Welcome Spring!

I do love spring. Sometimes I give spring a hard time, and sometimes I don't appreciate spring nearly enough. I have such a deep affection for autumn and winter that sometimes spring just gets a hard break in my book. But I really do love spring.

This year, I am planting flowers (which I received here). I planted several last weekend, but the rest have to wait another 6 weeks or so. I had a blast raking up the leaves and gunk from our planter boxes in the front of my apartment. There is something about gardening that has always been somewhat mysterious to me. I've never really serious gardened before--not that I expect to this year. I'll be lucky if ANY of my flowers grow...I can't even keep potted plants alive! But I found the fresh air and the dirt and the leaves immensely satisfying.

I have an annual tradition which dates four years ago now. In the spring of 2006 I was living in the Bell Apartments down in Cedar City. I lived on the second floor, I had a big window in my bedroom that looked out over Cedar. Every night for almost a month, I threw open that window and listened to the soundtrack of Rent. Something about that music...it has incredible nostalgic powers. It gives me a feeling of freedom (end-of-semester, perhaps?) and of endless possibilities.

I think that's really what spring comes down to for me. It's a restart, a refresh. Everything is coming to a close, and to a beginning. There is limitless potential, for the world and for my own life. Spring is when I take a step back, re-evaluate where I'm at and where I'm going. I make exciting plans for the future. I relax and unwind from the stress of winter. I am free.

I really do love spring. I hope to make the most of it this year!


Domestic Dork

The good news:

  • After a depressing two weeks of weight gain (we'll say it was due to muscle growth) I am now back on track for weight loss.
  • I just finished planning my next month's worth of lessons (Taekwondo). I feel great about what I have planned, I think it's going to address the needs of my students a lot better than the last cycle.
  • I was SO productive this weekend! My house is clean, my oil is changed, my taxes are filed, some of my flowers are planted, movies are watched, and words are written...
  • Writing is going so well! I am so happy. Major revisions were accomplished this weekend, with many more to come!

The bad news:

  • We had Color Belt Testing this past week at the studio, and a number of my students did not perform well. Thus the need to step it up during this next testing cycle.
  • My trip to California has been thrown into chaos, and I still need to resolve when/if I can go. It makes me unhappy.
  • I feel very stymied in the dating department. I need to find new ways to meet guys, or something.
  • I miss my best friend, who is on a mission, who I desperately want to talk to.


Adventures from Washington DC

What a whirlwind trip! Two blinks, and DC had come and gone. Read on for a summary of our adventures:

My parents and I flew out to Baltimore on Wednesday night (the money we saved by flying in to Baltimore paid for my ticket...well worth the hour drive down to VA!) It was well past 1am by the time we arrived at our hotel in Fairfax, Virginia, and past 2 before we got to bed. We were up bright and early the next morning after about 4 hours of sleep, and headed off to my brother's final transfer meeting. The reunion was very sweet--he was happy to see us, and my mother was ecstatic. I will not lie...there was plenty of pleasant eye-candy among my brother's fellow missionaries, but after listening to their mission-speak for a while, I decided it's well worth waiting until they've been home for awhile and "normalized."

That afternoon we drove up to the Washington DC Temple. It was so beautiful--the sun was out, it was warm, and definitely the feeling of spring in the air. The weather was phenomenal all weekend long. At the temple, my family and the other missionaries went through a session. I'd been hoping to do baptisms for the dead, but the baptistry was closed. So I wandered the grounds and took pictures for awhile, then went to the Visitor's Center. It's huge! I talked to one of the sister missionaries for awhile--Sister Zhao, from Shanghai China--and then went to watch the Joseph Smith movie. They have a giant IMAX theater there...and I had it to myself. After the movie I rejoined the group, took a few more pictures, then we headed back down to VA. We had dinner at the mission president's home, then attended a fireside for the departing missionaries. I'll admit that I dozed through a good part of it. Between the jet lag and 4 hours of sleep, I was very ready for bed.

Early Friday morning, Kyle was officially handed over to us. We went first to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington. Of all the places we visited, this was the only one I'd never been to before. It was fascinating! I learned a great deal about George Washington, his family, his lifestyle, and that period in our history. The artifacts they have at the house are pretty interesting--including his dentures! Too funny. Anyway, after Mt. Vernon we drove up to Arlington National Cemetary. This place has a very special place in my heart--I first visited there as a high school student, and it was a very powerful experience. I was glad when I had a chance to walk with my father through the graves...my mom and my brother were too busy catching up to really appreciate the spirit of the place. We visited the Tomb of the Unknowns, the Kennedy graves, and just took in the powerful sight--I read that 300,000 servicemen of various walks are buried there. It's something else.

That night, Kyle watched his first real movie in 2 years. Can you guess which one he picked? That's right--STAR TREK. A brother after my own heart. =)

Saturday was our whirlwind tour of DC. We started at the Smithsonian National History Museum. My brother is obsessed with flags--his room is covered in them--so it was a treat for him to see the Star Spangled Banner. Stuff like that kind of creeps me out, how people have torn off pieces of it for keepsakes, it's all ratty and falling apart now. But it was interesting. From there, we visited the White House Visitor's Center, which was brief and not all that exciting. After that we decided to take a bus tour of the city, which considering the amount of time we had, was an excellent choice. So we drove around and saw the sights of DC, including Union Station, the memorial for Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, the Vietnam Wall, the White House, and everything in between. We briefly visited the Smithsonian Castle, which was exceptionally eclectic and not all that interesting. It's bizarre to me how little pieces of history end up scattered through the plethora of museums out there. Bits of so-and-so here, pieces of such-and-such over here. We cling to the rag-tag ends of history like magpies collecting trash. The people of those past eras would probably be horrified to see the tidbits we cling to. I doubt very much that George Washington appreciates his dentures being gawked at as they are, as the man was well-known to be disatisfied with his teeth and smile anyhow. But we are nevertheless fascinated by the things they touched, used, wrote, wore and otherwise left some lasting impression upon. We are curious creatures.

That was pretty much it. On Sunday we attended Stake Conference in Virginia. It actually was a regional conference, broadcast from Salt Lake City. It's strangely comforting that the church is the same everywhere. Although, I have to say, there were an inordinate amount of pregnant women at this meeting. I swear to you, every woman I saw that appeared between the age of 20-40 was pregnant. It was bizarre. After the conference, we went to visit some families that my brother had lived with during his mission. We had lunch, we bought some girl scout cookies, and then we were off to Baltimore and on our way home.

As I always say, there is a profound difference between a trip and a vacation. A vacation implies relaxation. So I'll just say...this was a fast, furious and exceptionally fun TRIP.


Domestic Dork

The good news:

  • I broke 5 boards at the ward talent show tonight.
  • I balanced my checkbook and have money to spare. Yay!
  • It's Color Belt Testing at the studio this week, which is both very easy and very fun (to me, I'm sure some of the other instructors don't enjoy it quite so much).
  • My brother is home from his mission!
  • Washington DC was awesome (post to come)
  • We wrapped up the Open Adoption Bloggers Interview Project, and it was awesome. Check it out at my other blog.

The bad news:

  • I think I may have scared off all the guys in my ward with the aforementioned board breaking.
  • Life is still SO crazy busy. I hardly have time to think, and I have SO much to do...
  • One of my characters decided to act up. Her entire plotline is up in smoke, but I don't know what direction to take her now. Brainstorming continues.
  • I am still exhausted from the trip. I did NOT want to go to work today! Or tomorrow, for that matter.

Fortunately, life seems to consist of more good than bad at the moment! =)


Tripping to Washington D.C.

On Wednesday the parentals and I depart for the land of our fathers...that is, Washington D.C. I've been to D.C. once before, when I was a senior in high school. It was a life-changing experience, and was probably the inspiration for my love of travel and cities. Oh, I'd been to Seattle and Vegas and Anaheim before then. But D.C. really changed my perspective on cities and the East Coast. I fell in love. It's a love that has persisted, that mutated into a love of NYC, a love of The West Wing, and so many other aspects of cities and travel.

Our trip this week will be exceptionally brief. We're leaving late Wednesday afternoon and returning Sunday. We're going to pick up my brother from his LDS mission there--he's been serving for 2 years, and I can hardly believe it's been that long. So a large portion of our trip will be consumed by this reunion and by his mission-related tasks before our brief spurt of tourism. We have a long list of things we want to see, and I have no doubt that we'll get to see hardly any of them. Nevertheless, it's sure to be an excellent time.

I just can't wait to be there. Travel rejuvenates me, even while it exhausts. Cities are full of life and busyness and hubbub and glorious cityness. I hope to come back inspired. Mainly, I'm excited to come back with my brother, stranger that he is for the time being.


Domestic Dork

The good news:

  • We went tubing at Soldier Hollow last night and it was AWESOME!
  • I'm really really really loving "This is War" by 30 Seconds to Mars. It inspires me.
  • This week we're going to start the planning meetings for the FSA National Conference again, and I am definitely in need of a good project to keep me busy--which this conference certainly will do.
  • We're leaving a week from tomorrow for Washington D.C. to pick up my brother from his mission!

The bad news:

  • The internet's not working at my house, so I wasn't able to work on my novel at home. Grr.
  • I found out I'm not elligible for Pell Grants because I already have a degree. So frustrating.
  • There's a date night this Saturday, but I don't have anybody to go with.
  • I want to go on vacation!!!


Figuring out what to do with my life!

I still haven't heard anything on grad school, but I'm having the feeling that it's not going to happen. Pending that, I've been looking into going back to school for a second bachelor's degree, in Social Work. A lot of thought is going into this decision. But in order to progress into a career that I will enjoy and in which I can actually find fulfillment, I have to get a degree in this field. Additionally, it will be easier to get into the Master's program with a Bachelor's degree in the field. I applied anyway, but it was a long shot. I can get work with a Bachelor's degree, but if I do decide I want a Master's, it will be easier to get into the program this way.

I've been looking into financial aid to start at UVU this fall. I found out today that since I have a bachelor's degree, they will WAIVE all the general education classes. This is a HUGE relief! As long as everything falls together properly, I would be able to graduate (again) in 2 years. Not too bad, eh?

I haven't made a final decision. A lot depends on whether I can get enough financial aid to get through school. But I have realized that I can continue on as I have been, in a job that I merely tolerate, or I can put in the time to get into a career that I will truly enjoy. Bear with me, dear friends, as I get everything figured out over the coming months. But I think I will be the better for it.