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.