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