Friday, October 30, 2009

Pen Pal

I have a pen pal named Tiffani Hengen. We made friends when we worked in the same office two summers ago. She has graduated and moved to Arizona, but I love keeping in touch with her. Why? Because the things we write to each other are pure hilarity. Here are a few gems that I have found on a particularly slow afternoon at work (these are in no particular order and are not necessarily part of the same conversation):

Tiffani: You know how there are ads on the side for Gmail and Facebook that are supposed to be "highly targeted?" One of mine says: "Provo Blasting: Provo Explosives, the demolition experts." Wow.

Me: I hate paying for food. I am deliberately ignoring all these stupid hopeful BYUSA candidates trying to hand out stupid stickers. I refuse to pay attention to them or acknowledge their presence, much less promise to vote for them, unless they start promising me free food! Honestly...does anyone care about having more places to plug in their laptops or more Latin Dance clubs? No. We just want free food. Give it to us or we aren't voting for you. This is what I'd like to say to them, but I am too busy ignoring them by pretending to be on my cell phone so I don't have to take a yellow flyer.

Tiffani: Did you hear about Facebook reserving the rights to everything you write/upload on their site, even after you close your account? I was scared to think about that. I still am scared, actually. They're creepy. What are they planning to do with all that information besides sell it to the highest bidder?

Me: We're basically eating raw onions and boxed soup for every meal.

Tiffani: We need to find a good movie to watch since the International Cinema has insisted on playing nothing but gong shows this week.

Me:I guess I could try to putter Russell's car to my house. I have a bad feeling about driving that car on snowy roads. What I really need is a one-horse open sleigh.

Tiffani: I would die to have some chic outfits. My collection of BYU shirts and sweat pants never worked for me (or anyone except Bronco Mendenhall).

Me: I got 100% on my Religion Midterm! Never mind that most of the questions were like this:
In his conference address, which one of the following is NOT one of the solutions Robert D. Hales listed to solve a marital argument? A) Apologize B) Repent C) Improve D) Divorce.

Tiffani: So you're getting Russell a big canvas for his birthday? I didn't know he was an aspiring artist! It goes along perfectly with his passion for wild animals.

Me: Friday night was our ward's chili cookoff. People brought chili, cornbread, and cobbler. I just brought myself and snuck up to the food and loaded up a plate.

Tiffani: So Gabe is coming for the weekend and you have to entertain him while Russell is at work? Does he like to watch movies? "One Man's Treasure" is showing at the Varsity Theatre. Does he like girls? Take him to Heritage Halls/Creamery on Ninth and let him have a go at the freshman girls while you practice the piano in one of the basements. Are none of those ideas working? Just keep all the blinds closed and it'll stay dark in the house and he'll sleep in really late and by the time he wakes up, he'll see a note on the table from you that reads: "HELP YOURSELF TO WHATEVER FOOD YOU FIND. I'LL BE BACK AT 5:00."

Tiffani is a perfect pen pal to have and her emails always brighten my day. We are on the exact same humor wavelength. I have been silently shaking with laughter at my desk while rereading these. And besides writing funny things back and forth, we catch up on each other's lives, which is so much fun. Tiffani, I miss you, but I love you as a pen pal. I hope you're not offended that I put these up. Thanks for your friendship, and for all the laughs. I hope there's lots more.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good News

I taught my first French class today. At American Fork Junior High, my alma mater. It was a 30-minute lesson on French Cuisine. It turned out better than I expected (I think I expected to cry or wet my pants or run out of the room). The 9th graders were pretty nice to me and I tried not to take all their hormonal rambunctiousness too personally. They're just teenagers, after all. I brought some French baguettes for them to try in order to bribe them into complacency. They liked that (the bread, not being bribed into complacency).

The weather is beautiful today. The first bite of winter is in the air but while it's cold and crisp, it's also sunny. I work in an office with a huge window and when I look out it, I can see Rock Canyon looming in the distance, bright with the sun but enveloped in fog. It's beautiful.

Halloween is in two days. I hate Halloween because of the masks and gore and pranks and creepiness and death-related themes, but I am excited to have fun with friends and family. Russ and I have almost narrowed down what we are going to be. It's between two giant pumpkins (harmless and sweet, my idea) and Hitler and Stalin (weird and creepy, his idea).

And the best news of all...I drove myself to the school. Yes, people, I have finally conquered the stick shift. And I've only been with a guy who drives one for two years. Baby steps.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Family Pictures

Family pictures are always an adventure. One minute you're frantically running around the house like a lunatic, trying to put on earrings and makeup and do your hair in a flash while yelling at your family members for putting on ill-fitting or unmatching shirts; the next minute you're shivering to keep warm and cursing under your breath; the next minute you're smiling pleasantly as if absolutely nothing has gone wrong.

We had a good time though. I love my family.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Triumph In The Face Of Tragedy

Just three days after woodwind instructor Heather Christensen was killed in a tragic bus accident, the American Fork High School Marching Band took the field at the Lavell Edwards Stadium. They dedicated their performance, entitled "The Greatest Generation," to Christensen and fallen World War II heroes.

American Fork was the last band of 25 to compete in the Rocky Mountain Regional Band Competition. They received a standing ovation from an unprecedented audience of nearly 8,000 people and the first-place prize in every category.

But that day wasn't about winning, for the band members or for anyone else. It was about coming together as a band and as a community to celebrate the life of this wonderful person who had sacrificed so much for her students.

The performance was a so fitting. For the final movement, the colorguard members changed quickly out of their blue jumpsuit uniforms and into all-white outfits. They then arranged themselves across the field and stood with their arms extended, tiny white crosses spread across the wide green field. It was truly a moving sight and a perfect tribute for Heather and for the WWII soldiers.

My brother Daniel is in the percussion pit. He plays the marimba. He has loved his experience as part of the marching band. I used to think marching band did not embody more than B.O., braces, and nerdiness. I have come to realize that it is a place where diverse kids can come together and make friends and play music and develop an identity. It is a place where they learn teamwork, discipline, leadership, and technical skill. This tragedy has given the students an opportunity to draw even closer together. I could see that in their show. Tuesday night was a performance unlike any I have ever seen, and one I will not soon forget.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


It's time for another picture overload.

Russell and I went to a really fun study abroad reunion...

Katie, Mom, Emma and I went to World of Dance...

We celebrated Russell's birthday with friends at the Bohemian restaurant...

We enjoyed a comfy Conference weekend at my house...

Katie, Daniel, Emma and I visited our old elementary school...

And of course, we're enjoying the beautiful fall weather.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


A recent Princeton study proved that people taller than average lead better, happier lives than short people. Tall people report more enjoyment, less pain, and significantly less sadness.
The study also suggests that tall people have more chance of success and wealth.
The average man is 5'10". The average woman is 5'4". Russell is 6'4'' and I am 5'9''. Although this means that we will have giant yeti children, it also obviously means that we are going to be rich, happy and successful. Yesssss. I wonder if this study was done just to boost our egos.