Friday, September 27, 2013

Snowball Effect

It started with Heather dating Erik. Wouldn't it be fun to get together...a double date of sorts?
{Erik and Heather}

But then why not invite Jay, who was Erik's roommate in college (the whole reason we met Erik to begin with) and who went to jr high and high school with us and just happens to live with his wife Lawon in my town?
{Lawon and Jay}

{Lawon, Jay, Sarah, Wendy}

And if we're going to invite Jay, then wouldn't it be fun to invite Quinton and Wendy seeing as Quinton and Jay were best friends growing up?
{Wendy, Quinton, Kori and Will}

And then of course Kami and Carlos, because Jay, Quinton, Kami and I were quite a foursome in 9th grade.
{Lori, Carlos and Kami}

And if Kami is coming then clearly we need to invite Lori and Jon and Chellie and Will just so we can round out the "Four Musketeers"....I mean, we've been friends since elementary school after all.
{Kami, Sarah and Lori}

{Chellie, Jon and Will}

And really, if we are going to meet Heather's new boyfriend, then we should definitely invite Alison and Joelle so we can meet their new boyfriends as well....Rich and Jeff, respectively.
 {Jeff and Joelle}

 {Alison and Rich}

{Sarah and Alison....and Alison and Heather}

But also Kori and Will because I didn't get a chance to really talk to them much at her mom's funeral and wouldn't it be fun to get all caught up?
{Kori and Will}

And also Christine and Brian which would kind of be like a mini madrigal reunion with Heather and Alison.
This is where Heather told me we should probably stop. Because each of us could surely come up with numerous names of high school friends and spouses to invite....but there's only so much square footage in my house.
 A Facebook message was sent gauging interest. Interest was even higher than I expected. We found a date, decided on food, and then other than Christine and Brian who had to bow out at the last minute for an unexpected conflict, everyone came.

We BBQ'd. We ate lots of good food. Some of the guys spent time out in Bryan's "man cave." Lots of chatter, hugs and laughter. Heather brought a DVD (converted from VHS...yes, we are that old) of pictures and video from our senior year, Class of '91. We reminisced and made fun of the fashion and hair styles.
It was a ridiculously fun night and I found myself hugely grateful for these people....the friendships I was not only able to forge with them when I was younger, but hang onto throughout the years! I hope we can do it again sometime soon!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I somewhat impulsively decided to take a tap class recently. Somehow I've made it through years of performing in multiple musicals without ever having had the opportunity to learn how. I blame it on my high school theatre department....who the very year after I graduated chose a tap-heavy show to perform for the school musical that year. After spending so much time teaching the kids to tap, they continued to choose taptastic musicals for the next few years so as to maximize that investment. Meaning my sisters know the fundamentals of tapping while I know nada. I mean really, can you imagine tap dancing nurses on the beach in South Pacific? Or tap dancing harem girls in Kismet? Doesn't quite work, does it? (Side note: I did learn a bit of belly dancing in Kismet. So at least there's that.)

Julianne has been taking tap classes for the past year at her theatre studio. She's been having a great time with it. So when they announced an adult class....a beginning adult class for those who have zero to very little tap experience....I decided to sign up. Just because. Shuffle-ball-change, Flap, Buffalo, Time Step.

Maybe it's a turning-40-midlife-crisis thing.....

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Comic Con...

...proof that adults do still like to play dress-up.
For the uninitiated, seeing as this is the first time Salt Lake City has played host...Comic Con is a fan convention of all things sci fi, gaming, and comic books to put it simply. We're talking guest star appearances, a convention hall full of booths of stuff to buy and goggle over, games and performances, and then of course my favorite...cosplay. You'll never find a place quite so ripe for people watching as Comic Con. And a big part of that is the cosplay aspect.

Though Bryan is a big sci fi fan, he had no interest really in visiting Comic Con. But the more I thought about it, the more I really wanted to see what it was all about. Curiosity more than anything....everyone was so excited about it. And as I've documented before....I clearly have a sci fi streak in me as well, manifesting itself right now as a Dr. Who obsession. So I convinced Bryan we should go check it out and call it date night. He agreed and I ran around the house collecting odds and end Dr. Who paraphernalia to wear. Not a costume, per say...more like homage. Knee high TARDIS socks, an exploding TARDIS necklace ("Vincent and the Doctor" episode...meaning Vincent Van Gogh) and a Keep Calm I'm the Doctor bracelet. I even curled my hair in tight little curls reminiscent of River Song's curly hair. And I made a quick jaunt to the mall to buy a t-shirt. (We had some at home but they were Brandon's and a little on the tight side....) I got lots of compliments on my t-shirt actually, along with my socks that apparently are "epic." The t-shirt was rather clever....


And of course all of that makes so much more sense if you are a Dr. Who fan. As does probably most of this post. But I digress.
All jazzed up and ready (Bryan in a Superman tee) we headed into town. And wow, what an experience we had! It is a people watcher's dream come true and I couldn't wipe the grin off my face throughout the entire night....even when my high heeled feet started screaming at me from walking around so much.

(Oh hello there Han Solo and R2D2! And the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation? Nice to make your acquaintance!)

After buying our tickets, the first door we peeked into as we started to feel our way around the event, was a huge room with a question and answer session going on with none other than Dean Cain! So yes, I will admit to being a very big fan of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman back in the early 1990's. My eyes must have been very big because Bryan smiled and asked if I wanted to go in and listen for awhile. Ummm....YES! Dean Cain did a great job by the and engaging, intelligent in his answers.

And though I feel a bit guilty for admitting it, I found him much more interesting than the session we went to later with William Shatner (aka Captain Kirk from Star Trek) and Adam West (aka the original Batman). Because supposedly Shatner and West were the biggest names at Comic Con. But all they wanted to do was philosophize and discuss getting older and the things they have learned....blah, blah, blah. I wanted to hear Start Trek and Batman stories. All the same...I did find myself geeking out just a little bit to be in the same room with them. (Even if they wouldn't let us take their pictures...)

At one point we saw Darth Vader walking towards us. I don't care who you are, there is just something about Darth Vader that makes you jump, even if you know it's just cosplay. He looked so realistic that I whipped out my camera....only to have the person with him ask if I wanted a picture with Darth Vader. Well....okay? Bryan insisted that it be me in the picture. Maybe because I was geeking out more than he was? Or maybe because he was a little worried about Lord Vader's very famous throat grip. Lucky for me Vader was the perfect gentleman.

But even more freaky than Darth Vader, if you can imagine such a thing....this Weeping Angel. And my favorite picture of the night. We had a nice little conversation about my "clever shirt" and how my 6-year old daughter has nightmares of weeping angels. And then she pulled her pose and oh my, if it wasn't a little bit unnerving!  Because truth be told....Lilian isn't the only one who has had nightmares about weeping angels....
The rest of the time we spent wandering the booths and goggling at people's very elaborate and creative costumes. We didn't come close to seeing everything as we only could spend a few hours. But what we saw made my night. Such geeky fun!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Big Four-Oh

I'm a little weirded out by the whole thing. Because though I don't necessarily feel 40 or think I look 40 (what does 40 feel or look like anyhow?) it's a really weird mental thing. 40 always seemed so very grown-up and well…old. I thought I was ready for it, but for the past few weeks I kept trying to come up with some big event to celebrate my birthday. Something to show that I was very obviously "forty and fabulous" or "forty and fierce." I researched sky diving, hot air ballooning, horse-back riding. I looked into renting a convertible for the day. Ultimately I decided that my birthday was just one day leading into the next phase of life and maybe it was more about heading into it with confidence and grace. So the actual celebration was more low key but still incredibly fun.

This summer has been a tremendously busy and stressful one for Bryan. Twelve + hour days were the norm as he and his business partner Dax created, wrote and taught two entirely new computer courses. The end dates for these courses kept getting pushed back to the point that Bryan finally finished teaching the second class the day before my birthday. So my 40th was actually also a celebration of the relief of things being finished at last. We decided that maybe the best way to truly mark these two big events was to go to the temple. Neither one of us had been in awhile and there had been some changes there that we had heard about but not yet seen. And though I can't find words to describe the things I learned, the feelings I felt....and nor should I because they are sacred things....let me just say that I came away with the distinct impression that I could not have started off my entrance into this new phase of my life any better. The experience at the temple stayed with me in my thoughts for days afterward, bringing me to tears every time I tried to even speak of it. I'm so glad we decided to make the temple the main event in our celebration.

Later that evening Rebekah offered to miss the big football game over at the high school so she could babysit Lilian for us. (How could she not after I reminded her that not only was it my birthday, but a very big one at that....) Bryan and I went to a restaurant called the Five Alls. An old english medieval theme, it was a 5-course meal. Bryan laughed at me...I was so enjoying the whole historic atmosphere of the place I couldn't stop smiling.

Afterwards, though we were uncomfortably full and very likely Bryan wanted to head for home, I convinced him that we should stop at The Leonardo museum, a place I've never visited but have always wanted to. And because it was my birthday, but even more so because he loves me...he held back the sigh and pulled into a parking space just outside the building. And it was cool! Enough so that I think even with his initial reservations, Bryan enjoyed himself. Or maybe he enjoyed watching me enjoy myself...which he always says is enough.

We came home to find lots of messages from friends, a clean kitchen and a birthday banner hanging on the wall. Full as we were we didn't get around to making my birthday "cake"...or fruit tart, really. We baked it up a few days later. And yes, it was as yummy as it looks. I'm also still waiting for my official birthday present. A 40th birthday diamond sparkly in the form of another band to go with my wedding ring. The jeweler is custom making a matching band to my original...twin bands to flank my princess cut solitaire. It should be here this week....a constant reminder that surprisingly enough, it turns out that the big four-oh is a pretty awesome age to be. (Not to mention, I have a whole year to show 40 what's what!)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ruthie Mae

That's what we called her. She was my Beehive (Young Woman) advisor from church when I was 12-13. But then even when I moved up to Mia Maids and Laurels and she wasn't the actual advisor over me anymore, she continued to be a huge influence in my life. Loads of fun and even irreverent at times, she also didn't shy away from telling me off if she thought I deserved it, but mostly I remember her as completely and unswervingly stalwart in her faith in her beliefs and her testimony of the gospel.

Yesterday my sister Melissa and I sang at the missionary farewell of Ruth's youngest son Nathan back in our old Taylorsville 'hood. After the meeting concluded I went over to give Ruthie Mae a hug and tell her how much I love her. She asked me if I was coming over to the house and when I hesitated making excuses about time and family and choir practice, she insisted. "Oh come's only 12:15. You have to come by and at least have a 'Ruthie brownie.' Besides, then you can give me a ride home."
She instructed me to park my car in the parking lot across the street from her house...insisting that I park in the handicap spot. "But I'm not handicapped!" I said. "Oh...who cares. Maybe I am." she retorted. Never one to disagree with Ruth, I complied.
We walked into the house where Ruth started giving orders to her married daughters (who I used to babysit almost weekly when they were babies and I was a teenager) and the next thing I knew, I was spreading tablecloths on the tables in the back yard and bringing out platters of food.

And as I did, I had a whole lot of memories running through my head....
*That backyard that we were prepping for a missionary farewell celebration lunch? That same backyard was where Ruth hosted my bridal shower some 20 years ago.

*I remember the time when I had a slumber party for one of my teenaged birthdays. We decided it would be a great idea to to toilet paper Ruth's house in the middle of the night. My mom drove us over, not liking the idea of us walking the neighborhood in the dark. We commenced toilet papering only to have Ruth wake up and catch us in the act. She came outside and rather than chastise us, instead chatted with my mom while we finished our job. And then the next morning we awoke to Ruth sprinkling water on our faces and singing some sort of Broadway wake-up song....something along the lines of "Good Morning" from Singing in the Rain, or "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma. And then she dragged us back to her house to clean up the mess. Chances are extremely good that even if she hadn't caught us the night before, she would've known exactly who had done the deed.

*When I went to Lake Powell with a boy when I was 16 and my best friend was so sad because she had a crush on him and felt that I was more or less stealing him from her, Ruth pulled me aside and gave me a talking to. And when I felt that her condemnation was unfair and tried to defend myself, Ruth sighed, gave me a hug and said, "Oh honey, I know. It's just that I had something similar to this happen to me when I was young and I can understand the pain. Just be careful and sensitive, okay?"

*One year at girls camp we were deluged with rain and confined to our tents Concerned about leaking, Ruth went out in the pouring rain with a shovel and proceeded to dig trenches all around each of our tents, singing at the top of her lungs as she went along.

*She came to my baby shower when I was hugely pregnant with Rebekah. And then a few months later gave Rebekah her first lick of a lollipop...from her mouth straight to Rebekah's. Bryan was a little surprised but I just laughed. It was so classically Ruthie Mae.

The years have passed and I don't see Ruth all that often...usually only running into her at funerals of Taylorsville ward members. And when I do see her, we try frantically to fill each other in on goings-on. She tells me of her kids and grandchildren, asks me to pray for them when they struggle. Which I do. We are friends on Facebook, even if Ruth doesn't spend too much time there. But despite the long stretches in-between chats and no matter how old I get, she will always and forever be MY Beehive advisor.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Happiest 5k on the Planet

My kids don't tend to voluntarily run for fun. But I can usually convince them to do a 5k with me. Especially when it is one that is more about the atmosphere and experience rather than the actual running. And in this case, due to the fact that we took Lilian with us, it was more of a 5k walk than anything. But that's okay. Because anything that involves a whole lot of crazy color is a happy thing in my opinion.

The 5k was held in downtown Salt Lake City. Everyone starts out wearing white. Along the route you run through color stations where volunteers throw what I think is officially colored corn starch on you, at you and all around color per color station. So by the finish line you are a rainbow. And at that time you pull out your own packet of color and a full on color party ensues. Music and dancing and a whole lot of color throwing. It's happy stuff.
Lilian traversed a lot of the 5k route this way.....

Finish Line! Where Lilian opened up her packet of dark purple color and promptly dumped the entire contents of said packet on her head.

I scrubbed her hair three times in the shower with two different shampoos. She still ended up with light purple streaks for the next few days.