Saturday, November 28, 2009

Insomnia Part Deux

I'm not sure why I've had so much trouble sleeping lately. I haven't taken cold medicine for nearly a week. Still, I go to bed and sometimes it's hours before I finally drift off into sound sleep after tossing and turning in a partial-doze. Tonight was par for the course, but instead of eventually achieving unconsciousness, the opposite happened. It's doesn't help that I developed a pinched nerve in my neck at some point yesterday so most positions are painful. Lame. I'm supposed to get up in 3 hours and fly back to Utah in 6 hours, conveniently in time for my last BYU v. Utah game of my undergraduate career. So much for getting unfinished homework done on the plane. Hopefully I can catch a nap. The up side of insomnia is a unusually prolific week of blog posting!

It's been a good week at home. On Wednesday my cousin Spike came home from his LDS mission to Manaus, Brazil. He's the one with the balloons. The local news station captured his entrance. You can watch it here. Our family is at about 0:50. The family is celebrating Thanksgiving on Saturday once all his siblings come to town for his homecoming/his brother Dusty's baby blessing this Sunday. Danny and I will miss both Saturday and Sunday's events but we got our tickets before we knew about what was going on. It'll be like Thanksgiving in the old days with 50+ people crammed into Grandma's house, except now there are too many for a house so they're having the dinner at the church. Oh well.

Thanksgiving Day was a (relatively) small affair this year. We had dinner at home with my parents, the 6 kids in this area plus Sarah's family, Gpa Lee and Helen, my cousin Briettney and her little family, my mom's sister Penny and her husband Ben here from Utah, and Gma Blackburn who traveled up with Danny and I. Spike came over too, and then his sister Cassie and Aunt Jean stopped by on their way home from the airport so Cassie could see Spike. It had the flavor (or rather flavors, literally) of past Thanksgivings, but definitely on a smaller scale.

I went down to the holiday parade and fireworks last night with Benji and Sam, meeting up with my friend Whitney. She goes to school in Portland and has only 7 days left and she's graduated! Lucky girl. Whit is associated with my favorite high school memories, and she's the only friend from high school I regularly keep in touch with. We always make time for each other when we're in town.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'm home.

I love that feeling of being home. I love how everything looks the same (until I notice those few changes: a new chair, the new fish, a new centerpiece on the table). Everything smells right. Usually I'd say I know where everything is, but I still don't feel like I know where everything is after the remodel, despite extended visits for holidays and summer vacation. I'm here just infrequently enough to forget.

I love driving around town, how it all is so familiar and I know the pace of the town and the length of the traffic lights and the glow of the street lights and their reflections in the pavement in the high school parking lot. Like in the house, I notice changes. I saw and drove around the new traffic circle on Fourth Street and Hanley tonight. They worked on it all summer and didn't finish before I left, so that was exciting. Driving through my dark neighborhood everything looks content. Sometimes Provo neighborhoods feel worn from the march of humanity who pass through, but my home street feels quiet and personal.

I love going to stores at home. I go to the same stores in Utah, but every store has a different layout and selection wherever you go. I love knowing where I like to park, and then walking in and not needing to think about where the items I need are, but letting my feet guide me.

I love looking out the front door and seeing those houses, and looking out the back windows and seeing this mountain and those trees and that pasture and hearing the bell ring over the yards at the elementary school up the street. This is Summer; this is Thanksgiving; this is Christmas; this is Family; this is Home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

BYU Intramurals

(WARNING: This is a long one, even after I edited it for length. But it's a good story.)

Intramural sports at BYU are serious business. For most students who participate, winning that championship t-shirt is more coveted than their college diploma. Look how many people get one of those a year. Chump change. Only a chosen few get one of those t-shirts and the bragging rights.

Sports offered throughout the school year range from flag football to inner-tube water polo. Teams play six or seven games during the "regular season." Stats from those games are used to rank all the teams against each other whereupon they are then divided into different divisions: Division 1 being the best teams, Division 2 next best, and so on. Then the tournament starts, aka the games that REALLY matter. The winning team of each division wins a championship, the prize being the special t-shirt.

People play intramural sports for many reasons. Some guys play to make up for lost high school glory, some girls play for the social benefit, and lots of people play just to have fun. I play because I love Ultimate Frisbee. Not that I'm particularly good at it; I just love to play. Ultimate Frisbee is a officially a boys intramural sport, but girls can play. They do this because if they made it officially co-ed, then a certain amount of boys and girls have to play at all times.

I usually play on my ward's team during fall semester, and this year was my fourth and final season to play. Despite a lot of talent, my team's regular season performance was not very impressive for various reasons, so we ended up in Division 3 (out of 4) for the tournament. That was ok with us, because it made it easier to dominate game after game once we had everyone showing up.

We soon made it to the final. We were all pumped and ready to play, but secretly a little scared. This was the fourth time my ward made it to the final game, but they had never won. And this year we went up against a team staffed by BYU track athletes, so they were all bigger, faster, and more fit in general than all of us. But we had faith and a rockstar defense.

When it comes to drama, this game will go down as one of my top three sport experiences of all time (after my team won cross country state my senior year, and Beck's pass to Harline to win the BYU-Utah rivalry game in '06). It was THAT dramatic. We started off strong. We always have a good first half, and we quickly brought the game to halftime with a score of 6-3. During the second half, though, the other team caught onto our defense and exploited our weaknesses to score 6 unanswered points. Games usually play to 12 points, and the team must win by 2 like in volleyball. If the game exceeds 45 min though, they cap the points to end the game faster. The cap is typically 2 points more than the leading team's current score, and you no longer have to win by 2. The official capped our points at 11. Gulp. I was a little worried at this point.

But then magic happened. We made some adjustments and went to work. Over and over each team would make it to the end zone and then choke, turning over the frisbee. But then we started converting those opportunities into points and suddenly we were at 10-9. Finally our man with the frisbee found one of our players in the corner of the end zone, but as he jumped to catch it he was tackled by a defender also trying to catch the frisbee. Our kid called the foul, which the other team of course contested. When that happens, the frisbee goes back to the player who threw it and basically does a replay.

After another dramatic and disappointing turnover in the end zone, one of our guys quickly knocked down a pass from the other team and we had possession again. After another agonizing minute of passing outside the end zone waiting for a clear shot inside, we found it. We all went nuts, teammates and other supporters running onto the field passing the subdued opponents and their silent fans. We slapped hands and exchanged hugs all around, took pictures, shook hands with the other team, and "rallied 'round the standard of the flag." Yes, we have a ward flag. We are that awesome.

Soon we made our way to the supplies building to pick up our shirts. As the worker read off the names from the roster, we all cheered for each other as one by one we stepped forward to request a size and accept our reward. We took a few more pictures wearing our shirts before dispersing. I had another game to go watch; my brother Danny was playing flag football that night too.

My BYU experience is complete. I already know I have a diploma coming to me, so no drama or element of surprise there. Not that I'm indifferent or un-proud of that accomplishment, but like I said before: I'm still just one of many. You don't have to be the best, coming out on top, to get one of those. Winning D3 intramural Ultimate now, that's something special.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Insomnia and Personal Reflection

I came down with a nasty head cold sometime Wednesday night. I didn't go to school or work Thursday or Friday. I tried various cocktails of cold and sinus medicine and I'm happy to announce that Sudafed (with the pseudoephedrine) plus the generic brand of Zicam nasal spray finally did the trick and cleared up my sinuses and drippy nose. I was so excited to go to bed tonight and not have to breath out of my mouth, preserving my chapped lips and nose. Unfortunately, the miracle cure left me unexpectedly sleepless. I'm supposed to be getting up in about 2 hours. Actually, a sleepless night won't be that bad if the meds continue to keep me awake and alert. I have a full day of exciting events planned that I don't want to miss out on.

One of my very best friends ever, Diane, is getting married tomorrow. Actually today, in 5 hours. We were roommates in Nauvoo. Of the four girls in room 317 from that semester, she's the first to get married. It's a little weird to have our old quartet finally branching out, but I'm SO excited for her. I've seen her through the ups and downs of several relationships over the last four years, and I am pleased to announce I'm fully supportive of her decision to marry Garrett. He's a great guy and absolutely deserves her.

I'm also super excited because she is the first of my close friends to get married geographically close enough that I can attend the festivities! Timing, funding, and distance prevented me from going to any others. I can't attend the ceremony since I'm not yet endowed and she's getting sealed in the Manti Temple, but I'll be as close as I can and waiting outside.

Students from my Semester in Nauvoo always refer to each other as our Nauvoo "family" regardless of how close we were during the semester. We still maintain active relationships four years later, using a website to communicate big news and post pictures. Many of us still check it every day. People ask me a lot about my favorite parts of my semesters abroad, and I think they're often disappointed when I say "the people I was there with." But there's something special about friends we make during formative times in our lives. It's hard to explain, and I usually just say "s/he's a Nauvoo friend" hoping that the right sense of platonic affection we all maintain for each other comes across. They really do feel like a second family of brothers and sisters.

I'm so blessed to have had that experience in Nauvoo, and to have formed those relationships. They're the kind of friends you make for forever: who don't care if you call at 1am, who hurt with you when bad things happen, who celebrate with you when good things happen, who make a pretty good substitute when your family is 800 miles away, and who never stop caring--really caring--about you no matter the difference of space or time or circumstance. They are friends worth keeping. I have 120 such friends. How did I get so lucky?

Friday, November 13, 2009


I felt a need to mix this blog up a little bit. Y'know, like the urge you get to just rearrange furniture once in a while? One of my professors would call it fixing the chi. Whatever the reason, I just suddenly felt an urge to purge myself of cutesy pre-fabricated designs and go minimalist. Not void, just minimalist, like Mies. So here, like 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, I strip it down to the basics and building materials. Mies actually coined the phrase "less is more." Bet you didn't know a real someone actually constructed that maxim.

Anyway, my life feels so full that I don't feel a need to flesh it out in digital non-space. This blog is for chronicling my adventures, not simulating my personality.

Excuse me now while I go live my life.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A good day

What an awesome day! We honored our veterans today, including my grandpa. I took my second round of midterms last week (both on the same day, for the second time. ugh.) and got them back today. I got A's on both after precious little time to study! Then my intramural Ultimate Frisbee team played in the quarterfinal round today and dominated! And I wore one of my favorite shirts.

Rocked my tests, rocked Ultimate...basically I rocked at life today.
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