"Forgive me Father..."
"...for I have sinned."

And gravely so. True Confession of my soul:

10. Remember that one time when I was Addicted?

Well. I was going on this trip to see my sister (I'll blog all the deets about that. Promise!), and knew that based on how things would go my family would leave and I'd still be sitting at the airport in St. Louis. For like 3 hours. Le sigh. And they don't ascribe to the whole "free internet" thing the rest of the world kindly does.

So I knew I was going to be: BORED. And I didn't want to read... because that's what I do on planes. And with 6 hours of flying ahead of me... no reading.

So I maybe splurged right before I left and got the Second one! *SQUEE* It totally came out this summer, but only on the DS, so I was safe.

But recently, my good friends over at Steam got it.

And then I bought it.

And now...

I may not be blogging for a while. SUPER SORRY!!! It's. Just. So. Friggin'. Addicting. SAVE ME?!

There's so much to catch up on! I've been seeing movies, reading books, living love, etc., etc., etc! Keep an eye out for posts soon on the Summer of '10, Into the Now circa 2010, and others.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief - Grade: C. Eh. The book was better. But isn't it always? *le sigh* They did cool things, not all the actors sucked; I enjoyed myself.

Letters to Juliet - Grade: A-. This movie was cute. I like that she's getting away from role in Mean Girls, though let's be honest, I struggled sometimes to keep that image of her out of my mind. But she's not a bad actress. The storyline was very heartfelt, and I liked this movie. Would I see it again? Hrmmm, dunno. But once was okay.

How to Train your Dragon - Grade: A+. This was a wonderful movie. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Laughed, may or may not have cried, really got emotionally involved. This movie was simply wonderful.

The Last Airbender
- Grade: F. F is for Fail. This movie was AWFUL. Horrible. A complete disappointment and thoroughly, thoroughly upsetting. As an avid lover of the cartoon series, I was hopeful. It's not a book, so they can hopefully get it right. The previews were breathtaking and really exciting. And then... No. *shakes head* IT was my man M. Night too, so I was super looking forward to this movie. I mean, how much did I LOVE Lady in the Water? In a movie where you mispronounce the main character's name from the get-go, you know it's going to be bad. Katara was too wimpy, and cry-babyish, and Sokka?! I mean, could they have been any more OFF? Ruined. Just ruined. The only characters they got RIGHT were Momo and Appa. Oh wait, that's because they are played by the same person in both the animated and live action. Figures. Yeah, HATRED for this movie.

House of Wax
- Grade: C-. Ew. This movie was gross. I'm not a big fan of horror, but this movie was on tv and caught my eye. But then it was gross too. Blood and fingers being cut off and what not. And then the storyline was just stupid. Like really? That's... that's the basis for the premise. Boo. Be a little more creative next time.

The Goonies!!! - Grade: A+. How can you NOT love this movie!? CLASSIC!!! "Heyyyyy youuuu guuuuuuys!" Turtle had never seen it, can you believe?! She lived under a rock when she was little. Serious. Such a great adventure movie. Indiana Jones for kids.

District 9 - Grade: A. What a heavy-hitting movie! Definitely wasn't expecting that. Was thinking something Independence Day-ish, and instead got this confrontation of social and racial issues now facing us shrouding in "aliens." Such a good movie (Turtle cried!) lol. I'd recommend everyone see this at least once.

Ponyo - Grade: B-. Meh. As always, the cinematography was breath-taking. Just gorgeous. Wasn't a big fan of the storyline though. Miyazaki has much better films than this one; which was kind of disappointing since it was "his last." I guess I'll console myself in the fact that his son is off to a brilliant start.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
- Grade: A. Not going to lie, I was nervous about seeing this movie. I'm not the biggest Michael Cera fan; the type of movies he's in aren't the kind of movie I particularly enjoy. Most times I think the humor is crude, the storyline overly weak, and... I'd just rather not. I was quaintly surprised. This movie taped into everything I embody as a Classic Gamer. Any of you who were gamers back in the day - original mario and zelda for the nintendo - should definitely give this movie your investment. You'll be pleasantly pleased.

Predators - Grade: B. We all know I'm a huge Aliens v. Predators fan, even though the 2nd one sucked. So when I saw a new one was out, I wanted to go see it. When it came to the Dollar Theatre, I made the trip. It was worth a dollar. The last person I thought would see the movie went with me. Turtle. Way to break out of your shell girl! She thought the movie was super gross and bloody and repeatedly squealed, which made it all the more exciting for me. :) It was a decent storyline, especially the twist. Pretty good.

The Road - Grade: A-. One of the better book-to-movie adaptations. Well done, believable, heart-breaking. Turtle bawled. A very gritty story. I didn't have any problems with the actors either, and all the important book elements I felt were brought into the film.

Precious - Grade: A. Nominated for and winner of multiple awards; this movie caught my attention before I knew anything about it. The movie is not for the faint of heart, or anyone who has reservations about language or sexual content. The movie is openly raw and real, with some of the best acting and documentation of the real I've seen. I applaud this movie for its courage in bringing to light issues many turn their backs on in favor of ignorance.

Grave of the Fireflies
- Grade: D. The critical acclaim for this movie drew me to rent it. Roger Ebert claimed: "It belongs on any list of the greatest war movies ever made." Pretty lofty claim. It wasn't Miyazaki or his son, but I thought we'd give it a try. Result: Bleh. The movie was awful. The storyline was completely unnecessary and could have been averted at any point if the main character hadn't been so stubborn. Rather than highlighting the awfulness of war, it simply accented the stubbornness of a boy who ended up killing his sister because he was stupid and prideful. I wouldn't put this movie on any list of war movies.

Shelter - Grade: C. A lot of my friends talk about how this is their favorite "gay" themed movie. So I finally gave it a go. Blah. The storyline was flat, the characters transparent, and the steamier scenes weren't even scintillating. I wasn't impressed. Prayers for Bobby was 100x better.

Skeleton Key - Grade: A+. This one has been on my list for a long time. I'm not super into scary movies, but this one caught my eye and I wanted to see it. So glad I did. The movie has a twist in it that was super 6th Sense. Like you get to the end, *cue twist*, and you're left going WHOAAAAAAAAA. My brains are on the floor in a heap. Good times with this movie.

Invictus - Grade: C-. Eh. I'm not too into sports movies, but this won awards I guess, and had really good actors. And to top it off, the movie was completely anti-climactic. Which I guess if you're covering a "true" story, you can't stray too far from what really happened. But I was just waiting for the rally, the break-away, the heart-pounding rush of an exuberant win. And then it was just eh. Not such a fan.

The Blindside - Grade: A. This movie is everything people say it is. Heart-felt, powerful, hopeful, and inspiring. What a great mom. This is the kind of true story that SHOULD be a movie.

More on the way!

I have so much to be thankful for in my life it's hard to know where exactly I should start. I'm not going to cover everything by any stretch, but a montage nonetheless will be nice. :) I'll stick to 50.

I am thankful to be alive.
I am thankful to not know want.
I am thankful for my friends; you help keep me going.
I am thankful to have a wonderful job, and a stellar boss who is unbiased.
I am thankful for my family. Especially my imperfect parents.
I am thankful that my sister is doing so much better and will graduate soon.
I am thankful to have a warm bed, clothes, nice things, and food.
I am thankful I have the freedom to do what I want.
I am thankful for Veterans :P
I am thankful for Jessica. She will always be interconnected with my path.
I am thankful for struggle.
I am thankful for heartache.
I am thankful for difficulty.
I am thankful for suffering.
I am thankful for the opportunities I have to grow and better myself.
I am thankful for the support I receive.
I am thankful to not be alone.
I am thankful to know who I am.
I am thankful for HONESTY.
I am thankful for courage.
I am thankful to be gay.
I am thankful for my heart.
I am thankful for love which knows no bounds or discrimination.
I am thankful for elements.
I am thankful for great writers who can't help telling stories.
I am thankful for the internet, so I can blog this. :)
I am thankful for heat.
I am thankful to be able to walk, run, and swim.
I am thankful for (can't believe I'm saying this) Utah.
I am thankful for my friends (again).
I am thankful for late nights, good conversation, and memories.
I am so thankful for memories.
I am thankful for chapstick.
I am thankful for leaves.
I am thankful for belief, and its power.
I am thankful for human consciousness and interaction.
I am thankful for Cheese.
I am thankful for music, in all its varieties.
I am thankful for the ability to express myself, with emotion, poise, and dignity.
I am thankful for language and all its nuances (Wordsex!).
I am thankful for the role models, influences, and people who have helped me achieve so much and be where I am today.
I am thankful for my EU Ladies (LoLo, TikaRika, Brandiline, and KeriBeri)
I am thankful to not have debt.
I am thankful for organic food (bunnies!)
I am thankful for the power of literature in my life.
I am thankful for battery-powered lights so I can see in my dark closet.
I am thankful for faith and worship, in all their forms.
I am thankful for BOOTS. Especially new ones! Yay!
I am thankful for my siblings.
And I am thankful to be able to give thanks.

Happy Dia de Gracias everyone! Please remember how and why you are blessed, not just this day - but always. Muah.

This post has been in draft form since MARCH. LOL. So YAY for having INTERNET!!! Now I can blog. With vengeance. While I wasn't internetting, I *was* reading. So here come a slew of books, watch for another 11 very, very soon!

Naomi Novik's His Majesty's Dragon - Grade: B+. I enjoyed this book, though at times I had trouble getting through. Was definitely able to put this one down, unfortunately. But overall liked the characters and the plot.

Rick Riordan's The Titan's Curse (Book 3 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians) - Grade: A. Rick Riordan bounces back in the third book of his series. I had no trouble with this book, and may even have shed a tear or two. The characters are becoming more and more believable, and I think I love them. Nicely written.

Timothy Carter's EVIL? - Grade: A+. Not a sequel, or a series, but I read Epoch for Kerry when I was playing Intern. Epoch was a decent read, but EVIL? outdoes it by LEAPS AND BOUNDS. Hilariously brilliant, irreverent and ingenious all at once, this book had me in stitches. And it humorizes sensitive and otherwise untouchable-with-a-ten-foot-pole-by-conservatives subjects in a playful and appropriating way. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a little humor who doesn't mind talk of homosexuality and pubescent teenage boys' favorite solo activity ;)

Rick Riordan's The Battle of the Labyrinth (Book 4 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians) - Grade: A-. Riordan just can't seem to make up his mind, can he? Book 3 was wonderful, and this book was almost as good. However, I felt like in many places the vastness of the plot for this novel overwhelmed the great character interplay that I've come to enjoy throughout this series.

Rick Riordan's The Last Olympian (Book 5 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians) - Grade: A. Really? I'm at the end already? That's the whole series? I absolutely loved this one, and was so worried that the end of the series would flop or not wrap up wonderfully, but Riordan did not disappoint. He made the climactic final battle full of suspense, twists and turns, and poignantly dramatic as well. I'll confess to having tears at this one. But that's how a good series SHOULD be. I mean I've invested all this time in you that could have been spent... yeah, not going there... I should get a good payoff at the end, right? I think that's the least I can demand as a faithful reader.

Leah Cypress' Mistwood - Grade: B+. Yay! It's finally here! One of my editor friends from the NYC had this book in manuscript form the first time that I met her at WIFYR, and that was pretty much all she raved about. And now it's finally out in print. I don't think I've been this excited for a book since I read Homefree. And for a first-time novelist, Cypress doesn't do too shabby. The conflict definitely drives the plot, and the characters are beyond interesting. I thought much of the language structure was sort of geared more-for-kids, and wasn't all that elevated, but it's YA lit, so I guess I cut her some slack? Nah. I'd like to have seen a more-tightly written plot going to all the same places she did loosely.

Brian Jacques' The Sable Quean (Book 21 of the Redwall series) - Grade: B. I was at the library one day recently and on a whim checked to see if he had anything new. He did! I'm going to vote this one better than others (I'll put it on par with Doomwyte or High Rhulain) because it wasn't completely recycled like some of his others. It still felt kind of the same (I think the majority of them have this problem) though, so I wasn't completely giddy. I did read it all the way through the first time I got it though, which is rare with a Jacques book (long long airplane rides helped, I'm sure).

Clay Coleman's Stranded! (Book 1 in the Escape from Lost Island series) - Grade: B. I loved these books when I was little! With such fond memories I tracked down the series again to give them a read. They are super short, I can read one in a bout an hour... but they ARE made for 10-year olds, so...

Clay Coleman's Attack! (Book 2 in the Escape from Lost Island series) - Grade: B. I didn't remember these books being so gross! Brain matter on the beach, blood in the water, I must have been an icky 10-year old. LOL Anyway, these books are entertaining. The writing isn't the best, but again with the 10-year olds...

Clay Coleman's Mutiny! (Book 3 in the Escape from Lost Island series) - Grade: B. Mutiny! Betrayal! Will the boys survive?! So intense. There are some parts where the plot stretches, but... do I even need to say it?! :)

Clay Coleman's Discovered! (Book 4 in the Escape from Lost Island series) - Grade: B. I think this one's my favorite. They are all...okay. Don't know that they make top ten lists or when awards, but they aren't boring.

More books are coming!

July 13th. The date of my last post. 3 FREAKING MONTHS AGO!! Seriously. UGH. UGH. UGH.

This blog is not dead. I am not dead.

I simply do not, and have not had, internet at my place. That will soon be remedied and then - then I will return with a blogging vengeance. Prepare thineself.

Been kind of a dry spell for movies lately. This post originated back in August...2009. So it took me 11 months to see this round of 17 movies. Wow. That's kind of sad. That's like one a month. Blah.

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - Grade: B-. I won't lie, I haven't seen any of these. Movies like this fall in the senseless kid humor category where I put other shows and movies I think are inane, crass, or just plain stupid (my opinion of this). But the S kids put it on while I was "nannying," so I watched (while doing other things like playing on Facebook (of course!)). I will admit to actually laughing once or twice. But that's all I will admit.

Xmen - Grade: B-. I freaking LOVE Xmen, especially as a kid. From comics to cartoons to figurines, I was an Xmen addict. So you'll forgive if I was a little upset about them ruining many things. Granted there were cool things, and the special effects were everything, and I do love some Hugh Jackman, but still... there were problems. I only bothered to watch these again because Turtle hadn't seen them, nor had some of the S kids.

X2 - Grade: C. Meh. The 2nd movie didn't do much better than the first, though new characters are always fun. Not many more complaints than I had with the original.

Xmen: The Last Stand - Grade: F. Yup, straight up F. When these came out I was enjoying them so much that I was STOKED to see the 3rd one. I even got midnight tickets AND tickets for later opening day, that's how amazing it was going to be. And then it just sucked. And they ruined everything. And everything was wrong. And I hated it. And then I was just bitter and angry that I'd wasted money to see it again. I'll pretty much always hate this one because they've now marred some of my childhood. And I'm sure the trend will not end here. *shakes fist*

TRON - Grade: A. Who are you if you haven't seen this movie? (Then again, I don't have room to talk since I just BARELY saw Top Gun). Anyway Turtle hadn't, so one night we decided to educate her. I'm nervous about the remake, though now that I know it's like a sequel or second generation and not just a rehash of the original, I'm feeling much better. Like maybe I'll actually enjoy it when I see it, and not have that nerve-wracking feeling I've been akin to of late... I'll get to that further down on this list...

Monsters Vs. Aliens - Grade: A. Yeah, technically this is cheating because it was my 2nd time, but REALLY it means that you HAVE to see this if you haven't. Cuz it's just a riot.

Son of Rambow - Grade: A+. A-MAZING. I will unabashedly admit to having wanted to see this movie since I saw the trailer the first time. It's SO GOOD! Now we all know (especially if you've spent any time reading my reviews) that I am an ABSOLUTE MOVIE SNOB. I own like... 5 movies. 5, people. Well, make that 6. Because this movie has a home on my shelf. Which means that this is one of THE BEST movies I've EVER seen in my entire life. And so, you should probably own it too, if you don't already. Just a really, really great movie. The end.

Where The Wild Things Are - Grade: ?. I really don't know how I feel about this movie. I didn't when I saw it, immediately after, or now. I just... If Xmen was part of my childhood, this WAS my childhood. And I'm very protective of that. I just... part of me was like no, no, no, no. You took what the book represented and tried to add layer and depth and further meaning and you've RUINED everything. And then part of me is like whoa, you took what the book represented and tried to add layer and depth and further meaning and I think it's genius. The cinematography was absolutely breathtaking though. But I just can't decide on this one.

The Sum of All Fears - Grade: A+. Oldie, but a goodie. Loves it, I do. Turtle hadn't seen it, so I made her. Because blood! And explosions! And things she can't handle! YES!!! Yeah, this is a movie I own. Think about that.

2012 - Grade: D. This movie was a joke. The only thing that saved it from being a complete bomb (read: grade F) is that fact that the characters are emotionally convincing and still managed to tug heartstrings even though the building was on fire (except where they were standing) and giant holes were opening everywhere as the floor collapsed (except right where they were standing) and a T-rex was wreaking havoc on the same floor nearby (but not where they were) while outside the whole planet earth was exploding into tiny pieces (except the part that held the building they were in)... you get it. So so so unbelievable. Yeah right. I don't buy it for even half-second. Completely absurd. You fail at being real and thus winning my approval as a movie. Sorry!

Brothers - Grade: B+. This is another movie that like Wild Things left me unsure where I stood. Tobey Maguire was soooo disappointing in the first half of the movie, and I didn't feel like his character had ANY depth whatsoever. Jake Gyllenhaal was great, though. Funny thing - I hate Natalie Portman with a passion, but I didn't even KNOW it was her until like the end credits, and then I was all, Oh. Now the really crappy girl actress part makes TOTAL SENSE. Tobey Maguire REALLY picked it up in the 2nd half of the movie, especially with his freakouts and craziness. I totally believed it and totally felt for him. The movie also drug up a whole heck of a lot of emotions bottled inside me that I don't really want to get into... but it left me feeling very resonant and understanding, I will say that. So much of the acting fell flat, and I've never been to war ("per se"... you see where I'm going?) but I knew where Cahill was coming from... I feel like he did soooo often that it hurts. And I think the movie did that. It drew out the hurt I feel in my own personal wars, and I wasn't expecting that, or ready for it, and so it ended up being a pretty heavy movie for me. I might see it again under the right circumstances. The emotions it drew out of me far outweighed the crap acting, so that's why it scored higher than maybe it should have? My opinions, my grades. :P

Alice in Wonderland - Grade: A. I was soooo freaking out about this movie. From the beginning through the middle, all the way to the end... no, no, no, wrong, wrong, wrong, I'm so upset... wait. What? SPOILER ALERT! This is a sequel?! Like a second?! Like a later story than the original?!? Like... whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Um, AWESOME!!! Why didn't someone tell me this SOONER? Like before the freaking film started!? Geez people, you're killing me over here. Love it! Genius! Amazing! Wonderful! Not good enough to own I'd say, but I liked it (once I understood the true nature of it's beast-ness).

Sherlock Holmes - Grade: B. I can't say I didn't enjoy this movie. Was it epic, thrilling, riveting, brilliant? Nah, not really. Did it engage me in solving a mystery a la Sherlock while watching? Nope. And I don't think that was the intent either. So I can't legitimately complain about that (though it would have been cool). So I enjoyed it (though if it's worth anything when they put it on at my cousin's (Turtle hadn't seen it) I promptly fell asleep), but I think if there's nothing better, there's no harm in watching, checking it off and moving on with your life.

Iron Man II - Grade: C. Eh. I liked the first one WAY better. Can we skip all this Thor, Ant Man, whoever stupid else crap and just get to the Avengers movie already? Because I figure that once they make that they will FINALLY make my JUSTICE LEAGUE MOVIE which I am DYING to see (better not ruin it like Xmen stupids!!!) K, moving on.

Legion - Grade: F. Ha. Ha. Haha. Hahahaha. This movie was so dumb (and not scary) that by the end all we were doing was laughing and making fun of it. Hahaha. Which is too bad. Because the idea was really cool. But the zombers were just. so. fake. And then it was dumb. And lame. And boring. You should not waste your time on this movie. Trust.

Robin Hood - Grade: B. Repeat of Alice here much? I am beginning to believe that to truly enjoy a movie I must FULLY 100% understand WHAT IT IS aka the story they are telling before I engage myself. Because I was so lost and so horrified at how far they strayed from the cartoon movie I grew up on. Oh yeah, that's because it's a SPOILER ALERT!: Prequel. Well. Why didn't you say that from the get-go? Now I love it. I think it's great, wonderful, and I'm excited for the set-up to the movie I wanted to see when I came to the theater to see THIS. Sheesh people, market this stuff more accurately so I can sleep at night!

Prince of Persia - Grade: A. I was pleasantly surprised at this one. I might incense some people with this, but here goes: I think this movie is just as good as Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings. In fact, this *might* be my favorite in this type of similar-esque same-ness genre. *bites nails* Yeah, I said that. And it didn't make a whole ton o' sense. But it's Jake Gyllenhaal. I mean, COME ON.

And there you have it. 17 more movies down. And I'm not stopping there! I'm already 4 movies into the next post! Ha! (I did kind of see 3 movies during Memorial Day Weekend (2 of which made this). So hopefully the movie seeing hiatus is over and we are back on track for reviews, reviews, and more reviews. I love reviews! YAY!!!

Ack! I have so much posting to do! Two trips already to two different states and another one looming this weekend. Plus I'm up for a round of book reviews and *gasp* movie reviews! Been awhile on those. I need more free time. Sigh. Soon, promise.

“Where there is great love, there are always miracles.”
– Willa Cather

Love is such an incredible force, one which drives us to do unthinkable things – even at the cost of life itself – for those we care about. I would trade love for nothing in this world, especially when it comes to my family. I’m sure I’m not alone in my sympathies.


In 1998, I extended my love to a new member of my family, a sister adopted from a lonely orphanage in faraway Russia. She was just four when we welcomed her into our home. What happened in those four short years will always be a mystery, but the impact they had on her life will not.

Unable to do anything to stop her, my family and I watched helplessly as my sister’s past swallowed her in the present. Her pain seemed unmanageable, her behavior got progressively worse and nothing seemed to help. At the beginning of this year my parents made the terribly difficult decision to enroll her in a long-term residential treatment center - for her own protection.

The center costs $10,000 a month. One month. We are not rich people by any stretch of the imagination. The center is also more than 1,000 miles from home and my parents must go there every seven weeks to participate in the recovery process. Why did they chose somewhere so far, knowing the weight of the extra expense? Because the center is highly specialized in treating adopted children and is the only one suited perfectly to her needs. Exhausting every financial resource available, my sister is safe for the moment. My family has put everything on the line for love, so that my sister has a fighting chance for a bright and happy future. But it’s not enough.

I’ve been giving every penny I can spare to help, which more often than not amounts to giving my entire paycheck to assist with the mounting costs. Still we are not where we need to be. I am left with one option: I desperately need your help.

My sister is traveling a road of darkness and you can be a point of light along her path to restoration. Our task is not an impossible one if we focus on love and giving. I’m not asking anything outrageous. Just ONE DOLLAR.

Skip going to McDonald’s, pass on the Diet Coke or forgo downloading that new song on iTunes until your next paycheck. Walk somewhere close instead of driving and the dollar won’t even be a loss to you. If by chance you can spare more than one dollar, wonderful. But if not, please do not think for a second that your dollar is too insignificant a contribution.

Raging waterfalls begin with a single drop of water.

Click here to donate now:



The button links directly to a paypal which my mom puts into the trust fund set up specifically to pay for my sister's treatment. We're not non-profit so while it's NOT tax deductible, it IS incredibly appreciated. (There is also a nominal fee, for which we apologize - if we had been able to do it any other way, we would have).

If you'd rather not donate online, feel free to send your donation to me directly. Drop me a line and I’ll happily give you my address. Similarly, you can help by passing this to your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Alone we may fail, but together we can always achieve the impossible. Here’s to LOVE.

And most importantly, THANK YOU.
“Draw a circle, not a heart, around the one you love because a heart can break, but a circle goes on forever.” –Unknown

Yes I know. It's pretty much 2011, and I'm still talking about 2009. Honestly, sometimes I get so far behind I feel like quitting and never writing another blog. Ever. But sigh.

Let's forget about the fact that we are in month 5 of 12, and pretend it's still January. I mean, the weather outside TOTALLY reflects the "still-January" mindset. Why shouldn't my blog? (Other than the fact that I'm so sick of snow I might die).

So in 2008, I joined the masses in the world of iTunes. One year (and 5 months we are erasing) later, I still abhor iTunes. But kind of love my ipod. Like alot. So I guess it's a love/hate relationship.

Anyway, I already did my Tops of 2009, except MUSIC. So let's get on with it shall we?

First off, I must say that the play counts are all kinds of skewed. I had iTunes only for a limited time in 08, so the difference in clear. The #1 song of 2008 had 122 plays, whereas the #25 song in 2009 had 260, more than double, lol.

25. Lifeline by Angels and Airwaves (260), down 14 spots. Ouch.
23. When They Came For Us by Shiny Toy Guns (261), new to the count this year. I can't believe this band wasn't in my top 25 last year! What?
23. Save Us by Cartel (261), another newcomer. Again, no Cartel last year? What the heck was I listening to? Eesh.
20. Better Days by Goo Goo Dolls (266). Dropped 17 spots! The freshness of owning Dolls music must have worn off? Heh.
20. The Beginning (A Simple Seed) by The Classic Crime (266), Classic Crime had 2 songs in '08, including the #1; however, this song is new here. Welcome, welcome.
20. Sing by The Classic Crime (266), same as previous. Interesting.
16. Ghost Town by Shiny Toy Guns (267). More Shiny. Love Shiny. The numbers are really close this year! Lots of ties.
16. Your Call by Secondhand Serenade (267). Once again, new song, same band. I'm a traditionalist I guess.
16. Broken by Lifehouse (267), this one dropped 11 spaces. Man, my music isn't very consistent, huh? My favorites like to move around a bunch.
16. First Time by Lifehouse (267). The title says how it feels.
14. Tell Me Why by P.O.D. (268), new band AND new song! YAY. I didn't own this album in 2008, so it couldn't be in my Top 25.
14. We All Look Elsewhere by The Classic Crime (268). I think I like The Classic Crime >.>
13. A Little's Enough by Angels and Airwaves (269), drops 4 spots. Almost consistent.
12. It's My Life by Bon Jovi (270), say what and who? I think maybe I miss High School and Performing Arts? LOL

10. Say The Word by The Classic Crime (271). Def on a Classic Crime kick in 2009. I only saw them twice in concert in the space of 6 months...
10. When The Time Comes by The Classic Crime (271), from 2 to 10. Harsh. But still here.

8. Time Of Your Life by Green Day (272), Oooh! This one moved up 7 spots! Congrats my Green Day. Wish I could see you on Broadway...
8. This Is Our Town by Broken Image (272), another move UP! Woot! We've gained 5 spots. Here's the thing about this band. I've been listening to them since FOREVERS. You probably know them as the super-famous We The Kings, formerly known as DeSoto, formerly known as Broken Image. But I was listening long before they became We The Kings, or popular and rich. It's also true that they have a new version of This Is Our Town out, which plays on my Pandora sometimes, but I have the old-school original... which I love. Stupid fame and popularity. Sigh.

7. Salt in the Snow by The Classic Crime (273), wow these numbers are so close! This song moves up 8 spots for the biggest jump up yet. You rock, The Classic Crime. *hearts*

5. Fall For You by Secondhand Serenade (275), YIKES! Our #1 song has been de-throned! How exciting!! Who's going to win?!
5. Hanging By A Moment by Lifehouse (275), WOW all the way from 15th to 5th! Who knew that such a song from FOREVER ago could still be such a part of my life! I do have to say this was like the first song I remember hearing on the radio and being like absolutely madly in love with (True Confession *wink*).

4. Adam's Song by Blink-182 (276), 11 SPOTS UP! Holy Amazing Blinkman!

3. Closer Than We Think by The Classic Crime (277). Seriously, one more listen could have completely re-done our Top 25. This is CRAZY! (and I totally love it)

2. I Know The Feeling by The Classic Crime (279), Sheesh. That's the 8th song on my Tops for The Classic Crime. I think they must be like my favorite band EVER (tis true! At least for 2009, >.> dun dun dun!)

And finally, moving up SEVEN SPOTS from 2008, the #1 Song of 2009 was:

1. IT'S NOT OVER BY SECONDHAND SERENADE with a whopping 281 plays! YES!!! So we have a new reigning champ song, but the band stays the SAME. Which I find very intriguing considering I don't feel like I ever purposely PICK Secondhand Serenade and just play them, though I know for fact I do that with other bands. Hmmm... methinks my SHUFFLE setting is biased!

Well congrats to IT'S NOT OVER, which I find a fitting song for 2009 - where my life almost was, but I fought and I'm still here, which is the message in this song.

Phew. Now I can FINALLY reset my iTunes and get all my new music on my iPod. I've been waiting almost half a year! And let me warn you now I use my iPod ALL the time, so the numbers will be even higher this year! And I've got tons of new music, so expect to see new bands! I may even have a new FAVORITE BAND *gasp* <.<

*Giggle*

Sigh.

Want/need to blog. No energy or desire.

I just let the apathy consume me as life and my dreams keep walking.

Here I sit.

Somehow I seem to have taken up reading almost purely books that are part of a series. Call it laziness? I dunno. I call it, hey that book was pretty good, there's another? Fantastic! Gimme, gimme. Heh...

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragons of Winter Night - Grade: A+. What I said before.

Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief - Grade: A. I 100% felt like a 10-year-old prepubescent reading this book! L O V E. This book was...genius. The pacing was spot-on, the characters believable, lovable, AND validly humorous! Win, win, win. Let's just hope they don't screw up the movie.

Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games - Grade: A. I'm not sure what it says about me that I like this book. I feel in a twisted way that makes me just like someone from the Capitol. Hmm. But wow! What a great read! There were slow parts and things that annoyed me, and an occasional unbelievable moment, but I let almost everything slide because the story was so grippingly wonderous.

James Dashner's The Maze Runner - Grade: B+. I feel like with this book Dashner has DEFINITELY come into his prime as an author. His growth and maturity from books like 13th Reality is starkly notable. That said, there were parts of the book that I didn't like flat out and plot elements that really made me reach further than I'm used to doing, but overall the story was dang good. I read through it very quickly and enjoyed myself very thoroughly. I think kids (who not as critical as yours truly) will LOVE this book. I will be picking up the second.

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragons of Spring Dawning - Grade: A+. Same. I love that as we get further into the series, I forget more and more what actually happens. A chapter that looks boring ends up being spectacularly shocking and breath-taking. These writers are pretty much my idols.

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Time of the Twins: Legends, Vol. 1 - Grade: A+. Same x2. :)

Suzanne Collin's Catching Fire (sequel to The Hunger Games) - Grade: B. The whole first half of this book was a drag, and I could have done without it. But I am attached to the characters, so I kept going. SPOILER: [Really, it only got exciting when Cat got put in a second Hunger Games. That's genius! Loved it!] And then of course, the end was a cliff-hanger as usual. Blah. Hurry up April so I can get the third one. Would vote this one definitely at least worth your perusal.

Rick Riordan's The Sea of Monsters (Book 2 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians) - Grade: A-. So this book wasn't quite as good as the first. That one was definitely more captivating, funny, and attention-retaining. But I don't have anything solid to complain about, so I won't.

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Test of the Twins - Legends, Vol. 2 - Grade: A+. Ditto. Do these seem useless to you? They are just phenomenal books. I could gush about them for hours. For your own protection, I am curbing my enthusiasm in the name of brevity.

William R. Forstchen's One Second After - Grade: B. Look! A non-series book! *Gasp* This was recommended by a co-worker and for those who don't know is about the threat of EMP in America (a nuclear bomb detonated in the atmosphere which sends out an electrical shockwave frying all technology within thousands of miles beyond repair). The characters weren't always believable and some of the most thought-provoking scenarios/scenes were completely passed over, but I will give the book credit for making me think. I found myself pondering things relevant to my own life (and survival) should such occur, which was definitely, refreshing? I don't know if that's the right word. Anyway, as far as apocalyptic-type fiction goes, I'd still vote for The Road before this. No question.

Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping - Grade: A-. Ha! Another not-a-series! Although not the first book of hers I've read, nor the last (Home is sitting on my bookcase as I write). Actually, I read this for my Book Group, and I kinda plowed through it since the 20th was getting here rather quickly. I did ponder many of the passages, and her writing as always is ethereally stunning. But I think I'm going to give Gilead the prize on this one. Just liked it more. Connected emotionally with it more. Went back and read it multiple times (and about to read it again). Housekeeping I think was a one-time read. I'm moving on, simple as that.

Here's to 2009 (screw you!) and all the memories (and nightmares...) Let us recap the best of the best.

Best Trip of 2009:

Idaho/Washington Trip with NFJ (which pretty much is the whole post). Hands down, no contest. That trip RULED my summer.



Best Restaurant of 2009:

I'm actually going to go with most FREQUENTED restaurant of 2009, which makes the best. Obviously. That would have to be Toaster's, the coffee shop right down the block where I work (hence part of why I frequent it so freaking much *grin*)



Best Article of 2009:

Yeah, I don't read too many articles, just blogs? So I'm going to opt out on this one.

Best Book of 2009:

Yikes. Hold on to your hats for this one. I mean how many books did I read in 2009? Oh wait 45 (including 11 I haven't reviewed yet - that's coming soon, don't worry!) In reviewing the thousands of pages I've devoured, I'll add myself a caveat here and make this best NEW book of 2009, because let's be honest I did my fair share of re-visiting my favorites this past year.

My impulse is to nominate Cormac McCarthy's The Road as the winner, but even though I posted about it in 09... I think I actually read it in 08. So technically that's cheating. Blah.

The winner will have to be Nina Wright's Homefree.



If I had to pick a second (I don't) I'd probably vote for Jeanette Walls' The Glass Castle

Wow, that one was hard. 45 books people. 45. That's pretty much one a week. ONE A WEEK. I think I rule the reading world. Just sayin'.

Best Movie of 2009:

K, I made this one up. It's not on the approved entries list. But I think it has its place, no? I'm going to have to hand the award over, without hesitation, to the a movie that did what few have done: gained a place on MY movie shelf. You think I'm a book snob? Oh no, I'm a MOVIE snob. I only own like 5. Period. And this is now one. I haven't reviewed it yet (I mean I have... it's just not published because I haven't seen 17 movies so the review post is still a draft... k end long, unimportant tangent) but let's be real for a second. I BOUGHT IT. Therefore, based on the fact that I have bought only 5 movie E V E R... it must be pretty FREAKING AMAZING (it is!) Oh. I didn't tell you what it's called yet. Heh. Son of Rambow.



If I voted in a runner-up, I'd 100% go with Earthsea (Gedo Senki)

Best Night Out of 2009:

Yesh. This one might be harder than the books I read... I keep records of those! I think I'm going to have to vote any of the many nights that we played Werewolves with our friends. Because that game is so freaking fun, I just can't get enough!!!



Best Blog of 2009:


Do you even have to ask? C'mon.

Best Conference of 2009:

I actually went to more than one! But I'm going to have to vote for Guy Francis and our adventure to meet Lois Lowry.



Best Challenge of 2009:

2009. I won't say anything more.

Best Moment of Peace 2009:

Here's a touchy one. I don't know if I can really attest to having one. If I'm going to be honest (this should be it's own confession post) I don't really feel peace all that often. I guess one that counts would be laying out on the trampoline looking at the stars with a very good friend. I love the stars. The temperature was just right. We'd been to dinner, and had good, deep conversation all while star-gazing.

Best Album of 2009:

I'm sure you'll hear much more about them in 2010. And if you ever spend time with me, I'll probably get you to listen to them. I'm only sad I didn't discover them until well into December of 2009. But no contest, the best album of 2009 was:



I abso-frickin-lutely LOVE THEM.

Here's my favorite song for your enjoyment:



(Note: It's not QUITE the same as the version on the CD I bought (I like mine better :P), but close).

Best Rush of 2009:

Definitely almost drowning. That was super fun. (see August 29)

Best Change I Made to the Place I Live in 2009:

Actually having a place (other than boxes) for all of my books again.



Mmm yes. Such a worthy investment. Don't mind the hole up there on the top shelf, left side. That's where my Top 7 Books of ALL Time go. They are out on loan to my BFF/co-worker so she can know the glory of good books. Their place is saved.

And yes. Yes, that is a sword on the bottom shelf <.< I live in a not-so-super-duper-safe-neighborhood, all right?

Best New Food of 2009:

Ever since I left Provo... let's be honest. I miss some things. Like Pita Pit. And Gyros. So we found this place:



I won't lie. It's not ritzy or hella nice. In fact it's pretty divey. I mean, I wouldn't think of going into the bathroom without a full Hazmat suit. But it's just the right combination of ghetto dirty and so freaking delicious that I find myself still eating there. People totally eat at McDonald's. I remind myself of that sometimes when I feel shady for buying two gyros >.>

Best Place of 2009:

I'm going to couple this with another one I just made up - Best Hour of each Day of 2009. That vote is going to have to go to Lunch Hour which means the Best Place of 2009 is definitely Equality Utah. Because let's be honest. It's the break I NEED in the middle of my stressful work day. And my peeps there are fun, loving, wonderful, and just let me kick it (occasionally I even do real volunteer work :P)



Best Tea of 2009:


Yeah, I didn't drink ANY tea in 2009. So I lose. But I'll still totally vote for Dr. Pepper. Any day.

Word or Phrase of 2009:


%*$# YOU!?!

And, well.. that's all Meggers did. So that's all I hold myself accountable for :D

HAPPY 2010!

Coming Soon: 1) Music review circa 2009 - My Top 25 per itunes. 2) Book Reviews Edition 6 - 11 new titles for your perusal. SHAWEET! BE EXCITED!

And cue Winter. Though I don't really know when because there's pretty much been no snow this whole winter in the valley. Not that I'm complaining.

Ushering in December brought its own slew of Holiday get-togethers and reasons for me to make amazing appetizers including my now-famous Bacon-wrapped Water Chestnuts. Yummmers. I think that's really all I want to say about that. I took cute pictures though of my new suit and Turtle got a smokin' new dress.



Toward the end of the month, I of course went home for Christmas. Thankfully it went pretty fast. My synopsis of the experience is: "It could have been worse."

Christmas heralded the attempt to get me a new phone - again. This would mark #7 in one year. Can you believe that? 7 phones. Wow, not the best of years for me and phones. The pre-festivities went rather quickly, and Christmas arrived. Yayness.

Christmas day after opening presents I wanted to get away so BigBro, LilBro and I all went Christmas caching. After all I'd brought bugs from Idaho and needed to get them traded. First stop was right by my house at the end of a street near the lake. Lake Jesup. Alligator-infested Lake Jesup. Awesome. We are led to a pier that is deserted, old, covered in spiderwebs and is kinda creepy. The whole place is giving off tangible creep-o vibes. And pretty much as soon as we get there it decides to start raining. Wonderful. So they kind of want to give up, but I'm determined. There's a bug here and I want it to go to Utah with me. I make the find. It's hidden in a board.

However, when I pulled off the board I discovered it was... inhabited! By more than just the non-living Travel Bug!

Eek! Lizard!



K, so the Lizard was gross, but not enough to make me drop it. But if you look closely there's a spider at the bottom! OMG SPIDER!!! I screamed and dropped the board.

No sooner did it hit the ground than THREE different kinds of spider crawled out and started scurrying around, along with a scorpion-esque earwig thingy...









EW TO THE MAX!!! Needless to say I was freaking out a little bit now. OMH there are creeper bugs EVERYWHERE!! And I'm supposed to open that bag and get something out!?!?! AIEEEEEE. But I got a stick and did it anyway because I'm hardcore dedicated like that. It took forever though and the rain got uber worse until we were soaked through. What a harrowing experience! That was the end of caching for the day.

The next day I didn't want to be at my house either. So the three cachers went out again for more excitement. There was one cache that happened to be across an icky red river and the only way across was this tiny tree that had fallen. Wonderful. BigBro opted to stay back with LilBro because he had a gigantic boot cast on his foot (but came caching anyway with a trash bag taped over it so it wouldn't get dirty lol), and I had to make the find by myself. After caching a number of hours, I left those brothers and went to find my bro J who was playing Frisbee. Can I say how awesome Ultimate Frisbee is? I could play all day. And I'm thankful I can. After that I still wasn't ready to be home so I went for a 2 mile run and cached some more along the way. BigBro and I released our own Travel Bugs for a race across America! FUN!!! The run back to my house my leg was killing me and I was feeling again because this should not be... sigh. I still have issues to work out clearly. Night arrived and we tried to go bowling but they wouldn't take our coupon so we said screw you and went home and watched a movie.

I was there almost a week. It wasn't as bad as it could have been. It's been worse in the past. There are still problems, and there's still drama and pain, but we get through it and I was more than glad to be back in Utah.

New Year's Eve arrived quickly, for which I was glad. Because it meant the END. The end of the worst year of my life. I was all too happy to say "[EXPLETIVE] YOU 2009!" We spent the day cooking (I made my water chestnuts again for like the 4th time in 3 weeks lol Once I learned I just couldn't make them enough!) We spent the evening with my dear friend Violeta and her friends. It was a relaxing evening, we played some games, ate some food, hung out, and kissed 2009 GOOD RIDDANCE. W O O T.

2010 arrived and I couldn't have been happier. The year began with a wonderful new addiction. I think for like two days I didn't even get out of bed or get dressed. Heh. Genius. The addiction completely eradicated the first 11 days of 2010 (don't worry, I still went to work... I just may not have thought much about working at work... only about 5:30 arriving. Good times). And then I won. And my life resumed.

So that's the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 (now that it's March >.>). The next few posts will be 2009 in review courtesy of good ol' Meggers who started it. Early/on time I will add.

The moment I got back from Ohio, it was pretty much Turtle's Birthday. Which means my time to shine, because I'm awesome at birthdays (especially when 1) you're my best friend and 2) I know you better than you know yourself, and 3) you live the same place as me. Heh. Birthday pretty much owned). I got her a computer game from my Childhood (since she'd been so taken with MYST), King's Quest.



Actually I got the collection of all 7, and so we spent most of the day just playing that, enjoying ourselves. She loved it. Then we went out to a very elegant restaurant for dinner, where she ordered whatever she wanted, and I got her a super yummy dessert.

The very next night we hung out with the S Family to carve pumpkins, which is always a blast for me.



Now I will admit to being something of a pumpkin snob, and with good reason if you've seen any of my pumpkins.

Turtle's Pumpkin:


Last year I carved three pumpkins (I lived in a backwoods lodge and had tons of free time - what do you want? I needed a god distraction). I was not so ambitious this year. But here's what I ended up with:



And here's all of us together with our finished products:


Actual Halloween naturally involved us hitting the club. Goth Dancing goes to new levels on Halloween and there is never any room whatsoever to dance. I won't post pictures here, but those interested in our Halloween hilarity can click here (Disclaimer: Not all pictures in this album are PG).

November arrived and I went with Turtle to hang out with her uncle, and joined a Critique Group to help encourage me to write. We continued our outings from playing Werewolves to Chastity Parties (don't even ask) to service wrapping shoes for Kids for Christmas to a 1920's Speakeasy Mocktail Party. I couldn't find a good Mobster outfit so I settled with this:



Pretty dang authentic, if you ask me. Which you did. That party was so fun. I met new people, crashed at some random house and stayed up pretty much the whole night playing HALO. Ah, these are the days.

We went to Logan and visited all my old friends who now live up there, which was a blast, and even got in some bowling. I got a 188. Yeah, you heard right. I've always been way to into bowling. I got pretty good, but then there was that time I almost died... so I've sucked since. First time I went I couldn't even do it because it hurt too much. Second time I got like a 100. Blah. But now. Now I am BACK. 188!!! YEAH! That's a good game. Turtle and Brent are my witnesses.

We went clubbing (Hiphop) which was weird since we're so used to Goth. But we brought the Goth style to the floor and most people were amazed because they hadn't seen it (of course... they don't go to goth clubs). The 2nd time we went we danced to What'cha Say - By Jason Derulo Ft. Imogen Heap, and literally, the WHOLE CLUB just watched me and Turtle tearing up the floor. LOVES IT. Birthdays, weddings, receptions, you name it, we attended it. Busy, busy, busy. But that's the way I like it.

And finally, Thanksgiving. A time to celebrate and give thanks for all we have. Including my life. That one I'm still partly working on. For the first time ever, I had it without family. Usually I'm with my grandparents, or last year I went to my Aunt's, this year it was all about us and friends. Gwen and Di came down from Colorado to hang with Joe, and we were invited. We had so much fun!

I made my mom's famous ranch dip (it's not the holidays without that dip), asparagus, honey cinnamon mandarins, an orange salad, and deviled eggs. Yum.



Gwen, Di, and Joe handled pretty much everything else.



I think we did a pretty good job for ourselves.



And, of course, the holiday wasn't complete until we went Goth Clubbing. Because that's what you do on holidays that fall on Thursday. Duh.

After Thanksgiving, the weekends of events continued and at some point Winter arrived. But that's next post.

Grin. Disclaimer. Grin. I wish I had time to upload all 70 photos from my trip, but I don't. You can see them all here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After what seemed like months of agony, discomfort, and incredible bad luck, I needed a freaking break.

And Ohio was just what the doctor ordered.



Tuesday, October 20th
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I got up butt early to get on a plane. Most of the time I spent reading. At the time, I was in the midst of Deborah Davis' Not Like You. As the plane descended into Ohio, I was overcome with a feeling of giddiness and elation. Home. TREES!!! FALL COLORS!!! I remembered to turn onto Sawyer to get to Broad Street, and then as I drove the memories just flooded back. Everything, everywhere, pieces of ME. I love this place so dearly.



Of course I visited my old neighborhood. There's so much growth and change in my little town, it's definitely becoming full-blown suburbia. But thankfully, some things haven't changed. Like the farmhouse across the street where I grew up:



First thing I went to see Christi and the squirt. We had tacos with her parents, and they were delish. Then I went to see my 2nd Mom & Dad, who are always a delight. They are such great people. We talked for THREE hours, which for us is just a quick chat. Trust. We talked about everything: My life, books and movies, my parents and their lives, sex, my childhood and memories, my circle of friends and how/where everyone is now.

Wednesday, October 21st
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I spent the morning visiting the parks, taking in the trees and leaves, and doing some Geocaching.





My personal favorite was when I went to find a cache and it ended up on the other side of the creek. Yeah, it was fall and it was chilly, but that didn't stop the kid in me. I didn't feel like driving all the way around when my goal was 200 feet away. So I simply slipped off my shoes and socks and waded the ice cold creek. Wouldn't you? When I told G & R about it, they looked at me like I was crazy. I shrugged and laughed. Am I really just a kid? Wouldn't anyone do that? I was careful to look for glass and the like, the water was crystal clear. Spent some of the day visiting Christi at work, and then I got to hang out with my GypsyJew Deb, whom I hadn't seen since I was a junior in High School. Talk about the years! We hung out and talked about our lives and everything in between, then we went and visited Blake in the hospital. I hadn't seen him since High School either, but it was great to catch up and see that he seemed to be mending well. We compared scars, but his top mine in almost every area. Poor guy. Hope he continues to mend well. After that we rushed to dinner with G & R, who ended up waiting for us... we were so late! Stupid Ohio traffic, lol. Then it was back to Deb's for SYTYCD and GLEE.

Thursday, October 22nd
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Had lunch at Panera with Aimee B and John M, both of whom, again, I hadn't seen literally in years. Then we hit up the parks. I was going to teach Aimee and Christi how to geocache. They loved it. Had some festive fun in my old stomping grounds Pine Quarry.



Oh, the days of Capture The Flag!!! I MISS THOSE DAYS LIKE NOTHING ELSE.





While we were there, we really enjoyed the leaves and scenery. But we also totally found a snake! EEEEEEEE!!!!! So gross and scary! I totally screamed. Ew. *shudder*



After that we grabbed the Munchkin and went to Blacklick. The whole time I was loving the leaves, the company and snapping photos.





That night I had dinner at the Stake N Shake with my Flag Girls, it was so good to see them! This trip seemed to be overflowing with visits to and from people I hadn't seen in a good 8 years! Wow.



Rounded out the evening with my Emmy, chatting and laughing. Even got a peek at the wedding dress! Eeeeee.

Friday, October 23rd
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Day 4 brought RAIN. Pouring rain. But that didn't stop me from my traditional Bob's breakfast out with Mel. Love you girl! I piddled around for a few hours, cached a bit in the rain, and then had lunch with my High School Spanish Teacher, Sra. B. That woman is so great! I'm thankful to have had her in my life when I was a student. We had an amazing time catching up on one another over lunch. After that I went to see Chels at her house with her little girl who was so cute. I think we spent 4 or 5 hours just talking. It was so relaxing and so wonderful. Isn't it crazy how with time we become more and more comfortable just chatting? When we were kids we hated how the grown-ups would just sit and talk. Boring! Now I love it. After that I went out with Jessi (another I hadn't seen since the HS days). My Becky came to dinner too and brought a friend. Also got an impromptu visit with the S. Slack, which was great.



Then I went to chat it up and have a shake with Christi, before returning to TGIF's to round out the evening with Leah and Amber and their men. Love them.

Saturday, October 24th
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Wedding day!!! I spent the morning revisiting my childhood with Becky at the Downtown Library and doing some Family History research for my BigBro.



Then I got in a few more caches before the time for the wedding was upon us. Hung out with the parents and saw some of the pictures being taken, then caught up with more people I hadn't seen since I was a kid. Finally we adjourned outside for the ceremony, and I only wish it had been a bit sunnier so the poor wedding party wouldn't have frozen to death quite so much. The wind was horribly loud and all help the mic should have been was lost in the raging whistle of air.



The ceremony was lovely (what I could hear anyway) and then the party afterward even better. I got seated around people I didn't know, but who ended up being really cool, and the dancing was my favorite part. Yeah, there were people there who don't know me, or haven't seen me since I was a kid, but I didn't care. I only lasted a few songs before the dancing shoes came out, I changed my outfit, and that dance floor was MINE. No offense to Em and her Nate who made a valiant effort and should have had the spotlight (I deferred to them where appropriate) but I was the Dancing King.





After the Wedding Party, we hit the after-party where the fun and dancing continued late into the evening. LATE into the evening. But it was a blast and I needed it so much to help me forget the past months.

Sunday, October 25th
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Much of this day was spent with Amy L., little sis of one of my best friends growing up (don't worry I spent time with him also). We went to Church together, hit a cache, and then got some lunch. After lunch I bummed around most of the day, and just enjoyed My Ohio. Fall in Ohio is GORGEOUS.



That night I went with Amy out to the boonies to see some of the Osmond's give a Fireside. That was a little anti-climactic, but I did run into one of the moms of one of my favorite people I'm sad I'm not better friends with - so it worked out okay.

Monday, October 26th
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The morning this day was definitely spent cleaning up my "room" and repacking it all into my suitcase. It was like a vomit party in there of clothes, shoes, and stuff. I mean, really, I didn't bring this much stuff on Vacation right? Nooooo. Also, I would be remiss if I didn't say special thanks to Christi for not only putting me up in her apartment, but letting Kidlet share the bed with her for a week so I could have my own room. Pretty much you're the best friend ever, Christi.

Got some lunch and finally got to see my Brit, the missing Flag Chick. She was a great conversationalist, and I loved the reunion. Tried to see my Deb to say bye, but it wasn't happening. Also missed out on visiting my old boss Wendy, though I tried.

There were so many people I wanted to see that I didn't get to. Sad day! Drove around some more revisiting memories and the world that birthed me, brought me up, and which I miss more than anything I know. So many people want me to move back. Be one with my roots again. I would love that more than anything - but I have my reasons why. They are there, and I don't have to tell you them; suffice it to say I love my home, it is close to my heart, as are all of you, but I cannot come back. Maybe that will change in time, maybe not.

Sigh. I promised this post wouldn't be sad, but it is. The wedding and my friends were great, but I still had to go back to Utah. I almost cried on the plane as the pretty trees fell away from me.



Ohio will forever be my home, even if it's not where I live at present. The people, the places, even the trees are part of the foundation that helped shaped me into the me of today. And for that I will always be grateful.



There's so much more to round out 2009! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas... yikes! Sometimes I don't think I'll ever get there!

Heh. I totally have a DISCLAIMER. Even better? It still applies. :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So my summer of traveling began to wind down *tear.* And I was once again faced with the reality that I was a) jobless, b) still hadn't done anything about that "Grad School Thing" somewhere on the horizon, and c) I felt relatively directionless when it came to my life at large. But I blame that partly on someone trying to kill me and the subsequent lawsuit keeping me tied to this glorious (heh) State.

One weekend Turtle and I did take another trip, (this one not nearly so far or extravagant as the previous) to Rexburg. Prior to this trip, I had been their only once with some co-workers for a spur-of-the-moment weekend trip because one of my co-workers was trying to hook up with at girl at the I.

1) It was so cold my nose hairs froze and made me never want to return.
2) Genius broke his car key in half trying to turn it in the frozen door lock, so we pretty much were stranded. All our stuff of course was still in the car.
3) I may or may not have ended up making out with the girl he had made the trip to try and win over. Oops!

Anyway, enough about the past! This trip was to attend The Fall Into Books Literature Conference. And we went with Guy Francis. Who rocks. Just saying. Why would I drive all the way to Idaho just for a conference? Don't worry, I'll get there. We arrived in time for dinner and ate at Applebee's. One of two restaurants Rexburg has. Then we went and played some Laser Tag. Bliss.

We stayed the night with one of my good friends who was kind enough to open his home to us (thank you). And then, the Conference. And the reason I drove roughly 300 miles to talk about writing. Two words:

Lois Lowry.

Oh yes. The same Lois Lowry who wrote your favorite books The Giver and Number The Stars. Here's my proof:



I'm in love. Her speech was so great, and so funny. She even made a joke about the show "Big Love" and then paused and asked aloud if this was the wrong audience for something like that, which of course only had me and Turtle laughing even harder. Half the people didn't even get the joke.

Since we'd had Applebee's the day before, we decided (naturally) to have lunch at the OTHER restaurant in Rexburg: The Ghetto Taco... Bus? WTH?! Yup, you heard right. Taco bus:



The ride back was great convo and great times were had by all. Definitely worth it. Afterward, the passage of days resulted in alot of turmoil and chaos - much of which I will refrain from relating. Suffice it to say that my living situation rapidly dissolved until I was living in a shed in my friend's backyard. Yup, you heard right. Which thankfully had electricity, but not plumbing. We would have used my friend's house, but they were all deathly ill at the time. So the first whole day of living in a shed entailed going to church without shoes (I couldn't find them... all my stuff was packed in less than an hour). The topic of the lessons were on bringing in the saints from the plains (helping those in need), which Turtle used to ask some random lady for a place to shower and a home-cooked meal. This worked out nicely, and I am very grateful to those people whose names I don't even know. Once the weekend was finally over, we managed after a few hours of hunting to find an apartment that would take us. Thus began my Adventures in Urbania, and the experience of being Beyond Poor. Things increasingly weighed on us considering our unwavering unemployment.

For a while, life really was a waking nightmare.

What didn't make it onto the blog was being treated to a nice restaurant and having red wine dumped on a very expensive outfit (acquired pre-poorness), losing my attorney after 9 months (he simply one day sent an email saying he was too busy and bye-bye!!!), as well as the turmoil of sorting out my far-too-complicated-to-comment-on-personal-life, getting screamed at by people I consider very close to me about the wrongness of the decisions I was making, and no sooner did I have everything together to get a new lawyer then my phone was stolen! Really, it was unbelievable. There were a few days where by the end, I simply said to myself, "The only way this could get worse is if I get run over again." Some days I even expected this to come to fruition.

Even though we had an apartment, we didn't have very much. Especially not in the way of furniture. I crafted a TV stand out of all our luggage (since our storage space is oh yeah, zero), we went to my grandparents to get my dresser and bookcase (I didn't even remember I owned a dresser), and they were kind enough to donate a fold-up table. At a party in Provo we managed to snag two chairs. Once all my books were out and in their place, I felt alot better about myself.

For the first month or so we simply had all the blankets down we could and slept on the floor. Then thanks to the wonderful T Fitz we finally got a pair of box spring mattresses and have been content ever since (although it's still pretty cold that close to the ground). We are simply happy to have a place - which ended up working out perfectly for us because it's like 15 minutes from EVERYTHING. Except Provo. lol

I started doing a little temp work, but nothing substantial, and then finally (planned eons ago), the time had come.

I was going, literally, to my BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING! That meant a trip to my hometown! Yay OHIO! But that will have to wait till next post... (which will not be such a downer, sorry. Now you see one of the reasons I stopped blogging :P)


 

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