Monday, December 17, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

I haven't updated our blog in a few weeks, because life suddenly got very crazy. And it is mostly my own fault. I was a little over-ambitious perhaps in some of the Christmas projects I decided to tackle, and I have been furiously working to get them done in time for Santa to deliver them. I have had a lot of fun working on these little secret projects for those I love, so it has been worth it. Compounding matters, I started a new job about two weeks ago. I am now working at Sakora jewelers in the University mall, down by where Randy is working. I love the people I work with, I love working with beautiful jewelry, and I love that I can clean my ring as often as I want! So it has been a good experience, and the extra income has definitely helped--especially around this time of year.
Randy is still doing well as a Living Scriptures rep. Starting the first of the year he is probably cutting back his hours there and starting to work at Sakora with me--my boss loves him and wants him to grow with the company--so that will be fun. We both like to be busy and have things to do, but we hate spending time apart (as our cell phone bills suggest).
We are coming up on our one year anniversary, and we are more happy every day. People are always commenting that the first year is the hardest, and we haven't really found that to be the case. We have been so blessed throughout the year, even through the little bumps in the road, and being together was the best part.
We are so excited to come home this weekend and see everyone. I can't wait to eat my mom's cooking, be a spoiled little girl for a few days, and to see neices and nephews (especially a brand new one!) that we don't get to see very often. We are also excited to see the new and improved downstairs of mom and dad Johnson's place! I hope everyone that is traveling this Christmas is very safe, happy, and we can't wait to see you all!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thankful for So Many Things

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, one of my favorites. This year was the first year that I was away from my parents, and so I wanted to have a turkey dinner at our place--to both keep me busy and start our own holiday traditions. I'm so glad we were able to host it, and that all our nearby family was able to join us . . . even though I don't remember a whole lot of that night! The Sunday before the big day I came down with a bad cold that quickly turned into a sinus infection. I had laryngitis off and on, and was just generally miserable. We went to the store and got me some cold medicine that alternately knocked me out at night, and had me hocked up on amphetamines during the day. Randy was so wonderful and helped me out Thanksgiving day by hefting the turkey out of the brine (we bought a serious 24 pounder), and following my directions to make a jello salad treat. He also was an angel to help me clean our house before everyone arrived. Mandy and Joe came a little early to help and hang out, and Mandy helped me do some cleaning and then kept me company while I was high on all the cold medicine. But in spite of the fact that I felt like my head was floating somewhere close to the ceiling, the turkey was delicious! I was nervous, never having cooked a turkey before, but the cooking magazine that my sisters-in-law gave me for my bridal shower gift paid off. I followed its recipe for a brine and was very happy with the resulting bird. I was thankful for a dinner that I managed not to ruin, for the family I had to share it with, for our home that was large enough and comfortable enough to host our family in, and for all the blessings God has given Randy and me this year. The blessing of being together is something we are thankful for every day.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, we are looking forward to Christmas. We have our little Christmas tree up and lighting our front room. We also have all of Joe and Mandy's earthly belongings! They are in the process of moving, and had a few days' gap between their old place and new, so we are helping them store everything. We were glad to be able to help them out, and to have enough room in our house to do it comfortably. We are looking forward to seeing both our families over the Christmas holiday, and to meeting our new little nephew Henry!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Real, Live, Actual Living Room!

Gradually our little home is coming together, mostly through the generosity of various family members. Mandi's grandparents donated their old sectional to the Randy and Alicia cause, and Friday night we went and picked it up (thanks to Matt's truck he lent us). And because Joe and Mandy are moving to a smaller, furnished place, we inherited their coffee table that they inherited from Matt and Joy. Who knows, maybe someday Ashley will get it next! Everything looks really nice, and it has been wonderful to have an actual living room to use. It came just in time too . . . the second councilor in the bishopbrick came to visit Saturday morning to extend us callings. So now we are both ward missionaries, and I am the ward's "language" missionary. There are actually a pair of Spanish Sisters in the area working with a man from Mexico, so it looks like I'll get to be a part of some discussions soon. Another ward missionary sister and I are working with his wife this week who wants to be baptized but has to wait a bit, so we study with her while her husband hears the lessons.
This past month has been a bit stressful while Randy has started a new job and I tried to work out a health-insurance nightmare. But things are finally looking up. Randy has started to really get the hang of his sales work, and thinks that this job is for him after all. I was not so successful with the insurance thing--turns out I'm completely uninsurable. But after a lot of praying, we know that everything will work out and eventually we'll find a solution to that as well. So now we're just looking forward to Thanksgiving, a favorite holiday of mine and my mom's. We have this enormous table so we decided to host a dinner here, for whatever family wants to brave my first attempt at a turkey dinner. But luckily I am armed with a cooking magazine my sisters-in-law gave me for a bridal shower present, I have some secret family recipes of my mom's, and various people have offered help. So, wish me luck! Hopefully I won't drop the turkey as it comes out of the oven or anything.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Birthday Bonanza!

Yesterday we celebrated Joy and Mandy's birthday. (It was Julia's birthday too but we couldn't make it to DC for a party). Being so far from home, it is fun to have lot of family still around to celebrate occasions with. Randy helped me decorate the house while I cooked chocolate peanut butter birthday cake and spinach artichoke dip. Randy was a great help and I was pleasantly surprised at his ability to tastefully hang balloons and birthday banners. I think the two favorite gifts that were given last night were from the boys. Joe gave Joy a toy gladiator--this little action figure with costume accessories that didn't fit and ridiculous looking muscles. We're pretty sure he wanted to play with it himself . . . The second greatest gift was also to Joy, this time from Randy. At the dollar store he picked up a "Latin Hits" cd with watered down covers of "hits" such as "La Bamba." It was telling that not one, but two tracks were about tequila. In any case, we had some laughs, ate rich food, and were able to spend some time together.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Eneman to the rescue!

While visiting Lance and Mandi last Sunday, Mandi brought out a box of stuffed toys to show us. Apparently Lance had done some work for Fleet, a company best known for its enema products. Someone in the company thought it would be good for morale (or else has a really sick sense of humor) and made a Fleet mascot--complete with beanie toys, Christmas ornaments, and--get this--golf club covers. All shaped like the little guy on the right. Ethan and Sydney love the little guy, and call him carrot head (can you imagine trying to explain what an enema is to a five-year old?). I was laughing so hard that I started crying. For any of you frequent enema customors, apparently Fleet has some kind of frequent buyer program where if you buy enough enemas you get the golf-club cover. I have a hard time imagining the poor soul who really would buy enough of their product to qualify, and then be proud enough to want to display the fact on the golf course. In any case, it gave me a good laugh. :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Settling In


I have always been a proud Oregonian. I love the trees, the ocean that is 40 minutes from my house, and the mountains/lakes that are also 40 minutes from my house. I love Oregon college football (Go Ducks) and the Seattle Mariners. I love the hippies, the health food stores, the Starbucks or fill-in-the-blank coffee shop on every corner. I love downtown Portland, and all the cultural experiences available there. I love the water, the fog, the way it smells after it rains. I like the cultural diversity, and of course my family. Living in Utah on and off for the past nine years has been a big adjustment to me. There are mountains here, but they aren't the white, volcanic snow-capped ones (Mt. Hood, Jefferson, Adams) that I am used to seeing off in the misty distance. The Mountain West conference is boring to me, and I still haven't been able to get used to the taste of the water. But since we've moved to Orem, we have felt more at home here. I think getting out of the middle of college-central made a big difference: each year the freshman look younger and seem to act more annoying. And each year the traffic crisis gets more out of control. So yesterday, we finally went down to the DMV and got the Utah plates. It was a little sad to let go of my Oregon identity labeling my car, but it was time. I just really hope that we don't turn into "Utah drivers"!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Haunted Critters

Randy and I were looking forward to our first Halloween as a married couple, mostly because we are in a family ward where there are cute little ones who come trick-or-treating. Instead of doing the traditional trick-or-treating though, our ward participated in a tri-ward trunk-or-treat at our ward building. This created a little more concentrated, but a lot safer version for the kids, and we still got to see all the cute costumes. Joe and Mandy joined us for the night--Joe and Randy opting for the "I'm too cool/grown up/not fun" non-costume approach (I got Randy some toy handcuffs and a gun, and he wore his state trooper hat) but Mandy and I were still all about the costumes. I was a woodland fairy, with leaves and tissue-paper wings, and Mandy was a very cute witch. And we both had furry props, who are our little kiddies for now. Max was a very funny, very cute pumpkin, and Che was my little miniature woodland fairy friend. The pets in costumes made us very popular with the little kids, and by the end of the night Max and Che had some new friends.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Would you like some fries with that?


I got a catalog in the mail this morning for this company selling funny "demotivational" products. I flipped through the pages and found this on a t-shirt, and felt that it did a great job of summing up the frustration both Randy and I have felt looking around in the job market. We are both relatively intelligent, hardworking individuals, but it seems like there is nothing in the Provo/Orem area other than either 1) restaurant work, 2) call centers, or 3) fast food management. The writing market in this area is terrible, which is why I am taking time off to write a novel. I have found myself to be a complete anomaly though, as I am neither writing Mormon love stories or fantasy/sci-fi, which for some reason seems to be all people in this valley seem to write/read. Randy just started a new job as a sales rep for the Living Scriptures, which sells animated scripture-based movies for families. He is pretty much just happy to be out of a call center, which is where we both worked for the first half of our marriage, and then on and off ever since. I think we are both done with that place for good though. It sealed the deal for me when the girl I sat next to every day and who I was really good friends with killed herself this summer. So for us it has been goodbye Credit Attorney, hello . . . anything-but-McDonalds-please!!!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Translation

The soul is too terrible a device
to have created
this language. Untongued, reckless,
Wildly optimistic--
unseen forces of will, desire, and abject
Sensibility. Can you, my friend
understand me? I think not--
for I, in all my years of careful
Study and tedious reasoning
make out very little.
I can only speak to your obvious
heartache with my
Abstractions of experience, poor tools
and I am left
with only tears to answer your questioning pain.
I comprehend your joy
through a kaleidescope of colors
and lights and bits of liminal bliss--
Waiting to be shattered in the
Silence between.
You speak--and I listen.
But only my heart, with its
gentle fears, and hopes, and universal suffering
can begin to understand.

-A.J.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Love and Pumpkin Pie

I met Randy three years ago last August, on the first Sunday of the semester. I had lived in the ward for a year previous, and Randy happened to move in just downstairs from me with his cousin Jonathan. Randy had been friends with my cousin and roommate Andrea their freshman year, so we met through her and all walked home from church together. He was a little younger than I was, so I didn't really think of him as a dating prospect, even though I remember thinking he was really cute. So I went on dating other random guys in my ward and people I met in classes or through friends, wishing that I could meet a really nice guy who could also be my best friend. About a month and a half passed, and I would see Randy around FHE and church, but I never really stopped to talk to him much--he remained the funny kid who lived downstairs. I had one other roommate besides Andrea, and we had all been pretty close friends the year before. Things changed that fall as she was diagnosed with a thyroid problem that completely changed her personality. She was suddenly combative, and nothing we could do changed her mind that we were no longer friends. One Sunday in mid October Andrea and I went downstairs to lend Randy a blender so he could make homemade pumpkin pie, and midway through helping him make the pie Andrea had to go upstairs to deal with the roommate crisis. This left me helping Randy, who I really didn't know all that well, make the pie. As I helped him I was surprised how easy he was to talk to, and I left that afternoon with a really good friend. The rest is history . . . by Christmas friendship had changed into something else, in spite of both our efforts to keep things "just friends." We kissed a month later (Jan. 31, his 22 birthday) and were married two years almost to the day after that first kiss.
That first pumpkin pie was kind of a disaster, unlike the friendship that followed. Maybe we were concentrating more on talking than on the pie, or maybe Randy is a bit of an impatient cook. In any case, that friendship which started over pumpkin pie has carried us through many hard times during the three years to follow. I was reminded of these beginnings tonight, because we braved a sequel to that first, lumpy, nasty pumpkin pie. This one, I am happy to report, was delicious. :o)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Growing Up

We were having a business dinner the other night with one of Randy's supervisors, his wife, and another new hire and his wife, when I made an interesting self-discovery: I have grown up enough to realize, and not run away from, the fact that I am a big nerd. All the wives were talking while the men discussed business, and when she discovered that I am a writer one of the women made a comment about how when she was young and a "nerd" she liked to write. She quickly back-stepped and qualified her statement with, "not that writing is nerdy or anything." I laughed and said, it's all right, writers are pretty big nerds. And it is true. I looked up the webster definition of nerd and found that a nerd is, "an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially : one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits." Now, I try to keep up on myself and I hope I'm not socially inept--but the latter part of the sentence certainly fits. When you sit around looking up etymologies on the online Oxford English Dictionary for FUN, I think you fit the bill. Or when you can tell your husband in five hundred words why Oxford is far and away better than Webster. Or when you get kicks reading thirty-year old lectures from a French psychoanalyst and theorist (Lacan). Or when the two stations you know on the radio are NPR and a local classical station. Or when the biggest events on your social calender are literary lectures at the local library. Have I sufficiently proved my point?
I think when we are young we are so afraid to be or look anything that isn't "pop," whatever that is at the time. We transform, again and again, about as many times as Madonna (hopefully without the promiscuity and plastic surgery) hoping that in the process no one will catch on to the fact that we are . . . ourselves. Now that I am twenty-six, I have become comfortable to a great extent with my own company. Not that this complacency excludes me from my fair share of insecurities: after all, I am female. But they are different than they were when I was sixteen or even twenty-one. I still worry about my weight but now I want to be healthy for the kids I hope to have. I want to look nice but I don't panic whenever I leave the house. I want to have friends, but more importantly I want to be surrounded by people who make me think, who make me laugh for all the right reasons, people who make me feel better about myself and the world as a whole. Which probably puts them in the category I delineated above. And that's okay, did I mention I married a big music nerd? And I think he's pretty great (and cute!).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Let it Snow

Saturday afternoon and evening we had our first snow of the season. Neither of us are ready for real winter cold, but a few flakes were fun. Now that we are in Orem I think we will get a little more snow than we did when we lived south of campus, since we are a little higher in elevation. The flakes started that afternoon, and by that night it had started to stick to the pavement. The past couple of years we have enjoyed long walks together at night in the snow, so we bundled ourselves up late Saturday night (I'm sure we looked ridiculous dressed for the arctic, with just an inch of snow on the ground) and took our first walk of the season. I really love our new neighborhood because it is so peaceful. We live just a block away from a park on the grounds of the local hospital, with pathways that wind around and through trees and large fields. It was fun to see our new surroundings glowing in the snowy night. My favorite part about cold, snowy nights is how everything lights up, reflecting off the snow. I can't wait until our neighbors start putting up Christmas lights, and see them shine off the snow. I am just a little excited for the Christmas season. I played my first Christmas cd Saturday afternoon. I must have some psychic connection with my mom because she started playing her Christmas music the same day. But it is Monday now, and the snow is melted, so it feels like October again. And that is just fine: I will certainly get sick of the cold and snow soon enough!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Girls' Day In

Thursday my old roommate Krystal came over for a spa day. Back about a year ago when Randy and I were still dating, I would send Randy home early on Sunday nights (he was always pretty much with me during BYU approved visiting hours) and she and I would have a little "spa" in our room. This is her senior year and is feeling exceedingly stressed (she's an English major too, so I know exactly how she's feeling), and it had been way too long since either of us had really pampered ourselves. So I picked her up and we made blueberry scones--the English kind, not the mormon fried bread--made herbal chai tea (Yeah, we're English majors), and then proceded to do pedicures, facials, and we both got French manicures. I lit an aromatherapy candle I picked up at the day spa Randy sent me to for my birthday, and it was positively, decadently delightful. After all the wonderful relaxation, we took Randy, who had been such a good sport about all the girliness happening in the other room, and we went to the Orem dollar theatre and saw Stardust. It stars Clare Danes, Michelle Pheiffer, and Robert DeNiro, and we all loved it. Especially Randy. It is clean, hilarious, and really well done. It is a little reminiscent of Princess Bride, just more flashy, magical. It felt so good to have a complete non-stress day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

He's gonna kill me . . .

I was blessed with the most sweet, loving husband in the world. He is always kind, thoughtful, and understanding . . . but I've become convinced that he will be the death of me. His downfall, or should I say mine, is his penchant for being a tease. He tickles me, he pokes me in the arm, he sings silly songs late at night when I am trying to fall asleep. But none of this comes close to the worst manifestation of his bad habit . . . scaring me for a good laugh. When we were first married he would sneak up to the shower while I was in it and just stick his head in without saying anything, so without warning I would look up and see this floating head making bizarre faces. And, yes, I am a jumper and a screamer, so the reaction he got was apparently well worth the effort. But I'm pretty sure he's giving me a heart condition! Yesterday I was at my laptop writing, and he spent a good ten minutes sneaking up on me in order to scare me, and he did such a good job I started crying. Now, my reaction may have been a little extreme, and it probably was, but I was just not expecting a scary man behind me while I was concentrating that hard! Poor Randy did feel pretty bad about getting his sweet wife that good, but that didn't keep him from giggling about it. He is after all, a mischievous little devil. I just hope he gets it out of his system before I'm an old lady, and he actually does kill me!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Little Quack




One of my favorite things to do is read to my nieces and nephews. Reading is one of my favorite things to do, and I love sharing that with people I care about. Sunday when we were up visiting Lance, Mandi and the kids, I saw how things sometimes come full circle. Sydney is going through her Princess stage--like every other little girl under 12--and wanted me to read Cinderella, and read Cinderella, and AGAIN read--yes--Cinderella. As I was bibitty-bobbety-booing for the umpteenth time, I remembered hearing my parents saying that when I was that age, I made them read that exact book over and over again. I had it memorized and wouldn't let them skip through pages. I was more than happy to put in my time with Cinderella though to spend time with my niece!
On a more serious note, the book pictured above I believe to be a cruel punishment for any parent, or in this case, aunt. The adorable illustrations of baby duckies bely the agony that awaits any story-teller: some horrifically ridiculous names. The author, this Laura Thompson, in her perverseness named two of the ducklings "Piddle and Puddle," and every time I had to read those names (pretty much every page in the stupid book) I completely lost composure, and had to take about five minutes to get myself under control. I might as well have been reading about "Peepee and Tinkle." Maybe it was late at night, and I had a "gummy-gamantula" moment, or maybe it was really that funny. I'll leave the judgment up to you.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Granny's Got a New Set of Wheels . . .


Che is a funny, active little "squirrel," and sometimes I worry that she doesn't get enough attention or exercise. So Saturday we went to Petco and found the largest Gerbil ball we could find, and gave it to Che. At first she didn't really know what to do with it--she kid of scooted her bum around and went backwards. But eventually she got the hang of it, and she has been trotting all over the house in her little bubble. It is so funny to watch her go--she has a lot of attitude and now that we let her go wherever in her ball she just rolls past us with her little nose up in the air. Kind of reminds me of a teenager with their first set of keys. So she has been our entertainment for the last day and a half!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Crazy Kids


Those of you who know Randy and me pretty well know that we are pretty low key . . . translation: boring. We enjoy really wild things like sitting around on our living room floor playing card games for hours, watching movies or the Discovery Channel, or watching Che run circles around our room. But once in awhile we will decide spur-of-the-moment to break out of our ruts and do something ridiculous. A few years ago we decided to hike the Y at about 9 o'clock at night. At the time neither of us owned a car, so it meant we had to walk from our apartments to the base of the mountain, hike the mountain, and then walk back (Luckily I was in a lot better shape back then!). Last night we got a similar itch . . . this time for s'mores. So we jetted off to Smiths, got the goods, picked up Mandy, and drove off to Provo Canyon. It was a little spooky being so late at night--Randy didn't help by telling awful stories about Mountain Lion attacks etc.--but it turned out to be a lot of fun. We started up a nice roaring fire, roasted the tastiest s'mores in the world (in spite of the fact that I bought a ridiculously over sized Hershey bar that was a bit too thick to melt properly) and then came home before Randy freaked us out too much with his stories. The only problem now is that all of my suppressed desire for camping and outdoorsy activities has been unleashed, so I want to go back. But it was definitely worth it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Book Review: Possession by A. S. Byatt


I am going to pull a little copycat here, and do a book review of the latest one I've read. Possession is fantastic--especially if you are into literary fiction. It is poetic--literally--she mimics the British romantic poetry (Romantic being a literary period like modern or Victorian, not indicative of subject matter) of Browning, Barrett and Wordsworth as she creates fictive literary greats of the eighteenth century. It slips in and out of modern life and eighteenth century life seamlessly. Her characters are believable, and her prose is absolutely gorgeous. I am excited to read more of her work, because I feel like I just stumbled upon something really great! For the light reader: She does get into literary theory--psychoanalysis, the French feminists like Cixous, as well as a little queer theory (that isn't a pejorative phrase, that's really what the scholarly field is called) because that is what her characters are dealing with. She makes them very believable scholars, so if that turns you off you probably wouldn't appreciate the book. It isn't too heavy with theory, but it is an element. Something I was fascinated with while reading this novel was all the reference to Norse mythology in the poetry of her characters. I'm not a mythology buff so I borrowed an Oxford edition from an old roommate and learning a little bit more. The mark of a good book for me is not merely that it grips me--which this one did--but that it actually inspires me--which this one did as well. I feel like a better writer, scholar and critical thinker for having read this work.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Anger Management

So before I got married, I witnessed a fair amount of stress caused by nearly all of Randy's brothers to their wives on account of their video-game playing habits. I knew pretty early on that Randy was on a similar path--video/computer games seem to be part of his genetic material--so I decided, hey, if you can't beat 'em . . . and I took his invitation to play a game with him. This decision about six months into our relationship has turned out to be a really good one for us. Since he was kind enough to take the time and teach me how to play, he rarely sits down and plays a game without me (unless I'm lost in a book and he needs to kill some time). This way his gaming has become a kind of activity we can do together, instead of something that frustrates me. We don't play either very much or very often, although since moving to our new place where we have no tv and no money to go out, we have played Mario Kart together on the Nintendo 64 more often! There has been an unintended and completely unforeseen consequence to his teaching me how to play though. I get really angry!! I didn't know I had much of a temper until now, but hidden down there somewhere I've got some fire. Randy taught me how to play Zelda on the 64, and two nights ago I was stuck in the most exasperating spot in the game, and I actually started shouting and throwing pillows across the room. I think my eyes may have turned a little red :o). In any case, I had to turn the darn thing off and take a brisk walk around the block to compose myself. Then I just went back to reading, which turns out is a whole lot safer!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Road Less Traveled

Randy and I have been talking a lot lately about what we want out of life, where we want to go, how we want to approach family/careers etc. The conclusion we arrived at is that we don't want normal lives--or perhaps we just weren't built for them. Both of us are pretty restless and maybe we want too much . . . I don't know. In any case, I doubt very much that either of us will ever hit the corporate track, at least not any time soon.
To this end, we made some decisions. First off, Randy is looking for a job that doesn't involve sitting at a computer all day calling people trying to sell them credit help. He got several new piano students as well. Both of us are still working at Credit Attorney on Saturdays, so at least we can be miserable together! With all of this set, Alicia is taking the next couple of months until Randy starts up school again to write the "next great American novel." We know we are young and probably insane, but it seemed like the best time to do something off the beaten track. That said, my free-spirit still dreads disappointing family expectation, on both sides. But in four or six months if my novel doesn't sell, then I can still go back and get one of those careers everybody talks about. I just want the chance to succeed or fail--failure doesn't even mean that much to me as long as I had the chance. Most people who want to write don't because they never get around to it, and I didn't want that to be the reason I was never published. If I'm not good enough, fine. But I at least need the time to see that.
So, there you have it. We may be a couple of crazies, but hopefully we are lovable ones. As to the progress of the novel so far . . . I have a working title, a preliminary outline, and characters sketched out. I have to admit that I have the most wonderful husband in the world. Not many men would be so supportive of my crazy need to do this, and Randy is so supportive of my dreams. Before we got married I read him my favorite poem by Yeats as a model of how I want our interactions to be:
Had I the heavens embroidered cloths
Enwrought with golden and silver light
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light
I would spread the cloths under your feet
But I being poor have only my dreams
I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Monday, October 1, 2007

50 pounds of brown sugar

Randy and I dated for two years before we got married, so there weren't too many surprises as we started married life. I knew most of his quirks (other than the fact that he talks in his sleep) so things have been pretty peaceful. But once in awhile he will surprise me with his . . . well . . . boyness!
The other night I wasn't feeling that well so I sent him to the store to bring home a few groceries. Not major shopping, just a couple of things to get us by until I could come up with a menu and a list. We were out of pretty much everything, and extremely sick of the three things we did have: spaghetti, potato pearls, and refried beans. Knowing Randy's shopping limitations I expected him to bring home a frozen pizza or some stir-fry, a loaf of bread and some meat for a sandwich--something simple and easy to prepare. I didn't give him many guidelines as to what to buy, but I had seen groceries he used to pick out for himself while we were dating, so I wasn't terribly worried.
I was just sitting on the bed reading while he was gone, and when I realized I had been reading for about forty-five minutes I started to get worried. But he hadn't called to ask for advice, so I figured he was just doing a little more shopping than I expected when I sent him out. Just as I was about to call him, he walked in the door. He called me to come see what he had bought . . . and I couldn't believe it. With no food in the house he comes home after forty-five minutes with nothing but a gallon of milk, a family size box of jalapeƱo poppers, and 60--get this--SIXTY eggo waffles in a costco-sized box. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry--I was so tired I think I did a little of both.
Poor Randy had wandered through Smiths all that time not knowing what to get, and trying so hard to think what I would like. He remembered that I had tried eggos for the first time about two years ago and had liked them, so buying sixty seemed like the right thing to do. And apparently the poppers just looked good.
I'm still so baffled at how much more helpless he seems as a married man. I know that he knows how to do things, but now that there is a Wife to do them, he seems to have forgotten. But, I love him! So there you have it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Big Move

This past month as been a little crazy for us, as we just moved into a new place in Orem. For those of you not familiar with what Lance so aptly coined as, "Chinchilla-gate," we decided to leave our close-to-campus, cheap, furnished apartment in Provo due to uncomfortable conditions with our landlord. So after a few months of nerve-unraveling searching we found a perfect situation for us here in Orem. Since I just graduated and Randy is taking most of his courses online, it was much less imperative to be near BYU. We must admit that being farther away from all the campus-life hubub has greatly improved our satisfaction with the area. We got an amazing deal on our new apartment--we doubled our square footage and we pay about the same rent. Our new place isn't furnished, so we can't invite too many people over at once or they will have to sit on the ground. But since our idea of having a crazy good time is sitting around playing card games or watching the chinchilla hop around, we are doing okay! Joy and Matt were the generous doners of their old kitchen table and we bought a bookcase which Randy expertly assembled, so the two most important things are taken care of: eating and reading. We have a little laundry area off our bathroom, so we are looking forward to the day when we can bring home a washer and dryer. We love our new ward, where the average age is 75, and know we will learn a lot from our more "experienced" neighbors and new friends. They have fun enrichment activities, and I have already joined the quilting club and the book club. Randy is having fun getting to know the five other men in the Elders' Quorum. Che loves the new space, and we love that she doesn't have strange places to hide where we can't get her out of (she used to try and get in our boxed-spring, a place impossible to extricate her from). We have two nearby parks, one a block west and another two blocks east, so we have plenty of trails to go bike riding. I was especially excited to learn that our local library (also two blocks away) hosts interesting lectures and literary seminars, which I will be taking advantage of in the coming months. All things considered, Orem in a perfect fit for us at this stage in our marital adventure.

Our old place--usually not this messy, but we were moving. You can pretty much see our entire apartment from this shot--minus the bedroom/bathroom area. I could vacuum the entire place without switching plugs, if that gives an idea of the approximate size :o)

Our new bright, sunny kitchen! (sunny must have been a color scheme in the 70's when they installed the formica and flooring . . .)

the livingroom and front window

Our entryway and vintage 70's era spindles!! (It doubles as a good time-out corner for Randy when he's been naughty.)


the bathroom


The "office" and Randy's beautiful bookcase he assembled for me. Yeah, it's already full . . .


The other half of the office . . .

Our bedroom

Monday, September 17, 2007

Baby Che

Last November my roommate and I went down to the local pet shop on center street to see if they had any cute animals there. We were actually thinking of getting a pet bunny, when we saw this funny little creature cuddled up in a ball in a cage. I had never heard of a chinchilla before, but I fell in love with this one the moment I held her little squirmy self in my arms. She has been an endless stream of entertainment for us ever since. As many of you know Randy is not much of an animal person, so I was a little concerned that he wasn't going to like my new little "Baby Che." But the funny thing has been watching him get really attached to this little creature. She has a lot of personality in a tiny little jumpy package (if you aren't familiar with chinchillas, they jump up to about five feet in the air). My favorite part about her is that she doesn't smell, doesn't bite, and is generally very sweet tempered. All around she has been the perfect pet for us. She really likes the freedom she has in our new place, and we like that she can run around without getting into too much trouble!
Chinchillas are native to the Andes mountains in South America, and so we named her Che after Che Guevarra, thinking that she was a boy when we purchased her. A few months later, suprise! she had babies, so our little girl had a boy's name. Some months later as I was doing some research in Chicana feminism for a class I was taking, I came across a theorist with the first name of Chela, so I suppose she can be named after a feminist instead of a Marxist . . . although I seriously doubt she cares . . .
I tried posting some videos, but they didn't upload for some reason. They are pretty hilarious, so we'll see what we can figure out.
Che on her little leash. She liked the ducks at the botany pond.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Graduation




This year has been an eventful one for our little family of two. We (finally!) got married in January, I finished up school, and this August I graduated with a BA in English. My focus was literature as I was hoping to follow many of my friends on to graduate work in the fall, but because of Randy's million dollar question last November, I decided to put that off for a few years and start a career in technical/creative writing instead. This field is more lucrative than one would think, and it allows me the flexibility of staying at home and telecommuting once we start a family. Getting experience in the field is the big hurdle, and so I have spent the last month interviewing for some great, and some not-so-great positions around the area.

Graduation was an emotional, fun time for me. For those who have been close to me over the past eight years (yes, I could have been a doctor by now) know how many things I overcame to reach this point. Just coming back to Utah after being so sick on my mission (my disease has been in remission for about three years, knock on wood) was a complete miracle. I was also blessed with some outstanding professors who became dear friends and mentored me along the way.

It was wonderful having my parents for a short but action-packed visit that weekend. We all attended the Mt. Timpanogas Temple together, did a little graduation shopping, toured the new Pres. Hinckley alumni building on campus, attended both graduation and convocation (where I very nearly died of heatstroke--black robe in 100+ degree weather do not mix!), took many pictures, opened presents, celebrated my half-birthday, and enjoyed my mom's AMAZING cooking. They spoiled Randy and me so much while they were in town, buying us a vacuum for our new apartment, taking us out to dinner, plus a heavenly chocolate-hazelnut gateau my dad made! All in all we had a wonderful time and were sad to see them leave.

Dr. Matthews--the professor I did research with the last couple of years, as well as a really good friend.

Don't we look smart!

The cake!

Family!