Sunday, September 18, 2011

:::Lightning Storm:::

Tonight we enjoyed a severe thunderstorm that brought torrential rain, and then this lovely lightning storm. I've never seen anything like it before. No rain, no thunder, just lightning. Beautiful.

:::Spill You Beans and Find Relief:::

Well, today is a new day and I feel so much better after writing that post. Amazing, isn't it?

Something is going to work out.

Dude, I have to go to work tomorrow. I guess that's my life again, eh?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

:::How Will This Work?:::

My blogging friend Lelly does this thing where she writes for a set amount of time and just let's everything flow out onto the screen.

Here's my attempt...

Today I am...scared.

I don't make enough money at the job I started this week to support myself.

Since it's a full-time job, it's going to be hard to get away to interview for better jobs.

Are there better jobs?

I am doubting my plan to move here. What was I thinking? Why did I think this would work? I had an apartment in DC, and I could have probably landed a higher-paying job. Why did I leave?

Rent here is almost the same as what I was paying in DC (I lived in the hood, remember?), except in DC it included all of my utilities, and I wasn't paying for car insurance.

So, my cost of living is actually going up, not down.

But my salary has gone decreased drastically.

I did these calculations before I left, but I still felt like I should go ahead with the plan.

But how is this going to work?

I need a part-time job at night to make extra money, but that can't happen right now for logistical reasons.  


And can I handle a part-time job at night?

What was I thinking when I moved here?!

How do you balance faith with the realities of life? Rent, insurance, bills (so many bills), etc...I believe in faith, but I also believe in...reality? That's not the right word, but you know what I'm trying to say.

I tried this year to make better decisions for myself, but I'm starting to feel like I've made another stupid, stupid Rebekah-style life decision. I've made so, so many stupid mistakes in the past that I'm still paying for (literally+figuratively). Have I made another series of mistakes that will hold me back for years to come?

I'm always landing myself in the remedial class. People my age are buying houses and supporting families, and not all of them are engineers, mba's, or lawyers. What the heck is wrong with me? I can't even afford to pay rent! Why am I so stupid with life?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

:::Lucky to Find Work So Quickly:::

I'm just going to go ahead and document this now instead of worrying about writing a big, grand post about it later. I'm channeling the words of motivation from blogging friend Jill, whom I actually met in the real lifes when I was in Utah (post forthcoming). I just need to blog sometimes.

Today I started a temp-to-perm type job with a technology-ish company in Plano. I interviewed on Friday, and the offer came through on Monday. As part of the selection process I had to take all of these assessment tests over the weekend. They questioned my numerical skills, as well as my knowledge of OPEC and John Milton. What that was about, I don't know. I do know that I got most of the questions right, however, because general, useless knowledge is what I specialize in.

The commute isn't too bad. Right now I'm carpooling with Big Don in the morning, and driving home by myself. My sister picks him up at the train station later at night. The pay is ok, $5 less an hour than what I was making in DC, so that's a bit of a problem. I'm just doing admin stuff in the sales department, which is a completely different vibe than the law office scene. It's good and different, but a little disorientating.

The people are really nice, and I know I can do the job. It's not going to be mentally stimulating or feed any creative energies, but it's work, and it's work that I know I can do, so that's something to be happy about.

Technically, I'm on a 60 (or is it 90?) day probation until they decide if they want to hire me full-time.

If someone asked me what my plans were for Texas, I would shrug my shoulders and say, 'Don't know.' I know that in a weird way, that's The Plan for right now -- 'Don't know.' We'll see what comes of it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Utah: Part Three (Boo Included)

On Saturday, I spent the day with my old boo Michelle. Michelle and I met in the year 2002 while we were doing Washington Seminar in DC.

Things to know about Michelle:

1. Michelle and her family lived in England for part of her formative years.
2. Due to some Irishness in her family line, Michelle has an Irish passport, which means that she has a legal right to work in the UK.
3. For both of these reasons, I hate her.
4. Michelle has a finely trained legal mind. Ha! This is a bit of a joke betwixt us. But she really did go to law school and does have a finely trained mind.
5. Her home, Crane Manor, was like my 2nd home during my last years at BYU.

When Michelle and I are together, we are very stupid.

The day started with breakfast at Gurus, where I enjoyed spotting some gen-u-ine Provo hipsters.

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I also sampled the best sweet potato fries that I have ever had in my life.

From there, I made Michelle drive me around my favorite neighborhoods in Provo so I could take pictures of houses. I love these neighborhoods.

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From there, a stop at Crane Manor.

Michelle has a grown woman's room now.

There's Bill Dog! His name is actually Cody, but as with Heidi's sons, I could never remember his real name, so I just gave him a new one. That's who I am.

We caught an afternoon matinee of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The problem with prequels is that you're basically wading through the entire film to get to the 'Aha!' ending that sets up the original. It was just ok. It was a long movie about apes. That's what I have to say about it.

When we came out of the theater it was raining. Thank you, Mother Nature. I got to see my mountains covered in mist even though it was the dead of summer.

More neighborhood tours and visually documenting happy places. Michelle drove where I told her to. I loved it. Seriously, driving around looking at old houses was one of the only things I really, really wanted to do in Utah.

We ended up in American Fork looking at these townhomes that M-chelle used to want to move into after finishing law school.

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We always referred to them as the Mudslide Townhouses because there was a, well, mudslide one year that hit the development.

I dearly wish these pictures would have turned out better. The view overlooking the valley was stunning after the rain storm.

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{There's the Timpanogas Temple}

Pulling out of the development we kind of decided to go to Salt Lake. Why not? Michelle and I are professional level driving-meanderers. This is what we do.

As soon as we got to Salt Lake, I started to feel at home. I was completely shocked by this, as I've always been a mad proponent of Utah County. But, alas, something has shifted. If I moved back to Utah, I think I'd have to live in Salt Lake. Something about it just felt so right. Here are some blurry pictures of more homes taken from a moving car...

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{This building could be straight out of Virginia.}

After driving around, after making some of the funniest jokes of my amateur career, after the sun had set and we had driven the width of Salt Lake at least two times, we decided to go to Happy Sumo for dinner. About once a year I crave sushi, and that night was one of those times.

After dinner we got frozen yogurt, then did some more driving around and acting like idiots.

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I had the best time ever.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Utah: Part Two

On my first full day in Utah, Heidi had big plans for us -- a bike ride, lunch, and two hours of volunteering at Pioneer Book.

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The mountains!

After some fits and starts to begin with, I was finally on my way bike-wise. It was hard, and we had to take various breaks for my sake...

but we finally made it to the Thai restaurant that we planned to have lunch at.

If you volunteer two hours of times at Pioneer Book (a used book store), you get a $20 credit towards a purchase there.

They had us organizing books in the Western section. Yeehaw!

The ride home was easier on the legs, but harder on the seat. Ow.

It was blazing hot.

I love a bike with a basket on it.


So hot.

But I kept going because I'm awe-some.

This may be my favorite photo of the whole trip. I love all of the mini-orchards throughout Utah neighborhoods.

We road past Heidi's favorite house. 

I love this photo for some reason. I think it captures the spirit of bike riding.

Mini orchard and these lot-size gardens everywhere. I love that about Utah.

I couldn't have made this ride without Heidi. She is one of those friends that you would were a bathing suit in front of without feeling judged, which is why I felt comfortable hoisting my big behind up on a bike in front of her.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Utah: Part Two of Part One


3. I like the way that her family communicates, in that they actually communicate. I mean, they didn't sit around and talk about their feelings (THOUGH I TRIED), but they just spoke to each other like they were people...I don't know, I'm not awesome at communicating myself so I'm having a hard time describing it. They have real conversations with each other: about their days, their lives, their friends, etc. It was just a normal way of operating for them, not something forced or schmaltzy.
4. Their hard times have made them stronger and closer. You can feel that their bond has been forged with a lot of hard word, love, forgiveness, acceptance, and understanding. It was great being a temporary, honorary member of the family for a week and feeling that bond that they share.
5. They don't operate under any pretense. They are who they are, and they are proud of that. This makes them very easy to hang out with. Everyone is accepted, you can come as you are (e.g., an emotional wreck from California), and they will treat you well.
6. Each family member has some kind of interest or hobby that they fill their spare time with. I love that. I didn't see a lot of mindless vegging out. It was inspiring.
7. They laughed at my inappropriate jokes.
8. They are super casual. Amen.

Heidi and her oldest son...Slingshot (when I first met Heidi I couldn't remember her sons' names, so I just gave them random nicknames) picked me up at the airport in SLC.

A word about being back in Utah -- it didn't feel like coming home, as I was fully expecting it to. I was there for a week and some change, and I never felt that 'home' feeling that I always felt in DC when I thought of Utah. Actually, I did on the day that I spent in SLC with my friend Michelle. More on that later.

Anyhow, they picked me up from the airport, and from there we went to a bunch of thrift stores. I was shy about getting my camera out, so no pictures for me or you of those adventures. Sad. We had lunch at a place called...darn. Seriously, I can't remember the name of it, but it was one of those hole-in-the-wall, local-favorite, cool-kid places in Sugar House. I liked it.

That night...I don't remember what we did. Oops! Heidi went to a lot of trouble to get my room ready for me, which I thought was so nice since she was very busy at the moment trying to get her daughter ready to leave on a mission in two weeks. She had written a welcome message on the chalkboard above my bed, which I loved.

I...cried myself to sleep that night. Ha! The end.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

:::Utah, Part 1 of Part 1:::

I think I emailed Heidi three days ahead of time and asked if I could come stay with her family for a week-ish-ish on my way to Texas. Bless her eternal soul, she said yes, even though her own life is extremely busy. It all seems like a dream now, like I was never really there. I think I was, though. I'll have to look at pictures to remind myself.

Here are some things that I love about Heidi and her family:

1. They are super into bikes. They ride their bikes what I would consider to be completely asinine distances for fun, and for the practical necessities of day-to-day life. I think it's cool. I'd like to ride a bike like that one day (even though I think it's asinine).
2. They have one car that the whole family (three kids, two adults) use (see above re: bikes). I was there for a week and I never heard an argument about who got to use the car and when. Instead, I watched them compromise, adapt, and sacrifice to make the car situation work. This was seriously impressive to me. Heidi lives in Orem, but her sons work down at East Bay in Provo. One goes to work at like 6:30 am, and the other at 11:00. Plus, her husband has to be taken to work, plus, there's the normal errand running, last minute life finagling that happens on a constant basis. They make it work. I love watching them sort out the car schedule. It was a huge lesson to me in family togetherness, selflessness, and solving problems without dramatics.

This post is being interrupted by the necessity of keeping two small children entertained with a Scooby Doo movie...

:::What Happened In Utah:::

I am a horrible blogger.

But, tomorrow there will be a post about Utah and all the fun things that happened there!