Thursday, March 30, 2006

Could it BE? A sign of LIFE?

I have lived with an African violet plant for some time, ever since my roommate Kim (Hi, Kim!) gave me a cutting from her own African violet. However, in all that time, in all that watering, in all that sticking as near a window as I could manage, in all that squeezing old dead leaves off with my bare fingers, the African violet never bloomed for me.

Nay, not once.

But, times are changing, and the African violet is at last putting forth signs of life. (Well, at least a more colorful sign of life than the monotonous green it's been sporting for the last several years.)

Here is photographic evidence of my claims:

And, if you're looking for more evidence, (you evidence-greedy individual), check THIS little baby out:

Awwwww. So cute.

And, um...I think that's it for my post. I really don't have anything more to say.

Except that plants rock. Yeah. That's it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Historic Trees and Job Hunting

Well, it's official. I'm in the market. I'm looking for a new gig, a new place to hang my hat, a new way of lookin' at life. (Is that a song? If not, it should be. Someone get me a producer.)

In short, I am looking for a new job.

And, I really hope to heaven that my casual mention of this blog many months ago to my current coworkers went largely unnoticed by them, or I'll be apt to find a cold reception to my arrival at work tomorrow morning. But, it would actually really surprise me if they paid much attention to my blog, other than glancing politely at it when I said to them, "Hey, I have a blog. Go to this website and see." So they did, and they saw, never to return again.

It's not that I don't want my coworkers to read my blog, it's just that I don't really want to make them aware at this time that I'm looking for new employment.

Wow. "Looking for new employment." That sounds kinda harsh, like I'm doing something because I feel that the job I'm at now is somehow beneath me, which it isn't. Not really. In fact, there are quite a few aspects of my job that I find extremely enjoyable. The management is wonderful, my boss is a wonderful woman, and my coworkers are, without exception, amiable, kind and patient.

However, I just ain't getting paid enough.

So now I sound like a mercenary.

But the truth is, I need to move on, and thanks to some heart-to-heart conversations with (and wonderful counsel from) my bishop & my parents, I'm feeling a little more focused & driven than I have in the last few months. Of course, that's not saying much. What it is saying, I suppose, is that I spent a good 45 minutes today lying on my back, searching jobsites on my laptop. (Not really a go-get-'em type of picture, is it.) Oh, yes. And I have a hand-written to-do list tacked up on my wall next to my bedroom door just to remind me to do stuff. And actually, that 45-minute job-searching crosses of #2 quite nicely.

Do you ever get the feeling that you fill up most of your time with grown-up busywork? I do a lot of marginally-necessary things to make myself feel good about at least doing something, while still neglecting doing the wholly necessary things--the things that haven't even made it to my list yet, because I'm still so afraid of them.

But, maybe I do really just need to do baby steps at the moment. (I think I've mentioned those before.) I think my usual problem though is that I get so caught up in the baby steps that I fail to realize that I'm baby steppin' in a circle. Or over a cliff. Or into some doggy doo-doo. (Sorry, that was juvenile of me. *Muffles a giggle*)

In any case, at least I'm stepping again. And, I promise to keep my eyes open enough to avoid the crap on the street.

Oh! And about historic trees? Well, go here: I never knew Utah County had an historic tree, but I do now. It makes me proud to be a citizen of this great valley.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I think I'm in love

I've never considered myself much of an opera buff. Not to say that I don't like opera per se, and I'm a little familiar with the more commonly performed works like Madame Butterfly, La Boheme, and The Magic Flute (which I just saw performed this last Friday with my family--woohoo!).

So, I was kind of surprised to find myself falling for a popular opera singer. Go figure. Maybe it's just that time in my life. You know, the fall-in-love-with-a-popular-opera-singer stage, which follows right after the eat-clam-chowder-from-a-can stage. (Man, am I glad I'm over that one.)

In any case, this falling-in-love-ness happened to me suddenly, as I was driving up to my sister's house (which takes about an hour). I was listening to "The Record Shelf," a radio program on the local classical music station, and the host of the show, Jim Svejda, was interviewing a rising opera star, Rolando Villazon. (Haha! I just got it! "Rising?" "Star?" It's totally like a star in the sky, and it rises, and......oh, nevermind.)

So, anyway, Rolando's voice was heavenly. And, when they interviewed him, he was passionate about his music, and funny, and wry, and he had this cool spanish accent. And hey, when it comes down to it, what more do you need to fall in love with someone you've never met? (Heck, the accent by itself probably would've done it.)

So, I believe I'll spend at least the next few weeks pining over Rolando. I doubt it'll last too long...after all, I've never even met the man, for heaven's sake. But, it'll be pleasant while it lasts. Maybe I'll even buy a CD of his. If I feel committed enough to the relationship.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Move over, doggie rescue and sarcastic-yet-brilliant doctors--Gilmore Girls is IT.

Anyone who has read this blog in the past has no doubt come accross my rather too frequent references to Animal Planet. And, although I haven't really talked about it much, I'm also a closet 'House' fan. (It's, er, a little edgy, which is probably why I watch it from the safety of my closet.)

But lately, my TV watching preference has been skewing sharply to the mother-daughter witty repartee of Gilmore Girls. I'm not sure what it is about this show--maybe it's just that Rory & her mom Lorelei have such an obvious best-friend sort of affection for each other, or maybe it's the maybe, maybe-not sort of relationship Lorelei has with the local diner owner. Or, it could be the juxtapostion of the afore-mentioned great relationship between Lorelei and her daughter, next to the really cruddy relationship between Lorelei and her mother Emily.

But I don't think those are the main reasons I like the show.

I like it because the conversations on "The Gilmore Girls" are as snappy as they come. They always have these wonderfully glittery, witty lines that bounce back & forth like a skilled game of (oh, this is such an obvious comparison) tennis. Or maybe volleyball. Except that you play volleyball with a team, and tennis is usually just one-on-one, unless you play in pairs, in which case it would be two-on-two, so tennis would probably be the better comparison. But, long story (or post) short, they have the kinds of conversations I would like to have if I were witty and intelligent, and rather full of good humor. (And also pretty. Those Gilmore Girls are so darn pretty. Sigh. I just want to be like them so much.)

Which is I guess where I'm going with this. I wish that I could have conversations like Lorelei and Rory have. I wish that my brain could come up with fun verbal bouncy-balls that I could send over into the other court, which would then be bounced back, and I'd have to bounce something back again, which, now that I think about it, could get pretty tiring. I mean, I guess people can't really talk like that in real life. Our brains have to pause to process things like what someone just said to us, rather than spend all their waking moments trying to come up with brilliant things to say.

It doesn't matter. I still wish I were a Gilmore Girl. Ah. To be on the WB. Siiiigh.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Death & Healing

About a week and a half ago, a young man in my ward died of a drug overdose. He was 23, and had apparently been struggling with drugs for some time, although he'd been clean for the last 6 months or so. Before Wednesday.

I attended his funeral this past Tuesday morning--the bishop of my ward asked me to conduct the music, since I do that for church on Sundays--and, by the time the funeral was over, I was really grateful for the chance I had to listen in on what this young man's siblings & dad had to say about him, about his struggle, and about what the future holds for him.

Despite the difficult & painful circumstances surrounding his death, (surrounding any death, I suppose), I don't think I have ever heard more heartfelt & poignant testimony of the healing power of the atonement. The testimony of the young man's father was especially strong--he spoke for some time about the overall plan of salvation, addressing his grandchildren in the audience in simple yet powerful words. He expressed the knowledge that his son is now safe, free from the trials & temptations that he struggled with during his life.

I was profoundly moved, and changed, just a little bit by attending that funeral. And, even now, though my regular life has since intruded & erased all but a portion of the spirit of the meeting, still that portion remains, and I find that I myself can put just a little bit more trust in my Savior, and in the all-encompassing power of the atonement.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Of Calendars & Vegetable Gardens

Calendars lie. You may not be aware of this, focusing as you do on the innocent-looking pictures hanging beguilingly above the inflexible square lines of dates & weeks. You see, calendars, when you look at them, encourage you to move your eye upwards, to gaze at the beautiful picture above where the real information rests. For instance, I have two calendars in my room. If I were a sensible person, and prone to be on-time & logical, I would have 2 calendars because, when I'm on one side of the room, I may not be able to read the dates on the calendar haning on the other side of the room. Or, I could keep one calendar for work-related activities, and one calendar for family-related activities.

But I'm not logical, and I am definitely prone to being a wee bit late for things. (My fondness for sleeping is no doubt to blame.) And so, I did not purchase said calendars to keep track of my dentist appointments, or when the next work party is coming up. No. I purchased my two calendars for the pictures, pure & simple. On one calendar, there's a bunch of artwork involving dragons in some way. (Forgive me. I just like dragons.) On the other, there's artwork done by Kinuko Y. Craft, who does the most exquisite work for book covers, among other things.

Where was I going with this? Oh yes. Calendars lie.

My point is that despite the differences in the things depicted in the artwork in both calendars, they both tell the same lie. The month, right there at the top of all of those hard perpendicular lines reads, as clear as day, "March."

Now, I ask you: does March involve wildly fluctuating temperatures, ranging from 60 degrees one day down to 22 degress the next? Does March involve starting out with warm winds & green things & not three days later having 2 feet of snow fall in a single afternoon? Does March give us hope for spring and the continuance of life and just as suddenly snatch it away? Does it???


Well, I guess it does.

At least here. Where I live. In this place where March is both warm and cold.

So, how do vegetable gardens come into this, you may ask. (And if so, should I have included a question mark in the last sentence?) They don't really come in much--only that despite the warming & colding & raining & snowing we've had here lately, our little vegetable garden patch in the backyard still has an unvarying 6 inches of snow covering up the remnants of last year's forgotten & squashed tomatoes & peapods. I know. I walked out there on Sunday. And boy, were my feet cold.

So, it's still chilly here. Despite the tantalizing tastes of warmer weather our fickle environment has been throwing at us. (Darn the thing.) And while I'm tired, so tired, of all this winter, still there's a sense of beauty that still breaks through my anti-cold sensibilities as I watch the setting sun cast light & shadows across the snow-covered mountains, turning them from pale yellow to bright orange, to pink, and then to grey. And of course, since there's a gibbous moon tonight, there will be the best thing of all: moonlight on snow.