Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who, Me?

I have a new goal and it is this: Learn to take compliments graciously...both externally AND internally.

It should be totally easy right? Wrong. When I get a compliment, my reaction is one of the following:

1. Brush it off and change the subject
2. Inform the person paying the compliment that they're mistaken and then offer "proof"
3. Tell the person paying the compliment that they are stupid (Seriously, I do this all the time - sometimes I tell them that they are "SO stupid")
4. Assume the person paying the compliment is insincere and totally ignore them

Actually, there's a couple of things that I am willing to be complimented on. First of all, my sense of humor. It's the one trait that I fully embrace and acknowledge to be fabulous. I know that I am pretty smart and also that I give pretty decent advice to friends and family in need of it.

I'm trying to think of more things that I'm willing to accept compliments about, but I'm coming up blank.

The reason this is on my mind is because there might be A Boy. We were getting along fabulously through text messaging and e-mails, and just when I had prepared myself to start talking to him on the phone and maybe even go on a date with him, he sent me a text message that began, "Hey Beautiful!" Ew. Ok, BESIDES the whole cheesy factor (which, c'mon, is HUGE here), my instant reaction to his stupid text message was to write him off as really desperate and/or socially retarded. Because in my mind, a normal, intelligent, un-desperate guy would never call me beautiful based on my looks. And he hasn't known me long enough to base it on my personality.

I know, I know, I have some MAJOR issues. Sorry you have to hear about this sad side of me. This blog has morphed into a place where I just post pictures and silly things, but it's original purpose was to serve as a sounding board and venting place. So even though more people read it now, and this is completely embarrassing to be writing about in a public forum, I'm putting it here.

Anyway, I don't know how I'm going to handle that boy. But in general, I recognize that I really need to start pretending to believe people when they compliment me, and maybe even eventually ACTUALLY believe them. I can smile and offer a sincere "thank-you" when kind words come my way. It will help me be a more positive person and easier to be friends with. Also (not that I have a lot of first-hand experience with this), I HEAR that when you date/marry someone, they should, like, love you or something and probably it's also good for them to TELL you that they love you and why. No one will do that if I never give them the chance to.

Ok, game on. Starting today. I'm going to be a gracious, compliment-accepting machine!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Thanksgiving in Moab: The Dinner

After Denny's, all four of us were cold and tired, so we went back to our hostel to rejuvinate. We ended up taking a really long nap that was WONDERFUL! We woke up feeling calm and cozy and warm...ahhh, it makes me happy just thinking about it. Robbie and Greg were determined to go to a park in town that we had scouted out before and start a fire in the grill there to cook our tin-foil dinners. It was still pouring down rain, so Red and I didn't think it was going to happen, but we gamely helped them gather everything they needed and we all headed to the park. Red and I got to sit in the car and get to know each other better while Robbie and Greg actually managed to get a roaring fire going!

While Red and I were in the car, we saw a group of three young hobo's approach the fire. They warmed their hands and chatted with the boys for several minutes. I really wanted to get out and talk to them too, but the rain kept me in the car. I wish I had just done it anyway though, because Robbie told me that the people were super interesting. They lived in the desert and just came into town occasionally to do odd jobs...enough to earn a little money for food and drugs. One of the guys used to be a Rainbow person, a group of people I had just barely learned about. He said he stopped though, because when he went to their big conference, he had to put out like 4 forest fires. He also said he was too "pirate" to be one of those dumb hippies, whatever that means. Robbie didn't ask what he meant by that, which is exactly why I should have been out there talking to him.

After Robbie reported about the hobo-encounter, Red and I decided to get out of the car and encourage our men in their dinner-making efforts. (It helped that there was a covered pavilion and hot chocolate for us to enjoy.) We had a fun time finishing the dinners, and we ended that portion of the evening by singing some more hymns of gratitude and then headed back to the hostel.

Our tin-foil dinners smelled SO DELICIOUS and we were stoked to have our awesome Moab Thanksgiving dinner. The theme of the dinner was "CLASSY," so we set the table with an old, gross blanket as the table-cloth, styrofoam bowls and plastic utensils, and best of all, our plastic wine-glasses that you had to assemble because the cup and the stems weren't attached. Oh, and of course the centerpiece and mascot of our classy dinner was our bottle of de-alchoholized Merlot.

The table was set, the food was out, and all that was left was to list our Thank's and have our prayer. The guys made us all hold hands around the table and then I had to say the prayer. Both of the boys were squeezing my hands while I prayed, which I thought was strange. I found out later that Robbie was just examining a burn on one of his fingers, so really it was just Greg that was squeezing my hand as a sign of support and friendship while I prayed in (kind-of) public (which I hate doing, by the way.) We were all feeling super content and happy and cheesy and CLASSY, and finally the moment we had been anticipating had was Time for the Wine! We poured it, and swirled it, and sniffed it, and then we all took a swig. And it was AWFUL, DISGUSTING, PUTRID, GROSS, EW, BLECH and also JUST what we had been hoping for! Totally classy. And hilarious. Seriously, it tasted like yeast and vinegar and grapes. If that is what real wine tastes like, what on earth are all of you wine-o's out there thinking?



After our dorky wine moments, we dug into our real dinners, and they were amazing. I highly recommend tin-foil turkey dinners to everyone. Everything was cooked perfectly. Greg and I cooked yams as well, and those were also sooo yummy. After dinner, we had Thanksgiving S'mores, which consisted of homemade gingerbread, pumpkin-pie-puree` spread, and roasted marshmallows (I forgot the chocolate, but that probably would have made them even better.) All in all, despite the rain and the lateness of dinner, it turned out just as good as I had been hoping for. It may go down as my most memorable Thanksgiving dinner ever!

Friday morning arrived, bringing sunshine with it. We packed up the car, and as we were about to leave I saw something on the ground by the passenger side door. I bent over and uncovered...a half-buried baggy of marijuana!! It actually wasn't that suprising, considering the hippies who live at the hostel had been smoking the stuff the whole time we had been there, but I still thought it was hilarious. Especially since Robbie was freaking out a little and begging me to throw the bag away. He's usually not easily riled, but he really hates drugs apparently. I made him take a picture of me with the good stuff, and then after musing whether or not we should sell the baggy to pay for a tank of gas, I threw it back on the ground and we were off.

Greg really wanted to do one last hike, so we drove to Canyonlands National Park, and Robbie and I opted to wait in the car while Greg and Red went on their own little adventure. Robbie graded papers while I listened to music and just took a few minutes to reflect on my life and on the weekend. Robbie is one of those amazing friends that I can talk to for ever and ever, but also we can just sit together quietly without feeling the need to fill the silence for no reason. It was nice.

We left Moab behind us and went back to Provo, and our wonderful Thanksgiving adventure was done. I'm so glad that I went with the people I did, that we stayed in the place we did, that our food turned out the way it did, and that God created all those amazing Moab rock formations for us to enjoy the way He did.

Back in Provo, I was able to eat at one last fabulous restaurant (Zupa's!), watch some great kids spread Christmas cheer, enjoy a free musical, play some intense speed scrabble, and then talk until 3? 4? AM with my friend Glade (thanks, by the way, for the good talk and for being so honest and open with me...I enjoy talking to you more than you even know!) before driving back to SLC, turning in my rental car and getting on a plane to come back home.

Whew! I can't believe I made it through all that. Congratulations to you if you made it through too...I give you a GOLD STICKER! I hope everyone's Thanksgivings were full of good food, family, friends and memories.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thanksgiving in Moab - The Hiking

Despite the fact that we were up playing games and giggling until very late the night before, all four of us managed to get up bright and early on Thursday. We loaded all of our food in the "boot" of the car and set off for Arches National Park. It was chilly and cloudy, but Greg optimistically noted that "the clouds look like they're going to burn off!" We bundled up against the cold and started off towards our first arch. Before the arch, we went to a scenic overview and I yelled out loud to hear my own echo and then joked that we should sing a song. I forgot that I was there with a bunch of cheesy, music-loving Mormons and they took me seriously. After some feeble protests on my part, we began to sing a hymn. When we began, there were some people approaching and we gained confidence and sang out enthusiastically in 4-part harmony. When we finished, the people were nowhere to be found. I guess they didn't appreciate our "special moment."

We spent the morning walking around Balanced Rock, the North and South Windows, and other amazing rock formations.

I was amazed by all the wonders of nature we were seeing, and at one point I was standing off on my own, just taking it all in (or trying to) and feeling in awe of my surroundings. I glanced around after a few moments, and what did I see but Robbie laying down taking a mini-nap. I don't know why, but that totally cracked me up.

Just as we decided to go see the grandaddy of all arches, Delicate Arch, Greg's optimistic prediction proved to be very false and the heavens opened. I listened to every song about rain on my i-pod so I couldn't hear the sound of my loud breathing (high altitude + fatness = trouble getting oxygen while hiking). The trail led to the side of a stone mountain that we scaled like goats. My friends went ahead at my insistence, and I passed a man coming down who said he was giving up because "this was supposed to be an easy-ass hike, but I'm turning the hell around and I'll just look at the thing on the internet." I'll admit, I was slightly tempted to follow his example, but I pressed on and luckily for me (sadly for that man) the hard part of the hike soon ended. The walk to the arch was wet and cold and oxygen-lite, but the cliffs and rocks were actually really beautiful in the rain.

The Delicate Arch was seriously so wonderful! It looked all glisten-y and smooth in the rain. There were other hikers there with us, including a group of Indian guys. We had a long conversation with them under the arch and made friends with them, although the kind of friends where I can't pronounce or remember their names. But still, we laughed together and shared our travelling tales and mini-life stories and also they wanted pictures of/with even though I'll never see them again, (and even if I did I wouldn't know what to call them), we're still friends.

My favorite part of the "Delicate Arch" pictures is that if you look closely at the picture of Robbie and I, you can see a little figure under the arch shaped like an X. That X is Greg, and we accidentally captured his moment of unadulterated JOY at being there. Fun, right?

We were soaked completely through our clothes after the arch, so we decided to call it a day and headed back to the car. It was way too wet out to start a campfire for our Turkey dinners, so we decided to wait and see if the rain cleared that night. Instead, we went to Denny's for Thanksgiving lunch! It was surprisingly crowded, and while we were eating our Indian friends walked through the doors and were seated right across from our booth. I was so happy to see them again, but not enough to acknowledge them. I guess we're not the type of friends who like, smile or talk to each other.

Whew, who knew 3 days could give me so much to talk about? And I'm only giving the bare details! Sorry if you're a little bored, but it's good for me to write this stuff down while it's fresh so I can remember it better later. Stick with me though, because next time I'll be writing about the best parts of the trip...DINNER, HOBOS, and DRUGS!!

Monday, December 01, 2008

V-A-C-A-TION (I'm singing this in my head as I type it)

One week ago today, I was sitting in my cousin Nathan's (and his wife, my cousin-in-law? Lynn)apartment digesting a full stomach of delicious Cafe Rio food in Provo, UT. I was there for my Thanksgiving Break and it was SO MUCH FUN! (Despite the fact that I didn't get to see you, Kizzie. I'm coming again this summer so for sure we HAVE to get together then!!) Monday night was filled with good food, good company (Nathan and Lynn are the best!) and fabulously awful television! The three of us share a love of ridiculous t.v. and since they have Ti-Vo, we got to watch Hannah Montana, Little People Big World, Jon and Kate Plus 8, AND the Hills all in one night.

Nathtan and Lynn left early the next morning to drive to Washington for Thanksgiving, so I was left to my own devices. I got together with my old friend Mark and we hung out for a few hours. It was fun and also we got to eat at Burger Supreme, which makes the best fast food in the whole continental U.S. of A. (In case you don't already know, I get just as excited about all the wonderful restaurants there are to eat at in Provo as I do about seeing my family and friends. I know it's pathetic, but whatever it's also never going to change.)

After lunch, I bid Mark adieu and then went to my alma mater (is it only that if I graduated there? Or can I claim it since I attended there for a term?) UVU to pick up Robbie. The rest of Tuesday was spent shopping and seeing old friends and meeting new friends and hanging out in church and telling stories. I don't remember what I had for dinner that night, so it must not have been Provo-licious. Anyway, Robbie and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning eating orange rolls and talking about his life and it was great.

On Wednesday, Robbie, Greg and my new friend Jessica a.k.a. "Red" left for our Moab Thanksgiving Adventure. Robbie, Greg and I have done the whole road-trip thing together so I knew they'd be great, but I was nervous about introducing someone new to the mix, especially a girl, but I liked her right off the bat and Red turned out to be an amazing travelling companion.

After driving an hour on the wrong freeway, the four of us stopped for lunch and then realized we were NOT on the correct route. Some people may have been upset by this, but since we were putting the miles on a rental car and we had enough good music to last us several months, we were able to just laugh about adding 2 hours to our trip. We finally made it to Moab and checked into our hostel...the Lazy Lizard. I am now a huge fan of hostels. They give you beds and warm rooms and showers and ours even had a kitchen and living room (those parts were shared with other guests, but still...awesome!) all for less than $10 per night. Our building was crawling with hippies, but besides their constant stern warnings not to use their pans with the pink handles (those were vegetarian pans), they were pretty good housemates. They were probably just really mellow from all the pot.

We spent that night driving through the Red Rocks, and eating delicious Thai food. Then we decided to go ahead and prepare our Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time so we could have all day Thursday to hike around Arches National Park. Moab had a great little grocery store and we bought everything we needed for dinner, including WINE! (and plastic wine cups for the wine!) Ok, it was de-alcholized, but we were totally stoked to have classy wine and cups for our friends' Thanksgiving. Excited in a way that only nerdy Mormons can be. Back at the hostel, we chopped and seasoned and wrapped our food in tin-foil and prepared our sides and coolers for the next day. The plan was to hike until late afternoon, and then find a camping spot and start a fire and then make tin-foil dinners (aka hobo dinners). Except our tin-foil dinners were for Thanksgiving so they had turkey meat in them and we also prepared yams.

After preparing our Thanksgiving dinner (with a twist), we decided to go to bed early so we could have a FULL day on Thursday. Greg was the only one who followed through with that plan though, since Robbie and Red and I were too distracted by our games of BOMB and 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon to actually go to sleep.


I'm in a weird mood and just now decided that this post was too long, so I'll continue with my Moab/Utah adventures later this week. I seriously will -- this won't be like the Logger's Jubilee post that never came to fruition.

On an unrelated note, Jeanette and Karin (and Lynn too, for that matter), what the heck are we? Are we cousins? Are we cousins-in-law? (cousin-in-laws?). Am I just your husband's cousins? Are you just my cousins' wives? Will we be real cousins after like 5 years? I'm so confused by our relationships. Well, actually just about what to call them. The relationships themselves just make me happy.

Oh man, also unrelated...I'm having church crisis. Not a soul-searching, is god really there, who am i really crisis. Just a oh crap, I went to the single's ward and the only person who talked to me was my crazy semi-retarded stalker-since-i-was-15 man (who STUNK by the way) kind of crisis. And so now I don't know where I want to go to church. I was all stoked to go to a congregation full of kids around my age, but since stupid Aaron (long story) goes to that ward and steals my other friends so I can't sit by them, I'm totally screwed unless my friend Grant comes to church. But when he doesn't, I'm left sad and alone or sad and stalked. It's quite a predicament. If any of you know of a smart, willing man who wants to help me to NOT be single anymore so I don't have to deal with this single ward crap, I'd surely appreciate you sending him my way.

Ok, I really am done now. But you should be excited for the pictures still to come of beautiful Arches and fabulous Thanksgiving!