Thursday, April 24, 2014

Collage

When I do my "run" in the evenings on the treadmill (1 mile, three times a week), I have nothing to look at.  The wall is painted a sort of tan/beige/light brown color - let's call it almond!  And there is nothing on it, except one dark dot, which is maybe a hole left from a nail when something hung there before?  Or a bug that died and left a tiny spot? I don't know.  Anyway, that's all I have to look at.

So I stare at it, and I imagine all the things that I would put on that wall if I ever did anything like put things on walls.

And then I thought, why don't I just stop imagining, and start doing? Right? Right?! Right!!

There is a pin board (what are those things called? You know, the soft kind of board that you can push pins into to hold papers and stuff?) in the play house in the backyard that the previous owners left. It is really nice.  I could put pictures and things on it that inspire and motivate me to run, because eventually obviously I hope to go beyond doing a mile three times a week, and then I might need something to excite me more than just that black dot.

Here are the pictures I have so far:


 I just really like this elephant one.




These last two are my favorite things that our soccer coach used to yell at us when we would slow down doing our sprint drills.  Ah, good times.

So what other pictures should I find?  I keep thinking I should find a good picture of bacon, and a good picture of chocolate.  And a good picture of the beach, and a good picture of a forest, and... what else?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Quotes

I love quotes and phrases and statements and words.  Above all things, I love words.  I love what people can do with words.  I like witty and clever.  I like funny and absurd.  I like profound and meaningful.  I like it, I like it, I like it.

Various people through the years have noticed my affinity, and have helped me collect quotes.  Today I was going through my collection and thought to myself how much I just like them.  I mean, I like the people who helped collect these quotes for me, and I like the quotes themselves.  Just to clarify.  You know, because sometimes language is confusing.

Words!

Are you ready for this? 

"Last night I looked up at the stars and matched each one with a reason why I love you.  I was doing great, but then I ran out of stars."  (So cheesy! Can you imagine actually saying that to someone?!  I love it!)

"Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue."

"Eat a live toad first thing in the morning. That way, nothing worse can happen to you for the rest of the day."

"I do not run to add days to my life - I run to add life to my days."

"If you think something small cannot make a difference, try going to sleep with a mosquito in the room."

"Worrying is like a rocking chair.  It keeps you busy but gets you nowhere."

"Live today like you want to be remembered tomorrow."

"I always knew looking back on the tears would make me laugh, but I never knew that looking back on the laughs would make me cry."

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."

"Never fear shadows: they only mean there is a light nearby."

"No one will ever win the battle of the sexes; there's too much fraternizing with the enemy."

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."

"Hope for the best, expect the worse, and always go through with a smile."

"When you come to the edge of all that you know, faith is believing that one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on, or you will learn to fly."

"When you are really stressed out, the cure is to stuff two mini marshmallows up your nose and try to snort them out."

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?"

"Your mother will find out if you die your hair purple."

"Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects."

"A diamond is a piece of coal that finished what it started."

"The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears."

"Everything will be ok in the end. So if it isn't ok, then it isn't the end."

"Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers."

"Nothing spoils the taste of peanut butter like unrequited love."

"Nobody is perfect until you fall in love with them."

"I don't make you feel special, I just remind you that you are special."



Ok, so there's a taste.  What are your favorite quotes?

Note: these quotes in particular that I have shared today were collected while I was in college, if that explains anything to you.
Note: when I say I love words above all things, I mean of course words are directly below: my family, my friends, flowers, Thomas S. Monson, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, cats, babies, bacon, and chocolate.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dear Mom (and Dad)

When I was little, you guys encouraged (made) me keep a scrapbook.  I was told to put all of my important papers in it. 

It is highly amusing to look through, and see what a very young child considered "important".  Some really are special though.  Like this card you painted for me, mom. 

(Please forgive me for using photo booth to take these pictures, our camera has recently decided to cease functioning.)

Then there was the time we pulled over to take our picture outside of Boling, Texas. (I think Texas?)

And the card/picture/wall hanging thing from the Daddy Daughter Dance when I was 9.

Oh, mom, this is important: Peter and Dan have a doctor's appointment on Thursday, May 3, 1990 at 4:15 pm.  Ok? Don't forget.  If you can't make it, I have the phone number right here on this reminder card, you should call and cancel.

I have a letter addressed to me personally from my very first eye doctor, congratulating me on needing glasses and thanking me for choosing them to be my eye care providers.  Poor tiny second grade me, I guess I thought it was cool?

Remember that time I got strep throat in fourth grade and Mrs. Whipple sent home my homework with a note about how she was sorry that I was sick?  Yep, I sure hope I completed math page 205, #1-30, and that I read "The Dancing Man" on page 324.  I'm sure I did, right? She signed the note, "Love, Mrs. Whipple".  She was a really great teacher, wasn't she?

Ah, I have a copy of your wedding invitation.

I have some pictures of the sports teams from when  Dad was our coach.  I also have two copies of a different sports picture, but there isn't one single person in it that I recognize.  That's actually kind of creepy.

This note was tucked in a page, "I drew these pictures at Stake Conference.  Dad took me to turn off the lights of our car.  But he said he was taking me to the bathroom."

Yeah, I laughed out loud at that one.

And it looks like I threw a few things into the scrapbook from my later years.

Alison's baptism program, looking through the list of names of who did what that day brings all sorts of feelings of nostalgia to the surface.  Oh, Muncie.

But then there's this, possibly the most classic thing of all. I didn't know I had a copy.  This was the picture on the front page of the newspaper one cold, cold day in November my freshman year of high school.  It is completely stuck to the glossy page, I can't remove it. 


 There we go, I think this one is better:

Now, that's a story for another time. 

And while going through a different set of papers while cleaning out the basement, I found our amortization schedule, and we are six years ahead on our mortgage.  That feels pretty good.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hanna Takes Pictures

You've seen what Hallie can do with a camera.  It's Hanna's turn, I suppose.

One day while we were waiting for Hallie in the car she grabbed the camera and entertained herself for a while that way.  I weeded out all the pictures of the door handle and the floor mats.  You're welcome.

 These were taken in early January I think, so I am still wildly pregnant.




 Love it.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Observations of Things

There we sit, every day, the minutes ticking by.

I've noticed a few things over the course of the school year.

Observation 1: There are different kinds of parents.

1. The ones who wait in line every single day for an hour.
2. The ones who park and walk to the front of the school and wait, rain or shine, wind or snow.  These people would have made good postal workers.
3. The ones who do wait in line, but show up at the last minute.  Their kid has to stand in front of the school for twenty minutes.
4. The ones who walk when it's nice, drive when it's cold, and park when it's mediocre.  I look at these parents with envy, and wish that we lived close enough to do so.

Her school has over 700 students, but I recognize most of the parents and could tell you which category they go in. Ok, to be honest, some of them I wouldn't know their face at all, but I do recognize their vehicle.

Observation 2: There is one parent who has a serious love for REO Speedwagon.  Well, that's the only conclusion I can come to for why it was played at top volume on repeat for an hour.

Observation 3: The girls who work at the YMCA after school program at the school seem to have a uniform.  Black leggings.  Brown boots.  Coat/jacket/shirt/sweatshirt of their choice.

Observation 4: Spending an hour of your day just waiting for something isn't actually that much of a hardship.  I don't know if I would switch to bussing even if it were an option.

Observation 5: There are three different kinds of people.  When two little girls stick their heads out the window, wave enthusiastically and yell "Hi!"

1. This group will look at the little girls, smile, and say "how are you?"
2. This group will look at the little girls, and then pretend they didn't hear them and keep walking.
3. This group is on their cell phone talking, or is listening to their ipod, or texting.  They don't hear or notice the little girls.

Observation 6: The parents are all really nice.  The ones that don't acknowledge the girls I get the feeling it is more from a reaction of "are they really talking to me?" than anything else.  This first year has been such a great experience.  Hallie is so excited about first grade.

Observation 7: When I first started doing this, the thought of having to sit there like that day after day for the next so many years was kind of sickening. But we've really come to enjoy it.  Hanna does a reading lesson, Heather takes a nap.  We play games, we talk, we sing, we tell stories, we read stories.  I bring a sudoku, or a crossword puzzle, or a  book to read, or a notebook to make lists and write thoughts.  It is sort of the most peaceful and relaxing part of my day.

Well, sometimes. You know.  Nothing's perfect.

I don't know if that is a statement on how humans can get used to just about anything, or if it is a statement about how if you plan your time and like the people you are with, it can always be well spent no matter what you're doing.

Observation 8: Heather has never once complained about not being able to get out of her seat.  That doesn't mean she is always happy, but her unhappiness has never been because of being stuck in the seat.  This amazes me.

Observation 9: Windy days in Nebraska are something else.  Especially when the school is in the middle of nowhere and there is nothing at all to block the wind.  There have been times when I have worried it would knock the car over.  Not kidding.  Not exaggerating.  Ok, just a little.  It really does rock the car back and forth, though.

Observation 10: I really like my kids.  I really like Nebraska.  And sunshine, and birds, and backpacks, and pencils, and teachers, and parents, and all the things.  Remembering to have that attitude really really helps.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Special Days

Holidays are special days, of course.  Aside from holidays though, there is one day every year that is a really special day for me.  Since it isn't a holiday, I never know exactly when it is going to come.  When it does come, it fills my heart with gladness and makes my soul to sing.  It is such a good day that it makes the good feelings last all week.  It makes everything in my life look better, smell better, taste better, sound better, feel better.  Yes, it's that powerful.  It is even better than some of the real holidays.  I think it might break down like this for me:

1. Christmas
2. Easter
3. Birthdays
4. Amy's Special Day
5. Mother's Day
6.. Halloween
7. Fourth of July
8. Thanksgiving
9. Memorial Day

10. Valentine's Day

and then all the other random holidays that are really important and special, too.

This is what my special day looks like:


Yes, that's right. It's the day I clean out my garage. 
Ahhhhhh it just feels so good right here.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Listening

The other day Hallie and Hanna were occupied with something out in the sunshine and fresh air.  Devin and I didn't know what they were up to, until they told us to come outside so they could show off what they had accomplished.

 Aren't they just the most clever girls you've ever seen?  Look what they've made!

 Wait, what? You don't know what that is?

Well, clearly, it's how they talk to the bugs.  And then listen to the bugs.
You know, for all the important bug communications they have to do.
Springtime is my favorite time.
I think springtime was made for childhood.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Running in Nebraska

I ran my first 5k since having Hazel.  It felt really good to be out there.  Also, it's always fun to see tractors.
 Hanna, waiting for the race to start so they can cheer me on! Best cheerleaders ever.
 Don't judge me.  
She's only two and a half months old, and I am not one of those women who work out when they are pregnant. I'm just not.

 Here I am, telling Devin that I think I can, after all, finish the rest without needing a bathroom.


 The girls loved the tractors.  Who doesn't love a good tractor?


In this one I am trying to decide if I want to "finish strong", or walk it in. You know how it is.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Little Boys

The ratio of girls to boys, as you know, is 5 to 1 around here most of the time.  When Devin is at work, obviously we go 5-0.  When my sister and my mom visit, even when Devin is home, we're sitting at 9-2.  When Devin goes to work, that leaves my little nephew Daniel as the sole man-person, and that's a tough gig.

He handles it really well though.  We love having you come around, Danny boy!



I think one of my favorite moments of their visit here was when Heather grabbed Danny for a big hug, and softly said, "I love you Danny. I love you."

On A Tuesday





It's just another Tuesday around here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Writing and a Quiz

My book club nominates books to read for the year, and then a list is assembled, and then votes are taken, and compiled, and a final list presented.  Last year I wrote a novel for National Novel Writing Month, and somehow it got nominated.  And then it got enough votes to make it onto the reading list.  It is scheduled for November.

But I thought it was on the list for April, so I was starting to gear myself up for it.  What would they say? What would we talk about?  I wrote the thing in 30 days, and then I only read it all the way through once.  Only once!  I barely even know what is in it!

And partly that's because it is sort of painful for me to read it.  I wish it were better than it is, but I just don't have the time to devote to it, and so all I see are the many ways that it is silly and amateurish. Which is what my writing really is, actually, and so maybe it can't get any better, but that's a discussion for another day.  I am excited and curious about the feedback I will get from my friends, hoping that I can take some notes and file them away for someday when maybe I can make it into something to really be proud of, if that's possible.  Then, if/when I am proud of it, that is when you should be wary of criticizing it.

All that was going on in my head but I just looked at the reading list and it doesn't come on stage until November, so I have to be patient and keep waiting.  Yesterday though I got an email from my sister, and she reminded me that I had written a book THIS YEAR for Nano, and maybe I should "polish" it up a little more.  At least finish it so I can "publish" it.  I've been skimming through it making minor changes and whatnot, and this one is completely different than the one I wrote last year, in every single way possible.

It is sort of a fictional autobiography, in that I pulled large chunks from my actual high school and college journal, but the girl in it is absolutely not actually me.  She just thinks a lot of the same ways I did way, way, way back then, when I was sort of crazy in the head about things.

Here's where the quiz part comes in. I'm going to put five little excerpts from it here, and you tell me which ones you think are from my actual real journal, and which ones I made up for this here little novel I was writing. Ok? Ready, Set, Go.

Excerpt 1
I think one of the ways that I will finally know I am in love, true and lasting love, is when I look back on all this silly journal and instead of crying inside at the enduring honesty and lasting truthfulness of what I have written here, I will laugh at myself, and say, “Oh! I was so young! So cynical!  How sad she was!”
For irony and for honesty, I must state that I feel that after that would happen, my heart will inevitably be broken and I would never recover.
Doesn’t that just seem like it would be totally appropriate?

Excerpt 2
I was reading Pride and Prejudice today.  This part is what I am thinking about right now:  “A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment."
I will make sure that is never true about me.  I solemnly vow, right now, that I will never be that girl.
I will never assume, never hope, never daydream.
I cannot afford to.

Excerpt 3
What if I gave myself a sparkle?  What if I could think of some way to make myself stand out from other people, make myself different, interesting, in a way that other people are not?  That way, even if I still didn’t attract the mainstream guys, hordes and hordes of them like some perfectly manicured and makeup-ed ditzy blonde, I would have the guy who appreciated my particular sparkle.  The one I worked for instead of just being born with.
Because let’s face it, I clearly wasn’t born with a sparkle.
I’ll make my own sparkles.
Excerpt 4
I know that it is my fault, but sometimes I do get tired of it.
People don’t understand me, and I don’t know how to make myself understood.
I don’t know how to feel emotions that can be put into words for people to hear. And even if I did, would they hear the words I meant, or only the words I say?  I hope someday we won’t have to communicate with words.  They are too simple for such complicated creatures as we are.
Excerpt 5
What if I wake up tomorrow and discover that my life has passed me by while I was blinking, and worse yet that I still somehow managed to make choices and they were all the wrong ones?
What if I spend my whole life waiting for something that might never come, or might not be as great as I think it will be and then I try to look back with regret only to realize there was no better option I had missed?
What if you only get one chance of love, but since you had never been in love you let it pass by, and lose it forever?

Oh, this is fun.  Well, I'm having fun anyway.