free art and writing workshops. you're invited...

I know this girl who just does things.

What things? Like, anything you can think of. And when I hear about her newest project, I look around and think, Can you do that?

You can, apparently. Although I usually don't. Here's what she cooked up recently: The Billboard Poetry Project.

She was sick of billboards for laser surgery and boob jobs cluttering up the freeway. So she held a contest and the winning poem is going up on a series of billboards here in Provo.  

The whole idea is very cool, so you should check it out—especially the free workshops. I'm not sure how I fell in with such brilliant people, but they're gold, every one of 'em.

And, lest you suspect this is a personal plug, I want you to know that you shouldn't necessarily sign up for my workshop (although you'd be most welcome—we'll explore the outdoors, read some things, probably eat some food and you'll leave with a finished little piece of prose).

If you're not sure which class to sign up for, holler and I'll give you my two cents for free.

Everyone's welcome—to the workshops, to the reception and the art show. Just come create and celebrate.

A Corny Love Song

Yesterday was our 4th anniversary.  We ate at Pizzeria 712 (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). The food tasted like exactly what I wanted to eat, and left me feeling like I'd eaten the equivalent of a salad made of rainbows, because I felt so healthy afterwards.  And they treated us like guests, honored guests.  When we got home, Kathy sang me a corny love song she wrote on the guitar.

Today Kathy woke at 5:30am, got ready, and left.  I told her it felt like the middle of the night.  She's spending the weekend at a work conference.

We don't spend nights apart often.  The last time I recall was a few years ago, when she went to Chicago to write.

Today I stayed home and took care of the baby.  When Kathy called in the afternoon, I hadn't yet showered, and I told her that I felt like I hadn't gotten anything done.  When she called this evening, I had showered, but still had not gotten anything done.  I hadn't wasted my day, but I had spent the majority of it watching baby girl.

Kathy has a wonderful way of telling me I'm not worthless.  And the way she says it, I believe it.

Kathy had a boyfriend in high school.  I think we've now been married longer than they dated.  And Kathy wasn't my first girlfriend.

But she feels like my first love.  And I'm sure she'd feel the same.  We had feelings when we dated our firsts, and heartache.  But it wasn't as real as what we have now.  It feels like a corny line from The Princess Bride.  But what could this be called if not true love?

Before any of you start swooning and envying the wonderful thing Kathy and I have going, I'll give you a little bit of perspective.

I didn't date anyone until after my mission (mostly because I was awkward, but I told myself I was following the prophet).  That's the equivalent of binding someone's feet to their butt for the first two decades of their life, and then untying them just in time to run the Boston marathon.

My college girlfriends could tell you stories that you would think they had made up.

I'll tell you one now.

My first girlfriend left for a study abroad.  We had dated for a semester, and she would be gone for a semester.  We emailed each other.  I tended to notice how often she mentioned other boys.  I was insecure enough back then that I let it get to me.  So I broke up with her.  You know.  Over email.

Email is wonderful, but it is inadequate at clearly expressing the whole range of human emotions.  And I guess it's a really jerky way to dump someone.

So a few phone calls, and many tears later (mostly mine), I found myself on the phone with my mom.  Now, I don't know how she talked me into letting her do what she did.

My mom thinks I'm wonderful.  I think I'm pretty wonderful too.  She couldn't believe that someone would be so rude to me.  Getting email dumped aside, you'd have to be an idiot to let me go.  There are many fish in the sea.  But I'm a like a magic narwhal, not a stinky fish.  So when my mom asked if she could call my ex.  I gave her the number.

I can only imagine how that conversation went down.  My ex called me about twenty minutes later.  By the tone of her voice, I got the impression that she thought I was mentally disturbed.

"You had your mom call me?  Your mom?"
"More let than had."

So that was awkward.

Did you know BYU offers free therapy to students?  Yeah.  I'm really glad I discovered that before I met Kathy.  Turns out I had a few crinkles to smooth out before I was perfect.  Regardless of what my mother thinks.

you can't make this stuff up

You need to know something before I tell this story:

Our little girl loves dogs. LOVES dogs. Doggy was her first word. And almost her first ASL sign. When we're outside, she'll spot a dog from a mile away and wave her arms and shout.

Story time:

We go on a walk pretty much every day. Baby girl rides in the stroller on the way out. And she's not much of a baby anymore because she walks and pushes the stroller on the way back.

On one particular return trip this week, she was exploring every interesting little thing on the sidewalk—when she saw an ant.

She dropped to her knees and tried to touch it, but he was pretty speedy. She kept following the ant with her finger, trying to touch it. She looked up at me. She looked back at the ant. And she whispered, "Doggy."

It sounds like such a simple mix-up. And it is. She has neither the experience nor the language to name the ant correctly. But it was more than that. When she said doggy, she sounded so reverent, or in love. I just don't look at ants the same anymore.

I also don't look at strawberries the same. They make the perfect party hats...

The Future Is Now

Kathy said I needed to blog more, in response to something I said after seeing Claire do this:
She's been walking a lot, and pushing her little cart around.  I said, "She's preparing for her future career of pushing a shopping cart along the side of the road."

Speaking of future careers, I've been working at a chocolate factory.  Whenever I tell people I work at a chocolate factory, I can't help but say it "CHOCOLATE FACTORY!!!" with several exclamation points.

Then they ask me how I like it, and what I do.  I explain it's a small company, so I do a little bit of everything.  Shipping, QA, janitorial, customer service, marketing, and production all in one.

But how do I like it?

It's work.  I'd rather EAT chocolate, while sitting on my couch, reading a book, and snuggling with my girls.

It's a great job. I like it, but I like being home with my family most.

A plug for my company:
Amano is awesome.  We pay our farmers two, three, even four times Fair Trade.  That way, we get the best beans, and our farmers are able to stay in business and keep producing the best beans.
We have won awards nationally and internationally.  We make the best chocolate the U.S. has ever made.
Our bars taste like lemons, blackberries, nuts, marshmallows, grapefruit, and bergamot; but we add no flavors.  The cocoa beans flavor our bars.  We preserve those flavors by using single-origin beans.