I absolutely love camping. I am ecstatic to be (finally) going camping for the first time this year. Hopefully there will be many more trips to come. With several friends, I'm going to my favorite place on Earth. It's a little recreation area in Southern Utah called Red Cliffs. It's a slot canyon that has a series of waterfalls. When the water is high enough, there are places to cliff jump or waterslide. But any time, it's a beautiful place to hike and explore.

This year marks the fifth May in a row that I have gone to Red Cliffs. I love traditions, and my family doesn't have that many, so I've started making my own. This one's my favorite. I love going to Red Cliffs every year. I love seeing the familiar sights and sounds, I love the warmth of the red rocks, I love the warmth of the friendships in which I so fortunately find myself enveloped. More for the memories and tradition, this really is my favorite place in all the world.

So, I may have gone overboard in my excitement this week. But I sure don't care. I literally have been counting down the days (and now hours!!). I am absolutely stoked.

Hopefully in a few days, I'll have new pictures to post. =)


Life as a Blogger

I was looking at my blogger profile today for some arbitrary reason, and I took note of the little box in the corner that says, "On Blogger Since". I've been on Blogger since November 2003. And I was like... "Wow. That's a pretty freaking long time."

I started blogging that year because I was a stupid high school student with stupid high school drama (mostly self-inflicted), and I needed an outlet. I had this blog back then that was basically a mind-dump for my depression, my angst, and my frustrations with life in general. It's still live (no, I will not tell you where to find it) and it's almost embarrassing for me to read now. It's like an emo version of myself wrote it. Maybe that's what it was!

When I went to college, there was a year or so where I didn't blog much. Occasionally I'd post to the old blog, but that year was pretty dry.

The year after, I took a class from Dr. Jill Talbot in Creative Non-Fiction writing. Great class, by the way. We had a blog, and we were all required to post to it. I began to see new, non-depressed ways to blog. To express myself, not emotionally by neccessity, but artistically.

It was during that same semester that Ian was born. Suddenly I had a lot to write about. I started a new blog of my own, which I wrote to over the next several months. That blog helped me process the placement experience, as well as my postpartum issues. But as I healed, the less I wrote.

A semester or two after that, I took a great class from Dr. P about editing and literary production. One of our projects was to produce literature in an out-of-the-ordinary format. Like writing poetry on telephone poles or something. I worked with McKenzie, who authored a fiction piece that we structured in a series of blogs. I built a blog and we set up the story within that context. It was a great deal of fun. That project can still be viewed at http://suu.edu/honors/newhorizons/

This brings us almost to the present. I graduated from college in December 2007, and quickly found that I needed something to occupy my thoughts. Thus was born the Descent of the Muse. And I've been at least fairly regular in my blogging since that time.

As I started becoming an active advocate of adoption, I found that I needed a forum, separate from "daily life", as I think of here, to discuss my thoughts and views on adoption. So I now also maintain my adoption blog next door.

November 2003. That's five and a half years. It'll be six this fall. Six years, jabbering away at the universe-at-large. They'll never claim that I didn't have anything to say. That's for sure.


Movie update

Since I wrote my summer movie list, I have seen two more movies, about which I wish to report.

First was "Angels and Demons". This was an indulgent summer flick. It was engaging, certainly, though a bit thin in some places. It was action-packed, and I was very engaged by the characters. However, halfway through the movie I leaned over to Melissa and whispered, "They're ALL bad guys!" and she whispered back, "Why do you think the Catholics don't like this movie?" Overall an enjoyable spectacle, but I would not go see it again. And that's pretty much how my ratings work.

This past weekend I went to see "Terminator Salvation" with Gregory and Justin. I watched the first two in preparation, which is a good thing, because I don't think I would've understood anything if I didn't already know these characters. I'll agree that Salvation was pretty light on the plot, which for me is often a major turn-off. However, I think that people hold the first two movies in a little too high a regard. I mean, how much plot was there really in T2? There's a good Terminator and a bad Terminator, and lots of chase scenes, and the mental hospital stuff with Sarah. Really, plot? Not that much. Having seen T2 for the first time just before going to see Salvation, I don't think my expectations were unnaturally high. It was LOUD, and there was three times as many explosions as there were lines of dialogue, but I enjoyed the character dynamics where they were found (though, did Blair have to become a damsel in distress so fast? She was cool...) and I enjoyed the eye candy. It wasn't Star Trek. But it was good.

And really, I'm pretty much set until Transformers next month. There's a couple of peripheral movies I'm interested in through the meantime (Up, Night at the Museum 2) but I've already seen the ones I was looking forward to most. Is the summer movie season getting pushed earlier or something? It's only Memorial Day!


Stage manager at heart

This will tell you how big of a nerd I am. So last night, I got home pretty late after a meeting in Salt Lake. I was in the mood to pull out a book, but there wasn't really anything I was in the mood for. Get this: I ended up pulling out my Honors undergrad thesis, and I read the whole thing before I went to bed.

Yes. I am a nerd.

But it got me thinking this morning. My thesis was about the Art of Stage Management. I have to tell you, that this meeting last night (and all the meetings like it) have seriously employed the skills I gained as a stage manager. Committees of any kind need someone to organize them, or they're useless.

Here's my thing: I don't necessarily consider myself a leader. In the theatre, I wasn't ever the Director, the one with the vision. But I was the Stage Manager, who organized and enabled the visions of others to come to pass. Certainly I was deeply involved. I had my fingers in everything. But it was only to add upon the skills and vision of others, to enable them to accomplish their tasks.

I have carried these skills, inclinations and abilities with me, as I probably will for the rest of my life. Everything I do is affected by the fact that I am a stage manager. It's only the venue that has changed. Instead of Henry V, I have an adoption conference. But I remain the same.



I love summer! (Summer movie list)

I think I may retract that statement a little later in the season. Perhaps a more accurate assessment would be, "I love late spring and early summer", but that doesn't make for as clean a blog title. =)

Seasonally, May is one of my favorites. I also really enjoy September. But May just has so much...potential. Starting to get warm, drifting toward the languid summer nights were you sit on your porch and talk or listen to music and just enjoy life.

Thus, I believe I picked the perfect time to move out. I was sitting on my back porch last night talking to Melissa, and it literally was perfect. I had just gotten back from Taekwondo, so I felt good about myself and life in general. Wunderbar.

I particularly love the summer movie season. I've already seen three of the movies on my summer list, which (a la Gregorio) I shall enumerate below.

The Soloist. Now playing. This movie was somewhat strange, but I nevertheless enjoyed the performances of Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx. Perhaps running a little too long, I liked the resolution (and lack thereof) for the characters.

Battle for Terra now playing. I was more excited about this when I first heard about it, especially because there are several good names attached. However, my interest is diminishing the more I hear about it, so we'll see.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Now playing. As I stated in an earlier blog, I didn't much care for this movie. It was visually appealing, but the story and characters were weak. And a bit too much action for action's sake.

Star Trek Now playing. An absolutely engaging and enjoyable flick. Not much in the way of depth, but the charisma of these fresh new actors completely made up for it in my mind. Loved Bones!

Angels and Demons opening this week. I've never read the books and I'm not a fanatic, but it looks interesting.

Terminator Salvation the first Terminator to earn a PG-13 rating. Is it less R-rated or have we grown desensitized? Anyway, I got interested almost solely because of Christian Bale, but I've done a little reading, and I'm actually interested in seeing the previous incarnations of the Terminator. Something about the predestination paradox intrigues me.

Night at the Museum 2 The first one was, I'll admit, rather amusing. I have little hope for the second Ben Stiller romp, so we'll see if this ends up as a Netflix request instead.

Up because it's Pixar and it has the "Squirrel!" dog that makes me laugh every time I see the preview.

Away We Go because it has Allison Janney! No, really, the first time I heard about this movie, I was mildly interested, but the more I hear about it the more I want to see it.

The Proposal a distant possibly simply because Ryan Reynolds is cute. (Yes, I give into such nonsense every now and again.) More likely a subject for Netflix.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen which promises to be a lot darker than numbero uno. I just hope they let Shia LaBeouf act instead of being whiny the whole time [Compare Transformers to Eagle Eye. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.]

My Sister's Keeper because I saw a preview and it looks interesting (Abigail Breslin? We'll see)

[Public Enemies looks interesting, but a bit too violent for my tastes. Probably not one for me. Which is too bad, because I'll miss out on the eye candy!]

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince just cuz. (Incidentally, I think HBP is at least tied for my favorite book in the series. I hope David Yates holds up!)

That somehow ended up being a lot lengthier than I imagined when I embarked upon my list-making. But that just goes to show that there are a lot of good movies coming out this summer! I'm excited. Although, I have to admit that we've already bypassed one of my biggest anticipations for the season (Star Trek). But I'm still looking forward to a good few months of cinema viewing, in addition to camping and hiking and all sorts of good summery things!


Dixy's wedding and some thoughts

My friend/former roommate DixyAnn got married on Friday. I was an "unofficial attendant" so I spent the day with Dixy and our friends in celebration of her marriage to Matt Smith, who's a pretty cool guy. =)

She got married in the Logan Temple. She had a luncheon up in Logan, and then a ring ceremony and reception down in Salt Lake City. Her colors were black, red and white, and she had the reception in her single's ward bishop's backyard.

There were no major catastrophes, but I got to pondering about the value of stress. This followed a conversation/critique of Mormon weddings from a friend of mine, who was derisive about the lack of wedding planners in most Mormon weddings. So I was more alert to the fact that Dixy seemed to be under an undue amount of stress throughout the day. There were details that could (should?) have been handled by somebody else, but that fell to Dixy and Matt. The reception ended at 8:00, but at a quarter to nine they were still there, trying to organize everyone and make sure everything was taken care of, instead of leaving for their honeymoon. Small things that added up over the course of a day that should have been enjoyed, rather than still needing to be organized. Small things forgotten that should have been planned for in advance.

Like I said, no major catastrophes. And the reception did come off rather well. I just wonder, if it had been me, would I have instead trusted someone else with those details? I'm at least as controlling as Dixy, and I like to have things done my way (especially on wedding day!!) but I think it's still possible to get what you want while entrusting someone else to make sure things are run smoothly the day of. That's all I'm sayin'.

Funny story: so, Matt and Dixy forgot the garter at home, so they sent Christopher (of all people!) home for it. Under the guise of taking a long time to find it, he went to Wal-Mart and made a copy of their house key (SO Chris). We decorated Matt's car (rather lavishly--we had a little too much fun!). Dixy bought a new car recently, and literally threatened our lives if we touched her car. But after the newlyweds drove away, we decided to decorate their HOUSE instead of her car!

There had been some fake rose petals that were just going to be tossed after the reception, so we made a rose-petal path from the door to their bed (which we even made for them). Also, we took pictures of ourselves in their house with their camera, which was far too much fun. And Justin hid their shoes all over--kitchen cupboards, medicine cabinet, on the shower rod. Random, but really funny. At any rate, we had a good old time--even got the approval of Dixy's mother!

It was a good day spent with friends. I hope that Matt and Dixy have a great time on their cruise, and hopefully they don't catch the swine flu!


Wolverine: Meh

Just saw the Wolverine movie. My response is, "It was cool...but..."

Very disjointed, and the storyline was NOT cohesive. I'll frankly admit that the opening sequence (war transitions) was great. That's probably the only part I would label that way. Otherwise, I felt like the story was rushed (and it was a short movie, too!) the characters were not fleshed out--even Wolverine!!--and the plot had wide and gaping holes laced through it. For as much as some characters were anticipated (aka Gambit, among others) they sure didn't get a lot of screentime. And the Sabretooth/Wolverine conflict totally does not mesh well with where we pick up in X-Men(1).

The action sequences were (for the most part) engaging, though the post-credits scene was a bit much for me, simply because as far as I was concerned, it served no purpose. The whole Kayla thing...lame. The fact that Logan believed it?...lame. And what was with her wounded and then suddenly appeared by this recently-collapsed structure, out of nowhere? ... Like I said, major holes everywhere.

However, I still enjoyed it. Not one I'll go see in the theaters again, but maybe one I'll buy (unlike Last Stand, which I pretend does not exist). Maybe just so I can watch the opening a few more times...cuz it was seriously the best part of the whole movie.