Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bicycle Voice at Aperture Gallery

Saturday night I went to the Aperture Gallery in Sugar House to see some local artists and to listen to the lovely and talented Meg Webb, aka Bicycle Voice.

Her set was just delightful.

August nights in Utah are delightful. They are cool and refreshing. I was alone and happy.

As I walked through the museum, I took note of how fashionable all the visitors were. Artistic people are just so dang cool.

I was wearing my jean skirt and my tie dyed shirt. An old man in a similar shirt smiled and said, "I like your shirt." So, I guess I was stylish enough. ;)

The local art was beautiful. I wish I could remember names so I could promote them, but I can't.

I love art. There was one piece entitled "Snow" that was just incredible. It was a small square with paint splattered in imperfect vertical lines of white, with smudges of reddish brown. It was simple and elegant. Another painting consisted of a man in a red shirt that seemed in shadow from one perspective and in light from another perspective.

After viewing the art, I snuck into the Yard to the side of the museum where the stage was set up for live music. I sat on a rickety bench on the side of the stage and enjoyed Meg Webb's set.

Before she started, I watched the people, and read Hunger Games.

It was a wonderful evening.

Sam I Was by Sam Wessel

This weekend was my first weekend living in Salt Lake City.

I enjoyed myself. It was chill and artsy fartsy.

Friday night I went to the Salt Lake Acting Company to see Sam I Was . It was a beautifully written musical memoir about a 21 year old guy who gets Leukemia. There were a few places that needed to be tweaked--some chords that didn't sit quite right. It was a staged reading that involved a few well placed kick lines. The talented guy who wrote the musical--Sam Wessel--played---Sam! (I know, I know. . . .)

The play was irreverent in some places and incredibly touching in other places. I imagine being a non-LDS gay guy in Logan, Utah might create moments of animosity towards the LDS community in a person, but I'm generally bugged by angry attacks at my church. Granted, I actually sort of understood where he was coming from. During the offending scene, Donny and Marie Osmond visit him in the hospital to invite him to come to Sacrament Meeting. Then they do a song about how if you just take the Sacrament, you can sin all you want during the week and still go to heaven. It's obviously wrong, but it was a nicely exaggerated criticism of a common attitude among a lot of Christians.'s hard to fault it. But it did make me cringe a bit.

He personified his cancer in the form of a hilarious large bear. As he's going through chemotherapy, a fat guy in a gold vest with his belly poking out represents watching his svelte figure turn into a puffy gay lounge singer. As the chemo entered his body, the bear left and a new friend came a long--this time a woman named "death". Or more appropriately "dying"--since death is only a moment and dying is the real torture.

There's another great scene when his "friends" all come over to visit him after he gets out of the hospital and they've all shaved their heads. They get a little ticked off when they realize that he hadn't lost his hair.

His parents are wonderfully supportive and there are some amazing songs that his parents sing coping with the stress of caring for a child as he faces cancer.

I went to see the show with my good friend Gamyr. I'm so glad he suggested we see it! The show was sold out. It's always good to see quality work well supported. I can't wait to see a fully produced version of the show. It's a great addition to the theatre.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Family History

My little brother and I are working on family history with my Grandma. She has spent years and years collecting pictures, stories, birth certificates--you name it. We have pictures of headstones, and a family portrait of a little family on the edge of the Oklahoma Territory, accounts written in letters from the 1800s--it's absolutely amazing. And it's all just sitting in boxes at her house.

Well, Nick is a bit of a technonut and he's downloaded Mac Family Tree onto his computer. He has entered in as many names as possible. And he's painstakingly downloaded pictures into the program so that it's like a family facebook. If I wanna see what my Great Great Grandma Stella looked like--I find her name--click on it--and a picture pops up. He's amazing!

My job is to connect this information with the and see what temple work can be done. Also--if you want to know what the world was like when this ancestor was alive--you can click and it will open up a Wikipedia page describing the world when and where they lived! It's just awesome.

So, we're slowly but surely scanning in these documents and pictures so that we can share these records with the rest of the family. It's been a lot of fun to work on with my Grandma and with my little brother. He's such a good kid.

If you are just getting started with Family History--allow me to give you a few helpful pointers that were given to me ten years ago.
1) Find a nice box and just start throwing pictures and stories into the box. Don't worry about organizing it--just start gathering!
2) Send letters to relatives asking for any stories or pictures that they can share. You'd be amazed at the response. My dad's mother--Nana--is not LDS--but when I asked her if she had any family history to share--she came out with about 10 sheets of typed information and said, "Here, see if this will help." As I looked closer, I noticed that it was the names of every direct ancestor from my Brisbin/Smith line all the way back to the 1300s, with birth and death dates and places. I was blown away.
3) Once you start getting information--I seperated things into 4 binders--1 for each Grandparent. But again--just having 4 boxes is fine too!
4) Don't forget to gather information on families and not just parents. Many people will want to go back in time as far as possible, but now the fun is gathering information on cousins and second cousins and extending the branches far and wide rather than back so far.
5) If you get stuck--move on. The information will come in one form or another at another time.
6) If you know of a near location and a vague time--you can search through census records and discover a lot about a family. For instance, if you find that your great great grandmother Mathilda Smith lived in Pittsburg in 1920 and she is listed as being 8 years old--you can put down that she was born in 1912! Census takers recorded the names and ages of all the people living in the house--and they often included their country of birth!

I wanna know your secrets. What are your tricks for doing family history? My belief about family history is that there is a time and a season for everything. My grandma spent her life gathering information. And now Nick is here to see that all this information that she gathered is organized.

You may only have time to throw pictures into a box, or to have your grandmother write a list of names she can remember. But that's enough! Someday, that picture and that list will prove to be the key to a connection that you or a child will make at a later date.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Tree Fell Down

no totally broke in half.

What do you do when a tree breaks in half and falls down?

I call a tree removal service.

Not my parents. Nope. My step-dad grabbed his chainsaw and went to work chopping up the tree.

I threw the pieces over the fence.

Apparently yellow jackets were rather fond of this willow. They stung me.

It was nice to get outside and do some manual labor.
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And the Winner is...

me! My mom and I went to an auction at Tony Caputo's fine deli for the Literacy Action Center in Salt Lake City this week.

I was rather mischievous in my bidding. I bid $5 on all sorts of items I knew people would skip over. We made out like bandits! Don't get me wrong, we gave plenty of cash, but we got the most bang for our buck. I was pleased, especially as I ate the free pie. and free chocolates.

Charity is tasty!
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Good Job Evey! Way to Breathe!

I've spent the day in bed today just trying to feel nothing.

I realize that I'm a total wimp, but I just didn't want to face the world today.

So . . .

I didn't.

The next time I date someone and they ask me, "How are you still single?"--I'm not really sure how I will answer that question. I'm still kind of reeling a little bit.

I am going to try and figure out a list of intriguing goals and passions to work towards. I'm going to identify a distracting new way to view life that will give me all the perspective necessary to pick myself up from my funk. I will go on to become the best me I possibly can.

But today, I'm going to pat myself on the back and say, "Good job Evey! You're still breathing! Way to go!"

And that's all she wrote about that.

Ticked Off

If you have about 12 minutes, watch this. I know that Keith Olbermann can be as unappealing to my conservative friends as Glenn Beck is to me--but he makes some very good points.

I especially enjoy the facts surrounding the actual Ground Zero Mosque. It is 3-4 blocks away. It is a community center, NOT a mosque. And it IS unconstitutional to deny this religious group their right to worship.

Republicans have called President Obama's reaction insensitive to the victims of 911. This is ridiculous considering just a month ago, these same republicans voted against a bill that would provide health care for the ailing survivors of 911. Perhaps these politicians should quit accusing the President of being politically insensitive and do something to actually improve the lives of the survivors of 911. Only 12 Republicans voted to pass the bill.

I am perturbed, nay disgusted by American's current willingness to espouse hate mongering.

My friend Crystal shared an email that an LDS Bishop had sent on a ward listserve that demeaned the President. Really? How utterly common.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ups and Downs

It's 11:34pm.
I've been in Utah for 11 days.
I've spent time with my Aunt MaryLou, Uncle Lee, Aunt Nancy, Uncle Doug, Nana, Popop, several cousins, my mom, step-dad, brother Nick, Heather, Chris, Kris, Grandma, and the members of my parent's ward at the Ward Picnic. It's been really nice to catch up with friends and family.
And I get to see more friends and family members this weekend!
I can't quite describe my feelings right now.
I have felt this looming depression for sometime.
I'm running from it, hoping that it just won't hit.
Hoping that I can distract myself from it.
I feel like I'm precariously balanced between two worlds.
Because I never really explained how miserable I was,
It's hard for people to understand why I make the decisions that I make.
Because I'm really not very open with people--
though I'm sure I come across as
entirely too open--
I have my ups and my downs.
But sometimes my downs are really really down.

I keep my downs from people
because it's nothing I haven't been able to handle on my own
for years.

I take time off.
I eat more than I should.
I watch tv.
I cry a little.
And I recognize that my misery will pass, as it always does.

Ups and downs.

I will find a way to be happier.

In the meantime,

I'll go see funny movies
Go to dinner with friends
Go for walks
Go look at the meteor shower
And pretend like everything is hunky dory.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Landscapes around Vernal

The Drive from Salt Lake City to Vernal is filled with some of the most beautiful vistas.

The land changes from Alpine forest, to red rock cliffs, to lakes, to green rolling hills, to desert plateaus--all within the 3 hour journey.

It's pretty mesmerizing.

I went to Vernal this weekend to visit my Dad's side of the family as we celebrated my Nana's 80th Birthday party. It was nice to be around family, albeit, a little overwhelming.

I don't really get a long with my cousins. I don't smoke or drink and I'm a bit older.
I was the oldest cousin, then a bunch of boys came along. Then after 10 years of waiting, Maren was born. After her birth, 3 other girls were born. These girls all get a long famously--but I hardly get along with teenage girls. Especially since they particularly enjoy partying. I can party, but these girls can REALLY party. They're beautiful women, but they see me as an old woman, and I can hardly blame them.

My Aunts are incredibly fun ladies. And I love my grandparents. So I spent the weekend hanging out with them. It was a nice time, and the scenery was gorgeous.

But...I'm different. I'm an active LDS girl. And everyone at the table--including my 15 year old cousin and my LDS Aunt, drank a White Russian with their steak at dinner. I sat there with my Diet Coke feeling particularly demure.

It's hard being so different when you're around family.

We should have so much in common, but we're all so different. And yet, I get my stubbornness and my boobs from my Nana. (I wish I had her legs too.) I get my red hair from my Aunt Nancy. I get my compassion from my Aunt MaryLou. I get my love for music from my Popop.

I love what I've inherited from these people.

I'm sure I'm not the only one with mixed feelings about family.

It's wonderful spending time with them, but I really appreciate my friends who have become family all that much more.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Iowa Cuties

While driving through Iowa, I got to see my little cutie pies--Peyton and Michael.

Peyton said the funniest thing. He said, "I'm so smart because I can see Michael's eyes." I asked him to explain further. He said that he could see what Michael saw. I can't believe that a 6 year old is embracing the wisdom of an open perspective. Apparently, their father caught the two of them building a fort in their bedroom at 4 am this morning. I love these boys!

This is my brother Matt. He is playing Tom Sawyer in a professional production of 'Big River'. I'm so proud of him. We went to a rehearsal and watched him run through the song "We Are the Boys." He is a comedic genius! I can't wait for him to get famous! He's so good.

This little darling is Michael and Peyton's baby brother Will. If you'll recall, I visited when he was just a week old. I can't believe how big he is! Look at that drool! I love it. He's awesomely fat. Love that kid!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Church Picnic

These are my new friends Ian and Bethany. We had a lovely time climbing up hills, rolling down the hills, sitting in the shade, and sucking lollipops.

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Football Town

On my way through the midwest, I saw signs for South Bend, Indiana.

As a football fan, I thought it would be great fun to visit the home of Notre Dame and
the College Football Hall of Fame!

While driving around town, I saw this beautiful river running through the middle of the town.

In front of the College Football Hall of Fame is a large patch of artificial turf.

I wandered across the turf, letting my feet bounce along the surface. Flags from all the college football teams surrounded the turf.

Across from the Hall of Fame was the nicest little chocolate cafe. I sat and charged my cell phone while I nursed a tasty hot chocolate.

Here's the man himself, Knute Rockne.

It was a lovely evening stop. South Bend is a great little town.

If you're ever passing through Indiana on I-80, plan to stop. It's worth it. Unless it's the dead of winter or there's a football game. Something tells me it's not quite so easy going and delightful under these circumstances.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cross Country Trip--Ohio!

I past through Pittsburgh. I wish I had taken the time to stop in Pittsburgh. That's where my paternal grandfather's family settled after coming over from Ireland.

I moseyed on into Ohio and up to I-80. I needed to stop for lunch somewhere and I decided that Sandusky, Ohio would be a lovely place to have a lunch break.

It was! I ate lunch on Lake Erie and drove through beautiful downtown. I had a great view of Cedar Point Amusement Park.

Saying Goodbye to DC

Before I get further into describing the trip, I should talk about the last week in DC.

I am overwhelmed by the beautiful people that I was able to meet there. Words will never be enough. It was such a beautiful time for me.

Saturday night, I went to dinner with some dear friends. I have such beautiful memories with everyone at this table.

Look at these two gorgeous peeps! I remember when I first met Clarissa 3 years ago. She took me in and we became fast friends. I thought to myself--why is this gorgeous girl single? And then Christian and his adorable daughter came along and the mystery was solved.

Here's Clarissa herself next to Mikey and Maryann. Mikey came out of his way by 45 minutes to help me load my stuff into the semi. He is always there when I need him. I hope to be like him.
All I have to say is Maryann is one lucky girl. And I like her too! It's good to see my friends with quality peeps. They deserve the best.

The grinning guy is Spencer. We went to a show at the Kennedy Center last year and enjoyed some fantastic philosophical discussions. His sister Marcia (sitting on the far left) is one of my most favorite people in the whole world. And Christina--on his right--Christina is my salvation. She's the type of friend that calls at just the right time.

Zach is a cutie pie that I completely crushed on when I first moved to DC--and for good reason. He is goodness personified. He is smart and kind and he oozes with generosity.

Erin is writing her second book. These aren't just any books though. These are important commentaries on important issues. She lives an amazing life, filled with wisdom and adventure.

This is Lorena, Jami and Zach.

Lorena and I were going to live together. I wish I had been able to take that opportunity. She is a nurse and a mechanic. She has a stunning voice and she is always ready and willing to share her talents.

Jami and I met when we were 12 when I first moved to Tremonton. She is an amazing musician. She teaches music in Alexandria. I am so proud to know her.

I loved DC. I adore the people that I met there. It is difficult to leave them, but I have no doubt that true friendship lasts forever.

The Move!

I know I know. . .

It's a travelogue. But hey! I'll try and make it interesting. . . . enough. If this is boring for you--imagine how bored I was driving!

Day 1: I woke up at 6 am Thursday morning after sleeping fitfully for 5 hours on my mattress on the floor. I kept thinking of things I needed to do--but I had to be in Chicago that night.

I got on i-66 at 6:36. It is 2 miles from i-66 to i-495. It took 30 minutes to go 2 miles.

That was a horrible start to the trip--but a really nice way to end things in DC. As I sat in traffic, I thought, THIS I will NOT miss. It helped me say goodbye.

I drove up into Pennsylvania and into the Appalachian Mountains. It was a beautiful drive. I love how quickly the East Coast goes from heavy traffic/very urban to middle of nowhere countryside in just no time. They didn't have Brigham Young sending settlers out to colonize up and down the coast so that no particular city became overwhelmed. The cities are crowded and the country is country.

I stopped for gas once in Pennsylvania at a little mountain store. I won't even tell you how much tolls were on the Pennsylvania Turnpike because it will just make you ill. Soooo much money!!

To be continued . . . (must spread the love so that you're not completely bored to tears . . .)