate nice showers even more. Like the one here at my aunt's. Divine.

T is for Time - I have lot of it these days, and I'm glad.

U is for Uvulas - I'm sure it's useful, even if I can't tell why.

V is for Victory - Even little ones, I like to recognize the victories in my life.

W is for Water - I'm kind of water junkie. I ran out about an hour before my destination last night and I was sad.

X is for Xylophones - Did you know I used to play the xylophone? It's true. In my middle school band. And now, if I'm listening to something with a mallet instrument, I play the air xylophone.

Y is for Yelling - Even to myself in the car when I cross another state line, bringing me ever closer to my destination.

Z is for Zany - My whole, immediate and extended, family is pretty zany, and I love us for it!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Reading time with pickle

According to a magazine Eilonwy and I were making fun of while waiting for her new tires three days before her wedding, 25% of Americans didn't read a single book last year.

That means for every four adults you know, chances are that one of them didn't even read one book.

How tragic is that? I can't even comprehend how that's possible. Yes, there are other things to read - online articles, magazines, this blog - but books are, of course, my favorite. If it's a children's book, it doesn't even take long. A few months ago, I was shelving my personal bookcases and sitting on the floor. I finished, but wasn't ready to get up yet.

So I read a book. Neil Gaiman's Wolves in the Walls, which I hadn't actually read yet, and then I was ready to get up and get moving again.

It's that simple.

The good news is that I'm preaching to the choir here, as I'm fairly confident that most of you are readers. Thank heavens for that!

Also, today is my half-golden birthday! I'm 25.5 now!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twenty twenty twenty-four hours to go

You know that feeling you get when there are less than 24 hours before you leave on vacation and there is so much to do to prepare but you can't seem to focus because your brain really wants to be on vacation already?

That's me right now. Couple that with the fact that I just got back in the swing of things from my last vacation that I just returned from last week. I really do get a rare vacation following my vacation, but it's no wonder I can't seem to finish anything.

Even this post. I actually am writing this paragraph four hours after I wrote the last one, but that's because I had to run to the Dollar Store, go to choir practice, pick up some groceries, and then send a few of church calling related emails. Oh, and I started a load of laundry. I still haven't packed (and I really want to finish this one book before I leave, even if it is HP7 and I've read it before).

At least I've been really productive at work. Immediately after I had to let my temps go (lack of funds), I had to focus on preparing all of the festival music, and this last week I've finally worked on consolidating all the work stations we had set up when there were three of us. I finished that today, and even if my office is packed with music, the library itself looks really nice right now. Still in transition, but not overwhelmingly so.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a suitcase to 1) empty of the last bits of my last trip and 2)fill it again.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

So many books, so little time

I am almost completely out of bookcase space. Actually, if I put away the books that are currently floating around my apartment, I probably AM out of bookcase space. On both bookcases.

What can I say? I like books.

The reason I'm suddenly out of space is my recent trip home. Between the yearbooks, a trip to the distribution center, and raiding my old closet and its stacks of books, I brought 23 books back to DC with me. My carry-on was HEAVY.

It's actually kind of nice to have more books on my shelves, since it fills out my book rainbow a little more, even if I have to stash my pen caddy in my under-bed cave now. I just don't know what I'm going to do when the inevitable happens - I acquire more books. I could just get a new bookcase, but I don't know where to put that either, not in this apartment anyway.

One day, I'll have a room just for my books. Shelves of books everywhere and a big chair to read them in. Something like Neil Gaiman's basement library would be perfect. Or Belle's library!

One day . . .

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's been such a long time

When I first moved to DC when I was 22, the only person I knew here was Cheeky. I'd only known her barely two years, and mostly online. Ever since then, I've constantly been meeting new people and making new friends, but, of course, we didn't have much of a history. Now that I've been here since 2006, there are a handful of people with whom I have years of history, but most of the people I currently spend time with I've only known for a period of months.

It's difficult, sometimes, to spend time with people who haven't known you very long. You feel like you're making a lot of small talk at first, and then telling the same stories you swear you just told recently. Then you realize that you did, but it was to someone else you also just met recently. You crave spending time with people who have known you for awhile, with significant history.

I had that chance last night. In the time since I've been here, at least six other people from my high school (five from my graduating class) have also moved to DC, so I organized a mini-reunion. We shared dinner and half a game of Cranium (before children's needs superceded our own), but mostly conversation - catching up on our current lives as well as sharing memories of the past, some from eleven years ago. I brought my yearbooks back from Utah and we enjoyed going through those, looking at our pictures and sharing what we knew about the current lives of other members of our class.

It was refreshing. These friends are a piece of home to me, part of both my past and my present. In Harry Potter, the protection of his mother's love worked for a whole year if he just visited the place he called home even if it was a place as depressing as the Dursley's. The opportunities I have to go home, or to touch base with people who remind me of home and where I come from, give me the same kind of recharge.

Even if I don't see these friends all that often, since we're spread all over the metro area, it's good to know they are here. We share connections and a past, and now a present and future. Even those of us who fly solo most of the time enjoy having a flock to touch base with once in awhile.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

They're on the trail to fame and glory

38-21 - Today's final score between BYU and Air Force. Go Cougars!

I used to not care about football. My brother and dad tried to explain it to me, but I never really got it. I'd go to games in high school to hang out with my friends. I knew touchdowns were good and sacks were bad and that BYU was the team to cheer for, but that's about it.

This changed when I had a football-loving boyfriend who could explain it to me. He was cuter than my dad or brother, and I really liked him, so I wanted to impress him and share his interest. He loved BYU football so much that he watched past games he'd taped over and over again.

Our freshman year at BYU, we bought All-Sport passes together and went to every home game, as well as the BYU-Utah game in Salt Lake. He'd explain plays and positions and I really started to understand and love football. I especially loved our tradition of kissing in celebration of every touchdown.

One Saturday was an away game. I'd had a pretty stressful Friday and wanted to kick back over the weekend, but knew I had to spend Saturday on homework, which is what I told the boyfriend I'd be up to - studying and listening to the game in my dorm room the whole afternoon. He had to work and would then go watch the game with his family at his grandparents' house.

As the game started, I couldn't pay attention to both the game and my homework and I really wanted to see my guy. During the first quarter, I had the great idea to take the bus to his grandparents' and surprise him. I figured I'd get there about the same time he did, if not a little before. I packed up my computer and headed out.

I arrived just before the end of the first half, said hi to his family and started working again. The boyfriend wasn't there yet, and even though his place of employment was way closer to his grandparents' house than his parents', we thought he might have gone home for a shower or change of clothes and didn't really worry about it. Halftime started and there was still no sign of him, but I kept writing and his family scattered into the house, leaving me alone in the front room.

Toward the end of the halftime, he still hadn't shown, but I looked out the front picture window to see him pull up, with a dozen roses in hand. He came through to the door and was completely surprised to see me just chilling by myself in his grandparents' living room. I explained that I was there to surprise him. It was then that he pulled out the roses and explained what had taken him so long.

He'd tried to surprise ME by going to my dorm with the roses, because of my bad Friday, at the same time I'd gone to surprise him with his family. It was quite the serendipitous event, and one of our favorite memories the rest of time we were together. It's still one of mine. Doing little things like that for each other was one of the best things about that relationship. At the end of that day, we still surprised each other and got to spend time together, which was the point anyway!

I still love BYU football. I listened to the first half of today's game, then (sort of) watched the second half with friends. It's hard to watch the games here, being on the East Coast and all, but I enjoy what I can.

One day, I'll get to reinstate my touchdown celebration again.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's cool it's cool to love your family

I am the oldest of all my maternal cousins. There are sixteen of us, all but fourteen of whom are boys. (If I had paternal cousins, I'd be the oldest of them too.) There is a 20 year gap between me and the youngest cousin, who is darling, and it's weird to me that's she's already in kindergarten.

The problem is that it's always felt like I've been significantly older. My brother is the next oldest, but not counting him, the next oldest cousin is three years younger than I, the cousin after her is four years younger. So, when we all lived in Utah, I was 6 and they were babies (Continuing down the line, my mom and her siblings seemed to have kids around the same time, so each age group now has three or four kids of approximately the same age.) In Texas, it didn't matter much because we saw them so rarely. When we moved back to Utah, I was 14, and in jr. high/high school, and they were still in elementary school. Family gatherings were this weird thing, because I was too young to want to be with the adults for long and too old to be with the kids the whole time.

Though that age gap seemingly narrows as you get older, I still graduated college before anyone else even graduated high school. Just as my younger cousins were getting the hang of being college and being adults, I moved to DC. Even now, one has just recently graduated college, two have gotten married, but I've now been in the professional world for coming up on five years and have a Masters. We're all getting closer and closer to that age thing not really mattering, but it still does, because our level of life experience just isn't the same. We do live in different places and have the internet, namely Facebook, to get to know each other now, but it's hard to create a personal relationship (rather than just "keeping up with each other") when none has really existed before.

It's a strange place to be. I love my family and my cousins, and I hope they know that. I'd like to be real friends with them at some point, if that's in the cards, but it's okay if it doesn't happen for awhile. At the very least, I hope they know have a pretty cool older cousin on their side, no matter what.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Do what you gotta do

I had no idea that the job I scored the summer I was 19 was going to turn into a career. I knew I wanted that job. I apparently wanted it quite a lot. I visited the BYU Music and Dance Library last week and Myrna, my former boss and now colleague and friend, reminded me that I called her every single Monday for close to six months to see if there was an opening yet. I was always polite, never pushy, just persistent. It seems she actually uses me as an example of how to do express interest in a job.

Obviously, I did get the job, and I loved it. I worked on some great projects during my two years there - like cleaning up a Musical Theatre Reference Binder to make it more useful. I happen to know that the binder is still in use. I'm still proud of it. It was the first real professional project I designed and completed on my own, one that was my idea and I was trusted to see it through.

Working in the MAD Library was quite fun. I worked with great people, learned a LOT, and made a difference. I also had one of the coveted on-campus job - A/C, no food, related to my field (though it was closer to pure Theatre Arts at the time), great hours, a locker, and more.

I was sad to leave when I graduated. But the rest, as they say, is history. Being a Fine Arts Librarian is my calling, and I'm so blessed to have discovered it and be thriving this early in my life and career.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

These excuses how they served me so well

  1. It's hard.
  2. My ___________ hurt(s). (This morning it was my knees. Both of them. Lame.)
  3. My bed is comfortable.
  4. I'm sleepy.
  5. I'm an average size for an American woman. That's not so bad, is it?
  6. It's not just work out clothes, it's ankle braces and sometimes wrist braces.
  7. It's boring.
  8. There's traffic on the way to the gym.
  9. If I'm going to wear those workout pants, I have to shave my legs.
  10. Workout clothes = not cute. Or flattering.
  11. It's not dancing, not like I used to.
  12. I can't find my headphones and gym music is lame.
  13. Guh. I don't even like MY workout mix today.
  14. I don't have time.
  15. This used to be easier.
  16. I don't have a workout buddy to meet up with.
  17. I don't know how to use that machine.
  18. I don't know the optimal workout for me.
Excellent. Now that's out of my system. No more excuses for me!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Autumn leaves under frozen souls

Night falls so fast now
Sunset appears so early
I don't like the cold

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Look I was 17

I went closet diving this morning, looking for my high school yearbooks. There are a few people from my graduating class that live in DC now, and we're having a mini-reunion this weekend. During my search, I found several tchotchkes and papers and books I haven't seen in quite some time.

The pictures were the most intriguing. I found my old date dance pictures. I'd forgotten that Canadian Dave was in my group for Sweetheart's my junior year and that smiling with braces was often really awkward. I also found some really cute pictures from when the boy who gave me my first kiss came to visit me again my senior year. Not that I want to go back to high school, but I do have some fond memories of that time. I'll have to scan these pictures sometime and share them with you.

I do kind of wish I could go back and tell my 16-year-old self how cute I was, despite the braces and acne. I know I didn't always think so. I also wish I could take her bra shopping. I didn't quite figure out my proper fit until after graduation. And, speaking of fit, I wish I could still fit in those pants.

I've grown up a lot since then, as one should, but it's nice to know I'm still me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone, because once again I'm just chilling in the airport

Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm a rebel, let them talk

The rule, once we were old enough to need one, was that we were allowed to do anything we wished with our hair, so long as we paid for it ourselves. Between three kids, we've had hobbit hair, a mullet, a mohawk, bangs, no bangs, and several colors (usually naturally occuring, just not on our heads).

I dyed my hair for the first time when I was 15, for a Halloween costume in which I was portraying Shmi Skywalker. It was a dark brown, so dark it almost looked purple in some light, and I enjoyed the change for the months it lasted. I enjoyed it so much, I dyed it again for another costume. I've had red streaks a couple of different times and, as you may recall, currently sport pink extensions and blonder highlights (to lighten my dirty blonde hair). As long as I take care of my hair, despite all the changes, it still looks good and I'm awfully fond of it. It's only hair and the changes are temporary.

What I haven't tried is a tattoo. Nor do I intend to. Those aren't so temporary.

Unless you use henna.

My lovely friend and former roommate, Elle, is starting a henna and photography business. She freehanded this designed based on a little input from me and I quite like it. Just not enough to have it for always.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone whilst watching "The Princess Bride" with my dad, who loves me no matter what color my hair is and actually thinks the henna is quite neat

Sunday, November 15, 2009

You're my best friend

Allergy meds for a sudden attack: $8

Wedding gift: Enough to qualify for free shipping

Meals: hugs for the people who paid for them

Spending the day with Fran and Eilonwy and others celebrating Eilonwy's wedding: priceless

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone in Fran's car

(Disclaimer: I wrote an actual post on the 14th. Fran even remembers it. But it seems to have disappeared. I'll write it again soon!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Well ya gotta have friends

Overheard while hanging out with Sisterpants and her friends in Rexburg:

1. I have right of way because I'm a human.

2. You wouldn't want to explain a raptor sleeping on your couch, that would be awkward. It's not even in the Honor Code.

3. Raptors would eat humans. And Crunch Berries.

4. Let's talk about making out.

5. Would you just wait? I'm picking my nose!

6. Now your whole chin face is covered in pricklies.

7. I feel like I'm crushing your vital organs.

8. Have you ever heard of a Willy Wet?

9. Have you ever fish kissed?

10. Holy rusted metal, Batman!

11. Somedays you just can't get rid of a bomb.

12. Chuck Norris or John Wayne

13. John Wayne hit on my grandma once.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone while trying to recover from all the laughter

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do your ears hang low?

This handsome devil?

This is Logan, my family's miniature beagle. He's 12 now and just as cute as he ever was. He's been following me around the last two days, which I love. Brotherface and I took him on a walk this morning. Always entertaining. He still loves to play, cuddle, and just be adorable. We love him, and he loves us. I'm going to enjoy having him around as long as I can.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone, because I like being away from an actual computer

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fly away, sweet bird of prey

I haven't been home since Christmas - almost 11 months! So, it's fitting that I'm flying home on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. I love going home. I love spending time with my family and friends and recharging my emotional batteries, though not my physical batteries because trips home are typically BUSY. Hopefully I'll do some of that on the plane, since I had to wake up at 3 AM. Some genius idea that was to have a 7 AM flight out of the airport an hour away from my apartment.

PRO: No traffic. Short or no lines. Longer first day of trip. Nonstop flight.

CON: I can't remember the last time I woke up at 3 on purpose. Early morning phlegm clearing (read: coughing) may convince my fellow passengers that I have the hamthrax.

Still, the hugs on the other end of this flight will be worth it!

- Posted from my iPhone because there isn't much else to do at the airport by yourself at 6 AM

I believe I can fly

One day, when I was about eight or nine, I overheard my mom's parents talking to my parents. The conversation went something like this:

Grandma: When were you thinking your children would be old enough to stay home alone without a babysitter?

Mom: Oh I don't know. Ten, maybe?

Grandma: Wonderful. Dad and I were thinking that when they were old enough, we'd love to have our grandchildren each take a trip to spend a month or so with us during the summer.

Being the strong-willed child I was, I took this to mean that the summer I was ten, I would get to go to my grandparent's home for a month. I was the oldest; I'd get to go first. Nevermind the fact that we were living in Texas and they lived in Washington. No one could convince me otherwise. I was going.

And so my parents and grandparents struck a deal. They would split the cost of the plane ticket, if I raised $50 of my own money to help pay for it and therefore earn the trip rather than it just be gifted to me. $50 to a child is a LOT of money, but I did it! I saved $25 of my allowance money and gave my parents the $25 mall gift certificate I won by selling the most tickets to our children's theatre play that summer.

The scary part was flying there by myself. My mom packed me a carry-on with Wild Cherry Lifesavers (something I still associate with this trip), gum (because Grandpa likes to chew gum on flights to help his ears pop), word search puzzle books, and other goodies. Fortunately, these were still the days that anyone could go all the way to the gate, so my family saw me off, my mom's aunt Donna met me in the SLC airport for lunch (a kid's meal from Burger King!), and my grandparents were waiting for me. I wasn't alone for long.

It was a wonderful month. I made a little-while friend and we rode bikes to the community swimming pool almost every day. I sometimes visited Grandma at work, and spent time with both grandparents at home each evening. It was this summer I was taught how to embroider, and I had almost all my Christmas presents for my family complete by the time I went home.

As part of Grandpa's work with the state, he was also a volunteer forest firefighter. My third week, he was called away to fight a fire, and it was just me and Grandma for awhile. We had hoped to go camping that week, but we postponed that trip until I was 21 (seriously, it was 11 years before we could get our schedules to work). Fortunately, he came home in time for us to drive to Utah for my last week. We were meeting Mom there so she and Grandma (who were both seminary teachers) could attend the Seminary Symposium at BYU while Grandpa and I stayed with Aunt Donna and played in Utah. Not so fortunately, I challenged a boy from their ward we were taking to his grandparents' to a foot race somewhere in Idaho - rest stop footraces are family tradition, probably to get us tired and make us fall asleep - and I fell, spraining my wrist and scraping up my arm and face. I had to tone down some of my energy, but we still played miniature golf and went hiking. I got to fly home with my mom, just the two of us.

It's still one of my favorite summers. My siblings and some of my cousins have followed suit had spent their summers in Washington. I'm so fortunate to have and still be making such fond memories with my amazing grandparents - in multiple states and countries! (On my dad's side, my grandfather passed away when I was nine, but my grandmother and I are still in touch, she's also wonderful, just not very active.)

I also enjoy making my parents start pricey family traditions they never expected. Eavesdropping is totally worth it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Walk this way

Kindergarten at Hill View Elementary School in Murray, UT, is half-day. At least it was in 1989. I was in an afternoon class. Mom took me to school everyday (which, I'm sure, was no small feat, since she'd have to pack up me, my 3 and 1 year old siblings, and at least one or two other children she babysat to drive me that one mile), but most days I walked home with some neighbor girls. I think one was even a fifth grader, and the bee's knees.

Then we moved to Texas and we rode in a carpool for 1st-3rd and 5th grades. 4th grade I rode the bus (which was a novelty at first, but soon wore off). I rode the bus for 6th-8th grades as well, but when we moved from our apartment to a real house closer to our elementary school halfway through 6th grade, my 2nd and 4th grade siblings got to walk to school.

I don't remember why, but I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Well, it was probably because I was on a stinky bus everyday. (Even worse, for at least four cumulative weeks in 8th grade, I rode the short bus. I still need to tell that story, don't I?) My siblings were able to walk on their schedule and enjoy the outside air, and their commute didn't take nearly as long as mine. I was rather jealous.

Once I started 9th grade, everything changed. We'd moved to our house in Utah and you could see junior high from our doorstep. I finally got to walk to school! All by myself if I wanted! And walk I did. Sometimes by my onesies, sometimes with my brother, sometimes with neighbors, and eventually with my not-my-boyfriend. Is there anything more not-romantic than walking hand in hand with your not-your-boyfriend the two and a half blocks to the junior high? I didn't think so.

My favorites were the snowy days. I'd get up with my brother and get all bundled up, ready to shovel the driveway. By the time I'd shoveled the first line, I'd spy my not-my-boyfriend coming up the walk, ready to take over. Three people and two shovels = I got to go back inside where it was warm, get ready for school, and help Mom finish making breakfast for the lot of us. It was pretty great.

Unfortunately, walking to school lost its charm by 10th grade. The high school was farther away. If I didn't leave on time to meet my friends, I had to walk it alone. There was no magic in the snowy days anymore, as I was no longer not-seeing my not-my-boyfriend, so I'd have to help shovel after all and then trudge through the snow to school.

I was much relieved that I had a driver's license and my own truck by the time my junior year started. By this time, it was my truck that was the novelty and the means to my freedom. Those are the ingredients to me enjoying my walk to school. It was new and exciting in 9th grade, but not as much by 10th. Walking from Deseret Towers to my morning classes my freshman year of college was both a novelty and more freedom than I'd ever had, minus the scary Bell Tower Stairs of Death, and I don't ever recall minding the walk. The same goes for my walk from my flat in London to the Hyde Park LDS chapel, where our classes were held. I was so excited every day that I was in London that I didn't care I was walking all the time (and when I came home a pants size smaller, I was still excited - anyone want to move back to London with me?).

It would only take about 40 minutes to walk to work now. It would be good for me. But it's a lot easier to sleep for 30 extra minutes and drive for six. Perhaps on good weather days, I'll channel my inner 9th grader and remember just how freeing it is to do things by my own steam.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pain in the neck!

When I'm feeling bad (headache, cramps, etc.), my preferred treatment method is sleeping it off, sometimes accompanied by a little Tylenol or Ibuprofen and an ice pack or heating pad.
Most of the time, I feel completely better when I wake up.

But when I go to sleep feeling just fine and wake up the next morning to hear and feel my neck crack and pain set in, I know it's going to be a long day. It's probably only happened eight times in my adult life, and a handful more as a teenager, but some days, for no reason at all, I wake up with a crick or kink in my neck. The entire right side of my neck from shoulder to head radiates with pain and it's difficult to move. The all-knowing interwebs say that it's probably caused by a muscle spasm.

Today, obviously, is one of those days. Throughout the day, I attempted gentle neck rolls and not moving any more than necessary. Still, by the third hour of church, I almost couldn't move at all.

I'm not a fan.

Once home, I took some Ibuprofen and applied my ice pack for an hour. Then, I switched to heat and drove to tonight's Mormon Choir concert with my heat bag on my shoulder. A fellow soprano helped massaged some of the stiffness out, and I had mobility! It was going to be a long fireside if I didn't.

Now, I have the ice pack awkward wrapped around my neck again and it doesn't hurt too bad. I figure it's a delayed reaction to being rear-ended (however slowly) on Halloween and falling on Wednesday.

Whatever it is, I'm over it. I really hope I can sleep this one off.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Eight days a week

What a week. Seven tiring days of nothing going as expected. Nothing really bad or life changing, just a long, tiring week.

Sunday, the editor of short film I directed and I met together to finalize our film before submitting it to our bishopric for the stake film festival. There were some weird technical glitches and the fixing of them took almost twice as long as we expected. But fix them we did, and our test screening went swimmingly.

Monday, I was just tired. I finally got back to my dance class after missing for two weeks for various reasons. I also starting my working day at 7 AM, 2.5 hours earlier than usual, and 1.5 hours earlier than I usually even get out of bed. Deadlines at 9:30 AM on a Monday morning are not my favorite.

Tuesday, I was even more tired than Monday, as my long day had caught up to me. I also felt rather oogy in general, for whatever reason.

I was feeling mostly better by Wednesday, but it didn't last. My current dance class is through Northern Virginia Community College, and their dance department was having a little showcase. My class (Advanced Modern) was last, and as I was doing the across the floor combination (a rather fun one I had just learned on Monday) I suddenly found myself flat on my back in the middle of the stage. I don't remember tripping or falling, just landing. As I tweeted, collective audience gasps are rather surreal when they're for you. I ran off the stage and the showcase continued, but I did end up going to bed with a headache.

Thursday was going really well. I didn't feel oogy at all, just a little sore and bruised. Until, of course, my cataloger came into my office and we exchanged our usual pleasantries:

Cataloger: How are you?

Me: Good, thanks. And you?

Cataloger: I'm good. You don't look so good.

Me: Oh . . .

I decided that it must have just been my tiring week manifesting itself in my demeanor, because I really did feel well enough.

We've already discussed Friday.

Today, I slept until 11 AM, did some cleaning (including those dishes and clothes), and then took a little nap. This evening was the aforementioned film festival, which I was looking forward to. During the opening announcements, however, a list of guidelines and themes each film was suppose to adhere to was read, so the audience knew what to look for. This was the first anyone in our ward, even our bishopric, ever heard of these guidelines, and, of course, our film didn't really fit. It was still entertaining, but I was embarrassed and annoyed, as were the other members of our crew, that we hadn't followed the "rules", even if it wasn't our fault.

We did, however, win the "Best On Location Shooting" for "following" the "This is the Place" theme, since we filmed at 7-11 and Eastern Market, and the MC did try to mention that we hadn't seen the guidelines beforehand. They were all Girl's Camp style awards - the ones made to fit the recipients. I can live with that, and I'm still pleased with the film under all the circumstances of its creation.

Pleased enough that I'll share it with you!

In a few days, I'll be returning home, and I'm looking forward to recharging my batteries, especially after a week like this!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

You know that I could use somebody

Just before I left work tonight, I decided to check the evening's movie schedule and see if there was anything that would tear me away from my evening plans of laundry and dishes. Lo and behold, "Julie & Julia" was playing at the cheap theater. Dishes? What dishes? So, I texted some friends and tried to throw together a last minute outing.

I messaged six friends and got six "I have other plans, but next time!"s. (Okay, one was about something tomorrow, but still.)

Oh well!

I took myself, and I'm totally okay with that. The movie was worth it. I'll see most of these friends at a stake event tomorrow. All of them responded instead of just leaving me hanging. I got the popcorn all to myself.

Best Friday evening ever? Nah. Decent? Absolutely.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Some say tak, others merci

The goal on my gratitude blog is to list five things a day. Five days down so far! It's nice to reflect on my day and end on a positive note. Check it out by following the link on the sidebar!

-- Posted from my iPhone, because I'm hanging out with Mr. T tonight

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I'm still in transition from the old library system to the new at work. It's been really well received, for the most part, and it gets better everyday. Still, my choral music section is in four different places in the building (of which my library is only a part), namely The New Section on the Shelves, The Old Section on the Shelves, The New Section on Book Trucks Out In the Warehouse, and The Old Section on Book Trucks in the Library.

It can get really confusing. And that's just the choral music. Everything else is in some similar form of library limbo as well.

Fortunately, it make sense to me. When a materials request comes in via phone or email, I can still locate things easily and process the request quickly (though if it's in either of the old sections, it takes a little longer since I have to put it through the new system - AKA add copy).

What's tricky is when teachers come to visit the library. It's hard to find anything by just browsing right now, and it's rather difficult to explain where to find anything specific. Mostly, I just ask teachers to have a look around, but if they want something specific to ask me and I'll pull it for them.

What's really tricky is when teachers come in and have somehow missed that I'm changing things. It's especially odd to me since I've been talking it up the entire time I've been here, have held multiple instruction sessions at various inservices, changed things on Blackboard, and have sent out multiple emails about it. So, not only is there the usual difficulty in locating materials, I also have to do some on the spot library instruction and, in some cases, defend why things are the way they are.

At least when teachers ask for things in the old way via phone or email, I can just send it the new way and remind them that we have a new system and where to find the tutorials on how to use it.

I'm all for the teach a man to fish method of library instruction and reference assistance, but it's difficult to see it through because whatever I say is not always true. Some things won't be found online yet or in the right places on the shelves. Between the temps I had and the part time help I still have, I can't guarantee even the "new" things will be where I think they should be, because I didn't shelve it myself or even add copy on it.

The good news is that I'm getting more items in the new system and in their new places everyday. I'll consolidate the New Sections by the end of the week. And, once they get the hang of it, no one is really protesting the change.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Home is where the heart is

Since I lived at home for two-thirds of college and haven't served a mission, I was spared the hassle of moving every 6-12 months like so many do. Still, I have lived in 9 different homes to date, 10 if you count my London flat, brief as it was (and I do), and 11 if you count the month I stayed with my grandparents when I was 10 (and I don't completely).

This further breaks down to 7 (or 8) different cities, 3 (or 4) states, and 2 countries.

Today, I'm going to focus on the states I've lived in - Utah, Texas, and Virginia. The fascinating thing is that my time in each of these states pretty much represents a stage in my development. Utah represents my early childhood, late teen, and college years. Texas is childhood and early teen years. Virginia, so far, is where I've grown into a full-fledged contributing-member-of-society adult.

Utah - The 45th state. My place of birth. The state I truly call home. Beautiful mountains and other natural beauty that make it a geologist's paradise. Predominantly LDS, which is comfortable for me. A state my family has been tied to since the beginning (the other is Iowa, but I've never lived there). The best snow on Earth. My safe haven.

Texas - The 28th state. Where I say I grew up - though I suppose I mean physically more than anything else. A really freaking big state (2nd only to Alaska) and, therefore, one with a lot of natural diversity. The place where I experienced life as a minority - first as a member of the LDS church (all 8 years) and second as an ethnic minority during all three years of middle school in a predominantly African-American school. This is where I first learned to be me and no one else. Even if I never return to this state, it will always have a special place in my heart.

Virginia - The 10th state. Where I have really come into my own. A state that could really be divided into two - Northern Virginia (essentially an extension of DC) and the rest of the state. The people and lifestyles and energy are so different in those two sections. As much as I know I've grown and learned in the previous stages of my life, this is where I've truly found me, understood me, and done so on my own. And did you know there is a state bat?

Of course, I don't think it's the states I've lived in which have formed who I am as much as the environments within them, but it convenient to break up my life that way. I'm also very glad I've lived both in Utah and in the "mission field" as it's given me the chance to develop my personal convictions independently. It's so easy to say "I can't, I'm Mormon" when no one else is, but you can't get away with that when everyone is. And since then, I've personally come to understand why I do/believe or don't do/believe without defaulting to my religion. I also feel I've learned so much about people and the world by living in so many different places. Simply touring different places doesn't give you quite the same level of understanding.

I'm excited to see where I go from here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We have been born, as Nephi of old, to goodly parents

This cute couple?

Those are my parents.

I'm awfully fond of them, and, fortunately, the feeling is mutual. Here are five things I love about each of these wonderful people.

  • Loves to read
  • Very intelligent
  • Great listener
  • Well organized
  • Talented seamstress
  • Total goofball
  • Loves a good practical joke
  • Forgiving
  • Hard working
  • Always willing to help in any way he can
  • Strong testimony
  • Taught me the value of a good education
  • Love their children
  • Make family a top priority
  • Love music and passed that love to their children

They are absolutely wonderful people, and I'm eternally grateful for everything they are and do.

Love you, Mom and Dad!

Monday, November 2, 2009

One singular sensation, every little step she takes

I was reluctant to try NaBloPoMo this year. I have to write three times as much in the next month than I have in the last three months combined! Add that to the fact I've decided to post on my gratitude blog every day too (poor, neglected blog), and it's six times as much! Good grief.

Oh, and there's that whole thing about traveling a lot this month too. This is going to be interesting.

In exciting news, Sisterpants received her mission call this week. Texas Houston East! She reports to the MTC in January. The craziest part is that we lived in that mission for eight years and still consider it a second home. As our dad put it, it's probably the only mission we would have absolutely no worries about sending her too because we know what it's like and are terribly fond of all the people there.

And, since I know you were wondering, here's costume #3 (zombie librarian). I did the makeup for both myself and the ringmaster of the zombie circus to my left.

Who else is in for NaBloPoMo?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Are you hearing me? Like I'm hearing you?

This is a test of the emergency posting system. If this were a real emergency, this post would be accompanied by a Muppet-esque freakout. Arms flailing and everything.

But there are no Muppets here. Today, anyway.

I'm just testing out the mobile blogging features of my iPhone. I'm planning on participating in a certain annual posting fest, but I'll be out of state for more than a third of the month! So, it's time I fully embrace my iPhone snobbery and actually maximize it's functionality.

And just to make this fluff post even fluffier, here are this year's costumes #1 and #2. One for my real job, and the second for the haunted house I volunteered to work in last night.

Happy Halloween!

-- Posted from my iPhone, because after 10 months with it, I'm surprised I haven't already

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

'Cause I'm a woman, W-O-M-A-N!

I saw it for the first time just before midnight on Saturday. A dark little creature, scurrying across the far wall in my kitchen. A little too freaked out to investigate for 20 minutes, of course it wasn't there when anymore. So, I went to bed.

Sunday morning, when it ran across the open floor, a furry grey body against white tile, I definitely knew I hadn't just been seeing things.

I had a mouse.

I jumped up to follow it/chase it out of the house/something besides just let it run amok. It seemed to dash into my storage nook but was gone by the time I worked up the courage to move the things on the floor. I did notice that the door leading up to the main house had a huge gap underneath, so I barricaded it and moved on with my day.

Sunday night, the mouse had the courage to run by my living/bedroom door, and it was on. I couldn't find it behind my TV stand, but even if I could, what was I going to do? Hit it with a broom?

I called my dad. Who put me on speakerphone. So that the he, my mother, and my brother could laugh at me when I meekly whimpered "Daddy . . . I have a mouse."

Then they confirmed what I already knew - it was time for mousetraps.

After freaking out the landlady (turns out mice are one of her worst fears and oh yeah, the last tenant had a mouse too, sorry I forgot to tell you) by asking if she had any and being told no, I decided that a mouse in the house was an ox in the mire situation, for I would not be comfortable just letting the mouse do its thing.

Not wanting to deal with mouse bodies, I chose the no-view traps, as well as a few glue traps, just in case. Within moments of setting them, the mouse went straight for one, rattled it a bit, but apparently walked away. With six traps littering the floor of my teeny place, I figured it was only a matter of time, so I relaxed and waited.

By 12:30 AM, still nothing, but as I went to brush my teeth, the little devil poked his head out from behind my bookcase, as if to challenge me. It wasn't long before I realized there was only one exit and if I put a glue trap right there, I was sure to win. So I did, with the mouse watching from the shadows. I went back to brushing my teeth, trying not to be to anxious about the whole thing. Less than a minute later, I heard rattling, then struggling. I turned around and saw exactly what I hoped to - a mouse not about to go anywhere anytime soon.

Unfortunately, I had to look the poor thing in the face as I picked it up and put it in a trash bag. It temporarily broke my heart, but really, it had to be done. Sorry, dude. My policy still stands - I don't try to live in your house uninvited, so don't try to live in mine.

None of the other five traps have any catches, so I guess word has gotten out among the mouse community. I prefer that way, as having no one else to take care of unwanted visitors is one of the unglamorous parts of solo living.

But I did it! And I'd do it again. Only bipeds live here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

To life! To life! L'chai'im!

I know haven't been around much the last few months, but if you spent two years tethered to your computer for an online MLIS (not to mention all the time on the computer for work), you wouldn't be on the computer as much as you used to be either. I've been out living my life instead of writing about it as much.

So what has that life included? Some mildly unexciting things - getting back into the gym more, discovering a new TV show - but enjoying those without doing homework at the same time. Have you ever tried highlighting journal articles whilst running on the elliptical? A little higher on the fun and exciting scale, I've also started a new modern repertory dance class. I was able to attend a ward retreat to the mountains of Maryland for the whole weekend, without thinking about school at all. I even attended a library conference (my first) in Gettysburg, PA.

Settling into this new, school-less life has just been lovely. I'm able to say yes a lot more, to spontaneous meet-ups with friends, to musical projects, to incredibly late social nights - not studying, to wherever the wind takes me.

The wind has been taking me in some very interesting places.

Just this last Saturday, I went, with a handful of friends, to the Maryland Rennaissance Festival for my fourth consecutive year. I'm pleased to report that a lot more women were wearing their corsets properly than in years past and that Hack and Slash get funnier every time. There's something to be said for variety in your performances (I'm looking at you Johnny Fox). I wore normal clothes (as I had last year as well), but with my lovely hooded cape.

In the late afternoon, I attended the ring ceremony/reception of two dear friends in beautiful Leesburg, VA. I'm pleased to report that even though I somehow managed to not put my car in park, it missed the BMW to the left and the small hill directly ahead and drifted directly for the one little tree in between. Since it was only six inches in diameter, and my car was only going two feet an hour, there was absolutely no damage to my car! Just my ego, and a small scrape on the tree. Heavenly Father was certainly looking out for me.

The wedding celebration was lovely (though, unsurprisingly, everything was just a little behind schedule), and I'm pleased to report that even though I was at a table where I only knew one other person (surprisingly, because I know friends and family on both sides) I made the most of it and got to know the youngest sister of the bride and a rather cute, male family friend. I even watched a movie with them after (in his car, because my apartment was too far away from her hotel at that late hour and she was sharing a room with her parents) and let the friend crash at my apartment for the night before driving back to Richmond.

And that was just one day. Last night (or this morning?) I met Mr. T at his place after he got off work at midnight for a movie and some Xbox and didn't get home until after 4 AM. Today (thanks to Columbus day) I ran fun errands to places like the theatrical makeup store in DC, Michael's for a diploma frame, and Staples for a white board for a short film I'm directing this coming weekend. Then I went to the gym, folded laundry, and washed dishes, but that's not exciting.

Life, my friends, is good.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I run for hope

It's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month! While breast cancer has never personally affected my life, it's still an issue that's close to my heart (literally). So, when I was given the chance to donate to the cause and get new hair extensions to show my support, I jumped at the chance!

I kind of love my hair even more than usual right now.

For my DC-area friends, you can do the same at Zoe Salon & Spa in Fairfax. For all women, early detection is the key! For everyone, find out how you can help by going here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who knew?

I wrote this for something else (and mostly for myself), but I thought I'd share it with you too.

I was living every good Mormon girl’s dream. I was finishing my B.A. at BYU (class of ’05!) and discussing marriage with the perfect man. Life couldn’t be better. Until, four days after my 21st birthday (because he didn’t want to ruin the actual day for me), he just wanted to be friends. I thought my poor little heart was broken forever. When my missionary came home that summer (yes, I was one of those girls) and, within a few weeks, told me the same thing, I knew I was a goner. Those were two of the worst days of my life. For the next year, I had convinced myself that no one would ever love me again and I might as well just sit like a lump on the couch.

And sit I did. How else does one watch all ten seasons of Friends in less than two months?

The Lord, however, had different plans and, in July of 2006, I found myself driving across the country to take a job just outside of Washington, D.C.

Turns out that those horrid days from which I thought I’d never recover are actually a blessing in disguise. Had I married either of those young men, I would probably now either still be in Provo or Madison, WI, doing whatever it is the wives of graduate students do. While I have nothing against more regular access to amazing hikes, Wisconsin cheddar, or being a stay at home mom, and heaven knows I would love to be married, I am extremely blessed that I get to live my own life for a while first.

The immediate blessing is the scads of free time I have to myself. There’s no weekly coordinating of schedules. Dinner is when and what I want. I am the only one I have to consult with when deciding what movie to see. Spur of the moment weekend road trip? Bring it on. Would it be more enjoyable to have company or to have someone be decisive when I can’t, at least once in a while? The time I drove to and from Nashville all by myself (24 hours of driving and a wedding in three days, yikes!) says yes. I’ve learned, though, that I don’t mind doing things on my own. Having someone to talk to after seeing a movie together is certainly nice, but since you can’t really talk during the show and the only people paying attention to who is around them in a theater are others who came alone, it’s perfectly okay to fly solo to a movie or anything else. (I have also learned, however, that if I want restaurant food for dinner, I call in an order for pick up.)

Even more important than having the opportunity to do what I want when I want is the time I have had to really learn about myself and who I am and how much I can accomplish on my own. I didn’t know, for instance, that I wanted to be a librarian when I grew up. Luckily for me, the chance job that moved me to D.C. is a librarian position. Not only have I loved my job for three years now, I just completed my Masters of Library and Information Sciences. I was able to do an accelerated program because of my single status. Of course, now that I’m a librarian with her own apartment and even a pair of reading glasses, I’m only short the cat owner part of being the crazy cat lady.

I’ve been to Europe, twice. I’ve put over 18,000 miles on my car in the last 15 months alone. I read 54 books last year. I’m learning how to rock climb. I am making friends with dozens of really fantastic people, both men and women. I’ve gone on some amazing dates, and some not so amazing.

It’s possible, even probable, that I would have learned and experienced some of the same things with a husband in tow. I know women who have. But, the last three years have been incredible and someday in the future, when I am finally married with a multitude of kids, as long as I make the most of all this “me time”, I won’t look back and think “I wish I had _______ when I was single.”

Is it easy? No. Do I have this perfectly optimistic attitude all the time? Of course not. But with Heavenly Father’s help and my own faith, I know that all this wait will be worth it. In the meantime, life is for living, and I’ve got a lot of it to do.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tomorrow, tomorrow

In library speak, I was hired to plan and carry out a retrospective conversion of the entire library, getting everything onto the computer according to MARC standards, and provide a more automated library system. Of course, my boss doesn't actually speak library speak, so I was just asked to "update the library" and "get everything on the computer". I was shown around for a day or so and then let loose.

After three long years of planning, self-training, hundreds of questions, cataloging, item building, shelving, sweat, tears, and yes, blood, it's completed to a level satisfactory enough that I'm ready to start letting teachers use it. I'll be unveiling it tomorrow during the annual fall inservice meeting.

The library system may be ready, but I'm certainly not. I am little worried about the 15 minute (except I was asked today to keep it to 10 if possible) 40 slide Powerpoint library instruction presentation, naturally. I'm more concerned about the system. I'm still doing a lot item building (getting the circulation system to point to the catalog records) on the fly, so requests are taking a little longer than usual and not everything is going to show up in the online catalog yet and my phone is going to ring off the hook and everyone is going to hate me.

Except they won't. Everyone is on my side. Library catalogs aren't exactly rocket science and most of them won't really be learning anything new tomorrow. The teachers have known this is coming for as long as I've been here and have been just fine with little changes I've made along the way. It won't be a seamless transition, not by a long shot, but it should still be rather smooth.

This project is my baby, and now it's time to trust other people with it. And it's going to be okay.

Of course, it would be great if I could have another month before school started, but that won't happen. Also, it would be really helpful if I could get a good night's sleep tonight, but that probably won't happen either because two things that keep awake at night are stress and knowing I have to get up really early in the morning. Both at once? Could be interesting.

Now, while I'm having a stressful work week, I'm having a great music week. I spent a lot time last week cleaning up my personal music collection, and even found some great things I'd either forgotten about or didn't know I had in the first place. I'm rather pleased about that. I've also discovered a new station on Pandora (Glee Cast Radio) that's just delightful.

And this song, Aicha by Penn Masala. I love vocal a capella and they do it well. Plus, there are even some Hindi and/or Arabic verses here! As always, I hope you like it as much as I do, though I apologize for the poor quality.

So, if you could think positive thoughts for me around 9:00 AM EST tomorrow, that would be swell.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Haven't seen you for a while

Dear Amanda,

Where are you? We haven't seen each other in over three weeks and I'm a little concerned. I'm sure you've been out doing adventurous things now that you aren't tied to your computer for school. I've even caught wind of a few them - you're a boss now, your Masters graduation, your WHOLE family visiting you for the first time EVER. But does all that really mean we can't chat anymore? I know I'd love to hear your stories.

So, I hope you're well and everything with you is great. Hope we can catch up soon!


Your Blog

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Relax, take it easy

Tonight was my first full evening at home post-Emancipation Day. It's not like I've never had a non-homework evening in the last couple of years, but even if I did take the night off, it was always in the back of my mind. I've also had some school breaks, but I'm always traveling over Christmas, May 2008 - fixing my compy and buying a new car, August 2008 - Grandparents!, May 2009 - setting up the new apartment and logging HOURS of solo driving.

So, yeah, quiet nights at home without big projects looming over me is quite nice.

How did I spend my night of nothingness?

I . . .
  • Practiced a song I'm singing in a few weeks
  • Grilled a couple of pounds of chicken (microwave, add veggies, instant dinner for a week)
  • Folded laundry
  • Worked on catching up on my Google Reader (down to 88 from 150-something)
  • Watched Mystic Pizza (recorded from AMC) and HawthoRNe (so THAT'S what B/C-list TV actors do over the summer, guest star on random cable shows)

Tomorrow night? I'm reckoning more of the same, but add one workout and possibly some writing.

(Since I told you I'm going to the gym, maybe I'll actually go . . .)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm free-I'm free!

I know you've probably forgotten by now, since I really never talk about it, but you know how I've been in school for the last two years? Well, I submitted a 17-page single-spaced report on Saturday morning, and, just like that, I'm not anymore. It's both completely surreal and completely awesome. Unlike Canadian Dave, a friend since high school and a fellow MLIS-candidate, I have had a few enthusiastic shouts of joy and I've certainly happy danced. More than once. He's right about one thing though, that the biggest sensation is one of relief. I. Am. So. Relieved.

I'm also really energized. Unlike the last time I finished a degree, I'm not depressed and burned out. I'm single, childless, have a good job, and live in one of the greatest metro areas in the world. I don't want to let that go to waste. There are things to be done, and I'm going to do them.

Remember this list I made in the beginning of this school experience? Time for a new one.

Things I Will Not Do
  • Watch 10 seasons of anything in 2 months, unless it's while I'm doing something productive, like knitting
  • Become complacent
  • Become too reclusive
  • Stay up far too late writing papers (at least not for the foreseeable future)
  • Do another accelerated degree program (2 is enough, thank you)
  • Pay for another degree (scholarships/fellowships/free tuition benefits whilst working for a university - all welcome)

Things I Will Do
  • Continue to kick butt at my job (or any job)
  • Finish this year's book challenge (so what if I'm only on B)
  • Work on my other goals for this year
  • Keep dancing
  • Tour DC
  • Write
  • Perform
  • Socialize
  • Travel
  • Keep learning things
  • Explore other career and educational options (yes, I am thinking about a Ph.D. and/or a second Master's)
  • Enjoy my life, whatever comes my way
DC friends - I'm up for adventure! Time for fun things!

Non-DC friends - I still have a futon that's just begging for visitors, and I'd love some people with whom to play tourist.

Everyone - here's my graduation present to you, this week's SOTW. I've lost track of how many times I've listened to this song, and the video is just delightful.

Life is awesome. I enjoy living it.