Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm So Excited And I Just WON'T Hide It

As I await my departure to Oregon in mere hours, I am tempted to just bolt away from my desk. I won't do that; I'm not willing to make the eight-mile walk home. And it wouldn't help my flight tonight leave any earlier. Details, details. But I'm quite excited for my weekend. It will be, in the words of Rhino the hamster, fully awesome!

The last couple of weeks have been pretty standard. Just gone to work, come home, and filled my time with random things. Last Tuesday night we had a little bit of a reunion with some girls at the Birdhouse, and it was so fun to see Rebecca, Amy, and Tasha! They are fantastic and amazing women, and I need to see them more often than once every three months.

Two weekends ago I was left alone in my place. Alicia still was mysteriously gone (she was in arizona for a full three weeks! yowzers!), and Esther and Rachel had gone to St. George. What's a girl to do when she has the place to herself? Throw a wild party, of course! (well, if "wild party" translates to "impromptu movie/game night", then it would be "of course".) It was a completely last-minute idea, because I didn't realize I had no plans for Friday night until Friday morning. Unfortunately, basically everyone else that I know did have plans, so my "party" wasn't entirely a grand affair. But I knew that would happen. The evening wasn't a total loss, though. I caught up on my reading of Crime and Punishment. And okay, Jay showed up, which was very kind of him; it helped me not to feel like a complete loser.

To add to the pathetic picture I'm already painting of that lone weekend, the next day I cleaned the house. You ask, "What else is new, Megan?" No, this time it was a deep scour. Top to bottom. Window shades, baseboards, the works. Anything and everything was under my jurisdiction. (getting the picture? i cleaned the entire house.) In my defense, our landlady was coming on Monday to give us a cleaning check, so I would never have been that thorough of my own volition. But it was . . . nice (is that the word i'm really thinking?) . . . to know that it was left up to me to take care of the house while everyone else was off on their own adventures. The hours-long exposure to cleaning supplies didn't bode well for my planned evening of dancing with Jackie. Fortunately, she was a good sport about it, so we stayed in and watched . . . well, never mind what we watched. I'm going on a fast of that movie now, because I need a break from it.

Last weekend, I went swimming with Lexie and Ashley at Salem Pond, which was pretty fun, seeing as how Ashley and I ended up totally bonding over Star Trek. I'll have to remember that place, too. It was a nice place to go swimming; for free, no less! That night I headed to the Hale Center Theater in Orem for a production of Singin' in the Rain, and I found it thoroughly entertaining. The tap dancing just made me happy, and while the lead is no Gene Kelly, he still managed to keep the audience involved during the title song by kicking water everywhere in the seats (yeah, people in the front row were given ponchos because they were most definitely going to get wet). But, in the show as in the movie, my favorite character remains Cosmo Brown. "Big people have little humor, and little people have no humor at all." (thank goodness i'm one of the "big people", so i have some humor.)

I got myself a little sunburned again on Sunday, but of course that would happen when you take a two-hour motorcycle ride in the afternoon sun without even thinking to apply sunscreen. Oops! But the bike ride was awesome. I've known Mike for over a year now and I still had yet to ever go on a ride with him (and he loves to ride that bike), so we decided to remedy that tragedy on Sunday afternoon. We, Marshall (another guy in the ward), and Brother Jube (our ward's high council rep.) took a ride through the Alpine Loop. It was beautiful in the canyon behind Timp! So green and gorgeous. And even though my hair was a matted mess by the time we got back, the ride was worth it.

Happy thing to think about: Making new friends is really fun! We had a speed-dating activity at fhe a couple weeks ago (smart move on linda's part to not tell us what the activity would be until we got to bishop parker's house), and I ended up meeting a few new guys in the ward that I've gotten to be friendly with, so I'd say it was successful. The next week, I drove with Amy to fhe in Hobble Creek Canyon, and I'd never really talked to her before, but that half-hour drive to and from the canyon gave us a chance to get to know each other better, which was nice. Then, of course, there was the bonding with Ashley over Star Trek and Care Bears. And last night I went on yet another blind date (wow, i'm starting to clean up on those) and had a good time getting to know Ben (hear that, becky? i had a good time! please don't gloat too much) at Sub Zero. So the efforts of making new friends these last couple of weeks have been more than satisfactory. Hooray!

So until we meet again, go out and meet new people. It's ultimately worth it. (all the while making sure you're hanging on to the old friends, too, though.)


"Vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking any longer." -The Lion

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Hoggy Hogwarts . . .

Now I've been made to feel slightly that I am simply a sheep following a pop culture mass hysteria, but to those nay-sayers, I say this: Baaa!!!!!

Yes, I admit freely that I am a nerd. I've read Lord of the Rings and its accompanying appendices and The Silmarillion (i draw the line at speaking elvish, though; i haven't crossed over that much) multiple times, so I'm well acquainted with the workings and history of Middle Earth. I am one of a few among a rising generation who still knows exactly who Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner are and why they are geek-culturally significant. I quote Star Wars freely and engage in discussions about background information concerning the real lines David Prowse spoke when the audience was hearing, "No, I am your father" in The Empire Strikes Back. And yes. I read and love Harry Potter. So that means I watch the Harry Potter movies. So when my roommate wants to see Half-Blood Prince at midnight opening night, I will gladly go. Call me a nerd. I can take it. But just because it's popular doesn't mean it's not any good.

Among the group of girls that I was with last night (four of the five morris sisters; i felt like a giant), there were mixed reviews and feelings of the movie as we stepped out into the nearly-3-am-air. I had grave objections to one scene in particular that was totally pointless. Not only was it not in the book, but it had absolutely no bearing on anything that happened in the movie at any time. I am not a purist when it comes to movie adaptations. If it were a straight shot from the book, I would be bored. In fact, there was an extra story added into one of the character's dialog that was most definitely never in the book, but I thought it was a wonderful addition and a great example of what movie writing can be. However, I was very unhappy with this superfluous scene. Yes, we know Death Eaters are on the loose and are hunting down the good guys and destroying everything in their wake. You didn't need to include that scene for us to know that in the movie already. And yes, there were a couple other things in the movie that I didn't necessarily love, but they were mere pittances in comparison.

So I don't care who calls me a nerd for going to see it in the first place and I don't care what purists and negative critics think of my opinion, but aside from that one scene, I really enjoyed it. The number of things I enjoyed about the movie were far and away more numerous than the things that I wasn't happy with. So there. I liked Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. So go see it. Just please ignore said scene. Believe me, if you've read the books even half-heartedly, you'll know which scene I mean when you watch it.


"I take the view, and always have, that if you cannot say what you are going to say in twenty minutes you ought to go away and write a book about it." -Lord Brabazon

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I Can See Clearly Now, the Rain is Gone

And now back to adventures with Megan, summer-style! Let me just say I've never had such a crazy beginning to summer weather in Utah before. Most of June, it rained. I couldn't believe it. And everywhere I went, if someone found out I was from Oregon, they would immediately ask me, "Remind you of home?" Well, naturally. And while I love rain, I was ready for the sun to come out. We got lucky at our work summer activity, because the rain held off that day long enough for us to have a good time outside with our bbq, etc., and the sun even popped out for a bit! Hallelujah! But the instant it was over, "the rain came tumbling down". It was crazy to drive home in!

The rain also prevented me from going down to Manti on a blind date. I still went on the blind date and everything, but I wasn't terribly disappointed that I didn't have to drive for two hours away from home with a guy I had never met. Had we actually gone to the Mormon Miracle Pageant (which was what was awaiting us in Manti), it would have been a long, late, wet blind date. As it turned out, it was none of those things, so I thank the rain for coming down in sheets that day.

But the rain did eventually go away, thank goodness. A single sunny day in the middle of the days was the day that Alicia and I went to the Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days Rodeo with Sylvia and a couple other people from my previous ward. It was pretty fun, especially when one of the guys doing steer wrestling got out of the gate and got that steer down and tied up in 3.7 seconds! It was amazing. From our angle, I could have sworn the guy just touched him and he went down. Seriously. Wow. Good day.

At the Rodeo

Last weekend for the 4th of July, Esther and I took a jaunt down to Moab, Utah, where Arches National Park resides. We camped for two nights in a campground that's actually in the city, which was interesting (not-so-interesting was the fact that we weren't allowed to build campfires . . . grrr). We got there at night-time, so we were setting up our tent in the dark. Fun. But we got it set up correctly and everything, and it only took us an hour to get everything settled! Anyway, Friday consisted of going to Arches and hiking to Delicate Arch and then around the Devil's Garden trail, which contains seven or eight arches to see. It was quite warm, and we both had issues with our camelbaks at various times, but fortunately, those times didn't last forever, and we were sufficiently hydrated, even in the midst of the heat. We both got really interesting sunburns, despite all efforts with the sunblock to avoid such catastrophes, but at least now we have proof that we were outside, right? Anyway, there were points when my 'fraidy-cat height tendencies loomed their ugly heads, but I see it as a blessing that the wind didn't pick up while we were on top of the rock fins. I still moved forward. Huzzah!

Some choice pictures from hiking around Arches

Saturday took us into Mill Creek Canyon, where we found ourselves Left Hand, a swimming hole that is a local secret. (we asked three different people for directions to get there, and had a bit of an adventure trying to at least find the trailhead parking lot.) We got conflicting reports of how long it would take us to reach it, so I allowed my discouraging attitude to peek through after about twenty minutes, which was frustrating for Esther, I'm absolutely certain. I am shame-faced. But it was kind of fun crossing the creek a few times and negotiating our way through the jungle-like environment when that was an issue. Missed my machete, for certain. (haha) We did eventually make it, and it was a really fun place. There were a couple of different pools that we could slide ourselves into (really slippery rocks), and aside from a few dogs that liked running around in the water while their owners looked on, we were the only ones there enjoying it. It was a pretty awesome experience watching Esther try to get herself out of the deeper pool. There wasn't really a great way to pull yourself out of there. The first time we were both down in it, I really think it's a miracle that we got ourselves out. So Esther tried swimming against the current of one of the slides, and that caused us a lot of entertainment as her vain attempts increased.

And at Left Hand
(a strategy to get out . . . good luck!)

Our hike back out took a little bit longer, firstly because there seemed to be even more trails presenting themselves to us than there had been on our way in, and secondly, because Esther slightly injured her foot on one of her attempts to pull herself out of the water. But we weren't stressing out too much about her foot injury. That is, we weren't until about four hours later, when we had checked into the hotel, showered, and napped, waking up to Esther not being able to put any pressure at all on her foot. Uh-oh. She was really feeling the pain, so, instead of visiting the 4th of July city park celebration, we drove past it to get to the hospital that was a couple blocks away from it! Fortunately, it wasn't broken or sprained, just a contusion, but I got a few choice pictures of Esther in a wheelchair and then on her crutches. Naturally, the next morning when we woke up, she wasn't in any pain at all. Figures.

After church in Moab that morning (where this cute old lady was kind enough to point out how obvious the burn was on the back of my neck), we drove out to Goblin Valley, which everyone knows is where they filmed a portion of Galaxy Quest. The rock formations there were really cool, but we didn't stay there really long because, well, it was freaking HOT! So, with much trepidation, we made our way back home to Provo. Good weekend.

Last photo opportunity at Goblin Valley

This week was definitely a week of going out to eat. Monday night was Tucano's (mmm . . .) when Tom and Lisa came into town and we met up with cousins to enjoy some excellent meat, and lots of it. We may as well admit that we are carnivores when we go to Tucano's. After dinner, we all went down to Scott and Michelle's house (sans scott and michelle, since they were traveling in oregon at the time) in Payson to hang out and talk more. So fun. I love my family. And I was really glad to see them, even despite hearing the horror stories of pregnancy that Lisa, Kathryn, and Christina were commiserating with. Thursday afternoon we went out for lunch for work, because Brett and Allyson are fleeing the state! (allyson will still work for us from her new home in texas, but brett is going to be gone for good.) So we used that as an excuse to go out, which was fortunate because Sarah Phelps was back in Utah for the week, and it was really fun to catch up with her while we were out to lunch. The week culminated with Thai food with my friend Jackie, who I hadn't seen in at least a year. Oh, man, I was happy to see Jackie, but I was excessively excited about the Thai food. Oh, the scrumptious goodness. What a week to eat.

All right, as ever, I have written an epistle. My apologies. It's not as though people need to know what I eat. But I do feel it an obligation to spread the good word of Tucano's and Thai food. It's just important. That's all.


"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and to let the food fight it out inside." -Mark Twain