DISCLAIMER: This is going to be like testimony meeting, only ultra, uber longer, and way funnier. Probably the same on the spiritual enrichment level though :P Oh, and because of the length, it's not super edited either. Forgive me...

When I left my house on Tuesday, I left 3 feet of snow and temperatures around Zero. Eee. I'm going to die when I get back. Because the weather tomorrow... the HIGH is going to -6. NEGATIVE SIX. Death. Anyway,

December 17th, 2008 - Wednesday
The morning started off on Cuz Kelsey's couch where I was woken up by her husband, then by someone's phone, then the older girls on their way to school, then the other kids when they got up, and finally by Kels herself. Awesome. Needless to say, I ='d tired. We got on the road and got some "Milky Ways" (read: hot chocolate with caramel...now sporting the ripped off name of a candy bar) and went to Wally World, because genius (read: yours truly) forgot his ipod cable (read: breath of life).

A new one only ran me TWENTY BUCKS. X.x GAH $20 bones, and at the Wally World no less. ABSURD.

Then we went to the Aeropuerto where my bag was overweight so I took SEGA Games out and stuffed them in my tiny, very thin duffel which was supposed to be for my shoes. When the lady took it and put it on the belt it "clattered."

Lady: "What was that?"
Me: "What was what?"
Lady: "What was in that bag?"
Me: "That one you just took?"
Lady: "Yeah, the one that just all kinds of clattered when I put it down."
Me: "Oh, those are just video game cartridges."

Oops. Hope they all still work...but I had no choice. I wasn't about to put anything valuable in that bag. Like clothes. And besides I didn't put any of the GOOD games in the other bag. Only the lamesauce ones.

Then it was time for security. I slightly miss the days of getting searched on every single flight because my retro-punk look raised eyebrows and apparently made me into a quasi-terrorist; but only slightly. BEEP BEEP! "Bag Search!" X.x Aweeeeesome. I was instantly thrust back to last Christmas' fiasco when I tried -inadvertently- to take a large KNIFE onto the plane with me in my carry-on. Epic Oops. (Those of you who know this story know how amazingly hilarious it really is).

So as we made our way over to the area, I joked, "Well, wonder what I brought this time that I'm not allowed..." Then immediately wished I hadn't said anything; I betrayed far too much in that fleeting instant. So she got down to digging through my bag and then she pulled out one of my TBs, a shiny metal toy car I was bringing along and declared that to be the perpetrator. Apparently shiny metal toy cars don't scan very well. ^^; At least it wasn't anything illegal, just a TB. I explained to her why I had the car and about Geocaching, and she was intrigued; even wrote down the website in her little travel book. When she let me go, she told me for my other flights to just pull it out and put it in one of the bins and I'd be fine.

And onward. I got on my plane, and we flew away. Whee. Then we landed in Salt Lake City. Wait, what? I thought I was going to Chicago. Can I rant for a moment? I am so incredibly annoyed with airlines and their dastardly, rip-you-off-at-every-turn, abominable service/business. Why don't you tell me everywhere I'm flying? If my ticket says I'm going to Chicago straight-on, then do it. Don't GO to Salt Lake. I mean, what if I'm like allergic to the air there or something and purposely selected my ticket for its non-going-to-Salt-Lake nature? Just saying...end rant. So we land in Salt Lake and I'm thinking, I wonder if I'll see anyone I know. I flew from Boise to Chicago in the back of the plane and then when we landed moved to the third row. Well I'm sitting there waiting for someone to take these two seats so I can have the aisle. I'm glancing up at the people coming on, and I catch of glimpse of what look to be familiar sideburns. I crane my head, "Brock?"

IT TOTALLY WAS! [insert squealing noises here] Brock = My former MTC Companion, and one of my favorite people, ever, ever. I mean I have BEST friends, and Brock still beats them all (sorry to all who are not Brock). So we have a quaint little freak-out session and then settled in. Brock wanted the window and so I moved into the middle seat and some guy sat in the aisle. Well then the middle seat filled in front of us with a trying-to-hard-to-be-cute upstart of a girl, who insisted on reclining her seat alllllllll the way back, and then was perturbed by the fact that my knees were sticking into her spine. Do I have long legs? Last time I check I do. She totally even tried looking back like four times, and finally even had the audacity to ask, "Are those...like your knees?" No, it's a saber I'm thrusting purposely into your spinal column because I take pleasure in your discomfort. "Yes, they are." And if you didn't insist on trying to put your butt in my face then there wouldn't be as much of a problem. So I kept my knees shoved as far into her back as they would go. For the whole THREE hour flight. Just because she was a jerk.

Brock and I chatted about everything, and then I watched him lose horrifically at his bouncing inflatable car game complete with moving walkways and columns. His Cube Runner game was a little more entertaining, especially when he was doing really well at being calm and adjusted, and taking the turns in stride, and then would clip a block and explode. Sucker.

That flight ended way too soon and I had to part ways with Brock, but then I got to meet Bry!! And boyfriend Erik. Bry is a friend from like 2002 and we met, of all places, over the internet (we wrote together in a Digimon RPG), which Erik made fun of us for, but I have now confessed it, so whatever. So after 6 long years I finally got to meet her face to face. When I expressed my elation to Brock he insisted it was creepy and I would be in jail before the night was out - rofl. Bry and poor dragged-along Erik were lost in traffic, but finally made it, then refused to try and brave traffic and we parked in the parking garage. Hilarity/fun ensued as we sat and just chatted for the next hour plus. Erik continually prompted Bry about her not-preplanned-prompts which she was supposedly to have put together and brought up a number of subjects that were to be avoided. Anyway, it ended up being super fun and comfortably casual, and I did not get arrested. I was super grateful to Bry AND Erik (for driving) knowing how far they'd come just to spend time with little me.

After that I went back in, back through security (this time no problem since I took out the car), and got a bite since I was famished. Some more waiting, and then a plane to Orlando. At this point I finished devouring The Road, so here's my thoughts: The Road - Overall Grade: A+. This book is incredible. Add to your "must read list" at once. I loved it! It was engaging, heart-wrenching, hopeful, and just plain great fiction. I won't say anything else because I so strongly recommend it; don't want to ruin anything. I had planned for the book to last me my whole break, but it didn't even make it all the way to Florida. Oops.

I eventually landed in Orlando, and got down to bag claim, where we waited forever for our luggage. Poppers and Ry finally found me (that kid is getting tall, so goes our family genes) and then we realized that the airport was stupid and our bags weren't even on that claim like they said. On the drive home, I needed to stop at a Wally World and get some conditioner (I'd been out for like 4 days - talk about a FASHION/HAIR CRISIS!). We finally got home I think at like I dunno, 1am?

December 18th, 2008 - Thursday
That night sleep just failed. The room I was put up in was HOT. Florida was HOT. But if turned the ceiling fan on anything more than low it clicked, and we all know how I do with noises during sleeping. NO. I searched the house (quietly) for a fan, even looked in the attic, and found nothing. Finally around 2am I moved out into the family room, threw the ceiling fan on full, and slept on the blue couch (which is where I slept anytime I lived here in the past, though it didn't used to be in the family room).

Unfortunately my dad got up at 6am, and thus ended my sleep. AGH. In his defense, he TRIED to be quiet, but as soon as his feet were on the kitchen stones, I heard them and thus ended sleep. I drug myself up, exhausted, and got to play parent for most of the day. I drove Ryan to school, then my dad went to work and my mom went to Leesburg to help her ailing parents. At 9:30 I got 'Stas up for school. She's home schooled, and so I got to play teacher. Yay. We did Science, and social studies, and maybe something else, then it was time for P.E. I got my skateboard out, and a basketball and we headed to the front of the neighborhood. I made my sister run while I skated (AND dribbled at the same time, I'm freaking talented y'all) because 1) she needs the exercise, and 2) she has become slightly overweight so see 1). Then we played basketball/soccer/teach Anastasia how to skateboard/I'll give you $100 if you can kick the ball into the hoop. After that we went home and I was hot so I jumped in the pool, which was FREEZING! But it got me unsweaty. 'Stas and I joked around and I threatened to pull her in, then I showered and cleaned up. After that I just chilled while 'Stas did more school, and wrote out some card games for my grandmother who is dead-set on playing every possible Freecell variation possible before she kicks it, but she's pretty much blind so she can't see them on the computer anymore so my mom has been writing them out on giant pieces of paper so she can play with her oversize-for-blind-grandmas playing cards. When my mom got home I drove my other sis to driving school, then went to go pick up Ryan from school, and had to wait forever. When he finally got out, he just stood there and looked at me -direct eye contact- like 5 times and didn't come to the car. Finally he came, and claimed that he didn't recognize me. X.x It had been like ten minutes, so now I was ticked.

When we got home I had to turn around minutes later and pick my sister up from driving school. Ridiculous. After that we had dinner, and I tried to start a potato fight with my little sister, and my mom said she wasn't too old to turn me over her knee and then proceeded to try and it was freaking hilarious.

Then it was time for Ryan's Band Concert (he originally played the clarinet in emulation of his big bro, then switched to Sax because it was deemed cooler). The whole family went, even J. Mom brought Starburst Candy Canes for us to enjoy, but hadn't planned on my powers of persuasion in getting J, so I gave him mine and had a little piece. We pretty much didn't pay attention at all during the concert, except when Ry had his solo in Jazz Band on the James Bond Theme, and then I totally whistled like it was a Baseball game. Heh. My parents even separated me and 'Stas at one point. I'm such a kid. And the thing is, I LOVE IT. I tried to get my mom to recognize that we as a family, love having fun, but I'm pretty sure she still just thinks we're all immature.

After the concert I was going to hang with Lil Bro (my fave) but 1) I was super super tired and 2) I still had to pack for my trip to Ohio. I threw stuff together in a bag, and was set. My mom was trying to put together a care package for her friend in Ohio, since she couldn't come with me, and wanted to make her a cd. But we couldn't figure out how to make the cd burn. I tinkered, and toyed, and tried every trick I could think of, and nothing. Ry kept saying he had an idea, and my mom insisted he try, and I lost it. I was adamant that if I couldn't do it, there was no way a 12-year old could. I know some pretty amazing tricks computer-wise. And I don't care how smart Ry is, I knew he didn't know how to do it. I was tired, and cranky, and his idea was a waste of time. So I uncaged the beast. The anger emerged. Cd be damned, let the package be incomplete, let the kid waste time, screw everyone. I stormed into my room, slammed the door, and just tried to sleep, while the anger swirled and raged inside me. I told myself that I should just get over it, that it was ridiculous, that maybe he could, but no, I was already angry. Some time much later, I drifted away.

December 19th, 2008 - Friday
Up early. And off to the airport. Goodbye family. Pops came in with me just for kicks, but I was fine. Checked in, securitied, and waited. I stole a book from J since he had like 20 from the library, and I had nothing to read. Plane ride was uneventful. Layover in Charlotte where I bought some cards for Erynn (just like whenever I go somewhere she hasn't because she's collecting cards from all 50 states and I love helping), then got on my next plane. This ride was much more interesting. Smaller plane, worse crew. Second rant. Okay, when I pay you GOOD money to get a seat on this stupid machine, I'm not okay with you charging me extra. Not for bags, and especially not for drinks. $2 for a soda? Are you SERIOUS? Anyway, the flight attendants were snotty. On our descent into Ohio, we totally hit turbulence and they were in the cabin collecting trash. And they HIT the floor. Hard. And I didn't feel bad (because I am evil). And two seconds after they went sprawling the captain had the gall to buzz over the com: "Flight Attendants, please take your seats." And then I laughed. Out loud (because I am really evil).

When I got to Ohio Christi met me with little Jessie and we waited for my bag. I stood there waiting patiently, and informed them that my bag was BLUE. We waited. And waited. And waited. And then one of the workers said something about us waiting after he pulled off like 5 bags. I looked at the bags and pointed, saying, "It's blue. Kinda like that green one over there." Wait. X.X It WAS the green one, lol. The blue one I had tried packing and not everything fit, so I'd switched to the green and then mixed the two in my mind to make one that was big AND blue. Oops.

After we recovered my GREEN bag, we decided we wanted food and went to get some. We stopped at Subway where I used to work forevers ago and I left a note for Wendy (who STILL owns it! Awesome!) I got me a roasted chicken with bacon because MY Subway still has A1 sauce which makes them wonderful. After that we drove over to City Hall to deliver the care package from my Mom. Her friend commented that I was all grown up (Reminder: I have not been in Ohio for 7+ years for most of these people, 3 if we're being technical). I gave her the package, told her that my mom had wanted to come and was sorry she couldn't, wished her Merry Christmas and started to say goodbye. She was totally moved emotionally and when I went to hug her goodbye, she told me to hug my mom until it hurt and then gave me a kiss. My heart went out to her in her time of struggle, but I knew there was nothing else I could do since I didn't know the story/situation.

Then I asked Christi to take me to the High School. Oh Reynoldsburg High. How I so-close-to-almost-but-just-not-quite miss you. When we were signing in, I had this conversation with the burly security guard:

Guard: "Who are you here to see?"
Me: "Tina B."
Guard: "Tina B?"
Me: "Yes, Tina B." Did I stutter?
Guard: "Bev B?"
Me: "Okay, yes."

Tina, my favorite Spanish Teacher ever, had retired. Sadness unreserved. We saw Bev instead, who taught next door and also knew me. Her door was closed when we walked up, so I went to Hma. Myer's room first. She looked up, it took her a minute, then she totally said, "Oh. My. Gosh." She couldn't believe it. I couldn't either. She remembered me, though I'd never taken a class from her. But I was the Little Spanish Helper Guru and had organized their supply room. I asked Hma. M if she remembered playing that game on the computer with the kids who threw snowballs, and she scoffed, said yes, then added, "The things we remember, huh?" Indeed. She was delighted to see us, and gave me Tina's number so that was good. We chatted for a bit, I told where I was, what I was up to, etc. Then we slipped over to the Theatre Dept. to check up on Doreen and Smitty. I waved hello, and Doreen just stared, not recognizing the luscious curls I was sporting (in her defense she wasn't wearing her glasses), then came over and read my name. Then she laughed so hard she had to go around the corner. Apparently they had JUST been talking about me. About ME. Really? I'm not going to oppose that. So it turns out they were discussing what a saint I was because of their shortage of guys in the ancient past; then David, bless his soul, joined the program, and I was the saving grace, and the herald, and the beginning of guy-thora (read: guys + plethora) for 7 years. And now, it was ending again. They were going to have a shortage again, and they were remembering and wanting another me. Hey, that's great. I'll take what remembrance I can get. Smitty looked INCREDIBLE. He must have lost, I don't even, 100+ pounds. I almost didn't recognize him, he looked that amazing. It was a good visit. Doreen even gave me a tour of the updated space. And they do EIGHT shows a year now! When I was in Performing Arts, we did like TWO. Plus the Senior show. So THREE. EIGHT? Unbelievable.

Then we decided to run over to the Junior High and visit more teachers. Because I love my 8th grade teachers. We went to the Office and said we were here to visit.

Wary Lady: "Who?"
Me: "Mrs. Gwaz."
W.L.: "She's no longer here."
Me: "What?"
W.L.: "She retired."
Me: *not believing* "Okay, Scheetz."
W.L.: "Retired."

Repeat 10+ times. Gone. All gone. They are ALL retired (except Mr. Brown who I had for 7th grade Ohio History and World Geography, and who happened to be standing right at the front desk with us, oops. Too bad he didn't really leave a lasting impression, eh?) Christi and I just stared at each other. It's just MIND-BOGGLING. Every last one of my teachers has RETIRED? Wah, I'm old. :( My 5th grade teacher still taught, but not there anymore. Apparently in my absence they built 3 new schools, one being a junior high. Wow, talk about Suburban growth much? So we went over there, but we were too late. It was Friday of the beginning of winter break, almost 3:45pm, and all the teachers had fled. So we left a note for Mrs. Friece, who I had in 5th grade, and one of the custodians put it in her room for us. Then just for kicks, we whisked over to French Run Elementary where I went 3rd-5th (though 5th is no longer housed there). ALL the teachers there are long gone, but we walked the halls anyway and reminisced. This teacher used to be here. And that teacher there. And that's where we had art. And look how TINY the playground is now, that used to be so big. It was melancholy, and bittersweet. But good.

After that we stopped by Jeff W's house just since he was right there. I haven't seen him in 7years, and he was back from Germany. After knocking for like 5 minutes, his mom finally came to the door (and didn't look like she'd aged a DAY), said she was in a music lesson, and Jeff had gone to California to visit. Boo. Quick stop at the library then Christi showed me places where nothing is the same. Fields and farms, or small houses now sprawling commerce areas, with new stores, new roads, etc. It was insane. My little boyhood town has exploded. We drove by my old house and I pointed out as many houses and the people who'd lived there as I could remember, but it was nothing like the prowess of my dad.

When we drove by the neighborhood where I spent the older years of my growing up, I had strong urges to go dig up the sandbox once more for old time sake and see if there were any G.I.Joes long buried still there. I also wanted to go knock on the door and say, "Hey I used to live here, could I possibly come in for a second and see my old room," but we opted not to since that would have been quite awkward, not to mention slightly intrusive on the people whose lives are now built into that memory-filled space.

After a quick stop at Christi's to drop my stuff in her guestroom, we headed off for dinner. Waffle House. I don't know what it is about their ghetto trucker restaurant that's way below McD's quality that I just delight in. But I do. Tradition demands that whenever I'm in Ohio and I'm with Christi, that we eat there. Tradition also demanded I have scrambled eggs and cheese with raisin toast and apple butter as well as hashbrowns with ham and cheese, plus bacon. And Vanilla Sprite. Because YUM. I even got Alan to come, who I haven't seen in forevers. He told us about his drug days (which are now over) and moving back in with parents to get clean, and start a computer repair company which is doing quite well (to the point that he couldn't come to anything else my whole trip because he was fixing...boo). The conversation, as usual when I'm with Alan, turned to video games. :) We talked about old times, and friends like Drew.

After dinner, Jessie got dropped at her grnadparents and Christi went home to get ready for work, borrowing her Gpa's truck so I could use the car if I wanted (super nice). I read her some stories while she got ready, then she left and I went to see Emmy.

For those of you who don't know about my past and kidness, Emmy is like my sister, and her family pretty much IS my family. And I have not Emmy time in YEARS. So that was much needed and amazing. Said hi to mom, then we sat in the living room and just talked. For hours. Because that's what we needed. Nate was there, and I got to meet him. Emmy says he really warmed up to me because he talked to me without being prompted, but I'm not sure. I do give him credit for thick skin though. Emmy and him have been dating quite a while, and I totally told him like 5x during our convo that he need to "pony up" already and give her a ring. GOOD TIMES. Finally around 1am, we decided that we needed sleep, and to save something to talk about for Sunday.

More to come...

"Forgive me Father..."
"...for I have sinned."
And gravely so. True Confession of my soul:

2. I am a closet Geo-Cacher. I love it. Alot. My older Bro got me hooked, and two days ago, I even broke down and bought myself my own GPS. For almost $300. Eee. Merry Christmas to myself?! My Aunt has been helping my habit as well, and now I'm close to catching my brother on finds. And have Travel Bugs of my own to trade. If you don't know what Geo-caching is, you really need to learn.

3. I secretly, against all naysayers, laughers, and people who make fun of me endlessly, <3 Digimon. Like to no end. Like I've watched all the seasons. More than once. Some on YouTube. And that's how I got my start into online Role-Playing Games, which I am still addicted too. My current baby is here. Though, this one I enjoy also, and it needs more players, so if you like to write, join us.

4. I eat at Waffle House. And love the food. I won't touch McD's, but I crave Waffle House. I'm just...complicated, okay?

5. All these confessions were necessary as per my upcoming Travelogue Post...

"Forgive me Father..."
"...for I have sinned."
And gravely so. True Confession of my soul:

1. I ate at McDonald's last night. EW. I'm sorry. In my opinion, McDonald's is the lowest of the low as far as fast food goes. I mean, I even put it below Beto's.

And I ate there. (It was either that or starve, so I rationalized the sin). I'm just... above McD's. I mean, I know they are working really hard to change their image and be "healthy" or whatever, but I will always think of grease pit when I eat there. Always. No matter how they change their image. Or their food. It's just ingrained.

Don't get me wrong, when I was a kid I totally ate there as much as any other little kid, and totally loved it. Happy Meal = Dreams coming true.

But somewhere in my growing up, I lost that childhood innocence, and now, now I just despise the place. And laugh at people wearing expensive business suits and having dinner there. Sucker.

Blogger Buddies,


I am so excited!


My blog is a relatively new thing (but so about time, and let's be honest, you LOVE it!), but for those of you who were tuned into the extravaganza (read: drama-filled craziness) that was my life before this blog, you will know what going home forbodes.

Last Christmas I went for 10 days and very nearly killed myself. I swore I'd only go back for 2 or 3 days at the max. Then I tried buying plane tickets. UGH. The cheapest ticket I could find was for 3 weeks. 3 W E E K S.

Thankfully I have planned a 4-day trip to Ohio and am working on an excursion to D.C., for a wedding.

When I first bought the ticket, my Mom asked: "Okay, but what is going to make this time different?"

I have no answer. But it MUST be. I cannot survive another ordeal like that. Something, anything, must be different. It just has to be.

So please hold my hand, wish me luck, and stay tuned. The next three weeks are going to be interesting (and devoid of Sunday School Moments :( ). Bear with me if my posts become angstier than normal, but here's to hoping, and praying, that this vacation is a GOOD one, and that I have a HAPPY, MERRY Christmas, like I so desperately desire.

Well, the kids certainly made up for the "normalness" last week with the antics of yesterday.

Episode 5: Prophets, Computers, and Jesus, oh my!

So this week I had two visitors, a 10year old, and his 6year old sister. The age range of my class just keeps growing... eee. Anyway, we were talking about Priesthood Preparation (even though I have no boys in my class who are turning 12... they aren't even 11). *shrug*

So I wanted to talk about prophets, the organization of the church, etc. We started out by putting the names of as many prophets as they could think of on the board.

Me: "Good job so far. And who's the current prophet?"

Kid: "Nephi!"

Me: X.x Seriously?

Yes, one of my kids actually said that. Awesome.

Second, I brought Joy to the World because I wanted to use the piece on prophets. I had this big box that we were going to use for a game, and I wouldn't let them look inside it, so one of my more rambunctious girls said, "Fine, then I'm going to look in your bag!" (My Nintendo Bag). I didn't care. She found my battery pack for my computer, and thought it was my ACTUAL Computer! O.O I almost fell out of my chair and couldn't continue the lesson.

Girl: "Look, J, I found his computer!" *pulls out my battery*

Boy: "Whoa, that's cool! It's so small!"

Girl: "I know! We are going to watch the movie on here!"

Girl to me: *waving the battery* "Let's watch the..." *looks at pack* "Dell, right now! This is going to be great!"

I... wow. I have no words. I mean, I know that these are mountain kids who wear cowboy boots with a suit and tie, and only have one school for all 12 grades, but really? You don't know what the difference between a laptop and its battery is? Impressive to say the least.

And finally, when we were in Singing Time, I saw one of my girls sitting in the row in front of me pull out a diary/journal looking thing. She opened it to a page, and though I tried really hard not to invade her privacy, I had to look. On a page colored with a bunch of different colors a la rainbow, these words were scrawled in black crayon:

"Jesus is like Rambo."

L O L. I don't know if she was trying to write "Jesus is like the rainbow... or if she really meant what she wrote. Either way... what I saw = hilarity, and a really interesting, concept. The connotations alone...

Some updates:

I have nothing to report from my Sunday School Lesson yesterday. It was a normal class (with misbehaving of course), and we played Hangman again. I started with the phrase "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" just to shove it in the face of the kids who wanted to hang the man... then did my lesson. Was that mean? I enjoyed it. Nothing remarkable happened in sharing time either. We actually had a normal Sunday!

I have a spider living in my sink. It's Turtle's fault that I didn't kill it outright. At first I thought it was just hanging out, but no, it seems to have moved in. Been there for a week, though it does disappear from time to time. He was gone all day yesterday, but he's back this morning. I named him Spork. Do not ask me why... that was just the first word that popped into my brain after I thought to myself, what should I call you? Spork is a weird spider. He doesn't even have a web, just hangs out in my sink...

This past weekend I sang at a Christmas Fair that my Great-aunt Karen and my Great-uncle Gene were hosting. They were providing 16 hours of non-stop live music. So we had 7 or 8 singers/piano players/violinists and we all rotated. I was a soloist singer (though I did have backup singers some of the times).

I sang everything from "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" and "I'm dreaming of a White Christmas" and "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" to "The First Noel" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "O, come all ye Faithful." I also sang "Silent Night," "Silver Bells" and "Away in a Manger."

I looked absolutely hot in my gray vest, suspenders and bowtie. My Aunt was like "Did you get that out of your closet? You didn't even go shopping or anything?" Pshaw. Have you seen my closet? This isn't even as dressy as it gets. Anyway I looked amazing.

PS, about two weeks ago I CUT MY HAIR! EEE! First time since MAY (compare my profile pic to these). The lady cut my bangs WAY TOO SHORT and I'm not happy about that, but *le sigh* life will go on.

I'm excited for Christmas now, and couldn't sleep either night after singing because of all the songs in my head.

Class was better this week. More games. More attention-activities. I think we read one scripture (that's pretty much all we tried to do last week...) I had two visitors this week since it was Thanksgiving, and they were way smarter than all my kids. Even knew scripture references! I was pretty impressed. And wondered why my kids weren't at their level... did they learn before I got here?

Episode 4: That's MY Church!

So again, this one is from Primary, not my class. Because this week we talked about Faith, reviewed a bunch of gospel stories, (and some of the kids remembered the lessons/stories we'd talked about! I was proud) and then shared Faith experiences with one another. I even actually felt the Spirit in my class! Yes! Success!

In Primary, the little brothers of the two visitor girls sat next to me, and they were 6 or 7. We were doing a scripture activity for the lesson, and the little man next to me saw the Bible I was holding out for him to use, and the following hilarity ensued.

Kid: "Hey! That says 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!' That's MY Church!

Me: Awesome! That's MY Church too!

Kid: Whoa! You're a visitor here just like me? I thought you went here."

Me: O.o Um. Um. LOL Kid, what do you think this is, some apocalyptic revivalist splinter-fundamentalist Christian church which has sacrilegiously pilfered your Holy Books? And your parents just randomly decided to visit (and bring you along) since you aren't at home? The Church is the same in more than just one building!

I love the innocence/lack of understanding of children sometimes. It's brilliant.

Third week of class. Absolute disaster! Both of my boys insisted on misbehaving and playing football with anything they could find, and apparently came with amply filled pockets. To complicate matters, anytime I paid them mind, one girl would race to the chalkboard and stamp handprints all over it. The two usually behaved girls didn't want to pay attention either, just talk to each other. X.x *le sigh* My manual says don't acknowledge minor misbehaving because it will just give it attention and encourage it. But where do I draw the line? The lesson didn't even help. It was on why Moroni wrote on the plates, and left little room for games. The one activity I'd thought of, I didn't have the materials or time to put together. Bad week. But, not without it's shining moment.

Episode 3: God is a sexist

This one actually didn't take place in my class, nor was it one of my students. But it totally still counts, because it's classic. We were in the middle of singing time in the Primary, and since Christmas was just around the corner, it was time to start learning a Christmas song. I disobediently made up actions to the song with one of my students, lol. I really am just a big kid.

Anyway, one of the 7-year olds who has developed a particular attachment to me totally interrupted the song learning to have the following conversation with the Singing Lady.

Boy: "I want to make a complaint!"

S.L.: (a little taken aback) "Uh... okay? What is it?"

Boy: "Why are the angels always girls?"

Me and S.L.: O.o

S.L.: "Angels aren't always girls, there are boy angels too."

Boy: "Nu-uh! Look at 'em, wearing dresses!"

S.L.: "Well, just because they are wearing dresses doesn't mean they are girls. Boy angels can wear dresses too."

Me: O_o WHA?! Lady! Don't teach these kids about cross-dressing! They aren't supposed to know that at least until High School!

Boy: "Look at their hair! Their hair is long! Those are totally girl angels." *crosses his arms*

S.L.: "Just because the two angels I have happen to be girls doesn't mean that ALL angels have to be girls..."

Boy: "Yuh-huh! This is dumb." *pouts*

LOL All I needed was for him to add the words "God is a sexist pig/jerk" and I would have officially fallen out of my chair laughing.

As previously stated: I have of late, rediscovered the overwhelming joys of MEDIA (read: books and movies) which I did not have time for in college. Except for the required of course, some of which have remained on my list of excellents. Others however, I burned. Like Watt. Forgive me Samuel Beckett. I just really, really hate you. What an utter waste of paper that book is.

So I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on recent viewings/readings. DISCLAIMER: SPOILER ALERT! If you're planning on reading/seeing any of these in the near future, you may not want to read my opinions...

PS, not included in part two (though it applies): If you have thoughts/feelings/comments to these books and/or movies, chime in, I'd love to know if I'm way off on my thinking, or a pretty dang good critic (which I will believe no matter what you say).

NOTE: I am an avid reader. LOVE books to death. My taste in books differs sharply from that of movies, and I'm a little bit less of a critic (unless you course you just absolutely can't write. *cough* Stephanie Meyer *cough*, and then I just abhor you).

Ian McEwan's Atonement - Grade: B. The beginning of this book is really, really slow. And I almost stopped reading. But I'm glad I didn't. The story gets really good. This is one of the better novels I've read of late, and I know why they read it in Lit classes now.

Brian Jacques' Voyage of Slaves (book 3 in the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series) - Grade: D. I'm so sad I didn't like this book. I remember loving one and two, but this one just fell flat for me, and Jacques' writing seemed really weak compared to his other works.

Lois Lowry's The Giver - Grade: A+. Definitely one of my all-time top of the pile, favorite books. If you have not read this book, go do so immediately. I'd read it once before in 7th grade, and remembered liking it, but couldn't remember enough to keep me away, so I went back for another perusal. Now I own it because it's just phenomenal.

Mitch Albom's The Five People you Meet in Heaven - Grade: C. This just really wasn't what I was expecting...at all. Maybe that ruined the experience for me. I just didn't really think it was that funny. Interesting concept, but didn't payoff for me.

Stephen King's The Green Mile - Grade: D. This one may surprise some of you. But I just really didn't like this one. I'm not completely failing it, because in it's defense, I didn't actually finish. I had it in the 6-book serial version, and was excited because the books were little and could be read quickly. But the first one was kinda boring, and I tried twice to get into the second one, but my interest was not had, and I never went back. So mainly the grade is for failing to even engage me as a reader.

Brian Jacques' Rakkety Tam (Book 17 in the Redwall series) - Grade: C. This was my second go at this one, and I managed to get all the way through this time. Alright story, nothing extraordinary, just another tale to get Mr. Jacques' more money I'm thinking.

Brian Jacques' High Rhulain (Book 18 in the Redwall series) - Grade: B+. This was one of the better books in the series I've read. I don't remember all of them, since there are so many and I've been reading them forever, but this one was not the same old, same old rewritten in a new way. There were riddles, puzzles, a new island, and an overall engaging storyline reminiscent of the Mossflower days. So I was quite pleased with this one.

Jeanne DuPrau's City of Ember - Grade: A. This was a great book! I read it in one sitting because it engaged me, the story was excellent, and I loved the premise. Now I wonder if the movie is true to this or if they ruined it... but the book is a good one for kids and adults alike. I loved it!

Brian Jacques' Eulalia! (Book 19 in the Redwall series) - Grade: C. Again, this was just like a different way to do Salamandastron or Lord Brocktree. I've read this story before! I'm thinking Jacques' is running out of ideas. Although I do remember some "bigger" words appearing in this text that I was quite pleased with, as opposed to his writings in the past.

Paul Aster's City of Glass (novel and graphic novel versions) - Grade: C. I'm on the fence on this one. I read it, and it left me baffled. It's either completely brilliant, but I don't know why, or it's just preposterous and I know why so well that I hate it. This is one of those books that you feel warrants deeper scrutiny, a more thorough reading, but you refuse to do so for fear of finding there isn't actually anything there to be descried.

Currently I'm 46 pages into C.S. Friedman's Black Sun Rising, the first in the Coldfire trilogy. My little bro Jared suggested it as a phenomenal read akin to my favorites from Dragonlance. So far, I don't know. It seems to be sci-fi parading as fantasy, and I don't feel like much has been explained to me. But in the book's defense there are 443 pages to go... so there's still time for improvement. And it's only book 1.

Next on my reading list: Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which I have heard only good things about, and they are making a movie of.

I love freedom! How did I survive without such rich sustenance in my life? I have no idea.

In light of my last post, I thought I would just pour salt on the wounds of my many friends and tell you about some of my freedom over the past few weeks (which will also explain why I haven't been diligently blogging...lol).

I have of late, rediscovered the overwhelming joys of MEDIA (read: books and movies) which I did not have time for in college. Except for the required of course, some of which have remained on my list of excellents. Others however, I burned. Like Watt. Forgive me Samuel Beckett. I just really, really hate you. What an utter waste of paper that book is.

So I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on recent viewings/readings. DISCLAIMER: SPOILER ALERT! If you're planning on reading/seeing any of these in the near future, you may not want to read my opinions...

NOTE: Not going to lie, there are like 5 movies that I adore (and own). And that's all. I am one TOUGH movie critic. And proud of it.

Transformers - Grade: C. I was kind of eh on this one. Some of the filming bugged me and I felt like I couldn't see what was happening half of the time. Although I have to give them credit for not absolutely ruining this, like they did X-men.

- Grade: B+. I was actually pleasantly surprised by this movie. I'd had it on my list forever, and had even actually crossed it off, because I decided I didn't want to see it as much as I thought I did. But it was funny. And cute. And good. And I was reasonably impressed.

The Forgotten - Grade: C-. Eh. This movie was okay, kind of intriguing, but it left way too many unanswered questions and that just bugged me. And the ending was just like, huh? What? Why? How? Boo. I don't like movies that leave me more confused after seeing them than when I started.

War of the Worlds - Grade: C. I just...I'm sorry, I don't like Tom Cruise. He just can't...act. Does anyone else feel this way, or is it just me? I thought the commentaries/extras were cooler than the movie itself.

The Pacifier - Grade: B. LOL This movie is directed by Adam Shankman, which makes me laugh, because he is on So You Think You Can Dance, and so by default, I love him. The beginning was super cheese, but the rest was actually pretty well done. I was okay with this movie, and did have any complaints that I could remember. Except shouldn't the three-year old have talked more?

Chronicles of Riddick 1, 2, and 3 - Overall Grade: B-. The first Riddick movie is the best one. By far. (The third is the one that was released mainstream in theatres). The second is a half hour cartoon, and it wasn't really that exciting. And the third was kind of meh also, but okay. Except the ending. The ending was LAAAAAME. WAY LAME. I was so upset that they just stopped it. Boo.

Meet the Robinsons
- Grade: A-. This movie was just cute. And funny. And well done. And I'm really glad I saw it, because it was another one I was just going to knock off my list.

Pan’s Labyrinth - Grade: D. The box CLAIMS that this movie belongs "on the same table of High Fantasy as LOTR." My response: No, no, no! Not even close. By a longshot. At all. NO! I again thought the ending was pfhhttt. I absolutely loved that the movie was in spanish and had high hopes all the way to the end. Alas, no. Another thing that bothered me was the senseless violence that was just, unnecessary. This is not Saving Private Ryan, okay?

Stealth - Grade: C. Once again, mediocre movie. I was especially upset about the death of Henry Purcell. It was absurd, and really bad cinema. But Jessica Biel was pretty dang good-looking!

Sky Cap'n and World of Tomorrow
- Grade: C. Again, not impressed. Meggers said this movie was the top of campy cheesy, but I must not be savvy to all that, because I was just middle of the road on this one.

Stomp the Yard - Grade: B+. This movie was another one that exceeded my expectations. I even got emotionally involved, which is a huge must for me to give a movie top ratings. Decent story, decent acting, pretty good movie.

Vantage Point - Grade: C. I had high hopes for this one. They could have done so much more I feel. The plotline was great, but the delivery I think was flawed. On the 7th rewind and start over, I started feeling ripped off and bored.

- Grade: C. This movie was decent. Predictable, but alright. No real complaints, but it wasn't uber gripping exciting/emotional either.

I am Legend - Grade: A-. I had really high hopes for this movie, and for the most part, it delivered. Although I wasn't super okay with the ending. But for the majority, I liked it.

Blackbeard - Grade: D. This is one of those movies that is probably straight to dvd? I dunno. My uncle was watching it, so I did too. It was WAAAAAY too long. By about 3 hours. I was so bored, but engaged just barely enough that I wouldn't walk out of the room. Sigh. I want those 4 hours back.

Next - Grade: C. This movie was so good! Until the end. And then they had to go and screw everything up. BOOOOO. Hated, hated, hated the end. They just... such a great concept, such a great story, then you just throw it all away in the last minutes. *shakes head* Shame.

Kingdom of Heaven
- Grade: A. This is another that's been on my list forever. And it delivered. There were one or two minor things that bugged me (ie, this is supposed to be 1148, no way a woman would be showing that much skin) but other than that, this was a great story, great cinematics (a little bloody for my taste), and with a good ending to boot.

Book reviews in Part III...

Well, this is looooong overdue, and has been in draft form for about half a month now. Might as well put it down and crank it out for feasting eyes (hey, that's you!). ***DISCLAIMER: If you are currently a poor college student referred to in this post, you may want to wait two weeks to read this, so that you don't... hate me.***

Back in October when I went to visit Utah for my Mission Reunion and Conference, I of course went to visit all the poor children left behind at the B Y of U. As I drove around in my rental car, feeling all executive (cuz that was an amazing ride I was sporting, no? :P) I was enthralled by all the little college kiddies toting their bookbags and riding their bicycles, and I said, "Awwwww..." like they were second graders! Haha, suckers. I am just really grateful that I'm done with that!

Most of my friends are currently in the final crunch before the week of death (read: finals!) and hating life. Not getting enough sleep, super stressed, etc. I have emails from the end of my last semester to Turtle, and oh yes, the stress level and angst (and apathy) was off the charts.

Don't get me wrong, I have twinges of longing like everyone else who has good memories for bygone times. I miss things, but wouldn't go back and change much if I could go back. I loved everything I was doing. But really, now that it's done and gone, I'm so happy to just be free. To not have to manage three clubs, while working, while doing school, while continuing to magnify my calling in church. I was one insane college student, just ask my roommates :D

And let's be honest. Being graduated empowers me to have conversations like this:

Me: "Can I tell you how much I love NOT being a college student?"
Friend: "No!"
Me: "I just finished book 18 of 20 of Brian Jacques' Redwall series and have book 19 in hand,"
Friend: "La la la la la...."
Me: "but first am going to read The City of Ember."
Friend: "I'm not listening..."
Me: "I took a 3 hour nap today and woke up with nothing pressing to do! It's so FREEING *basks*"
Friend: "..."
Me: *hugs* "It's almost done friend."
Friend: *cough* "Avarice!" *cough*
Me: "Just look at it like this - I’m like a messenger from the celestial kingdom"
Friend: *rotf*
Me: "and you are still in the thick of your pitiful mortal existence. Which will soon be brought to an end and then I will joyfully usher you into the realm of your dreams."
Friend: "You sound more like a Greek god."
Me: "Well, yes." *pause* "A greek god from the celestial kingdom. Where did you think they went?"
Friend: "Touche."

Oh wow. So I am a very, very, very happy boy right now. With no voice.

My absolute #1, top of my itunes, favvvvvvvvorite band ever ever ever ever played Boise tonight and you know I was so right there. Front row, dead center (okay there was one chick in front of me but I was taller than her). I was so close I could reach out and touch the lead singer. And the concert was amazing. Much better than the first time I saw them live. That time I was nowhere near the front.

I sang and screamed, shouted, and had a freaking blast. And now have no voice. :) I even got the mic. TWICE. Because I'm just that fricking cool. I rocked out, head banged, and just had so much fun...I haven't been this happy in ages.

Classic Crime has two albums and one EP, all of which I own, and I love some of their softer stuff (they like to rock HARD live). I knew they were playing something acoustic tonight, so I had a sign ready, and when he got the acoustic guitar, I whipped it out. Lead singer Matt then pretty much paused the concert to have a private conversation with me. He read my sign, then right at me said, "I'd love to play that song. But I don't think we can." I replied (yelling of course), "C'mon! Play it! Please!" Matt: "I don't think my band knows that one." Drummer Skip then chimed in from the back, "What song?" People in the crowd wanted to know too. Matt told them, and I was aghast. Didn't know it? How could you not know it? Then he went on to say, "Do we even play that song?" My answered resounded back, "Hell yes you do! Play it!" Matt: "I'm not even sure we play that one," he said, joking. "But here's one called 'Seattle.'" ... And the concert continued. Sadness abounded from me. But it was drowned quickly since I love Seattle too, and seconds later I was back to rocking out (When I got home from the concert I listened to my favorite song 14 times in a row :D).

So the concert continued, I kept rocking, and head-banging, etc. Good times. After the concert was over, I got to hang out with Matt and he told me that the real reason they wouldn't play it was because they hadn't rehearsed it since they recorded it. Which means more than 6 months without having played it. So he didn't want to play it and have it ruined. He didn't feel that they could do it justice since it had been so long. Sad. But it was a great convo, and trying to talk to him and the other band members was pretty entertaining (on both ends), since I had no voice.

Hanging out and chatting, I totally got a poster autographed by all 5 band members, which is 100% getting framed and going on my wall. I also got my very own Classic Crime t-shirt, so hott.

I was/am super happy.

LOVE them so much. Everyone who doesn't know them needs to go get their music and start listening. Then support them so they can keep being a band. They are ammmmmazing, offering a total range of softer and harder songs, and I <3 them more than any other band out there.

Here is my favorite song which they would not play:

Next time Classic Crime, Next time. I told them to practice on my way out. Next time they must be ready.

I'm going to go to bed now, accompanied by my fave song, by my fave band, on repeat, and dream of the evening's events over and over again all night long.


I was going to bed like an hour ago...and then I got distracted. Yay for an ADHD mind.

I don't even remember how I got there... but I found this.

Apparently, November 14th is Domino day, and this was the 10th year of doing it. And the Dutch are INSANE about their dominoes. And have ZERO competition...

All 10 of them are in Dutch so I understand very, very little, but it's still freaking AMAZING to watch. Yeah, I had domino rally when I was a kid, and I could never even get one whole bridge to stay up, so these people...yeah I idol worship you a little. They broke tons of world records, not just the most dominos ever knocked down. Like the longest single domino field? 1 million dominoes? What happens if someone bumps one...?

Go waste 45 minutes of your life. It's spectacular.

Here's the first one compliments of me to get you tantalized (Ps, don't ask me what that girl in spandex is doing at the beginning... I don't speak Dutch. I prefer to believe she is just wasting time...until they are supposed to start. And her little "mis-start" at the beginning...? I need the gift of tongues right now):

These leave me with so many questions...

Do these people have jobs?
How long did this take to set up?
Do they have practices or a dress rehearsal? Cuz I think that would annoy me.
How times did someone "oops" and set them back days or weeks?
How many swear words were said in the course of this production?
How do I get tickets to next year's extravaganza?
And like 4,345,027 more after those get answered. :P

Just... wow.

So, this was the second time I taught my kids. (The week before was Stake Conference, so I didn't teach).

Episode 2: Hang the Man, Prophet Who?, and a Crash!

This week the lesson was on the Jaredites rejecting the prophets, so we recapped the previous week's lesson, and dove right in. The kids did NOT let me down...

One of our activities this week was Hangman, since that was voted by the kids in the questionnaires their fave game we could play in class. I only had 6 kids this week (one had not been there last week, so now I have 8 in all? I think there are actually 9). Anyway, three of the kids played Hangman the right way, but the other three decided to take the title literally. Their goal was not figuring out the word, but hanging the little man. They would guess Z and X on purpose. The best part was when one of them guessed "Q" and it was in the word. I laughed at him. A little. Oops. :P

Anyway, so we were talking about consequences, then I started introducing the people we were going to be talking about, the first of whom was the prophet Ether.

The following exchange occurred between my star student (who answers all questions, knows all the articles of faith by heart, and I thought everything about the BOM. 'parently not), and I.

Her: "Ether?"

Me: "Yes, the prophet."

Her: "How could Ether be a prophet?"

Me: "Because God called him to be one? Don't worry, that's why we're talking about him today."

Her: "Him?"

Me: Did I stutter? "Yes, him."

Her: "But Ether's a girl."

Me: X.x Awesome. "No, that's E*S*ther, not Ether. And she's in the Bible." Which we are not studying. Which we have not been studying. All year.

Her: "Oh."

Yeah, oh. Who teaches these kids before I get them? Even the brilliant ones have to fail sometimes, I guess. *shrug*

Also, the boy who was absent the previous time egged on the other boy, and they paid attention only for 1/4 of the lesson and that was because we were talking about Coriantumr and Shiz slaying millions of people and then each other. They were in their seats even less. They were in the windowsill, on the floor, the new kid even climbed on a stack of nursery chairs. Which promptly tipped over and fell on top of him. And I tried really, really hard not to laugh at him. This time I was successful. Except the part where I'm laughing now, really loud.

I think there may have been one more funny thing, but I forgot, so I'm taking a notebook next week to write it down right after my class, that way we can get the whole replay.

I <3 Kids!

Really I shouldn't do this. Because it's just as bad as a forward. And I abhor email forwards. And delete them. Always. Oh Blogger. You have changed the venue, but not the game. *le sigh*

Only to indulge Erika am I doing this. Because I love her. And one of her facts is my fault. I was the missionary who taught her family. :D


1. I love to read kid's books. Like lots of them. The bottom two shelves of my bookcase are all kids books. From little kid just learning how to read, to chapter books and choose-your-own-adventures, to the older teen books.

2. I don't drink pop. I try not to at least. Once in a while (read: every 3 days about) I break down and have a Dr. Pepper. But that's the only pop I will ever touch. If it's anything else, it's not worth the destruction of my internal organs.

3. I am a self-proclaimed bacon addict. I could eat it all day, every day. I just love the stuff. In the restaurant downstairs, our cook tries to keep some cooked always for bacon burgers and what not. But if he leaves the plate anywhere I can get it, the bacon disappears. Quickly. And I get in trouble.

4. I currently live in a one-room apartment with a bed and a sink. There is a kitchen downstairs but we just have a grill, a fryer, and a microwave. My ability to cook is incredibly hampered here. Nonetheless, I still have a spice rack out on my dresser.

5. I hate chocolate. And candy. Like more than pop. Just don't like it. Yech. Unless of course it's cherry coke bottles imported from Germany. Then I can eat a 5-lb bag in like a day and a half :)

6. Before I discovered fashion and Express, I used to dress as a skater. And yes, I skateboard. But I dressed skater before I could skate. One day a kid told me I was a poser because I didn't skateboard. The next day I bought my skateboard and started learning. I've been skating for almost 7 years. I still can't do any tricks. :(

7. I'm on my 9th 200pg. brown journal since High School. But I never write in it as much as I should. If I did that, I'd be on volume XIV by now. I'm sure of it. Currently we are in November. My journal is still in May. Oh sad.

Okay. I tag:
and Aunt Shanna


Okay, honestly. I love to celebrate. Everyone. Everything. I finally broke down and made myself a nifty little google calendar, so I can finally get rid of the one I've been writing on since 2005 that's kinda out of date just a little bit. Before that the information was just scrawled somewhere.

So this is your opportunity to be celebrated! Send me an email (don't leave a comment) with your birthday (the whole thing, month day and YEAR, so I can say how old you are) and/or Anniversary (with the month day and year you got hitched) and I will add them to my nifty calendar. :)

Disclaimer: This is no guarantee you will get anything on that day (except an email or phone call of me celebrating).

Chapter 8 - Knee'd that?
Ron borrowed the splitter again, and the splitting has resumed in recent days. Because there is so much freaking wood down there. Someone got a little saw-happy me thinks. We even started selling the wood to other people and delivering it to their houses, we had so much.

Just a few nights ago, we were out splitting again, and Ron and Tobias were loading a truck to take to someone, and that left Spencer and me to split. I'd since learned to "drive" the splitter and was now quite efficient at slicing those things. Well, what I wasn't apparently efficient at was moving the darned thing. It's like straight up metal (about the size of a large go-cart), and has wheels just on one end, so you have to maneuver it carefully when you move it. Well, I was trying, but when I was backing up a log rolled from somewhere, under my foot, and I fell over backwards, still holding this metal thing. I landed on the woodpile which hurt in its own right, and then the metal splitter came down on top of me. It landed on my left knee, on the inside, right on the bone. I think maybe that hurt more than my gashed finger. I mean, this HURT like you wouldn't believe. So I'm lying there, the engine on the splitter is going, and it's pretty much crushing me as I'm sprawled on this wood like it's a pyre or something. Sheesh. Spencer luckily saw my mishap and came dashing over to rescue me. I played it off like it didn't hurt and kept working, but it really did. And the bruise is freaking huge. And sleeping that night was like impossible.

What really gets me is that before we started this little game involving blades and wood, I was NOT a clutz. I did not spontaneously fall and cut myself or break things. And now it happens all the time. I just don't understand what's happened to me. (But I do maintain that I should become famous for my amazing stories).

Chapter Final - The End (this year)
Ron and I finished splitting finally, and then yesterday I spent about an hour an a half chucking the last pieces into the shed (and only broke one of the support beams due to throwing too hard, too high). That shed is freaking full.

When we filled the first side of the shed, Ron thought that was a ton of wood. When we filled the other side just as full, Ron knew that was a ton of wood. When there was still more wood, Ron began to think that we maybe shouldn't have gotten so much wood, lol. Now that it is all in, and we are finally done (except for the part where I use an axe to make kindling... another story?), Ron declares sadly that we may have enough wood to last two winters. But then what are we going to do next year?

Chapter 6: Sticks, not stones, may drive some cars, but logs will always break my glasses
There has been this little yellow pickup out back for some time, just sitting there, because it had no engine. Well, Ron finally fixed it, and he decided I need to learn how to drive it (he just wants his jeep back). Only problem: It's a manual aka stick-shift. I don't do stick-shift. There was one attempt once upon a time, long, long ago (read: in high school, when I wanted to go to prom in a convertible), but my learning attempts were met with bucking and stalling. Once I got going, I was fine shifting and what not, it was that start/stop thing that was beyond my comprehension.

But he deemed that I needed to learn. But while we are going for wood? Is this really necessary? I told him I hoped he was not in a hurry, and I was right. I think I stalled the thing 33 times before I finally got it to even move forward, lol. I'm not made for this! Automatic is for me!

Then there were the three times I stalled it right in the middle of a hill with a cliff on one side of us... whose crazy stupid idea was this? I told Ron repeatedly, he had a death wish.

After only a few mishaps though, we finally got there in one piece (thank you God for protecting us!) We got down to the business of hack-n-slash, and load-'er-up rather quickly. They were small logs so I was loading three at a time (note: unknown to popular belief, I am becoming quite strong out here!) Well one particular time I was trying to pick up my third log, the second one bounced out of my arms and into my face. Next thing I know I have a cut cheek, and my glasses are in two pieces. FANTASTIC. I officially HATE "woodgetting."

So that vetoed my having the "pleasure" of driving back with wood in the back, because without glasses I'm kinda blind. That also warranted an unplanned trip to the valley to get them fixed. Fun times.

Chapter 7 - Splitting by light of Jeep
With my travels, and unplanned trips to the valley for broken glasses, I think altogether I missed three trips up to the mountain for wood. Well after it was all brought down and piled outside the shed, it needed split. And stacked. This is like a never-ending job maybe I think.
(And I apologize in advance that this particular episode is not nearly as exciting and dramatic as the others).

So we borrowed a hydraulic splitter, but we only had it for a short time. Tobias was up for some work in McCall, so we got elected to go split. But we couldn't find the key to the shed (it was locked in the cook's room, and he was in the valley of course. So I broke in through his window to get it...lol). We got a late start, and it got dark, and it was like 25 degrees, but the stars were out.

And we split by the headlights on Tobias' jeep. He kept wanting to stop, but I insisted we keep going since I didn't look forward to using an axe to have to split all that was left (which was a lot).

So we split in the cold and dark for four hours. We had good convo, plenty of D.P., and runny noses, of course. We would've kept going too, but Tobias dropped a log on his already busted knee, and that pretty much ended things for the evening.

Chapter 4: Jeep Slider
After a few trips up, I was finally graduated to rig driver (read: jeep with a trailer) and I was super excited about that. Except when we were driving on mountain roads that had snow on them. I was last in line, with Ron right in front of me, and he was always careful to make sure I was still behind him. Well, then there was this turn to the right.

I turned my wheel, but the jeep did not respond. It kind of just kept going. And I kind of super started freaking out. Spouting obscenities, I pumped the brakes, which put the rig into a skid, and I went right off the road and started down the hill. I alternately prayed I'd stop before I died, and continued swearing. I mean, these are mountains. I'm lucky this wasn't a direct drop-off turn (which there are plenty of!) But the jeep just kept going, and I really thought I was going to die. After I was a full three-jeep lengths down the hill, a log finally stopped my jarring descent. But when I pressed on the gas to go backwards, nothing happened. My tires just spun. Oh, phenomenal. Nothing I tried was fruitful. Finally, I got out, slammed the door, kicked the jeep (very useful!), and went back up to the road.

Ron came back after I'd walked only a short ways. "What happened?"

Me: "I... I got stuck."

He knows that jeep way better than me, so he had it out in no time and we continued on our way with no further problems (I even drove the rig home full of wood, and on subsequent trips also).

Chapter 5: First-Class First-Aid
Injury in the heat of woodgetting. It was only a matter of time, right?

Well, we found these two spruce that were super dead, and super huge, so of course, we got right on that one. They were felled, chopped, and we were loading. Well, did I mention that these trees were freaking gargantuan? Like I couldn't even get my hands to touch with my arms around them. Yeah, huge. So I'm loading pieces of wood I can barely lift. Well, we load Jerry's pickup, and then I'm filling Ron's trailer. Everything's going great, and there's only like two more pieces to put in to finish the thing off. So I'm lifting over the side of this thing. Well, on my second to last piece, I managed to get the pinky off my left hand caught between the metal lip on the trailer's side and the massive piece of wood I just chucked with all my might into this thing. OWWWW!

It sliced a chunk of skin (pretty deep) on the front of my pinky, almost 360 degrees around, ie, all the way off. It was a nasty, nasty cut. And it happened through my gloves! So I'm holding my hand out, watching the blood just run, not drip, run, from this thing like a river, and I go to Ron and Jerry and show them.

Me: "Uhh, I had an accident."

Ron: "Wow, that doesn't look so good."

Me: "Well, duh. We got any bandages?"

Ron: "I don't think so."

Jerry: "Me either."

Cursing these people's lack of preparation in my head, I asked for Ron's multi-tool, while pulling out my once-white-but-now-mostly-brown t-shirt, from under my sweatshirt. It already has a rip in it from I don't-remember-what, so I use that and widen it with the blade until I have a piece of cloth big enough to go around my finger, which immediately begins turning red.

Ignoring both of these unprepared men, I walk over to Jerry's truck where I know I saw electrical tape. I find it, and using my four good fingers and my right hand, manage to tape this piece of rag to my finger and stop the flow of blood a la tourniquet style.

That done, I put my glove back on and go back to loading the trailer. And then the other pickup truck. We work for another hour and a half like nothing even happened to me. (Oooh! I am SO tough! Take that mine effeminate accusers!)

The whole drive home (I'm a rig driver now, don't forget) I've got my ipod blasting and my finger is alternating between being so numb I think it's not there and throbbing so badly I think I'm dying. Love it.

When we get back to the lodge, I insist on helping unload all this wood we've just cut and hauled, but Doctor Ron forces me inside to see to my wound. I gingerly unwrap it, and put it under cold water to make sure there's no dirt or anything in it. WOW DID THAT HURT. I mean, just intense, biting pain, from WATER. YEOUCH!

Then I pour myself a bowl of Hydrogen Peroxide, and that hurts too, but at least it's not gushing blood anymore, right? I think maybe, probbly, I need stitches. Ron is taking forever to get in here to declare whether or not we are taking a trip to the hospital for some sewing so I sit down at the counter and lay my head down on my sleeve for a moment's respite.

Only God isn't done laughing at me just yet. I lay my head in the crook of my elbow on my sweatshirt, and right exactly in the very one spot I lay my head there happens to be tree sap. Which gets on my eye. And now I can't open it! I have a bleeding, almost severed finger here and now I can't see!!! WHOSE IDEA OF FUNNY IS THIS? So I'm trying to wipe it off with a rag and water, while not spilling my hydrogen peroxide and getting blood everywhere else... *uber le sigh* I mean this is like a scene you couldn't get on America's Funniest Home Videos if you tried. It's just that awesomely hilarious (except the part where I'm not laughing cuz this is happening to me).

Finally, I get the sap off to where I can open my eye again, Ron comes and he says he doesn't think I need stitches (I think he was lying). I wrap it in a band-aid, and then after the first day refuse all counsel from him to leave it wrapped and let it get as much air as it can. After three tedious days, it heals enough to where I don't worry about it anymore, and after like a week, it's back to normal.

A dirty t-shirt and electric tape people. That's just classic.

Those of you who read my uber long update (either in its original email format or the revised, pilfered version here) will know that woodgetting always seem to carry with it an edge of adventure. Danger. Something insane happening. (And that's also what I'm deeming "Adventures in Woodgetting - Part 1" for those of you who are confused).

My co-worker always knows whenever we go up, that when we come back down there will be a story to tell. Sometimes, though, I wish there wasn't.

Chapter 2, addendum 1: Super Strength
(excerpt from the last recorded woodgetting when it was super storming)

The rain finally abates and we've filled the pickups and are ready to fill the trailer. Ron asks me to go up the hill and get the trailer, but make sure I turn it around by hand. I was super confused by this comment since Tobias and I already had it facing the right way.

So I go up the hill, lift up the trailer with both arms, and proceed to march the thing 300 yards down to where the wood was. Ron and Tobias are just staring at me.

Me: "What?"
Ron: "I meant go get it with the jeep..."

Sigh. Now he clarifies. I just lugged that thing all that way, and NOW I'm supposed to use the jeep. *shakes head*

Chapter 3: Pshhhhhh!
(Some of you have already read this one in its original format on gchat. This is new and improved version).

So we're getting wood this morning and ron sends me up the hill where we left the trailer to bring it down. I make sure he wants me to use the jeep this time, so we don't repeat last time. He does. So I'm coming back down, trying to be really careful because the last thing I need is something to go wrong...

Well, I'm lining up on the left side with the wood, so it's easier to load it in the back, and while I'm doing that, I forget to check on my right since there's just mountain there. All of a sudden I hear, "Cachunk. PSsssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..."

I'm like oh bleep! I throw the jeep in park, jump out, and run over to the other side. The can of tools got crunched, there are screwdrivers sticking out the sides every which way and the whole thing is just lodged IN THE TIRE. O_O You gotta be freaking kidding me?! So I grab the can and yank it off, toss it aside and run down to where Ron is sawing away to tell him I made a "boo boo." After that I run back up and sit down by the tire, and put my fingers over the hole to keep it from deflating. I mean, we are in the mountains here people. The nearest fix-it shop is what, 2 hours drive, minimum?

But Ron is down there on a roll cutting. He told me later he didn't even think about the tire, he was just glad I was okay. He kept glancing over so I figured he was aware of the pressing situation, but no. He remarked later that he knew I had punctured it, but it was really okay. I didn't have to be sitting over by the jeep mourning the thing. It really wasn't that grave. Little did he know, my fingers are over there aching, and I keep switching them, but this tire hurts! Hurry up man!

After like 10 minutes he finally comes over, and remembers, oh yeah, maybe we can fix that! X_x So he unhitches the trailer (without bothering to tell me, or set it up on the log like he's supposed to, just unhitches it) and gets out his patching kit.

Luckily, the puncture is on the edge of the tread and the side, but more on the tread, so the tire is salvagable. Yes! As he's bending down to plug it, he tells me: "You remember the other week we were in Boise at that tool shop?"

Me: "Yeah."

Ron: "I just bought this there. I was looking at it on the shelf, and I grabbed it, thinking I could use it, but then decided I didn't really need it, so I put it back. Then I hear this voice saying, 'No, Ron. You better get that.'"

What I hear: "Ron, this is the Spirit. I have a message for you. In about a week, David is going to stab a hole in your tire with a crushed can of tools and a screwdriver. You better get that repair kit."
*le sigh*

After he patches it, he goes back to cutting, and I go back to loading. Only, wait. Remember the trailer was unhitched? Agh. So now I have a trailer filled with a cord and a half of lumber that isn't hooked to anything, and the front end is buried in the dirt. Awesome. That was fun getting back on the hitch.

More soon...

This post is by no means a complaint. In any way, shape, or form. It's actually more prideful than anything else, but what else is new? :P

So, for years now I have had the excellent fortune to be believed to be younger than I actually am. I have always loved/enjoyed/gloated over this. But recently, my deviant age has reached new heights.


Incident #1: Cascade Public Library
Being that I am now a resident of Idaho, I needed to re-register to vote, which was fine with me (since I moved from a state where my vote didn't count to a state where...my vote didn't count). Anyway, I went to the library to print off the form at the beginning of October. The following conversation ensued:

Me: "Hi, I need to print something real quick. Just one page."
Library Lady: "Okay, that's fine. It's just 15 cents. Do you have a user agreement?"
Me: "Um, no I don't think so. Was I supposed to sign that when I got my library card?"
Library Lady: "No, your parents fill it out."
Me: *really quizzical look*
Library Lady: *catching on* "Wait, how old are you?"
Me: *deadpan* "TWENTY-FIVE."
Library Lady: *attempting badly to hide her astonishment* "Oh. In that case, you don't need one."
Me: "Yeah. *pause* I didn't think so."


Incident #2: Bungle of the Innocent Diner
This morning two guests were having a late breakfast and I was just hanging out behind the counter, and the woman decided to make idle chit-chat with me. The following hilarity ensued:

Lady: "So, do you live nearby?"
Me: "Yes. I live upstairs."
Lady: "Oh, that's quaint."
Me: "Yeah, it's pretty neat."
Lady: "So then you go to school in Cascade?"
Me: *pausing to think* [For those of you who don't know Cascade (which is all of you) it has 997 people. Suuuuuper small. It has one school. Just one. K-12. So clearly she was referring to me being in High School]. "Uh, no."
Lady: *surprised look*
Me: "I just graduated." *long, dramatic pause* "From COLLEGE."
Lady: "Oh!"

Yeah, oh.

When I was 21 and got 18, or when I was 18 and got 16, it was all good. But seriously! These people think I am 7 years younger than I really am.


Again, there is not even a hint of a complaint here. I'm just saying...

...that's pretty freaking ridiculous.

I have the best boyish good looks ever!

Okay so very recently I've been called to teach at my church. Primary. LOL I have a class with a 9-yr. old, five 10-yr. olds, and an 11-yr. old. Eesh. So some of my blogs will be about the random/funny things they say. Because, they're kids, people. And kids are freaking hilarious.

Episode 1: Life Goal

I want our class to be as fun as possible. I mean, kids love having fun! So I wanted to take a few minutes and get to know the kids a little better in order to cater the class more specifically to their likes and wants. So I made up this little questionnaire I had them fill out with questions like, "Favorite Color," "Something you're afraid of," "Favorite scripture story," "A game you'd love to play in class," etc.

So they are penciling away at these things and I'm writing my own on the chalkboard so they know me. Well the 9-year old looks up and raises her hand.

Me: "Yes?"

Her: "I don't know what to put for this one."

Me: "Which one?"

Her:"What I'm going to be when I grow up."

Me: "You don't know what you want to be when you're older? Like a Fireman? Or a Police officer? A surgeon? Something like that?"

Her: "Excuse me. But I'm only 9. I've got my whole life still to figure this out. Why would I have already thought about it? I mean... you really want me to make a decision like this right now in like 10 seconds? I just don't think I can do that. I need to at least finish high school I think..."

Me: O_O

So apparently the up-and-coming generation has not decided at age 5 what they want to be when they grow up... I was a little...surprised...to say the least. Oh man. This class is going to be GREAT.

***Origination date: Wednesday September 24th***

Dear [insert your name here to make this a special, personalized message just for you and only you],

The time has come for a lengthy, long overdue update of zee life of SpAz.

Rewind to April 08. Finally done with BYU. Finally done with school. Let the celebration abound! My pops and littlest bro Ryan came out to the party, as well as many of my extended family members (two of my cousins were graduating also). We had a shindig at my house (thanks to everyone that came) and I settled into life after graduation in p-town. Wasn’t much different than before, except now the only thing I HAD to do was work. Which was fine. I increased my hours, got a raise, and started in full-time at the hotel. All was well and I was content to continue there indefinitely. Sometimes, however, it did get slightly tedious. I mean when you are working a 14-hr shift, there is only so much Disney’s Gummi Bears you can endure before it’s just detrimental to your health. I started exploring options and quickly had three offers, all in different parts of the U.S. Hmm. This resulted in some intense indecision, prayer, and musing. When I called my mom to see what she thought, I was delightedly surprised to learn she supported me having “fun” for summer. She’s always been kind of a stickler (love you to death mom!) about my priorities, keeping me in line and kicking me into gear, so I expected her to be like, ‘don’t be foolish, grad school now!’ but such was not the case. She said, “Are you kidding? You just graduated from college! You deserve a break.” Boy, was I glad she said that.

I made a decision, threw my junk into storage, and jumped on a plane. Headed back to the mission stomping grounds and an internship working with Turtle at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. And can we say posh? Company with a $9 billion endowment, super ritzy furniture and fittings, energy-efficient, “green” building, catered lunch 3x a week, and breakfast every day. Now THAT was a job!

To recap Cali , I’m just going to summarize because most of you have already experienced it in picture form (if you didn’t get my summer pics, tell me you want ‘em, and they are yours). The first month I worked in the IT department as an intern under the military-esque Kathy Nicholson (who is phenomenal despite her picking...I mean...assistance in my professional development. She even dresses quite fashionably. I was impressed *wink* and you know that means she has style). IT was bomb, especially my ladies (shout out to my BUDDY Lily, and of course, her partners in crime my Rena and Trinh!), and I worked on their Disaster Preparedness Plan so that when the earthquake hits, everyone will try and call me to figure out what to do... just kidding. That went really well, and I also went to Turtle’s house and hung out with her mom (and Hottie!) for 4th of July. We went camping in Santa Cruz , visited the Festival of Lanterns in Monterrey (both with Hottie!), and Turtle crashed her car. Oops. Don’t worry, she didn’t get hurt (except her pride). Just when it was winding down and I thought it was time to head off on the next adventure, Nancy (director of another department) called me and wanted to hire me for an extra month. (ooo! And a pay raise? Yes ma’am!) So I moved over to Facilities, got an office (and a raise) and started hacking away at their manuals. I rewrote their new hire manual, phone manual, made an orientation guide, did picture instructions of how to shut off anything vital to the building’s survival , and a number of other projects. Basically I got paid to do what I do anyway, write and edit. It just wasn’t *quite* as creative as I’m used to, but it was okay. On the off-hours, I addicted Turtle to HEROES (omg! Wasn’t the season 3 premiere insane?! Anyone who is not a fan of this show is missing out BIG TIME! I don’t even have a tv and I watched it, and boy was I glad I did. The 17-mile drive just to borrow a tv was 1000% worth it... I’m getting ahead of myself...), and then we settled into the Olympics. Because Olympics people. They are freaking amazing (although I wasn’t that excited about Michael Phelps – which is why Bucket hates me now and she won’t talk to me anymore... sadness). We watched so much Olympics that I –warning: blasphemy—got sick of them. So we stopped watching the last couple of days and I rediscovered my obsession with jigsaw puzzles (could the fact that I’m so freaking good at them have something to do with that? Ask Turtle just *how* good I really am J), and tried to teach Turtle tennis. I won’t go into details on that one. Turtle went on vacation with her mom and I spent my last three days by my lonesome, and hung out with Turtle’s landlady Kerry instead. Meh, it was fine with me. Hottie came down with DNAQ my second to last night there and we ate out (Seafood!) and then went into town to watch the night life (wow, there are stories behind those two simple words :P).

Turtle’s friend whose name I can’t remember totally picked me up at 4am for my flight (and then wouldn’t take my money... I think I made her keep it anyway!) and I was off. Got on a plane to SLC, rented a car (upgraded it too, which was REALLY REALLY smart on my part), drove to the storage unit, cleaned everything out, stuffed it in my car, drove up the canyon for breakfast with Meggers and BeGed, and then headed off on my adventure.

A 6 hour drive later (that only took me 4... and I didn’t speed *crosses heart* promise!), I was in Idaho . Yes, I said Idaho . *throws up hands* Hey! Hey! Hey! Now before you all freak out, let me explain myself. I agree, Idaho goes against every moral principle I have in my body, but the job is worth it and has mega crazy perks. I wanted adventure, and that’s what I’m getting. I was going to be working with my Great-Uncle Ron (brother of my Gramma) at a lodge he owns. First night I was going to stay in Boise with his daughter Kayla. She showed up in a mini-van, packed with 4 kids. Me: “Umm, there is no way we are getting all THIS in THAT.” Kayla: *shakes head* “You know nothing of being a Mom [Translation: I clearly come equipped with abilities and powers that the greatest of men only dream about, that are beyond your comprehension.] She totally did it. We got ALL my stuff to fit in her van with her and her 4 kids, and me. It was INSANE and I still have no idea how she pulled it off. First stop was the swimming pool where I had my first first of many firsts (why I came). 9-year old Parker wanted to play catch in the water, so I obliged him...and actually threw a football. Crazy. Spent the night there, then went to church with the family. Kayla’s husband had to work, so he couldn’t come. In Sacrament, Porter (the 18month old baby) started fussing, so she went out, leaving me with the 9, 7, and 4 year olds. Parker (9) had a sparkly gem he’d found, and he did a magic trick to the 4-year old where he pulled it out of the kid’s ear. Carter (4) then of course thought the gem should be his, it came out his ear after all. Parker wouldn’t give it to him, and they got in a fight right there in the middle of the meeting. I’m trying to pull them apart and telling them to shush and not fight and it’s just all kinds of awkward...these aren’t even my children! AGH. After Sacrament Kayla had to do her calling, Primary Chorister, which is a lot of Primary. She put me in charge of the baby while she led the singing. Well, that kid hated being separated from his mom, so everytime he’d scream and I’d take him out in the hall and he’d squirm, and push away, and just cry and cry. SIGH. But I was undaunted. I started bouncing his feet off the walls, and let him smack hangars, and eventually distracted him enough to get him quiet. And finally, after like more than an hour, the kid fell asleep. 18-month olds are kinda heavy!

After church, Ron’s wife came down to get me and take me up to my new house. Only half my stuff would fit in her car though...gah. An hour and a half drive later up the canyon and we had arrived. Cougar Mountain Lodge in Smith’s Ferry, Idaho . Google it dude. MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. I met Kelsey, Ron’s oldest daughter, and her three teenage daughters, as well as Tobias, Ron’s youngest son (who I met in 06 at the Lundquist Reunion; he was our river rafting guide and pushed me in the water... I have it in my journal) who helped me move my stuff up to my room. Well, actually my room was apparently rented... so I had to stay in a “temp” room for the first week. Awesome... not.

That night I got my first taste of work... and washed dishes. No, no, no. This is NOT what I signed up for, this was NOT in my job description, I am so much better than this. I had a chat with Kelsey about it, and then another one with Ron. I was not going to be staying long if I was going to be washing dishes. Nu-uh! After we closed, I was finishing cleaning, and was putting away one last thing when I bumped a box and it fell to the floor. Full of wine glasses. Which shattered everywhere. SIGH. Awesome...

After work the first night, Kelsey and I were hanging out in my room talking about literature and books, and then in the hallway I saw something go by. I moved back a little, and whispered, “Kelsey, something just flew by.” She said, “Shut up! You’re kidding, right?” Dear me, how I wish I had been. Nope, it flew by again, and Kelsey totally freaked, which only added to my panic. Oh yeah, forgot to mention. It was a BAT. A creepy, flying BAT. It flew into the room across the hall and we shut the door, and then Kelsey headed downstairs to get the bat catching net. After she went down, I realized there was ANOTHER bat hanging on the wall at the top of the stairs, and I refused to go down. Kelsey was even more freaked out now that she had walked by one. She gave me the net and told me to cover the bat, and then slide a piece of cardboard underneath it so it would be trapped in the net. Well, I tried, but where it was on the wall I couldn’t get the cardboard in because there wasn’t enough space. I moved the net and it came off onto it, but wasn’t inside. Me: “I...I got it! But it’s not in the net.” Kelsey: “What? It’s not in the net! What are you doing? Get it in the net!” Me: “I can’t! It’s just like hanging on the side! I’m coming down!” *moving down the stairs* Kelsey: “What?! No! Don’t come down here with it not in the net!” *runs* Me: “Open the door, quick! It’s going to fly any second!” R O F L It was one for the comedy history books my friends. We were both freaking out and both screeching and it was insanity. Then part 2. The trapped bat. We cracked the door open and ducked, the bat flying around in circles. As soon as it landed, I tried to be brave and went inside the room. Just as I was getting close with the net, it came off the wall and started flying again and I dove to the floor in a panic. Kelsey wouldn’t even come in the room. This approach, bat flies, I hit the floor, happened probably four more times, before the bat went behind the mirror. I called Kelsey in and she was like, “where did it go?” I pointed to the mirror and she could not believe the thing could fit behind it and was now freaked about how many times she and her kids had stayed in that room and not known that. We spent about ten minutes continuing to freak out, poke with a stick, use a flashlight, and move the net at the top of the mirror trying to get the bat to come out. Finally it came out, and Kelsey missed it with the net, and it flew AT ME! I screamed, and dove under the table, and it FOLLOWED ME! I swore numerous obscenities and screamed bloody murder like a schoolgirl thinking this bat is going to eat my face. It swerved at the last moment and went back out into the room. Kelsey lunged with the net, and missed a couple of times, then finally caught the bat on the edge of the net, and sent it flying like a baseball. It landed on the bed on top of my cell phone, stunned and we caught it. Kelsey almost LITERALLY peed her pants watching me dive under the table and swear. Catching bats was quite an experience. And funnier than the Sarah Palin/Hilary Clinton SNL skit. Yeesh. Determined not to be a schoolgirl with bats, the next day I purposely went into the attic to see the hundreds of bats living there. Since then, I’ve mastered my fear, and can now catch bats in mid-air without even thinking about it. I also caught one in my hands (I was wearing gloves! Rabies = BAD). But those first two bats will always be remembered, rofl.

Next day was Labor Day and Tobias and I ran the floor. Remember the part where I’ve never been a waiter before? I was nervous out of my brain carrying those first cups of coffee. And what part of you-forgot-to-train-me was I not clear about? I mean at the HF I got trained how to use my telephone THREE times! Here they just push you in the water to make you swim. Eek! We were SLAMMED! At one point we had all 70 tables filled. Well, being the energetic, multi-tasking extraordinaire, I quickly shifted into the zaniness of waiting tables. I was soon carrying five drinks in just my two hands, wielding four dinners at one time, and whipping out tabs like bullets out of a machine gun. That was fun times. I worked 7am-7pm that day. Next morning while waiting for Ron I took a walk to explore exactly where I live. It’s a lodge with a restaurant and store in the bottom, and 7 rooms upstairs. After like one day, I moved into the room across the hall from where I originally was. I didn’t want to wait a week to move in. This room had carpet, and a closet. And I need a closet. Another reason I chose the room is because it’s on the backside of the lodge, which means it’s away from the highway (which is right outside). The room Ron’d originally saved for me was on the end of the lodge and again, by the highway. No thanks. I need quiet to sleep. So I got the only room away from the highway and not on an end. Behind the lodge is a river, with a bridge, and on the other side there’s a lake and some railroad tracks. At night, there is only one light in any direction (across the river) so the stargazing is just about as good as it gets. The closest town (population 997) is 17 miles away. To get to the city ( Boise ) it’s an hour and a half drive one way.

After a nap, Ron finally showed up and decided we were going to Boise . I hopped in the Jeep with him and away we went. I got to know him a little more and he told me some pretty incredible stories about his experiences with search & rescue. He’s saved so many lives, and the stories are just indescribable with superlative exclamations. While we were down there we got me a dresser, and I got a pair of shoes to wear in the greasy kitchen. We went food shopping and Ron wanted me to get some TP for the lodge. I priced everything, and found the one I wanted. But when I pulled it out, the box on top fell off...on top of me. I just stood there, feeling totally embarrassed. UGH. The ladies walking by didn’t help either. One bent down and picked up one of the spilled packages – “don’t worry about this one. I’ll just take it. You made up my mind for me! Thank you.” I wanted to melt into a puddle and trickle away.

Wednesday I started putting together my room a little bit more. Took out the second bed, moved the table and chairs, and put in my dresser. A place for my clothes (that don’t hang up). That night was the “local” special night, which meant everyone came in and ate for less. Which meant we were slammed. Reme said she’s bus tables and wash dishes if I’d just serve and wait the tables. Yeah, she just washed. And barely that. I busted my butt, but got really good tips so it worked out okay. Boy, was I tired though!

That Saturday Tobias borrowed some jet skis from a friend and we hit the lake for a couple of hours. This was my second time ever jet skiing. Last time I got the hang of the craft and starting learning how to jump. This time I perfected the jump and learned how to jump while turning, which was pretty cool. On Sunday I was off, and got a ride to church. Cascade has a tiny little branch, yes I said branch. They were excited to have me, but asked if I had the priesthood. No, I’m only 11...? Come on peeps. Uh, I’m an elder? “Did you serve a mission?” No, I’m only 18? X_x It was just incredible. Monday I went down to Boise with Ron and bought a snowboard and bindings, plus new boots, coat, and pants all for $300 which is a steal considering all that usually costs around $1000. Thanks cousin Travis! I interneted since I have things that must be done, and we didn’t have any at the lodge. When I got back up Tuesday, they were supposed to install it, but didn’t show up. Stupid!

Thursday Ron took me for my baptism of wood chopping. We went up an active logging road which was pretty cool to see, (and Ron insisted on making sure I knew that they were not deforesting the place, but actually contributing to the health of the forest in their work). We went really far up to the tippy top and then Ron and his friend Jerry busted out the chain saws. Eeek! Those things are dangerous! Ron wanted me to use one and I told him he was crazy. No way I was touching something that could hack my limbs off in less than 5 seconds. So first I got to push on the tree while he buzzed it down. Watching a tree fall (don’t worry you Berkeley tree-hugger environmentalists, these trees were all already dead), was pretty cool. Ron taught me how to use the chain saw, and made me try it. I was so scared, but thankfully didn’t injure myself )although there is a very interesting cut on my jeans that looks like a chainsaw did it... though it didn’t go through my pocket or anything underneath, like my underroos or skin, thank goodness. I also got to use an axe to trim the branches, which I was much more comfortable doing, and did do the majority of the time. We loaded it all in Jerry’s truck and went back down. I was, according to Turtle, turning into a real life wilderness mountain man.

The internet people finally came on Friday. Bout’ frickin’ time. After 12 days, I had the internet. Yes. I mean I do everything on here. Pay bills, watch my bank account, run writing groups, organize and keep track of my life, journal/blog...everything. I was just getting cracking at my behind-pile when Ron came in. “I need you downstairs in half-an-hour, then we are going camping.” Seriously? Can we plan these things before they just happen please? AGH. So I went downstairs and we started prepping, and loading to work the train. On the weekends, we take our restaurant out to the world in the form of a catering company, and serve food on a train that does a scenic drive down from Cascade to Smith’s Ferry and back. When we were setting up, the evening’s entertainment said to me, “I haven’t seen you before. Are you new or with the catering?” I didn’t know at that point that we were supposedly a legit catering company, so I said I was new and quickly got corrected. Oops. Serving on the train wasn’t nearly as hard as I’d imagined it would be. Far easier than serving at the Lodge, that’s for sure. On the trip back, when we were cleaning up, Ron took me to the front of the train and the engineer showed me all the switches and what not, then I sat up there to enjoy the ride. It was cooling riding in the very front. (NOTE: This next section is a SECRET and for all governmental and railroad safety procedure checker people did not in fact happen). After asking a number of questions about trains and the engineer’s experience (like the fact that you need 180+ hours of class before you’re allowed to drive), the engineer (who happened to be the husband of one of the people I work with) leaned over and said, “You wanna drive it?” O_O Are you joking? He wasn’t. So I slid into the driver’s seat, and he coached me over my shoulder. I got to speed up and slow down, control the bell, and blow the whistle at the crossings! It was sooooo cool! Then when we were going, I saw something on the track in front of us. What’s that? A cow! Kenny said, “Interesting. Okay, well why don’t you...” Me: “No! Why don’t YOU! It’s your job! I’m not driving when I’m going to hit a cow!” We switched seats, and he took care of the cow, though I thought for sure we were going to hit it. Then I drove some more until right before we got back into town. That was a pretty incredible experience and I made sure to extra thank the Kenny for letting me drive.

After that, we got in the car and drove up to Clear Creek to camp out. Kayla and co. were there as well as this other guy David, his wife, and their 3 little ones. We chilled out at the campfire and then they all went to the campers. Campers, people? Yeah, I’m used to Escalante, throw the bag down and make a night out of it. I was all intent on doing that too, but they wouldn’t let me because they were afraid I’d get mauled by a bear. Lame. So I had to sleep in a camper. We watched Minority Report while we fell asleep, since the camper had a generator. *shakes head* That just is NOT camping people. Next day we left in the morning to go to Church, and I just changed out of my grub clothes in the church restroom, and still smelled like campfire in my tie. After services, we went back to the camping. One of other David’s children, Calvin (4), wanted to help me unload the jeep, so I obliged him. “We can be friends right?” He asked me. “Sure thing,” I replied. After we were done unloading, I said, “Okay, you go play over by the fire and the creek for a minute, and I’m going to go change. Then I’ll come and play with you,” thinking that the kid would listen and go off. But as I started to walk away, the kid replied, “Oh, don’t you know? It’s okay. Boys can watch boys.” O_O Eep! Uhh.... I think the kid’s parents would have a little bit of a problem with that one. I tried to think of everything I could to get rid of the little rascal so I could get out of my nice pants and tie, but he insisted on waiting outside the camper. So I just organized my stuff, and decided not to change. Sigh. What to do? Kayla came over and saved me, not even knowing she was doing it, and took Calvin away. I changed and then went to play in the creek and hang out with the kiddies. Ron and Jason (Kayla’s husband), and David were off finding logs to build a rope swing. Ridir (Kayla’s 7-year old) was playing in the creek so I went to see what he was doing. The water was freezing! I don’t know how the kid could be in there without getting hypothermia! I relocated to the campfire where Kayla was chatting it up with other David’s wife (whose name I forget). We chatted and just shot the breeze (and I related the Calvin story, thanking Kayla for saving me) which launched an interesting and in my opinion, somewhat prejudiced discussion about boundaries and protection and child predators. Maybe I don’t have kids yet so my opinion is not yet biased? The menfolk came back and tied some logs together then wanted Kayla across the creek to hoist it up vertical so they could hang the swing. Yeah right. I got enlisted to help also which resulted in some serious rope lacerations on my part since no one thought of giving me gloves and Kayla was basically falling in the creek as it was. But we got it up and they got the rope over and tied off and put a log on so the kids had their swing. Ron tested it first and ended up in the water, the rope had that much give. Oops. They re-tied it and then the kids had a blast swinging. Dinner, a round of Frisbee golf, and then I spent some time talking to the rents. That night, while Ron watched the rest of Minority Report I had a phone convo with Turtle under my pillow and in my sleeping bag so I wouldn’t bother Ron.

Next morning we were up bright and early so Ron could cook at the lodge. Since he was going back anyway, I went too, so I could internet and start getting caught up on my backlog and make sure my groups were not completely dead. We closed down early around 5 and went back to the campground. More fire, more playing, more Frisbee golf, and more chilling. Good times. Next morning I was supposed to work, covering for Reme (even though no one told me) and Ron tried to whole night to get KC to work for me, with no luck. When I made a comment about his snoring, he went off about me talking in my sleep. LOL He thought when I was talking to Turtle that I was asleep and having an imaginary convo with her. No, it was real my friend; it was real. That night we watched The War before bed. And up at 6am again so we could have me to work by 7am. Ugh. I was pretty much dead on my feet now that I’d been camping four days and Ron’s snoring hadn’t been a very productive addition to my already nigh-inability to sleep. Ron promised it would only be a half day and I’d be done at 1pm, but no one came. Ugh. He came back at 3pm and saw that I was dying, and sent me to my room for a nap. Mmm. Two hours later I felt much better and worked till close. That night I did more catchup on my internet-dependent projects (I’ve now worked up a TO DO List, maybe my first ever, that is set on getting me WRITING again. *crosses fingers* Also, number 9 on the list is join Facebook, so all of you want me very much to get to the bottom of this list!), and same thing the next day. I worked that night as it was Wed Special and we were gonna be slammed as usual.

Friday I spent the day in town. Po-dunk tiny Cascade Idaho. I got my meds filled, applied for a driver’s license (since Florida is ready to issue a warrant for my arrest for not going to jury duty 3x), and tried to get a library card. When I told them where I lived, they wanted to charge me $45/yr since I lived outside the city. What the NO? I went back a few hours later with my receipt for my DL listing my uncle’s house in the city. The library lady was a little suspicious, but I talked her out of her suspicion, and they gave me my card. Too bad they only had like 50 books, ne? LOL So I reserved a couple and took a couple. M e h. The town was pretty much lame and boring. Nothing to do. When I was in one of the stores, a lady working in floral said hi to me and used my name which hecka freaked me out, till I realized she was one of the ward members who interestingly remembered my name. lol That night I went to work the American Legion catering, then dipped out an hour later to go to a baptism at the branch.

Next day Tobias was up and Ron and Jerry took us up to chop wood. Too bad it was storming. We were soaked in like two minutes flat. Ron thought the rain would let up, but we knew it wouldn’t Rain was the forecast for the day. So we got out and just went to work. By the end we were all just covered in mud and dirt, and wet, wet, wet. And we hadn’t just brought a pickup that time. We brought two, AND a trailer. Whose idea was this? When we were ready for the trailer, Ron told me to go get it, and turn it around by hand. I didn’t understand what he meant, since the trailer was already facing this way (he didn’t know that), so I went and got it myself. The trailer is pretty dang heavy, but I can lift it and turn it around when it’s empty. Well, this time I lifted it and then pulled it –by myself- 300 yards down the muddy hill to where we were loading. Tobias called me a showoff, and Ron just shook his head. He’d meant go get it in the jeep, but turn it by hand so it faced the right way. Oh. Well. Whatever, I thought it was amazing, and thus that *I* was amazing. Yeah, ps to everyone. When you see me again, I will most likely have muscles that I didn’t before. I’ve also gone quite a few rounds chopping the logs we’ve cut into kindling for our fireplace. Not to mention all the heavy lifting I’ve been doing. As soon as we put in the last piece of wood it stopped raining. AGH. *shakes fist at nature*As we slogged down the mountain, trying not to get stuck in the mud, the sun had the audacity to come out. Seriously? Absolutely dirty and soaked, we got back to the lodge, then had to unload everything we’d cut. Ron sent me inside to wash up and come to work so KC could go home. I complied, but did not go to work. There were 3 people on already, and they did not need me. After a few hours, we had to set up for the train again. This one was supposed to be fireside, so they were going to eat here. We set everything up, and then the rain returned. So we had to remove everything inside. Then the stupid train people oversold the train and didn’t tell us. “33,” they said. Yeah, that was NOT 33 people. More like 56 my friends. They are just [expletive] we had enough food. But we were all upset, and I worked so hard to feed them and bus their dishes. After all was said and done, Tobias and I split out to go to the movies again, leaving the two teenager employees who don’t every work, and when they do, just complain about it, to clean up the rest.

And that’s going to be about it for this edition. Told ya it’d be long :P Thanks for reading this far, if you have. Work is pretty good, I mainly wait tables and serve on the train. There are other projects involved (like the 6 hours I put into reorganizing the basement), but I’m okay with it. The adventures are far outweighing the menial labor. Jet skiing, riding an ATV, offroading in a jeep, camping, driving a train, using an axe and a chain saw, catching bats. It’s all stuff I never imagined being a part of my life. And as long as I have the internet, I’m happy and don’t mind living in the middle of absolute nowhere. Feel free to call me (although my service is really crappy here), or email back. I’d love to hear how your life is, and what adventures you’d found lately. Even better, you could come visit me! That would be amazing!

I’m pretty much having a blast, growing out my hair (it’s down to my chin and easily goes into a ponytail now!), and just enjoying life after college. More firsts are in the works, and I’ll be doing trade shows soon as well, which means I’ll get to travel. Mmm, travel.



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