Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And the seasons turn

Yesterday was the first day of Fall- and it felt like it, too. For FHE, we had a clothing drive. I was assigned to go pick up clothing from a set of streets up in the foothills with my friends Netti and Dan. The houses were instructed to leave clothing out on the porch in bags for us to take, and apparently not many of the big, ritzy, multimillion-dollar houses we checked have spare clothing laying around, because I think we gathered two bags total. But several of the houses were designed so that we couldn't see the porch from the street, so Netti and I got a good workout by walking up lots of steep driveways.

The view of the valley from my balcony, while amazing, has nothing on the view from the streets higher in the foothills. The sunset was turning the whole sky pink and the city lights were starting to twinkle beneath the orange clouds and the sliver of moon that got brighter and brighter as the sun got farther away. And for the first time, I felt the crispness in the air that made me think of warm pumpkin treats and apple cider and playing frisbee in the refreshingly cool air and the invigorating, laughing feeling that seems to be so easy to feel when the leaves are vibrantly red and it's just cold enough that having a jacket to snuggle in is a pleasant thought. Bring it on, Autumn, I'm ready for you.

On a completely different note, my friend Daniel who lives across the hall from me got his results back from taking the bar this last Thursday (he got the results on Thursday- he took the test back in July. I think I would die of suspense if I had to wait that long to get results back from such a big test). To celebrate, Megan decorated his door with notes of congratulations and candy bars, and most of the notes and candy are still hanging on the door. I don't know how- or why- he does it. I can tell you though, sometimes when I walk past his door after a long day at work, the Butterfingers bar starts to look mighty tempting . . . next time I go to visit him I might have to ask him to take everything off the door to preserve my integrity.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weekend notes

All weekends should be this good.
It started on the right note with a condensed version of The Tempest at BYU with Matt and Tricia, followed up by a fun evening at their home. Instead of driving back to Salt Lake late (which I have done many times but prefer not to), I stayed at the family house and had a fun midnight conversation with Dad, which I've done more the last few months than any other time in my life, including when I was a teenager. I went to bed a lot earlier when I was a teenager. Something's wrong here.

Saturday morning was Lyndsey's baby shower in Salt Lake. I'm very excited for Lyndsey to have a baby next month but I'm selfishly sad that I won't get to see her at work any more while she's on maternity leave. Who am I going to joke around with in R&D? Everyone should get along with their coworkers as well as Lyndsey and I get along- J dubbed us the R&D twins a while ago because he never saw us apart. That was mostly because when I was training Lyndsey had to show me everything, but we do enjoy the times when we're in the lab together and we can talk while we work.

Since most of the people at the shower were from the clinical lab and they mostly do fluorescence in situ hybridization, abbreviated FISH, the party had a fish theme which was great. There were big fish drawn on butcher paper up on the walls of the house and Swedish fish to eat and we played the game where you go fishing and get a prize depending on what fish you catch. By far the best baby shower I've been to.

At the shower, Em invited me to go to Epic Summer 2009, a film festival featuring short films that people put together about their epic summers. It was fun to watch- I especially enjoyed a film called "Superfly" which featured a sport where people use windpower from giant parachute-kite devices to get some good speed and serious air on skis. It reminded me of kiteboarding, a similar sport that David introduced me to this summer where the kite is used to power someone on a surfboard (and when I say he introduced me to it, I mean he told me about it, not that I tried it). It was fun, but it also brought slight pangs as I realized that summer is almost over and I don't feel like I did anything epic. But that's not really true- I went to New Zealand and had some very unexpected "adventures" there, I climbed Timpanogos for the first time, and I've had some other adventures that don't really belong on a public blog . . . not the kind I would ever have asked for but I think I've done well with them.

Anyway, today was a great day for reminding me that I love the people in my ward. I'm the chorister in Relief Society, which doesn't give me huge opportunities to meet people through my calling, so I decided a while ago that part of being the chorister is to make people happy while they're singing the hymns. Consequently, I try to smile and make eye contact with as many people as I can while I'm conducting, and it's interesting to me how many people don't ever look up during toe songs. It's also interesting to me how many people look either bored or glum. So I'm hoping that if they happen to look up and see me beaming at them, it will cheer them up and give them reason to think about the words they're singing and realize how powerful the messages in the hymns are. This also works to my advantage because when I meet girls in the ward, they often will say, "oh yeah, I see you leading the music in Relief Society," and it makes me glad that I smile when I'm up there so it gives them a favorable first impression of me. I would love to be known in the ward as the girl who's always smiling.

After church, we had a ward mingle (singles' wards are great) where we were served snow cones and cotton candy. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. It was kind of entertaining- I don't know the last time I had a snow cone. But I did today! So I can check that off my list of things to do for the summer. Kids, summer is winding down and it's both sad and exciting. Change is always sad and exciting. But I'm trying to hard to focus on the exciting aspect of it and let go of the sorrow. What's in the past is done and can't be changed- all we can do is look to the future and use the past as a springboard for a good future. And I think the future will be good.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Furniturially challenged

A bed! I have a bed! This is an exciting week.
Now, for those of you getting a strange image in your heads, I have not been sleeping on the ground. But I have been sleeping on a mattress on the ground . . . since January. For whatever reason, purchasing furniture has just been at the bottom of my to-do list for a long time. But a few weeks ago I decided that sleeping on a mattress is very teenage-esque, and since I haven't been a teenager for a good bit now, I should probably stop impersonating one and buy a bedframe. So, I am now the owner of a very nice, very sturdy loft bed.

Think miniature bunkbed. It's four feet high, giving me plenty of space to store things under it. The boxes along the wall are now tucked neatly under my bed and the room feels much more open and organized. Or at least it will after I haul the junk pile out and vacuum and Melanie does her laundry. But considering how messy we've been lately, this is a big step forward and I am pleased.

Last night was my first night up off the ground. I had Mel take a picture of me on it that I might upload here after I get my camera to a computer that will acknowledge its existence. But I must say, actually sitting on that bed with its little ladder and the guard to keep the mattress from falling off made me feel kind of like I was ten and I was back on the old bunk beds at home. So I guess instead of being mature enough to have a bed, I actually regressed. Huh.

Now the only thing lacking is to replace my plastic shelving unit with a real dresser. Then I'll really be grown up. And the room should look even tidier without the visual of my jeans and socks flopped on their shelves. This growing up business is very complicated. And it's taking a lot longer than I think it's supposed to. But that's not entirely in my control- so I'll be content to be 26 with a loft bed and a shelf set for a dresser. It's not a bad life.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Places on my block

-Sushi Bar
-Dry Cleaner
-Smoke Accessory and Hookah Supply Shop
-India Gift Shop
-State Liquor Store
-Pet Day Spaw (sic)

I'm kind of intrigued by this. The only one I've frequented is the sushi bar, which is pretty tasty. If anyone needs any hookah supplies, I can point you in the right direction.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Culture . . . and not yogurt, either

I coerced Josh into going with me to the Greek Festival in Salt Lake yesterday, hosted by the Greek Orthodox Church. It both sated and fed my travel bug. I've never been to Greece or anywhere close by- although the front of the program stated, "It's just like being there!" So I guess I have kind of been to Greece now . . . by going to 3rd West in Salt Lake. Josh was a great person to go with since he also likes the kind of nerdy intellectual conversation that I thrive on, so we discussed Greece and how different cultures influence each other and after we got a lecture inside the cathedral about the history of the church and the symbolism that goes into their cathedrals, we pondered the similarities between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Latter-day Saints, including similarities between cathedrals and temples.

We also partook of some dang good Greek food, all of which can be well described as savory and potent. We both made horrible faces after biting into very strong olives and I did a repeat performance when I tried chomping down on a chunk of feta cheese. However, I discovered that grape leaf wraps and spinach pie are both very tasty and if I'm brave, I might just try my hand at one or both of them sometime. Josh also professed an interest in trying to cook some Greek cuisine, aided by the fact that there were recipes included in the program. Excellent! We did turn down the opportunity to have a lamb dinner straight from the lamb carcass roasting on a spit, though. Josh thought that college apartments should be equipped with spits.

We spent some time discussing the geography of the central part of Eurasia and I discovered that I, at least, am a little shaky on how everything fits together in there. Which is why I've begun reading books about places like Greece and Turkey and Afghanistan, which, yes, I am aware is a little further east. I'm not sure why I'm so very hungry to learn about the world, but it seems to have taken firm root inside of me and I fear there's no going back. I wonder what other cultural festivals I can track down in Salt Lake? Hmmm.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A curious mind

Last night Michael and I were playing Uno. Partway through, completely out of the blue, he asked me, "So, what exactly is a gargoyle?"

We believe in constant learning, I tell you what.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The random events of Labor Day Weekend

I know that Labor Day weekend is only a third over, but it's already been kind of an unusual one. Once again, I am writing late at night and once again I am very tired. This seems to be a common theme in my life. My journal is full of entries that note that they would be much longer if I wasn't writing so late- and since my entries are usually a couple of typed pages long, I sometimes wonder what else I was planning on putting that was so much more extensive.

In any case, the best word for this weekend, chosen by Tricia, is random. Lots of things that weren't really planned and have made for a random and interesting time.

It started last night with a family dinner and a viewing of the movie Condorman. It's a great old show from the early 80's about a comic book writer who believes in acting out his comics so they're authentic, and in the process manages to get himself involved with the CIA in a major defection of a Russian agent. Matt describes it as James Bond for kids- less intense and very clean, and very funny. It was a favorite of his growing up, and it's loaded with nostalgia.

Today I spent several hours cajoling a teenage boy into cleaning his room, which was a serious job. We spent a good amount of time sorting, throwing away, vacuuming, washing, dusting, and tidying, but I am personally quite pleased with the results, although part of it was rather like pulling teeth. Meanwhile, Matt, Tricia, Grandma, Dad, and Mom were busy continuing the grand project of going through all the stuff in the house and eliminating unnecessary items. It's amazing what we've trimmed down this way- and also the nostalgia that we've unearthed. Last weekend, for example, I cleaned out a large filing cabinet with Mom and found lots of newspaper clippings, pictures, and notes that brought back lots of memories. I also found all kinds of great Homemaking papers that made me giggle quite a bit, including a list of 68 things for children to do besides fight. The first item on the list, interestingly enough, was to argue. Some of the ideas were cute, but most of them left me scratching my head or laughing out loud.

But I digress. Today's task was mainly sorting through books in the basement. We take our books seriously in our family, and there are plenty of them. Many of the ones we saw today are ones that belong to my dad, but that he hasn't seen for several years. There were many exclamations of "Oh! Look at that!" It was almost as good as getting the books for the first time.

Then I gave a rat a bath. This rat is a pet rat, though, so it's all good. Michael cleaned out Salt's cage while I placed her in the tub and listened to her squeak in protest while I poured warm water over her and soaped her up with baby shampoo. She was not happy. And the scratches on my arm can prove it. But she was quite content to sit in a towel on my lap when it was all over.

As any BYU fan knows, BYU played a game against Oklahoma tonight. 5:00 is such an inconvenient kick-off time. Matt and Dad ended up eating most of their dinner in front of the TV. For some reason, I had gone out to the garden earlier and picked a large number of tomatoes and decided to make salsa, so Grandma and I sat at the table after dinner and chopped vegetables while everyone else crowded around the TV. When we heard an exciting play, we would run in to see the replay. Not a bad way to go.

Just before halftime, we got a call from my sister Becca. For some serendipitous reason, Mom asked Dad to put the call on speakerphone, so we were all able to hear when Becca casually announced, "we had a baby today."

It's a good thing it was big news, because anything lesser might not have been able to pull the boys' attention away from the game. We were all rather startled as it was- we weren't expecting this for another week or so. But no one is complaining- we're big fans of nephews (nieces too, but I don't have any of those yet). Michael is now calling himself a thruncle, since he has three nephews.

Of course, once halftime was over, attention reverted to the game. McKay was in attendance at the Cowboys' stadium. Every BYU game that he's attended, BYU has won, so he thought this would be a really good test to see if his superpower will hold true. It looks like he worked his magic, since BYU beat Oklahoma by one point. Cutting it kind of close, McKay, but a win is a win, I suppose.

Huh. I just reread this post and discovered that it sounds much more like one of my typical journal entries than a blog post. Ah, wel. It must be on account of my tiredness and the lateness of the hour and the randomness of the day. I hope the rest of the weekend holds steady with the randomness, because I'm kind of looking forward to it.