Friday, December 28, 2007

A haypenny will, in fact, do.

Hope everyone's holidays were happy. Mine were just fine. The gift I gave that seemed to be the most well-received was in actually the least expensive thing I gave. Thanks to a series of generous people, I ended up getting about a dozen round cone-shaped windshield scrapers at no cost to give as gifts. Mine has proven to be at least twice as effective as a regular one as far as surface area being scraped, and many who have received one from me agree. My little brother was so excited to try it that he went out to scrape his car right after we had opened gifts. It just tells you how little inexpensive but useful gifts can be big hits with your loved ones. Nothing says "I love you" like a cleaned windshield in less time.

The gift I'm the most excited about receiving is the voice lessons I'll be taking in the coming weeks. I decided it might help me gain the confidence I need to audition for community theater and feel like I might even have a small chance of getting in. More specifically, the Hale Center theater is doing Into the Woods in October, and their auditions are this summer. I've always wanted to be a part of this show, and in this case would love to be Little Red Riding Hood, so that's what I'm shooting for. I know it's pretty unlikely with all the other much more talented and experienced people out there, but it would be a good experience just to at least try.

I've been tagged by Jenny to write 6 facts or habits about me, and I've done this before, but since I'm just so blasted full of quirks, I thought I'd do it again. Enjoy!

1) Speaking of Christmas, I never consciously remember believing in Santa Claus. Never. This might have to do with the fact that Santa always suspiciously had the same handwriting as my mother, that he used the same wrapping paper as my mother, and that our chimney was never ever used. So he comes in using magic? Riiiiiight. Then when I was about nine I remember getting up to get a drink and catching my mom filling my stocking, and I wasn't surprised in the least. But this being said, I was completely and totally sold on the Easter Bunny. Go figure.

2) When I was younger I lived in the Airport Hilton for a time (the one you drive past as you're headed west on I-80 with the giant pond in the back.) My father was the manager at the time, and while some housing things were being figured out we lived in a suite on the top floor. I was pretty young so I don't remember much, but I do hear many stories about my brother who is 3 years older than me causing all kinds of trouble while living there, including jamming the elevators and riding his bike into the pond. I wish I had been older so I could remember more.

3) My nostrils sometimes flare when I'm singing. I can see them out of my bottom periphery vision, and I think I've caught on to a pattern... It's only when i'm descending in pitch, and it's only between certain notes. Usually when I'm going anywhere from a high C down to around an E. I notice this especially when I'm singing the alto line to Angels We Have Heard on High. I hope you all now understand why I can never sing in front of any of you ever again.

4) I have a condition called Geographic Tongue. It isn't severe by any means, but every now and then you can see patches on my tongue where the little papillae are gone. It's especially evident when I'm sick. I didn't know it was a condition until I was about 18 and the first thing my new dentist said when I opened my mouth was, "Oh, you have geographic tongue." Until then, I just thought I had strange shapes on my tongue that would come and go mysteriously, like little tongue crop circles. I hope you now understand why I can never stick my tongue out in front of any of you ever again.

5) I love the Super Nintendo, and can't seem to move on past it to the more advanced gaming systems available. In fact, I received two new Super Nintendo controllers and an expansion adapter for my system for Christmas, so I can play Bomberman with four people at a time. Too bad no one living with me these days has much of an attention span to play it with me.

6) I've never been in an accident (though I came the closest I've ever been to being in one today.) On a related note, I received my first speeding ticket EVER about two months ago. I totally deserved it. In fact, I've been deserving them for years, so it's about time the law caught up with me.

There you go. If anyone who reads this blog feels inspired to do the same and hasn't for awhile, do it! It's kind of fun to thing about obscure facts about yourself.

...Still minus a camera, by the way.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I came home on Wednesday to find one roommate frantically talking to her mother on the phone, and the other one in the basement rustling around. I raised an eyebrow at the one on the phone and she pulled her phone away from her mouth long enough to say, "our house got broken into while we all were at work."

My first thought was my laptop, not because of how much it was worth but because of all the pictures and writing projects I have saved on it. I ran around the corner into my room to find it looking surprisingly a lot like I left it. My drawers were a little more pulled out and askew than usual, a handful of clothes were strewn around the room, my desk covered with miscellaneous items, and thankfully, my laptop sitting undisturbed where I left it that morning. I breathed a sigh of relief. The relief actually kept me pretty numb to panic when I discovered that my digital camera was NOT where I left it. The thought I had when I noticed that was, "but at least my laptop is still here."

The thief (thieves?) actually didn't take much at all, but what they did take was unsettling. They took the hundred dollar bill my roommate had sitting on her dresser, two cameras, and keys. Jenny had a giant keyring taken that had all the keys to about everything that requires a key on the property (including tractors, cars, barns, etc.) and my roommate Cristi had her spare car key stolen. Why did they leave multiple laptops, expensive electronic equipment, pricey guitars, iPods, and other expensive things and just take keys? Because they were planning on returning for other things, was the only thing we could deduce.

So the doors with windows got borded up (which is how they got in in the first place... broke a window in a door and just reached around to unlock it), and Jenny and I spent a restless night sleeping in the living room and waking at the slightest sounds throughout the night. Our house got re-keyed the next morning, and for now anytime Cristi's car is home it gets barricaded next to the house by someone else's car until she can get her car re-keyed. But of all the costs and things stolen, we miss our sense of security the most. I'm suddenly very conscious of the knives in the kitchen and how close I am to them in any given room in the house. We're also seriously considering getting a dog.

...Which, I won't be able to take pictures of. In fact, it'll be awhile until I can replace my camera and give you visual updates of what I'm writing about, and I'll save you from any more pitiful drawings in paint. But I'll write about my Christmas later with or without visuals.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Just call me Haley "beam in the eye" Greer

I have this thing I like to call my Pride Pendulum. Back when I was a teenager I didn't think too highly of myself and was fairly insecure about a lot of things about me. In high school my pride pendulum started to swing from the negative end of the self-esteem scale toward the middle somewhere, and that's when I kind of discovered who I am and what I'm about and started enjoying being me. But, since my mission I've felt my pendulum swing from the middle part labeled "confidence" toward the positive end of "arrogance" on occasion. In short, every now and then I'll catch myself thinking pretty highly of myself. And, consequently, my pendulum will hit something that will stop its positive trajectory and swing it violently back toward the humility end where it belongs.

How this usually happens is that I'll perceive someone to be less happy than they could be, and I'll start to tell people how they should change their behaviors in order to be a happier and more successful person. The first problem with this is that "a happier and more successful person" really means "more like me" without me realizing it. And, much to my amazement, not everyone appreciates this advice. While I'm giving it I am agast when it is taken with anything less than graciousness and gratitude, but in retrospect I correctly realize that, in fact, people don't like being told (or reminded of) what's wrong with them. Even when it's someone they respect and trust. ESPECIALLY when it's someone they respect and trust.

I did this same thing to one of the least deserving of my friends this weekend, and when the response wasn't nearly as positive as the "oh thank you Haley for bringing this to my attention!" that I was expecting for some reason, I was once again reminded that I am NOT as awesome as I think I am sometimes. And after the inital socked-in-the-gut feeling of guilt starts to go away, I'm grateful for the reminder. I am grateful for friends who aren't afraid to call me on it when I'm in the wrong.
It reminds me of my favorite institute teacher Brother Blake, who would every now and then show us parts of an episode of Star Trek: the Next Generation to make his point for the day. One of the ones I remember most vividly is an episode called "Remember Me," where Dr. Beverly Crusher thinks that everyone else on the ship who is slowly disappearing is in an alternate dimension. She says, "If there's nothing wrong with me... there must be something wrong with the universe."

After repeated attempts to figure out what has gone wrong and how to right the universe again, she ends up realizing that in fact SHE'S the one who is in "the bubble." Don't worry, she gets out... but only after she was able to admit that the problem was hers, not anyone elses.

I'm sure you see where I'm going with this. I was also reminded of this principle today when my visiting teachers came and talked about charity. More specifically, that true charity is unconditional love that inspires people to be better, rather than doing things that forces them to be better. Charity builds, it does not tear down.

So I'm still digesting my humble pie. But I'm grateful for patient and understanding friends and family around me who are quick to forgive when I get in one of those moods, and who feed me said pie as nicely as they can.

Thanks to Jeff whose recent post about Star Trek inspired me to reference it in my own blog entry. I'm not a Trekkie by any means so it won't be a regular thing, but I thought it was appropriate for the subject. To round things out, I'll also reference the song "Popular" from the musical Wicked:

Glinda: Elphie, I've decided to make you my new project.

Elphaba: You really don't have to do that.

Glinda: I know. That's what makes me so nice.

Okay, one more musical reference. I once played the role of Lucy in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and in the song "The Doctor is In" Lucy tells Charlie Brown that the way to cure his depression is to make a list of all the things that are wrong with him. He sings about his shortcomings, and she adds to his list. I really loved playing that role, probably because being a brat came almost too naturally to me. This is an actual picture of the performance. Man, I can pull some interesting faces...

Still no AA batteries for my camera. I keep forgetting to purchase them. I almost decided to use the ones in my alarm clock, but figured that probably wouldn't be a good idea come Monday morning. Hopefully I'll post some holiday-esque pictures soon...

By the way, I don't commenly refer to my pride as "Bob"... I just liked the picture of the pendulum and thought I'd use it. My pride is more of a "Stanley" anyway...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Two AA Batteries

...are the only thing that stands between you and accurate visuals of what I've been up to lately. My camera is great but it sure wears through batteries quickly, and I keep forgetting to purchase new ones at the store.
So, I'll try and illustrate the details to the best of my ability... literally.

My roommate Cristi and her family participate in a bell choir every year, and my other roommate Melissa is the usual vocalist for a couple of their numbers. However, there are a couple of performances she wasn't able to make it to, so I was the pinch, uh, singer.

Now I like to sing, and I'm slowly getting better, but I'm currently not a great soloist by any means. However, someone recently challenged me to do something impossibly uncomfortable every day, and this definitely qualifies. Ironically, of the three performances in which I sang, I think I sounded the best at the old-folks home where hardly any of them could hear me and would probably not remember me anyway. The whole experience did help me decide what I truly want for Christmas: voice lessons. I will sound like Karen Carpenter yet!

While at one of these bell performances we were able to look through a small Christmas boutique (you know, one of those craft-show things that looks like the Quilted Bear himself threw up everywhere.) As I was wandering my eye was caught by a stand that wasn't selling wooden signs or little trinkets; it was selling flavored oils. The man at the stand saw us pause and beckoned us to come over and sample some things.

Free samples of oil aren't necessarily at the top of my "favorite free samples" list (in truth I've never made such a list, but if I did it would include any form of marinated meat), but he put a single drop in a tiny spoon and said, "Try this lime flavored oil. It's great in fajitas." As I put the spoon in my mouth my tongue was greeted by a pleasant explosion of citrus goodness, and his words of "It's great in fajitas" rang in my ears and burned itself into my mind (picture me standing with a sample spoon in my mouth and my eyes closed to maximize the lime flavor I was enjoying while a thought bubble appears over my left shoulder, and Oil Man's head in the thought bubble speaking in a haunting ghosty kind of way, "It's greeeaaat in fajiiiiiiitaaaaas..... ooooo...". Of course that's not what really happened but if I were making a film about this experience then that's how I would direct it.)

I bought the bottle of lime-flavored oil intending to give it to my dad for Christmas, but became so curious as to whether or not I could even MAKE fajitas that a few days later I decided that I'd make fajitas for my roommates. Then, hours later, I decided I'd make fajitas for whoever wanted to come and try them. Thus commenced Operation: Fajita. (Original, I know.)

So thursday night I rushed home from work and started cutting and chopping and cooking probably 10 lbs of chicken and onions and peppers [special thanks to my roommates and Erin (of the previously mentioned Amazing Race adventure) for helping clean the house and prepare the food.] Though my first try at using the oil almost had me burning the house down, I refined my method and ended up making some very good fajitas. About 15 friends came over to partake in the feast, and it seems they were well-received all around.

Friday was my work holiday party, so I "worked" for about an hour before I went over to help decorate. You see, I'm a member of something at my work called the "Bureau of Merriment," which essentially is the party-planning committee. They need one representative from each branch of the agency, and since my branch of the agency consists of me and my boss, I automatically got recruited as the one who has far more expendable time to do such things. I'm not arguing against this fact; I'm far less important than my boss is. But I'm also far less irresponsible than she is too, so it's probably better this way.
Our party consisted of a catered meal, a few games, and some feel-good stories from the different branches of the agency. One of the games was a white elephant gift exchange, and I've never seen such competition! Each person drew a number that told them which order they go in, and in each situation you could either open a new present, or steal someone else's. I successfully stole a 6 piece plyer set from someone else, and then anytime someone would consider taking them from me, I'd give them a pitiful look and tell them how much I needed them to keep my bike in working condition (which wasn't entirely true, but they bought it.) I was able to hold onto my tools, and now I'm excited to purchase myself a box in which to place them.

That's pretty much what I've been up to. Oh, I turn 26 on tuesday the 11th. It stings a little bit more than 25 did, but not much. It seems that for about 3 months before I turn any given age I prepare myself mentally to become that age, so when it actually happens it's not a huge transition. It seems like I've been 26 since September, really.
My apologies for the drawings. Especially the one that looks like a lemon-worshipping cult.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sometimes adventure sneaks up on you.

Sunday night I was watching a movie with my roommates until fairly late, and then checked my phone to find I had missed a call from my good friend, Erin Klein. Erin has been looking for a job for the last month or so, so when I listened to her message and all it said was, "I have a better idea than getting a job. Call me back," I was intrigued... but not enough to call her back that late. In retrospect, I wish I had.

So I finally called her back Monday afternoon to see what her brilliant idea was. She proceeded to tell me very passionately how much she wanted to apply to be on the TV reality show the Amazing Race, and that since I wasn't too attached to anyone or anything at the moment, she wanted me to be her partner. She then informed me that if we were going to apply we needed to put everything for the application packet together that night, because the applications were due the following day (Tuesday) at 5pm. She was planning on flying to California Tuesday morning to turn in the packet in person (thanks to her mom's Jet Blue flight benefits) and fly back the same day.

It took me only a few seconds to decide, "sure, why not?" And then I asked if her mom had a buddy pass I could have so she didn't have to go to California on her own. Sure enough she did. So, I told Erin I'd come over after work and we could start working on the applications and our 3-minute video.

While waiting out the last couple hours of work I went online to look over eligibility requirements for the Race, and saw that either a copy of a passport or proof of a request for a passport was required. My heart sank, because I had neither. I was about to call Erin and tell her to hold the plane reservation, but then I realized there were still a couple of hours before the passport part of the post office closed. If I leave right now...

I had half a thought to tell my boss I was sick as my excuse to leave early and use the same excuse the next day to explain my absence, but thought better of it and just told her the crazy truth instead: "Can I leave now so I can get a passport so I can fly to California tomorrow so I can be on a reality show?" Surprisingly, she was completely and totally supportive. For as spacey as she is, she's also a very free spirit.

So in the next several hours I applied for a passport, we filled out the 13 page applications, took pictures of ourselves and printed them, and made our 3-minute video of why we should be chosen. Our selling points were: a) we met working at a girls camp together where we learned a lot about resourcefulness and adaptability, b) we were single, unattached, and had useless bachelors degrees under our belts, and c) we were so intent on being considered that we FLEW to California to get the application in on time. This is the picture we included of us for the application:

After we got everything together we went to bed at midnight and woke up four short hours later to catch our flight at 6am. This is me, happy to be on the plane:

This is Erin, finishing her application while we wait for the plane:

This is what it looks like...

...when we're about here in our flight:

Long Beach Airport is essentially nothing more than a large relocatible. See, look:

So we landed and set out on our next task: trying to navigate the bus system. Erin had printed out basic instructions on how to get to the address on our package, so we started from there. We got on a bus which dropped us off at a Metro station, at which point we decided to go into Carl's Jr. to use the restroom. While politely waiting for an open stall, Erin and I exchange embarassed glances while we hear the unfortunate sounds of someone with SEVERE indigestion in one of the stalls. I use the restroom and as Erin is about to take my stall, a heavyset man emerges from the other stall and walks straight out the door. You heard me... a man, in the women's room. Furthermore, he didn't wash his hands before he made a beeline out the door. This was just our first encounter with the characters in the Long Beach area.

Next, we weren't sure we were getting on the right train, so Erin asked a man at our stop, "does this train go to Compton?" He merely nodded, so we shrugged and got on. As we found a seat I notice the man who had nodded sat right across from us, but Erin obviously didn't because she said rather loudly, "I'll bet that guy doesn't even speak English." I give her a look, and she realizes shortly thereafter that the guy was right next to us and had heard her comment. When we both made eye contact he smiled, pointed at a map on the bus, and said, "Compton." Erin just about melted into a puddle of embarassment while I laughed at her. This is the speed limit right outside the metro stop:

And this is Erin clutching our precious cargo, right before she put her foot in her mouth:

At the Compton stop we hopped onto another bus, but were wondering out loud whether it was the one going in the right direction. A handful of people on the bus told us that we were in fact on the wrong one and were all at the same time telling us how to get back onto the right track. Thanks, team metro 125!

This is me, once we HAD found the right bus. At this point we hadn't seen another white person for about half an hour:

We finally got off the bus about 45 minutes later in El Segundo. The bus had dropped us off on Main Street, and that was the address on the package. So we wandered up Main Street only a little ways until we hit our destination. It wasn't a big CBS studio and we weren't greeted by the producer of the show like we were hoping... in fact, it was a UPS store and we were greeted by a woman who had a big bucket of packages for the Amazing Race similar to ours. We consoled ourselves with the thought that surely no one else had come as far as we did to hand-deliver their package. But still, Erin was not as thrilled about it as she looks in this picture:

Well, our purpose for being there had been fulfilled, so we backtracked to familiar territory so we wouldn't get too lost for the rest of the day. On our way back to Long Beach we found this staircase at the metro stop:

At this same metro station I used a $20 bill to purchase a $1.25 metro pass, and ended up receiving $18 in Susan B. Anthony dollar coins. My purse was suddenly ten pounds heavier, and I was suddenly more inclined to give money to the homeless people who would ask for it, just to get them out of my purse.

Upon boarding the train we were shortly thereafter joined by these two characters. One, wearing a ball cap on top of a cowboy hat. The other, reading his paper with his face about two inches away from it, with a pair of perfectly good glasses in his left hand. These were the only two of the many characters we encountered that we were able to photograph without being noticed.

On this same train ride a black man with one prosthetic eye started talking to us like he was continuing a conversation he had already started (which perhaps he did, but we weren't privy to it.) He was telling us about how a lady in the train behind us had her purse stolen and was giving us all kinds of tips about how to keep that from happening to us, because we were white (still are, in fact) and seemingly easy targets. He then proceeded to tell us about how he had been mugged by three guys, one of which had cracked him in the back of the head with a baseball bat and had knocked his eye clean out of his head and into his hand. He painted quite the picture, and we got the message: if we wanted to keep our purses and eyes in tact, keep them close and be careful.

After finding our way back to Long Beach we ate a quick lunch from Albertsons (after our encounter with Mr. Indigestion in the women's room we didn't dare eat at any of the fast food establishments around us), and then boarded a bus that we thought was taking us south toward the ocean and the Aquarium. It was in fact heading north, which I didn't figure out until about 20 minutes into the bus ride, so we hopped off the bus and waited for the one coming in the other direction. It was at this point that the 2 or so hours of sleep we had received the night before was starting to catch up to us, and Erin discovered this under the lid of the Sobe drink she had. It pretty much summed up how we felt about the Long Beach area generally:

We finally made our way to the Aquarium and saw a lot of cool things. My favorite part was the touch pools, where they allowed us to touch rays and sharks and sponges and things like that. Here's Erin demonstrating:

After the Aquarium we made our way over to the rocky shore and sat, staring out into the ocean for 45 minutes or so. Then we took our buses back to the airport, and ended up landing back in Salt Lake at 10:45pm.

It was a lot of fun and we had a really good time, and it gave us a taste of what navigating strange cities will be like if we do indeed make it on the Amazing Race. It also gave me a greater appreciation for everything I have, because spending the day on California public transit and being surrounded by those who were pretty severely without made me realize how blessed I truly am. But more importantly, it made me realize how I really should learn how to tell North from South without the Wasatch mountains to guide me before I attempt any kind of Race, Amazing or otherwise.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The predictable Thanksgiving post

I feel like I'm in a fairly selfish part of my life. I seem to justify focusing on my own needs by telling myself that I need to find some kind of stability in MY life before I can help anyone else with theirs. This is bogus thinking and I recognize that, but it's an easy pattern to fall into.

Consequently I do my share of unneccessary complaining. So in order to counteract this bad ju-ju that I send into the universe, I thought I'd make a list of things I'm grateful for, especially lately. This list is not comprehensive and is in no particular order.

My knowledge of who I am, where I came from, and what I'm doing here (the Gospel of Jesus Christ.)
Blankets (my house is kept at a less-than-cozy 65 degrees.)
My silly, silly family.
My wonderful friends (that's you guys! You made the list!)
My sense of responsibility (thanks Dad!)
My tailor-made trials.
Popcorn (my life-long vice.)
Costa Vida chicken salads (my recent vice.)
Living in a country with freedoms, rights, and privileges.
Having a house to come home to, regardless of temperature (I spend a lot more time around the homeless than I used to.)
A job (not always MY job, but having one at all.)
The 18 months I spent as a missionary (the most invaluable 18 months of my life).
The countless wonders and beauties of the world (I've been watching the Planet Earth series again.)
My health.
My sense of humor (again, thanks Dad. I blame all the especially goofy things I say on him.)

There's a lot more and I could go on, but this covers the basics. I hope each of you had a good Thanksgiving and that your holidays are looking bright. If not, let me know and I'll see what I can do to arrange some brightening.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wise guy, huh?

Many of you who read this blog regularly have been the recipient of one of my token lectures. For whatever reason I like to convince myself that I'm the authority on how people should behave and I take whatever opportunity I can to inform people of what they're doing wrong. I really don't know where I get the nerve, and I'm a lot better about it than I used to be, but I still catch myself doing it sometimes.

Some of these lectures boiled down to one or two sentences include:
  • If you're not happy with your circumstances, change them. You aren't as powerless as you convince yourself you are.
  • Belittling yourself is the cheapest way to get attention from someone and, in truth, makes people want to spend less time with you. Choose a new attention strategy because it's not working, and I refuse to encourage your behavior.

  • The liberalization of women has led to the feminization of men. Women have had to learn how to make themselves happy which terrifies the initiative out of men.

  • You are not an incomplete person just because you don't have a significant other. (See The Missing Piece Meets the Big "O" by Shel Silverstein)

Anyway, I give a general apology to the universe for the times that I may have sat any of you down and lectured you about social graces. Any time I get on any one of these soap boxes something happens shortly thereafter to humble me and remind me that I have no excuse to be telling ANYONE how to behave.

Tonight I rediscovered a really neat book I own called The Most Brilliant Thoughts of All Time (In Two Lines or Less) edited by John M. Shanahan. So, to make recompense for the times I've given any of you pride-prompted wisdom, I now give you some actual wisdom from people whose reputations in history have withstood the test of time:

How many people become abstract as a way of appearing profound!
- Joseph Joubert 1752-1826

The man who can't dance thinks the band is no good.
- Polish Proverb

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.
- Thomas a' Kempis 1380-1471

What was hard to endure is sweet to recall.
- Continental Proverb

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.
- Alfred Adler 1870-1937

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807-1882

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
- Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862

Those are just a few of my favorite ones. It makes me wish my thoughts would come out so eloquently.

Short summary of what I've been up to: work, raking leaves, and Jazz games (3 in the last 2 weeks, thanks to a generous roommate who works for them).

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Home on the range

My roommate is in the market for a horse. She found a few baby horses for sale in Evanston, Wyoming and decided to take a morning trip out there on Saturday morning to see them, and I decided to tag along.

One of the horses nibbling at my camera case.

First of all, it was an awfully windy day on the Wyoming plains. And with everything once green now dead and winter swiftly approaching it wasn't the most colorful of landscapes (though some people tell me that's how it always looks year round). My roommate and I discussed how the pioneers crossing the plains must have gotten to Wyoming and said "Zion my frostbitten foot! I'm going back!" But for some reason, the barren openness of it all was also endearing. Or maybe it's the lifestyle that is so prevalent in such open areas that I find so intriguing.

This ranching family who was selling the horses had no doubt been up since before dawn. I doubt any of them had watched more than the evening news on TV for many years now, and they talked a lot about the land while we were there and spoke of their horses as children. I wished for a moment I could live that life... and then a bone-chilling gust of wind would blow and I'd change my mind.

This is their dog. The reason you only count three legs in this picture is because he only HAS three legs. But man, I've never seen a better cattle-chasing dog in my life! And, he was very friendly.

That's all I have time for now, but hopefully I'll have time later today to post on some more of my adventures as of late.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The clouds of apostasy are parting...

...or are they gathering more darkly?

I grew up a gameshow fanatic. I went to a year-round elementary school and would spend my daytimes while off-track watching the same daily line-up of gameshows: Supermarket Sweep, Shop 'til you Drop, Win Lose or Draw, Name that Tune, Hollywood Squares, and Press Your Luck. But these were all merely ways to pass the long weekdays until Saturday mornings would roll around, and my favorite gameshow of all time would come on: American Gladiators.

I don't know what it is about this steroid-induced, big-haired, patriotic spandex fest that entranced me so, but it did. When my younger brother and I would get really mad at each other we would take our argument to the trampoline and engage in what we referred to as "Greer Gladiators" (the only rule being that the first one to bleed or to cry lost.) Also, I had my gladiator name all picked out in case they needed me: Bonzai. Yes, I'm aware that I'm not Asian. Now.

Anyway, I've recently read something that informs me that "they" are bringing back American Gladiators to prime-time television within the next couple of months. I'm filled with mixed emotions... happy that I will be reunited with the show I once loved so dearly (and still enjoy watching reruns of on ESPN Classic), but I know that it just won't be the same. In fact, if it's anything like what the reinvented $100,000 Pyramid was like (hosted by Donny Osmond), I would rather not see it at all.

So I submit this question to my readers... if you were a gladiator, what would your name be? Or do you have favorite gameshows you grew up watching?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!

As promised, here are a few pictures from the Halloween party at my house. I didn't take nearly as many as I thought I did. I think it was because every time I picked up my camera to take more, someone distracted me and I put the camera back down. So, some of my friends and their awesome costumes didn't make it to my blog, and I apologize.

But, here are a few. This is Garrett as Wario.

This is Katey as a stick man.

This is Robin as Wednesday Addams (which was cool, because we had just been watching Addams Family Values before she came.)
This is me playing Operation with Eric, who showed an hour early to the party accidentally.
And this is my roommates and I. I'm the one with horns who isn't Satan.

One more... This is when my friend Lewis decided I made a great hat rack.

I decided my viking name would be Volsunga the Unsettling. I'm sure I would have made the history books with Ivan the Terrible and Alexander the Great if I had actually been a viking.

It was a fun party, and thanks to everyone that came! Believe it or not, I still have to wear that costume two more times. I guess I'm getting my money's worth... though I think from now on I'm going without the wig. If I've learned anything from this Halloween, it is that I am NOT a cute blonde.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I killed a caterpillar...

...and I feel bad about it. But that's only one of the many things that went on this weekend.

Friday night I helped my mom put on a spook alley for the primary kids coming to her trunk-or-treat. Because the spook alley was inside the church, we had to walk the line between mildly eerie and downright evil, and sometimes it was a tricky line not to cross. For instance, we had a gypsy telling fortunes, but her fortunes were along the lines of "If you eat all of your candy tonight, you will get very ill," or "If you decide to serve a mission, you will learn many things." We had the usual boxes of gross things to touch, spider webbing, fog machine, and a skeleton with Groucho Marx glasses-and-nose on so it wouldn't be too frightening. We only made one girl cry, and it was because she was frightened that she was glowing under the black light. I don't have any pictures of this evening, but just envision me dressed as a viking leading groups of kids through the silliest excuse for a spook alley ever.

You heard me, a viking. Simmer down, I'll show you in a minute.

Saturday morning my roommate Jenny and I joined a handful of other young single adults in the surrounding stakes to go mountain biking on the Rail Trail between Park City and Coalville. Considering I have barely touched my bike since my mission it was pretty bold of me to think I could ride 19 miles all at once, but I was guaranteed that the trail was all downhill or flat, so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

We were told it was a 19 mile trek, and there were convenient mile markers along the trail to help us keep track. There were also two pit-stops along the way where young adult leaders were waiting with water and snacks. Like this:

The first two-thirds of the trail were a lot of fun... mostly downhill, beautiful rural scenery. The last 8 miles or so was less fun because it was all flat and the trail was a lot rougher. Actually, as I wearily rode past the 19 mile marker and saw that there was still quite a ways to go I began cursing the adult leaders under my breath for being liars, and hoping that this wasn't some kind of faith-building "appreciate your pioneer heritage because THEY didn't know how far it was to the end either" kind of activity. It was actually 22 miles total; the leader had just miscalculated the number of miles.

At the end Jenny and I celebrated by drinking four CapriSun sport drink pouches each, two at a time. We were thirsty.
I would recommend the Rail Trail to anyone. Well, the first 14 miles or so of it anyway. Start in Park City, end in Wanship, and you have yourself a pleasant fall Saturday afternoon. Keep going to Coalville, and you have a good workout as well.

Oh, this is where the caterpillar comes in. Somewhere between Park City and Promontory (our first stop) I accidentally ran over a furry orange-and-black caterpillar, who was just trying to innocently cross the trail. It looked like this:
Which means, one less of these will be around. I apologize.

Okay, this went longer than I thought. I'll blog about the halloween party (with pictures of Haley the Viking) later when I have more time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No mere mortal can resist...

In the spirit of Halloween, I thought maybe I’d blog about things that creep me out. These are going to be pretty random (or seemingly so), but here they go:

Box Elder Bugs. I lived in a house a couple of summers ago that was absolutely infested with them, and I’d regularly wake up in the middle of the night with one crawling on my arm or my cheek or my ear. I used to have a rule about bugs; if they’re on their turf they can live, if they’re on my turf they’re dead. But now, Box Elder bugs are dead wherever I find them. Vengeance will be mine!

The sound of scraping ice. I don’t know why, but this has the same effect on me as nails on a chalkboard. I get goosebumps and my jaw tightens and my shoulders shrug up near my ears and I just want to curl into a ball. So you can imagine how fun it is for me to try and scrape my car windows in the wintertime. I feel like a Tyrannosaurus Rex because my arms don’t want to extend out from my body [enter reference to the movie Meet the Robinsons here.]

Guts. Not blood, just the guts. I can see all the blood in the world, as long as it’s not covering internal tissues. Those videos of operations and scopes going into bodies and what not are just TOO much for me to handle. I almost fainted in 2nd grade when our well-meaning teacher showed us a clip of a heart operation. You know those anti-smoking commercials where they chop the lung in half to show you all the junk that is in there? ACK. I hide my eyes every time.

Bodies of water where I can’t see the bottom. I LOVE playing in the water, but if there is even the slightest possibility of something living swimming around me and potentially taking off one of my legs, then I won’t do it. Clear lakes are fine. Murky, seaweedy ones are not. And in the ocean, while I’ll splash around near the shore, I sure won’t go far.

Hypnotists. I can’t believe people would willingly surrender their free agency to a guy who is often creepy looking and intends to make a fool out of you. That’s not right.

Provo. I’m not lying about this, and I’m sure a lot of it is just in my head, but the handful of times I’ve spent any extended amount of time in Provo I always get the heebie jeebies.

That’s plenty I think. This weekend I’m running a spook alley for my mom’s primary kids and having a gigantic Halloween party, so look forward to pictures from that.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Usually this time of morning the only thing I'm pondering is the inside of my eyelids, but about ten minutes ago I woke up feeling more nauseous than I remember being in a long time. I blame the meal I had last night at Ruby River Steakhouse (which was not good) before seeing Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D(which was very good). So in an attempt to settle my stomach I'm drinking a Dr. Pepper (which was the only carbonated beverage I could find in the house), and while I let the good doctor do his thing, I thought that I'd blog a little bit about nothing. I usually don't drink the hard stuff; rather, I drink Caffeine-free Diet Dr. Pepper when I drink the stuff at all (my friend Bust calls it "super unleaded.") So ironically, the stuff I usually avoid to get a good night's rest is the very thing I'm using to try and go back to sleep. Ha.

So what's on my mind at this hour of the morning? Not a whole lot. I can't even remember if I was in the middle of a meaningful dream or not. Dreams are silly... I had a professor once describe dreams as being like "a bunch of overhead transparencies stacked on top of one another and your brain trying to make sense of the picture it sees as a result." I think that's fairly accurate; however I have no idea how my subconscious has access to some of the things it drudges up. Maybe I'll describe some of my most bizarre dreams for your entertainment while I drink the last of my soda and then I'll try to go back to bed.

A couple years ago I had a dream that I was on a beach of some sort, and I had a carton of orange juice in my hand. For some reason, the orange juice carton was the embodiment of a woman I taught on my mission named Wendi. And, for whatever reason, I was arguing with it (or, uh, her.) She (as the carton of orange juice) was being sassy with me, and I kept threatening that if she didn't stop her mouthing off that I was going to drink her until she was gone, and then she'd be sorry. She persisted and so I began to guzzle away, and I remember her pleading with me to stop. At this point in my dream I woke up.

Another time in high school I dreamed that my friend Cammie and I were in a field of waist-high weeds, just chatting and shooting the breeze. Then suddenly we heard something rustling in the weeds. It was a pack (or herd or gaggle or whatever) of weasels! So Cammie and I ran for our lives, terrified, to a nearby abandoned car in the middle of this field and barricaded ourselves inside. As we were watching the weasels jump and claw at the windows and doors, the last thought I remember thinking before I woke up was "Wait... it's not like they're bears or lions or something; they're weasels. What are they going to do, nibble at our ankles?"

I've only had one recurring dream, and it isn't even a specific dream as just a theme of a dream. Every now and then I'll have a dream that a boy with whom I'm friends but toward whom I have no romantic interest will somehow convince me to marry him. So the dream usually is about the time after engagement but before marriage trying to figure out how I can gracefully get out of the situation without hurting anyone's feelings before the deal is done and it's too late. Every now and then it's already too late, and I'm trying to figure out how to get out of the marriage. Kind of strange... it's always a different boy and a different setting, but the same plot unfolds. Is it some kind of message from the heavens warning me about something? As much as I hate conflict, I'm pretty sure I have enough of a spine by now that I'd definitely end things before they were taken that far in real life.

Contrarily, every now and then I'll dream about a boy with whom I am sublimely happy and comfortable and safe with, and we'll talk and laugh and battle wits and go on adventures together, but it's always a boy that I don't recognize and I can NEVER see his face. It's almost as if he were standing in the bright sunshine and were a silhouette so that I can't see any detail every time I consciously try to figure out who it is I'm with. Weird.

Well, my Dr. Pepper is gone and I'm feeling a bit better, so I'm going to try this sleep thing again. Thanks for allowing me to spend this time of nausea with you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"It's only life after all..."

I have a confession: I’m blogging at work.
Well, I’m pseudo-blogging. I’m typing this into a word document to be emailed to myself later today, to be opened and entered into my blog this evening. I’ve found as of late that by the time I get home from work I can’t recall any of the profound things that go through my head during a workday, so I’m going to write as I go. Not only that, but my evenings tend to fill up with things more important than blogging. (“Nonesense! There’s nothing more important than blogging, Haley!”)

Things more important than blogging include:

Parties. My pal Garrett and I combined forces to throw a bit of a party last weekend. There were lots of people there from all kinds of different social spheres, and it seemed from my corner of the crowded room that everyone was enjoying themselves. For more on this party see Garrett’s blog.

Weddings. Saturday I drove to Logan to witness a friend of mine get married. It was a civil marriage held in a very full relief society room. As I sat through the ceremony with babies crying and music coming from a boom-box on someone’s lap and someone’s cell phone going off fairly loudly TWICE during the proceedings, I made a solemn vow to myself… that I’d never allow the song “From This Moment” by Faith Hill be played within 500 yards of my wedding. Oh, and that I’d never get married in a relief society room.

Guitars. I did have some down-time on Sunday that I could have used
blogging, but decided instead to practice my guitar. I took a guitar class last semester that taught me a lot of cool things, and I know I’ll lose that ability (as well as the calluses on my fingers) if I don’t keep it up. Right now I’m working on perfecting the songs Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, Gimme One Reason by Tracy Chapman, and Closer to Fine by the Indigo Girls. This is my guitar. Yes, it's blue. Rad, I know.

Exercise. No explanation necessary. I have more energy when I do it…so I did it Monday instead of blogging.

Boss’s Day. You heard me. You may correctly remember that I frequently struggle appreciating my own boss, but my roommate Cristi’s boss I have nothing against. Consequently, I helped her make “gourmet” caramel apples Monday night to give him in honor of the occasion. We learned many valuable lessons in the process; primarily, that dipping caramel-covered apples in another warm substance (such as chocolate) just has the tendency to re-melt the hardened caramel and cause EVERYTHING on the apple to slide in the direction of gravity’s pull. They didn’t turn out as well as we’d hoped, but still, they’re better than a sharp popsicle stick in the eye. Here, look:

Temples. Last night was temple night for my ward, so I went. I had good intentions to blog afterward, but I started talking with my roommates and before I knew it, it was midnight.

So you see gentle reader, I’ve been a busy girl. But I do appreciate all you that bother to read this in the first place. And in the future, I’ll try and keep fresh material coming more frequently than I have this week.

By the way, the picture at the beginning of the blog is another example of me wasting time at work. I found a room full of puppets and sneakily took some pictures of them before anyone could catch me. Could you imagine the look I would have gotten if I had been caught? :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Grumpy pants

I had a fairly average day at work today until the last 15 minutes before I went home, when I had an encounter with my boss that made me all kinds of grumpy.

Now for those of you who know me well at all, you know that I'm generally a happy person who is not inclined to let grumpiness last for long. But for whatever reason, I couldn't shake the grumpy funk from me.

I arrived at home to find that my roommate had purchased me a pair of sweatpants that were on clearance from Old Navy. Bright yellow with white racing stripes down the sides, for only $4. Surely no one wearing such affordable yellow pants can be grumpy for long, right?

Wrong. Notwithstanding the bright happy color and the extreme comfort of the pants (I'm telling you, they're awesome), I persisted with my foul mood. In fact, I declared them to be my "grumpy pants" so I would never forget the day I received them.

I then began to make pinatas for a work function tomorrow, which turned out like this:

In the process I managed to slice open my finger with some scissors. Cursing the day under my breath I rustled through our cupboard for some kind of bandage to stop the bleeding, and that's when I found the cure to my grumpiness:

That's right. A Darth Maul band-aid. For whatever reason, one of the grumpiest characters ever conceived is what finally made the stormcloud over my head go away. Let this be a lesson to you all... I'm not exactly sure what kind of lesson, but surely you've learned something from this story. Even if it is only that the Old Navy at the Gateway mall is having an awesome clearance sale.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

"If you want this choice position, have a cheery disposition..."

I have a tendency to avoid anything that might make me seem like a typical man-hating LDS single girl who is obsessed with the fact that she is not married and every waking thought is geared towards how to resolve that "problem."

Because, well, I'm not that girl.

However, even the most "happy-to-be-me" girls in this world have moments of frustration about the LDS dating scene. And I AM one of those girls.

My singles ward has been lovingly referred to as the Island of Misfit Toys from that Rudolph cartoon. Everyone in the ward has some kind of eccentricity to some degree. I wouldn't dare say where I figure myself to be on the spectrum, but I acknowledge that I'm on it somewhere. And as far as romantic prospects go in my ward, they're pretty slim at this point. My brand of eccentricity just isn't quite compatable with the brands or degrees displayed by the boys in my ward. But, we all get along just fine as friends! We all hang out 'till we're blue in the face! And it is inside this whirling vortex of meaningless fun that I find myself stuck now.

I'm a big believer in actively trying to change your circumstances if you're not happy with them. And, since this year I've had at least 6 friends get married as a result of a successful blind date, I'm officially declaring myself completely and totally open to them. Really. I know they're not for everyone, but I consider myself a person who gets along easily with just about anyone, and though I may not be everyone's ideal date, I wouldn't send them screaming from me either.
So! If you know any guys you think I'd get along with who are pretty open to meeting new people, let me know. I am trying to make this blind date thing happen with my friends as well, so if you'd like me to return the favor I'll see what I can do.

As for you marrieds... Congratulations on not having to worry about this anymore. And I promise to have a more universal theme for my next entry...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A whole lotta me

Alright, for lack of patience to conjure up actual thoughts, I thought I'd accept yet another tag from our friend Robin. This one is about my many faces, so if you're not such a fan of my face, move along.

This is me at work. That's usually my expression while I'm there, too.

This is me when the waitress gives us giant pitchers of lemonade on spring break.

This is me when I've driven all the way to Arizona to see a really good show.
This is me when my friend steals my camera and then says something silly. This is me when I'm proud to have cooked my own beef.
This is me (and Wendy) when we try to walk to Idaho from Logan.
This is me being creepy for halloween.

This is me when I'm a wolf.

This is me when my brother wants to go to the salt flats for a photo shoot on a really windy day.

I think that's plenty. Truth is, I really don't have that many faces, do I?