23 August 2010

Ward Campout

This past weekend, we had our ward campout up at Bishop's cabin near Stinking Springs on the Strawberry Reservoir. It was a TON of fun! I love camping, and I love being outdoors, and I especially love spending time with and getting to know other people in my ward.

When we first got to the cabin, we prepped food for making tin foil dinners over the fire. I just love Lauren and Jenni!

I let the Beckster be in charge of my camera for awhile. She tried to be artistic and take pictures through the window... :) I sure love my roomies!

My job was to help wash and cut the potatoes. I have no idea why I'm standing on one leg in this picture. I just like to mix things up a bit, I guess... :)

Once we'd prepped all the food, we went outside [where the coals were nice and hot for us!] and assembled the dinners. You can see Beck's bandaged finger nicely in this picture. That was the result of my wielding a sharp knife and Beck reaching underneath my hand as I was slicing potatoes... Sorry Becky!

We had a fun time rocking out and enjoying the campfire and good company while our dinners got nice and toasty! Tin foil dinners, when done correctly [you know, where the meat isn't terribly raw in some parts and burnt to a beasty crisp in others, and the vegetables are a sweet tender-crisp (or, passionate-crisp, as you will)], are one of life's greatest joys. That's an eternal truth, too. I think it's in the scriptures somewhere... I'm sure Jenni would agree.

So, at one point during the evening, there were no open chairs so Beck came over and sat on my lap. Funny thing, though, is whenever she does that my legs start bouncing uncontrollably [hehehe....] which makes Beck start laughing uncontrollably and things get out of hand real quick. Later in the night, she told me her lap was available if I needed a seat. She tried to bounce like I did, but her dinosaur calves are no match for my buns of Steele [Seriously, though? That joke never gets old. I laugh, everytime....] and hilarity ensued.

We also enjoyed some tasty tasty s'mores. Jodi is loving the perfect marshmallow Becky roasted for her, and Jenni's just enjoying her s'more in the background.

Adriane showed up a little later. Isn't she rad? I have some awesome friends and a fantastic ward! It's going to be a fun year...

After we'd had our fill of meat 'n' potatoes and sugary sweets, Bishop led us all up to the magical water tower [Though, I'm not sure what kind of magic really happens when the whole party treks up there... I thought fireworks were only supposed to happen with couples meandering up there on their own. Whatev.]. Nathan enjoyed taking a few pictures of Lauren, Jenni, Becky, and I. The view was great [even if the moon was super bright] and I saw [and wished on] a shooting star!

Later that evening, we went back to the campfire and enjoyed hearing embarrassing or funny stories, and even some accounting jokes [that went over all of our heads...]. Eddie taught us some salsa dancing, and we had fun rocking out. I'm sure my technique was seriously flawed, and my hip action a little questionable, BUT I had so much fun! And I was able to dance the night away with Eddie, James, Nathan, and Seth. I love me some 156th ward boys...! It's too bad I didn't get any pictures of that [or, perhaps, that's a good thing...].

That night, we slept cozily in the cabin. Although, I didn't sleep THAT well. Jenni, Becky, and I shared a bed. We read scriptures and played a little Skip-bo before falling asleep. My night was pretty restless, and I woke up maybe every half hour either to move or because I heard the mice skittering and squeaking. I finally woke up for good around 6 [after ~4 hours of interrupted sleep.... Dear my body, ARE YOU FOR REAL?!], and got out of bed around 6:30. I got ready and read and waited and read and waited. After 8, I went outside where some people were stirring, and helped start a fire [Let's be a little bit honest with ourselves, though... I pretty much watched as Holly and James and Troy started the fire...]. I enjoyed the fire with friends until breakfast was ready. We dined in true southern fashion with biscuits and gravy, sausage, eggs, and fruit. It was delicious! Bambi and his friends showed up, and enjoyed some of the breakfast, too.

After breakfast, I enjoyed some time in the hammock before heading down to the reservoir.

At the water, we went canoeing [and my bum got SOAKED!] and enjoyed the sun. Tyler brought his sailboat and took a few people out on that. I didn't go, but I enjoyed how awesome it looked from the shore!

Jenni and I also caught a cutie little crawdad. We named him [Steve or Ralphie or Roger or Herbert or something... I don't remember] and marveled at his buggy little eyes before throwing him back in.

Eddie showed up on Tyler's sailboat completely soaked [He'd gotten knocked in by the sail when a gust of wind blew it... We all wished we'd been there to see it!]. He decided, since he was already drenched, he'd swim out and try to tip Betsy's canoe. She was able to sweet-talk him out of it [He still dunked her later, though...]. Here they are in the water after Betsy had worked her magic:

And...here's some of the crew with Bishop Allen... I just love my ward! We have so much fun!

Nathan commandeered Seth's camera [from which half of these pictures were taken] and snapped a few fun pictures. This was among them.... Isn't it a beautiful day at the lake? [Please disregard my camping hair...]

Overall, we had a fantastic time! I love summer, and I'm not looking forward to the cold months ahead. I guess I'll just have to soak up the sun the next few weeks while I still can. School starts in a week and I'm feeling both mildly freaked out about classes and majorly excited to be TAing again. My schedule's about to get a million point seven times more crazy, but I find that's when I feel the most fulfilled. Maybe I live for stress?? Hmm....

This week I'm doing NSO again. It'll probably be my last time, unless I can manage to swing next summer [because I'll probably still be around finishing up my thesis]. I really enjoy hanging out with the cutie freshies and helping them become more comfortable with their new life at the Y. Plus, I'm really hoping I can get one of those BYU planners for free. That'll help tame the madness, I think....

Birds and Boating

So...a few days before Becky up and moved out of out lives [...because when you're in Provo and everyone and their mom's dog lives in your backyard, Draper seems like half an eternity away...], I was sitting in the living room and heard rustling in the fireplace. I'd heard something a few days prior, sounding like it came from upstairs or in the wall, but hadn't thought much of it. However, after hearing rustling and fluttering a few times in about ten minutes, I decided to check it out. I went and peeked in the fireplace doors and something flew past! I jumped [but held the scream in - be proud!], then ran upstairs. I told Becky I thought there was a bird in our fireplace. She grabbed a box, and we ran back downstairs. She was able to get the cute little guy out [I wouldn't touch it!] and we set him free. Isn't he cute? He seemed a little drunk and disoriented when flying away though, so I'm not sure how long he was in there...

And.... as an update on my leg, I think things are finally [mostly] back to normal. It still feels tight when I try to cross my right leg over my left sometimes, but I don't have any pain anymore! Hallelujah! I'm going to try to go running tomorrow, and hope that things work out for the best! :) Anyway, here are some picture of Kelly and I from the boating adventure:

As you can tell, it was a pretty beautiful day! We both had a rockin' time, and I'm glad I went [I was seriously considering not going for awhile there...].

19 August 2010

On Flirting...

I realized recently [or, rather, RE-realized] that I flirt WAY too much. Especially when I'm not interested in a guy. It's just so easy. And way too fun. And, honestly, it's flattering when they flirt back. So...maybe I perpetuate some of the negative feelings guys have about girls and mixed signals and whatnot [Though I've got stories up the yin-yang about guys and mixed signals... Enough to make you cringe, if not assume the fetal position in horror]. Maybe I'm okay with that?

I was talking to my former home teacher [and really awesome friend!] about this the other night, and he agreed with my assessment. He was like, "Yeah, you ARE really good at flirting, and a LOT." Something like that. [Thanks, Eric! Love ya! ;)] He reminded me of the time when I had two guys fighting over me. Not seriously angry fighting, but they literally began to wrestle in front of me [Each trying to prove their strength and manliness or something? I don't know...].

A good friend always jokes with me about how I have the guys next door wrapped around my pretty little finger. He tells me I can pretty much get them to do anything for me. All I have to do is bat my eyes and ask sweetly and they're like butter in my hands. I try not to take advantage of that [at least, not too often], but it's nice to know.

I'm trying to test an idea I have. In my experience, using a person's name can be really effective. I LOVE when people use my name when they're talking to me. It just makes everything so much more personal. I don't think I do it often enough, so I'm consciously trying to do it more. Especially when talking to guys. Everytime I see a guy I know, I'm trying to go out of my way to say "Hi John!" [Or, you know, whatever his name is.] with a big smile instead of the ever-typical "Hey" with a goofy grin or [worse] grunt with a head-nod. My new efforts are being well-received so far. What I'm testing is whether or not any of the guys will start to initiate. I think they will. And, despite my level of interest in the guy, it's always nice to have that sort of friendship and connection.

That reminds me of a few years back. I had a friend who I'd always say hi to. Once we became better friends, he asked me about "the time I was interested in him." I was confused at first, but he told me he thought I really liked him because I always seemed so happy to see him. I wasn't at all interested in being more than friends, but it certainly got me thinking.

Anyway, I flirt a lot. It's fun. It's exciting. And I'm not sorry about it [for the most part, until some people go on and on about my being a heart-breaker. Psh.]. Anyone have any good new tactics or advice for me? :)

Talking to the Moon

I woke up with Talking to the Moon in my head yesterday morning. It made me miss Pageant and home. We listened to that nearly every day on the way to or from the Hill. That, and Your Love is My Drug[Hey, so I got a question. Do you wanna have a slumber party in my basement?] ...Which brings me to another point altogether. I moved to the basement last week! We weren't sure if Beck would be staying with us or not [she didn't], so I signed a contract for downstairs. That way Melissa and I would at least have each other [how tender...].

The room is a tiny bit smaller than the one upstairs, but I don't have THAT much stuff. I actually prefer this new room. And a change of scene is always nice.

We got two new roommates. They both seem really fun, but we're all gone a lot so we haven't seen too much of each other. One is from Utah, the other from Ohio. One is going to BYU, the other just graduated. They are both LDS. I think we'll get along just fine. :)

I had a dream last night, however, that one of them LOVED Christmas. Like, to the point of having several (about 20?) decorated trees of various sizes that she absolutely insisted we keep up in the apartment all the time. It was overwhelming, and I remember being filled with very-much-NOT-Christmas cheer.

In other news, I bought a vacuum. It's nothing super-wonderful-fantastic, but it does the job. It makes me feel....experienced and responsible [That's code for old, but I'm not allowed to use that word].

In other other news, I dyed my hair. Again, nothing super-wonderful-fantastic. Just a little darker. I always have a hard time, though, because I feel like it always goes too red. I'm really looking for a rich chocolate brown, but what I usually get is more of a cinnamon brown. At least, that's what I always think. I'm okay with how it turned out... See?

...I tried to go water-skiing on Saturday. We had a department outing for the graduate students. Only three of us showed up, in addition to the professor (whose boat we were using). It was a lot of fun [and my first time, that I can remember, on a small boat!] However, on my first attempt at skiing, I yoinked my leg pretty badly. I think I strained one of the muscles in the back of my left thigh. It throbbed for the rest of the day [Driving home was a nightmare! I winced every time I had to use the clutch], and it's still a little sore. I still can't cross my right leg over my left, I have trouble shaving my leg or putting lotion on it [because of the movement involved, not sensitive skin or anything], and driving is still somewhat uncomfortable. Hopefully it gets better soon. I've wanted to go running several times this week, but haven't been able to. And we played soccer for FHE on Monday, but I couldn't move well enough to feel comfortable playing. They stuck me as goalie with another girl. It was a lot of fun! But still painful when I tried to go after the ball. And my knee feels really weak and almost gives out sometimes [especially going down stairs]. Any advice on what I could/should do to make things better?

Oh, and so I'm not SUCH a Debbie Downer, the rest of the day on Utah Lake was a lot of fun. We chilled in the boat, and Kelly and I tried our hand at tubing. We loved it!

08 August 2010

I just made a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. At 1 am. Because when I'm especially anxious about something, I bake. Or go shoe-shopping [I'm still in search of the perfect pair of black flats...], but that's beside the point.

Earlier this evening I made some cream cheese blueberry muffins at Becky's request. They were yummy, but not like my momma's. Gosh I miss my momma's blueberry muffins.

Anyway, you can tell that things are getting just a leeeeeeeeeeettle bit stressful 'round these here parts. I'm baking up a storm. I've done all the dishes. My bedroom looks like my closet threw up everywhere.... It's not a pretty sight.

And I lie awake at night thinking. And waiting. And wishing. And dreading. And then it's 4 am, and I don't know what I'm doing with my life, and I feel like I've rehearsed things in and out and upside down but nothing is making sense anymore anyway and can I please just have a decent night's rest? Just one?

Sometimes I don't want tomorrow to come. I feel like I'm unprepared to face another day. That I'm inadequate somehow, not living up to the potential I have in me. I feel like school is slowly sucking away my soul, turning me into some unfeeling robot, some hollowed shell of what was once me.

I'm ready for fall semester to start, so I can be teaching again. I love teaching. I love helping my students to come to an understanding, and to feel confident in their ability to do mathematics. I love the moment when realization dawns on them and you can see it in their eyes. It's a very rewarding experience.

But until then, I just feel a little lost. A little like I'm wandering aimlessly. I don't like to live my life like that....

I'm defending my proposal on Thursday. I don't think it's a HUGE-normous deal, but it's still got me more than a little nervous. Pray for me?