29 December 2011

A Tour Of My Desk

Well, I'm not good at taking pictures. Obviously. So here's the best you're going to get: Stuff currently sitting on my desk.

-Kleenex box (they're actually Kleenex). They save my life. I go through more boxes that most people. I have a lot of spills....
-Vaseline lotion. It keeps my hands nice and soft.
-project management updates on our progress
-yellow post-it notes pad
-aqua Post-It notes pad
-yellow letter-half steno-type notebook. I make notes at my desk on projects. I also take it to meetings with me as a show of good faith that I may actually jot something down...Often I don't.
-note to self about talking to Sara about a process
-BundAberg ginger beer (don't worry, non-alcoholic)
-broken lamp
-Texas Rangers hat
-thermos I use as a water bottle
-a clementine that I keep pretending I'm going to eat....
-microcloth to clean off my glasses
-cell phone
-work phone
-a bowling trophy for Jeff Barrus of the "Dream Team". Apparently he got second place in the summer of 2008 in the BYU student bowling league.
-token plant that I've nursed back to health
-white board with notes about projects I'm working on. It's complete with a picture of my nephew, Dean. (Other pictures would be welcome should they come my way....). Also a note that says "Serenidade Agora" from one of my student employees/friends.
-stacks of papers of former student employees that I need to recycle
-two stacks of folders that I keep avoiding
-the biggest canister of hot chocolate that I've ever seen
-white Christmas lights
-product information for my new iPod nano
-an empty bottle of IBC cream soda that my coworker discolored with dry erase markers that I keep trying to throw away, but I figure I should recycle it, but recycling is lame here.
-magnetic name tags of student employees who quit over a year ago
-two fans (I got rid of three others)
-a space heater
-the American Heritage Dictionary that I use as a foot stool
-arm rest
-wrist rest for my mouse so my tendinitis doesn't get too bad
-power strip
-my shoes (which are not on my feet)

27 December 2011

Twiddling My Thumbs

I'm tempted to do this, though my hair isn't as fantastic as hers.
So I fully anticipated that this week would be slow. It's only a three-day work week and most people just take the week off. Everything I do is dependent on other people. So as of right now I am out of things to do. I think I'll start working on writing the manual for my position...or maybe write a training manual...but I'm only two hours in and I'm bored out of my mind.

The only reason I'm still here is to make sure my student employees have things to do. Otherwise I don't really know what to do with myself....I suppose I could clean out my desk or make sure everyone's plants are watered...

However the only thing I really want to do is go back to sleep because I'm exhausted. I've been having a hard time falling asleep, so it was a rough time waking up this morning when my alarm went off.

Anyone have any thoughts on what I can do to pass my time here?

10 December 2011

High School Basketball Horror

Yesterday my dear friend Emily and I went to the JV and varsity basketball games. Emily's roommate Jordan is the assistant coach at Independence High School here in Provo. It's a low-income area and she helps through some outreach program.

So Emily and I go and watch the JV game, enjoying the game and the rank smell of adolescence that surrounds us. Our team crushes the other team. (They are in a private school district and the school they were playing was a math/science school. And they looked like it. Wow.) We were much, much bigger than the other boys.

Then before the varsity game, Jordan asked me and Emily if we could run the clock. (Apparently the person who did it during the JV game had to leave.) I was excited and the prospect of learning a new skill and helping out.

I was sorely disappointed.

Running the clock/scoreboard was one of the worst experiences of my life. I ran the clock. Emily ran the scoreboard. Everyone was yelling at us the whole game. The fans were really mean and I almost had a panic attack every time I looked up at the clock to make sure it was running. A second is a long time, people. Twice I forgot to start the clock and I got a sinking feeling that someone would start yelling at me. Don't worry. They did.

And it smelled.

And I had to use the bathroom in the women's locker room, that the other team was using.

And it smelled.

And the other team's coach was mean.

And our team lost.

I started clinching my jaw and my heart was racing I was so stressed. Emily was broken out into a cold sweat.

We had to get out of there as soon as the game was over for fear of retribution.

But then we went to Emily's and at mint M&Ms and watched part of an episode of Gilmore Girls. Then we went to Wendy's and got some comfort food.

We felt better after that. But we will never again attend an Independence High School basketball game.

28 November 2011

All I Want is the Muppets

Thanksgiving was fantastic. I did absolutely nothing productive. Really. I sat and read most of the break. I’m currently hooked on the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. It’s fantastic. Really.

I also went over to my sister’s in-laws for Thanksgiving, for the third year in a row, which I can’t believe. It was again fantastic. We ate. And sat. And sat. And ate. And sat. And sat. I could not imagine a more satisfying day of digesting.

And now I’m back at work. And all I want to do is watch The Muppets. Doesn’t this picture make you want to drop whatever you’re doing and rush to the theater? I know. Me too. But instead, I’m at work. And I’m trying not to be grumpy about it, but instead think of the joy that awaits me as I go to watch The Muppets as soon as I can.

19 November 2011

Civic Duty?

Today I called the cops for the first time. I've lived in really safe places my whole life (except for maybe Sao Paolo....that was a little sketchy at times) and I've never really felt unsafe.

I won't go into detail, but suffice it to say that there was a sketchy kid hanging around my apartment complex and I decided that the cops should come by just to check things out.

I got a call a couple hours later from an officer informing me that they had caught that kid stealing and he'd been arrested.

Everyone keeps telling me good job for fulfilling my civic duty and after the cop called I felt the same way. But now I don't know. It's the same feeling of buyer's remorse. I'm not sorry that I called. I needed to. I'm just sad that someone was arrested because I called. I know that I didn't get him arrested; he got himself arrested. But it just feels like that.

I hope that I'm never in this position again. It's not fun.

14 November 2011


Yesterday my apartment was asked to do an "apartment spotlight" for our ward (LDS congregation). My roommates weren't super thrilled with the prospect, but I thought I would have some fun with it. So I wrote some limericks about my roommates (and me!). I thought I would share them with you.

Amanda has hair that is ginger,
Young men's hearts she tries not to injure,
Her disposition is kind,
She has a keen mind,
When dancing she tries not to linger.

Angela is one lovely raven,
French cuisine she's sure to be cravin',
Psychology she studies,
She's good to her buddies,
Her cooking transports you to heaven.

Our Lauren is prone to giggle,
When sleeping she tends to wiggle,
A care-taker pro,
To one's aid she does go,
Lauren's sure to never be fickle.

The limerick about me was written by my friend Chelsea a couple years ago, but I lost it and could only remember the first two lines and the fourth. So I made up the rest.

Laura is a linguistic RM,
Of her friends she inquires about men,
She reads lots of books,
And tells stories forsooth,
On her bike you can find her. Amen.

I hope that was as entertaining for you to read as they were for me to write...

11 November 2011

Numbers Crunching

Let's pretend this is me, okay? Okay.
Can I tell you a secret?

Okay good.

I love crunching numbers, making pie charts, and creating statistical reports. I think it's fun. So thank you Independent Study directors, for requiring that I make a weekly report. I'm sure I will look forward to it every week. (Note, this was not written with a sarcastic or ironic tone. I'm serious. Really.)

07 November 2011

Getting Older

Today my coworkers were talking about how they're getting more tired as they get older. They're both in their mid-late 30s.

Unbeknownst to them, I had taken a nap in a booth in the former cafeteria that houses my office during my lunch break because I could barely keep my eyes open. A bench. And I had to wake up to my alarm. Well, pretend to wake up at least. Granted the past few days had been very taxing. But still.

I'm only 25. Things do not bode well for me.

28 October 2011

Why I Love Baseball

Moments ago my favorite team lost the World Series for the second year in a row. Last year Rangers fans were all just so happy that the Rangers made it to the playoffs that we accepted our loss at our first World Series appearance in franchise history. We made history. That was enough. But losing for the second year in a row was a heart-breaker. We were one strike away. Twice. This time, the other team made history and we were on the losing end of more than one stat.

But come April it will be a new year, a fresh start, and a renewed chance to make history. In a sport of 162 regular season games, it may seem to some that the baseball season drags on and that each game doesn’t matter. Tell that to the St. Louis Cardinals. They won the wild card in the very last game of the season. Every win mattered for them. That one win won them the championship. The true mettle of each team is tried and proven with each game.

But baseball is more than just a series of games played through six months of the year. It’s a culture. When you go to a baseball game, you’re getting more than a game. You’re getting a world-class hot dog, a fireworks show, lasting memories, and a taste of America. It’s not just a game, it’s an experience. It’s the smell of beer, the cheesy messages across the big screen pressuring couples to kiss, the vendors’ calls, the sound of the bat hitting the ball. To rile up the fans you don’t get half-dressed women or ear-splitting music--you get an organ. Instead of a half-time show, you get a rendition of “God Bless America” or “Take Me out to the Ballgame.” Instead of cheerleaders, there’s the Wave.

In crucial games fans watch in uneasy anticipation from the moment the first pitch is thrown across home plate until the last out of the ninth inning, because in a game like baseball you never know when the game is going to change. A game is never over until the last out of the game. If you don’t believe me, just ask the the Cardinals. Each pitch and subsequent play has a specific strategy. It’s not just a bunch of guys standing around, aging and filling out. It’s nine innings (or more) of strategy and skill. Good players don’t burn out in a few years, they burn out in a few decades. The rookie becomes the mentor and ushers in a new generation to carry on the tradition.

Baseball is ruled by tradition, not instant replay. The umpire has final say. Yes, they get the call wrong sometimes, but that’s baseball. What the umpire says, goes. This tradition extends to those that came before. They aren’t just remembered; they’re revered, being hailed as the Greats. No player can compete with the memory of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, or Mickey Mantle. (Please forgive the Yankee reference.)

I don’t know when I fell in love with baseball, but I think maybe I’ve loved it my whole life. It was sitting in the dugout waiting to get back on the field, bonding with my teammates, hoping that coach would put me back on third or catcher. It was the evening practices out in a neglected field. It was learning how to switch hit and watching the other team’s coach silently implode when suddenly I went lefty on him. It was my dad practicing with me in the backyard and then sharing a bag of peanuts with him when we went to watch the pros. It was watching the Royals and the Rangers lose season after season: and still showing up the next year in the hope that they would win. Loyalty runs deep in this game. Just look at the Cubs; their fans still believe in them.

So for the rest of my life, I will don my Rangers cap and hope patiently for them to make history and win their first World Series. I’ve waited this long. I can wait as long as it takes. Because baseball is so much more than just a game. It's a way of life.

26 October 2011

Dear Space Heater,

I still love you. People may accuse you of sucking up too much power and shorting a circuit, but I know you would never do that. You love to keep me warm. You're not vindictive. Thank you for your constant support and love in the form of warmth. We will be bonding a lot more in the next few months.

You're the best.

A warm and happy Laura

18 October 2011

Silently Laughing Out Loud

I stumbled across this little gem today. Watch it please. And beware that you may laugh out loud.

Thank you Flight of the Conchords for making it hard for me to remain silent in my laughter. I haven't laughed that hard without making noise in a long time.

Also, I hear the remake of Footloose is fantastic. Can't wait to check it out.

13 October 2011

Please Behave

Dear InDesign,

I love you. You're great software. But enough with the crashing all the time on me. I understand it's not your fault, but the fault of the servers here at work. But you're an easy scapegoat. And I'm sorry for that.

So seriously, please stop crashing on me.


10 October 2011


So I'm a jumpy person. I mean, a really jumpy person. This extends to all aspects of my interactions with people: home life, church life, and at work--especially at work. I sit at a cubicle and often I'm listening to something. (I find that I get extremely bored/distracted if I don't have something I'm listening to. I sit in the middle of our little cube farm. People get chatty.) Often I'll be engrossed in something and will lose my sense of what is going on around me. This leaves me vulnerable to the attacks of my coworkers. Those poor souls that just want to talk to me. They make me jump out of my skin.

My cube neighbor, Spencer, often has questions. He's tried everything to not make me jump. He does the polite "Laura" over the cube wall, which is effective some of the time. He's also tried standing up and trying to get my attention. Almost always, I jump out of my seat. Once, he even tried a loud whisper. That had catastrophic results.

Last week a new guy here, Jay, came by my desk to see me. I have a little false wall that gives me a little bit of privacy. It's great, but it also blocks some of my peripheral vision. Well, I was rocking out to something (I've noticed that my volume goes up throughout the day...) and Jay tried to get my attention. I caught sight of him out of the corner of my eye and I had a sharp intake of breath and cowered in the corner of my desk. (Yes. It's true.) Well, apparently Jay is skittish as well and his scaring me scared him. Poor Jay.

Just now my page refreshed and it made me jump. Ridiculous.

This has got to stop.

07 October 2011

Best Idea I've Had Yet

Listening to Billy Joel at work? Genius.

03 October 2011

The Name

Well. I named my computer Celsius, after this guy.

Thank you for your suggestions. I loved all of them. Celsius just felt right. He was an astronomer after all. And all Macs welcome you with a view of the cosmos.

So there you have it.

19 September 2011

Surprise Encounter

This morning I was walking along, minding my business, when I noticed a cat balancing on the ledge of my stairwell. I was startled but continued on my way. (Cats are not common around here.) I kept walking toward the cat and it jumped off of the ledge and bee-lined it to me. That's when I noticed the collar.

So I went back to my apartment, Spike in my arms, and told my roommates that I'd found a cat. Amanda immediately called the owner on the tag. (I think she wanted him gone as quickly as possible...perhaps she knows my tendency to get attached to animals...) So hopefully Spike's owner will call to get her little cat, who is very sweet. Otherwise, I don't know what we'd do with him.

An interesting way to start the week.

05 September 2011

Introducing: Name Pending

So the last time I had a new computer I was eighteen. I remember looking around and figuring out exactly what I wanted. Then I waited patiently to get it. I honestly don't remember if I bought it in a store or if it magically arrived at my house via the post. But I do remember opening it up out of the packaging and being soooo excited. I felt like a grown up. I had my own computer, and a laptop at that. It was shiny and fast and it was all mine. That little Gateway was true and faithful for my first three years of school. I loved that computer. But alas, when I came home from my mission, the little guy was toast and bit the dust shortly after my return.

But my sister was kind and generous and let me use her old laptop. And it was a good little laptop. But then it too started to die. So my mom let me use her old laptop. And sadly, last week both computers pooped out on me right when I was in the middle of an editing job that had a hard deadline. So I used the computers up on campus, but they too were broken. Luckily, there was enough life left in Jen's old computer to see me through the job.

Well. It was time. I finally had the means and opportunity to get my very own shiny new computer. It is a MacBook Pro 15" and I love everything about it. I've spent the past three days playing around on it, basking in it's brightness, coolness, and the fact that I can actually unplug it. I've also been playing around with the touchpad. That thing is amazing. Seriously. This is what it looks like:

Yesterday I even FaceTimed my dad! It was delightful.

Here's where I need your help. I cannot for the life of me think of a suitable name for him. (Yes, it is a him. And yes, I like to name things.) I think I would like to name him after a notable scientist. Can you help me name my new arrival?

31 August 2011

On Tenacity

Lately I’ve been asked repeatedly, “So how was your summer?” I always have to stop and think for a minute and I want to respond, “Painful.” But I don’t. I give the pedestrian and expected answer of “good” and we move on to something else.

I’ve always been a clumsy person and I think I’ve had at least one bruise on me for about two years. I’m used to bruises. I bring them upon myself so I just deal with it. Somehow every possible corner of any piece of furniture comes into contact with me. It’s not a big deal.

However, this summer has been a bit much. I’ve crashed three times on my bike. Once you’ve already heard about. The second time I hit a curb wrong and ended up with a mild concussion. I still don’t remember how I got home. The third one came a couple of weeks ago. A car cut me off when I was commuting home from work and I didn’t have time to stop before I ran full into his car and flew off my bike. I’ve gone through an embarrassing amount of band-aids this summer.

But every time I’ve determined that I will not give up. I determine that I will be smarter and more cautious. But I will not be conquered by concrete. I refuse.

With each crash, though, it’s become harder and harder to get back in the saddle (literally). I find that I am much more aware of everything around me and that makes me uptight. But I always know in the back of my mind that I’m going to be alright. I’m not going to get hit by a pedestrian or a car. I’m not going to get blown off of the road. I’m going to be fine.

I’ve been thinking recently about why I’ve had such bad luck this summer and what I should be learning from this. I come to a few conclusions:
  1. I react remarkably well when my body is traumatized. I’m so nice to everyone and so optimistic about everything. Adrenaline really is amazing. (The shock that comes after, though, not my favorite.)
  2.  Skin heals incredibly fast. Also antibiotic ointment is amazing.
  3.  Trying to shave your legs with road rash is obnoxious. Trust me.
  4.  I still love riding my bike.

This experience is so minor in comparison to the difficulties that others face, but I’ve found that there is something in doing what you love (be it a good thing) no matter what happens to deter you. 

29 August 2011

My Not First Day

Today was the first day of school at BYU. It was also my first day of not going to school on the first day while living in Provo. I remember as a child being so excited for school to start. I never dreaded heading back to school. Ever. I would think about what I was going to wear and I would have trouble sleeping the night before because I was nervous and worried and excited.

Well, today I didn’t go back to school. I went to work. And my day was just like every other previous weekday of the past few months since I’ve graduated.

I think I expected to feel this deep sense of loss that I wasn’t going to school and learning new things and taking classes. But I really don’t. I feel satisfied in my college experience and I’m happy to be in a different stage of life. And I don’t need to go to class to still learn. I learn a lot every day through reading, listening to podcasts, and keeping up on current events.

So here’s to my first day of not having a first day. It feels much better than I thought it would. How satisfying.

25 August 2011

An Impression

Last night I saw my friend Ryan coming up the stairs. I exchanged pleasantries with him and he introduced me to his friend, Riley. I was pleasant and polite in my greeting. He then said, "Oh we already met. We watched a World Cup game last year and debated about the US team."

Then my memory came back. I don't think it was as much a debate as much as a heated debate. All I remember is being extremely annoyed and I might have even left the game to watch with some other friends.

But I had completely forgotten.

He had not.

Apparently I made quite an impression.

Good thing I'm so great at hiding my opinions.


Over a year later and Riley still remembered me as the opinionated girl that he bickered with during a World Cup game. Apparently first impressions really are lasting. I've grown since then, right? More tactful? At least that is what I'll tell myself.

23 August 2011

Stretchy Pants

My stretchy pants were sitting in my dirty laundry for about two weeks. (My darks don't make it to the wash all too often.) I had to turn to my basketball shorts when I needed something comfortable to wear.

Well last week I washed my darks and I got my stretchy pants back.

And I've been wearing them ever since. Except at work. That would be frowned upon.

Oh how I missed you, stretchy pants.

19 August 2011

The Boss

Five years ago I was introduced to Bruce Springsteen. His raspy voice resonated in my soul and I was hooked. Since then on The Boss has had a special place in my heart.

Mind you, I am not a part of the audience that he speaks to. I'm not in that generation, time, or place. But there's something about The Boss that speaks to me.

This week at work was excruciatingly slow for no reason. It wasn't bad or stressful or hard. It was just slow. Toward the end of the day I didn't have the willpower to use my brain anymore and so I turned to The Boss to get me through the day.

And he did.

Especially this song:

As soon as he started playing the harmonica I felt calm and at peace.

Thank you, Bruce, for getting me through my work day as you have for so many others.

15 August 2011

Tiny Desk Concerts and PDFs

So a lot of what I've been doing at work involves exporting InDesign documents to a PDF. This requires so. much. waiting. I have to wait for the book to load. Then I have to make sure the page numbers are updated. Then I have to check that the table of contents is accurate. Then I usually have to update the TOC, which usually crashes InDesign at least twice in the course of this process. Then I actually export the book to a PDF.

It takes a long time. And requires that I sit and wait for a long time waiting for InDesign to do its thing.

So recently I've taken to either reading essays by a favorite author, simply listening to a favorite podcast, or trying foolishly to multi-task. (It's usually a horrific attempt that makes me frazzled and causes me to forget what I was doing in the first place and thus never finishing said task in that day.)

So today while I've been waiting for my PDF to export and I've had to redo my TOC three times now (yes, three times and counting), I took the opportunity to check out some more of the Tiny Desk Concerts put on by All Songs Considered on NPR. About twice a week artists come to an office at NPR and put on a concert called a Tiny Desk Concert. (Is the desk tiny? or is it just a tiny concert? I'm still unsure.) They last only about fifteen minutes and they are literally shoved in the corner of this office space. Someone told me about them about a year ago, but I never took the opportunity to listen to them.

Friday I took the opportunity and I was most pleasantly surprised. Every single group/artist I've listened to has been so delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Givers, Noah and the Whale, and Gaby Moreno. They range from folk music to jazz to blues to latin to whatever you would want to listen to.

So this led me to discover Julian Gage, a jazz guitarist who looks about like this the whole time he's playing:

And his music is fantastic. Who would've ever put together percussion, guitar, bass, saxophone and cello? But it works.

So for the last hour I've been enjoying some lovely jazz while I wait endlessly for this PDF to come out without problems.

Cross your fingers. And check out those Tiny Desk Concerts. It will brighten your day.

12 August 2011

Enough with the band-aids and Neosporin. Seriously. Enough with asphalt and cement. Just enough.

11 August 2011

On Being Overwhelmed

When I was eighteen, I was employed as a store manager of an eBay drop-off store. Not only was I the manager, I was the only employee. The business wasn't doing too well and they couldn't afford to have anyone else there. So I spent the summer doing everything but the books for this store. 

I listed items on eBay, researching what it was that people brought me. I talked to the occasional customer who walked through the doors. I calculated shipping prices. I packed up the items for shipping and got them ready for pickup by DHL. I even had to talk to the police when someone found their stolen hockey gear listed on eBay. I also cleaned around the front.

But I also had to deal with angry customers, both those who came in and those who bought the items. The owners, who had once been friends, now hated each other because of this business. Things were not going well and I was caught in the middle. I also had to handle every tough situation by myself and answer every question that came my way.

It was very lonely and overwhelming. After all, I was only eighteen. My business experience was almost zero. I also hadn't learned that I didn't always have to have the answer. I remember having a knot in my stomach every minute I was in that store. I was worried someone would walk in the door. I was worried the owners would put more pressure on me. I was worried about everything.

Don't get me wrong. It wasn't a horrific experience. It just stressed me out. The owners were nice to me and I didn't often run into too many problems. It was just overwhelming. I was too young to have that kind of responsibility. It was too much.

I've mentioned before that my boss took a different job. So this week has been my first week without a supervisor. I mean technically I report to his supervisor, but he has so much to deal with, he doesn't really have the time or knowledge to give me the help I need.

Yesterday I got that knot in my stomach again and I remembered that job in McKinney that I had completely forgotten about. I thought momentarily of how overwhelmed I was that entire summer. I thought to myself, please don't let that happen again. But even though I had the same feeling in my stomach, I am a different person now. I've gained more experience and I have people surrounding me who can help. The stomach knot my come back occasionally as I feel understandably overwhelmed. But it will go away.

No need for history to repeat itself.

09 August 2011


So this summer I've been learning how to play the guitar. It wouldn't stop raining for three months and I needed an outlet, so the guitar it was. My brother-in-law was gracious enough to lend me his guitar so I wouldn't have to bum off of my friends anymore. So I've been playing around for the past couple of months.

Last night was the last acoustic night of the year. We've had about six or seven in the past year, September-August, (remember I live in a college-town; years go with the school year). I had my debut at the last acoustic night. I favored the audience with a little tune by my friend, Justin Bieber. It wasn't as bad as I was anticipating. So I decided to give it another shot last night. This time I played a more difficult song (Long, Long Time by Linda Ronstadt). The song is a bit of a downer, but it's beautiful.

It came to be my turn to go, so I made my way to the chair. The microphones were already set up and there was even a stand to put my music on. However, because the only light we had outside was shining at me, I couldn't really read the chords. Oh well. Also, I was attacked by kamikaze bugs the whole time. 

Was I fantastic? No. But it felt great to play and sing my heart out.And that is why I have loved playing the guitar. Not because I'm great, but because it gives me the chance to sing. And I love to sing.

Thank you beautiful weather, good friends, and a guitar found at the DI for providing me with a pleasant and fulfilling performing experience.

08 August 2011

Growing Pains

Today for a split second I wished I could have one day as a kid again. Just one day. It would be enough to run through the sprinklers, make my own play-dough, read a book hidden behind an armchair in the study, and play street hockey with the neighbors. It would be care-free and full of bliss. I would get to enjoy the beautifully hot day swimming in a pool, my hair slowly greening up a bit from the chlorine, and my skin just little pinker than before. My sisters and I would run into the woods in the backyard and work on the fort with the neighbor kids. But most importantly: it would not involve one bit of responsibility other than playing nice with the other kids, getting home on time, and maybe doing a chore or two. That's it. Nothing more required of small child me.

When you're a kid, no one tells you what growing up is really like. All we see is that adults had freedom. They could do whatever they wanted and no one told them what to do. They had independence. No one tells you that greater independence requires greater responsibility. Maybe that's what they mean to say with "enjoy being a kid while you can." They forget to mention the whole responsibility thing.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy my life. But sometimes it would be really nice to have a little less responsibility.

Today I had to fire one of my employees and I felt the responsibility of taking away her employment weigh down on me like a whole offensive line had just dogpiled on me. And I wished for a split second that I could have one day as a kid again.

Responsibility free.

07 August 2011


It's that time of year again, where change is as inevitable as the AC in my apartment going out. However, this year seems like more than ever things are changing. 
1. My entire ward is changing up. I'm staying in my apartment, but almost everyone around me is moving. Last year about half of the people in my building stayed, which was nice. So it looks like this year I'm going to have to share the toys in the sandbox with the new kids in town. I'm still not sure how I feel about it.

2. My dear friend and her husband moved back to Texas. I've known her since I was fourteen, we were roommates for three years in college, and have seen each other almost every week since I got back from my mission. Now I don't know what I'll do with my Tuesday nights. I'm excited for their new adventure though, and I'm sure to keep in touch with them.

3. My boss of two years just had his last day on Friday. He was offered a really great job and so he left Independent Study to pursue a different avenue. He has been my boss since I got back from my mission and he was fantastic. That came as a big surprise to all of us and it means that a lot will change for me at work. I'm still not sure how I feel about it...

4. Many of my student employees will be leaving IS in the fall. Most of them I knew would be leaving either because of graduation or study abroads. But some have come and told me they've found jobs that better suit what they're studying. I'm super happy for them, but it just felt like I was being dumped again and again and again this week. "It's not you; it's me" resounded in me as they approached me. I'm happy for them to have better opportunities, but I'll be sad to not have them around. They are all fantastic.

So basically, everything surrounding my life is changing, but nothing is really changing with me, other than the realization that everything changes and that life is transient.

Let's see what these changes bring.

30 June 2011

Fire Drill

Yesterday was a grimy day. It was overcast and the sky was brown. Yes, brown. Chalk that one up to the mountains.

Also it turned into a Utah hurricane. High winds. POURING rain. (I have never seen it rain that hard here.) Thunder and lightning. Yes, it can occur here. It knocked over a tree branch right outside a window at work.
And then, during the apocalyptic storm the fire alarm went off.

Don't worry. This has happened before. And it talks to us instead of ringing. Yep, it talks. The building that I work in is old and beat up and had to be grandfathered in so that we could still use it and is only still up because they promised that it would be torn down. Last time the fire alarm went off because of some problem with the ventilation.

This time, I think it was the apocalyptic storm.

So after insuring that my students made it out alive and after I was seen out alive by my supervisor, we all congregated under the awning right outside the building. We are supposed to congregate at a particular tree by the parking lot, a safe distance from the building. But no, no one was going out there in that craziness.

We all just tried to stay dry. I passed the time with the office manager, Wilda, a lovely woman who is the endearing grandma of Independent Study. She said she hoped something was wrong with the building so we could go home--and get paid for it. Now that is the person I want handling my payroll.

And then one of my students got sick on the grass as everyone was filing back in the building and I went back out to help her.

Not your typical day at the office. Let's hope for more fire drills because, hey, if we have to deal with all the construction and the agedness of our building, we should at least get to reap some benefits, right?

23 June 2011

And Summer Begins

Every weekend here in Utah along what we call the "Wasatch Front" (which to those of you who don't know what that is, don't worry, I didn't get it for years; it just means all along the side of the mountain range I live right next to) there are festivals, or "days" as they are called. I first heard about this because of Onion Days down in Payson. But we have Steel Days, Strawberry Days, Freedom Days (for Provo), Rodeo Days, Art Days...you get the idea.

I happen to LOVE these festivals. I think they're great. There are concerts, and booths with cheesy stuff, carnival rides, unhealthy yet tasty food, and fireworks. It makes me feel all summery inside. I am looking forward to Freedom Days over the Fourth of July. Provo goes crazy and everything turns red, white, and blue and I feel so patriotic. It's great.

So this past weekend we had Strawberry Days up in Pleasant Grove, Utah. And it was quite pleasant. I got a group of friends together (larger than I had anticipated, but still super fun) and we headed up. I think the last time I had been on carnival rides was when I was about twelve and my sisters and I went to a carnival in Iowa and we got stuck on this ride called The Chainsaw. It was not pleasant. I thought that riding carnival rides was just unpleasant. But no, I was just misinformed. They're actually really fun.

We rode the ferris wheel, a ride called The Zipper, and another one with really loud music and it spun us upside down. When we got on the ferris wheel it just felt like summer. I got to look out at the valley and it was beautiful and warm and sunsetty and I laughed and smiled and felt so free. Summer had just begun. Never you mind that I've been playing outside for months. Summer was actually here.

Although the ferris wheel was so pleasant, I will say that the highlight of the carnival was riding the Zipper. I went into this ride with some trepidation. The Zipper was the Chainsaw reincarnated. I worried about being trapped and feeling claustrophobic. False. I don't remember when I've laughed so hard. Well, we really just giggled really hard. (Apparently boys giggle too.) We were flipped all around and I would lose track of what was up and what was down. It was fantastic. Although we wondered if they had ever cleaned the inside of our little cage. And really, what is keeping those things together? The constant question as to the safety of carnival rides must be part of their appeal we decided.

The whole night I felt that I had been transported to another place and time. Carnivals do that to you. They make you go back to your childhood or to Big Fish. Either one. But for me it just felt that after the months of rain we've had and cold weather, summer had finally arrived.

Let the games begin. May there be more events that serve strawberries and cream is my hope.

26 May 2011


I've discovered recently that I have a knack for gross hyperbolation with the smallest, most trivial things. But I've known that for a while. What I'm coming to accept about myself is that I also tend to downplay important things that most people exaggerate.

Yesterday I crashed in my bike. And it hurt. I didn't simply fall over and scrape my knee, brush off the dust on the smoothly paved magical surface I was riding on. I didn't float like a cloud back to my apartment, waving like the beauty queens in all of those pointless parades I will soon be barraged with. No, I didn't spring back off the ground filled with new energy and a revitalized hope in my own strength.

No. I flew off my bike. I didn't just tip over gracefully. A stupid pedestrian cut into my way and I was thrust violently off of Stella, off the paved trail, into the gravel-filled, barbed-wire fenced side. One side of me was scraped up by the gravel, the other cut up by the barbs. I had to scramble out of the fence, facing upsidedown on an incline. I had to wash the dirt and gravel out of my cut and scraped, not scratched, knee. I wasn't offered any help. I didn't see the point in calling anyone either. Honestly, I just didn't want to bleed in anyone's car.

So I biked about six miles, uphill (yes I'm serious), to my bishop's house where his saint of a wife cleaned me out. I had never understood how alcohol could burn. Not really. But it really does. It was only then that I realized that maybe I was worse off than I thought, discovering new cuts each time I found a puncture in my tightly woven lycra and spandex shorts.

It was confirmed late last night that I lie to myself about things all the time. I faced myself in the mirror, toothbrush in hand, trying to gently, but firmly, clean out the remaining dirt in my knee. Maybe humor wasn't going to work for me this time, as it usually does.

See the thing is that I had told people about my crash and I suppose it was my own fault that I got responses that were "Wow I'm glad you're fine, but that's a really great story!" Not the words I want to hear when I'm trying to find any position that is comfortable, wondering how I'm going to sleep at all that night. It is in those moments that I realize that I need to communicate just a bit better.

But maybe I'm just an optimist. After all, as I was flying through the air the only thought that went through my head was Oh I'm crashing. I guess this makes me a real road biker. I'm official now. And it was only after that I thought Oh a barbed wire fence. That's going to hurt.

So now I sit musing on my bed, trying to give a fair representation of what happened while simultaneously wondering if my knee is ever going to stop pussing and hoping that I don't feel like I was a boxer's punching bag tomorrow. But then I'm instantly grateful for my body and it's natural ability to self-heal. And that I was blessed with an indomitable spirit.

Things always turn out. And they can always be so much worse. So all in all, I'd scratch this one up to a win. There I go again with my optimistic downplaying...

19 May 2011


I thought that when I moved to Utah that I was signing up for life in the desert.

Little did I know that it would decide to magically relocate to Seattle...

Dear Utah,

Thank you for the last two solid months of rain. You stink. You make me stay inside and be cold all day. Did you not get the memo that it is mid-May? Really? You also make it so Stella sits sad and neglected in my apartment.

Now you've got two of us who are upset.

Just stop raining and move us back to Utah and everything will be just fine for you.

If not...I don't know what the ramifications will be for you.


14 May 2011

All Forward Motion Counts

All forward motion counts.

The past few weeks I've been thinking about this idea. I had watched the movie Elizabethtown and one of the characters says this. I was riding my bike and it crystallized even more. Sometimes we see our lives in these boxes: what we should be doing, where we should be going, what we should have already accomplished. But the fact of the matter is that if we're moving forward (meaning a positive life direction, not a self destructive one) that's all that matters.

That's a thought I have often when I'm having adventures with Stella. As long as you keep moving forward, you'll keep moving. It's as simple as that. Momentum is paramount in riding bikes. It is what gets you up the hills and powers you down the hills as the wind sweeps through your helmet (because who has hair that can be windswept when riding a bike?).

Sometimes life takes us in a different path than we had expected. I know my life is different than I thought it would be. I'm so grateful to know there is a God who knows me and who knows what is best for me. My life is so much better and more fulfilling than I could have imagined it could be.

If we just keep moving forward than we can make it over the hills in life, even if it takes us longer than we would want or is harder than we could have imagined.

19 April 2011

Realizing My Dream of Being a Rock Star

So in our family home evening groups this semester we made music videos. We decided on "Separate Ways" by Journey (or rather, I decided on it and convinced the rest of the group that it would be epic). It was. Here it is. Please don't judge me too harshly on how I look.

16 April 2011

Lesson 2 in Overcoming Acrophobia: Push Your Limits

Today I went climbing up the canyon again. It was a glorious day. I'd been planning on it for a few days. I now check the weather religiously. Like really, religiously (especially when it looks nice outside and there are freshmen playing frisbee in the huge field right out my window at work and I'm so sad that I'm stuck inside during the day but soon it will be over because I'll get to leave earlier once I'm graduated...this week). So I knew that today was going to be beautiful. And it was. Thank goodness. That would have been a huge disappointment.

After an extremely successful morning in the library, I came home and we set off for the canyon. I let my friend choose where we go (he knows better than I do). So he chose this rock face that was super hard. I tried to go up the way that it was intended, but I ended up cheating it and going up the easy way. It did, however, require that I shove my body up a huge crack and shimmy up the rest of the way. When I went up there I made the mistake of looking out to the trail. That was not smart. I couldn't see the ground and I started getting really nervous. I tried to calm myself down and get a grip, but I got another wave of acrophobia and ended up burying my head in the crack so I could calm down. It was then that I gave up and was lowered to the ground--a mere fifteen feet from the top of the climb.

I then belayed for him as he went up again, content to have both feet firmly planted on the ground, and in the sun.  Unfortunately, he had forgot some necessary gear to get the rope off of his carabiners at the top of the line. Whoops. So he came back down and told me that I needed to go back up and get the carabiners.

I was not a happy Laura. All I wanted to do was stay on the ground and not freak out again. But somehow he convinced me to try again. So up I went. And I got up just fine. It took me a while to figure out how to shove my body up the crack so that I could use my back to leverage me up instead of my knees.

But I did it. I got up.

While this may not sound all that impressive (and really, it wasn't by any standard), I still looked my fear in the face and told it to go bother someone else. It was a good feeling to get those carabiners off the anchors and me back on the ground. And I was a much happier Laura.

Sometimes you just need to tell your fears to take a hike and see what you can really do. Thank you rock face for helping me conquer my acrophobia just a little bit more. Until we meet again.

06 April 2011


This morning at 5:55 a.m. my friends came and picked me up so we could go to the gym to lift weights.

1. I'm not a morning person. I hate waking up any earlier than is necessary; I usually end up waking up too late. So me waking up earlier than was necessary was weird.
2. I'm not huge on lifting weights. I lack the discipline needed to push myself with lifting weights.
3. Most of my workout clothes were dirty, so I had to wear my gigantic sweatpants. (I love these sweatpants, but they just aren't conducive to working out.)

But it ended up okay. My friends stayed together and did their man thing. I steered clear of lifting anything near them. I didn't feel like looking like a wimpy girl. But I would go over and check in with them when I was feeling lost or out of place or when I wanted to dance to a Justin Bieber song in front of them to mock them.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about pain. This semester has been a hard one for me for many reasons. It's been a big adjustment period for me. I'm working full-time. I'm going to school part-time. And I don't love, love, love my classes like I always have. And work can be tedious and disappointing. In many ways and with many things I've been disappointed with how everything has worked out.

But that's just how it goes sometimes.

Life can be disappointing. You just need to learn to roll with it. This weekend I listened to General Conference and one of the speakers talked about pain. It didn't really resonate with me until my dear roommate told me what he had said. He said something to the effect of "when you're feeling pain it means you're healing." That touched my heart. As all of us know, life goes in phases. There are harder times and there are more steady times. This just happens to be a harder one for me. And that's okay.

So today I've been so sore from lifting weights. From the resistance that I put myself through--to become stronger. My hamstrings and quads and those muscles under your armpits have ached. But it's been a reminder to me that the greater the resistance and the longer you put up with that resistance, the stronger you become. Right now, God's working on making me a stronger Laura. And I feel blessed by that. So I'll keep on lifting weights and waking up early so that I can be reminded that as I get physically stronger, I am also getting spiritually stronger.

03 April 2011

Lesson 1 in Overcoming Acrophobia: Learn to Trust

Step 1 in overcoming your irrational fear of heights: learn to trust.

Have I fallen? Yes.
Did I die? Nope.
Did I get banged up a bit? Yep. But bruises are pretty, so it's no big deal. Just don't try kneeling down.

As I've mentioned previously, this past semester I've been climbing pretty consistently. It's a two-man kind of deal, so I've needed a consistent climbing partner. So I've been going with the same friend and I've had to learn to trust him. The first time we went, I couldn't even recognize his voice when he called out where I could place my feet or what I needed to do. But with time we've built up trust because when someone's got your life in their hands, you really don't have a choice. You just have to trust.

I haven't always been the most trusting person but people surprise me pretty often. That's part of the deal with this life, we have to learn to trust and have faith. I remember sitting in our den when we were living in Kansas and watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade for the first time. I watched this scene and I remember thinking "What is he doing? He's going to fall into that great big ravine!" But then it all worked out. I still think about that scene sometimes. Life is about trust. We don't know where we're going, but God does. We just need to have faith. Everything will work out if we're trying to do our best.

I just have to keep telling that to myself whenever I'm climbing. Trust the equipment. Trust the shoes. It's okay if you fall. And it always turns out just fine.

Thank you climbing.

Physics--It Will Never Leave Me, Part 2

I've talked about physics in the past in this blog. I know, I keep coming back to it. But it keeps coming back to me. This time I'm sticking it to gravity.

I hate limits. I hate when I can't do something. I'm a stubborn person, I'll admit. But I hope that my stubbornness more often than not manifests itself as tenacity. You see, I have always had a fear of heights. I remember being nervous as a child when we went to see the Grand Canyon. I am reluctant to climb on ladders and even on chairs. I had a traumatic episode when I was about fifteen when I had to climb up a really tall tree to go down a zip line. Really, me and heights were not friends at all.

So about two and a half years ago my friends said they were going rock climbing. I thought, hey I like the mountains, I like being outside, that sounds like fun. As soon as I started stumbling up the rock face I realized, Wait a minute, I'm getting higher, I could fall, this could be bad. Then I ended up swinging around the corner of the rock face and I was terrified. It was not a positive experience. Then last summer another set of friends said they were going rock climbing. I determined to go with them. I wanted the bitter taste of that bad experience out of my mouth. So I went with them.

They selected an easy route and everyone went up before I took my turn. And oh my, did I ever take my turn. It probably took me at least a half hour, if not longer. But they encouraged me and told me not to give up and wouldn't let me come down. And I made it to the top. It was a good feeling.

This winter I've started rock climbing on a regular basis. I've been going indoor at a climbing gym about once a week and I absolutely love it. I get better every time, and what's better is I feel more empowered with each climb. No longer am I being conquered by my phobia. I am conquering it. I'm sticking it to gravity. Stay tuned for lessons learned in climbing.

25 March 2011

Ode to the Construction Worker

So I work in a construction zone. My building is literally surrounded by new dorms going up.There is mud and dirt everywhere. My car is constantly gross. My shoes are constantly gross. The carpet in my office is constantly gross.

And yet the buildings keep going up. There are four dorms going up right now by my count. I thought they would only do two, but out of nowhere two more popped up out of the ground like daisies.

I work in what used to be a cafeteria. Well, the actual cafeteria part is still a cafeteria, the rest of it was re-purposed into an office. It works. There are industrial grates up everywhere that hold the wires up to the ceiling. I kind of like it. But I take my lunches in the cafeteria (we euphemistically call it "the atrium"). There is great natural light and I get to sit in a booth by the window. I get lunch and a show as I watch the workers build these massive dorms.

Over the past few months I've been so impressed by these men (I have not seen any women as of yet, so I'll stick with masculine pronouns and referents). They come to work every day. Come rain, come shine. Come snow, come freezing. And those buildings keep going up. Today it was sleeting and they were still out there working. Granted, their numbers were few, but still, they were out there in their boots and jeans, sloshing around in the mud. I'm sure they were cold and miserable. I'm sure some of them hated their job at that moment. But they were there.

And they're always nice to me when we're standing in line at the Creamery. So here's a thank you to those workers. I'm glad that I've been able to observe a different world and learn to really respect some unsung heroes.

14 March 2011

One More Rave

I just thought I would help you see the difference Stella makes in my life:

decreased surface area = decreased friction
decreased friction = increased velocity
increased velocity = decreased force necessary to maintain normal velocity
decreased force = decreased exhaustion
decreased exhaustion = one happy Laura

Physics can work in my favor sometimes. More on this later.

A Big, Warm Welcome to My New Addition: Stella

If you would recall my post of last year I had a rough time on a mere 20 mile ride. This, in bike world, is nothing at all. But I was pooped. Really. I cursed my heavy, thick tired bike (though dear to my heart, it is). I told myself that this would never happen again and that I would get a lighter, more distance apt bicycle this year.

Well I did.

And I named her Stella.

She's beautiful.

Want to see her? Here she is!

I really love her. A lot.

She rides like a dream.

I commuted to work today on my bike and it was a dream compared to the former commute that I had. The gigantic hills (yes, there are two on my way to work, my 10-minute commute) were a piece of cake compared to the former ride that I had, where I had to often admit defeat, dismount, and shamefully walk my bike up the hills. Shamefully I ride no more.

I love that the weather is nicer and that I can ride my bike and that I live close enough to work that I can ride. It makes all the difference.

And now my poor roommates, friends, and coworkers no longer have to hear about me talk about which bike I'm going to ride. I no longer have to go from shop to shop, trying out different bikes. I no longer have to go to online forums for wisdom and bike know-how. I can figure it out myself (with the help of nice friends and helpful pamphlets.

I love the outdoors.

16 February 2011

Help Public Broadcasting!

So one thing I love is public broadcasting. I grew up watching PBS (Sesame Street) and NPR (Car Talk) and I listen to NPR almost every day, at least on the good days. Life for me is so much better because of public broadcasting and I've learned so much through everything I've watched and heard. Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me keeps me current on current events, but also makes me laugh at the same time. This American Life warms my heart and helps me understand complex ideas. And Radiolab gives me a new perspective on the world and the people in it. And my sisters are addicted to Antiques Roadshow. Public broadcasting is all over my life.

Right now Congress is moving to take funding away from public broadcasting. This makes me very sad. So I went here:


and I contacted my congressmen and senator and asked them to vote to keep funding for public broadcasting.

I'm not saying that you should all contact your local government officials. It's your choice what you want to support. Thankfully we live in a free country. But if you support public broadcasting, let your congressmen and senators know. Maybe it will make a difference.

A few fun facts for you about public broadcasting:

Ode to My Space Heater

Space heater,
You make me warm.
You help me battle wet hair
And over-air conditioning.
Even though you make me sleepy,
You keep me happy,
Because you keep me warm.
Thank you, space heater.
I’ll try to stop accidentally kicking you all day.


16 January 2011

Adult World

So this week I joined the world of adults: I got a real job. I have been working for BYU Independent Study as a student employee for the past year and a half and this week I joined their full-time staff. It's been a busy week and so many problems came up and I had to make so many decisions. But, it was a really good start. Everyone was really nice to me and very welcoming. I was super impressed by everyone.

But I realized something as I was sitting in one of my many meetings during the week: my peers have now become people 15+ years older than me. I sat around looking at everyone and realized that most of them have several children and were either going through puberty when I was born or were already in college. It was then that I realized that I'm glad that I've always gotten along well with people older than me. I think it will serve me well. I think it also helps that my humor is "mature" (so says one of my co-workers), meaning that I have humor drier than a new-comer's skin to Utah.

So the coming weeks will bring a lot of new experiences for me and new ways of seeing the world. (Such as being introduced to Howard Jones's music this week. Who doesn't love 80s music?) Hopefully I work well as an all-around liaison for anything you could imagine at Independent Study. Let's see how it goes. Any advice?

11 January 2011


So about two months ago I started to become aware of my hair. I know that may sound odd, but I just started to feel it all the time. Obnoxious. It was like all those nights when you've made the brave decision to wear socks to bed. (It can be pretty hit or miss.) And suddenly all you need to do is take off your socks because you've suddenly become aware that they are there, and they are suffocating your feet. That is how my hair began to feel to me. With every time I put on my scarf, and my coat, and my backpack, I felt my hair as I irritatedly pulled it out from under each of these new enemies. It was a constant annoyance.

So a month ago, I chopped it off. Nine inches of it. Every time Patrick took another slice at my hair, instead of feeling panicked and distraught, I felt freer and lighter. And I have not looked back since.

Hello, new short hair cut. You are my new best friend. I have missed you.

Sometimes all it takes is facing the enemy and deciding to make a change.