May your heart always be joyful, may your song always be sung, and may you stay, may you stay forever young

I mailed something to Tanmarie’s house, as the mail service is spotty at best, unfortunately and inconveniently, at the Crestwood. On my way to pick it up, I called to see if I could do a quick wash before my trip, at their house. Sure they said. Then I asked if Tanner could read my paper I was writing. Oh, and how about a ride from the airport on Sunday? Mwahahah.

The only thing more dangerous than giving a mouse a cookie, is trouble with a capital T, that rhymes with P, that stands for Pool! Yes, family is wonderful.

My tires have been having some issues all winter, but this last week, I awoke to another flat tire, on my return visit to the DENTIST no less. I noticed some screws around my TWO flat tires, and having parked near the Crestwood’s maintenance shed, I couldn’t take any more. Steamed, I stormed in, to discover that management hadn’t arrived yet, even though they should have. I was now already late for my dentist appointment, but I waited until someone showed up a few minutes later to show what I found. He acknowledged their complicity in allowing the screws to be left loose, but offered no resolution, so I left to confront another nuisance. Aye the teeth. Cue the pain.

This chain of dental offices has billboards all up and down the valley and most advertise their willingness to sedate you for your anxiety. If only I could trust them enough for that. But I can’t, and I don’t want to be put under in any case, so eyes wide open I went in. Knowing that there was literally no place I’d rather avoid as much as the dentist, I asked him where was his least favorite place to go. The DMV. PUHLEEEEEEASE. Tell me if the DMV has ever dropped a screw down your mother’s throat. Disregarding my hesitance, the dentist tells me it’ll be a quick and easy fix to fill those high falutin cavities, shoots some numbing agent that makes my cheek bones tickle, and turns me over to the young, inexperienced hygienist who calls a veteran over to help ratchet my mouth open to attack these side holes. The dentist must have shot me with some elephant tranquilizers as I couldn’t feel anything, but being fully aware mentally, I was annoyed to no end to be the guinea pig for this hygienist, working on her technique. Laying near helpless with light shining in my eyes I impatiently pondered big questions. A visit to the dentist always turns existential.

Finally, the wedges were in and the hygienist went to get the dentist again. My face felt like a slug taking a nap, and as if on cue, the music switched from Elton John to American Pie. Yes Doc, I’m ready. I don’t feel anything. If you don’t have dental anxiety already, go when Don McLean is singing the chorus. “This will be the day that I die, This will be the day that I die!!!!!!!!!!!”

Everything turns out alright, and I’m sent on my way. He tells me not to eat for a while, and I try to ask about drinking water, as all my saved hydration from 6 months exited my sweat glands in 20 minutes, and he seems to understand, gives a chuckle, says maybe from a water fountain, but good luck. Sure enough, this slug isn’t quite ready to wake up, and I walk curiously to the bathroom. I look normal, maybe some slight swelling, but the muscles have gone on strike and don’t respond to the simplest command. I head over for a scheduled meeting with a professor, after slurping from all the water fountains on the way and force a few sentences out with tremendous effort, mentally making my lips do the harlem shake to get any movement. That done, time to go home. I’ll be upping my brushing and flossing to new levels.

In all seriousness, I felt great empathy from my two hour experience of facial paralysis and could not imagine enduring more than that. It was completely foreign not being able to control something so normal, and I did not enjoy the frustration.

The next day, Wednesday, I went on a date with Camilla. She is from a small-town (like under 300 people small) in northern Wyoming. We went and got ice cream at the Creamery, and were joined by Lawson, his date, and Kimball and his fiance. Camilla is studying dietetics, and served in the Riverside California Mission. I had a great time, and our schedules didn’t work out this week, but next Thursday we’re going to the Bean Museum together. Which I’ve never visited before.

Upon learning that I live in the Crestwood, she asked if I knew a McKay. I said only by name. Turns out he is from her town, and was one of the 20 kids she graduated with. I look him up, trying to remember if I’ve met him before, but its a negative. Then, on Saturday, while waiting for pizza orders, I run down to check the mail and run into him! We chat and on Sunday he came to church with me, his first visit in almost a year. McKay is studying film at BYU, and was incredibly nice, full of character, and will hopefully continue to come to church now.

Pizza was slow, as I expected. I only passed out a handful of flyers, and thus only got a handful of calls. I did this because turns out I’ll be going to BRAZIL!!!! This was an unexpected development, as I had applied for a grant on more of a whim than anything. I’m finalizing plans, but will be leaving in March to go do research in Rio de Janeiro. So, pizza is on a bit of a pause. In addition, I’m leaving tomorrow morning (Thursday) for a conference in Philadelphia.

Saturday morning, I went to Wal-Mart and was dismayed to discover the tires couldn’t be fixed, but would need to be replaced. Of course, after a week of pumping them up every time I needed to go somewhere, I knew the only option would be to bite the bullet and buy them. Even for the cheapest option, the total for two new tires came to just over $200. Ah the joys of adulthood. I don’t know if spending money makes me upset because I’m too attached to money, or because I feel like I’m overpaying. I returned home, went again to the Crestwood, and this time they ponied up $150 for me, which greatly helped, and made me keep my generous online rating of them.

Yesterday I attended a speech given by Ryan Anderson, a renowned defender of the family who works with the Heritage Foundation. I ran into Deseret News columnist Hal Boyd, and he fondly recalled his scouting days with my dad as his scoutmaster.

I was surprised to realize that there are no institutions besides religious ones that really help people get and stay married. I appreciated Anderson’s rhetoric, that marriage should be viewed as a cornerstone and not a capstone. In his speech, he went through the cycle of life twice, walking us through an idealized version (i.e. conceived in a marriage to loving parents, etc.) and then through a realistic one, where not only is early life affected, but so is later life, which I admittedly have not thought about much. He attributed the lack of children and loneliness to the push for assisted suicide, and noted only with the advancement of medicine society has pushed for this, and said that is because this is not a medical problem, but a community issue. Interestingly, there are now places in Europe where the birth rate has been so low for years that there is a generation of people who do not know what it means to be a brother or sister. They have no aunts or uncles, and thus no cousins. I could not imagine growing up without an extended family, but I also thought of the scriptural implications, and perhaps because of my reading of East of Eden this last week, my mind fixated on Cain’s question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

I am so thankful for family, for its eternal nature, and for the truths we know to be true, in accordance with The Family: A Proclamation to the World that we are all a “beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny….The Family is ordained of God. Marriage between a man and woman is essential to His eternal plan…Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Merry February

Monday for FHE we had a family history scavenger hunt. The activity was fun, and turnout was fantastic. Talking about family history… my ancestry dna results are in! My ethnicity snapshot is:

-61% England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe

-24% Germanic Europe

-13% Ireland and Scotland

-2% Norway

Interestingly, this is quite different from Tanner’s results.

On Tuesday per usual, I attended the weekly devotional, this time given by Elder Ulisses Soares (from Brasil!). Upon concluding, I went to the Wilk to see if my black leather right-handed glove had been found. Alas it hadn’t, but from Lost and Found only twenty steps separated me from the bowling alley and faster than prune juice makes its exit, I had made my entrance. Not having bowled in 11 months, I was pleasantly surprised with a score of 156. This was my free game of the year, given to students, but with shoes already on, the temptation to score higher was too much, and I bowled another two games, my score successively creeping lower. I had a really good time.

Strike!

Tuesday I also went to Costco to look at potentially getting a card. Turns out their mozzarella and pepperoni are not cheap, so it doesn’t make much sense to. But I walked around (and around) looking as that day their samples were fire. Traditionally I haven’t been a sushi guy, but even that was delicious then.

Wednesday I had Jeni over for a dinner date (only my second time ever doing dinner for a date) and we were joined by ex-roommate Derik and his fiance Mandy. We had corn chowder, rolls, salad, and chocolate pie for dessert. Jeni kindly brought lemonade, limeade and croutons.

The Dentist – visiting is when i feel like i’m actually adulting, as its still hard to do without my mom or someone supporting me, BUT I DO IT! My appointment was on Thursday. Unfortunately, and unbelievably, as I know not a single person more fanatical over mouth care than me, I had 3 cavities. Which means a return visit. Ah the joy.

Saturday morning, after a slow night of pizza on Friday, I drove the 260 miles to St. George to attend Derik and Mandy’s sealing. I could only stay for about an hour, but it was worth every second. The sealing was at 12:40, and was beautiful and inspiring. This was a small turnout, as their families couldn’t attend, and I knew that it was the right place for me to be. They had planned a ring ceremony at 4:30, but I left right after the sealing. Needing to get gas, I ended up taking the smallest of detours to visit the Pioneer Museum in town. I rushed through, and would enjoy visiting again. Best artifacts that I saw? Both coincidentally involved weddings. The first was a hair wreath. Made to be worn by the bride, the wreath was made of human hair. And while perhaps it looked better 140 years ago, I felt nauseous. There was a slightly younger wedding fruitcake preserved there as well. I’ve heard said in jest that only one fruit cake exists in the whole world and is simply passed around because no one wants it. This exhibit refuted that, but I’ll admit 1- I don’t like fruitcake. 2- 100+ years the cake was going strong and makes the McDonald’s Big Mac and fries look utterly lame when it comes to preservation.

My feels on V-day.

 

Sunday night I attended a devotional by Doug Callister, emeritus member of the second quorum of the seventy. This was without a doubt one of the best firesides I’ve ever heard. He ran a law firm with his brother Tad, in Glendale, Arizona, and they would serve concurrently as General Authorities, before Doug’s release 10 years ago. He spoke humbly, yet powerfully, with rhetoric of yesteryear, speaking eloquently with plenty of literary quotations and the like. Oh, and without any notes.  My favorite lines he quoted from an Elizabeth Browning poem, Aurora Leigh:

Earth’s crammed with Heaven,

And every common bush afire with God,

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes.

The main theme revolved around prayer, and he promised that if we would choose only one blessing we would like, and one blessing we are grateful for, and follow that pattern for 40 days, choosing something new each day, each time conversing with our Father in Heaven about only those two things, then the way we prayed would change and we would draw closer to our Father.

He talked about being called as a stake president at age 31, by then Apostle Spencer Kimball. Elder Kimball called him in, said he was called, and said he’d leave for 10 minutes so Pres. Callister could choose his counselors. The lesson: The Lord can inspire you in 10 minutes as easily as two months, but you must get on your knees.

Of everything I miss from my mission, most of all, I miss testifying of eternal truths constantly. Elder Callister noted that Heavenly Father has only spoken a handful of recorded times, but every time He bears testimony of His Son, Jesus Christ. We are never as near to our Heavenly Father as when we bear testimony of our Savior.

 

Goodbye Rockwell’s

This week was signing day, and I’d like to announce that I’ve signed with Victory Pizza. That’s right, I’ve stopped looking for a job post-graduation and I am going to give this a real shot. Friday was our first real day selling, and while it didn’t go as I hoped, Saturday was a hit, and I stayed busy,  making and delivering and ironing out the bugs in the system. Friday afternoon I had canvassed my apartment complex with flyers, putting one on each of the roughly 90 apartments. I had put that flyer together on Friday afternoon in 30 minutes, and while I was pleased with the end result, Tanner redid it and this week I plan on putting out 500. And if this weekend goes well, (my goal is 30 pies a night) then I’ll have a quick turnaround and be ready with a heart shaped pizza for Valentine’s week. I’m already making a profit, but beyond that, it’s been so much fun learning and solving problems and legitimately running my own business. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time someone called, asking, “Hi, is this Victory Pizza? I’d like to place an order.”

Part of the preparation in passing the inspection as a “cottage food” producer required that I have a separate fridge to keep ingredients just for pizza. I found one on Facebook for free and I went with my Tocqueville friend Henry Wright to pick it up in Pleasant Grove. I’ve cleaned it, and it works like a charm. Moving it up to the third floor was horrible, as the fridge was perspiring, we were all freezing, and the fridge was so hard to grip. But we did it.

Tuesday was the College Republican’s Opening Social, which I attended. The club president, Tyler Clancy, has done a fantastic job and gave a great speech on this night. I left early to go make visits with the Bishopric again.

Wednesday I had Aunt Joy and Uncle Ben over for dinner. They asked that it be gluten free, and we had yams, rice, delicious steak cooked with tamarind sauce, and a fruit bowl. Fudge was for dessert.

On Thursday I had a mutual date, going out with Colleen from Colorado. For whatever reason, I really struggle to say that name. We went to Rockwell’s, and talked for a while but I think both of us weren’t really feeling a connection. I’ve decided that this was my last visit to this place. It’s served me well, but I’m tired of going there, and think that in the future when I want an ice cream date, I’ll just make it.