Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Once home we all packed up and went to Arkansas (I know, packing up over and over again...). Once there, 10 hours after leaving Fort Worth, we spent most of the time there at the lake, water skiing, jet-skiing, wake boarding, boat riding, and just generally chilling. It was a much welcomed respite from the rigorous task of selling day-in and day-out. Our vacation was short lived, however, which was somewhat depressing.
A few things I noticed out there - first, family was (and is) much more important than I thought before. Of course, as a missionary I realized this, but the last 2 years that I've been back home I haven't had a refresher course, until May. It was so much fun to spend time with my immediate and extended family, even for just a few days. Working like a dog 2000 miles from home for 4 straight months really puts life into perspective, at least for a 23-year-old college student like me. Second, I had grown up a ton out there in Ca (not physically). I wasn't so irritable around my siblings as before, and took previously offensive or awkward comments/actions with a grain of salt and with patience. I was also much more assertive with actions and opinions. Before I had been not scared but timid to share my views, afraid of hurting someone's feelings or offending someone. Since I worked this summer, however, I retain tact in conversations but I don't hold back from saying things that I feel need saying. It's great to feel liberated!!
Well, enough philosoph-
izing...here's some pictures from Arkansas. My uncle lives on the edge of a 1000 ft bluff looking down into the white river and over miles and miles of land to the west. It's just breathtaking. Honestly, when we developed some of these pictures at walmart and other arkansas greeting venues we had many people ask us what resort we stayed at. We just smiled and soaked it in...hehe.
Speaking of soaking it in...here's my sister, twin, and I on a tube - under water. Fun times.
Trent, going in for an awesome goal. Unfortunately, he got out of the pool, therefore nullifying his shot, but still, give the boy credit - that was an awesome shot. Plus I took the picture. Stunning. I know.
I finished this summer off on August 16th, when I left beautiful, sunny, socal and drove up to Las Vegas to spend the night with friends before getting up to Provo the next day. Once in provo I spent maybe 2 hours there before we packed up and left to drive to Fort Worth, Texas, where I'm from. Those were some long hours I pulled, driving from Los Angeles, Ca, to Provo, Ut, and then to Fort Worth Texas in about 36 hours. They were fun hours though, being with my sister and twin for the first time in 4 months. Plus the fact that my sister got her first speeding ticket right outside of provo...that gave way for some lively conversations for a few hours. :-) I'll go ahead now and make different posts describing different aspects of the summer. Enjoy
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Another "delight" found throughout all Corona and basically all Southern California is called the Argentine Ant. The argentine ant is a small black ant that infiltrates basically any structure and/or dwelling in so cal that doesn't (and many times that does) have pest control. So, when we see ants we get excited, cause it's something we can control and that people need! I thought of putting up pictures of the ants because before coming here I had never, ever seen ants like this. Unfortunatley I can't put up videos of them, but here's a pic or two - imagine them scurrying quickly and it'll be like your almost there!!
And just to make the day even better, check out the Pikachu-Mobile, located off of California and Chase in Corona, California.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
As mentioned, we did hit up Papas & Beer a few times while out there, though I only went once (I was too tired to spend the hours of 12am-3am in a club every night). It was actually pretty fun, though some parts were pretty gross. Maybe some day in the future when I'm with guys that don't give a darn how I act or look or whatever, I might just consider going and dancing again. Just maybe.
We took some 4-wheelers onto the beach and had a blast! Despite our best efforts, only a few minor injuries were incurred. We did happen to get the police involved, but that was just kicking us off of some part of the beach. We did find some sweet ramps to take, got to drive 40mph through the Ensenada streets like a red-neck version of Hell's Angels, and have a few vids of it all for proof. It was awesome. And, with a little more luck, we left with Trent narrowly avoiding buying a whole ATV. Hehe.
We did have a hardy round of golf that proved more physically beneficial than a 30-minute ab workout! Our golf game consisted of us rounding up 95 golf balls that had flown outside of the driving range nets, smuggling them onto the course, getting caught using them, eventually using all of them before the end of the 9th hole, and utterly destroying a $300 driver, totally on accident of course. The story behind each of those events is long and full of hilarious details, but I don't have the time right now. Ask me if you want a full report. ;-)
We finished the 4-day weekend trip off with a day at the beach in San Diego, followed by a firework show that most of us missed anyways, but hey, the trip was great. We ended up not killing one another after staying in close contact for 72 hours and had some gnarly stories to share later. Plus, we all came back with those ridiculous farmer's tans burnt off our skin, only to have them return within a week, like a dog to its vomit...ok, maybe not so revolting, but still - those tans are embarrassing.
¡Que viva México!
My time out here in sunny california is drawing to an end, with just a little less than 3 full weeks of work left to do. I can't believe so much time has already passed, but at the same time I'm grateful that the end is in sight. I'm feeling trunky again, like on my mission, and for some of the same reasons. While out here I basically restrict myself from anything that can only be done on weekdays from 8am-10pm and Saturdays from 8am to 4pm, which includes basically everything. I haven't been able to watch TV (which I haven't done basically since April), I haven't been able to spend much time on the phone due to work hours and unavoidable and annoying time zone changes, I haven't been able to see old friends or family, I'm with the same guys all day, week, month, and summer long, and we've all developed our own lingo, inside jokes, and mutually-beneficial habits. Much like a mission, but not as "severe". (Not that a mission's bad, on the contrary!) I'm excited to be able to spend time with my family and just chill on the couch, or on the lake, or watch TV or something like that.
The flip side of the coin has already been partly expressed. Allow me to repeat - you may recall: I'm with the same guys all day, week, month, and summer long, and we've all developed our own lingo, inside jokes, and mutually-beneficial habits. That's one thing that's gonna be really hard to part with. I've become such great friends with such great guys that the sudden departure and separation is already causing some heartache, and I'm still 20 days away!! I've celebrated with these guys, I've laughed so hard that I couldn't breathe with these guys, I've been so sad that I've almost (maybe once...maybe...) cried with these guys, we've avoided arrests together, we've done service together...we've been through a lot. And we know each other personally and have close relationships with each one.
I've wondered why life takes turns like this, and seems to just play with your emotions. I know that it isn't, because we're all growing together and preparing ourselves to be more functional adults in society, but still - I'm part of a group of over a dozen guys that would do anything for the other, but we're only together for these 4 months, then we all part our different ways, some forever. In the mission we were with our companions and best friends for 2 YEARS and left the field and had to recuperate from the sudden yank from the steady flow of our lives into the status quo lifestyle of a typical young adult. I'm not anticipating any recuperation or emotional trauma, but I am saddened by the foreknowledge of friendships lost paths separated. It's gonna be a mini trial, but I know it will be good for me (and us).
This predicament reminds me of a poem that I wrote last year when a friendship of 4 young adults was being broken up by a mission, by an engagement, and a break-up. I was part of the breakup...but that's not important now. Either way, I remember sitting on my couch upset and angry at life and why our awesome friendship had to change, and I just started writing. I don't know what to title it, so I just named it Continue. Here it is:
When first they meet, the best of friends,
Each listens, helps, and shares;
They feel a special union made:
They know each other cares.
Learn their plans, their hopes and dreams,
And a special tie unites them:
An inseparable team.
They pass through times of gain and loss;
Their relationship fares well.
They never want their bonds to fade,
But only time will tell.
Like falling snow in winter’s wake
Time silently transforms
The plans and hopes of these best friends;
In each new paths are born.
Not heretofore arranged,
Requiring that each best friend
Adjust and his route change.
With change there comes an unvoiced fear
Of pain and friendship lost,
And stinging views of future strife
May coat their words with frost.
Of friends who’ll never part?
Of plans they’ve made for coming years;
What changes in the heart?
But one thing holds them close:
A common love and knowledge pure;
Their value cherished most:
Like glowing embers strong,
Won’t fade or flicker in the breeze
Of words or deeds gone wrong.
And in His grand design,
Imparts to each a tranquil heart
That brings a peace of mind.
This doesn’t come and go,
The Savior must had meant for them
To meet down here below.
They trust in heaven’s love,
And know their friendship, strong and pure,
Will continue up above.
The Spirit’s voice may lead us all
On paths unseen before,
But friendships such as this, in Christ,
Will live forevermore.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
This morning I woke up @ 5:30am with a burning stomach and colon, akin to Mount St. Helens waiting to erupt. I quickly moseyed on over to the bathroom and relieved the pressure and took some Prilosec to stop the acid production. I tried to go back to sleep, but my attemps failed, due to the recurrent urge and ultimate necessity to frequent the comode on a bi-hourly basis. Nausea was, of course, and constant companion during these episodes, fueling my decision to label today as a "sick day", and to remain curled up in a fetal position underneath my bedspread.
And that's about the extent of how eventful my day was.
On a lighter note, and in search of a silver lining to the day's otherwise miserable mishaps, I did get to use my down-time to watch Ben and Becca sing with the Spring Chorale in a devotional this morning via BYU Television online. It was refreshing to watch and listen to familiar faces and voices. I spoke to Mom and Courtney today, turning my mood around as well. Ooo, and I did download a lot of new backgrounds, including Homer that lightened my mood. Hehe.
I didn't leave the apartment today, though. Not even once. Physical movement has been making me queasy, so my ventures into the great and wild world that is the Deerwood Apartments were hindered greatly. I explored nearly every possible option of entertainment, falling just short of watching the bananas mold, before realizing that the apartment is almost as steril and void of amusement as my sock drawer - and that's cutting it close. My eyelids provided most of my entertainment and company for the day, helping me log almost 14 hours of total sleep in the last 24 hours, resulting in my brain feeling as mentally and physically effective in my head as a pound of play-dough. Luckily for me the day has withered to a determined and definite close, leaving me to reflect and ponder the day's few uneventful "events" and rue the day my stomach acquired a liking for highly acidic fluids. Hopefully it won't take too long to doze off in the next few hours, giving me enough rest to start my day @ 6:30am in my running shoes. :-)
Sunday, May 21, 2006
But I'm still loving it. The guys I'm working with are extraordinary guys - they're smart, hilarious, hard working guys with good heads on their shoulders. I really look up to all of them, not only mentally/emotionally, but physically, too - I'm the shortest one out here for now. There'll be another shorter one coming in in a week. Whew. :-) The guys are great, though. They're all helping me, lifting me up when I'm feeling depressed, and totally having fun all the time. Awesome guys to be associated with.
We get Saturday afternoons off and Sundays off, of course, so last night we went to the beach and had a blast! We played beach volleyball, football, and a lot of guys went surfing/boarding on the waves. There's a storm coming in today, so the waves yesterday were great. It was so much fun - running around, laughing, watching guys do stupid things, having a blast...awesome.
So, I'm having a great time out here, despite the fact that I am not doing too well. I'm doing well enough to justify my time out here and all, but not as well as I would like to. But I'm learning so much about myself so far, especially the importance of perseverance and patience with myself, of enduring what's in my way, and keeping my head high and my eyes firm on my goal. It's incredible how the right attitude and mindset can make or break a normal day. I'm learning so much about myself out here. If I don't do too well monetarily speaking, I'll be glad to leave with these characteristics under my belt. :^)
I'm gonna go now - I've gotta go down about 30 minutes south to eat with a family that invited a few of us back (random) for dinner, then pick up a 39", flat-screen HD TV that somebody just gave me at a door. Yeah, I'm that good. Hehehe. So, yeah, gotta go. I'll write again soon...hopefully. :-D
Sunday, April 30, 2006
This has been a really busy week. At the moment I’m on an American Airlines flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Salt Lake City, thinking about how much I’m gonna miss Fort Worth and my family, and imagining what the next few months will be like in California. I’m flying into SLC, then driving down to
These last few days have been so much fun for me, and I really didn’t go anywhere except be with my family! Isn’t it incredible how much fun one can have just with his family? I mean, Wednesday night we spent the whole evening within our house or front yard, and it’s one of the funnest nights I’ve ever had! My siblings and I played “Sorry” for the first time in YEARS after dinner, and laughed so hard. Then all 7 of us (
I know that that last paragraph sounds pretty boring, but with the family it was memories that I won’t forget. My family is so important to me, and it’s so much fun just to be with them and do things together, even if it’s not the most creative or “exotic” thing possible. Just playing baseball in the front yard became a cherished memory. I’m gonna miss them.
Now I’m off to a totally different life for the next 4 months. Even though I’m already missing
Monday, April 17, 2006
Going on about Easter - it was a great day. I sang, played the piano, and played my cello in church yesterday (not all at the same time, mind you) and then headed up to Salt Lake with my sister and some friends of mine. Up there we ate a glorious meal (but then, anything that takes more than 20 minutes to prepare is glorious to a college student) and hung out with friends and family. Haha, we got there at about 2:30-ish and left just before midnight. :-)
Oh, speaking of my cello, I had to drop my bow off at a violin shop today for them to refinish it. Here's the scoop - one of my friends in choir here needed a cello to play in their choir concert. He's a good guy, honest, clean cut, you know, the trustable kind. So I lent it to him, just barely deciding to not make him sign his life away for it. (From now on, I will refer to my cello as Olivia: that's her name) Anyways, he took Olivia to the concert, she did great, and then he put her back in her case and dropped her off in the choir director's office. I was busy for the next week and left her there - it was fine for her. Anyways, I took her home after a week but didn't have the time to practice that entire week. So, 2 weeks after the concert, the choir director comes up to me in the music building and asks, handing me a scratched up bow, "Is this yours?"
I just stared at the scratched wood, wood that looked so familiar yet not with the damage. But it looked so familiar...
"Uhh..I don't think so. Mine didn't have any damage on it when I turned it in."
"Well," he replied, "the stage manager says that this has been floating backstage for the last 2 weeks. He said they found it on the stand."
"It looks alot like mine," I said, "but mine didn't have any damage on it..."
It's april everybody! And what does that mean?!?!? Finals, studying, finals, reviews, and a hormonal mother nature. Yeah, complete with mood swings from the sweet, beautiful, and benign to the downright ornery and ugly.
Yesterday was one of most beautiful Easter Sundays that I've ever seen. It was so beautiful that our Sunday school class was held outside, in the ever-so-pleasant spring air, slight breeze, and full sunshine. Man, was it a gorgeous day. Everything was great yesterday.
Then we go to this morning. Things were a little wet upon waking up, but starting at about 9 it began to snow. It snowed lightly until about 4:30-5:00 in the afternoon, when it just dumped. It snowed very hard for about an hour, racking up about 2 inches of heavy, wet snow before it quasi cleared up. But that was enough.
Enough to bump the day's classification from gloomy to awful. I was driving to and from Salt Lake City during the snow, and first off, Utah drivers have a difficult time driving in the snow, and second, I was so tired that I was just staring off into space and wondering about random things. I almost wrecked twice, literally. Plus I've taken one final and have a quiz left to take tonight online, and in addition to those stupid quizzes, I have 18 reading summaries to read and post online tonight. ARRRGGHH!!!! Life is difficult at times.
Well, I've wasted enough time posting this. But it made my brain feel better. I've gotta get crackin' now to finish all this blasted homework before the clock strikes 12!
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Either way, they came on Monday. And you know what? It was a very peaceful, relaxed day with tons of people talking to eachother in the main courtyard/commons area. There weren't any people yelling, waving their arms, or even raising their voices. I was very impressed. But I wasn't the only one. Even some of the Soulforce people were impressed. One said "It was truly remarkable. I don't think we've had crowds like this at any other school where we weren't openly welcome on campus." I seriously think that they didn't expect anything close to the welcome they received - instead of harshness, they received kind youth who respected their decisions and lifestyles. We may believe that how they live is wrong, but we still accepted them as youth and fellow members of the community, and treated them as such.
The thing that bothers me is that some Equality Riders (as they call themselves) couldn't take the fact that nothing was going wrong. At least it seemed that way to me and others. The majority were well behaved and maybe even a little taken back with our hospitality, but there were a few that seemed bent on making a scene. There were 5 on Monday that breached their agreement with the administration and began making speeches about discrimination and what-not, and were quietly escorted off of the campus. On Tuesday there were many that opposed the administration and were once again quietly escorted off campus. Each of those escorted off were cited trespassing violations by police officers and allowed to go on their merry way.
Now, that would have been fine with me, if they hadn't blown up the story on their website. The headlings for both days that they were on our campus start off with something about Equality Riders being arrested. First off there were no handcuffs, and second they were only citations. They seemed to be looking for some way to make a splash in the news, somehow, and went ahead and broke their agreement to do so. Their website is also pretty inaccurate about the history of this university's sponsoring religion.
I guess my point is that we received them all with open minds and peaceful dialogue, and when a few saw that they couldn't rile us up to any action, they went ahead and made some noise (literally). Then they made big news about the consequential discipline enforced (part of the agreement they had made) and inaccurately stated the sponsoring religion's past actions. I kind of feel a little unappreciated, or betrayed, after we tried hard to include them. Hopefully all that was only the actions of a few, and most of them are really grateful about the way we treated them. Some even mentioned how this was one of their best stops. I hope it changed their views about us.
Monday, April 10, 2006
"Uhh...the guy next to me just passed out..."
Though shocking for the other 198 people in the class, the doctor appeared as if just given a promotion, cracking a huge smile and approaching the fallen student. (Mistake #1: He left the gruesome 20'x15' picture on the screen)
"Hey, buddy, you ok? Have you eaten breakfast?"
"Let's lie you down here." (to the class) "Anybody got some juice to give him?"
From the mass of rubber-necking students there arose one who pulled a half-gallon jug of orange juice out of his backpack (who carries jugs of orange juice in their backpacks???), who proceeded up to the doctor amid shouts and laughter from fellow students. After a few minutes of doctoring the pale-green kid, the doctor returned to the front of the room. He explained how many of his first-year dental students pass out weekly, and he's totally prepared for it. (Mistake #2: He didn't change the gruesome picture the entire time)
"Get ready to pass out at least once," he announced to the class. "It happens to most first-years of dental or medicine. Now, where was I..."
At precisely this moment another shout pierced the awkward silence.
"Another guy just passed out!"
Not ten feet from me a kid just slumped over to one side and appeared to start seizing for a moment before lying still again. Doctor made his way over to him (he was much closer this time) and was in front of the kid when he suddenly sat up, acheived a great deer-in-the-headlights gaze, and looked suspiciously around the room. His gaze continued as he laid eyes on everyone else's, including the doctor's.
"How you doin'?" asked the doctor.
"Umm...o...k....." he replied.
"D'you fall asleep?" (scattered chuckling)
"I don't think so..."
"D'you wanna lie down?" (more laughter)
"...Yeah, that'd be a good idea..."
The next few minutes doc and a few guys helped the now green sophomore stagger to the back where the other prostrate student was, and placed him in similar fashion next to his fallen comrade.
Needless to say, the doc didn't show any more pictures the rest of the morning.