Saturday, December 20, 2008

Communication Breakdown

So part of the reason I am out in Utah a week early is so that I can spend some much needed time with the family. But also--I worked it out so that I could have students email me their final papers and final exams this week. 

This is a problem when internet is sketchy at best. My mom has internet at work, and our next door neighbors here let us hop on their internet when necessary, but I've felt pretty cut off. Which is just fine because I have a phone!

Yeah . . . 

 Yesterday my wonderful mom washed my clothes. I left my phone in my jeans. Bye bye phone. Bye bye phone numbers. Hello panic attack.

Yesterday my wonderful mother suggested I join their family plan and save myself some serious dough. Wahoo!  Bye bye phone numbers on old bills now that my account is closed.

Today we braved the snow storm and drove in my dad's big ol' truck to Logan where I bought my dad a new cell phone for Christmas and took his old phone as my own. The customer service people were able to pull up my past bills so I'm trying to find phone numbers on the bills. I may be calling you within the next few days. The bill has phone numbers, but no names.  If I don't call you--feel free to call me! 

I was pretty on edge this morning as I was trying unsuccessfully to check my emails for student's papers and I couldn't make any phone calls. I hate grading! Crystal just wrote a blog about this--and girl--I feel you!! There has to be an easier way to do this. Each semester I think I have it down--and then things just fall apart. It's difficult because I can't give out A-s or B+s. I have to give an A or a B. 

It has been wonderful to be with family though. I love them so much! I met my nephew Konner today! And I filmed my brother's Choir Concert. I can't wait to be able to use my own computer and load some pics and videos!

Send me phone numbers-- or better yet-- call me! 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Vacationing in Our Lovely Deseret

I am in the lovely Deseret!

I'm so happy to be here! I realized how excited I was to take this trip when I couldn't find my driver's license late Thursday night. It was horrible and awful--and I cleaned out a lot of purses and coats--then finally went down to the DMV and begged for a replacement license just in time.

Friday night weather was wonderful. The trip was long though. I left for the airport at 3:30pm and reached Salt Lake City at midnight--2am DC time. There is a reason I don't do this trip very often.

Heather and Michael picked me up. We had a great time chatting it up till late and then she took me to breakfast at Mimi's. So good! Then I met my step-family for lunch and we all went to Holland's basketball game. My nieces and nephew are sooo stinking cute!! After that, Elaine and Emily and I went to see 4 Christmases. Then I went to Kjersti's for a much needed reunion with one of my favorite people!

It dumped snow yesterday--so Elaine bought me snowboots as an early birthday present! I'm so glad it didn't snow on Friday.

I can't wait to get home to my immediate family--but that will have to wait until Tuesday. I'm off to visit my Grandma in Bountiful! I'm happy to spend some much needed time with her. Her cooking is divine--and we have a lot to catch up on.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lesley's Visit

Lesley came up to visit this week.

We had such a wonderful time! She performed for my Acting Class! We had Thai food, went Christmas shopping, watched Australia and watched Buffy. She is an angel. I love having Lesley around because she makes me feel great! We have such a fun time. I wish I had words to describe how much her friendship means to me. I don't. So I'll stop trying. But, I am so grateful that she drove up to spend the day with me.

Go and see Australia. It's too long to watch on the small screen.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Packing Light

I am leaving on a jet plane. tomorrow. I'm really excited!!

Packing is becoming an interesting feat. I'm a little afraid to start putting clothes into the suitcase.

I have gifts for family members and friends. (That's going to take a bit of room.)

I have to pack for Utah and Phoenix.


It's gonna be fun.

Oh--and I'll be working throughout this vacation creating a curriculum for 2 new classes. This means packing books.

Ugggh. If only I had finished the curriculum earlier this quarter. Oh well. Such is life.

I'm half tempted to box up stuff and mail it to myself in order to avoid hauling it. I hate hauling luggage. I have very cute luggage. It is small with shiny leather and leopard print. It's perfect. It is small.

I am going to pack light! I am determined to pack light!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Watching The Practice is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I feel guilty for watching it because there's just too much sex and not enough substance. Tonight, the show totally proved that assertion wrong.

Tonight's episode was about choosing life over death. They showed this in three different ways-
1) abortion
2) choosing to save the baby instead of the mother in the coma
3) a man killed his wife who was suffering from a painful disease.

All three of these situations are about the same things. When is it right to let someone die? Is it right? In the 3rd situation--we discovered that the husband clearly wasn't trying to save his wife from pain--but he was trying to save himself from pain.

In the 2nd situation, the baby would have died if they hadn't delivered her via c-section instead of making the comatose woman deliver naturally--which might have brought her out of her coma.

I think 2 and 3 were there to help us understand abortion a little better.

Abortion has been on my mind this week. We discussed it in class on Thursday and there was an article about abortion in the Washington Post this past week.

2 helps us to see the view that sometimes allowing someone to die in order to let someone live is incredibly painful, but a valid decision.

3 gets more complicated. The show clearly came down on the side against choosing to end someone's life purely to end your own suffering.

I always expect television shows to err on a more liberal side--but as the episode ended--I really felt like the writers were painting a very subtle protest against abortions that are performed for selfish reasons through situation 3.

In my naive world, I can't believe that anyone would ever choose to get an abortion for selfish reasons. I choose to imagine a world where people would agonize over such a choice. And I choose to believe that these choices are made because the woman truly feels that her decision, as painful as it is, is a sacrifice she must make in order to help a child to avoid the pain of neglect and poverty. (I am only trying to empathize and not to judge. I simply will not presume to know the feelings of someone who has had to make this decision.)

I am pro-choice--but against abortion. It's complicated.

I believe that the biggest downfall in this national discussion on right to life and right to choice has been in underestimating the complexities of this choice.

I believe it is a horrible burden to place this task of choosing solely on women. I cry when I think of friends who have agonized over this decision--knowing that they alone would carry the burden of that choice.

Women were never meant to make such choices alone. Children should be conceived in families. And if and when choices need to be made, in a perfect world--they should be made prayerfully, by couples seeking to do what's best for their family.

Unfortunately this isn't a perfect world. And too many women make this choice alone.

Before I step off this soap box--I'm going to state my conclusions--
1) If the government chooses to legalize abortion--they need to take responsibility for the choices being made and provide state sponsored counseling and follow-up with people. Just because it's legal doesn't take away the psychological consequences of the choice. It isn't simple. We need to stop acting like it is. Perhaps then, people might take "making life" a little more seriously.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I'm up late again. I'm feeling rebellious this week. I'm drinking egg nog and mentally refusing to make time to go to the gym. I watched Arrested Development instead of grading papers today. I am supposed to email the book selection for next semester's classes. Instead, I'm going to play Tetris. I will probably eat m&ms in bed too.

There are things that I can't control. When I feel like I don't have control over the events of my life, I rebel and take control in my self-destructive, deluded way.

If I'm going to be unhappy--I'm going to be unhappy on my terms. It kills me to think that I might try my hardest--workout, get plenty of rest, eat right--and I'll still end up lonely and miserable. At least this way, I'll be able to pinpoint a controllable reason.

The fact that I recognize this pattern--and consider it sort of logical is SOOOOO disturbing to me.

I'm just overanalyzing my life.

I'm tired from Thanksgiving and I have to figure out the end of this quarter and next quarter/semester's classes all before I go home to Utah next week.

It's been 2 years since I was in Utah. I think I'm subconciously very very nervous to see people. I'm excited, but I'm really nervous.

I wish my natural answer to stress and nerves was to eat salad and get to bed early.

Oh well. Good weeks, bad weeks.

I'm still a good person! And next week will be a good week.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Brother Nick

Today is Nick's 16th birthday.

I was 14 when Nick came home from the hospital in his little stocking. He has been everyone's favorite in our family from the day he was born.

Tonight he is celebrating his birthday at a Vivaldi Concert.

When he was a newborn, I used to lay him on my lap and play the piano. Now, he loves to play the piano, the organ, and the trombone.

When Nick was a baby, he and our dog Snickers ruled the roost. Mom and Dad would each hug a side of their king size bed and the little dog and the baby boy would spread out like starfish in the middle of the bed.

He used to love to watch Cinderella or "Gus Gus" in his room in the middle of the night. And every morning at 4am he would have "Mommy and Me" time.

My poor parents were raising 6 teenagers and a baby at the same time. Insanity.

When Nick was potty training, we were standing outside in the neighbor's yard, and I asked him, "Nick, do you need to go to the bathroom?" He replied in the affirmative and proceeded to pee on the neighbors roses.

Last week he went on his first date with the German foreign exchange student.

When he was learning his numbers, colors and abc's--his evil older brothers and sisters taught him that the sky was green and that 3 came after 7--among other "facts". We wanted to know if he would see the world differently if we taught him different colors! It was a noble experiment. Unfortunately, his kindergarten teacher set him straight before we could really see the results of our experimental teaching.

When he was 10 he wanted to see The Lord of the Rings but he wasn't 13. My mom told him that he could see the movies if he read the books. So he did.

When he came out to visit me in Virginia, he had just finished reading Gods and Generals. When we went to Gettysburg, he found Joshua Chamberlain's statue. He had just finished reading The Killer Angels. He got a little choked up and said, "He's my hero!" I think he was 13.

Nick has always been everyone's favorite. There's just something wonderful about him. We used to try and guess what he was going to be when he grew up, but frankly, he could be anything he wants.

Thanks for coming to our family Nick. We love you!

Finding away to avoid doing work

I'm experiencing the post-Thanksgiving partum. Or posty thingy.

Wrapping up Thanksgiving took a LONG time.

It was worth it to have so many people in the house, but taking out the garbage yesterday was crazy and perhaps the most disgusting thing I've ever done. I won't describe it.

I rounded up a truck and some willing men to help me return all of the chairs and tables to the church.

And this morning I finally got around to scrubbing out the turkey roaster pan.

We gave pie to everyone who came for Choir. So that's done.

And now I'm trying to get myself to grade papers. I have to return all of their rough drafts to them tomorrow night. I can't get myself to do it.

I don't even like what's on tv right now. I can't find anymore "Buffy" episodes to watch online. And I stayed up playing tetris last night--all to avoid grading papers.

I'm really excited about coming to UTAH! It's going to be great! I need to figure out my calendar.

Oooooh!! Something to do that isn't grading papers!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Touring DC

After a great Thanksgiving, I took Jon, Mallorie and Ben on a tour of DC. Because time was short--I took them on a special tour of my favorite places in DC.

We started at the LDS Temple. It was beautiful. We went through the Reflections of Christ exhibit.
Next stop on the tour was the National Cathedral.

Ben and I heard a cool story about a carver who had carved a horse with a snake in his mouth. The horse has the face of Winston Churchill and the snake has the face of Hitler. He carved it before WWII started. He says, "I carved a prophecy." So neat!

And then we went to the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress is one of the most beautiful buildings I've ever been in.

And then we sang Christmas Carols in the Echo Chamber at the Canadian Embassy. It's so neat. You can't really hear what people are saying when you're inside the pillars, but if you're standing in the pillars--the sound echos all around. It's so beautiful!

Sadly, Ben had to leave early to catch the Chinatown Bus back to NYC.
After dropping Ben off, we went to the Jefferson Memorial.

And we finished the day off driving by the Masonic Temple.

We hit the LDS Temple, the Cathedral, A Temple of Learning, the Jefferson Memorial always strikes me as a sacred place, and the Masonic Temple.

I love that ideals and spirituality are memorialized so beautifully here. I love that we have monuments to learning and to wisdom. It makes me happy.

Come out to DC and we'll go on the same tour!


Thanksgiving was huge. Describing it will be difficult.

But I will attempt it.

Wednesday I cleaned.

Thursday, I cooked a wicked tasty turkey.

The guests started coming at about 2pm. We had a grand total of about 40 peeps come for dinner and dessert. We sat around huge church tables spread across the house.

My friend Jon came down from Philly and my friend Ben came down from NYC. Bri came up from Charlottesville. I can't describe how happy I was to have so many friends come. I know Jon from my mission. Ben and I were friends in Iowa. And I knew Bri when I was in grad school. It was so wonderful to have friends from so many different walks in my life.

Thursday night we went to see Bolt.

We came home and played Trivial Pursuit and some other game. We all fell into bed after midnight. It was a wonderful day filled with great food, wonderful friends--both old and new. We had little kids running everywhere. And pie. Lots of pie. Everywhere I turned there was pie! We gave everyone in the ward choir a piece of pie today and we still have a couple of pieces left.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

World's Most Vain Post Ever

I wanted to post a picture of me with my new glasses.

I realized that I've taken quite a few self portraits with my new Mac. So, I figured I'd show you the many faces of Eve. All these photos have been taken within the last 3 months.

This is me with no make-up on.

This is me with entirely too much make-up on. (Hello eyeliner anyone?)

This is my new red coat!

Sometimes when I'm teaching, I get bored and take pictures of myself.
(That's the whiteboard in the background.)

This is me in my office.

Teaching again. I'm trying to look nonchalant so my students don't realize what I'm doing.

Good hair day!

Teaching again.

So, that's me playing around with the photo booth thing.

Thanks for taking the little tour of the many faces and hairdos of me!

(If I had children, I'd post pictures of them--but people might get worried if I post pictures of other people's children.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Preparing for the Feast

Last year, Bri and Roger and I celebrated Thanksgiving dinner--just the three of us. It was great! And now we're extending the tradition and expanding our numbers.

We have 28 people coming over for dinner on Thursday.


It's so exciting!!

I bought a 25 pound turkey. It is currently marinating on the deck in orange juice and honey. I'm so excited to cook that bird!!

And just to make things even more amazing--I got bbq ribs--just in case we didn't have enough turkey.

Everyone else is bringing the side dishes. I'm in charge of the meat. And boy howdy do we have meet. We have 37 pounds of meat. That's more than a pound per person. No one will leave hungry.

I took myself to a spa today and got my eyebrows waxed and got a massage. It was a great day!

Tomorrow's preparations include vacuuming the house and setting up the tables and chairs that we borrowed from the stake center. Let the feasting begin!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Funny Website!

I found the most hilarious blog. Please go and check it out.

It's called Cake Wrecks.

Bon Apetit!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gratitude for Midsummer

Those of you who have been in plays know that normally you rehearse every night of the week before you open a play. We literally rehearsed on Saturdays. That's it. Some of the actors would get together and rehearse by themselves during the week--but we rehearsed as a cast once a week.

We did 1 dress rehearsal thursday night, and then everything miraculously came together over the weekend.

I felt my heart explode with love for the cast and for Heavenly Father for blessing them. Saturday morning I woke up early and went to get them some food for inbetween the shows. I came to the church early to set things up and found myself with some down time. I went into the chapel and just began to cry. I was overwhelmed with love for the cast and with gratitude to Heavenly Father for allowing them to have such a great experience, despite the fact that we only had 10 rehearsals. It was a miracle, and I am grateful.

conflicting emotions

It could just be that I was really tired, but yesterday I felt very conflicted.

The show went wonderfully. My goal was to give the volunteer actors a wonderful experience and help them to come closer to God through the arts.

There were no fights, no divas. Everyone supported everyone and we had a great feeling among the cast members.

Thursday night's dress was off--but considering we weren't able to rehearse the show all week--that was to be expected. And they were nervous.

Friday night's opening was incredible.

I would prefer to give actors the confidence to move and shake their thing however they please. They moved and they shook--and I cracked up. Lysander and Demetrius added a Michael Jackson dance off to their fight. The fairies added a "Too Legit to Quit" rap section to the fairy dance. I just sat and howled with the rest of the audience. I was so happy that they finally took the show into their own hands.

Actors and the show--GREAT!!

Audience--not great. People didn't come and get their reserved seats. We had half houses when the tickets were sold out all three nights.

The 2nd counselor in the Stake Presidency's opening speech went something like this: Let's remember the parable of the talents. Some of us have a lot of talents--and some in the show don't have very many talents--but we're here to support everyone.

As Jonathan--the guy playing Bottom--said later, "For a politician--he gave a pretty crappy speech."

I got comments like, "That was so much better than I expected!" What do you say to that?!

"Glad we didn't suck--like you thought we would!"

One girl came up to me yesterday at church and said, "I went and saw two shows yesterday, and I just want you to know that your show was better than the high schools show!"

Better than high school? Wow. I'm not sure what to do with that.

We had a great show. I'm just miffed that people were so surprised.

But, beyond their surprise--the real mood killer was when people came up said, "Congratulations! Bet you're glad it's finally over!" Translation--I didn't see it.

My response: "Yeah, it was great! Sorry you weren't there! Hope your team didn't get slaughtered!"

To my out of town friends, I am grateful for your phone calls and support about the show. I know you would have come if you could.

To my friends who were in town (within 15 minutes) and didn't come--you are poo heads and I fart in your general direction!

Midsummer Pictures

Here are pictures from the play! Enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I'm sad tonight. I face a little dillemma.

You know how they tell you as a girl--don't like the guy too much cause then he'll just take you for granted? Well, I feel like that applies to some of my friends as well as to men.

I don't particularly like anyone--so don't bother reading into that. But I feel like I'm nice enough to my friends that they don't really care whether I'm in their lives or not. They know they don't need to win me over. I have certain friends who will "let" me help them, but they don't seem to care whether or not I might actually need their company or not.

This is really cryptic.

I feel lonely. I feel like when I reach out to friends who are struggling that they would rather have someone else reach out to them. Someone who isn't so desperately nice.

I wouldn't feel so sad about it except that this has happened three times in the past little while, with three different people.

I highly doubt it's anyone who actually reads this blog, so don't worry.

I'm tired of forgiving blatant rudeness. I'm tired of feeling as though I'm being "tolerated". I'm tired of feeling like I was invited somewhere out of pity. Just be honest with me. At least it will give me some sense of dignity instead of this horrible sinking feeling I get when I have to sit and figure out that you don't care whether I'm around or not.

I wish I had something more to offer so that you could have some reason to be nice to me. That's my problem. I keep trying to give people a reason to want me around. I'll jump when you say jump. I'll give and give--and try to demonstrate all of the reasons why you should want to be my friend. But in the end, you'd rather concern yourself with the one who's friendship you're not quite sure of yet. You know you have my friendship, so what does it matter how you treat me?

I'm really tempted to just erase certain soul sucking people from my life. I'm very tempted to just have a clean slate and only associate myself with people who actually care about me as a person--and don't choose to love me based on what I can do for them.

I wish I had the guts. I hate the feeling that I've made someone feel this way though. I can't handle hurting someone else as much as they've hurt me.

And so I'll probably pretend like nothing happened. I'll act like I just don't care. I'll just go about my merry way. And you'll never know that I knew that you "tolerated" my help, or that you called three people before finally deciding to call me, or that you pretended to have a good time with me so as to not hurt my feelings. I'm not stupid. I get it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I finally got tagged! It's so exciting!

I'm supposed to write about the 4th photo in the 4th folder on my computer.

This is a picture from the top floor of the old Masonic Temple in downtown Staunton, VA. It's the tallest building downtown. I took it a couple of years ago while I was still in grad school. We had all of our classes in this building. It was great fun!

Thanks Alicia! I tag: CJ, Heather, Christina, and Hannah!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Miracles of Midsummer

Yesterday someone stopped me at church and asked how I was handling everything.

I think people have some strange impression that I'm busy. I'm not.

Or I don't feel very busy. I don't have a regular job. I teach 3 classes right now. I have to be at work 3 times a week. And two of those times are on Wednesday. I usually have to go into the school for meetings here and there. I have to grade papers and write exams. I will work with students outside of class, and last week I had to work with a professor on the online system. But I only teach 2 days a week.

I'm not sure why people think I'm so busy.

Weekends can get hectic because I'm directing the Stake Play. Here in Washington DC land, they have things called Stake Plays. I'd never heard of such things before living here. Who would try and wrangle over-committed mormons to commit to enough rehearsal time to warrant a decent production?

My Stake!

This whole project started a year ago when I was called to the Stake Cultural Arts Committee. The committee head called me up and explained that we needed to put on a play, but that we didn't have much of a budget.

It has become a mission of mine to show people that you can create a wonderful theatrical experience with human ingenuity and dedication--and leave all the stuff that costs money out.

She had me at "no budget".

We decided on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. I like it because it's funny. Period. And because it spreads out the bulk of the responsibility across several characters. It's an ensemble piece.

In February I started working with Maryland Shakespeare Festival and they asked Bridget and I to direct a Middle School Production of Midsummer. They gave us a cut script and some great ways to extend the acting opportunities to more students.

It was like God was handing me a little how to manual for the upcoming stake production.

When we held auditions in May, I was able to use the other script to guide my cuttings--and I was able to extend the cast from 12 to 30ish. (I can't remember the exact number and I don't want to look it up right now.)

Besides that--I was able to familiarize myself with the script. Not that I wasn't intimately acquainted before . . .

Rehearsals started in September. The little cherubs were supposed to memorize their lines over the summer.

Yeah, that didn't happen.

Oberon quit without even telling me. (If any of you know Ben Jarvis, give him a swift kick for me.)

There were a multitude of problems. People had this attitude that if they didn't have a lead, they weren't needed at all the rehearsals. I have had to work hard to teach them the concept of ensemble. Even Saturday one of the actors wanted to know if Bottom would get his own bow. I love Bottom. I think the guy playing Bottom is great--but in an ensemble cast--everyone bows together. Period. (Well, they bow in small groups . . .)

This weekend I had several strikes against me.
1) Conflicts
2) I was sick.
3) The fire alarm went off 2 times during a run thru.
4) We were told by the Stake that we could not do a tech rehearsal on Monday night after FHE.

Saturday was our last rehearsal before our invited dress rehearsal this Thursday.

I came to the church armed with my dayquil, a roll of toilet paper, a carton of OJ, and mouth wash.

When I got to the church, Jami was working with a volunteer string quartet. They sounded beautiful.

Each group--the mechanicals, the fairies, the lovers, the pucks, the court--they were all working through their lines in separate rooms in the Stake Center.

At 10:30am we started the run. It was the easiest tech I've ever done. (This might have to do with the fact that I don't have tech in my shows) But we added the string musicians with barely a hassle.

After the run thru, we all ate pizza and everyone split off to run their separate rehearsals inbetween the runs.

At 3:30pm we started the next run thru. The fire alarm went off--and we just continued the run thru in the parking lot--then back onto the stage (fire alarm again--Say hello to the fire fighters, again--do your thing in the parking lot--) and then back onto the stage. With all these interruptions--our show ran until 5:10pm.

Towards the end, some little kids who were not in the play came into the cultural hall to see what was happening. They sat entranced. Their mom couldn't get them to leave.

I sat at the back of the cultural hall at my little table and laughed and smiled. It was such a gratifying experience to watch everything come together so nicely.

It's a great show. If you're in the DC area--come and see us this weekend.

Now back to the top of the post--I was teaching 7 classes--but without asking for it--I find myself only teaching 3 classes right now. I have time to give to this play. Heavenly Father has truly guided my life to make directing this play possible. I don't know why this little production was so important--but I am truly grateful for all the little miracles and gifts that have made this whole thing possible.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The things I am looking forward to most

How did I miss this opening? I swear it's not out yet, is it?

Oh good grief, am I that out of it?

I'm sick. I'm kind of overwhelmed thinking about all the things that I should be getting done in preparation for the upcoming quarter. But, all of it will come together. It's gonna be great. As soon as Midsummer is over--I will have all the time in the world.

We built columns out of styrofoam wreaths and string the other day. It's awesome. And cheap!

Well, I should get back to torturing my Ethics students with their midterms.

So--things I'm looking forward to most:
1) Having time to get work done
2) Having time to watch this movie!
3) Coming to Utah for 3 weeks in December!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lots of Theatre

This weekend, after an all day rehearsal, Spencer and I drove down to Staunton to perform in a staged reading of an Elizabethan play called Look About You by Anonymous. (He's a really cool guy.) Lesley Larsen Nesbit directed the show. It was wonderful. I love working with Lesley and Spencer.

The show is about Henry's family--John, Richard, Henry the son, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and I played Gloucester. Richard (played by Spencer) seduced Lady Fauckenbridge. Henry the son sent Gloucester to prison and I spent the play disguised as different characters after escaping prison. It was a great show.

Spencer was sick, and I think I'm getting his sickness now.

We finally finished the set for Midsummer Night's Dream. Hopefully it will stay up and no one will mess it up. We're setting the play in Washington DC. All the courtly folk are dressed like senators. The fairies are dressed like bohemian park dwellers, the Pucks (4 of them) are all dressed in old tattered suits. Oberon is in an old top hat--he's the king of the homeless. The mechanicals are all mechanics--(well there's a carpenter, a metro worker, a painter, etc.)

It's so much fun! I love this stuff. Theatre is great fun. It's always been fun, but lately, I'm having a ball.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Final Election Day Post

I sat in the parking lot tonight and cried listening to U2's "In the Name of Love". The radio stations have been playing great election music all day long. I'm overwhelmed by this election.

Virginia has been a red state, and today 1,698,318 people voted for Obama in Virginia. 1,580,245 voted for McCain.

I should be listening to Obama's acceptance speech. I'm tired. I'm overwhelmed and happy.

I am saddened by reading such ignorant drivel as "Obama is the anti-christ" from latter-day saint people who should know better. I am very happy that Senator McCain isn't a representative of such hateful comments. I was very impressed with his concession speech.

Earlier this year some of my African American students expressed fear in hoping for Obama. They were afraid to hope for such a miracle and therefore held back their hopes. I get choked up imagining the bitter cement in their hearts cracking open tonight.

Tonight is a miracle and if anyone out there tries to sully this miracle by suggesting that my president is anything but a good man striving to serve this country--just as McCain, Romney, and Hillary Clinton all are--I will feel sorry for you. And that, my friends, has to hurt coming from little ol' me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More Election Day pics

This is me on election day. I'm wearing all red white and blue. I have had 4 hours of sleep. As I take this picture, I'm tired from knocking on doors and making sure people have rides to the polls. I had such a great time talking with people today and making new friends.

And let's be real--I got to take some gorgeous pictures! These pics are all within a 1/2 mile radius of my house. If you ever want to come and visit VA--and you do!!!--come in the fall.
Here's the place!
A little stream around the corner from the polling place.

My polling place is on this street. I had to pull over and take a few pics.
Quick post:

Went to Obama rally in Manassas last night. 100,000 people. The energy was insane. We walked up and down the cars who were stuck in miles of traffic and talked to people in their cars. We took pictures of cars and people. You cannot imagine how amazing the energy was. We got there too late to see the actual rally--we just wanted to be in and among the people. It was worth the late night.

I am so happy to be an American.

I walked to the polls this morning and cast my vote. It's crazy here in Virginia. This is a red state, but it's bleeding blue today.

I'm off to go knock on doors and get people out to vote.

What an exciting day to be alive!

Just so we're clear: I am a woman of faith who voted for Barack Obama.

I will wholeheartedly support whoever is elected today. I will show that support by voicing my values and my opinions and ensuring that my views are represented. I will actively serve in my community and encourage my fellow citizens to do the same.

I have to go and canvass!! Go vote if you haven't already!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thanks to great friends!

I just got a great package from Heather. Ahhh Heather!! You're the best!

I'm so excited to go downstairs and settle into the couch, in front of a blazing fire, and open up my new book--courtesy of Miss Heather--while digging into a bowl of cookies and cream ice cream.

Truly, this is my bliss.

Thank you to Josh! We went to lunch with a coworker on Friday at the Carlyle. It's such a fancy, lovely restaurant. This other professor is wonderful. She has worked at SMU, UW, and has worked with Cecily Berry! It was so exciting. And she liked me! It was so nice of Josh to invite me to lunch with her so that I could make that important connection. And then we went and enjoyed a great movie Friday night and talked about politics, religion, art--all the good stuff--instead of going to the Halloween parties. Thank you!

I have to say thank you to my wonderful roommates. We are all so different--but these two amazing women inspire me to be better. Clarissa is such an example to me of living a higher law. She is truly striving daily to be like Christ. And Sarah possesses such a sweet spirit. She is filled with love. As I sat and listened to both of these women bear their testimonies in church--I was filled with such love and respect for both of them. They're so different, but I feel so privileged to rub shoulders with them on a daily basis.

So many friends are currently offering their time and talents in helping to put together this play I'm working on. I am so grateful for all the talented and generous people I get to work with.

Thank you so much!

By the way, Sarah is Rose, I'm Blanche, and Clarissa is Dorothy. Just in case you wanted to know. Although frankly, we've all got a little Blanche going on. And I'm pretty ditzy too. And controlling. And we're all very single. And getting pretty old now that I think about it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Acting Students

I started teaching acting at NOVA Community College. They're a great bunch of hams.
Here's a couple pics of my Acting 1 students.

Here's Marina and Syed rehearsing their scene. Yes, I was taking pictures when I should have been listening closely. I know, I'm horrible. But they're just so cute I had to take their picture!

And here's a big group of hams hamming it up. I gotta say, there's a HUGE difference between my nursing students and my theatre students--like night and day. But I love that I get to work with both brands of crazy. It makes life interesting.

Next semester I'll be teaching 3 theatre classes! Bring on the bacon!

On the Street Where You Live

This is the Potomac River. I took this pic from the George Washington Memorial Highway. I was driving home from visiting teaching. Right now I am soooo happy to be living in such a beautiful corner of the world. It almost makes it worth the traffic!

And this is the street where I live. Coming home is such a treat!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Seeing and Recognizing

I remember a moment on my mission where we were watching this gorgeous little 2 month year old baby girl stare at the sides of our heads. We realized that she was looking at very specific things--and not just staring off into space--when she started to smile. It was so clear that she was looking at something that we could not see.

The scriptures say that "Mine angels (are) round about you, to bear you up."

My companion and I smiled.

The baby's mother said, "What's she smiling at?"

We answered honestly. And somehow our answer made total sense to everyone in the room. Of course she could see angels. She had the purity to be able to see.

I think about that kind of purity a lot. Since that day, I've thought about how in our innocence we are able to see the things of God. Clarity comes from obedience. Illumination comes from virtue.

But I learned today that there is a difference between seeing and recognizing.

We can see in our innocence--but it is only through our experience, that we are able to recognize what we see.

So in our mature and fallen state we are able to recognize the things of God.

But can we see the things of God to recognize them when we've lost that innocent purity that we had as new babies?

Adam says in Moses: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my ctransgression my deyes are opened, and in this life I shall have ejoy, and again in the fflesh I shall see God.

I am so grateful for the experiences of this life that allow me to have joy in this life--and allow me to see and recognize God--even in my weak flesh.

What a beautiful blessing it is to be born and to live!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Party

Welcome to our Pumpkin Party!

We hope you have a wonderful time! Please eat any of the assorted pumpkin treats. We have pumpkin hot chocolate, courtesy of Clarissa!
This is Morgan, our beloved Choir Director (best in the world), Sarah Jo, Christian, and of course, Jesus. He loves our parties! (God loves us most when we cook with pumpkin.)

Unfortunately, even with all the pumpkin grub to eat, Sam couldn't stop from nibbling on Audy's ear. Poor guy. What an appetite!
Andrew and Zach, always party animals!

And here's my roommates, Clarissa and Sarah. (Yes, that's the same girl who made the hot chocolate.)

What did I make you ask? Well, I'll tell you!

I made pumpkin cupcakes!

You simply take a 15 oz can of pumpkin and mix it with a golden cake mix and some chocolate chips. Put the mix in mini muffin tins and bake at 375F for 20 minutes, or until done.

Voila! A tasty treat!

You too can have your very own pumpkin party!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Learning to Love the Nights

Yesterday was a wonderful day.

I wasn't perfect, but I had a nice day.

At the temple, I saw a couple of people who seemed like tourists. It was a son and his elderly mother visiting the temple for the first time. They were from somewhere in the UK.

Inside the temple, I began to contemplate the importance of night and day. Both the light and the darkness are important parts of life. Every month, whether it be serious pms, or hypermania, or whatever--every month I go through some pretty predictable phases. I'm either very energetic and all pistons are firing at once--so much so that I can hardly sleep because my brain is zipping along--

Or, I'm incredibly sad. I am tired. I am hopeless, etc.

I am hyperaware of what's happening with my body. It helps me to get through the various phases. If I'm sad, it's good to know when my period is going to start so I can temper my very real emotions with a little bit of outside knowledge about what's happening hormonally. It helps just knowing that I'm not really a horrid ugly person, but that my hormone levels have just dropped significantly and that they will begin to rise again when the period starts.

Last month, I began to clean the house the day before my period started. It was the first time in what seemed like the longest week ever that I had the energy to do anything, and I wanted to get something done!

So, back to night and day.

As I sat in the temple, contemplating the creation of night and day--I had a different thought.

Normally, I see the creation of night and day as a symbolic representation of our own capacity to choose right from wrong.

But yesterday, I began to see how day shimmers in comparison with night. I saw how night truly sets off the day.

Our life is made of peaks and valleys, but without the valleys, there would be no peaks.

If life were constantly a state of dusk or dawn, we would never appreciate the difference between a bright sunny day and a dark night.

There is beauty in the reality of the night. Night brings us to our knees. It is the time where we ask for strength, where we remember our Father. And after we have received our strength to get through the night, some of that strength carries us into the daylight. Suddenly, not only is life sunny and happy, but we have a reserve of power that carries us into the good times and makes us unstoppable.

The point is--embrace the nights for all that they give to us.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Doing Difficult Things for Yourself

I'm going through an interesting in phase in life.

I have become the sole manager of my time.

When I was a little kid, I stayed up late, if I could--but my mom wouldn't let me.

I love to sleep in, but I couldn't--because I always worked jobs that started at 8am.

I was never the source of my own self-control. I had obligations to other people that I needed to fulfill.

Now, I'm in this odd place in life where I 'm the one who decided what my obligations will be. I can stay up as late as I like because if I want to, I can stay in bed until 4pm. I don't teach class until 6pm.

There's a lot to be done though, and it is difficult to discipline yourself without outside constructs. Somedays I'm better at it than others.

Last night, I still stayed up until 2am watching House. I worked from 10am-11pm without much of a break. So, I am certainly justified in sleeping in today.

But, I am trying to give myself the same respect that I give to others. I will respect other's time constraints--but I won't take care of myself.

So today, I woke up at 8:30am. I am doing laundry. I am going to the temple. And I'm going to prepare my lecture for tonight. It takes A LOT of self-control to go to the temple when you could just as easily curl back into the sheets and enjoy some much needed rest.

I don't know what any of this means--but it's an odd paradigm shift for me. I think it will take some time to truly embrace self-control for my own sake. But, today's a start.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I won something!

Yesterday morning I woke up at the crack of 7am! I had a conference I needed to attend in Richmond, VA--which is about a 90 minute drive from DC.

I've never been to a conference that wasn't theatre related and theatre people will be casual as often as humanly possible. So I wasn't sure what to wear.

I finally decided to go fancyish with black slacks, a purple button down, and pearls. I figured I could take out the pearls if things were casual--or leave them in if things were fancy.

I didn't want to shower because I was supposed to have left by 7am to be there by 8:30am. Instead, I put a little more make-up and deodarant on and did my hair in a Sarah Palin french twist. Voila!

On the drive down I almost fell asleep at the wheel. I slapped myself silly the last 20 miles and sang loudly to "Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty." But nothing was working.

Downtown Richmond was nice, expect for all the poor people running around. Holy cow batman. It's bad. But I imagine it could be worse. The Marriott was pretty. I got to breakfast and the other professors from Stratford were very kind. It's my first big conference with everyone and they were very nice.

The workshop I attended was given by Scott Fitzgibbons of the Pacific Institute. He was great! I sat next to the water pitcher and the little dishes of hard candy. I was in heaven! The hard candies were wonderful and the water made these awesome droplets on the velvet table cloths that wouldn't absorb. I would just roll water all over the table. Awesome.

After the workshop, we had a big ol' banquet. The conference was for all the career colleges in Virginia. They began to call out names to come and sit at the head table. And they called my name! Apparently, I'm teacher of the year at Stratford University this year.

It was such a cool surprise! I had no idea!! It makes me all giddy inside.

Each school got to submit their winner and then someone from the school would present on that person. The woman giving the speech about me had never met me, so she just read a speech that the Dean had given to her to read. It was awkward, but really flattering.

We ate the best filet mignon I've ever had. Scrumptious!

And then I went to visit all the text book vendors and got 10 free books!!

It was the best conference ever!!

And I did NOT fall asleep on the way home. I had to call my mama!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Obama Roasts McCain at Al Smith Dinner

And in the spirit of fairness--though McCain takes the cake--here is Obama's turn on the stage.

My heart is happy now. Laughter really is the best medicine.

McCain at Al Smith Dinner

I just about died laughing. This made all the negative politics all better.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bedroom stuff

Here are the pictures of my new bedroom. I'm so happy to share photos!

I painted the paintings in my new quest to find other artistic outlets. They're pretty amateur, but I sure had fun playing with paints! The bedspread is a little grandmaish but I wanted textures.

Philadelphia Freedom!

I miss my photo editing on my old computer. I love the mac for the speed, but help me I can't figure out how to keep photos straight on this new fangled machine. Good grief I hate learning new things.

Here's the link to the photos on facebook. Philadelphia!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

List of things

During the past week I did the following things:

1. I drove to Philadelphia with an old friend from the mission.
2. I visited Ben Franklin's grave.
3. I visited Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell!
4. I fell in love with Philadelphia.
5. I had a great rehearsal Saturday afternoon. We got through 10 scenes in 3 hours. Kapow!!
6. I have been figuring grades for 6 classes.
7. 6 classes. Research papers. Tests. (This deserves another line.)
8. I went to a fireside in the DC Temple. This is the biggest temple in the world. It was wonderful!!
9. Choir practice.
10. Emailing and arranging for extra rehearsals.
11. I met up with old friend at a banquet with his parents for his grandpa's POW camp reunion. It was really cool. I was with total strangers, but I had a great time.
12. I signed with a talent management company so I don't have to find my own work. Wahoo!
Lots going on! I'll post pics later.

Friday, October 10, 2008

RESPECT find out what it means to your GRADE

It's been a very busy week. It's the last week of the fall quarter. I should be grading online classwork right now, but I just finished grading 18 journals, term papers, and final exams. I'm going crazy.

I had a student tonight who showed so much disrespect for me and for her fellow classmates. She took phone calls and walked in and out of class during the other student's presentations. She had the audacity to complain about not being respected. What is the deal? Why is it that the people who complain most about being disrespected are the most disrespectful people?

It took everything in me not to yell at her tonight. Luckily, I have a class full of people that I love. The funny thing is, she's transferring to another school because she thinks things will be better somewhere else. Ha! She has no idea how much I tried to help her. Oh well. Whatever. If I'm still bugged, I'm going to egg her house tomorrow night. Or maybe I'll just lower her grade. (tee hee . . . the power!! mwa ha ha ha)

This morning I had a great audition for a Geico commercial. Afterwards, I went to lunch with my friend Rebecca. I LOVE this girl. We connect in amazing ways. I just love her. It was so good to catch up over Thai food. There's nothing better than Thai food and good friends!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Stream of Consciousness during Debate (grrrrrr.)

My friends, I'm sick of this election.

Obama and McCain need to smile a little. Neither of them were frontrunners in this election this time last year. Both men are a month away from possibly being the president elect. That's more power than I'll ever have, God willing.

Smile! Apparently you're both incredibly people.

I'm reading Trevayne by Robert Ludlum. This is a book on corruption in Washington--written under a pseudonym after the Watergate scandal. It's making me hyper aware of the kingmakers that run our country. It's scary.

Frankly, if both of these men keep their promises, all our problems will be solved.

So why is everyone being so negative! Stop trying to follow-up. Dang it!! I hate this debate.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Know Thyself

Yesterday, I cleaned during the 1st session of conference, and painted 3 new paintings during the 2nd session. I felt like I wasn't quite getting all that could have out of conference--but I am like a child and need something to hold my concentration.

But today is Sunday, and today I can concentrate without help. I sat on the couch with my little notebook, ready to take copious notes. I settled into the pillows and woke up to hear Pres. Monson quote The Music Man about living for today.

I have to remember that there is a method in my madness.


According to the calendar, my monthly visitor should have descended upon me on Wednesday.

And according to this calendar, I cried over stupid things and felt the world closing in around me. I ate enough chocolate to feed a small country, finished off 2 half gallons of ice cream, and I've gained about 10 pounds in water weight.

But no monthly visitor.

My visitor helps me to cleanse. The aches and pains purge my body of the excess water and all the toxic gunk that affects both my physical and emotional health.

I woke up this morning in serious need of sanctification.

And so, I turned conference on my computer and proceeded to clean the outer vessel, while the word of God blessed the inner vessel.

I started by putting away laundry, then took out the trashes. I mopped the floors. I scrubbed the stove. I scrubbed the floorboards, cleaned the fridge, and finally--pulled out the touch up paint and went around painting all the scuffs in the house.

After 2 hours, I felt sanctified.

And to encourage a more thorough cleansing--I drank 3 fiber drinks today.

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's a Cinnamon Toast Night

Two guys who haven't bothered to call or connect with me in over three weeks have both decided to ask me how life is going.

I'm seriously perturbed.

I am feeling sad. There's nothing wrong with me. I'm just sad.

I had my first rehearsal for Midsummer on Saturday. There are reasons to be really happy, and there are reasons to want to throw a butterknife into my eye. It will be great. It will be great.

Right now though, I'm watching "King of the Hill" and trying not to go back onto facebook where losers can "chat" with me. Dang it! I wish there was a way to go on there without people knowing you were online.

I finished my book. I ate all the ice cream and chocolate. What else is there?? I'm out of solutions people.

I think it's time to pull out the big guns and make myself some cinnamon toast.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I Enjoy Being a Girl

Last night I sat in the midst of hundreds of faithful women and just relished the power of the Relief Society General Meeting. On my left was Jackie, an amazing African American woman who personifies energy and charity. On my right were two young women, one with a brand new baby. All around me, women of every walk of life were just soaking in the talks. It is like Christmas. It was such a gift. I kept sighing with joy.

We were invited to come early and eat a nice dinner together. There were 4 lines that winded their way towards the food in the center. I stood in line, socializing with the ladies next to me for 45 minutes, and finally gave up and drove to Panera to buy a sandwich. I feel like I was able to enjoy the social aspect, but I wasn't about to finally make my way to the front of the line for scraps. Besides, I was getting a little bitter as I imagined inconsiderate women "jumping" in line. 45 minutes is just too long to stand looking at food. I wanted to feel a spirit of love and charity, and my spirit of love and charity was leaking from me the longer I stood in that line.

When I got back, I sat next to Jackie and just relished in the power that was in the room. If you're mormon, you either heard Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk already, or you're planning on hearing it--but if you're not mormon--and you just want to hear an amazingly uplifting sermon directed specifically towards women, go to and listen to the mp3 of the meeting. Elder Uchtdorf is the last talk, but the first 3 are given by amazing and inspiring sisters as well.

He explored the source of God's happiness. He talked about the need to understand what made our Heavenly Father happy and he narrowed it down to creation and compassion. And then he encouraged women to emulate God's happiness by filling our lives with opportunities to create and share compassionate service with one another.

There were so many wonderful moments in this conference. I'm really looking forward to General Conference.

And as a post script--Baby Asher comes home from NICU today! Monday morning, Crystal's doctor declared that "elves must have been in her room" and that her liver was miraculously healed. They sent her home. Thank you so much for your prayers.

I have never been more humbled by the gifts and powers that women of faith hold. It is an overwhelming honor to be a woman.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Bailout

I haven't read any of the articles on what's going on the plan to save the bankers, so this post is coming from my heart. I don't really know who's on what side of this fence.

I was up all night thinking about the 700 billion dollar bailout. I have been going back and forth on my feelings about this. As Clarissa mentioned to me last night, if we gave all Americans their share of the 700 billion dollar pie--we'd each get $43,000.

Well heck! We could afford to pay our mortgages and get out of credit card debt with that!

I think about the relationship that Americans have with debt. We need debt in order to buy homes and cars. We abuse debt in our willingness to use it for various other items like our much needed computers and cell phones. We live outside of our means.

We blame the CEOs of these banks for getting into this mess--but they were merely taking advantage of OUR bad habits. We're all to blame for this mess.

So, why give the money to them?

There's already a huge disparity between the rich and the poor in this country. Why rescue the rich?

As a consumer, I owe money for my car, for my computer, and a little for unpaid credit card bills. I owe whole helluvalot for student loans, but that's in a different world of issues. I HATE the late fees and the high interest rates. I feel enslaved to my debt--to these CEOs who milk money from the American people. But, when I needed a new computer, these banks were there to rescue me. When I needed a car--I was rescued. I appreciate our American way of doing things because I'm able to drive to work, whereas without these options, I'd be up a creek without a paddle--or rather, up the beltway without some wheels! (ha ha ha!)

I say we "rescue" them by indenturing them to us, in the same way that they've indentured us to them. I say we lend them the money that they need because they've lent to us. And then I say we gouge them with late fees and we up their interest. Perhaps the interest on this loan can pay for our social security. Let's take advantage of this opportunity to turn the tables on these pirates.

Like it or not, we need them. So let's take control and turn the tables in our favor.

Monday, September 22, 2008

NICU and Post Op

I stopped at the hospital to tell Crystal that Valerie was fine. I don't know what I expected to find. I just needed to see her and find out what she needed me to do. I needed to do something for her. I didn't care what. I brought in an ipod and a book and any random thing I could find. I just didn't know what to do and I was overwhelmed by this sense of futility.

I got there and delivered my message and she said that she was in a lot of pain. Her liver was distended. She had sharp pains above the actual incision. And it didn't appear that anyone was doing anything to alleviate her pain.

She didn't want to talk--and I didn't want her to. I just needed a moment to actually feel what was happening to my friend, without having to worry about censoring for a watching child.

I sat on the couch and felt a flood of emotion wash over me. This poor mother was lying in a hospital room in total agony of spirit. Her baby had a hole in his lungs because he had cried through the night, and there was nothing she could do but lay there and just feel her body's pain and sickness. I was overwhelmed with sadness and peace at the same time. I didn't feel hopelessness in the room. I felt the spirit so strongly. But I also felt a heart wrenching empathy. Tears kept falling down my face. I couldn't get off the couch and leave her to sleep in peace. I felt I was swimming in a monumental and undefinable emotion. I couldn't say anything outloud for fear I would disturb the sacredness of the moment. I began to pray in my heart. I began to pray for her aching heart, and her liver and her womb. I prayed that love would wash over her atoms and cells and help to clear the toxins from her body. I prayed over and over and over again in my mind. I began to will that her body and heart would begin to heal. I sat there overcome by how filled with energy the room was. Finally, I stood and left.

I stopped by nurses station and with tears streaming down my face tried to formulate a question about her health. It didn't matter. They couldn't tell me anything anyway.

I drove off to UVA. I arrived with toiletries for Matt, but Matt wasn't there. I imagined that I might be able to hold Asher and try and tell this baby about his mother's love since she couldn't be there. I just wanted him to feel Crystal's love for him. After getting a sense for the love and sadness she felt--I wanted to do everything in my power to let this little guy know how loved he was. Instead, I just stood there numbly watching the nurse change his little diaper. His little lungs were working so hard. His head was wrapped in gauze and he had a tube down his nose. I was frozen. I had no idea how to help or what to do. Suddenly I felt so overwhelmed with fatigue. I just didn't have anything left in me to give. I felt embarassed to talk to him. I felt like he, like his mother, just needed to sleep. And there was nothing I could do to help him.

I felt horribly humbled at my inability to help.

I called Matt and told him that I had stuff for him, and finally just left it there in the waiting room.

The ride home was long and painful. I have a headache from crying and probably more so from the moment where I didn't cry, but needed to.

I'm home now. I would be there still if I felt like there was anything I could do. But there isn't anything. Except ask you good people to keep Asher and Crystal in your prayers. I'm worried about her. Asher will be fine. They'll both be fine. But Crystal needs your prayers to heal her heart. Not to mention her liver. But especially her heart.

Weekend with Valerie

I need to blog a little bit, but frankly I just want to crash into bed.

This weekend has sapped me. There were certainly some very bright spots, but I was either crying or on the verge of tears all weekend. OR, I was trying to be happy so that Crystal's daughter wouldn't realize how serious things were. I guess I'll start at the beginning.

Friday night, Crystal's husband Matt called and said that they were going to take her in for a c-section that night. I immediately imagined Matt and Crystal there alone with no plans for someone to look after Valerie. The baby was a month early. Why would you randomly plan for a babysitter on a Friday at midnight. I knew that Crystal needed to know that Valerie was being taken care of. So I told Matt I'd be there asap and I threw clothes in a bag and immediately got on the phone trying to get things taken care of for my rehearsal for midsummer.

As I drove down the highway, I began to realize how perfect this was. I had just bought a new car, the actors didn't really need me--they just needed the time to run through their stuff in preparation for the run thru next week. I have a great producer and wonderful people I can rely on in a pinch--and everything was going to be fine. I had kind of anticipated the baby coming early, and I had prepared myself to help out as much as possible. I really wanted to have a new car in time to be able to help Crystal out, since they live 2 hours away from me.

On my way, I called our friend Bri and asked her to come to the hospital in case they took Crystal in for surgery earlier. Bri got there in time to see the whole family asleep in their hospital room. Bri and I took Valerie from her parents and whisked her off to a motel. We got to bed and talked about how fun it would be to have a new brother. Crystal and Matt live an hour away from the hospital and I knew Valerie needed to be close to the hospital for the birth, etc.

The next day, the three of us went to the hospital in time to see Crystal wheeled off to surgery. We waited to see baby Asher come out, but we weren't able to see him. I was playing a careful balancing act with Valerie. I needed her to be close enough that Crystal felt Valerie wasn't missing anything important--like seeing her new broher--and I needed to keep Valerie's spirits up so that she wouldn't become worried about her mom. Crystal was pre-eclampsya and in a lot of pain. Valerie tends to turn her stress and worry into anger that I knew Crystal didn't want to deal with--so my goal was to keep Valerie's stress levels down--even if everyone else was going crazy.

A few hours after the birth, we found out that they were going to have to take the baby to UVA. We came over to see him. He was in his little travelling incubator. Matt gave him a blessing. And they took him away.

Crystal--who has given herself shots of heparin everyday to avoid blood clots because of her lupus to keep this little guy alive--who has felt this little guy kick her for the past 8 months and risked her life for this little guy--watched as they wheeled her baby away from her after barely touching his leg. I could hardly keep it together, but Valerie was watching.

After that depressing scene, Valerie and I went to McDonald's and then to Mamma Mia! We came home and colored a poster of dolphins.

This morning, I called Crystal to see how things were, and she told me that the baby had cried so much that he now had a hole in his lung. Matt's mom and sister were calling me trying to get information and I had to keep info to a minimum so that Valerie wouldn't get too worried. She began to complain about who she was going to be staying with and I could tell that some of the stress was getting to her.

I tried to keep her busy by having her clean her room. Yeah . . . they don't like that.

I tried to keep myself busy by cleaning a little here and there. I just needed to feel like I was doing SOMETHING to help.

Matt spent the morning on the phone with family members. And I packed up Valerie and took her to church.

At church, I helped the primary chorister--Cortney--get the kids to sing louder. It was brilliant and funny. Cortney is a genius with primary children. This was the bright spot of my day. Cortney volunteered to take Valerie for the next couple days. Her daughter is Valerie's best friend--so all is well there. I think Valerie will enjoy being with the kids. I heard her telling everyone how cute her little brother Asher is. The girl makes me smile!

After leaving Valerie with Cortney's family, I drove off--not knowing how I could help but still feeling this great need to do SOMETHING.

I called Matt and he said that he was staying in Charlottesville and I asked him if he needed anything. He said, a toothbrush. On my way to UVA, I stopped in to visit Crystal just to let her know that Valerie was being cared for.

To be continued . . .

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I need some prayers

One of my dear friends Crystal just had a baby boy Asher. He was born this morning after an emergency c-section. Asher Matthew Scott Croshaw. He's a cutie. 7 pds, 11 oz. He was born almost a month early and had to taken to UVA hospital because he's not breathing well. Crystal is at the hospital here in Staunton healing from the c-section and I think the separation is hurting her heart. I'm here with her daughter Valerie and her husband Matt is at the hospital with the baby. Please pray for baby Asher--but please pray especially for Crystal. Her spirit is hurting right now. She needs to feel strengthened by some prayers.

Thanks for your help friends of the blogosphere!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Adieu Sweet Escort!

Last night I cried.

I had to clean out my little car before giving her away to the car dealership, and I wept like a baby.

I remembered the time when we had runaway from Provo together to Iowa. My mom had asked me to drive across the country with someone so that I wouldn't have to brave the 22 hour drive by myself. Instead, I told her I was leaving Provo on Wednesday, and took off on Tuesday by myself. I figured, I would call to tell her "goodbye" and then say--"And just so you don't worry about me--I'm already here! Ta da!"

It was a brilliant plan. Except that Tuesday night my mom came down to surprise me and my roommate told her that I had already left, by myself.

Just me and the little Escort.

I had no cell phone coverage throughout the night, but on Wednesday morning when I hit Nebraska--I had frantic and apologetic messages from my roommate Mary who had spilled the beans. I called my mother and prepared for the onslaught.

"I have been up all night! I wrote your obituary!! I was worried sick! I can't believe you did this!"

You see why my original plan was so brilliant. If only . . .

My little Ford was with me then.

I packed her up in Iowa when I got into graduate school and we cried together as I left the good people of Iowa City. We drove down the Pennsylvania Turnpike and down into the Shenandoah Valley.

I packed her up when I graduated and we drove to DC with $50 in the bank and an even bigger cell phone bill just a year ago.

Oh dear little Escort. Three blog entries just isn't enough to show my love for you.

Goodnight Sweeet Car,
May Flights of Engines Sing you to your rest.

(taps play gently in the background, and a volley of gunfire salutes the sky. )

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Eve Buys a New Car

Part 2: (continuing the experiment of writing in 3rd person)

The morning broke early. Eve rolled into the shower at the terrifying hour of 7:45am. The lovely Sarah drove her through the horrific bumper to bumper traffic to the car dealership. Luckily, the two girls made it 7 miles in just under 45 minutes!

Sarah left Eve to the mercy of the car dealer, and Eve pretended as though she was not desperately seeking to buy a car. She searched through the cars and finally arrived at the car she had been waiting for.

She smiled at the gold Hyundai Elantra. It seemed to smile back. It said to her, "Eve--my name starts with an 'E' too! And so did your Escort! We are meant to be together!!"

Eve thought, "Wait, I should struggle over this! This shouldn't be so easy!" But as she realized that this lovely car was a small sedan that would get great gas mileage, and that this car was only 3 years old--and when they told her that it was hers for only $6,000--she just had to have it.

So she bought it.

And now, Eve and her Elantra will live happily ever after. And if Eve decides to ever name a child Elantra--well--don't be entirely surprised.

Story Time

The Fantastic Adventures of a Ford

Once upon a time there was a girl named Eve. It was 2001 and she had just gotten off a mission and needed a good car. She decided to buy a 1994 Ford Escort for $3,500.

This little car was wonderful. From 2001- 2008, it drove from Utah to Iowa and from Iowa to Virginia. The little hatchback hauled beds and a her entire household through countless moves. She loved this car. And at 36 mpg, the little Ford loved Eve. Sometimes it even got over 40mpg!

Sadly, the little car began to grow tired. It got a crack in the muffler, which is like a person getting throat cancer. She sounded like a Harley Davidson. She didn't have a/c--so things were a little uncomfortable. And finally today--the little clutch went out.

Magically, Eve's friend Bridget called last night out of the blue and asked Eve if she would like to go to lunch and a movie! The two friends met for Thai food in Old Towne and then Bridget followed the little Ford to the movie theatre. Just when the two cars were 1 block from the LDS chapel--the clutch went out. Eve knew what was happening immediately. She shoved the car into reverse and then through the car into 3rd and coasted into the church parking lot.

As though God knew Eve would need a friend at this sad sad time--Bridget was right there for Eve. She pulled up behind her in the parking lot. Eve smiled as she thought of all the other places the car could have died. She locked the car up and left it in the church parking lot and hopped into Bridget's car and then the two of them drove to the movies!

The End.

(Stay tuned for the next installment "Eve buys a new car!")

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Joy of Thinking

Tonight's ethics class was a riot. I wasn't feeling like talking too much, which is a problem when you're supposed to conduct a class for 4.5 hours. I went into the class and asked them how they were doing and my three ladies--Abi, Chi Chi and Doris--just started chattering for the next 20 minutes about everything. I just sat back and smiled and tried to figure out a way to segue into the lecture.

After they talked for a bit, I began to steer the conversation. I asked them about moral isolationism. I asked them to describe how our shrinking world made it impossible for us to be morally isolated from one another's problems. They began to chatter about family in Nigeria and in Atlanta. It was wonderful. We talked about responsibilities of rights, which led to a conversation about the responsibilities we have to embrace our right to happiness. Then we discussed how we have a responsibility to heal from crimes acted against us. We talked about the importance of forgiveness. We moved into a discussion of Kant and the categorical imperative about seeing people as an end itself and not as means to an end. We discussed torture, and the pros and cons and we talked about what a deontologist would say about torture and what a utilitarian would say about it.

I introduced new concepts and then threw in old ideas just to help them start associating the old and the new. I pulled out a book that introduced philosophers and they went crazy looking up pictures of their favorite philosophers. Abi immediately turned to John Stuart Mill and Doris went straight to Sartre.

We discussed the relationship between Ethics of Rights and Egoism. If we have the right to choose what makes us happy as individuals--then we are individually responsible for our happiness. Whereas, if we rely on a king or despot to choose the good for the majority--as stated in utilitarianism--then isn't he ultimately responsible for our happiness or heartache? With egoism and libertarianism--we exercise our rights--and we are ultimately responsible for our own happiness.

They were bright, attentive and I didn't have to do a lot of talking--which made me very happy. I was so pleased to hear their thoughts flow from one thought to the next. My goal in these classes is to help students learn to think and value their own ideas. I could not have been prouder of my students.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lessons of Trees

I try to keep this blog positive, but lately I find myself at a loss.

I really want to try and be good at things. I want to try and be my best self. But, I suck at this sometimes.

Lately I've felt a little disconnected, despite feeling closer to friends--I'm just feeling a little depressed as I watch my friends progress so happily in their lives. I am so happy for everyone, but I keep trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong. I went to the ward retreat this weekend and it was great to spend time with friends, but frankly I felt more connected with the wives in the bishopric than with the 18 year old singles who had just moved in. And rightly so! We're closer in age! I feel like I'm stuck in a social realm where I just don't fit in. But in the marriage and family realm--I haven't quite met the basic qualifications. So I'm living in this limbo place where I really just don't fit in anywhere.

I came to some very positive conclusions this weekend that I am happy about. I watched the trees growing towards heaven and realized that in order for them to grow straight and tall individually--they had to spread their branches so that the leaves could collect the sunlight. The sunlight they gathered gives them the strength to climb higher and higher, but in order to climb higher--they must reach out and embrace the solitary trees next to them. We can't climb higher without reaching out and embracing others. This was a nice little lesson in the wilderness.

I walked through the stream with Spencer. We found different mushrooms, looked at lavendar molds and enjoyed feeling the stream ride through my toes. I miss his friendship. We don't spend much time with each other anymore. We will never work beyond friends, and we both know that it's not good for us to spend too much time together because we're so close. It was so refreshing to just be around a friend that knew me so well. Within 5 minutes of being alone, I was crying and confessing everything that had been bothering me. And he was sharing his latest song. It's just so rare to find someone that you can feel so at home with. I miss him. But, this is truly what is best. I love him so much more when I know that I'll never have to put up with his flaws--rather as his friend, I get to simply enjoy his strengths.

I was talking with my friend Audy about being single. I recognize that everyone who lives righteously will get the blessings of family and love. But, not everyone will get the blessings and opportunities that come with being single into your 30s. I love my life, and I realize that I would never have had the opportunities to meet my friends and work with the students I work with if I had gotten married before this time.

I am grateful for my life. But I'm tired of being stuck in the middle. I feel an expectation to be happy with where I'm at--and frankly that's just silly. I'm not.

I have joy. I am happy with who I am--but I have no joy in feeling socially powerless. I have 3 dates this week with 3 different guys--all 3 aren't interested in me or in having a relationship. Why on earth am I going on these dates? Because I want to make new friends and because staying home is too depressing.

So, that's my life right now.

I'm going to go and get some food and buy a plant. Maybe having something living in my room will make me feel more alive. Maybe I'll remember the lessons of trees and recognize that I can't possibly touch the sky without spending some time branching out.