Saturday, April 28, 2012

To Popcorn Thursday


Bay Girl

Big Girl

Big Earl


We have a disgusting lack of pictures together.

You made not just my first year, or my second year, but both years so much better.  On the days I felt homesick, there was nothing quite like seeing your face.  As much as I love the new friends I've made, something special exists in a friend who's known you for longer than a semester or two.  We go back to 10th grade and I loved feeling like someone knew me.  Not just the me I'd introduced to people at college but the me with some history.  While I was still meeting people and doing the awkward chit chat (my other seventh level of hell) we were having real conversations, talking about thoughts and ideas and a variety of topics. 

I like you because we share the same opinions about things overly "cutesy."  While some things may leave certain people gooey with dreaming and longing, you appreciate my eye roll and mimic of vomiting.  Childish?  Yes.  Get over it.
I like you because you like yourself and don't need the attention of other for validation
I like you because together we laugh at incredibly tacky Christmas decorations together.  I meant to post about that one.  The pictures don't quite do the horror justice, but it was a very fun night.
I like you for all the abbrevs you've into-ed to my life.  Sers.  Abbrevs are just totes the best.  You are totes adorbs.

I learned from you to find my passion and throw myself into it.  I so admire how many things you've been involved in.  From the newspaper, to several leadership positions, to giving tours, and talking to prospective students, you've about done it all.  It makes me want to try new things.  In a word, you are BOLD.  I admire your confidence in getting up in front of a crowd, and the way you conduct yourself. 

I learned from you the value of poise.  Yes you joke and goof off, but without a bit of show-offy-ness. (I'm sure there's an actual word to substitute in there.  But I don't have my dictionary currently with me.)  Sometimes I expect a little more glory than I should from my actions, but you inspire me to be a bit more humble and accomplish tasks for the sake of getting them accomplished.

I learned that I have to work to keep relationships that I value.  Since we never saw each other on campus, we deemed Thursday "Popcorn Thursday," from our mutual love of air-popped corn and desire to catch up.  With some slight struggles, we kept it up for four semesters.

And now after pounds of popcorn and a plethora of Modern Family episodes, here we are nearing our last popcorn Thursday.

We're going to have to find a new substitute.  Perhaps Skype Saturdays?  Phone call phwednesdays? 

I think of you as kind of a classic.  Steady, not sailing around in need of pleasing the newest trends and fads. Thank you, for that influence.

Let's stay friends.  I need your good taste in my life. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Goodbyes: Ally Edition

Crap I'm going to cry.


Where do I even start?

We met last year in a crappy little residence hall. This one, in fact. The asbestos? The 1950's carpet? Yea boy.

Honestly, we didn't click right away. She was wrapped up in her long distance boyfriend and the scariest looking roommate I've ever met.* I was too wrapped in looking for the label of cool that wore a certain type of band and thrifted clothes. Once and awhile though we'd start talking, and I think that was the redeeming quality: we had awesome conversations. Without the need to impress anyone I could express my real opinions and we found out we had a LOT in common. Both were raised by health freaks** and had similar experiences with boys and beautiful best friends. In the back of my mind I think I recognized this was a valuable connection to keep.

And then this year it clicked.***  In your words, "Why are we friends?  Basically because we're the funniest people we know."  Yup.  That's it.  We're hysterical.

This has taken a long time to write.  I don't know how to keep track of all the memories.

One time we drove home and got caught in fog so thick we couldn't see the lines on the road.  So we gave up and strolled down the highway at a solid 20mph.  Rolled down the windows (mid january mind you) and turned up the hot air and the music.  Ate cornbread and nearly froze our hands by sticking them out the window.  That pretty much describes it.  

Al.  Who is going to go running with me in the morning even when it's raining?  Who is going to show me the best types of organic food?  Who is going to quote Megamind and Gilmore Girls with me?   Who will NOT go running with me and instead bake a cake with two pounds of sugar in the frosting?  Who else will study biology obsessively with me and crazy dance at those lame institute socials?

I like your house because it's actually a house.  A home.  Not quite my pair of clean socks, but a dryer for the old ones at least.  I can come over and see a real pantry stocked with actual cooking ingredients.  We make real meals and I can play the piano and talk to your sister and aunt.

 Ok I'm stopping here.  There's too much to explain and I just can't quite get it right.  But I'm coming to visit you in Colorado.  And in the fall you better get your butt over to my apartment and visit too.

(I might miss you the most)

*This chick cleaned her nails with knives. True story. She also wore those collars with spikes on them and had random shotgun shells hidden in the room. Which is a feat for a 6 by 12 room.

**Sugar cereals were a dessert and only purchased once a year on my birthday. Honeynut Cheerios were to be mixed with regular Cheerios. I kid you not.

***How much does this sound like a weirdo romance I should be telling to my children about my hubsand? Too much.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


A few quick thoughts between my goodbyes.

- "Hmmmm five pairs of clean underwear left.  10.. 11.. 12.. days till till I go home.  Zero quarters for laundry."

- "How do you cite scriptures?  Are they a book?  Cite: author's first name and last name.  Ummm God?  and... God."

-"Wow I like this outfit.  It only took me until six thirty p.m. to get it right.  Let's see.  I wore it Monday night.  So my Tuesday classes haven't seen it yet.  But that's too close.  Wednesday classes didn't see it.  Ok so I'll wear it again on Wednesday.  And then the next week on Thursday.  Perfect."

-"Yeah it's Gish.  Hard G.  Not jish.  Would it kill you to find that out before you announce it to everyone?"

-"Who am I to write about the uncomfortable psychological repercussions of getting kickballs aimed at my head in elementary school when there are stories of abuse, addiction, cancer, and lost family members?  Who am I to deem my experiences important - experiences covered in teasing self deprecation to hide the pride that really is the purpose of sharing this?  Who am I too see my quiet awkwardness as worthy of any note?  No one. That's who."

-"Shoot.  I owe Ryan bananas."

-"Email those people about a job application follow up."

-"Cancel my netflix!"

-"I want calves like that.  Rising gracefully above the delicate strength of my sharp ankles and defined feet.  I want calves like that. Marbled skin supple and so taught that if split, it would curl and peel back like flower petals, revealing compact powerful muscle that flexes with every movement.  I want calves like that.  Capable and beautiful."

-"When I part my hair in the middle it looks an awful lot like this:

-"Does Wal-Mart sell bridal shower worthy lingerie?  Oh, and bring hummus."

Tree Nostalgic

Dalton and I met in our dinky little residence hall.  It wasn't exactly love at first sight but I remember noticing him and thinking, "I could date that boy."  I guess he had the same thought process because he made a mutual friend introduce us.  He also made her swear that she wouldn't  say anything, so of course she spilled everything to me.  "Dalton thinks you're way cute and wants me to invite you to hang out so he can get to know you."  I laughed, a little embarrassed, and agreed, wondering if this slightly High School approach was normal for college.

It took a little while before anything happened. I started actually crushing on him around Halloween. Eventually he got my number and invited me to go slacklining.

Then he escorted me through a haunted house - a perfect opportunity to hold hands.  I should probably remember the exact day he asked me to be his girlfriend.  This was, after, my first official boyfriend.  But I don't.  I remember going to a midnight movie, climbing onto an elementary school roof, and a lot of late night walks.  But I can't for the life of me remember that official date.

Ironically he was my home teacher.  But he never came once.  Officially anyway.  I don't know if macking counts.

After the first semester he went home to work until he left for his mission.  We visited each other a few times over the break, but ultimately I couldn't handle dating someone while I was at school, seven hours away, and he was working towards a mission.  Let's be honest, commitment scares the crap out of me.  So does actually falling in love.

And I don't think I ever loved him per se.  I may have been caught up with the idea of it all.  A college boyfriend.  Pre-med.  An easy transition from, hey I like you, to actual dating.  But he was really wonderful, not just an image.  Here was a boy who, instead of teasing me about my ACT score (something I was really self conscious about) made me feel smart.  We studied together.  Here was a boy who, instead of being reluctant to invite me home (because his family hated that we were dating) couldn't wait to introduce me to his family.  And I loved his family.  I practically would have married him just to marry into that clan.  We clicked right away.  I was joking with his dad, talking with him mom, and learning about the middle school life of his little sister.  It was an entirely new world to me.  I felt so grown up, driving a few hours to see my boyfriend - although I never really got used to that word.

We had so much fun together.  We went sledding and he showed me around town.  I introduced him to my friends back home, and they actually liked him too.  Or at least, they said so.  I believed them, because they had not been quiet about disliking the last boy.*  He made me a blanket for Christmas, one I still use almost everyday and I went crazy over-analyzing and trying to figure the perfect gift for a first boyfriend.**  

 We stayed in touch after that semester.  He's on his mission now in Brazil, and we write on occasion.That first semester was a lot of fun. 

Thank you for pleasantly surprising me when it comes to how great a boyfriend can be.  Thank you for kissing me in - actually in and not just under - a tree on campus during one of our late night walks.  I can't walk by that tree without remembering, and smiling.  I'm going to miss that. 

 (The sign reads: always kiss me goodnight)

And thank you for not actually looking like that when we kissed.

*you know who you are chica

**apparently it's a shirt.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

In Which I Expose Myself as a Leech and a Hipster

Marleen. Also lovingly known as Marleeny-Weeny.

The first new friend I made in this teensy yet alarmingly huge place I call a university.

She introduced me to her friends, and all of the sudden I had a group of very awesome people to hang out with.* It was miraculous. I didn't bond with a lot of people in my dorm... 'scuse me, residence hall (RA terminology) and it's quite possible Marleen saved my life. Without it I faced a long year of awkward social skills and few friends.

Marleen is also one of the coolest people I know. I liked her because she'd heard of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.** I thought, "this girl has good taste." Then she introduced me to about five million other bands and made me feel infinitely cooler. This girl was not a follower. I liked that she had opinions and personality. Before this I was torn between two styles. The one-dimensional sweet gal full of name brand clothing and pop music (or at least, that's how I saw it) and the slightly more punk, fashion-forward, hippie interested, indie music lover. That semester, I absolutely lived in the second.***

Before I mention these next few things, let me preface it by saying: Marleen was no-where near as lame as I was about these characteristics. Mine were trends I was picking up. Hers were legitimate interests and traits. She thought for herself, without letting other opinions influence her own. In trying to replicate this I went to an extreme. Another fault of mine, a tendency to replicate others, instead of create individually. And she was accepting enough that I felt confident enough to try these crazy things.

(Can we blame this on my inborn personality? An xnxx is in the middle of everything remember? So I tend to lean towards either end, depending on who I'm with because I'm comfortable with most everything. Average peeps. SO average.)

She was a part of my first college rebellion - hair dye. Mama C-roll hated that one. But with subtlety. "I just think your natural hair color is so pretty. Maybe we could do some highlights?" Read: that looks hideous and I think you're a jaded materialistic girl for doing it. Love ya mom.

And a part of my first societal rebellion - no makeup. Yeah who cares if I don't look good! All makeup is a tool to suppress women and impress shallow men! Boo! BOOOOOOOO!****

Ok those are kind of negative things. This is coming out to sound a lot worse than I wanted it too. But these stages I went through shaped what I am now and so they're important.
What I learned from Marleen (the simplified version, without psychotic, over obsessive perfectionist sierra):

1. It's ok to like things that other people are weird.
2. It's also ok to not wear make-up sometimes. You can still be attractive without it.
3. Life is more fun if you don't worry excessively about what others think. Go ahead, joke around with that person you just met, don't worry about a perfect first impression, don't take yourself so seriously.
4. There's more than one genre when it comes to music.
5. There's nothing quite like a good clever pun.
6. Study hard, play hard.

Overall it was the inspiration to be a little more confident in myself. Individual quirks are interesting, they help create a personality. And I did come away with an undying love for farmers markets, teevas, and all things in association with that. Hiking, dreadlocks, and weird people. I had these interests a little bit already, but I developed them that year.

We hiked. We listened to music. We played extreme jenga and went to a bonfire - where a gas can exploded and almost took my head off. Mom? I didn't tell you about that? Nevermind...)

Marleeny-weeny. I hope you get into that nursing program. I hope we keep track of each other. Thank you for being such a witty, down-to-earth, fun-loving, smart individual. I will miss your sass.

*a vaguely leech-like quality

**not very many people I knew had heard of that band at this point. Intro my hipster tendencies.

***I should specify that they're not mutually exclusive. I used to be snotty about it but I've matured. I realize that you can be sweet and a hippie. You can also be a punk and be one-dimensional. Now I LOVE EVERYONE, you're all great. I promise I'll only judge you a little if your truly favorite music comes from auto-tune and random rap verses in otherwise non-rap songs.

****Again, I'm no longer like this. Moderation in all things.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Three weeks. Three weeks exactly. I'll be officially released as an RA, finished with my finals, and out of my apartment. My dear parentals and I will drive out of this little college city ostensibly (if I'm feeling melodramatic) never to return again. At least, not in the same capacity.

I don't know if I believe in fate or destiny guiding my experiences and leading me to people I had to meet for some grand cosmic reason, to save my soul or permanently alter the direction of my life.* But I do know that what and where I am is not a result of only my efforts. There's a lot of people that went in to the making of this odd, introspective, hard-working, intimidated, bold person that I am today. I'm not the same gal that left Salt Lake two years ago, thank goodness. Wouldn't it be awful if people never changed, never learned confidence, never expanded their world view or thought, really thought about ideas and philosophies? It'd be selfish really if ignored how I got here. Journal keeping isn't my talent and sometimes thank you notes don't do a person justice.

To begin. Janelle. (best said in a really low voice, hhhhhheeey juhhh-nehhhllle.)
My very first roommate - with the exception of my stuffed spotted dog Spot.** I had no idea what to expect. I'd heard my fair share of horror stories about roommates. I believe it was made into a great movie. On the flip side, I'd also heard about instantaneous bonding. The Saturday's Warriors kind, where we knew each other in a previous life.

Janelle was neither. She was on the track team, a thrower I think. Shoot I'm a crappy roommate. Even after two semesters I couldn't remember what the even was called. Just know it was a field event. She was buff stuff.

She was also pretty independent, and disciplined (something I knew very little about.) We didn't hang out every weekend, or braid each others' hair. But we got along and I learned how to share a room, and be considerate of another person. I think that was really my biggest fear, being forced to share a room with someone really self-centered and inconsiderate, to the point where I didn't feel comfortable coming in.

I watched Janelle juggle early morning practices, after school practices, classes, and church and came away feeling pretty impressed. This girl was solid. (Not just because of her rocking muscles.) From Janelle I learned consistency, and the benefits of good habits. She wasn't perfect mind you. Sometimes she snored and kept me up. And after a few failed attempts at ear plugs, I learned to say her name*** janelle. Janelle. Janelle Janelle! until she woke up. Then I'd quickly be quiet, pretending nothing happened and trying to fall asleep before she could. Luckily she has a good sense of humor and we laugh about that now.

We went hiking. And carved pumpkins of the first presidency at FHE together. And saved our change until we could take ourselves to a movie. Yes Janelle dear. You were a very good first roommate indeed.

* Think Wicked song lyrics. BECAUSE I kneewwwwwwwwww YOOOOUUUUUU.......
**He was a dalmation and I was a VERY creative child.
***I also slammed drawers. Passive aggressive I know.

Home (Ah Home. Let Me Come Home. Home is Wherever I'm With You)

I get it. I think I finally understand why home is so important. There's a reason it's been repeated at least once a week 52 weeks a year 20 years of my life.

I've been so burned out lately. I didn't want to study, or do homework, or care at all about d-a-m-n residents (spelling it out makes it not a swear word, or so says Papa Jim). All I've wanted to do is go to the gym, and cook, and sleep, and read. I couldn't go home for a full weekend, but as I was sitting at the computer on Thursday, near tears, I just decided to leave.

I walked straight out of that d-a-m-n library, cancelled my Friday morning appointment with my English teacher, and drove home. Drove home like a bat outta hell. Like a reporter after a story. Like my brother when he sees a Cadbury Creme Egg.

I can't exactly describe the feeling of home. It's different for everyone I guess. I picture them in colors. Some homes are a full soft orange. Golden brown orange, something akin to baked sweet potatoes. They're busy and loud and noisy. Mine is cooler. Quieter.  Light blue/grey dryer sheet that softens the edges of a hard day and absorbs my insecurities.

Walking in that front door, a blue door with a star scratched in by my younger self, felt so right. I hadn't even told anyone I was coming home. For once this wasn't a trip for me to socialize and catch up with a bunch of friends. I just wanted to be with my family and do homework in the uninterrupted peace of my basement. Going home was my secret last resort, a little piece of relaxation I wanted all to myself. Have you ever read The Wanderer? It's about a girl who goes on a boat trip with her family, in a little boat they built. In it she describes a pair of socks (of all things.) I can't quote it directly but she basically says: "everyone hoards one pair of dry socks. you keep it and protect it and when you can't stand the dampness one second longer you slip on that dry pair and ahhh, relief." That's exactly how coming home felt.

I guess if I didn't have a home to return to I'd find some other way to manage. I'd find solace in something else, maybe have a good cry, and turn to my friends. But I don't think I could find the same kind of satisfaction and rejuvenation that I did from that little brick house with a big garden and twisted driveway. Before, my obstacles were insurmountable. Now, I they just look like a long walk uphill, one that I have the energy for.

I get why I hear so many church leaders talk about the sanctity of a home. I don't care what a home is to you; I know they're as varied as the people on the earth. I don't care if you have one parent or two, one or eighteen. I don't care if your home is a shack, a mansion, a bookstore even. Everyone needs to have a place to retreat to and feel welcomed. Having a place that holds people who've promised to rely on each other, to build each other, to make those rooms (or room) a place of peace and safety is as close to heaven as I think we can get.

Whatever I do in my life, however I break up my days and spend my time, I want to be sure that part of it is spent participating in and creating that little piece of imperfect perfection. Maybe I'll do this with a full-time career, maybe I won't. Maybe I'll do it with a bunch of kids, maybe I won't.

Thanks to the people who've made sacrifices so I could have that pair of dry socks. After a long, wet semester, they were much needed.

P.S. Papa Jim, you crying yet? Not my goal. But a bonus.