Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grumpy Smurf

Today has sucked. Look at the poll I just put up, and you'll see about how awesome it's been. And so, I come here to vent. Please don't send me comments about 'looking at the bright side' or wonder if I'm sane. Just let me splay my vast store of anger upon the blog page. Don't worry...this will cheer me up, and I'm guessing that by the weekend, you'll get a right cheerful blog about something awesome that's happened. is Wednesday. Today is crappy.

Numero Uno: I hate people asking for favors when a) I do not know them; b) we are not friends; c) they have done nothing to make me happy or willing to step up to the plate for them. Listen--I know your study is going to expire and you won't be able to save the world with your earth-shattering research. DEAL. I know those documents weren't attached, but that ain't my problem. And I can't make them magically approved. Submit an amendment. I can't help that the person who reviewed your study is out of town and isn't available to click approve. Take a deep breath and stop sending me emails about how you're starting your honors program and need to have approval NOW. The only thing you need right now is oxygen. And at current, that could be in jeopardy if you dial my phone number and start complaining to me.

Next up: YOU CANNOT HIDE FROM A LAWSUIT! When a police officer comes to your mommy's house to give you a notice that you're a total delinquent, you need to man up (woman up?) and pay the money you owe! Don't have your family cover for you. Don't go into hiding and think that it will all go away. Just come to court. Give me my dollars. Stop the madness. Let me sleep peacefully at night.

Last on the list of diatribes: allergies bite the big one. I cannot breathe through my nose. My garbage cans at work and home are starting to look like gerbil nests with all the tissue I've been using. I have itchy eyes and it feels like a bus hit my sinuses. Heaven bless the man who invented allergy pills...but even with them, I still want to lay in my bed and wait until all of the pollen and weeds have been eliminated from the world.

Well hey! Already I feel better. I began writing this blog at the end of work, and I was wiped, but since then I've felt productive, and the stress has slowly melted away. And, to put an optimistic spin on things...this week is more than halfway over! Here's hoping things start looking up.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer lovin'

How did July come and go so fast?! I'll try to make this short and sweet...lots of stuff going on.

* My little brother left on his mission on July 1st. He spent three weeks in the Provo MTC and then flew to the Dominican Republic MTC last Thursday. We got an email that said something to the effect of him having lost luggage and missing the connecting flight because of some airline delays. He's going to have some great stories.

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* 4th of fun, per usual. I didn't feel well, so I didn't get to eat waffles and ice cream, but the rest of the day was great. Good parade weather, a lovely long nap, and a great time at fireworks. We were elbow-deep in preparations for my grandpa's funeral, so it was a little more somber than usual, but we still found time to celebrate good ol' independence.
I got some cute pictures of my niece:
...and a picture of our potato salad. (...and it's happy to see you!)

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* Rachel and I planned a camping trip for the Provo peeps. I always feel like the camping mom, but sometimes it's good to know that things are taken care of. We had a lot of people come join us for a rollicking good time around the campfire, complete with bear scares (oh Lucas...), using an outhouse, and sleeping on the ground. Ah, nature...c'est magnifique!
I stole this from my friend's Facebook album. Mmmmm...s'mores!
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* My hair stylist talked me into summery highlights. She hit the 'Annie looks awesome!' jackpot (in my opinion). This was the same day I went on my 'date' with my nephew. Here we are, hangin' out in Salt Lake:

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* A couple weekends ago, some of the girls and I went down to Cedar City to the Shakespearean Festival. We saw As You Like It, Private Lives (don't worry if you don't know's not Shakespeare), and Comedy of Errors. I loved them all; each one was funny, and there was a particularly attractive actor that played lead parts in two of the plays. We had a lovely time finding things to occupy our time (see the picture of us sleeping?) in one of the most boring towns EVER. I woke up on Saturday morning and figured I'd go for a walk around town. I Googled Jamba Juice so I could go get a smoothie...yeah, it was 2 1/2 miles away. I wasn't doing much else, so I went on my way. Turns out there is no Jamba Juice...only steakhouses and western wear shops. It's a wonder anyone can survive going to school at SUU. I hope they have a really cool student union building or something. We did find a some cute gift shops, and I dropped a total of $20 on souvenirs. Whoo!
More pictures I stole from a friend's Facebook:
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* Pioneer Day was a lovely day off of work and really low-key family activities. We decided to do things "pioneer" style, so we (read: Sarah and Dennis) made dutch oven ribs, potatoes, and biscuits. I made some homemade ice cream (a first, by myself). We watched the kids run through sprinklers (pioneers had sprinklers, right...?) and did sparklers (and pyrotechnics?). Most of my family was elsewhere, but we had one of those silly, goofy, laugh-because-everything-is-so-ridiculous nights. It was relaxing to get away from work stress and everything else and just be loony. I would try to describe the hilarity but I just wouldn't be able to do it justice. And you would probably just shake your head at my dorkiness. :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

RIP Grandpa

A few weeks ago, my family got together to go to dinner the night before my brother was going into the MTC. We were joking around, getting ready to order dessert, when my mom got a phone call; it was my grandma. She broke the news that my grandpa had died. All of a sudden, the dinner became a somber event, and my mom and I got up in a hurry to go be with my grandma, running down the streets in Salt Lake to get to my car. It's kind of humorous now, but the urgency for my mom was real. We sped up to Ogden (I heard my mother utter the words, "Thank you for speeding." That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience...)

The next few hours were completely surreal for me. I don't have a problem with dead bodies, but it was so strange walking into my grandparents' home and seeing him on the floor with a sheet on him. We were the first family to arrive, after the home teacher and some neighbors had come over. The sherrif was there, waiting for the mortuary to come take care of things. My grandma was on the phone, trying to call all of her children to break the news. We were supposed to be at my brother's setting apart, but sometimes you have to make a decision and go with it. Mom needed to be there for her family.

The viewing and funeral were sad events, but it was special to see all the family getting together to celebrate such a wonderful man. My grandpa wasn't anyone famous or overly special, but he was a hard-working man who was a great example to his family and to others.

Some of the things I remember about my grandpa:
* Sitting next to him at any sort of meal meant you got extra EVERYTHING on your plate. He grew up during the depression, and struggled as a child, so now that he could be generous, you can bet he wanted to make sure you got plenty to eat. Along that same line, he made something called "Grandpa Soup," that was usually a mixture of whatever he could find out of his garden and in the cupboard. Half the time, no one knew what was in it, but it was always delicious, and much better eaten with a huge spoon (a "grandpa spoon," we called it). He also fed us ice cream whenever we went over there. That was something you could always count on.

* He always called us his sweetheart or some other pet name. He had 56 grandchildren (!), so being expected to remember all the names would have been insane. It was so sweet, though, when we would hug him goodbye.

* He was big into doing family history. He did thousands of name extractions and spent hours doing temple work. I can barely do fifteen minutes of online name cataloguing, but when I think of how much time he spent doing this work, it gives me a little motivation to do better.

* Back when he was younger, he was in World War II. We've got pictures of him, but one of my favorites is of him shaving, crouching down, using his helmet as a sink. I always think of him as my old grandpa, but back in the day, he was a good-lookin' fella.

All in all, I'm sad that my grandpa has passed, but he is definitely in a better place. He had been sick with heart problems for awhile, and it was a back and forth of him feeling better and then getting worse. I'm glad that he doesn't have to be sick anymore. I know we will all miss him dearly. Love you, Grandpa. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

For all you Kevin Bacon fans out there...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Celebrating Freedom

This weekend is the 4th of July. As most of you know, it's my favorite holiday. But that's not the only thing I'm celebrating this week. No, today marks the 4-year anniversary of my un-wedding day... I don't even know where to begin. It's somewhat of a hilarious story, rich in intrigue and a lot of "what the...?!". Let me just start by saying: I AM SO GLAD PEOPLE (i.e., me) CAN CHANGE.

About 4 1/2 years ago, I was ramping up to start my last semester of college, trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. Through a strange twist of whatever, I had ended up living by myself. I was feeling lonely and vulnerable. It was the holiday season, and while I had a wonderful family not too far away, it was kind of depressing to come home to an empty house in the bleak winter. (Note: this is in no way justification for what comes up next...)

At that time, I had been dabbling in the world of Internet dating--which, now having the hindsight I do, I would not recommend--and I came across an interesting guy. 'Interesting' is the only word to describe him, really. We chatted all night one night and I figured that meant love. I mean, a guy is interested by my profile and wants to talk with me? Score. I had made it through a year and a half of living in Utah's biggest dating pool and hadn't gotten a ring on my finger yet. Read: I was desperate. For some reason, I had gotten it through my head that if I made it through college unmarried, I would have been a failure.

So here I was, chatting with this guy (whose profile picture wasn't half bad) and feeling like we connected. We agreed to chat the next night, too. You know, it was kind of nice to have something to look forward to the next day. I was a little wary, only having known this guy via the Internet, but I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and gloss over their flaws. But we ended up chatting for another long night, at which point he saw fit to tell me something about how we were destined to be together. I fell. Hard. A guy who was interested in me! For ME! It was fate!! He wanted more pictures; I sent them. He wanted to meet in person; I planned a trip to California. It seemed like everything was falling into place in happy little Annie world.

We'll fast forward a little many (now embarrassing) things happened in the next couple months. Now that I can look back at it and see how ridiculous I was, I can chuckle and be so grateful that I dodged that bullet. Here are some of our adventures:

* My parents and sister came with me to California to meet him. Oh what a trip...I'm so grateful for a father who was willing to help me see something through, even though I'm sure he was afraid for my total well-being. Seriously. Kudos to him. On this trip, I discovered that this guy had a horrible car, horrible job, was mean to his mother, and didn't respect me like he should. But there I was, kissing him. And wearing a fake engagement ring. Man, the blinders were on... He even gave me his letterman jacket.

* We got a joint phone plan. Hey, free talking time whenever we wanted. I would text him from work, he would call and leave me sappy voicemails. Honestly, though, we didn't know ANYTHING about each other.

* He came to visit me for Valentine's Day...I paid for half his plane ticket. (Stupid, so stupid!) We went and took pictures at Temple Square. He thought we should use them for our engagement photos. Looking at those pictures, he had a little head and we looked so weird sitting next to each other! I wish I still had them for a little show-and-tell... Also for Valentine's Day, we went and visited his sister who lives in Utah. And we all went out to dinner. The original plan was to go to Chuck-A-Rama, but who knew it would be so busy on Valentine's Day? So we ended up at...Beto's. Romantic, eh?

* I was planning on putting him through school. I was graduating that following Spring, so it worked out perfectly, that I would just work and he'd go to school, and I would fund it all. Problem: he wanted children right away. Even bigger problem: I wasn't going to say no to this plan because I wanted so badly for him to love me that I was willing to sacrifice my entire existence and all of my sanity.

My friends hated him. They wouldn't tell me at the time because they really wanted to be supportive of me, but now we joke and laugh (and shudder) about how close I came to ruining my life that year. My boss at the time even met him and told me later that he was so angry about the one small interaction they had. My mom cried herself to sleep nightly, afraid that I would be throwing away a good future. And you know what? They were all right. He was not for me. I would like to think that I would have grown up and figured out how smothering and horrible he was on my own...I'm just glad I didn't have to find that out. I can just about guarantee that I would be a divorcee by now if I'd gone through with it.

He didn't want to leave California and move to Utah to be near me. Does anyone see a problem with this? There was some sort of lame excuse about him being able to move up in the company where he worked--mind you, it was a car dealership. His job? Driving the shuttle van and washing cars. Sounds like you got your life all lined up there, buddy. I told him I'd find him a job here. He told me that I should leave my good job (that was turning to full time after I graduated) and go be with him there. "If you love me, you'll do it." Ugh. That's one of the worst phrases in human history. Don't be manipulative like that.

People, this guy was an IDIOT. I make it a point not to bash people on this blog, but I'm trying to prove a point here: don't be afraid to be yourself and find someone who will love you for that. He would always ask me how much weight I was going to lose before the wedding. His wardrobe consisted of bad t-shirts and board shorts--his excuse? "I'm from California. I like to surf." Do you surf every day?! He hadn't done any school. His favorite movie was The Skulls (Lacy likes to remind me of that whenever we get talking about this). He considered himself an artist, but his drawings were hideously awful. Everything had to be his way. He would even tell me how to dress and what I should think.

Slowly, I could feel him pulling away after a couple months of being 'engaged.' He hadn't bought me a ring, and he would yell at me any time I would talk about the future. He bandied the word 'stupid' about when he was addressing me. And I felt stupid. I should have known better, but I am the type of person who tries to fix problems instead of just dumping a relationship, so I figured I just need to work harder at it. So I tried. And it got worse. Lots of tears... lots of self-esteem down the drain...

I didn't love him. I loved the idea of him. During one of our phone conversations, he said, "You don't even know yourself." OUCH. So I sat down and made lists (it's what I do...) about who I was and goals I had and reasons I thought I wanted to be with him. I thought I had solved our relationship issues. I remember one night when he said, "What would you do if I said I didn't want to do this?" Silly me, I thought this was a hypothetical question, but I answered, "I wouldn't make you do it. It wouldn't be worth it." And it was a downward spiral from there. He stopped returning my calls. He stopped saying 'I love you.' When we did speak, it was very hostile and put me on edge.

Ultimately, he ended up breaking things off. And he did it in a particularly cruel way: over a voicemail that said, "Don't you understand English? It's OVER!!" I was devastated the first couple days. I packed up a box of his things and sent it back to him, called the temple and cancelled our wedding appointment (July 2, 2005), and just called my sister and cried. My family was so supportive as I was dealing with this blow; my dad came and took me to dinner and spoke very wisely about some of his heartache. Everyone in my ward was so kind, especially when I had to say to them, "Oh no, I'm not getting married anymore." After awhile, I was able to laugh and say, "No! It's a good thing!" And I truly believed that.

It really doesn't take long to move on from something so bad for you. It's like after you've been sick and you haven't been able to eat, you have to ease back into normal diet routines, but you're just so grateful you can eat again. I felt like I had been given a new chance at dating and finding someone who wouldn't try to control me or belittle me.

Since then, I know little to nothing of his whereabouts. What I do know is that he ended up getting married after all. To a girl who was a reformed stripper. And after figuring out the timeline of how things went down for the two of them, it is quite possible that he was dating her while he was engaged to me. I have so many words for him at this point...but this is a clean blog post, so I will refrain. :)

I learned so much about life and about myself from this experience. I know people say that all experiences will help you grow, but I didn't see how that was possible at the time. I see 'old me,' though, and I realize how far I've come from there. Firstly, I'd just like to say: being single is awesome. I've learned that I can be comfortable in my own skin, doing my own thing, being independent. Next, I now know that I would rather be single for the rest of my life than be with someone who is horrible. No matter what, I will never be so desperate again as to choose a guy who makes me feel like dirt. Life is definitely too short to be with someone who doesn't appreciate me. While the whole story is horribly embarrassing, at least I can say that I am in a much better place now.

And so as I go to sleep in my bed tonight--alone--I will smile...because I didn't get married.

If you've made it this far, here's a clip that might help with a visual for this guy...Lacy says my ex-fiance reminds her of Eddie, Chandler's crazy temporary roommate on Friends. The laugh is creepily reminiscent of his... Enjoy. :)

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