Thursday, May 29, 2014

Are you excited that it's almost June?

Yes! I definitely very super totally and completely am.

Just listen to (er... well... read... I guess) all the cool stuff that's going to happen in June.

- I have a bunch of friends getting married, which is rad, and I'm totally excited for them.
- My family is coming to Utah for a family reunion in Park City/Midway. I love it when we do these family reunions. We've been going to the same spot for years and I always feel so peaceful there. I think it's all the memories of vacations gone by. They soothe me.
- I'm coming up on two months at my new job. To me, this fact is equal parts crazy and awesome. Or as I call it, crazawesome (pronounced more like croissant than craisin--just so you know). Have we discussed yet how I basically have my own language? Remind me sometime to tell you what a decin is.
- On the 8th, I will officially be six months away from turning thirty. Weird.
- I'm going to participate in my first 5K ever. Should be cool.
- I'm moving into my new apartment!!! :)
- And... hm... what else? Oh! I live in Utah now, which means June will likely include the first good thunderstorm of the year. Or possibly the last freak snowstorm of the year. Maybe both. You never really know.

I've also set my mid-year's resolutions already. I do that--set mid-year's resolutions, I mean. I don't really know why I started doing it, but I'm kind of addicted to goal-setting so I'll take any excuse I can get.

So here are some other things that are going to happen in June.

1. I'm going to the temple every week. Shouldn't be too hard. There are like a billion temples here.
2. I'm going on a 20 minute walk at least once a day. I'm going to try to do these in the morning, like from 6:40 to 7:00. I already did it today and yesterday and it's quite nice.
3. I'm going to write one nice note each day. I might end up posting them on facebook, rather than giving people a physical note. It will kind of depend on the feasibility of actually mailing notes to people. Or I may even text them sometimes. But I'll write and send or otherwise convey to the recipient at least one per day. I really miss doing this, and it's good for me to do it. Win/win.
4. I'm going to finish reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I actually haven't been reading them; I've been listening to them in the car while I commute. And while I took that spontaneous road trip last weekend. That was awesome.

Well, I should probably get to bed so I can wake up early and go for my walk. :)

Oh, and there's one more resolution that I'm considering... I think... maybe... Okay. I'm writing it down, which means it will have to happen now.

5. I'm going to blog every day in June. Short entries. Nothing crazy. I just want to try it and see if I can do it. Plus, there are only thirty days in June. I can totally think of thirty random questions to answer, right?

Ha. I guess we'll see.

And to conclude... here is the view from my grandparents' vacation condo in Midway. Now you can see why I'm excited about this upcoming family reunion.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Are you moving again?

Yes. I am. 

Last time I moved, it was to a place 750 miles away and I did it in a week. This time it's 7.5 miles and I'm going to take at least a month. Maybe more.

I'm hoping the process will be way less painful this way.

Here's what happened. I knew when I moved here to Utah that I'd only be staying in my current place for the summer. So as soon as I moved, I started looking for my next place. Have I mentioned how much I love house hunting? Well, I do. I get the itch to look all the time, even when I'm perfectly happy in my current living situation. I still love looking. That's why I'm a huge fan of those house hunting shows on HGTV.

Anyway, I was looking around, not really planning to move until the fall. But then... it happened.

All the stars aligned and I found this awesome duplex in a super old house in Springville, really close to work, that I can have all to myself instead of doing the roommate thing, and I just knew it was the one. So I prayed about it and decided to move early. 

I love old houses, and this one is rad. It's got original wood floors in the living room, lots of old glass windows, an arched doorway, radiators. Pretty much everything you could ask for and then some. And since the duplex is on a corner, the front side of the house faces one street, and the side of the house--where I'm going to live--faces another. Which means I get my own front porch and carport and garden space and a perfect spot to park Daphne. Heaven.

But since I left all my furniture in California, and since I didn't have much furniture to begin with, I'm going to take my time moving in and getting settled. More specifically, I probably won't start sleeping there until I have a bed. Or at least a couch. I might even cave and buy the magic couch from IKEA I've been wanting for years. I still haven't forgiven them for discontinuing the Manstad, but I'm starting to think the Friheten might be an acceptable substitute.

I was actually hoping to find something smaller to live in. I'm a fan of small spaces. (See this post on Tiny Houses), and I've always wanted to live in a studio. But since this place was cheaper than the studio I was looking at, I figured it wouldn't kill me to have an actual one bedroom. I may just sleep in the living room anyway and use the bedroom for guests/writing. I haven't decided yet. All I know is I'm really, really excited. 

Which reminds me... What should I plant in my gardens this summer?

I'm thinking...

corn (I already have the seeds, so this is a definite yes.)
raspberries? (I've always wanted to try doing these because my great-grandmother had them in her backyard.)

Obviously I'll need some herbs
and maybe oregano?

I'm also considering
and snap peas

Oh, and I want some flowers too, for looks. Probably thrifts, salvia, and columbine.




In other news, I made salsa this week. It was yum. I was going to make pesto, which I like even better, but I couldn't find basil at the grocery store. Well, not good basil.

This is the part where I lament about how much less appealing the produce is here than it was in California. Except a few days after the basil mishap I went to Sprouts because I forgot to buy the cilantro for the salsa, and it turns out their herbs looked just as good as the ones at the grocery stores in California. Plus, they were super cheap. Lesson learned: Sprouts has the good herbs.

Not to be confused with The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. Which is an excellent book.

And... where was I? Oh, yes. Moving. And the garden. 

I wish I had taken pictures when I toured my new place, but I'll post some soon. And I'll keep you all posted on my success in the garden. I'm always so ambitious in the spring time, then in the summer my enthusiasm wanes, and by fall I'm just happy if I get one edible thing out of all my hard efforts. Sigh. But not this year! This year I will win at gardening! Positive thoughts!

For everyone who's been worried about me, work is getting better. Still busy. And I still have a lot to learn. But I'm feeling up to the challenge. My social life is a little lackluster lately, but that's my fault for not making an effort. And honestly, I'm kind of loving the alone time. I'm sure once I move, I'll get sick of being on my lonesome all the time and I'll force myself to go out, but at the moment I don't feel like pushing it in that area just yet.

Sorry this post is so long and rambling. And kind of pointless. Hmm... I feel like I should have some all-encompassing moral of the story to put here at the end.

Okay, how's this?

Evaluate your life. Think about what makes you happy and why. Then eliminate the things in your life that don't make you happy, so you have more time for the ones that do. Don't think about what makes other people happy or what you think should make you happy. Just go after the simple pleasures you can find all around you. Things like radiators and good books and the corn seeds you bought at K-Mart.

That is my lesson of the week. Oh, and one more thing...

Lately I've started doing this in my journal. I think I'll do it here sometimes too. It's fun. You should try it.

Eight Great Things to Be Grateful for Today
1. It's been super sunny and warm here lately.
2. I got to ride Daphne on the Provo River Trail with my friend April on Friday and it was beautiful and so much fun to catch up with April.
3. Some of my family is in town this weekend and it's been great to spend time with them. Especially Alecia, for whom we had two baby showers yesterday!
4. I'm making new friends at work.
5. I slept in this morning and then stayed in bed being lazy.
6. Veggie chips are delicious.
7. The Atonement really does make it possible for people to change--including me.
8. Aside from allergies and a possible slight cold, I am healthy and capable of doing great things.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What's on your 30 things list?

It was the summer of 2012. I had just turned twenty-seven-and-a-half. And I realized that I was getting awfully close to the end of my twenties.

So, as I do in all my moments of potential crisis, I decided to make myself a list.

The original version is in my journal and a lot of it is frankly impossible now that I'm only seven months away from turning 30.

Like these items from the original list?

1. Build a House
3. Lose 90 lbs.
6. Run a half marathon
10. Drive across the country
17. Learn to cook a souffle
19. Live in Europe
26. Read the Bible again.

Not going to happen. At least not in my twenties.

The funny thing about the way I write in my journals is that I often lose track of things right after I write them. By mid-August that journal was filled up and promptly stuffed underneath my bed.

Which meant that I totally lost track of my 30 Things list for a few months. So I made another one in my next journal, and it only partially matched up with the original. And then I think the list moved to my phone so I wouldn't keep losing it. But then I got an iPad and the list migrated again. Then came the iPhone last year. And each time the list changed places, it got tweaked a little bit.

When I moved to Utah, I had to alter it again because a lot of the items were location-specific. Like I wanted to ride my bike to the end of the Iron Horse Trail, but that would be a 750 mile bike ride now across the salt flats and the Nevada desert. So I swapped it for biking to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon.

Here is the list in its current form. I redid it again instead of making New Year's Resolutions this year. I don't know for sure if I'll finish it all before I turn thirty, but even if I don't, that's okay with me. I just like having a list of personal challenges and adventures. Keeps me from feeling as old as I really am. :)

Note: The question marks are for things I can't do by myself so I can't be sure they'll happen. Or for things that I'm not sure I really want to do. You'll also notice some alternatives in parentheses.

30 Things to Do Before I'm 30

1. Finish all the French lessons on Duolingo
2. Learn to play a hymn or two
3. Learn to play the banjo

4. Be kissed? (done)
5. Publish fiction
6. Read all my journals again (or start a blog--done)
7. Sing in Lamb of God again (done--sort of)
8. Finish my crosstitch
9. Visit the East Coast? (Or go on a cruise?--done)

10. Go on a trip with Nani (or Jess--done)
11. Renew my passport (or travel abroad without one--done)
12. Start freelancing again (done)
13. Go to Utah (or move there--done)
14. Ride Daphne to the end of the Iron Horse trail (or to Bridal Veil Falls)

15. Keep working at the temple (ongoing)
16. Hike to the top of Camp Ritchie (or hike to Two Trees)
17. Climb the wall at Camp Ritchie (or go rock climbing somewhere else)
18. Hand-walk the parallel bars by Brody's old house (close enough)
19. Save at least _____ in my emergency fund and _____ in my Roth IRA (Sorry, blog readers, you don't get to know my financial figures. Mostly because they're embarrassingly low. Did I mention I work in publishing and before that I was a nanny? Not the most lucrative career paths. But so much fun it's worth it.)
20. Make pesto (done)

21. Ask someone out, but not _______ or _______. (done) (You also don't get to know these names. I wouldn't necessarily mind, but they might.)
22. Go to the dentist. (Ugh. Sigh. Blech.)
23. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge (done)

24. Hike Mt. Tam (or visit the Mt. Timpanogos caves)
25. Visit Muir Woods (or find a forest in Utah)
26. Go hiking at Las Trampas again (done)
27. Finish writing The Jane Journals (done with a first draft)
28. Host a hot chocolate party
29. Make dinner for my guy friends (done)
30. Go to Chinatown

I can't bear to replace that last one. There's no suitable Utah equivalent to San Francisco's Chinatown. I'll just have to do the tourist thing next time I go home to visit.

Anyway, this list is a little silly and a little idiosyncratic, but that's what I like about it.

So now the question is, what would you put on your list?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Where can I get a copy of your book?

You can get one from me!

I currently have three extraneous copies of Tiny Talks vol. 14, just sitting on my desk. This is the latest volume and goes along with the Primary theme for 2014. I feel a little bad about the fact that it's already May, so their utility may be slightly diminished at this point. But anyway, they need a new home. I would love to give them away to you awesome, blog-reading-type people.

If you want one, post a comment on here and I'll get in touch with you. I'll even pay the postage. Unless you're currently traveling the world or you live in Hawaii (sorry, Christy and Josie). We're talking continental US postage here.

And I will sign your copy if that interests you. Or not, if for some reason you'd rather I didn't.

You can also find my books at Deseret Book or Seagull Book or at their websites or at lots of other independent bookstores, too numerous to name. And if you live outside "Occupied Deseret," as one of my favorite institute teachers calls it, you can always get them on Amazon or at

In other news, Provo is growing on me.

I am not a mountains person. I much prefer the beach. But even I have to admit that they look pretty cool sometimes.

And I finally got all my stuff organized in my room and my artwork put up, which makes me feel much more at home.

All things considered, this isn't the worst possible place I could be. But I still reserve the right to whine about missing California whenever I feel the urge. Just saying.