Friday, April 29, 2011

Have you ever sang with the Devil in the hot spotlight?

There is a lady in our ward who works or volunteers with the Utah Festival Opera, here in Logan. She was responsible for getting a few "extras" to do a musical number for a fundraiser event. It would include dinner, a Big Band and a few musical numbers by, among others, Michael Ballam (You might remember him as Satan), who is a big part of the Utah Festival Opera organization. She called me one evening and asked if I would like to be one of these extras.

"You want me???"


"Are you sure???"


"Let me think about it and I will get back with you."

The number she wanted me to be in was a Sailor for "There is Nothing Like a Dame" from "South Pacific". The whole evening would be themed around the musical since it will be one of the plays that the Utah Festival Opera will be putting on later in the year.

This is something like I have never done before. I have sung in choirs, and even done a few solos, but I have never been in a play, let alone a musical. This was going to be a little acting, kinda. It would involve blocking, movement, costumes. It would involve CHOREOGRAPHY!!! It was going to involve people who were paying $65 a pop to go to this thing, who love Utah Festival Opera shows with real professionals. We were to be the main event! Me? Are you Serious?

So, I mention this to Lora, and after that, there was no way I was going to get out of it. And that was that. At least a couple of the sailor extras were friends from the ward. This was also something that they had never done before.

For your viewing pleasure, I present . . .

The evening was pretty fun. We were able to enjoy the whole Dinner and program for free, and we could bring in a guest for only $25. All three of us made a night of it with our wives, (Since, lets be honest, they were the main motivating factor here).

When we performed, I wasn't very nervous until the minute before we were up. We had practiced only the Thursday before and went through it a couple of times earlier that night. It went well I thought. It didn't seem like anyone messed up too badly. I remembered most of the lines and movements. All in all it went alright. We got a big applause. Lora said we were the best act of the night and it was good for us to be the last number. And I felt good about it up until I saw the video Lora had taken of us.

So, there are things called perceptions. These things, it turns out can be completely out of line with each other and even more so with reality. I don't mean to say that our number was actually bad. I bet most people will think it was pretty good, and it was rightly so that the audience liked us. The video showed me that my perceptions of two things were . . . lets just say, they were off somewhat.

The first is what I look like. I was trim and athletic in high school and stayed that way up until I hit about 30. Looking at the movie, all I could say was, "Wooohhh, hey there fatso!" Now, I know I'm not fat. I'm just heavier than my perception of my self. Even when I look in the mirror, I see more what I used to look like. I think it is pretty funny how we hold on to our youth so much like that.

The other perception that was "adjusted", if not completely shattered, was my abilities as a musical actor. I am not ashamed of my first performance. I think I did alright. I thought the other two from the ward did AWESOME, especially considering this is something we have never done before. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, when I look at the video, I don't see a sailor singing about the virtues of the fairer sex, so to speak. I see a guy who is anxious about messing up and looking at the leader of the group for his cues nearly the entire time.

Oh, and I apologize for mentioned leader's t-shirt riding up a few times. I'm sorry to say it isn't a pretty sight. You may even want to avert your eyes at the end.

Anyway, there you go. Some good blackmail material if you want it. But you may not be able to extort much from me, because I really don't have regrets, and it was a pretty fun night. Besides, not everyone can say they performed while accompanied by Satan.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Today I struggle.

I struggle to know what feelings are mine, which are the drugs messing with my hormones, my head, and my heart.  Which feelings are those that I really can handle and which are things that are just beyond me. When is it time to call it a day and sink into a haze of nothingness?

Yesterday I got a phone call from the pharmacy that our IVF cycle drugs are being ordered through.  My first set of injections are scheduled to start this Friday.  I can't say that I'm wholeheartedly looking forward to the actual injections, but I can say that I really am ready to get things going.  To move forward once again.  Not just to put it to rest and say "now we've done all we can do to have a child of our own".  I really do have hope this time.  Solid, real, almost tangible hope. 

The phone call was a courtesy call to make sure that information was correct and to get payment information taken care of.  We are one of the incredibly lucky and blessed people who actually have insurance that will cover IVF procedures with the accompanying medication.  For those of you who know, that is a major thing to have happen.  I don't know of any other insurance that actually covers it.  So I promptly informed the woman on the line that our insurance should cover the $125 for the medicines.  She said that they didn't.  I said that they should and she said they don't and I'm welcome to find another pharmacy to order the medication through and have it there by Friday.

I ended up paying for it because at this point it wasn't worth the hassle.  This particular medication was not the expensive stuff and we would have time to get it all sorted out before the expensive stuff needs to be ordered.

Long story short, it turns out that our insurance is a bit of a mess.  Of the sort that you can call the same number three different times and get three different answers as to what needs to be done in order to get approved for the insurance to actually pay for IVF.  All things that we thought we had done.  All things that we had followed up on.  All things that no one seems to have record of.  That means time.  It also means delays.  It means that unless things get straightened out by tomorrow we probably won't be going forward with IVF this month.  It means another month, maybe two before we really get to start.

Perhaps it's a little extreme, but I'm tired of monthly delays.  I've spent the last 3-4 years living by the month.  Planning by the month.  Being disappointed by the month.  We haven't obsessed about it, and truthfully we've gotten used to letting things go.  It slips into the background quite nicely, still noticeable but not quite as painful as it used to be.

It's just a delay.  It's not that bad. It just seems like there's always another delay.

So here I am.  Today.  Wondering who I am.  Wondering who I am to become.  Wondering what I am to learn from all of this.  Where do I fit.  What is the purpose of all this delay?  What am I missing?  Is this one of the bumps along the path to help wear down a particularly rough spot?  These are all things that I have wondered about before and I dare say I will wonder about it again before this is all said and done.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Photo

Oh come on, you knew it had to be Easter related.  Hope you all had a good one.  I have some more pictures to share from it, family related but you'll have to wait for another post.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Change the Third

Today on my way home from the gymn, I saw a group of teenage boys crossing the street by Willow Park.  I took one look and thought "Egads! They still exist!"  Yep, the Skater crowd.

I don't know if that's what they are still called, but they have all the tell-tale signs that made them the Skater crowd when I was in High School.  In fact, I could probably pull out my yearbook and show them their look-a-likes and either really freak them out or confirm their coolness.  The all black clothes scattered with jeans with holes, the skateboards (of course) and let's not forget the attitude.  It was evident in the way they saw me coming in my car, looked me in the eye, and the continued to slowly make their way across the road.  I slowed down so as to give them plenty of time and still had to wonder if they were going to make me stop completely or go around their little group.  It was as if I didn't exist in their world, and in reality I don't. 

And then I got to thinking.  Sometimes that's a very dangerous thing, it can get you worried about your future and the future of your kids.  And then it hit me.  It hit me hard.  I live in Logan Utah!  I have no idea what high school is like here!  I grew up in small town USA where everyone knew everyone so as a teenager I couldn't get into too much trouble without my parents knowledge because everyone knew who my parents were and apparently their phone number as well.

In the world inside my head, my children would go to school and do some of the same things that I did.  Music, drama, failed attempts at drill team and sports in general.  And I would know how to handle it because I had "been there done that".  I would encourage them in whatever course they chose but it's only natural to have my own favorites.  And in that silly stupid head of mine I honestly pictured my children on stage in the Grace Performing Arts auditorium.  Safe.  Secure. 

But today I saw this faction of people that I have not seen in years, literally!  Why?  Because I have been in the working world of a full-time day job at a college with it's very own brand of stupidity.  I run errands in the evening and on weekends.  I forgot that there's a whole culture that exists outside of my little world.  A culture of kids who want to corrupt my children!

Now, for the record, I really have no idea who these kids were that I saw crossing the street.  I just knew who the kids were in my high school.  And I knew exactly what they were up to because I myself spent a brief time in their midst.  I refer to it as my "dark year".  It would have worked too but I didn't have any black sandals and my white ones just didn't look quite right with the black pants and black sleeveless T and black scrunchy.  (It's all about the details you know, I was even in brief possession of a skull ring.)  I know there's more than meets the eye both good and bad.  I also know that if I hadn't been taught the right things by parents, well let's just say my story would have turned out quite a bit different.

So, what is this Change the Third that I am making?  Well, I'm changing my mindset.  Stop living in the past as if my own stupidity is going to come back to haunt me in the form of my children dragging Main street in Soda Springs at 3 am.  Start looking around at the place that I live.  I live.  Here. Logan.  The town that I really do love with neighbors that I really do love.  This is progression.  I live here and my parents don't.  I am experiencing things that my parents never did.  Perhaps it took me so long to get this seemingly obvious epiphany because some of my high school teachers taught my parents and some of my high school literature books had their names in them as well.  But I don't live there do I.  I have a new life with new experiences that really are completely different from my parents.  And I am just fine with that.

On a side note though.  I still want you all to be able to recognize my children at a glance so you can report when they are doing something so incredibly stupid, or wrecking the car, or thing they are going out with some lame-o that just happens to be in the art class you teach... a well placed friendly phone call would be appreciated.  So for your benefit and mine, I have taken the liberty of digitally age-progressing my un-born and as yet un-conceived children so you know who you are looking for.

You're welcome.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Let's give it up for...

1.  Great friends who make me laugh, who share stories, and bring chocolate!

2.  The sunshine that was yesterday but apparently is not today!

3.  Attempting to dye Easter eggs with ties and partially succeeding!

4.  Being so behind in my google reader account that the current number of "unread" is 167!

5.  Ending everything with an exclamation point!

6.  Wanting to say something profound but only able to come up with this dumb list!

7.  Why do I feel like I'm shouting everything?!

8.  Dinner last night at 9:45 pm because that's just how the day went!

9.  My first attempt at using a microwave rice cooker failing!

10.  Evidence of failed attempt!

11.  And last but not least, a husband who still likes me even when the kitchen is a mess, dinner is late and he had to sew on his own patches for his Scout shirt!

Today will be better... I hope.
(At least I don't have the energy to shout anymore.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Photo

Remember this little guy, well he's growing!  Thank you so much to his mother for letting me come over and bug her and her little guy with my camera!  It is fun though.  I still can't get over how much he's grown!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Because this has been a great day after all

Normally I write my thoughts and have them post the next morning, but today is different.  Today I have felt so abundantly blessed. 


1.  I have been given hope.  Literally.  And it made me cry, and not in a bad way.  In the way that you cry because you just can't get over the thoughtfulness of people who are thinking of you and go out of their way to show it.  Thank you Tawnya, seriously made my day and I'm still teary but just a bit.

2.  Have I ever told you have I have the best neighborhood?  Well, it's true.  I just love it.  Love that we're here, love the people that are here too.

3.  I have the coolest doctor's office.  Seriously.  Got an invitation in the mail from the Reproductive Care Center inviting us to "The Annual RCC Patient Party".  It's a BBQ in the park and there are drawings for prizes like: 50% off an IVF cycle, and cash rewards of $500-$1000.  There will be petting zoos, pony rides, crafting, and all sorts of fun things.  Does your doctor's office do that for you?  Well do they?  Didn't think so.  Yep, the coolest doctor's office ever.

4.  I got to take pictures of a dear friend's 3-month old today.  He's getting pretty good at holding his head up and his smile lights up his whole face.  It's fun to see him grow and most of all it's fun to spend time with a friend.

There truly is sunshine in my soul today.  And it's a good thing because it certainly isn't shining so much outside my window right now.

Love to you all!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"I just can't take this anymore"

"I just can't take this anymore," she said with disgust and started to get up from her seat.  I touched her arm to get her attention and asked if we could talk to her after the meeting was over.  Jovita sat back down but  continued to fidget as more people got up and shared their feelings about the gospel.

It was fast and testimony meeting.  This was Jovita's first visit to the ward and as missionaries it's always a little nerve wracking.  You hope and pray that no one in the congregation, though well meaning, will say anything foolish or embarrassing or just plain weird.  I quickly took inventory of all that had been said up to that point and I could think of nothing that would cause such a reaction.  In fact, we hadn't had such a good fast and testimony meeting in quite some time.

As the meeting continued I could tell that it was taking a Herculean effort on Jovita's part to stay with us.  She was clearly upset by what was happening and there was disgust written all over her face.  My companion and I were trying to think of something that would buy us some time with her.  Some time to talk about her feelings, about why she was reacting the way she was. 

The organ sounded the first chords to the closing hymn "Lord I Would Follow Thee".  I held the book out to share with Jovita and we began to sing.

"Savior, may I learn to love thee,
Walk the path that thou hast shown,
Pause to help and lift another,
Finding strength beyond my own.
Savior, may I learn to love thee-
Lord, I would follow thee."

Jovita began to relax.  She visibly calmed as she sang and listened to the words of the hymn.

"Who am I to judge another
When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
Sorrow that the eye can't see.
Who am I to judge another
Lord, I would follow thee."

The meeting came to a close and we all left the chapel and found a quiet spot on the lawn to discuss what had happened in the meeting. It was the perfection that got her.  Jovita was a single mom struggling financially and with her son.  She didn't see a lot of good things in her life and she was thoroughly disgusted that so many people could get up and publicly share how thankful they were for a good family, health, and prosperity.  She had been deceived by churches before. She said it with bitterness and envy.  She didn't want any part in a church who's members were "perfect".

I honestly don't remember how I or my companion responded to her that day.  We were able to see her a few more times so we must have said something right.  I do remember how sad I felt for her.

The people who shared their feelings that day about the gospel and families and health, were the very people who had been without the gospel or families or health.  They had overcome obstacles in their path.  They had learned to be thankful for the health and prosperity that they had been blessed with not because they were perfect, but because they were imperfect.  Because they knew what it was like to be without.  Because they were still dealing with being without. 

It was a hard day when Jovita asked us not to come around anymore.  We had come to love her.  She had a wonderful tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and there was so much happiness that we had to offer her.  So much pain we knew the Lord could heal if she would just open her heart.  Instead she thanked us for the "Dog and pony show" and informed us that it just wasn't for her.

That was just over 12 years ago.  Times have changed, we've all moved on with our lives. Every once in awhile I wonder what happened to her.  Did she ever change her mind?  Did she find happiness in her life?  Was she able to be at peace with herself?

Then again we could ask ourselves the very same things.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday Photo

I was so down-hearted about the snow last week that I bought pansy's on Saturday to at least have some color in the house.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

An Update of Sorts

There are a few significant factors that have come into play today that I feel are worthy of mention.

1.  Today is the official 1 month mark for having shaken off the shackles of the regular desk job and joined the realms of part-time at home workers.  I do spend enough time in the office on Wednesdays though to still keep in touch with things while enjoying the freedom of doing laundry on a whim.

2.  We are officially in the first stages of IVF.  That being said we are on birth control.  What a crazy life huh! Fertility that starts out on birth control.  As a humorous side note, the nurse asked me if I had a preference on which birth control to use.  I said "what is this birth control you speak of." She laughed and said "yeah, we get that a lot."  Injections of drugs scheduled to start April 29th and full cycle completed before Memorial Day.  Phew!

3.  While enjoying the luxuries such as free lunch at the office yesterday, a co-worker came in and said "now that you are at home... insert ominous pause... I have a kitten that has your name on it!"  So for all of you cat owners out there, give me the scoop. I haven't officially said yes to this, but am considering it.  Talk to me about litter boxes and cat hair.  Pros and cons.  How do you deal?  As a child I used to sneak kittens into my room all the time, as the person who has to clean the house... 'nother story.  As a person in the house alone most of the day (who doesn't really have a problem with that but...) Talk to me.

That's it for now, though on a side note I did the aerobics class again today and I'm now having trouble going up or down the stairs!  Should be a fun weekend recovering from this one!

Have a fabulous Thursday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Objects in Motion...

Tend to stay in motion.

I exercise.  I really do.  I have Turbo Jam videos that I do in the safety of my living room.  I go to the gym and get on the elliptical and the stationary bike and read a good book while puffing away.  I do weight training, I do ab workouts.  I really do exercise.

So when my friend Deb asked if I would like to join her for an aerobics class last Thursday I thought to myself "Sure! Why not.  Perhaps I can learn something.  You know, because I'm already is such good shape."

Let's take a moment shall we and go into depth about what I learned.

1.  As fate would have it I am not skinny and slender and in shape and jumpy-up-and-downable!  Shocking I know!  When I do those exercise videos in the comfort of my own living room where there is absolutely no way I can see what I actually look like because mirrors are banned from that portion of the house, I keep perfect time! I work out in perfect harmony with that perky little instructor.  I am that perky little instructor.  Seriously, the only difference is that I'm taller and wear more clothes.

2.  I learned that a skinny pregnant woman can run me into the ground.  Yep, skinny and pregnant.

3.  I learned that when I attempt the jumpy-up-and-down bit that some other force has attached itself to my body because when I clearly come to a stand still this other force is still moving all awkwardly-like.  I know this because I could see it in the mirror that resides in all aerobics facilities so that you can be haunted by your own image and either swear to come back and do battle again or succumb to depression and eat an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies all by yourself. 

4.  I learned that I hadn't really done jumpy-up-and-down bits for a really long time.  As evidenced by that fact that by the end of the day there was this strange soreness that had come over the tops of my thighs and my calf muscles.  And it didn't go away for days.  Days people!  In fact it got worse and I walked around like I was closer to 70!  I took ibuprofen to help with the pain.  It lasted all the way till Monday morning!  Monday morning!

5.  I also learned that it is time to step up my routine.  I will come back another day and do battle with that thing in the mirror and either make it beg for mercy or accept that I really do look like that and it's okay.  I think some of both may come into play.

6.  I learned that sometimes I need a skinny pregnant instructor to motivate me above what I thought I could do.  To help push myself harder because I really can work out harder.  Seriously, am I going to let a pregnant woman run me into the ground!?

7.  And last but not least, contrary to what I thought would happen half way through the routine, I did not die.  I lived to see another day.  That's right, I have stamina!

So... I will go back on Thursday morning.  I will wear a different shirt though, something in black because it's supposed to help you look slender even it you aren't.  I will not stand in the front closest to the mirror (this was completely unintentional the first time and I was a bit mortified to find my larger than life self staring back at me while everyone else looked so small from a distance).  I will battle the thing in the mirror and I have a sneaking suspicion that my heart will be better off having done so even if my calf muscles scream at me.  Cardio.  Good for the heart and soul.

Oh, and thanks Deb!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday Photo