Wednesday, May 30, 2007

letting the cat out of the bag

Presenting, clockwise from the top: Melanie, Other One, Pierre, and George.

Okay, so the story goes that my sister's cat had four kittens. Her cats are only outdoor cats, so we offered to take the kittens and train them to be inside cats so that it would be easier to find homes for them. We have had them for a week and a half now, and our affection for them has gone up and down. Coincidentally, so has their ability to not claw the furniture, poop only in the litter box, not climb on the bed, stay out of the cupboards, poop only in the litter box, etc. Weird.

Meanwhile, they provide hours of entertainment, and we will miss them when they go. Yet, go they must.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Hi, my name is Jennifer, and I have a problem. A temper problem. An anger management problem. Admission is the first step to recovery, right?

Sunday I went to Temple Square for work and came down with a severe case of Overreaction. I'm not sure if any of you have ever been afflicted, but symptoms include quick anger, yelling, storming off, and pouting.

I recovered, but it was painful for both me and Somebody while I was sick.

I've heard that relapses could still happen. Heaven help us, because I've got it bad.

Friday, May 11, 2007

a love letter

Dear drivers heading north on I-15 tonight, you who were indiscriminately entering and exiting the carpool lane regardless of whether or not you were crossing the double-white line, or whether or not you were cutting me off; and also you who were staying in the fast lane even though you were going well under the speed limit and then going even slower to gawk at accidents along the side of the road; and also you who have never learned how to merge so you go all the way up to where your lane ends, making you have to slam on your breaks, which makes the people traveling in the lane you are trying to get in to (a.k.a. ME) also slow down so that when you actually do decide to merge we are traveling at the same speed, and that speed also known as being stopped:

You suck.

Hugs and kisses,

that is one good lookin' car

pressure relief

1. Did I mention that at our hotel in Albuquerque, one that took me four long hours to decide on, the king-size bed was a Tempur-Pedic? Because it was. And that part about how you can't even tell that the other person in the bed is moving? That's true. What they don't tell you is that it seems to absorb heat a little. Or maybe I'm making that up. All I know is that I thought it was hot, and not in the Paris Hilton "that's hot" way. In the, good gravy, this room is HOT, and I hate my covers right now, and why didn't we turn on the air conditioning, kind of way. Somebody slept like a baby, but then he always does. So not fair. (P.S., the hotel is way better than the website would lead you to believe. I almost didn't stay there because of how much I disliked the website. Yeah. I know how to make good choices, and base them on relevant details.)

2. I am having one of those days/weeks/months where I know I have things to do at work, and am even missing some deadlines, but am unable to muster the motivation to just complete my assigned tasks. Is this because I know I will be leaving here soon, and maybe not even get to see these summer programs that I'm planning, or supposed to be planning? Is it because Somebody gets to spend a few mornings each week lounging about at home? (And by "lounging" I mean washing dishes, doing laundry, planning dinner, etc. Having a wife is awesome!) Is it because summer weather is here and it's hard to not look out my huge window and just want to be outside? When you figure it out, please let me know. Because I have some deadlines I'm missing.

3. I've heard far too many stories this week of how bizarre and sad the LDS dating culture is. Like, the guy who wears a Viagra tie to church. And the guys who boldly announce that they could date any girl in the ward, and then the girls who they tell this to willingly agree with them. And the bishop who told his ward that maybe they all just needed to acknowledge the fact that the dream person they want isn't out there and that they might as well settle for someone in the ward because that was a good as they were going to be able to get. And the girl who writes notes and delivers them awkwardly in the hall, and bakes cupcakes, and leaves halting voice mail messages, and enlists the bishop to help her get the boy to ask her out. Sad, sad stories. Oh, and the fireside where an authority figure counseled the girls to go ahead and ask the boys out. Um, because that doesn't happen already? I can't count the number of times I've heard a boy say, "I've been on seven dates this month, and I didn't ask any of them out. They all asked me out." What on earth is happening? I'm so recently removed from it all that I can still feel the pain, but not nearly in the same way as my friends are. And there is no end in sight! It's really no wonder that people wait longer and longer to get married.

4. In three months from today, at the very latest, we will be packing up our apartment and starting the drive to Kansas. I can't wait. I also wish the day would never come.

Monday, May 07, 2007

newspaper rock

how we wasted our time

Even though Brent cautioned us that the Four Corners was not really worth the trip, we figured that we were so close it would just be a shame to miss this place. I mean, where else can you stand in four states at one time? No place. Also, we like to ignore really good advice.

By the way, Four Corners is an hour away from Anywhere. Oh, and take $3 cash per person who wants to get in. Because without it, the very accommodating Navajo Nation, owners of the land and site, won't let you in. And they won't take debit or credit cards, or personal checks, or even barter for tears and blood. Or really good banana bread. Cash. You must have cash. If you don't, you'll just realize that you drove all that way and all you got were pictures by the entrance sign.
But we still were in all four stats at some point today. Take that, Navajo Nation. You may take away my photo op, but you can't crush my spirit. The police in Jemez Springs already did that.

a direct quote

"Mrs. Somebody was observed tailgaiting and driving erratically while attempting to pass a vehicle observing the posted speed limit--in a no passing zone as well."

I hate New Mexico right now.

frijoles canyon

Our first stop Friday morning was at Bandelier National Monument. We arrived early and were happy to enjoy the sites virtually alone. I can't image walking through with hundreds of other people (like we would later in the summer, and later in the day) because the quiet peace of the monument was one of my favorite features.

Ever since Heidi, Julie, and Deyce took a trip that involved a stop at Mesa Verde, I've wanted to take my own trip to see the ancient Native American homes and artifacts. (Yes, I'm jealous like that. And I plan my vacations so that I can play "I did that, too" with my friends and family. Or maybe I just thought their stories were so fascinating that I wanted to see with my own eyes the wonders they described.) Mesa Verde was a little out of our way, and required more time than we had to give, but Bandelier was a fabulous alternative. We saw the remnants of the Pueblo village in the canyon...
and in the cliffs.After the hike around the dwellings, we wandered through the wilderness trails for a while before heading out of the park. "Wandering" as in, thinking we were on the nature trail that would lead us back to the visitor center, but then realizing we weren't. And then finding our way back.

an angel at gabriel's

We took Elise's suggestion to stop for dinner in the middle of No-where. Which is just north of "Lost," in case you were wondering. She promised an authentic "New Mexican" dining experience, attentive service, and excellent guacamole. We were not disappointed. They make the guac right at your table, and, like Elise said it would be, it was the best guacamole I've ever had. Well worth the price. My fajitas were excellent, and Somebody's ribs literally fell off the bone. Seriously, I've never seen meat so willing to give up the bone.
Go to Gabriel's. The service was the best I've ever received at a restaurant. The food was fabulous. The price was high, but absolutely worth it. Happy Thursday.

After dinner we continued our drive to Los Alamos to stay with Brent and Elise. While technically not family, we have family in common, and have spent enough time together at holidays and vacations over the last twelve years that it feels like family. Their oldest daughter, Ashley, thought our guest bedroom lacked decorations, so she brought these in and set them on the nightstand for us. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

My sleep was the best I've had in weeks--better even than the Tempur-pedic could provide. And breakfast was just to die for: cinnamon pull-aparts, eggs, bacon, strawberries, bananas, grapes, juice, and cantaloupe. Oh my yum.

And if a comfortable bed, cute decorations, and a scrumptious breakfast weren't enough, we also enjoyed great conversation and Brent gave us lots of suggestions on places we could visit. It was the perfect hotel.

Friday, May 04, 2007

loretto chapel

My earliest Christmas memories include a book of songs, stories, and poems related to Christ and Christmas. One of my favorites was the story of the miraculous staircase.

Two mysteries surround the spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel: the identity of its builder and the physics of its construction.

When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1898, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.

Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, who came in answer to the sisters' prayers.

The stairway's carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.

The staircase has two 360 degree turns and has no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers compared to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction.

Imagine my delight when I realized that this chapel, complete with the miraculous staircase, actually existed! We made a special trip into Santa Fe just to see it. Much to my dismay, we missed operating hours by at least an hour. Bummer. But, at least I got to see the outside, and to know that the story was a least based in reality.

learning how to use one's eyes

At Elise's recommendation, I spent the second half of my day at the Zoo and Botanical Gardens. I can't imagine a better way to spend a few afternoon hours. The weather was perfectly warm, with a slight cool breeze. The parks were almost empty, so were very quiet. Most of the time I was strolling along on my own, and I had a fantastic time.
Part of the botanical garden is a children's paradise, where children are transported to a garden where the world towers over them. There is a vegetable garden area where children can walk through enormous (fake) carrots, radishes, and, my favorite, a pumpkin the size of a standard living room. The ceiling was decorated to look exactly like the insides of a real pumpkin. I was beyond impressed with this section of the gardens and wished I had children with me to appreciate it.

land of enchantment

Is there a better way to start your day in Albuquerque? I think not.

While Somebody attended his conference, I attended the tourist sites. I spent a few hours wandering through Old Town, the historic district that is mainly tourist shops. I discovered on my first trip to Boston that the best way to really feel a town is to spend some time walking around the streets. Of course the "walking" and shopping areas of most towns don't really give you a full picture of the town, but it's amazing how much of the feeling of the town is still there. I also love the aloneness of the experience. While I love sharing experiences with Somebody, it is important to both of us that we know how to be alive on our own, and to form opinions on our own. I love wandering on my own.

New Mexico is obsessed with peppers. You can't escape them.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

getting our kicks on Route 66

We spent ten hours driving from Salt Lake to Albuquerque today, and it is just amazing how exhausted you can feel after doing absolutely nothing all day. Both of us were tired to begin with, and both had moments of complete orneriness today. At one point I stayed in a gas station bathroom extra long just to have some alone time. A gas station bathroom. Good grief, how pathetic am I?

Just before we entered Albuquerque we went through a rain storm, which somehow washed the moody blues away. And then, showing my resolve that they not return on this trip, we were greeted with this: