My cousin's wedding

On Thursday, my parents and I flew to Louisiana for my cousin Audrey's wedding. First off, I would like to reiterate my love of driving. I would rather drive just about anywhere. The only reason I can see to fly is to save time. It's uncomfortable, it's nauseating, it's crowded and cramped and you don't get to see anything but the inside of the cabin and the back of some guy's head in front of you. Ugh. Yes, I would much rather drive.

Anyhow, we finally made it to New Orleans, where we waited in line for ages at the Hertz rental station for our "mid-sized vehicle"...a Toyota Corolla. Don't get me wrong, I love Toyotas, and hope to own one some day--a pickup truck, actually--but I in no way consider a Corolla "mid-sized."

We drove up to Baton Rouge, to the LDS Temple there, and I proceeded to sit in the waiting room for three hours while my cousin received her endowment. Unfortunately, I hadn't brought much with me for entertainment. I wrote for awhile--I'm working on a new novel about wilderness conservation--and I read the September Ensign cover to cover, and I paced for awhile, and there at the end I started reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish, next to the copy in English. I learned the coolest word: Todopoderoso. It means Almighty (as in, the Lord God Almighty.)

I met my cousin's husband (to be, at the time) for the first time that night. He's an older guy (37 to her 19), but he's aging well, and at first glance I would put him in his mid or late twenties. He has a definite Canadian accent, which is even more apparent next to her Southern version. He talks a lot, and he talks mostly about the house he's building, which I suppose could get old after the third time you heard it. But he seems like a fairly nice guy, and I decided after three days of knowing him that he wasn't a total creepoid. However, the relationship was very odd at first glance. They never touched, no hand-holding, no shoulder-hugging, no arm-brushing. And they hardly ever looked at each other. They are strangers--physically, if nothing else. I found it very odd, disconcerting.

My parents and I have stayed at my aunt and uncle's house in Thibodaux (tib-oh-doh), where we have spent time with them, my cousins, and some of our other family who came in for the wedding. On Friday, we spent the morning decorating at the church. I will admit here and now that I am a controller, a decider. I often find myself in charge of various operations I engage in, and decorating was no different, until another woman, from the ward, showed up. Talk about too many chefs in the kitchen! With my aunt, uncle, both parents, two cousins, myself and this woman, there were just too many thinking heads. Eventually I escaped to play the piano in the other room, rather than exploding at anybody. I didn't know a better way, and I wasn't about to fight with anybody just to tell them their way was dumb! However, there is a happy end of the tale to come.

Friday afternoon we went to a wedding dinner at a Chinese buffet in Baton Rouge, which was nice. They had decent sushi, a pleasant surprise. I took cameo pics while my dad acted as the wedding photographer, since the one they had planned to have fell through after the hurricane here. After dinner, we fought traffic in BR to make it to the temple just in time to change, take a few pictures, and hurry in for the wedding. I sat outside with my 10-year-old cousin Julia and we both got eaten alive by mosquitos, but got some good pictures. Afterward we all drove back to Thibodaux. My cousin and her new husband got to ride in the back of her parents' van together, and upon reaching town, they went to the hotel to be alone together for the first time ever. Yes. Ever. If I ever received the kind of supervision they got from her parents, I would strangle someone.

Saturday we bummed at the house until it was time to go to the church. The happy end to my earlier tale was how lovely the reception turned out. The decorations ended up being quite tasteful, and speaking of, the food was delicious, and there was lots of it. There was a live jazz band, which was lots of fun, although there wasn't nearly enough dancing. The bride and groom hardly danced at all. They hardly spent much time together, either, which is just one of the many oddities. Talking to my aunt later, she remarked on the oddness of her daughter, and we can only hope that she outgrows it with time.

Sunday morning we went to church with the family. Afterward, the whole family gathered to try and help my cousin repack her four ENORMOUS suitcases, which contained 90% light, summer clothing which she will certainly have no need of in her new home of northern Canada. However, she stubbornly retained this vast wardrobe, and so we sent her off with her bulging suitcases, on to a new and hopefully happy life.

Today we mostly just hung out. My father the fix-it man took care of some odd jobs for my aunt and uncle while they were at work and school. My parents and I, upon my aunt's recommendation, went out to lunch at a pleasant little Southern restaurant in town. I had a crawfish pasta in a Cajun cream sauce, which was delicious. This evening, we taught the family the Totally Insane Card Game, which I have discussed in previous posts. And of course, I am staying up this evening to make a midnight run to Wal-Mart in order to purchase Iron Man.

Overall, I can only conclude that my cousin is odd, and hope for her happiness. She is very reserved, and doesn't express her emotions openly whatsoever. It was impossible, at any point, to discern whether she was happy, but she went through with the marriage, and so now I can only hope that she can find support and happiness in Canada, and that she will grow to love her stranger-husband and his family, and her new home.


Seasonal nostalgia

I feel the cool breeze in the morning, and it stirs strange memories within me. I suppose I have nostalgic memories for all the seasons, but autumn's are certainly the strongest. It makes me want to play Evanescence (I'm not sure what the connection is there), and run around Cedar City in the evenings, and carve pumpkins, and get ready for Conference, and do just about anything with my college friends. It makes me feel like I should be busy, ramping up for the new school year, in the midst of shows and homework and who knows what else. It makes me want to watch the West Wing with Gregory, and drink hot chocolate and play the piano. It excites me, until I realize I'm doing none of those things, and then it just makes me lonely. Autumn makes me wish I was back in school with my friends. I can't remember an autumn when I wasn't, and I miss them.


Strange new revelation

I like Aerosmith.

My coworker, Cindy, listens to a surprisingly array of music for someone her age, all heavy rock and the like. I keep asking her the names and artists when I hear songs I like, and when a surprisingly number turned out to be Aerosmith songs, I soon after created an Aerosmith station on my Pandora.

After listening to Aerosmith, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and the like all day, I can't deny that I'm enjoying the genre. Of course, Pandora throws anything from Queen to Metallica into this mix, but still, I'm finding that my horizons are expanding. :)

Who would've thought?


A little domesticity?

Of all the things that I never really pictured myself doing, one of the most surprising turnarounds would be scrapbooking.

We really have to blame my "other-mom" for this. (I have settled on "other-mom" as the title for my birthfather's wife, Jenny, as actually explaining that relationship every time I talk about her is just tedious!) A couple Christmases ago, she gave me my first set of scrapbooking supplies. I suppose it didn't help that my best friend is also a frequent scrapbooker. At any rate, for almost every Christmas, and now birthdays, my other-mom has donated new scrapbooking materials to my cause, and so it moves forward.

The thing is, I find myself enjoying scrapbooking. There's something infinitely satisfying about turning my brain off for awhile, and just mixing colors and shapes and fun pictures. I don't claim to do it well, some of my pages are definitely better than others. But it definitely gives me this odd sense of satisfaction. Besides, I get to find new pictures all the time! Just last night, I was scrapbooking pics from the Juniper Hall days, from the Red Cliffs hike that year, and several from old shows.

In this realm, I have also made the jump at last--I am moving to 12x12 pages. I've been working in 8 1/2x11 forever, I missed the 10x10 jump, but now I am conceding to the 12x12 movement. The format is more open, and you can fit a lot more photos onto a single page. In this light, I bought some big packs of new paper last weekend while staying with Melissa, though I still feel somewhat limited by my resources. I hate to get involved in the sticker revolution, because you can seirously spend a FORTUNE on those things, or really any amount of scrapbooking supplies. Already I feel like I have too much, and yet I still reach out for more that aren't there. Urg! This is when I'm reminded that hobbies are time and money consumers!!


A chat with Sam today

me: Really, my ideal life? Married, with kids, a stay-at-home-writer-mom who makes a fortune from selling New York Times Bestsellers.
That would seriously be the life.

Sam: you'll find it some-day! I'm positive
soon even

me: Well, we'll see, i suppose.
In the meantime, it's computers and answering phones and writing when the muse descends.


Artist colonies...when is it my turn?

I can't even begin to express my cravings.

The MacDowell Colony.

If only, if only. But I think I will apply for next summer (even though they say summer's busiest and hardest to get in). In the meantime, I shall work on writing beautiful, artistic things that will get me in.

Memories fade


Descent of the muse

The strangest things sometimes can be the muse.

In almost every episode of House, he has a moment in which somebody says or does something which he somehow connects to the mystery of the case he's working on, somehow delivers his brilliant--and usually bizarre--solution. I call those moments his Muse. It's often Wilson, but it can be anything.

I've been in a strange mood all morning. I've been contemplating the lack of passion in my life. I watched our old TED video, from a time when I thought I could honestly conquer the world, anything I set my mind to. It really made me want to go back to college, to have my mind stretched that way again.

In the midst of my morning, I got onto the TED website and started exploring. I haven't been there for awhile, so there are plenty of new TED Talks to explore. I watched one by Clifford Stoll, I think his name was. Very entertaining. But then I stumbled upon a talk entitled "Where does creativity hide?" by novelist Amy Tan. I haven't felt the artistic stirrings so strongly in a long, long time. With the rain, some music, and TED, I have found my muse today. I'm ready for anything, and it's a great feeling.

I hope it keeps raining.


Work and talk and stuff

I started my new job today. I'm working there in the afternoons this week, while I finish up at my other job, then I'll start full time next week. After my first day, I felt slightly like my brain would explode, but I have the feeling I'll get over it. The people make the job, I suppose, and I definitely like the people there. Hopefully that will make the difference. That and being able to wear whatever I want and listen to whatever music I want in the office. Speaking of which! If you haven't heard, definitely check out Pandora, by the Music Genome Project. It's basically online radio, but without commercials, and you can personalize your own stations to play the kind of music you like. It's way cool, take a look.

In addition to the insurance responsibilities I've been discussing, I'm also on the verge of taking over my own wireless payments--the last vestiges of a time when my parents paid for everything. Alas, adulthood. At any rate, I'm thinking about switching service providers. In talking to friends and coworkers, I've determined that almost nobody is entirely satisfied with their cell phone service, and I can't seem to get any straight opinions on anything. With that in mind, I'm searching out the cheapest plan that appeals to me the most for whatever arbitrary reason I happen to come up with. In that light, I'm seriously considering switching to T-Mobile, unless any major objections come up in the next bit. They're a little cheaper than everybody else, and they fit my needs perfectly. I really like the "MyFaves" plan--since I only talk to three people with any regularity, it makes sense to make those three free minutes, since they're all with different providers. Ergo and so forth. Any thoughts?


Life is SO good

Just is. And don't you forget it! :)


Little enjoyments

I bought a copy of "Then Sings My Soul" by the Mormon Tabernacle. I bought a copy for a friend of mine, actually, but I couldn't help by indulge myself also. Now, I'm not one of those goody-Mormons who listens to church music all the time (I shudder at the thought.) But I like some good MoTab now and then. This is a really good album, I'm really enjoying it. I still really like "Called to Serve" also, lots of good, gumption-y songs on that one. While at Deseret Book, I also saw that MoTab has a show tunes album; I almost bought it, but then resisted, as the pocketbook is not endless. Maybe I can get it off Amazon or something. Anyway, yes. MoTab rocks my socks.

PS: I'm totally buying the new Coldplay album with my birthday money--stoked! I hope it's as good as the reviews make out!


New job

I have a new job. I was hired today by a network security company in American Fork, to work as a receptionist/customer service busybody. I really like the people I've met so far at the company, and we'll see about the job itself. It's full time, with those benefits I was ranting about earlier. The only downside is the necessity of quitting my present job at Walden, which I have honestly been enjoying.

Does life ever just make you grumpy? There's nothing to be done about it, so you have no choice but to accept, no matter how you feel about it? It does me, sometimes.


Insurance and other meddlesome things


Yesterday, I wrote out a check for my year's worth of car insurance. It's gone down considerably, as my youthful speeding tickets have finally been dropped from my record. Still a chunk of money, but I stressed less about it this year than in those past.

However, another fact of life is looming in the near future, as my parents are none too slow to remind me.

My health/dental/vision/etc insurance will disappear in January, as I am no longer in school. I've had the fortune to have a cushion of many months, due to error on part of the insurance company. However, the cushioning is at an end, and come 2009, I am responsible for my own little self.

It raises an issue I'd rather avoid, but cannot. With one (or even two!) part time job(s), I get no health insurance. Right now, I'm working about 25 hours a week. I have been hoping and hoping and wrangling to get more hours, but even if I were to get the max I could possible have, I still would not get benefits, as the school cannot afford to pay them. I have been so hoping that Walden would work out despite all the issues, because I have been enjoying it so much. But it looks like I'm going to have to face reality.

I've been hoping to find a second part time job to bring in more money, but even besides the benefits issue, there are others. The most sad and important of which being that Walden is inconsistent. Much as I love the people there, they are extremely fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants. (I hesitate to use the word flaky no matter how appropriate.) Yesterday I worked a full eight hours. Today I worked five. What is tomorrow, or the next day? How can I get another job, if I can't even guarantee when I get off every day? I'm working a "real" job to find consistency--without that desire, I'd be working in the theatre as my art-soul wishes. I thought maybe I could find balance here, but apparently not.

I love Walden School. Already, I do. But I need to be realistic. I have to be an adult, no matter how much I want to avoid it. I need to save money, and I need to take care of myself. If Walden can't commit to me, I need to go somewhere else. Sad, but true muffins.


Sinking chair

I seriously have the cutest nephew in the whole world. His name is Ben, or my Benjabuddy. He just started kindergarten, and seems to be loving it. Apparently, they have a "Thinking Chair", where naughty students are sent to think about what they've done wrong. (With his lisp, I thought at first that Ben said "Sinking chair", and I was very confused!) My mom has a little stool in her kitchen, used to reach the high cabinets, but in the months since he's stayed with us rather frequently, it's also become Ben's time-out spot in our house. So tonight, after hearing about the kindy's Thinking Chair, my mom asked if her kitchen stool would make a good Thinking chair. Ben said yes, and promptly sat down into a "thinking" pose, with his head held thoughtfully in his hands. So cute!

Maybe I should get ME a thinking chair!