Friday, July 30, 2010

Car bombs, hospitals, and muckrakers

I've been spending my days and my nights at the hospital with my grandmother. She's doing much, much better now. She has good days, and she's had some bad days. A few days ago we had a very bad day on my watch. I had requested they give her a mild painkiller because she was showing several signs of discomfort. I was assured it was very mild and would have few side effects, not even drowsiness. I've taken the same drug, and had no reactions as well. She took it and settled down nicely. Later on she really started to scare me with some very disoriented remarks. She told me to ask my deceased grandfather a question (really upsetting me), told me to put a blanket on the phone, and some other scary non-sequitors. She was falling asleep every few minutes, and waking right back up. I got very worried and asked for help. Turns out the nurses were wrong and the drug can make a person quite loopy and does cause marked drowsiness. So all my fears were taken care of. Once the drug wore off she went back to being herself- sick, but herself. Nonetheless, I've still been a little more aware of her lucidity.
Which brings me to Thursday evening. We're watching her favorite news program, a commercial comes on, and she says to me, "That's the man that put a bomb in your cousin's car."
The crazy flag instantly went up, and I became worried again that she was disoriented. I checked her out, watched her vitals, and asked a few questions, including, "Which cousin?"
"Jack Anderson."
Oh, well, that changes things. Jack Anderson is actually my grandmother's cousin's husband. He's also deceased. But before he passed away he was a notorious shock journalist, or as he called himself, a "muckraker." He had more than a few enemies. For instance, President Nixon tried to have him assassinated. No, seriously. True story.
So suddenly a bomb in his car doesn't seem so implausible, does it?
She fell asleep shortly thereafter, and I had to wait for the commercial to air again to figure out who the man she's accusing was.
Oh, G. Gordon Liddy, the currently well-respected political radio show host, and Watergate felon. Yeah, he hated Jack big time. Again, a bomb doesn't seem so implausible.
I did some quick research and never could find a car bomb story online. However, I did find several sources saying that Liddy once plotted (because Nixon ordered it so) to kill Jack by putting poison on his steering wheel. However, the plan was foiled before it was attempted because Liddy was arrested at the Watergate.
Pretty crazy, eh? Well, hold on, it gets even stranger. There are some out there that believe that Nixon also ordered some of his henchmen to kill the now Vice President Biden. Do you know how VP Biden's wife and children were killed in a car accident right after he got elected to the Senate in 1971? Some people suspect that the henchmen may have put poison on the steering wheel. (VP Biden does not give credit to the theory.) Why? Because he was an anti-Vietnam war incoming freshman. And Nixon had no problems with criminal resolutions to his problems.

Oh the things you can learn when you have to quickly google to find out if your grandmother is crazy. Now I just need to ask her more about this car bomb.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Relationship Week continues- Katrina Style!

I'm happy to be bringing you another Relationship Week installment, this time from my life long friend Katrina. There are only a few people in this world I can say I have known since birth or toddler-hood- Katrina is one of them. She's always been a ton of fun, outspoken, a little crazy in the best of ways, insanely talented, musical like you wouldn't believe, and good to everyone. And my favorite part about her- she completely and in every way defines the old cliche "marches to the beat of her own drummer." Some people just think they are are unique and different, Katrina really is, and she's all the better for it. My favorite part about her? Her wedding cake! (See below.) Sixteen years later and I still remember thinking, "just how long do I have to wait to get married before I totally rip off her wedding cake?" I've always felt comfortable and loved when I visit her family's home. Her parents were well-known to me. Her dad was my early-morning seminary teacher. I always look forward to running into her folks just for the big hugs and sincerely happy greetings. Thanks Katrina, I hope I get to see you soon!

The beauty of a relationship is its uniqueness. There are no two alike. My husband and I met my first day of college and his first day back after a 2 year break for an LDS mission. Monday, 8am, music theory. He was the guy in the back row with a bad haircut who knew all the answers and I was the one in the front row who only sat there when I showed up, usually late. I mean, come on, music theory at 8am on Monday mornings. Ugh! We did not like each other. At all. I have an entry in my journal from that time period that mentions him in a not so flattering manner. It took us 3 years, 5 roommates, 4 serious relationships and one spiritual experience before we started dating. What can I say? We’re stubborn.
That was all 16 years ago. We are still as stubborn and bullheaded but have learned how we make our marriage work. It’s not the same “work” as earlier stages in marriage, where you are still figuring each other out, and “dealing” with each others quirks, the work now is honing and building on those cornerstones we have put down and loving those quirks.
Understanding the full depth of who this man is enthralls me. He was raised in a very different home than me. His Dad died when he was young, and his Mom married a man that was, to put it mildly, not very kind. He was raised in a very rural setting and worked on his grandpa’s farm. Neither he, nor his family, were members of the LDS church (he joined the church all on his own at age 12). He held a job, sometimes 2-3, from the time he was 13 to be able to pay for his own car, insurance and personal food.
I grew up in a large LDS family, blessed with parents who were extremely faithful in church service, and were blessed with a prosperous life. I lived in a beautiful home in the Washington DC suburbs, where I met Erin, and was encouraged not to hold a full-time job so that I could focus more on my studies. Everything I needed I was given. I still had to work at home, by doing chores, such as weeding, cleaning the pool and keeping my car clean, but I lived a very charmed life.
Looking at these two family pictures you may think that merging those two cultures could be very difficult. Trust me, it is. So, how do we make it work? Forgiveness. Forgiving each others shortcomings and forgiving yourself of your own imperfections. We are best friends. There is no one else in this world that I would rather spend time with. He is the first person I think of in the morning, and the last I think of at night. That’s not to say I don’t have friends, nor am I co-dependent. I love him passionately. He allows me to be the nutty, dorky, impassioned person that I am, and I allow him to be the nutty, dorky impassioned person he is. We both realize that neither one of us is perfect, and know that we cannot expect that of the other person. It’s frustrating to not have had the same structure growing up, but we pound out our own life, our own way of being instead of being stuck on one right or one wrong. We have always made our own choices that help us define who we are. Some people have gorgeous 7 tiered white wedding cakes, we had a gorgeous 5 tiered rice krispie treat cake. It’s all relative.
Allow yourself to be who you are, and allow the person in your life to be themselves. People can change, but it cannot be forced. Have Fun! Enjoy who you are with. Learn from them, and share with them your uniqueness.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Put on your big girl panties and deal with it!

In the past few weeks I have been hurt or insulted personally by people who claim to be my friend more times than I can count. I choose not to let it get to me. But still, it does wear a girl down.
My life revolves around serving others. It has since the day I lost my job 6 weeks ago. From the minute I get up to the minute I go to sleep, I have been helping others for the past 6 weeks. And I wouldn't have it any other way! And yet in that time, I've been accused of "playing," and unfairly "enjoying" my unemployment. I've been completely back-stabbed by someone. I was ripped off and hurt by someone I chose to help.
I've also been generously helped in uncommon ways. I've been able to enjoy the company of my family by serving them. Someone told me it was hard to feel sorry for me on unemployment because I'm enjoying myself! I don't feel like I should have to explain my every move, and justify my every expense to the world. But I will say this, my financial situation sucks. I am living off the kindness of others. And never judge a book by its cover- or the person by only the things she shares on her blog. It is rarely a full and accurate description!
Tonight I'm particularly stressed and disheartened. Someone took advantage of my kindness, abused the situation, and now I am going to be hurt long-term for it. It breaks my heart that I was treated like this. Why would someone do this? But what can you do? Other than just deal with the consequences of another's actions?
But I can't let it get me down. There's too much to deal with, too much going on. I'm needed at the hospital to help my grandmother. (Which let me just say is an emotional and physical ordeal in and of itself.) I have to finish getting this house ready and cleaned before the movers come on Saturday to put my aunt's stuff back in. I have to keep applying for jobs. I have to pack and move a lot of my stuff out. I have to figure out what comes next- where to live, what to do, etc.
So who has time to let the critics and stupid people of the world get them down? There's too much to do!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Relationships and Communications

In college I studied communications. I took classes in interpersonal communications, mass comm, international comm, and more. (And I loved it. Just wish there was more you could do with that degree.) One of the key things we learned, and heard over and over again, was that "you cannot not communicate." The absence of a dispatched communication is still, nonetheless, a communication. You are choosing to communicate that you wish to not share information. It is still communication.
The next lesson we learned, and heard over and over again, is that all people have a relationship. Two people who declare to not be in a relationship, are in an undefined relationship. Two people who do not communicate with each other, are in a non-communicative relationship. All people are in a relationship. And the important thing in all communications, is to know what kind of relationship you are in, so that you can communicate effectively.
For instance,
News Radio DJ to listener= a relationship of implied trust that the DJ will provide accurate news. And that the receiver is listening.
Two Enemies= a relationship of distrust and deceit
Warring Nations= one has something the other wants (in theory), or has done something to hurt the other
Siblings= share a genetic tie, common experiences, and possibly love
Friends= shared common experiences, shared similarities, shared points of view, mutual respect, mutual adoration
Dog and Master= one party provides loyalty and love, the other party provides food, shelter and belly rubs
Follow me? As long as all roles are understood in the relationship, you have effective communications (even if that communication is "we are at war, and want to steal all your diamonds and chocolate). If the intentions/role of one party are not understood, communications are not effective, and break down.
So when it comes to all things love and dating, it stands to reason that the key ingredient to success is communication and definition. To know what sort of relationship you are in, and to understand what the other person wants, all so that you can both effectively communicate.
Which then stands to reason that you must know what you want, or all other endeavors are fruitless, or destined for failure. And that brings me right back to where I started last week. What do I want in a relationship?
Anybody care to share what they want in a relationship? I'd love to hear it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

We interrupt this theme week...

I'm a little surprised that something as personal as love and relationships is what brings the critics out of the woodwork. I can't believe the number of negative comments! How rude! People share their personal love stories and people criticize?? Seriously, grow up people.
(oh and i've deleted the worst of the critics, because those people don't need to be documented or remembered.)
I'm enjoying relationship week. It has given me a lot to think about. Mostly just that every person's love story is unique. There is no magic formula for love and happiness. No, this wasn't a news flash for me. I've always known it. But sometimes, it is just nice to have it hit you back over the head again. In fact, I'm going to share a few more love stories this week. And if we get any more ridiculously critical negative comments I am going to post Taylor Swift's ridiculously awful "Love Story" song and video to punish you all.
But it is going to have to wait a few days before I can focus in again. There's a lot going on here on the home front. I'm posting from a hospital room where I'm helping out my grandmother. I was about to say it is hard to think about love and relationships when you are in a hospital surrounded by the constant noise and sickness. But actually, it is something that is very easy to think about. I'm acutely aware of the love of family and friends. I've thought a lot about how much my grandmother misses my grandfather who passed away 7 months ago. How much we love her and want to keep her here, and yet want to release her to be with her husband of 65+ years again. It takes a lot of love to make it that many years.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Relationship week- Stephanie's not so straight path to the altar

Today we get the story of Stephanie of the Daily Blarg and Brian, and their not so perfect path to happiness. I love Stephanie and Brian's "flirting" on Twitter. It can get pretty mushy- if you are in to slankets, bunnies, and thursketti!
I should probably start this post with a disclaimer:  I took a difficult path to get to the most rewarding place.  While I would never recommend it for another soul, I wouldn't change a thing.
To understand where I am you have to know where I came from...
To keep this pretty "G" rated I will say that I had a very wild 4 months after turning 16.  I could blame it on so many things.  Complete lack of parental involvement.  Wanting so much to be loved.  But I like to attribute my promiscuity to the growth of an ample pair of breasts over the summer.  And really, I am completely accountable for my actions. 
During this four months I bounced from one loser boyfriend to the next.  Because I mistook their interest in me as something more than purely sexual.  Obviously, this is NOT the way to find a soul mate.  Let this be lesson number 1.  Sex does equate long lasting eternal love but it does help you get knocked up.  SURPRISE!
Now typically I don't like to announce to the interwebs my, let's call it "whorey" past.  But really stay with me.  Because from all this comes something amazing.  I mean other than a baby....
I will skip past the year of single motherhood.  But let this be lesson number 2.  Wow, being on your own, a teenager, and a a mother.  Another thing to mark off your list of things you want to do. 
After a couple failed relationships with men who were in no way father material, (Apparently, I was a slow learner.  Very slow you are about to find out.)  I started dating Brian.  And by dating I mean I went out with him so he would STOP bothering me.  He had been asking me out for months.  And why would I say yes.  He was everything I had never dated before.  Respectful, kind, and occasionally looked at me in the eyes.  
Fast forward a few months... remember I am a SLOW LEARNER... and bam.  Guess who's pregnant again?  Let this be lesson number 3.  You can get pregnant again out of wedlock and prove just how stupid you are.  But remember that guy... you know the one I only started dating so he would stop asking me out?  Well, it turns out that my decision to start a relationship may have been a smart one.  Let this be lesson number 4.  Sometimes the person you never expect to be with is exactly who you should be with.
Brian and I were married on June 7th, 1997 and on August 26th we welcomed our son into the world.  Our second son.  Because he loved my first son and wanted be his father.  And for that my love for him is so profound I cannot express in words.  And shortly before his 5th birthday he became Brian's legal son.  Something he had already been emotionally and physically for years.  Blessings are not always what you expect them to be.  But I know that Brian is one of the greatest blessings I have been given.
See... I told you it ends up to be amazing.  13 years later and I can truly say that I love Brian MORE than I did on the day we were married.  We have grown, laughed, cried, struggled, fought, and found our way to the perfect place.  Not to say our life is perfect but we have a balance and a connection that I never thought was possible.  He is my best friend.  He is my soul mate.  He is the father of my children.   And most of all he is the person I will spend the rest of my life with.  Because somehow all of my terrible choices led me right to him.  I believe it is exactly where I was always meant to be.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Today's guest post is brought to you by Jenny or Jenndola as I know her. We only recently met via Twitter, and I liked the idea of picking a post from someone I hardly know, and who hardly knows me. She's has a "we met at BYU" story. Shocking, I know! She's another great example of being happy when we are not getting what we asked for. Righteous desires and being a good person doesn't equal getting everything you ever wanted. But I'll let Jenny explain that-

I'm Jenny, and this is the first guest post I've written, so please be gentle. I'm 34 and I've been married for 13 years (I accidentally typed "13 kids" there. Not even close.) to a man I refer to as "Car" in my posts. I've  been pregnant five really horrifying times, and we now have two boys, ages 4 and 2. I'm a part-time pharmacy tech/full-time mom who, in March, made a goal to blog every day for a year. I may, perhaps, be certifiably insane. I previously wrote two posts about meeting my husband, one of which was an interview with him. I've combined the two for your reading enjoyment--his comments will be in italics.

My husband disliked me intensely the first time we met. True story.

I (Jenny) lived in an apartment with 3 other women (Jennifer, Johanna and Georgia). I’m not making that up. Jennifer and Car went to the same mission, and she ran into him at a missionary homecoming for someone they both knew. She was interested in him and invited him over. And then…he met me. I really wish I could insert some sort of ominous “duh-duh-DUH” music there to make the moment dramatic. Imagine it in your head, won’t you?

It’d be a great Utah County romance if I could say that our eyes met and we knew something was there from the start and that was it for us and we were engaged in a week and married in a month and lived happily
ever after, but the real story is much more true to who I am. I commuted every day to my job as a secretary for a direct marketing company, and spent the rest of my day exhausted. After work one night, I went to a movie with a friend–”Phenomenon.” Haven’t seen it? John Travolta dies. Now you don’t have to. I’m not a fan of emotionally manipulative movies (“Pay It Forward” made me near-homicidal), so by the time Phenomenon was over, I was pretty annoyed. Okay, I was pissed. And hungry, since it was probably about 10 pm and I hadn’t had dinner yet (me + low blood sugar = disaster).

Car came to the apartment that night, accompanied by his best friend, Nate. He didn’t want to face an apartment full of strange women without backup. Smart man.I can’t remember exactly what happened that
night. Car probably can, since I made quite an impression. He went home and told his father that he’d met a girl who was a massive jerk.

You were in a pretty pissy mood. I don’t remember what you were doing or saying. You just came across as a really unpleasant person.

Awesome. This begs the question: Why did he come back?

He was moved by the Spirit.

HA! I totally had you there, didn’t I? Actually, his best friend sparked a mutual interest with Georgia. When Nate wanted to come back, Car, being the stand-up guy he is, came along with him. When I arrived home from work, I was greeted by the sight of Car, Nate and Georgia setting up a game of Monopoly. I hate Monopoly. I know! Who hates Monopoly? Communists, and me. They tried to interest me in playing, but that wasn’t going to happen...until they played the pizza card. Apparently I’ll do anything for free food (shut up).What I remember about that night: Car was charming and funny. You were very cute and funny. I think I did mention something to Nathan about pretty eyes. We struck up a casual friendship. He and Nate came over regularly. Nate and Georgia dated. We all hung out. I dated a whole bunch of different guys, none of whom were Car, which was fine since he was my buddy.

I think one key thing you’re missing is the incredibly entertaining message I left on your answering machine. 

Message? I vaguely recall something about a message.
I don’t remember the specific details. It was something like I called up and got the machine and said it was me, and I knew you were all too excited to answer the phone, but I’m used to that and I’ll talk you through it. And I said stuff about taking deep breaths or something. You and your roommates said you listened to it a few times because you were so entertained.

One night a big group of us went to rent a movie (Cougar Rentals! Anyone? Anyone?) and for some reason I was struck by the thought that Car would be a really fun guy to date. I may or may not have been staring at his rear end when I thought this. I plead the fifth.

I remember that at some point you walked up behind me and put your hand on my back, and it was all like, woo! I even think I wrote something in a notebook about it. 

(He's not kidding. He wrote a poem, people.See what I inspire?) We watched the movie at our apartment.
As the roommates lounged around afterward, I said, “You know, Car would be fun to go out with.” Silence blanketed the room. Finally, Johanna said, “Jenny, Jen is dating Car.” (Could that sentence be more confusing?) I said something along the lines of, “Well, good on ya, Jen!” and went back to my life as usual.

That was the same night I got comfy with your pillow. We were sitting around watching a movie, and you offered me a pillow since I was on the floor. I determined it was your pillow. At that point, being young and single, I liked to wear cologne. My thought was if I snuggled up to your pillow close enough, that some of my cologne would rub off on your pillow. That night when you went to sleep, you’d smell my cologne and think of me. 
(I love this, because he was trying so hard and I was completely oblivious.) I remember someone–possibly you–making a comment about me getting fresh with your pillow.

About a week later, Car called. That wasn’t really unusual. After all, we were buddies, and buddies talk on the phone, right? This call was different–he asked me out. I was dumbfounded, but managed to say yes. We hung up, and I was overwhelmed with guilt. You don’t steal your roommate’s man! That’s, like, in a  handbook somewhere! I called him back and said, “I can’t go out with you. My roommate likes you. But I’m moving out in a week and she won’t be my roommate any more, so call me then.”

Yeah, there’s a special place in Hell reserved for me. I’m okay with that. In my defense, I did specify that he needed to talk to her and clarify their lack of relationship. I’m just that thoughtful.

A final word from Car: You know what I remember? You were dating lots of guys, so I thought my chance of hooking up with you was really small because you were so fun and outgoing. 

Yeah, he's pretty awesome.

This post is hideously long, but Erin asked me to add in some advice about how to catch the perfect guy. I started thinking of a really funny list (seriously, I was giggling as I wrote it in my head) but never wrote it on actual paper and now I've forgotten everything. Whoops. All I'm left with now is the serious stuff:

Stop looking for the perfect guy. Counter-intuitive, right? If you're planning eternity, you want perfection! I'm not talking about that whole, "if you want to catch a 10, you have to be a 10" sort of thing, because that's a load of crap. No woman rates herself high enough, which is why a lot of crap relationships happen. ("I'm only a 3, so I guess this guy who's a 4 is better than I even deserve.") The most romantic thing Car ever said to me? "You're not perfect, but you're perfect for me."

I think the key is to figure out what you need vs. what you want. I wanted man with musical talent. I needed a man who would stick by my side when I had a nervous breakdown. We'll never make beautiful music together (of the literal kind), but that's okay. Are you the list-making type? Make a list. Write down the areas where you will not compromise. That sounds silly and teenaged, but that's actually how I received the inspiration that Car was the right one. I prayed about it, and the next day I was thinking about that list, and realized he had every trait I wanted in an eternal companion. (To be perfectly honest, I wasn't very happy about that revelation. I was getting ready to submit my mission papers, and my prayer had been along the lines of, "If you really want to tell me something, I guess you can. But I'm good. Really. I don't need to know anything.")

So you have that list, and nothing is happening? Yeah, that sucks. Car and I were married for eight years before we managed to have kids. I spent a lot of time angry at God for not granting the righteous desires of my heart until I finally figured something out: God isn't just omnipotent. He's omniscent. He has a plan, and he knows the best way to make that plan work. I've said for a long time, "I know God has a plan for me. I just don't have to like it."

I suppose this all sounds trite from a woman who was married at the tender age of 21, but I truly believe that God knows you and has great things in store for you. There's a chance they're not the things you've planned or even want, but they're fantastic and prepared just for you. I don't know why I'm writing this when I hardly know you, but it feels right. You don't have to publish this last part. My feelings won't be hurt.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

LaurieBee falls in love- eventually

Today's guest post on relationships comes to you courtesy of internet friend, LaurieBee. I appreciate her taking the time to share her story with me. After 33.5 years of marriage, including children, unexpected deaths, and more, she knows a thing or two about making a marriage work. Here's her story on how she met, and eventually fell in love with, her husband.

It was my "young and dumb" years. I left home when I was 18 and moved to Sacramento. I was not active in church and had no intention of changing that status. Bitterness on that end abounded. My testimony remained strong (and that is not an oxymoron -- most inactive members are inactive for other reasons, contrary to popular belief). Occasionally, when the desire to go to church would hit, I would slip into the back of the chapel late for Sacrament meeting, and then leave prior to closing prayer to be long gone before anyone noticed me -- or so I thought.

Danny noticed. In fact, Danny notices everything. He wasn't quick enough to catch me, but he managed to get my phone number from a friend of a friend of my roommate, who was a recent convert. He called, found a way to introduce himself, and asked me out. I'm not sure why I said yes, but I did.

Our first date was less than perfect. As a matter of fact, it was awful. Danny had a very bad cold, and should have cancelled. Instead, he picked me up in his old rattletrap Plymouth. The passenger door was broken, so I had to crawl in on the driver's side. He apologized for driving with one contact lens because when he gets a cold, he gets cold sores in his eyes. He took me to see the movie "Earthquake." For the benefit of the younger generation, let me explain that when you see this movie on television, it is NOT the way we experienced it in the theater. There were special sound effects that made loud rumbling noises under your feet that made you feel like you were actually experiencing an earthquake. Danny had no way of knowing that I was born in the worst earthquake Nevada has ever seen, and I'm just superstitious enough to believe that there's a good possibility that with an entrance like that, my exit might just be as dramatic. I was terrified, and he was trying to be a gentleman (or maybe it was the cold), so he didn't even hold my hand.

The second stop on the date was Pizza & Pipes, where there was a real old time Wurlitzer organ salvaged from silent movie days with a live organist. I loved the place, and it remained our favorite pizza place until they finally went out of business when my kids were teenagers. In light of his cold, however, I sat on the opposite side of the table from him, as opposed to sitting next to him, an act which he still has yet to forgive me.

The entire evening, he talked about his ex-wife and his divorce (between nose blows) -- not smart. I went home and told my roommates that he was looking for a wife, and I was NOT interested -- especially since he had been married before, had a son, and was 12 years older than me. I refused to go out with him by avoiding his seemingly endless phone calls for the next eight months.

Eight months later, I walked into the back of the chapel late and exited early. He must have been wearing his running shoes. In order to get away from the church quickly, I agreed to let him call me.

The following Sunday afternoon, he called extremely excited, and his voice was very animated. He wanted to come to my apartment and show me the pictures that he had taken of his 3-year-old son at Sears. I let him come over. As he showed me the pictures of his son, two things happened. I didn't realize it at the time, but I fell in love with this man who so obviously loved this adorable tow-headed little boy. I also fell in love with the tow-headed boy before I ever met him. It would take many months (and many fights) before I would figure all that out, however. I finally figured it out the day a drunk driver hit him and totalled his new Datsun. I had injured my back and was working with a heating pad. When I got the call that he had been hit, I took off at a dead run and ran from my office at 7th and K Streets to the scene of the accident at 5th and P Streets. You can do the math. The next day, he was fine, but I was flat on my back in bed contemplating why in the heck I had done that.

The drama didn't end when I figured out I loved him, however. Danny and I had the stormiest courtship on record. As a matter of fact, we fought more the year before we were married than we have in the last 33 1/2 years of marriage. I gave the engagement ring back three times -- but that's a story for a future post.

Relationships- an interlude

As I have been focusing on relationships this week, reading the stories, and even reading a few books on the subject, I've made an interesting self-discovery.
As mentioned previously, my history (for the past 7 years basically) has been I meet a guy, we flirt, he shows interest, usually there is no date, and I stay interested for months on end with things going nowhere. I hang on, passively interested, but never interested enough to do much about it, until the next guy comes along.
Here's what I realized today. I never really liked any of those guys enough to want to do more. I moved on when someone else interested me. In fact, I can't really recall the last time I got very excited about anyone. And let me tell ya, it is hard to get excited about guys in their 30s and beyond. They've got a spare tire, less hair on top, too much hair in other places, plenty of baggage, and they tend to have very egotistical pre-conceived notions about women. (I think if I could meet just one guy who doesn't fit that description, I might get excited about him.)
In our 20s we get excited about a lot of guys. And IMHO, a lot of girls marry the first guy that excites them more than the others. The guy that fits the bill better than most. They marry him convinced no one else will ever find that same chemistry with them.
The difference in dating in your 30s and beyond, is knowing that not only do you find that chemistry with more than one person, that it doesn't mean a thing. You can feel that chemistry, and it still doesn't always work out. (Creating a small trust issue and baggage to boot.) Or, conversely, you date wondering if you'll ever get to find that chemistry you have heard of.
One thing I have noticed about individuals looking for second marriages, or individuals who have been married a while, is that they aren't looking for that first relationship chemistry.  They admit they are looking for compatibility, not chemistry.
Me? I've felt that wonderful chemistry, and been with men who fit the bill perfectly for me. Now, what to do about that? Find it again? Or just look for simple, happy, compatibility?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Relationship week continues- Steph on dating

Today's relationship post comes to you courtesy of my awesome friend Steph. She's a 30-something newlywed. She married Mike (who really doesn't get a lot of playtime in this post) in February. (A wedding I would have loved to have been at, but I was holding babies in Haiti. Steph totally understood and forgave me.) I love Steph for her ability to be straight-forward on just about every and any subject. She doesn't mince words. Ever.


“I'd love a piece from you on what you liked about dating, and what (if any) you would do differently. And anything else you want to say about dating/marriage/love in your 30s.”

That's the instruction I got from Erin when she asked me to appear as a guest blogger here. I have to start by saying, in all earnestness, that it is only with hindsight that I can identify any pattern in my dating or relationships so I don't proport to be an expert on the subject.
Let's start at the beginning. I'll be frank—the thing I miss the most about marriage is dating. I loved the idea of dating, the essence of it. Not the kind where my (for the record, dearly beloved and brand new) husband takes me to a different restaurant every week. The kind where you go not having any idea what the responses to your questions will be, if he'll be earnestly attractive or if you'll somehow end up on his private jet to France where you'll discover his secret billions which he hides so you'll love the real him. Admit it. You've gone there too.
I know, I know. I can hear the arguments about hills and their greenery. I'm not sure, however, that until you're in a relationship where all other options are excluded for ETERNITY that it becomes clear how much fun it is to consider The Next Big Thing. It's like a tattoo—fun to get but you look at it ten years later and think, “Wow! That's really PERMENANT!” The future is so fun to shape in our imaginations that it's been quite jarring for me embrace the change in my fantasies.
So, what kind of advice do I have for you? I think that dating and relationships come down to the single idea of distillation.
What are the common factors that keep popping up in your men (or women)? Why? Do you really find them attractive or are they just comfortable because you're not willing to raise/lower your own behavior to meet what you'd like in a partner? And are you looking for a partner that matches your future self or your real, right now, fatter-than-I'd-like-to-be-but-improving self?
I love geeks. Bearded, awkward, socially impacted, weird-compliment giving, programming, game-playing, Woot shopping geeks. I had no idea that I love them until I dated the man I'll call K. Mostly because that is his first initial. I met K working as a waitress. He hung out with the gaming geeks who took their dinner break in my restaurant. Who am I kiding? He was the leader of the pack. He was a long-haried Catholic and regularly wore dragon-themed shirts. And had the most amazing blue eyes. But I digress (Hi, Honey!). I spent the first six months of our two plus year relationship with no clue as to why I was dating him. I really thought I was just biding my time until The Next Big Thing. He was fun, challenged my mind, was totally devoted and truly loved me. I thought, “He's a great guy and I'm enjoying myself but I could never REALLY date him.”
Wrong. After six months I was feeling horrible. Mostly because I'm not the kind of girl who enjoys that type of surface, fake interaction. Having my boyfriend on weeknights and my LDS friends on others—never the twain shall meet—was making me miserable. I started to think about why I spent time with K. What was it that I found so captivating? After a long while of considering it came down to this—I could never anticipate what he was going to say. I was totally captivated, fascinated by the mind of this man. I hated his clothes, his home (so messy), his rabid views about religion drove me up the wall. But I stayed because I could not get enough of his conversation. That may seem an odd conclusion but, to me, it was a revelation.
I tell that story not for any other reason that to illustrate what became my central idea in my future dating: distillation. I looked at my own set of experiences and figured out the deal breakers. Mine are religion, temper and intelligence. You can see how the relationship with K didn't last, eh?
After that revelation I decided to put a business spin on things. I was tired of being hurt so what could I change about the way I was regarding dating, how could I make it more objective and less emotional? For me it was the logic of it. I discovered that dating is marketing. And marketing is only effective when you can deliver on the product, are hitting the right markets and, above all, are really aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your own brand.
Sure, I thought that 6'5” athletic fitness freaks were good looking—you betcha. But I was a 5'8” book loving doughgirl. I love camping and hiking and such—so I had those things in commmon with those guys—but I wasn't motivated to get to the tops of mountains or to look at myself in the mirror as I pumped iron. Or even to get up from the middle of a great book so that I could go to the gym on a regular basis. So, I had to get real. And I was feeling all defeated about that until I remembered, “Oh! I shouldn't be sad! I love geeks! Geeks don't exercise in this planet!!” And then I smiled to myself because I'd finally identified my target market.
Anyway, those are some thoughts about my journey. I know the theme is “Joy in the journey!” and I get that. But I suppose that for me it's not really about joy. It's about realism. It's about knowing yourself, knowing the situation of dating and gaining knowledge to make the situation work best for you. Distill.  Get to your most simple truth, you most basic attractions and deal breakers and work from the point of strength.  If you're not driven to marry, don't. If you're feeling guilty about that, take it up with Heavenly Father. If you find yourself talking to guys who are rude to you and make you feel bad, stop. Find another addiction, something else to do that won't bring you down. Just be real. Be earnest. And move along down the road.  If someone falls into step with you, yahoo.  If not, you're at least farther through your tour of Holland.

And remember—in marriage you have to compromise. So revel in your apartment until then.

(Erin's note- I added the bold, italics, and picture myself.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Conversations with Shenandoah

I'm pretty sure I could write an entire blog based on nothing but the bewildering conversations with my 7 yr old cousin Shenandoah. This is one of my favorites from the weekend. 

Shenandoah: Where do you live?
Me: I live in Roanoke at Aunt Darla's house. The one with the yellow slide on the deck.
Shenandoah: Oh I like that house! Do you like to go down the slide?
Me: Well, I haven't been able to because there was a wasp nest inside of it and I had to fix it first.
Shenandoah: And did you fix it?
Me: Yes, it got fixed a few days ago.
Shenandoah (completely flabbergasted): But you haven't gone down the slide yet?
Me: No, I haven't had time to.
Shenandoah (shocked and stunned): Why? You don't have a job!

She makes a very valid point!

*Editor's Note* I have now gone down the slide. I have the rub burn on my elbow to prove it. 

Heidi + Dave

My first guest writer is my good friend Heidi. Not only is she the mother of two of my cuter fairy godchildren, she and I have been friends since our early-mid 20's together. She refers to the singles ward we were in together. I can still recall hearing she was leaving for a family ward and thinking, "she'll never get married now!" A few months later I ended up moving and ended up in the same ward as Dave. I was around throughout their VERY short courtship, and still remember instant messaging regularly with Heidi about Dave (including her telling me that Dave had told her he didn't want to get serious. We didn't talk for a few days, and then the next thing I heard from her was they were engaged! I was completely bewildered!). She's told me more times than I can count to read, "Men Made Easy." As a part of the lessons I am going to learn this week, I am going to finally go get the book and read it. I wouldn't mind finding and keeping a guy as great as Dave!

Also, as Heidi pointed out to me this is perfect timing- it was 8 years ago today she and Dave got engaged!

In late July 2001 after a summer of unemployment (I was consulting part time, but that didn't count when I could lay out by the pool, and have the best tan of my adult life), I was asked by the Institute Director in Northern Virginia to teach a Church History class - starting in September.  Then he said, "We'll fly you out to Utah for the CES (Church Educational System) conference."  I was in, all in.

That week was a defining week.  I floated around the campus at BYU in a spiritual high.  I was so excited to go forth and teach and inspire.  In a fit of independence, I also decided at the ripe old age of 29 to transfer from the very active singles ward to the very isolating Family Ward.  I was welcomed by the bishop with open arms as he said, "Are you here because you are too old, or here because you are sick of the games?"

Definitely sick of the games.

The night before I flew to Utah for the conference, I had ended up going on a date with someone that I had dated on and off for six months.  Mostly off.  Mostly because I was too chicken to stand up for myself and decide how I wanted to be treated.  But I was smitten and we all know what smitten, single, 29 year old girls who are worried about ever getting married do - keep quiet.

I eased into my new life - teaching Institute and attending the family ward where I was quickly called to be both a Ward Missionary and the Gospel Principles teacher.  The bishop believed in putting single people to work (the Relief Society President was single) quickly.  He was a very smart man.  Sunday mornings were spent preparing a 90 minute lesson on Church History as well as a 30 minute Gospel Principles lesson.  Tuesdays were spent on exchanges with the sister missionaries.  Wednesdays were spent teaching Institute.  If I had had any concern that my life would be boring, I was quickly humbled.

A few things happened during the 9 months that I was in that ward.  First, shortly after I transferred, I started a new job.  On September 10, 2001 in Arlington, VA.  The next day was a day that shocked the world.  I, like most of the world, became more service oriented and less selfish.  I can face it now, as a single person I was very selfish, and very self-absorbed.  My thoughts were consumed with the fact that I was not married. 

I lumped every guy that I dated into one category: Non-committal.

I'm pretty sure that everyone in my family was sick of me and I know my friends were.  However, most of them were in the same boat - trying to figure out how to get out of a single state and into a married state as fast as possible.  (Even if they claimed that they weren't.)

And I wasn't sick of dating - I was sick of myself.  Sick of who I was as a dating person.  Sick of the types of guys that I was attracting since they most definitely weren't the guys I wanted to marry.  I decided to start changing myself into the type of person I wanted to be as a dating person, and finally as a married person

One particular afternoon as I complained about it, my roommate handed me a book called "Men Made Easy" by Kara Oh.  I laughed and she didn't even crack a smile.  She just said, "Read it."  So I read it.  And I learned and absorbed and was shocked at how little I had understood about men in general.  I had been heeding my dad's counsel about dating, "You have to throw a lot of spaghetti against the wall for some of it to stick."   I focused even more on turning myself into who I was supposed to be instead of molding myself into whatever type of girl my latest crush wanted.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this transformation, I met my husband.  Neither one of us can remember when it was.  I say one particular evening, he says another.  The point is, we were not attracted to each other.  At. All.  And that was because we weren't ready to be.

Until Memorial Day Weekend 2002.  Dave got coerced by his best friend into helping my roommate and me move for the summer.  I had decided to forge ahead in life and build a townhouse, but it wouldn't be ready until August.  Our landlord decided to sell the townhouse we were living in, so we had to find temporary housing for the summer. 

I hadn't paid attention to Dave until that weekend.  In fact, my roommate had at one time been interested in him, so he was off limits.  However, her affections had landed on Dave's best friend so a few weeks later after it was clear that I had the hots for him, she gave me her blessing.  During that time, I practiced the methods I learned in the book on Dave.  Actually, I still use them and he knows it and thinks it is funny and loves it.  I also read the book 1000 Questions for Couples and started asking Dave a QOTD (Question of the Day).  It helped me get to know him in a way I never would have just "hanging out".  It made him think.  It made me think.  It made me more and more attracted to him because I liked his answers.   And, fortunately, one day his best friend said to him, "If Heidi liked me as much as she likes you, I would be dating her."  Sometimes it takes a hammer to the head.

On July 7, 2002 after a weekend in Utah visiting family for Independence Day, Dave picked me up at the airport.  On the way home he said, "I like you.  I like spending time with you.  I want to date you.  I just am not ready to date you exclusively."  Or something equally romantic.  I said, "Okay."  But you see - I had made it clear to him that I wanted to be with someone who could be direct and honest rather than play games.  So he was respecting that.  I set the boundaries for how I wanted to be treated.  And I did not deviate from them.  I was fine with giving him the opportunity to figure things out, because I knew he needed to, and it would do me no good to either pout or be pushy about it.

July 19, 2002, eight years ago yesterday, we opted out of going to a free Orioles game.  I gave the tickets to some friends who were in town from Virginia Beach.  We planned to go to a party that a friend was having, but instead sat on the couch and talked. 

He said, "Where do you see this going?" 

I said, "I think this is it."

He said, "Me, too.  Does this mean we are getting married?"

I said, "I think it does."

And that was that.  We got married November 2, 2002 in the Mt. Timpanogos Temple in Utah surrounded by family and friends.  Our engagement period was dramatic with outside stuff - moving, illness, etc., but we had laid the foundation for our relationship.  For the first time, I could actually say, "That's not ok with me."  And not panic that he would run away and break up with me.  Seriously - a first.

A year after we got married, I was asked to give a seminar for the singles ward on Dating.  They wanted advice on what to do or not do.  I laughed hysterically for an hour and then went to work.

1.  Get your house in order.  Get out of debt.  Prepare yourself financially.
2.  "Partaking of the bitter cup without becoming bitter is part of the emulation of Jesus."  - Elder Neal A. Maxwell.  Just because a past relationship failed, don't assume that every relationship will fail.  Men are not all lumped into one category.  They are different.  Don't treat them all like they are the same and they just might surprise you.
3.  Be your best self.  Take the high road.  But, don't be someone you are not.
4.  Decide how you want to be treated in a relationship and stick to it.  Treat the person you are dating with respect, and be a GIRL.  Don't be a buddy unless you WANT to just be a buddy.
5.  Don't stalk boys.  Don't plan movie nights to get them over to your house so that they can "notice" you.  Boys aren't idiots.  If they haven't asked you out, they aren't interested.  If you have had them over to dinner and flirted with them for two months at ward activities or parties and they haven't asked you out, they aren't interested. 

I have now been happily married for 8 years and I still follow these rules.  You don't stop dating when you get married.  Men still want to be flirted with even if you have spaghetti sauce all over your shirt.  In fact, that might just be an aphrodisiac for them. 

And in the words of Kristen Oaks, who is the wife of Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "Being single doesn't mean you have to put off being happy."  After all, she married an apostle in her 50s. 


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Relationship Week begins

I am 35 years old and I have been dating for 19 years. It is time to start looking at it from a different point of view. Why? Well, what is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result? Well, sadly, that tends to be my feelings towards dating. So this week I have invited a few friends to write some guest posts about dating, marriage, and relationships. The goal here isn't just to learn more about what worked for other people, but also to appreciate the differences in relationships. At the end of the week I am going to attempt to write out what it is I want from a man/relationship.
I hope you enjoy the stories and advice this week. There are some fun ones!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I suck at flirting and meeting guys

(pretty high up there on the list of worst pictures of me ever. and yet, so accurate.)

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Different guy, same story.
Girl + boy = nothing
Overanalyzation = no conclusion

My love life pretty much never changes. The typical formula is I meet a nice guy. He's friendly, he flirts, he shows some interests (but never asks me out). I slowly but surely come around and get to the point where I actually like him. By then he's usually well into "friend zone." I then spend anywhere from one week to a year being really good friends with him, and over-analyzing every move and conversation. I'm so tired of it.

So there's a new-ish guy. Thankfully we're only a few weeks, okay maybe months, into this one. And I had my first ridiculous over-analyzation yesterday. We're not going through this again. I just don't care enough to repeat history- again!

And so before I do this all over again, we're going to take some relationship lessons. Next week will be Relationship Week here on the blog. In other words, I will not be doing all the writing. I'd love a few more guest writers. And maybe someone to be my Dear Abby? Anyone want to share their "how we met" stories? Or share their dating advice? Lemme know!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

DC Girl

Once upon a time there was a girl from the City. She left the City to go try states with much smaller cities. But her hometown kept pulling her back and one day she found herself back in her City. She parked her car at Pentagon City and hopped on the Yellow Line. She was headed to 11th and K. At Chinatown she made a mistake and forgot to switch to the Red Line to Metro Center, and exited the building. Doh! So wearing 3 inch heels, and her favorite suit, she walked 8 blocks in 95 degree weather to her interview. Ay yi yi.
After the interview, she was smart enough to get back on the Metro at Metro Center. And just like she had been doing her entire life, she got on the Orange Line to Vienna. It was at Farragut West that it occurred to her she wasn't going home. She was going back to PC where her car was- off the Yellow and Blue lines. So at Rosslyn she switched trains to Blue, and took the long way back.
To add insult to injury (the injury being the blisters from walking so far in freaking tall heels) someone told her she had that "nice, homegrown, Utah/Midwest look," on a day she was trying very hard to look and feel like a DC Girl again. 
But two Metro mistakes in one day? She hadn't made a Metro mistake since she was in high school - if then! (Now don't get me wrong, she gets lost all the time when she comes back above ground and starts walking the wrong direction. But underground? Never!) She wasn't feeling much like a DC Girl. But after 2 positive job interviews, dinner with friends at her favorite place, hanging out with a cousin and an old roommate, and just being in her city again (even if it did take her nearly 40 minutes to drive from Pentagon City through Ballston to 66), she misses her home.
And can't wait till the right opportunities take her there. Whatever those opportunities may be!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Reading, Summer Fun

My summer of free time has allowed me to do a great deal more reading than usual. And I LOVE it!
Here's a list of the books I'm carrying about with me these days-
1. We Talk of Christ, We Rejoice in Christ - Neal A Maxwell-
I normally love his books. (There are more in the pile.) This one (as always)  has a great message and lesson to be learned. However, the very unusual format to the book is frustrating to me, and isn't that enjoyable to read. It is taking me forever to get through this otherwise easy to read book.
2. Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
Did I mention yet that this would be a very eclectic reading list? "Little" and I are keeping our relationship alive and well by doing her summer reading together. I never read this one in school for some reason, so I'm reading it with her now. We both agree that the first 30 pages were brutal to get through and hard to understand. But I've finally hit a breaking point in it and am actually starting to really enjoy it. I need to check in with her (we love to Skype) and see where she's at in the book.
3. Book of Mormon Commentary I Nephi Wrote This Record - Monte Nyman
I haven't started it yet. It is 700 plus pages and is just sitting there, taunting me, every time I consider picking it up.
4. The Queen's Story- Marcus Kiggell and Denys Blakeway
What can I say, I'm just another American girl in love with the British Royal Family. A biography of Queen Elizabeth. (Haven't started it yet.)
5. Believing Christ- Stephen Robinson
6. State of Fear- Michael Crichton
7. The Eyre Affair- Jasper Fforde
8. Finding Peace, Happiness, and Joy- Richard G Scott
9. Of One Heart- Neal Maxwell
10. Meek and Lowly- Neal Maxwell
11. Faith Precedes the Miracle- Spencer Kimball (Interesting sidenote- most of the religious books I am linking to are going for less than $3 used on Amazon. This book, however, is in such demand that even used paperbacks are going for $27!)
12. The Great Communicator- Dick Wirthlin

Most of these books were rescued from my dad's library on their way to storage for 3 years. And are merely just the books within arm's reach right now. I'll be reading them in no particular order, other than to finish Treasure Island for Little's sake. I'm also looking to get a copy of Monique and the Mango Rains that has now been suggested to me twice.

If I keep up with my 2-3 books a week schedule I should be done in about 4-5 weeks, (well, then add one full week just to get through I Nephi on its own) which should pretty much fill my summer. Wouldn't it be nice if I could schedule it just right to get a job as soon as I run out books? Sadly, the unemployment coverage runs out in 3 weeks, so let's hope I don't get to finish all of the books!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Peer into my crystal ball!

My crystal ball is foggy. 
Will I get the second interviews?
Will I get a job offer?
Will I get the contract work?
Will I get a date with the nicest guy I've ever met?
Will I get the all important letter in the mail so I can finish my application?
Will I stick to my diet?
Will I achieve any of my big goals this week?
Will I get my column finished and submitted on time?
Will I find a job, get paid, and find a place to live before my unemployment coverage runs out?
Will I win the lottery? (oh wait, no, didn't play it)
Will I get the answers I've been looking for? 

So many things to think about. So many things to wonder about. So many things to not be able to plan for, but just hope for!

Star City

Roanoke is not my hometown, but is close to it. This is the town where my extended family calls home. My great-great grandfather called it home. My grandmother still calls it home. There have been many generations of my family in this little town. But until recently it was never my home. We regularly came here to visit family throughout my life. But I never got to know the town. I knew my way to grandparents' house, my uncle's, my aunt's, even my great-grandmother's house. But I was never the driver, and never in charge of my own itinerary here. And so I really and truly do not know my way around this town!
Today I set out in search of beauty, scenery, architecture, and inspiration. And to find my way around this town just a little bit better.
Roanoke is also known as Star City, or the Star of the South. Why? Because it has a big huge star up on a mountain, shining over the city. Until today I had never been up to it before!
 At night this star is lit up and can be seen for a great distance around the valley.

 Everything you need to know about the Star. Everything except the "why is there a Star on the mountain?" And my big question, who the heck is paying to power that thing??

The view of the Roanoke Valley.
 I love exploring quietly and at my own pace. You never know what you will find. I fell in love with this big white oak tree today. It is hundreds of years old and defying gravity with its oddly shaped base and roots. I love it!

 In my quests lately to find beauty and scenes of inspiration I've learned something about myself. I love water, particularly moving water. I can watch water move over the same spot for hours. There is something calming and hypnotic about it. This is my first major lesson learned from my new quest- I need water! I now know that a view of water, or even a simple fountain, brings me a moment of peace and joy.

 Another unexpected find today. It is hard to conceive of the year 2076, isn't it?

 The spot of most my reading and relaxation today. Also the inspiration for the column I wrote for Meridian Magazine that will run on Tuesday.
 After I was done on the mountain, I went down to the older historic part of Roanoke. I serendipitously discovered it today. I was thrilled to find a farmer's market, and lots of free spirited shops on the square. And more importantly, I discovered several great restaurants with patio seating. I enjoyed the company of my dog, a good book, and a fabulous meal, with a nice outdoor setting. Much to my surprise there was a lot of window art around the square. I loved the quote I found on this window!

I love historic town squares. This is another lesson learned for me. I enjoy being able to walk from shop to shop, look in windows, and explore hidden blocks. I think I would enjoy living in a neighborhood like this one.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Guest writers needed!

I'm looking for guest writers for a couple of things!

1. LDS Singles for my Meridian Magazine column. Do you have an interesting perspective on being LDS and single? I am looking for contributors!

2. Green Things- if you have any tips for gardening, eco-friendly living, being environmentally friendly, or anything green, I'd love to have you write a guest post for another project I'm working on.

Conversely, I'm looking for guest writing spots! Want to do a blog flip with me for a day? Let's talk!

Actual conversation

The Setting- 6 pm, thunder, lightning, and rain.
Place- Our basement apartment

Sister- I'm going to go ride my horse for an hour.
Me- You know it is raining, right?
Sister- Yeah, it should be fun.
Me- So I take it we're not having a movie date in 30 minutes?
Sister- No, but we will later. Don't start it without me.
Me- You should bring ice cream home with you to make it up to me.
Sister- Okay. And pickles. See you later.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Social media and engagement marketing

Can a girl have too many blogs and websites? I sure hope not!
I've updated my oft-neglected Social Media and Engagement Marketing blog today. Its primary focus is educating small business owners how to use SMEM to leverage their businesses. I'll be making more of an effort to continue blogging there. After all, I am job hunting these days, and my blogs have proven to be great tools in that effort!
Hopefully next week I will be unveiling my new blog as well. I'm very excited about it, and it will be a complete departure from the usual!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Kings Dominion

Yesterday rocked! I got to spend the day at Kings Dominion with my cousin Karma and her family. The heat was a ridiculous 103 degrees, which I really wouldn't recommend for an amusement park. But it did keep the crowds away, which was nice! We rarely had to stand in a line for more than a few minutes, and we got to walk onto several rides. I used to go to KD at least once a season, but I haven't been in about 5 years I think. I was thrilled to see several new roller coasters I hadn't tried yet- the Dominator, the Volcano Blaster, the BackLot something or other, and the Intimidator 305. The BackLot whatever was down for the day, so I still haven't ridden that one. The Dominator is at the front of the park and quite a sight when you arrive. Naturally, we did that one first. And I LOVE IT. Definitely my new favorite ride. The Volcano Blaster rocked as well. I love "dangling feet" rides, and that one didn't disappoint. 
But the story of the day? Getting freaking stuck on the Intimidator 305!
Here's a quick clip of the ride- 

Now before anyone freaks- we got stuck in the absolute best possible place- the ONLY place on the entire ride where you aren't inverted, going down a steep hill, or in a cork screw. We got stuck right at the very end- in the video it is right about 1:20 I think. We were upright and right at the end. However, we were stuck in those seats for a good 20 minutes in the blazing hot sun. With not much more to think about than how we could have been stuck just 2 seconds before in a corkscrew. Or even 8 seconds before, hanging upside down in a corkscrew. Most memorable moment of that misery? Watching the dude with a toolbox show up to fix something. Nothing like being trapped in the fastest, highest roller coaster on the East Coast and a guy with a screwdriver shows up to fix the ride!
Oh and you'll notice in the video how the guy mentions "graying out." I regularly gray out on roller coasters. In fact, I'm proud of myself when I don't gray out on the Shockwave. If the ride goes upside down, I will likely pass out momentarily. But normally it only lasts for a split second or two, and I can shake it off quickly. No big deal! However, on the Intimidator? NOT SO MUCH. I grayed out longer and worse than I ever have before. I grayed out long enough to dream, and when I came to I wasn't quite sure how I got there. While we were stuck in our seats I talked to some others on the ride and found out I was not alone in graying out! Not fun! While the ride itself was a blast, I don't know that I will ride it again anytime soon. (especially if I have to stand in a line to do so. we were able to walk right on to it!)

Monday, July 05, 2010

Actual conversation

Older, mature, gray haired, grandmotherly saleslady: You want to be sure to latch your bra like this, it gives you more torque...  Obviously my breasts are store bought. [points] Right off that rack over there!

Apparently Victoria's secret is torque!

New articles up on the Examiner

I have two new stories up for the Examiner.
1- "Small" changes to the New Testament 
2- Beloved LDS artist Arnold Friberg passes away

I have 2 more articles this week in the works. One will be about popular LDS related websites. If you have one, or would like to suggest one, please let me know!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Declaration of Independence

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

5 of the Signers were captured as traitors and tortured.
12 had their homes ransacked and burned.
2 lost their sons in the Revolutionary War, 2 others had their sons captured.
9 died from wounds from the hardships of war.

How have you honored these men today?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Fun in the summertime- with cousins!

I took off on Thursday and Friday to go with my cousins up to Washington, DC for a little sight-seeing and a trip to the zoo. Have you noticed yet how much time I spend with my cousins now that I have moved to Roanoke? I have 40+ first cousins (the number grows greatly once you add in spouses and children). The majority of those cousins all live within an hour or so of Roanoke. So even though I have never lived here in Roanoke before, there is no shortage of people I know here! And I'm making up for living away for so long by spending time with everyone now!
This trip was with Karma and Ginny, plus their children. K & G are sisters, and their other sister Tami, lives up in the DC area. Karma and Ginny both have 3 children each, and I had lots of fun getting to know them all better. 
Some of the cuter moments and highlights!
 The beautiful Ginny!

 I have just told Petey (age 4) that alligators eat little boys for lunch. His reaction? "But I'm a good little boy!"

And he really is a good little boy. And super cute too!

This is Baby Kendon (age 2). Don't let the "baby" and his little size fool you. When you least expect it, he busts out in complete sentences and makes it clear he understands everything you have been saying around him! 

 Kiersten and Kyle having a little fun.

 Kyle (age 7) really got into making "serious man" poses every chance he got.

 Little Kaylee (age 6) will do just about anything to be just like her big cousin Kiersten (age 10). The above and below photos are proof of that. Please note the cute little popped up foot!

 Kaylee was my walking buddy and my snuggle buddy on Friday. 

Kids in motion tend to stay in motion. 

 Like I said, Kaylee loves to be just like Kiersten...

 And Kiersten loves to be just like Cousin Erin Ann.

These two little guys are best friends. Kiethy and Petey are full of non-stop, 4 yr old energy. And love to share everything! 

Kenny really enjoyed his ice cream! 

I have no idea what Karma was doing  here. That didn't stop me from taking the picture. 

On the drive up Karma's car was clipped by an 18 wheeler that didn't see her in his blind spot. She was run off the road and got a pretty bad scare. The car received minimal damage. Somehow we were blessed with a miracle, and the little spikes on the truck's hubcaps only hit Karma's hubcap. It ripped her cap right off, and did some pretty good damage to the rim itself. But somehow, even though the very edge of the rim was scratched and even significantly dented in places, the tire itself was just fine. 
Here are Karma's words, "I thank the Lord and the guardian angels he sent to keep the children and me safe from that careless trucker the other day. Only after calming down and looking at the wheel later did I see how close we came to disaster. Miracles still happen."
She also had this to say about driving through DC traffic, "I have driven through DC downtown and now know how. FIRST you must forgo laws of the land, God, and physics. THEN drive over or under any speed limit by 20 miles in quick succession. NEXT get familiar with your horn and hand gestures. LAST ignore the law of "only one object can occupy a space at any given time." You can do this by driving in parking spaces or park in driving spaces or just invent your own lane."
Remember that one time when Kenny climbed up in the PlayLand tube and got scared and couldn't get out? And how I had to climb up in there to get him out? And Karma took a picture of it just for fun?
The end.

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