Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Adventures in Elevator Etiquette

I have an observation. Psh. AN observation is a gross understatement for MOI! That's like saying I don't have an opinion. Bwahahahahaaa...oh....good stuff. But I made an observation today and it has to do with...bom bom bom...Theeeeee Elevator! Or rather, elevators in general.
I'm slightly scared of elevators. I don't know if it's a claustrophobia thing - or the fact I'm rising up a large building in a little box worked by cords that could easily be cut, jammed, spliced, or suddenly disintegrate (they COULD disintegrate...anything could...). Everytime I step into an elevator, I'm counting the seconds until I get out. It's a containable fear - more like an anxiety or nervousness. Even those elevators that have all glass walls so I don't feel so "in the box" don't help much. I'd like to be "out of the box" (har har har - good one). It's the plunging to my death bit. Movies have done it to me. An Overactive imagination as done it to me. I've never actually been STUCK in an elevator before - but I watched Speed the first and that was enough...and I've seen X-fileses..es...that have shown "plunging to your elevator death" moments. I KNOW people who've gotten stuck. And I'm SO the kind of person that that would happen to. Do we recall the creepy balloon in the elevator incident? EH!??!! Foreshadowing my friend. I'm doomed to be eaten by a creepy balloon...or...plunge to my death in an elevator. Both plausible.

Okay - "elevators are death traps thought" solidified - what makes the little risky box even worse is the awkward ride in it with another person you don't know. What is the proper etiquette for elevator sharing? I honestly don't feel there's a need to talk - you are both just risking your lives trying to get to and from your office each day. Life risking is not a particularly "bonding" experience (oh wait...). I'm okay with just a smile and then staring at one of three of the following: the floor, the counting numbers WILLING the elevator to make no more stops on the way to my floor (unless that stop released the other person awkwardly riding with you), or the glowing buttons. I like it when someone walks in reading a paper or even texting on their phone: "Oh good...they are clearly engrossed in their (insert distraction here) and thus there is no pressure to do or say anything..." I always hope for that. In fact, I hope that I can get from parking level to the 5th floor with no one else - but that rarely happens. I count it a good day if it does though. I find this elevator awkwardness most especially true if it's only you and ONE other person. That 3rd party plus option somehow reduces the pressure to interact. It's like - well - there are 3 of us so I can't very well CHOOSE who to acknowledge nor go so far as to acknowledge them both. It's when it's you...and them. PRESSURE! What's the WORST for me is when it's me and a man...a married man. Am I right ladies? That's the worst! Suddenly I'm thrown into a situation where I'm a single girl in this very much "alone" confined space with a married man. Something about that just makes me feel...wrong! It's like if the door opened and his wife came into the elevator I'd have to apologize for being in such a confined space with her husband..and she will inevitabley look at me as if I've done something wrong, "How DARE you share this small private box with my husband!!" I KNOW! I'm SORRY! I wish it would never happen again - but that's the cruelty of elevators!

All these thoughts ran through my head today as me, a married man, and another girl got on at the parking level at work his morning. We had the 3rd person buffer - and the girl looked at the floor as the dude watched the glowing buttons and I made sure the elevator was hitting the floors in sequence. Because of the "getting on" order and circumstance - "married man" and I were on one side and "girl" was on the other. I didn't foresee any additional awkwardness until "girl" got off three floors from where "married" and I were going. DRAT! So she gets off and not only am I now in a confined private box with a married man - but we're standing right next to each other with "ample" room on the other side of the elevator. THIS is the time his wife would catch us standing closer than was necessary and completely misunderstand that there had been a girl in there with us occupying the other half of the elevator and THAT'S why we are "close"! Should I move? Should he move? Three floors later we were thankfully released without a glance or word. SHEESH!
I hate the elevator! It's a death trap of possibly awkward situations that spring on you without any warning other than "Ding...I may or may not make this moment awkward for you today...we'll see how I feel.." They should post some sort of Elevator Etiquette - or Elevator Interaction Rules - or even just a sign that says "Quiet Please. Noise may cause cords to snap" in the box of doom! DOOOOOOOOooooooommmmm! I think THAT is a genius idea...not the doom...the signs.

Monday, September 29, 2008

To take my mind off things...it only kind worked

Greetings Internet! I hope the weekend was excellent for all of you out there with lives, direction, houses, a little bit of money, jobs, and friends. Yes, that is my hope. My weekend you ask? Well - it went something like this.

I've been living out of my suitcases in SLC for....wow, 4 weeks tomorrow. Really? Huh. It feels like much longer actually. Everyone around me has been commenting on how they "just can't believe it's almost October!" I CAN believe it and furthermore, it's about ruddy time! In the immortal words (sarcasm inserted here) of Greenday "Wake me up when September ends!" And even more noteworthy, Hoops and YoYo refer to September as "take a nap month" - it's a like a warm up for the Holidays (see full hilarity here)! September's got nothing. Ha. And it's been a loooooong eventful but not eventful month (you know what I mean). Emotionally charged is more to the point. Although, September means my Birthday is in about 2 weeks as well. Funny how a month ago my Birthday included a Greek yacht or Turkish Bath. I still have visions of my silky blue dress in Paris...and I guess it's still possible (just not entirely plausible). That said - I needed to find some distractions this weekend. I decided to go hang in Provo - see the old roomies - and catch a BYU Volleyball game.
And here are the roomies: Natalie and Emily. No you are not seeing double (or ARE you?) - they are twins - but you are seeing "blurry." Sorry about that. I did take a pic with all 3 of us - buuuuut I couldn't bring myself to post that pic of me - dreadful! The twins just moved into a new condo and so we started the weekend in Provo with some interior decorating and furniture arrangement. If that doesn't say good times I don't know what does. We ate at the beloved Cafe Rio and went to Ross. Ross was torture because "no-money" me and "great deals on good stuff" is a sad, sad combination. Disheartening even. Provo also brought back memories of the life I left - the life I had just gotten used to in Happy Valley - along with its activities (read volleyball), old friends, jobs, living quarters, Lila the Kitty, running trails, and just general stability. It gave me a longing inside to have all that goodness back again. It felt like I just got started there when it was time for me to leave.
But leave I did and leave I'd do again - because that's what I was supposed to do. If anything I've learned to appreciate more the good experiences, fine people, direction and "stability" that's always been my privilege to enjoy. Something that brought me joy was attending the BYU vs Air Force women's volleyball game. I love playing and watching this sport and found it nice to focus on cheering on the Cougar girls (that's right - I cheered for Cougars - hey! They weren't playing the U - so it's okay) as they dominated Air Force. The matches were close - but the BYU ladies won the game in 3 rallies. It was awesome to watch some SAWEET volleyball play.

It was also nice to go to a full 3 hour block on Sunday. I've not been to a 3 hour block since I left California because of a series of circumstances (read: Regional Conference, baby blessings, baby blessings...), so I was pretty ecstatic to go to a Singles Ward for all the meetings. There was many a good word spoken...
I also had the opportunity this weekend to listen to the General Relief Society Broadcast. It always gets me excited for General Conference coming up next weekend. I do love being in SLC for Conference - even if I don't get to actually attend a session at the Conference Center. There's something electric in the air when all of the Saints meet to listen to the Prophet and Apostles. Pretty. Super.
So - although it wasn't a super winning weekend of complete awesomeness - it was nice to get out and DO something with old friends in Provo. I missed Provo - who knew? No no - I missed my budding life that happened to be placed in Provo...don't nobody miss Provo! ;) I miss what I had there - which one day I will have again - and it doesn't take Provo or SLC to find it. It's just a matter of immersing yourself in the situation around you and appreciating it for what it is. Provo did take my mind of some things - but reminded me of others. Reminders are sometimes painful - but always good - and always a learning experience.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

This is me...the Cat Lady

To sum up: anyone I meet who have no relation to eachother other than knowing me and have usually if rarely interacted with one another in any respect seem to come to the same conclusion about me - I am a Cat. I wish I could explain it to you. For some reason things I do or say or mannerism or maybe I just have feline features (is that....good?...is it...the fur?) remind some people of catness. I apparently embody Catness. I'd love someone to really explain it to me one day. BUT - that said - and for all you out there that call me Cat or think I'm Cat-like (in reflex and feature) I've found THIS excellent painting by Gilbert Ford from here - http://www.littlepaperplanes.com/
Someone should buy this for me. October 12th would be an excellent day. Don't know where I'll put it - being homeless - but I'll find some future wall for it - maybe above my litter box.

A little bit of everything...

Sometimes I want to be a musician - something chill and classic. I play the piano, and I've seen my days in school choirs, but I don't think it's something I "do". It's more like something I've "touched" in passing. An average talent to add to the other average things I do...averagely.

Sometimes I want to be an artist. Any sort really. I've thought about just picking up paints and an easel and seeing what comes of it. As an English Major you learn to doodle. All English Majors should get a minor in Art just for the doodling and drawing that goes on during "literary discussions". Sure I contributed and listened, read and wrote, but while listening and thinking I drew people in my classes and clothes I wanted to wear. I have a page of notes, and then a page of classmate's faces and/or dresses. I remember working for a couple weeks on a Snowboarding chick. I don't know if my doodles are any good - no wait I do know - they weren't. They're cartoon-esque, and I'm sure the shapes and shades are all sorts of non-professional and dull - but I liked it - and durn-it I improved! I'd like to try my hand at photography or some sort of design. I think I'd be okay - and I'd like to try it and see.

I'd like to work in Fashion...or at least learn to sew something. I know, right? Most chicks dig it. But I really dig it. The only "marketed to chicks" magazines I peruse and even purchase are Vogue or other such "fashionista" catalogues. I'm always imagining ensembles in my head and then trying to go out and find them (one day I'll go out and buy them...now there's a dream!). I'd like to try and put them together in a "not clearly home-made" kind of way. And besides, knowing how to sew a button or create a quilt isn't such a bad skill to have...not in my culture. In fact I feel less LDS because I don't do it! The shame!

I want to be able to cook...and I mean REALLY cook. I want to be able to run marathons and become a healthy granola sort. I want to be really good at decorating my house. I want to join the Peace Corps (pre "only pot smoking hippies and weirdys with no life direction" of course) and find ways to improve (read save) humanity. I want to be politically involved and rally for good causes. I want to be a traveling gypsy/writer. I'd like to take a dance class and see if I still have something that resembles "moves." I want to be a gardener.

The thing is - I want to try a lot of everything and then be good at it. I'm inspired to be a musician when I sit down with someone and they play their songs and sing their lyrics. I want to do that too! I'm inspired when I see fine art or beauty captured in a film or photo (as seen here...this was my little inspiration today http://www.littlepaperplanes.com/) and I think I want to do that too! The catch is - of all the things I want to do - I've only scratched the surface of any of them. It's like - if I have to choose one to focus on - then I give up all the rest. Sylvia Plath knows what I'm talking about. All those tantalizing figs on the fig tree, ripe for my picking, and if I don't choose one, maybe it will be to late to get any of them. I should at LEAST get one. So what do I do? I don't focus on any of them and continue to have aspirations. It also helps if I had the finances to pick one of these interests and pursue it - a really good camera, art supplies, a piano/guitar with accompanying lessons, food money, cookbooks, a house with a yard...sigh. It seems like real life, what with its bills and deadlines and restrictions, makes us choose just one, and even then we're lucky. It' s like if I didn't start painting when I was 4 I can't very well start now and be good at it. I've touched on all those things I want to do - but I've not immersed myself in any of them. Given it the old college try! And I'd like to give it the college try - except my college try funds all went to - er - well College! I wouldn't mind doing a little bit of all of it - but at the risk of not being really proficient at any of it. I guess that's what you'd call "well-rounded" - but does being average at everything still stand out? Does it still make you unique or is everyone pretty well-rounded - having a smattering of interests in a broad range of talents and not really pursuing one in particular. I know someone who is pretty much good at everything he does. I actually find that pretty inspirational rather than intimidating and I'd like to be like him. What's wrong with aspiring to be a Superman? Or I'll just buy a guitar...or a camera...or a sewing machine...I already have the Kitchenaide...I should get started.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Post in Which I Talk About Work Things and Segregationalism if the Hands

I realize I've only been a temp for a day and a half...but I already have things to say! I also already have the ample time in which to say them. Doesn't bode well does it? Nooooope.

I also already have a creepy experience to report! It happened yesterday in the elevator. Now, I realize this is probably from some creeper horror movie like "It" because it struck a familiar "EW! Scary!" cord in my body when I saw it (as in the thing I'm about to tell you). Plus, it was "clever creepy" so I must give credit to a movie before someone's actual intelligence. It's just the way I am. I come back from lunching at Barnes and Noble here at the Gateway (the old haunt! How I miss B&N!) and punch the elevator button to await my ride. WELL! There had been sickly little balloons floating half heartily around bits of the office space during the day - I assume from someones Birthday celebration a few days prior. You need to know this because when the elevator opened - there was one orange sickly half hearted balloon sitting there, with its little limp string, all alone. Cough. "Wow that's creepy," I think to myself as I step in the dimly lit box (I hate elevators) and push my 5th floor button. I look at the little balloon floating mid-way in the air and notice a little note dangling from it's sad little string. I grab the little string and read the note...it says, "Boo!"

Blaaaasweeeebuuhhllaaaaa!!!! Gasp! Glance up! Glance around! Look at "Boo!" Again! DAH!

Now if that didn't give me a feeling of foreboding and "demon clown lurking in the shadows" I seriously don't know what would! Another girl stepped into the Elevator on the 4th Floor and didn't even notice our creeper friend floating towards her with his tidings of creepiness. Then I thought "maybe she can't see it...gaaaaaaasp!" Ding. Released! I got out of the poorly lit elevator with its weirdo balloon as quickly as "try and act cool" strides could get me. Someone tell me - that's from a movie isn't it? Cause if it isn't then I hope I don't run into the person who went through the balloon graveyard and thought of such a creepy ploy. Shudder. Probably a weirdy themselves!

Other than the creepy elevator moment - my temp job has been - well - uneventful. There's not a lot for me to do. I answer the phone. I alphabetized a few things today. I sent out the daily "Educational Headlines" email to all the Presidents of all the colleges in the State (that's right! I'm somebody! Or at least I email the somebodys). I have a nice little space heater under my desk that may or may not work when I push the button, as well as one of those annoying "separate but equal" keyboards that have the space down the middle of the keys. Ya know...the ones that help you "type properly." It's killing my speed! Apparently I was reaching all over the place with my pointer finger! I've stumped it in the chasem that seperates my hands many times already! Talk about your right hand not knowing what your left hand doeth. There's not room for help! My hands are on their own...and lets not even talk about Y's and B's. I've not been typing properly my entire life according to this clever little sucker invention.
But, other than weirdo balloons, funny keyboards, and slight boredom, I really like it here. I mean - I like the environment and the idea of working with Higher Education appeals to me on so. many. levels. I want to be a Professor eventually and I think this could be the place to employ me until that fateful day when I go back to school. We shall see. Until then - someone research and tell me if that balloon incident is from a movie! Somehow I would feel better if it was.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Finally - my life seems to have purpose again.

I got a temp job. That's right! I'm pretty dang diny diggity excited about it. Unemployment does not suit me well at all. I'd say I turn into a weeping monster of pent up social needs. What does that mean exactly? WELL! I'm a very social person who hasn't been able to interact with anyone all day every day for the last 3 weeks - not to mention I've not had work in the last 2 months. So, there's that. THEN! Since I only hang out with myself or books all day - when I find someone to talk to or someone calls (might I extend apologies to those well-meaning friends right now..cough..Steve) - I talk and talk and talk. All my thoughts are spewed merciless on some poor sucker who really probably just called to see if I was still alive. BARELY! Having no money, no direction, and very few prospects has been internally and emotionally destructive for me I can tell you that. Not anymore though! NOPE!

My Utemp agency has found me a job with the Office of the Commissioner in the Utah System of Higher Education right Downtown. I start tomorrow! I stay until November 1st which is FINE with me. THAT will give me first and foremost, time to continue to look for jobs I really want. Secondly - it will also give Bob time to work out his odds and ends for Europe (which is still very possible). Third - it will give me some monetary support that is desperately needed, and lastly it will cure me of the Pent Up Monster Weepies! I'm a PRESSURE COOKER here - and it will be good to interact with people again. I really enjoy working with people, playing team sports, being involved in the community, sigh...I'm thinking politics would suit me just right. Too bad I have no desire to become corrupted. I could start a new wave of non-corrupt politicians. Ahem...you see the crazy dreams that come to an idle mind? Non-corrupt politicians. Bwahahah! The very thought!

So wish me luck Internet friends! Life has improved! (And my giddy attitude may or may not also have something to do with a plaid brown pencil skirt and deep v-beck beige sweater from Banana Republic topped with classic round toed brown heels from Aldo. What? I need some busines casual! They were on saaaaaaale).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Weekend of Food and Fulfillment. Tell me how it gets better!

Food and Fulfillment. Oh how clever, right? Well I thought so - off the cuff.

This weekend involved just those things; and it begins with good eating. One of my favorite restaurants is Red Robin. I know, right? How is that different from other chain-like eateries with too loud music, bad lighting, cheesy sports posters and "vintage" celebrity faces plastered to the walls, and, well, main stream crappy food. But seriously Internet, although Red Robin may LOOK like Chili's, Applebee's (how are these different? Oh yes...Chili's Chocolate Molton Lava cake. Okay okay, Chili's redeemed), TGI Fridays, and other such generic eateries it is not. Red Robin happens to have DELICIOUS food (BLTA - Bacon Lettuce, Tomato, Turkey, Avocado on a Crescent Roll), a smattering of HUGE delicious salads, amazing burgers burgers burgers, Freckled Lemonade, and the very BEST part of Red Robin - the Steak Fries and Fry Sauce. Mmmm. While I lived in SLC - the closest Red Robin was in Sandy. SANDY! Clearly not somewhere we would consider driving regardless of my enjoyment of the place. Thus, when I moved to Provo I thought, "Well, I don't know if I'll like Provo, but I know they have a Red Robin!!! And that's enough for me..." Well my friends, now I have no more use for Provo - there is now a Red Robin on Foothill Drive in SLC. A mere 10 minutes from the Mansion and just as delicious as ever. I am most emphatically delighted to present....the Foothill Red Robin:

Nik and I ate lunch here while watching the BYU vs UCLA game. Did any of you SEE this game? I was watching for tickets on Ebay all week hoping Bob would be able to pay me and I could snag two and go. But alas, nothing doing. So we resigned to watching it at Red Robin. It was an amazing game - not because it was close - but because BYU SLAUGHTERED UCLA 59-0. Zero!! Here are some of our reactions...and food enjoyments.

"What?!?! That's like their 3rd Touchdown in 5 minutes!"

"Mmmm Fry. Mmmm Touchdown...again..."

"Spoon? I don't need no spoon! Lap lap lap..."

Sunday was the Salt Lake area's Regional Conference. Of course, lucky us living in Downtown SLC we get to meet in the Conference Center. President Monson spoke to us as well as Elder Ballard, Sister Cheryl Lant, and Elder Hinckley (son of President Hinckley). What an incredible blessing! Am I right? You know I am! Living in SLC definitely has some awesome perks...it being the church headquarters and all of that. I've always felt incredibly blessed to live here (or have lived here once). Believe me I know how very lucky I am. It was a beautiful fall day - the temperature was perfect - so naturally Nikelle and I had to take some memorable pics. These are the best we could come up with - we both being ridiculously NOT photogenic in the remotest sense. Don't try and butter us up! (or do...we need it).

"I like church!" Me inside the Conference Center. Holla! Yes I Holla'd.

Nik and the Salt Lake Temple. It just works, doesn't it?

Me and the Temple. Still works. Right? RIGHT!?!??! Check out the dudes to the side. Sup!? You're on a strange person's blog. Dreams come true.

Ah the fountain picture. Aren't we a cute couple? (Butter up required here)

Easy now...easy...don't fall.

Not bad. Cricket chirp. Not good...but, not bad.

TA DA!!! And that's the show!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

My First Dickens - Great Expectations

Yes. I am aware I'm an English Major. As an English Major it's assumed you've read every novel listed on the "Classic's Cannon" before you could drive. Okay...slight exaggeration because you'd be 15 and didn't know you would be an English major yet and thus no one could criticize you for your lack of assumed "well-readness" due to your college major choice; meaning "read every book every one's heard of but no one has read." No. Okay? I've not read any Dickens before now - other than an occasional short story, the beginning 4 chapters of "A Tale of Two Cities" (and that WAS before I could drive so back it up!), and a Christmas Carol - which is practically a novella anyway at around 100 pages.

THUS!!! Trying desperately to live up to the completely unrealistic expectations that come with the "English Major" title (not including the expectation that I should be able to spell every known and unknown word in the English language...sigh...another day, another rant) I just finished "Great Expectations." I have a friend; Steven. I may have mentioned him before (see previous 6-10 posts. Yes, I know it seems like he's my only friend..I'm sure I have a few more...somewhere), who recommended Dickens to me. He's not an English Major so he's automatically revered for having undertaken a classic without being obligated to do so by his major (you may all "Ooo" in astonishment if you MUST). His first Dickens experience was David Copperfield. I remember when he first mentioned this as "one of his favorites." It's actually the first time we went to lunch - Noodles and Company - and we started discussing books. I recommended East of Eden by John Steinbeck (AWESOME!), and he recommended David Copperfield. To this day neither of us have read each other's recommendations- but in San Francisco we both bought Great Expectations and decided to read it together. Now that you know the background - here's what came of it:

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and will forever be a Dickens fan. Having not been acquainted with Dicken's talents in first person narrative I was instantly sucked in. His descriptions and imagery are vivid - when he wants them to be - and aren't when he doesn't. The language of course, is elevated, so you have to think about it - but not in a "Tale of Two Cities" kind of way. I found it simpler comparatively, but equally as intelligent. I mean it's Dickens - of course it's smart. What really drew me into his writings style, however, was his dry, almost undetectable, "between the lines" sense of humor. I surprisingly found myself chuckling through most of the book. I mean, to think one could find Dickens completely amusing. The sure shock to those passer-bys who heard me laughing, glanced at what I was reading, and found Charles Dickens looking back at them must've been disconcerting to say the least. They don't know! True to his Britishness - the humor was very dry indeed. If I were to describe his "comedy" compared to modern "standards", I'd say he's an "observant comic" - much like Jerry Seinfeld if I may be so bold. He's insight into human behavior, into human interaction and reaction, is, as the British might suggest, "spot on." It's so true - it's comical - and you can picture these variety of moments (and he truly does it through the entirety of the novel) vividly in your mind. You can even attribute some of the many fruitful characters reactions and personalities to yourself and others you know. Brilliantly done. One of the best first person narratives I've ever read.

So now you know Dickens has very quickly become one of my favorites - lets quickly (yes I'll try quickly) discuss some characters shall we? I'll try and remember I'm not writing this for an English Professor and just telling the Internet some insights...brief ones...lacking of..."objective and professional quality"and merely trying to wet your palate for some classic literature. They are classic for a reason you know.

My favorite characters are Joe - Pip's (the main character's) hard nosed sister's husband and life-long friend - and Herbert - Pip's roommate, associate, best friend, and comrade in every sense of the word. Both of these characters share similar traits; faith, innocence, humility, forgiveness, understanding, and a deep empathy for their friends. Joe, being a humble and uneducated blacksmith and guardian of Pip, struck me as the Christ figure in the novel. He certainly embodies one (if not many) of the qualities Christ himself exemplified daily: mercy, forgiveness, and charity. Towards the end of the novel, Joe had me positively in tears because of his humility and kindness. I simply adore his character. It's the character in the novel that makes you want to be a better person. Joe for me, is the unsung hero in the novel.

Herbert is Pip's cheerful and optimistic friend. Along with many of his "Joe-esque" qualities, what most stands out to me is he's positive attitude. He is so cheerful, so kind, and so giving with his words, his affections, and his thoughts. Herbert is easily likable -even upon their first encounter at Satis House when he and Pip "fought" in the garden. Like Joe is someone you aspire to emulate - Herbert is the fellow you want everything good in the world to happen to - and then realize even if it doesn't - he'll still be happy, full of life, and completely satisfied. He's someone you want helping usher you through life and helping you appreciate what you have.

Pip is an amazing character himself. He's the most "human" character - and I feel the most relateable. He carries with him weaknesses and vices just as anyone does - but he also has strengths and emotion in him just as anyone does. What is truly great about Pip is how he sees himself change, grow, and progress. When he recognizes his follies, his snap-judgements, his snobbery, and his pride - he repents - and then tries to make amends. There are a lot of excellent lesson's and themes found in this novel that could be discussed for 10 pages more. Not a good English Major am I?!??! EH? That's right - I could do this for 10 pages.

But I won't. Suffice it to say the novel deals with a plethora of themes ranging from love, to bitterness, contempt, personal choice, forgiveness, vice, empathy, true friendship, charity, and understanding. One of the strongest dichotomies I found is between Joe and Ms. Havisham. It's a comparison between forgiveness and humility vs bitterness and pride. One begets happiness and joy, the other contempt, and misery. Dickens is masterful in his themes and brilliant in his writing. Great Expectations is truly a classic and had me wondering "Why in the WORLD had I not read a true Dickens before now?"

I know you all have expectations (do I say great expectations to really drive the irony home?) of English Majors - and none of us can live up to it (especially if you have a French Minor - slaughters your spelling ability) because not a one of us can say we've read EVERY classic novel EVER to have been written - but if we had you should know we could write a million 10 page papers on them. And now that I've got some Dickens under my belt - can I admit I've never really read Jane Austen either? GASP! All in good time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Utemp! Keepin' the dreams alive!

I am officially a "Utemp." Kinda catchy right? Er...yes. Catchy. Cough. Oh I see - you're not sure what a Utemp is. Oh well then your hesitant "oh....greeeeat" makes sense. Let me explain:

A Utemp is a "temp" essentially - but for the University of Utah. If I must go to a temp agency dahling it's going to be for the very BEST! I shan't temp anywhere but at institutions of higher education. Pish posh! I went to an "interview" today with the UofU HR department and he hired me on the spot. Well, I became a "temp" on the spot - and now it's a matter of what little jobs I get to do on campus. Many of the Utemp positions are administrative assistant, clerical responsibilities, etc. These things I feel I can do and it's these things, if I must temp, that I would most prefer to temp. Plus, they're all on the main campus and/or Research Park. So, location is perfect - as for parking - hmmm. Time to sign up for an Institute class again! Oh the nostalgia! I don't know how I feel about it! Groggy maybe.

But why temp?

Well, I know I mentioned we weren't going back to the Europe Adventure. Honestly, I feel like it's still possible. I'm deciding to make sure it's still an option as long as I feel it is. Logic. Priceless. I can't give it up. The opportunity is so profound, is such an answer to so many dreams/prayers I've ever had in my life, I can't just give it up because I was impatient or fearful or slightly abandoned or completely homeless or broke. It will take more than THAT to stop me from hanging on to hope! Truly though - ever since I can remember I've wanted to travel - to see the world - to experience culture and diversity like never before. In my Jr High, "tween" journals I have sketches of maps, far off destinations, dreams and fantasies about where I would go and what I would do. I've always had that dream; always. I went to England for a 6 week study abroad my second year at the UofU. It was a small step towards my world traveling dreams - and I thought it would help satiate some of the yearning I had to see the world - oh no no my friends - if anything it increased it. Exploded it. Fed it and made me want more. As Hugh Grant so adequately put it in Notting Hill, "It's like I've taken love heroine and I can't ever have it again" except this is "travel heroine" and has nothing to do with illicit substances. Don't do drugs. Stay in school.

My second dream that only just plagued my thoughts the last two years of living (okay - the moment I took out my first student loan more like; Snow College, 2003) - is to be completely 100% debt free. THINK OF IT! Those years of student loans you so arduously worked to accumulate so you could grab that invaluable education to make your way in the world - completely gone. Ooooohhhhh - think of it. Taste it. Grasp for it! The amazing opportunity that would open to me if those loans, those monthly payments that leave me destitute and rubbing my aching head and vomitus stomach every moment of my life, that are responsible for late night budget calculating and planning and scrimping and no savings, gone. GONE! (and lets be honest - no guy wants to date/marry a girl with a bunch of student loans...so lets just consider THAT opportunity more plausible. THAT opens up everything I want in my life - family. Family. Family. Family. A house. A kitty. A puppy. 3-5 kids running around (gasp! I know!) A kitchen. A herb garden!!!).

Lastly, I feel I could do some good for someone. Another great desire of my life is to serve people in some capacity that it would make even a smallish difference in their lives. I would've served an LDS mission had I felt it was for me. But, I did become a teacher! And it WASN'T for the salary (ha - shocker) - but for the opportunity to even give one student some direction, guidance, a safe place to be and learn and interact. I've somehow missed the teaching boat these last year of my graduating from college, but I feel this opportunity is a way I can do that - I can make a real difference in some people's lives - even in a small way. Before Steven and I left, Bob said we brought great feeling to his house. It felt different cause we were there. He felt there was "family" again. I can't shake that. I can't forget it. If that's something I can do for someone - just by trying my best, by merely being around - I want to do it - no matter how long it takes and how much I have to believe. I just want to help someone, somehow.

I know it seems almost unreasonable to imagine that such big dreams could really come to fruition with one fab - all be it hard to grasp right now- opportunity. But it can. And if it's supposed to - it will. I can't see how, but I feel I should wait anyway. I'd hate for my impatience and fear to keep me from it. So I won't. I'll stick to it as much as I feel I should - even if I'm going it "alone" - it's worth it. And hey, now I'm a UTemp!!! So there's time to wait a little longer. Talk about standing on the edge of a knife...but I am standing.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Happy Weekend! I REALLY should take more pictures...

Alright. So my last few posts have been rather "blah" and downright depressing. Really, things could be worse. I mean, it could be a WOOD floor I'd be sleeping on instead of a carpeted, slightly blanket one, right? And, I could be living out of ONE suitcase instead of TWO. So there's that to remember. And luckily still, since I have a little bit of money left for food, there's an Einstein Bagel RIGHT across the street so I don't even HAVE to drive my craptastic, sweltering, gas-gulping truck anywhere to find lunch. Not to mention - since I don't have a job and apply online endlessly - I have plenty of time to exercise. Also - the Utes have won their first two games. Holla!

Ha ha - okay that seemed ironic and even pathetic - but really, I'm cheerfully enduring and to be honest - it really COULD be worse. And what has made everything a little more bearable - was a fun weekend. So here we go - focus on the FUN!

Steven came up this weekend to visit me in my somber state. Isn't that so great? I thought so. Since Steve doesn't update his blog much (ever), and since I feel he's become a part of mine since "Ridiculous Gypsy" is on hold, here's a brief summation of what he's been doing...VERY WELL! Hurray! Okay, he's doing well. He's living at home (read he has a bed! BED! Dresser! Closet! Lucky dog...and also read "free(er) food" and "free lodgings"...very good) and playing frisbee with his friends (oh how I long for group activity) and applying for some really promising positions that seem to pay well, and going to a Singles Ward (oh jealousy. I want to go to a ward all my own...and have a calling. i really want a calling), and...waiting for his online tutoring background check to be done. He also visited me. That was pretty much the sprinkles on the cake for him I'm sure. "Psh-ay! with the free food - I'm driving 3 1/2 hours to SLC to hang out with Moaning Myrtle...er...Andrea." Nice guy that one.

The Fab Friday Night Activities:

I being a lover of the Salt Lake City area, having lived here for 4 years, felt it was high time that Steven have an authentic SLC experience. Well, as authentic as it can get in two days and one night.


We began with the official "Mansion Tour." My last year living in SLC and attending the U, I had the privilege of living in a 1891 restored Victorian Mansion (read 9,000 square feet), 5 bed, 5 1/2 bath, 4 floors, hot tub on the roof, with 5 other girls for ridiculously cheap. I've given many tours of it, explained its history and how we came to be there, time and again. It was nostalgic to give the tour one more time to Steven. He seemed to like it. I will have to find a pic of it...or GO take a pic of it when it's daylight. Yes yes. On the "To-Do" list. I really should take more pics.

We then visited Liberty Park for a little stroll. I know. We're crazy partiers! It's a very lovely area - one I go do my exercising at in fact - and I wanted him to enjoy the little bits of environment the city has to offer. I think he enjoyed it. There WAS a babbling brook. I don't see how it gets better, really. Maybe throw in some Hippies and Goose Poop. Perfect Liberty Park experience!

After that we ventured to "The Atlantic" on Main Street and 3rd South. I'd like to side-note that Steven thought I didn't know where I was going - but I so totally did. I knew the restaurant was on Main Street - I was just unsure of the cross street - but I KNEW we'd run into it. We were walking and I wasn't worried. He worries...and mocks. Mostly mocks. Anyway... The Atlantic is this fabulous Mediterranean Restaurant that I absolutely love. Greek slash Mediterranean food is my favorite - and I thought "Hey, we actually should be eating this kind of food right now in Turkey - so we might as well not miss out on what would've been the best part!" Eh? Eh... Of course I liked it - and I hope Mr. Lewis did too. He's a conisure (neither I nor spellcheck can spell that one) of rice, and he wasn't a fan of the rice that came with his Greek plate, but it seemed that everything else was to Your Highness's liking. Posh posh!

Well what SLC Friday night would be complete without a ride on Trax TO the Gateway? NONE! So we rode Trax to the Gateway. Steven again didn't trust me to know what stop to get off of. It's REALLY a no-brainer, but as we rounded 4th west and headed South, Steven looked at me and said "Well I"m getting off in two stops! That's the Gateway I bet!" Just then I saw the brightly lit sign reading THE GATEWAY flicker in the dusky night out the window behind his head. I had to stifle a guffaw at the irony of it; "Okay Steven, you get off in two stops. I'm going to go ahead and get off right here." Who knows directions now? EH!?!?! So we wondered around the Gateway where Ken Doll...er Steven found MANY a tantalizing shirt at cough...mumble..American Eagle...AND The Gap. Oooo. The Gap outfit was really REALLY really great. Picture this: mens dark khaki's, white collared button up dress shirt with thin dark green and light green pin strip, WITH a LOVELY kelly green v-neck cotton sweater over it. Mmm. You love it don't you? It was pretty awesome. Don't worry, he bought it. Oh wait...I "MADE" him buy it. It's MY fault. :) I really should take more pics.

After our Trax/Gateway Adventure, we journeyed to his Aunties where he would be staying, who just so happens to live RIGHT down the street from my Mansion, and checked out the amazing view of the city they have from their condo. We got to visit with them for awhile - amazing people - and then I went home. I think it was a success! When there's a smashingly good outfit involved it's always a success.... and smashingly good food. And smashingly good COMPANY (read ME!).

Super Saturday Activities:

Saturday morning we got up (no really...like we were gone by 9'er) and ate at another beloved and tasty restaurant on my list of "must try" SLC eateries: Eggs in the City. Again, I knew "about" where it was; and had confidence we'd run into it. Steven proceeded to mock me and my supposed "directional impairment" but we MADE it didn't we Steven? YES! We did. And we ate. Ate real good. Since time was short on this our Saturday morning in SLC - we took a drive up to the UofU Institute where I spent the great majority of my college years. It was awesome to show Steven all those places that made up so much of my college life. It always makes one appreciate things more when one goes back. It makes me realize how grateful I have to be for the moments in my life I'm experiencing right now, rather than wishing them away for what I THINK will make me happier in the future. It's best just to be happy now...then you're happy always...and have no regrets. I had no regrets (mostly) about my experiences at the UofU, and although the trip around campus was nostalgic, I felt I'd spent the time there I needed to and had moved on.

I then took him for a cruise around the Aves - so he could get a taste of the variety and just picturesque-ness of the entire area. We made a final "must" stop at Hatch Family Chocolates where Steven picked out some goodies for his parents (and one for me!). He had to get back to Provo so his parents could have their car back and so they could head back to Cedar City. It seemed like a short weekend - but it was a lot of fun for me. It was really nice to be distracted from all the stresses and issues we are both trying to iron out with Bob and the trip and finances and the general direction of our lives. I felt really lost before this weekend, and finally having some fun and enjoying myself in the town I really grew to love helped a lot.

I still don't have a lot of options or much direction as of yet. It's a waiting game, and I'm hanging on a prayer and a hope. Luckily, I know that's all you need. Things will work out. I've already learned a lot from this experience - and it's been one to very much build up my faith and help me fully rely on the Lords plan for me...for both me and Steven...to help us make sense of it, to learn from it, to grow and refine who we are and what we really believe, and to push forward cheerfully, with faith, hoping with surety for a better world if we can just keep on believing.

So - although things may seem dismal, they could always be worse.

"The bad days will come, faith will always triumph, and our Heavenly promises will always be kept." That quote is from Elder Jeffery R. Holland's CES Fireside I listened to tonight.

It helps to know that - and it really helps to have had Steven come up and hang out for the weekend. :) Thank you, thank you! I owe ya BIG! You come up next time and we'll go to the Fashion Place Mall? EH? Oooo! And we HAVE to eat at The Pie! Maybe a Ute game! Volleyball AND Football! How does THAT tickle your fancy? Or maybe you should show me what Cedar gots? Didn't you mention a volleyball game coming up or something? Shakespeare Festival? There's an idea...we really should take more pics...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Where do I go from here?

Greetings Internet Posse.

So, I mentioned the adventure hiccup. Well, it seems the hiccup may take up permanent residence in the adventure and become the "solution." We're not going back.

Yes I know you are disappointed. I am too. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for so many things. We were supposed to gain experiences and have adventures that people only dream about. We were going to gain some financial stability that may have taken years and years of payments (read student loans and PH.D programs) to finally be free from. An opportunity to save money rather than scrape by. An opportunity to do some real good for some people who could really use what we had to offer. The perfect timing for the perfect opportunity that was to open up an entirely new, financially comfortable for once in my entire life, world.

It was the opportunity of a lifetime; one I guess we weren't meant to have. Sometimes, things do seem too good too be true. I've always been one to believe that you should hope for it all, and hold out for the best, and it will come around. I've never wanted to settle for "satisfactory" - I wanted the best. I never thought anyone should be satisfied with a reality they felt mediocre about, but take those risks that might lead them to what they've always dreamed about. Maybe what I was supposed to learn from this is when things seem too good too be true, they probably are. I've been a "glass half full" person my entire life, or rather, I've been sporting the rose colored glasses for far too long. I am rather gullible, taking things at face value and believing that people have the best intentions. I tend to diminish difficult circumstances in my life with a wave of my hand and an easy comment "oh...it happens...it could be much worse...it will be fine." Sometimes I just ignore it, put my head down, and plow through. This opportunity has turned almost into a cruel joke. Ha ha. Except I don't really feel like laughing. It's hard to laugh when it's hard to see the purpose, the "why", to some of life's bumps in the road. The comfort though, I believe, is there is purpose.

I'm jobless, seemingly homeless...living a real gypsies life on the good graces of a few friends, car-less, purposeless...and feeling a little lost and a lot scared. I can't say I've not learned a lot - because I have. I guess the lessons that change us the most are the hardest ones to learn. There may be a lot of refining going on...and a lot of faith being practiced...but all the same, I wish it would've worked out how I'd dreamed...how I had hoped it would. Yet, I think something will work out as it should - and in retrospect I can snap my fingers and say "Ah ha! I'm here today, exactly where I'm happiest to be, and it was because of that one really hard confusing experience." The rose colored glasses soften the blow ;) and if anyone out there knows anyone in SLC with a job for a sad little 25 year old with an English degree...don't hesitate!