Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Accommodations that aren't super accommodating

If you have ever experienced the joy of apartment hunting for married housing in Provo, you know just how elegant and trendy the complexes are. Who needs plantation shutters and crown molding when you have cinder block walls and church carpeting? Not me my friend.

The harsh reality I have had to realize is that the odds of having your own laundry facility in your apartment are almost zero. I am having horrible flashbacks from the glory days of Skylark, Ed knocking on our door to inform us our laundry has been on the counter far too long (I am convinced he kept surveillance cameras everywhere and he and Pam sat and watched them day in and day out). One time when I was about fourteen I finished my laundry and hurried home from the laundry room. Then I noticed I hadn't initialed my basket, which was weird because I distinctly remembered doing it the week before, but none the less I took out a huge black Sharpe and stamped it with HS. Then Ed knocked on my door and told me I'd been accused of basket swapping, he snatched the basket from my hands to inspect it for my initials and of course he found found them so he apologized and returned the orphaned basket to me. Ed, if you are reading this, I apologize for not telling you, I didn't know how to explain myself. I had no intention of becoming a basket thief, I'm just absent minded...

Anyway back to apartment hunting. I went to the first prospect without Sam. I was prompt, and I knocked but no one answered. My friend Rochelle came with me and as we waited for the owners to answer the door, Rochelle was nice enough to point out the row of patios, not separated by walls (why would you want walls anyway? privacy? pasha, that would be ridiculous) that were covered in dirt, dust, and trash. Mattresses as far as the eye could see, bikes that had one wheel, baby seats that looked far beyond usability (in case you don't know car seats are only good for like four years). The owners never answered so we waited for twenty minutes and they were a no show. Sam and I tried again the next day, and the couple was there. The place had a great amount of storage, and two bedrooms; but it was so dark and dreary, I couldn't picture living there. It smelled of doom and destruction, the floor was concrete, and the walls were, of course, cinder block. The owners boasted that should you need to hang paintings and such the landlord would happily come drill a hole in the "wall" for you, they literally used that as a selling point, but we weren't buying.

The next viewing was awkward to say the least. This couple was hosting game night, and yet they found it an appropriate time to show their apartment. They went on and on about how much interest there was in their apartment and how she would select people in her own personal lottery to be the lucky ones that could come to view their magical apartment. Well Brent and Jennifer, thank but no thanks. I am not super interested in living in an apartment where the bathroom smells like it's never been cleaned, the oven is barely large enough for an 8x8 dish, and the bedroom share the exact dimensions of your queen size.

I was losing hope fast but I knew we'd find something that wasn't entirely depressing. We then went to look at Nelsen's apartment located in Wymount, which is also lovingly referred to as "Bunny Hill". The funny thing about that is out of nowhere the week before my mother called me and accused me of telling her I'd be moving to Wymount, and I'd done no such thing. I refuted it to the point where she could have been offended because, in fact I didn't even know this place existed. Anyway back to Nelsen. He has a cute family of four, he is a native Argentinian, as is his cute wife, and they are leaving for Texas to work as an intern until August. Upon walking into Nelsen's apartment I felt instantly welcome. It was kept relatively well, the furniture was new and the carpets look freshly cleaned. There are two bedrooms, a good sized kitchen and a race car bed that would give Ben (my 24 year old BFF) a familiar place to stay, should he need it. Following a brief discussion we called Nelsen and informed him we'd like to officially become renters for Spring and Summer term. And like I said it is a two bedroom so if you need a place to stay in Provo... Well we are really close to the Motel 8. The only down side, they do not have a laundry facility but maybe Sam will let me get a service, or maybe Natalie will move to town and need a job. She dances, sings, and does my laundry... I miss her.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Keep it Together

So engagements photos were scheduled for this morning. Leave it to me to be shopping late the evening before trying to decide what to wear. Here is a small known fact; I work in retail but my fashion sense is not up to par. My sister, Hannah, however is amazing in that department. When Hannah was 3 years old she would beg Ambyr and I to make dresses out of blankets for her. We'd eventually concede and drape her in sheets and sheathes. Hannah would first study the ensemb in the full length mirror, analyse it for a bit, and then advise us on how we needed to adjust the robes to fit her vision. My point is she has always had that flare for fashion and thus the perfect person to assist me in my endeavor. Hannah is a full time senior at BYU, works part time, and is also getting ready for her wedding so she has a very busy schedule. Taking this into consideration, I was hesitant to call upon her. But she was my one hope at finding the perfect engagement photo outfit so I got up the nerve to ask her for some help. She was kind enough to relinquish her Friday afternoon to helping the cause. We found a lot of very cute things, but settled on two Banana Republic dresses and an Anthropology dress. Hannah was so sweet to give up her time and share her talent to help me. It was a really fun afternoon and it got me to thinking how much I really enjoy all of my siblings for different reasons. I woke up this morning thinking about how great all three of them are. Then this Madonna song popped into my head out of nowhere and before I knew it I was in tears. It's a song titled "Keep it Together". When I was little my mother used to play this song for me. She would first sing it and then turn the volume down and explain the words to me. Now this may sound strange unless you one, know my mom, and two know my families love for music. Especially music that so articulately and emotionally phrases thoughts and feelings in a way mere words can't. You may hear the song playing on this page but if you don't let me highlight the parts my mother used to.

I got brothers
I got some sisters too
Stuck in the middle
Tell you what I'm gonna do
Gonna get out of here
I'm gonna leave this place
So I can forget
Every single hungry face
I'm tired of sharing all the hand me downs
To get attention I must always be the clown
I wanna be different
I wanna be on my own
But daddy
[mommy] said listen
You will always have a home
Keep it together in the family
They're a reminder of your history
Brothers and sisters they hold the key
To your heart and your soul
Don't forget that your family is gold

So many lines in this song explain how I felt growing up but most importantly my mother always reminded me that my siblings are the most important people in my life, and nothing could be more true.

My brother has so many great qualities. He the most kind and caring man I know. He will drop anything to help other people. Many times we have invited him to family events and he politely declines due to some dutiful task he has already committed to; be it helping someone move, driving my grandfather to a doctor's appointment, or an ASOC (Associated Students of Ohlone College) meeting which he attends to try to help make his school a better place for the students. Ambyr and I often discuss how Kenny has the biggest heart of any man we know. If I tell him a sad story he cries with me. If I tell him a happy story, he rejoices with me (and cries a little). He has an incredible amount of empathy for all people which is such a rare trait and one that I have grown to value. Kenny is here on this earth at this time to make a difference. His leadership qualities leave nothing for want. He is featured each week in his college news publication, in several different articles. Kenny has always been an amazing example to me.
One day when we were of elementary school age a bully named Jason Archuleta followed us home from school, with his "posse" in tow taunting and teasing my brother (Ken had recently transferred in from a different school). Apparently Kenny had unintentionally stolen the affections of Jason's girlfriend. Picture this: seven year old Heather, nine year old Ambyr, and eleven year old Kenny walking home being followed by 3-5 eleven year old's on bikes. The whole walk home Ambyr and I were sobbing begging Jason to leave us alone. About half way home Jason got off of his bike and confronted Kenny. Kenny started to cry and begged Jason not to make him punch him. Jason replied by pushing my brother. Kenny promptly punch Jason square in the jaw, sending the bully sailing over his bicycle. The posse scattered, leaving Jason face to face with the my brother. Kenny immediately apologized, helped Jason up and started on the walk home. This experience has always stuck with me. Ken showed great restraint until he was forced to defend himself. When he triumphed over his adversary, he showed humility and grace (yes boys can also show grace). My brother is a great man, and I can't wait to see all of the good he does in this world, at a time where we really need it. I have a million thoughts and memories flooding my head right now and I could literally go on and on about my love for my older brother.

I have mentioned how sweet and talented Hannah is and how kind and loving Kenny is but I have not yet mentioned the one peer I have that has influenced my life the very most, my older sister Ambyr. All of my memories growing up feature Ambyr. My most testimony building experience to date happened all because of her. She is the one I go to when I need advice, help, love, or relief.
Ambyr and I grew up sharing a bed together, and I was a kicker. Instead of forcing me to find slumber elsewhere, Ambyr decided to sleep on the box spring on the floor. I can't imagine how uncomfortable that must've have been, but she never complained, this is a great example of the type of sister, mother, and friend Ambyr is.
Ambyr has more passion than anyone I have ever known. She has so much conviction in what she says and in what she believes, she inspires me on a regular basis.
While reviewing some pictures of my childhood I found a theme; in every picture that Ambyr and I were both in, she has her arm around me. To me this was really symbolic of her feelings for me: she keeps me close, and protected.
When I'd first graduated from BYU- Hawaii I didn't quite know what to do professionally. I missed my friends, I didn't know where to go, and Ambyr insisted I move in with she and Tyler until things fell into place. She then took me to various temp agencies until I was placed at the perfect job. Ambyr encouraged me to keep persisting to work at the Gap and for my interview she helped me to choose the perfect interview suit. Ambyr is my safe haven, and my best friend

The point is I have been so blessed to have such amazing siblings and a mother who made sure I would nurture these relationships.

Friday, March 7, 2008

You make me feel like dancin

Speaking of not being a good dancer...
I decided it would be fun to do ballroom for our wedding dance. I thought a Fox Trot would be pretty simple and I selected "Moon Dance" by Van Morrison for our song. Turns out a girl I work with is a national champion ballroom dancer and she and her partner volunteered to help teach us.
Last night was our first lesson. Now Sam and I both expected to learn the basics and maybe one or two fun tricks... Not exactly what they taught us. They have this whole choreographed fancy dance that would put even Baby in a corner. I have mention prior how, despite years of training and practice, my dance skills are lacking; but who knew Sam's dance skills would surpass mine within two hours? He not only memorized his steps but mine as well. He would kindly tell me when I was stepping with the incorrect foot or if my turn was backwards. Funny, a little sad, and pretty embarrassing. After all it was only the first lesson. Sam knows the steps, I am hoping my technique will make up for my lack of memorization. I guess we'll see in 6 weeks.
Before we completed our first lesson I had the genius idea to video our instructors so we could practice this weekend. I taped it and went straight home to save it to my computer. Well I had a lot of miscellaneous things on the memory card so in my attempts to clear it out, I accidentally deleted the performance… So much for my bight idea. All in all it was a wonderful experience, it was fun to learn Sam's hidden talent (that man's mind is a steel trap) and it was great trying something new.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I like to sing but I'm not very good.

Things I like to do (or would like to do) but I am not inherently talented in:
-Playing a musical instrument
-Learning a new language

The thing is this; I really want to be the person who is great at all of the things listed above, but is it realistic? Perfect example: I stinkin LOVE to sing, but I am not good. And by not good I mean really bad with no improvement in sight. I desperately want to be able to get up in sacrament and belt out an amazing chorus of "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" but to be honest, I just don't see it ever happening. Is my limitation self imposed? Is it something my tormenting older brother instilled in me that Christmas season so long ago when he refused to allow me to sing with he and my older sister at our family concert? I don't have an answer.

I started Dancing at age four and didn't stop until sixth grade. I took two years off and resumed dancing as a high school cheerleader, but here's the thing: I'm not very good. I never ask my mom to get my cheer leading footage out to reminisce, I never ask to see my old recitals, I have never once seen any cheer competition videos. Why you ask? I am afraid when I watch them I will realize how bad of a dancer I really was. When I was about 10 my dance teacher asked if I'd like to try joining the competition jazz class, I attended once but after my first class, I was not invited back. As a sophomore in high school I'd missed a practice and my advisor, who was not my biggest fan, made me perform anyway. I really did not know the routine AT ALL but she told me I had to perform, no excuses. I went on stage knowing about two of forty eight counts and needless to say it didn't go so well. My relentless English teacher (also the football coach) didn't even tease me it was so bad. Point is I'm a dancer of eleven years and I have nothing to show for it.

I played the recorder in elementary school and I'm not going to lie, I was pretty good. I mean how can you mess up "Shortening Bread" but I'm pretty sure I can still play it. During 'Music for Minors' Wendy Clark, bless her heart for spending her Tuesday mornings teaching elementary school kids a love for music, I would always be assigned the triangle, the symbols, or the bells. Though I was happy to have the fun instruments classified as the 'toys' of the percussion family I always longed to play the piano, the violin, the guitar, or... dare I dream... the drums?! But it wasn't in the cards for me. For some reason Kenny and Hannah were deemed the 'musical' ones in the family. Showered with instruments and lessons until their hearts content. Can a twenty-five year old really pick up the piano?

Math is a subject I have always liked, and I have usually done pretty well in. I realized that this was my favorite subject early on when I realized there was only one right answer. Not only that but there are several ways to get to the same answer, but none the less there would only be one right answer. For some reason that is something I've always found comfort in. I have worked really hard in Math all of my life and though I would like to add this to my laundry list of talents, but I cannot. Math is something I have always spent a lot of time on. It does not come naturally. I'd wake up early and attend Math labs, stay after class and attend tutorials, work tirelessly weeks before the big test all to say Math is one of my strong suits. Now some may say that I have made it into a talent but this is not so, because sadly I have forgotten most of what I've learned. Although it is not something I have inherent talent in, I have made not a goal but a solomn vow: I WILL be able to help my kids with their Math homework at every given point through out their pre-college education.

I took Spanish one twice in high school. My first semester I did pretty well. I was attentive, turned my homework in, loved my instructor (what's not to love about a six foot six gay man who let's you paint his finger nails with pink sparkles?). But then after the first semester, we were allowed to choose our own seats and it was down all hill from there. I sat with the the other cheerleader in the class and two football players. These were not people I was particularly interested in getting to know better but they invited me to sit with them and I didn't want to be rude, big mistake. Every day the football players would talk endlessly about their teams. Monday through Wednesday they'd be discussing the weekend games, Thursday and Friday they'd be discussing the upcoming weekend match ups. I could not care less about football. I mean I know the rules, and I like the 49ers, but that's pretty much as far as it goes. My cheering cohort would drone on endlessly about her love life and shopping trips. After a few weeks of trying to serve two masters, I gave up and gave in to gabbing and gossip. I tried again the following year to make up for my bad semester but the teacher ended up making me her TA instead. Oh how I wish I'd learned even the most basic Spanish phrases...

Now on to my last, writing. This blog will hopefully aide in removing that one from the list. Ambyr was always the writer, and Kat is amazingly talented, they are my inspiration. I figure, I love to read, I can tell a good story, I just need to learn how to put it down on paper. Something about having so much time to sit and think about it makes me over think how it should be done.