Happy New Year

I cannot believe it's already the new year. I say every year that I have no idea where the last 12 months have gone, but this year I know exactly where they went. This year has been so insane. The most insane so far, in fact. The most wonderfully, painfully insane. I wouldn't trade even a single minute of it. Even the difficult ones. It's those that teach you what you're really made of. This year, I learned I'm made a strong stuff. I'm proud of that.

Looking at my new year post from last year, I have to laugh a little bit. Last year, I wasn't sure what the year would bring or where we would be. I was planning to finish my novel, but could see nothing beyond that. I could never have known at that point that things would take the awesome turns they have. We have been so incredibly blessed this year. 

This year in review... 

In January, Matt came to Utah for work for two weeks amid the start of his last semester in graduate school. He came home and I went to CA to see family for a week. We didn't see much of one another as our year started, spending one week together in January. 

In March he came back to Utah for an interview for a promotion, which he obviously got. This is the point at which Madness ensues. Moving is insane, particularly because our move was difficult. 

In April we barely survived the worst storms I have ever seen. Not to say they're the worst storms anyone has seen, but they were bad enough that Texas declared a state of national emergency afterward. A double hail storm destroyed my car to the tune of $10,000 damage. We barely got it back in time to move. 

In May Matt graduated with his MS in Management and Leadership and we moved. What a freaking nightmare the process of moving turned out to be. We ended up having to get a Uhaul and storage unit at the last minute. Not fun, that. The day after we got our car back, the day before we moved, another hail storm dented the crap out of my car...again. 

In June and July, we looked for a house after the one we planned to buy fell through. We also settled in to our new state and tried to learn to get around in Logan. In July I got a job and we had our first Pioneer Day. 

In August we moved into our house!

In September, my folks, Aunt Pam, and Candi came out to visit us for a week. They got to see our new house and we got to see Logan Canyon, Bear Lake, and some of the local attractions... including a local candy shop that we didn't even know was here. 

In the last few months since then we've worked on working out our schedules and trying to get into a groove. I work an 8:30am - 5:00pm schedule, while Matt works 2:30pm - 11:30pm. We rarely see one another, but we're making it work the best we can. It's lonely sometimes and we miss one another, but we make the most of the time we do have. It's lovely when we're together. 

As the new year approaches, I hope that it's less eventful than this one has been. My biggest hope for the year to come is that we'll continue to settle in and enjoy our new home. That things won't move too quickly, that we'll recognize the blessings as they come, and that we'll not take for granted all we have.


Too cold to what?!

It's snowing again. It snowed for several hours today, despite the weather channel saying it wouldn't. And now, it's snowing again. From our office windows at work today, I watched the snow coming down. It's so remarkably beautiful. I have never, ever seen so much snow. But, you know, this winter has been a learning experience, too. Cold weather is not all snow and fun. It can cause some weird, and often difficult, situations.

Take, for example, when I twisted my ankle last week. I was trying to walk from the car to the porch, but the walk hadn't been shoveled so there was a foot of snow. I could see Matt's footprints, where he had stepped down into the snow, and decided like a genius that I ran less risk of getting snow in my shoes (I wasn't wearing socks) if I followed in his footsteps... literally. As it turns out, his steps are longer and his gait is different. I took one wrong step, slipped a little, and twisted my foot. I just about went down, into the snow, which would have made me both hurt and angry. It's still hurting.

Or, take the fact that on Sunday our washing machine drain pipe (in the wall) overflowed and flooded half my bathroom. When the plumber came on Tuesday night, it was still clogged. Turns out the pipe had frozen. Our bathroom, where the pipes for the washer are, is on an outside wall. When it reaches into negative temps at night on a regular basis the pipes don't stand a chance. The plumber said that we could either cut a hole in the wall to let warmth into the pipes, or we could put ice melt (or water softener salt) down into the pipe to keep it from freezing/resolve any more freezes.

And, did you know it can actually be too cold to snow? My co-workers were saying that snow was a good thing because it meant the temperatures stayed up and it didn't get too cold. Um, it's already too cold if you ask me, but yeah. There's a perfect temp for snow. Not too warm, not too cold. When it gets too cold, it won't snow. That sounds crazy to me, but apparently it's a thing. For me, I'm glad it's snowing because it keeps powder on the ground and gives me traction. Almost every single day I just about take a spill in the very icy, very slippery parking lot. So snow, keep on coming!

Even still, with all the issues and the problems, I love it. I certainly wouldn't trade it for Texas (where they actually got a dusting of snow this last week, by the way). Nothing makes me feel better than to snuggle down in my bed, with my dogs, and read a book. Cold outside, snow falling; warm inside, bundled up. Utah is an amazing place.


Dreaming of a White... Thanksgiving?!

When I learned we were moving to Utah, the first thing I thought was "SNOW!!!" I couldn't wait to get here and get to winter so I could enjoy some real, honest to goodness snow! After all, living in both California and Texas, snow wasn't terribly regular and when it did snow it was always wet or icy. Never pretty, fluffy snow. Heck, I didn't even believe in fluffy, powdery snow. I cynically balked at the idea that snow could be powdery.

Well, I'm a believer now. This last weekend, we got the first real snow of the season. It snowed a bit at the beginning of November, too, but it wasn't much and it melted off the next morning. Thankfully, we were both off for the Thanksgiving holiday, so the snow coming down was something we got to enjoy from inside the house, through the picture window, with hot cocoa in hand. 

It. Was. GORGEOUS!!


Our lovely little house was covered in snow...


But the best part when when I woke up Saturday morning and the snow had returned. Everything was absolutely covered in the most lovely powdery snow! 

I sat and watched through the picture window in our living room as the snow fell for hours. I've never seen anything so pretty. I wish I could get a picture that would capture exactly how sparkly the snow here is. When the sun-light hits it, it looks like crushed diamonds. And when it's dark and the lights hit it, it sparkles. It's so pretty!

The locals (ha, I'm a local now!!) say the 3 or 4 inches we got this last weekend wasn't a whole lot for Utah, so I'm looking forward to much more snow. I hope we have a cold, snowy season.

For now, the snow has stuck around because it's so, so cold here. It was 6 degrees when I left for work this morning and Matt said it's supposed to get down to 2 degrees tonight. My hands literally went numb between the car and the house the other night. It's the coldest I've ever been for sure. And, I love it!

It just makes me feel so festive. I cannot wait for Christmas!


Then again, I've been feeling festive since Halloween, when we bought our christmas tree! Here's hoping for a snowy-white Christmas to go with our snowy-white Thanksgiving!!

Man, I love Utah!!

The Magic of the Move...

Matt and I went to breakfast together today. I took the day off because I had a ton of things to do that could only be done during the day, so we started by spending some time together. It's a big deal because we rarely see one another. Working opposite schedules is painful, but we're managing it with grace. At least, I think we are. We're making the most of the time we have together, but there are those times when I don't want to adult. I just want us to have more time together.  But today, we had a few stolen moments and it was wonderful.

We went to Herm's Inn. A local place, hidden nestled in "the island"--a neighborhood where the river runs up one side and down the other. It's tucked against the base of the mountain and only open for breakfast and lunch.


While eating, we talked about the magic of the move. Not just our recent move, but all moves. He enjoys discovering new places. He likes to find the gems and enjoy new environments. He likes to hunt down the local flavor, like Herm's, and experience new things. In short, he enjoys the adventure. He likes moving. 

I, on the other hand, hate to move. While I like to experience all the new places, I don't want to be unsettled. Anxiety and worry flood in and drown any sense of adventure I might have. When we moved here, I did pretty much everything. When our moving plans fell through, I made other plans. When we got here, I found us a place to live. I looked at houses, dealt with the realtor and mortgage broker, I do our budget. All of the business of moving is mine and while it helps with my anxiety, it also hurts it. 

But, I have to admit. I wanted to leave Texas as much as he did. I wanted to find greener pastures. I wanted to experience something new. I just wanted it to be permanent, which is ridiculous. Nothing is forever. Not even this. It has made me think, though, about all of the places I want to go since we've gotten here but haven't been able to get around to, so, I've made a local bucket list page for this blog. Maybe that way I'll be more motivated to take the adventure by the horns and enjoy it, rather than worrying about when this leg of the journey will end--a constant and unyielding problem for me. 

It's time to start enjoying it, to take a page from Matt's book. He enjoys the adventure, maybe I should try it. It seems like he's having so much more fun than am I. 

Taking the Bus

I'm taking the bus this week... for the first time ever. Before now, there was either no bus to take or no need to take one. Oh!! You know what... ?? I have ridden the bus before. I just remembered!! When I was in high school, there were a few days I ditched and took the bus from school to the mall (who puts a bus stop right in front of a high school, anyway?!). But that was more than 20 years ago. I don't think it counts. 

Okay, so I'm taking the bus for the first time in my adult life. There, that works. Matt's in leadership training this week, so he's taking my car. He wants to make a good impression on the corporate guys and his car is sort of beat up (and not road legal, *eh hem*). So, it leaves me out there to find my own way. I decided the bus was that way, even though my agoraphobia went a little nuts at the thought. 

So, the bus. Yeah. It's taking me about 45 minutes to get to work in the morning and home in the evenings. I don't so much enjoy the extra hour and a half commute, but I'm sort of digging the experience. In the morning, it's cool out and I get to see the town a bit. The leaves are changing and everything is gorgeous here. It's actually a really nice ride. The sort of strange part is that we only live about a 5 minute drive from work. So, the bus takes me all the way to the other side of town and then brings me back. There's no route that goes from where I am, to where I work without the round-about. 

I just keep telling myself it's only for four days. But today, kind of randomly, I realized I kind of like it. I actually like riding the bus. That is the most ridiculous part. I like it. Who knew? But, I figure it'll be a bit like when I liked going to the laundromat. By the time I got my washer and dryer, I was glad I didn't have to go anymore. By the time I get my car back, I'll probably be glad I don't have to leave for work at 7:45 to make it by 8:30. Then again, it's only been two days. I may take it another two days and decide I hate it. 

Yesterday, I was pretty pissed that I had to take the bus. I'm not 100% comfortable with doing things that's outside of my norm--my anxiety makes it really hard to do simple things like this. Since I'd never taken the bus, I was nervous about doing it. What if I misunderstood the schedule and was late for work? What if I missed a connection? What if I stayed on the bus too long and missed my stop? What if I got motion sick? Lots of what ifs. I almost didn't go to work, which is ludicrous. My anxiety about doing something pretty normal just about kept me home. 

Today, I was much more comfortable. I got there without looking at the schedule and I felt okay about it. After work, I took the shuttle (our company has a shuttle bus) to the transit center and got there just in time to meet the route 6 bus. I got home a half an hour earlier today than yesterday. Maybe I'm getting the hang of this. I think the next two days will be pretty easy. Maybe I'll take the bus more frequently, even. Anxiety permitting. 

The parking lot next to the bus stop. Just down from our house. Beautiful in the morning!!



The Magical Place Called IDGAF...

I have arrived there, y'all. I have finally gotten to the mythical place where, quite suddenly, I do not give a crap. The place where years of putting in the effort to reach for people who don't reach back has left me truly and throughly done with it. I am done. That's all. I. am. over. it.

What brought upon this realization? Well, tonight on Facebook I came across some posts by this self-righteous ass I happen to know. I don't care for him and I never have, but I'm cordial for the sake of other relationships. In other words, I suppress my distaste for him quite convincingly. But tonight, reading his ridiculous and quite frankly laughable "Im better than everyone else" type crap, I really wanted to punch him in the face. I really, really wanted to punch him in the face.

And then I started to laugh. Which, if you must know, was a little bit crazy because there's no one else here. Unless you count the dogs and Galileo, of course, who were all looking at me like I'd lost it. Little did they know I'd finally found it. 

I finally found it. My self-worth. It was hiding under layers and layers of angst, irritation, and sadness about relationships in my life that're broken. Behind people in my life who do not give a flying fuck about me and, debatably, never have. 

I reached down into the place all those people usually reside in my mind and heart, and I found... nothing but a burnt-out hole. I kind of like not giving a crap. It's making me feel... lighter. Don't want to have a relationship? Don't care enough to invest even a few minutes? Okay, then. 

I feel like this is good for my attempts to find a new, healthier, more hopeful outlook. 

But then, do I mean everyone? Of course not. I have friendships that have gotten stronger over the years. That have weathered some pretty heavy storms and come out the other side healthier.  I have friendships that're more like sisterhoods and there are people who I cherish even when we don't see one another for a long time. There are people I love and value, and hope never to lose. And people by whom I feel loved and valued. 

It's the others, the ones who never really worked that hard to build something lasting, then left me feeling really lonely. It's them. I'm done. Amen. 

Our Family Visit...

My folks were in town last week. They came out to see our house and to celebrate my mom's birthday. It was absolutely awesome to see them, even though it was too short. It always seems to be too short. But, I was so pleased that they could come out and just when it's turning fall here, too. Great visit, gorgeous weather. We went to Bear Lake, visited some local places, and just spent the week together.

I had to work on Monday and Tuesday, but we spent the evening together on those days. On Tuesday my dad and I went to Salt Lake City to pick up Candi from the airport. That was an adventure. We drove into and then out of the little airport pretty quick. Fortunately, unlike some airports (Vegas and Dallas, for example) we didn't end up all the way out and were able to do a round-about. Then we had to find where to park and all that. It was kind of hilarious, actually.


On Wednesday, we went to Bear Lake for my mom's birthday. The drive through Logan Canyon is amazing all the time, but when it's turning fall, it's breathtaking. And, honestly, it's not even full-fledged fall yet. I'm going to make Matt take me back through there closer to the end of October.


The overlook before you get to Bear Lake is awesome. It's such a photogenic mountain. Candi and my Aunt Pam took tons of pics. I just love it. I don't so much love the last few minutes of drive to get there, it's high and winding, and scares me a bit, but the fear is worth it. Besides, without that, you wouldn't have this...


My folks pulled into a park there in Garden City (Bear Lake) and we noticed this little boardwalk that winds through a short wetland. Foxtails are growing up all along the path, along with a lot of other high brush. We saw a deer hopping around in there, but weren't fast enough to catch it on camera. Every angle of this little boardwalk was photogenic. I just loved it and I hadn't known it was here before now.

At the end of the boardwalk was the beach. The lake has receded a bit because it's so late in the season, so we had to make a short trek down to it. Candi and I went, the rest stayed up at the picnic tables. I think they thought we were a little crazy!


We walked around in the quite cold water, took pictures of the beach, and just enjoyed ourselves. That lake is awesome. We may have to go back when it's summer and the lake is higher. Even still, it's a beautiful lake. We all enjoyed our time out there.

After the lake, I got everyone together on that little boardwalk for a group pic...


I just love this pic! Everyone looks awesome. Even Princess (the dog, of course) made it into the pic. Matt's smirk makes me smile. But this pic. This pic is awesome (except that my aunt's head got chopped off). Matt cannot take a picture without the bunny ears. He just can't help himself...


On the way home from Bear Lake we took a ton of pics of the canyon. It's just too beautiful not too stop and snap a few...




Tell me it is not just gorgeous! That little bridge pic was taken from just near the water where I took the pano of the river. I sort of wished we had taken a picnic and had lunch out there. Matt had to go to work for a meeting, just an hour and a half, but a picnic might have been pushing it on time.

When we got back into town, we enjoyed the afternoon and on Thursday went out to see some of the antique shops in town and stopped into the Bluebird Candy Company. Confession: I had no idea this little shop was here at all. My mom was looking into the local stuff and found it. And what a great find! They make the absolute best candy, all hand dipped. No machines for coating, each chocolate is dipped, one at a time, by hand. The old fashioned way.


They have such a cute little shop. Matt and I got a one pound box, my folks got two pounds. They don't live here and there were more of them to share it. Candi had fun picking out all the flavors. We all really loved stopping in there. The woman behind the counter was so nice, very chatty and made us feel right at home. And how gorgeous is this...


Such a pretty box! I just love it. And everything inside has been delicious so far. I told Matt that if he was ever at a loss as to what to buy me for holidays, this was his saving grace.

On Friday, they left for home. It was really a very lovely week. They (almost) all really liked Utah and our little town. We certainly love it here. And, it's only a 10 hour drive from home, which is even better. Next time, it'll be us going to them. I'm thinking it'll be after the new year some time, we'll see.   On Saturday they were home safe and sound, and in time to pick up Lexi (the other dog) from the doggy hotel. She's too ornery to take road-tripping. ;)

Jam!!

Getting settled in our new place has been so surreal. I still have moment where I'm struck by how strange it is that we actually live in Utah. Utah, of all places. I had no idea we would ever be here, let alone that we could love it so much. It's caught me off guard in every conceivable way. That said, as strange as it's been, we're actually getting settled. Our house is starting to look, little by little, like people actually live here.

While we're settling in, I've been bitten by the domestic bug. It's been an urge so powerful, I can't seem to ignore it. I'm admittedly not the most domestic person ever. I like to sew, but I sort of suck at it, and I hate to clean. So far, my domestic streak has extended to decorating and not much further. But a few weeks ago, on a whim I bought a canning magazine at the check-out line. Then, I bought a boiling water canner and some jars. This weekend, I bought fruit and actually turned it into jam!

I'm so thrilled with myself. Normally, I'd be skeptical, but it came out so good, I can't help but feel a sense of victory. I've done something thoroughly domestic and I've done it well. Go me! Of course, I suppose it's also a little bit sad that I feel so good about something so small. But, whatever.

Matt was working yesterday afternoon, so I braved my nerves about messing up like $30 worth of ingredients and jumped in. The result: this awesome peach bourbon jam. 

I was concerned that it wouldn't set up, or the jars wouldn't seal. Both things worked out beautifully. The jars sealed and the jam set. There was a bit left, I probably could have made another jar, so I put it into the fridge and we've had some today. Matt doesn't even like peach and he really likes it. He even asked me if I planned to give the jars away or if they were for us. He didn't want me to share. Score!

And, I had so much fun making it, that today while we were watching the first football game, I chopped up the plums that were in our fridge and made plum jam. One of Matt's employees brought him a bag full of asian pears and plums from her trees, so I used the plums.

It tastes good, but I'm skeptical about whether or not it'll set up as well as the peach. No pectin in the plum jam, which only made 3 jars, whereas the peach made 7+. I hope it's good. It has a beautiful, rich purple color. Fingers crossed it turns out okay, otherwise it'll be closer to a chunky plum syrup than it will jam. If it doesn't turn out right, well, chalk it up to a learning experience. 

One night this week, I'm planning to start the watermelon pickles I'll be making--they take two days because they have to sit in pickling salt and water overnight. Matt's been keeping the rinds for me. I hope they turn out awesome... or at least that Matt thinks they're awesome. I don't like anything that's been pickled. 

Other than making jam, I've been decorating and getting settled. Oh, and I've been working. I got a 8:30am to 5:00pm, full-time, outside-the-house job. I'll probably be sharing pics of the house, now that we've had time to get things settled, in the near future, and my parents, aunt, and Candi are coming to visit next week. So excited!

Home Sweet Home

Whew, okay, y'all do not know how hard it's been keeping this one to myself! I've been sitting on this for, oh, about two months. Finally, I can talk about it... or, am willing to talk about it. See, I've gotten a little superstitious in my old age. I was terrified that talking about it, or hoping too hard, or planning, would somehow jinx it. So, I resisted making plans about how to decorate and didn't talk about it with anyone--except Matt and my family. Matt had faith from the start. He's the optimist amongst us.

So here it is... WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!!!!


It has been a long, winding road. But, despite all the issues we've had getting here, the destination is awesome. The whole thing can pretty much be summed up like this...

Once upon a time, a couple finds a house they like. They move into the house they like (with a short-term rental agreement) and work on buying it. One day, they learn that the bank won't let the seller sell it, so they have to look for a new house. Their awesome realtor is there to facilitate their change and they quickly find a great new house. They apply for great new house, are approved, but there's a problem because of the old house. Problem solved, the couple get their keys, move into their new house, and live happily ever after.

The house we just closed on was built in 1961. It's a smidge over 1,200 sq. ft., three bedrooms, two bathrooms. I was looking for a place that had character and this one does. It's not cookie cutter and it's adorable. I absolutely LOVE it.

Living room (view from the kitchen)
The inside has a lot of really nice finishes, like hardwood floors and a neat little shelf cut into the wall in the living room. The windows have really pretty molding. The entry way, kitchen, and bathrooms all have pretty porcelain tile.

Living room (view from the front door)
The kitchen is pretty tiny, but that's just fine for us. It has pretty formica counters and white cabinets with brushed nickel handles.

Little hallway (view from living room)

There isn't a hallway, but the house has some really deep cabinets in the little space between the bedroom doors. All the rooms have pretty standard size closets, including the master bedroom. So, no huge closets, but that's pretty standard considering the house was built 54 years ago.

Master bedroom (view from the door)
The master bedroom is the only room without hardwoods, but has a really nice soft carpet instead. It also has TONS of windows. Just this one bedroom has three windows, there's a big window in the living room and one in each bedroom. Both doors have windows in them and there's a small widow in the kitchen. Even the detached garage has windows. And, all the windows have really nice white wood mini-blinds.

Master bedroom (view toward the door)
The master bedroom is also the only room that's sunken down. See the three steps/stairs on the left of the pic, those stairs go into the living room. The door at the bottom of the stairs is the master bathroom. One of the best features of this house is that the laundry is in the master bathroom. To me, that's awesome. Who want's to walk all the way across the house to do laundry when you could just do it in the place where your clothes live?!

A bit of the master bathroom (view from the laundry area)
All in all, we're really happy with our purchase and are looking forward to getting moved in... tomorrow! Things have been so hectic, it's been a lot of hurry-up and wait, hurry-up and wait. Now that the hurrying is done, it's time to move. House closed today, move in tomorrow. I have just a little bit of packing to do still tonight. It's going to be a pretty easy move, compared with our move here. We absolutely cannot wait!

*All of the above pics were taken by our realtor's assistant, Scarlet. She was nice enough to share them with me. She's awesome.


A personal reflection on Pioneer Day

I'm not LDS and I'm not from Utah, so when the locals started talking about Pioneer Day, I was just a little bit lost. They all seemed so enthusiastic. Celebrations and fireworks are said to abound. It is, they say, the celebration of Brigham Young and the first mormon pioneers' pilgrimage into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.  It's literally a holiday celebrating a pilgrimage. It's celebrated on July 23rd and 24th.

As an outsider, both to the state and to the LDS religion, I've been seeking to find some significance in Pioneer Day that isn't, perhaps, historical or religious, but is instead personal. Trust me when I say it didn't take much looking to see how this particular holiday might apply to our lives of late. It wasn't that long ago, after all, that we took a pilgrimage to Utah. Our move here was harrowing (dramatic, yes?), and difficult, but we made it and happily settled here.

We're both going to be working on Pioneer Day, which is particularly ironic since our pilgrimage to Utah was for Matt's job. Though he won't be here at night to see the fireworks because of his schedule, I'll be watching them from our back patio--they're doing fireworks in a park right around the corner from us. And, as much as I love fireworks under normal circumstances, I think I might love them just a little more this Pioneer Day. A small reminder that, however difficult our journey has been, it's also been wonderful and rewarding.  It's been a hard road, but at the end we found a home.

Workin' 9 to 5...

Lets talk about something happy--because I have news and because I'm trying to put my happier foot forward. There're so many positive things happening lately, with our move and trying to buy a house (fingers crossed because there're lots of things that have to happen just the right way), but I think I'll start with my new job.

I don't know if I said so, but two weeks or so ago I tested for a job with a local company. They gave me and the others in my test group a tour of the offices, talked about the company, and then we tested for some basic skills required to succeed at the job. I was hopeful, but cautiously optimistic after testing. The next day they called me back for an interview. Half a week after that I was offered a spot.

So, I started on Monday and so far I'm really liking it. It's an office job in an industry where I have no experience. Fortunately, that was okay with them and it gives me experience doing something other than teaching and writing--not that I'm not going to keep writing, I just won't be compelled to do it for a living. The company is fun and upbeat, and everyone seems really happy with their jobs. It's exactly the sort of place I've always wanted to work... and now I do. So funny how things happen sometimes.

I find out later this week, probably on Friday, what team I'll be going to inside the department for which I was hired. All at once, I'm both looking forward to it and nervous to find out where I'm going to be working. I hope my new team likes me okay and that I'm a good fit there. I'm certainly going to give it my all.

In the meantime, I'm exhausted. It's been a little while since I worked a full-time job outside the house. It's a different beast working from home or working a flexible schedule as an adjunct, than working full-time. I actually love it because it means I'm out there, doing something. I'm sure, given a few weeks, once I get onto my team and get going, I'll adjust and be less tired. I hope so, anyway. Fingers crossed.

Locked Out

Last night, we had one of THOSE moments. You know the ones, they make you laugh and cry all at the same time. Yeah, THOSE moments.

I took the dogs outside after dinner so they could do their thing. It was such a beautiful night, I called inside for Matt to come out with us. Ani and Chewbi don't like to go out by themselves. In fact, Chewbi freaks out, so I always go out with them. I was standing on the patio, watching the sky, when Matt stepped outside and closed the door. 

That's when it happened.  

He turned the knob, which wouldn't budge. He rattled the handle, still nothing. We were locked out. Both of us. The blinds were open in several windows, so we could see inside, we just couldn't GET inside. Immediately, he turned on me, accusing. "Did you lock the door?!" he said.  Um, no. 

Here's the thing: if I had locked it when I went out, he couldn't have gotten outside. He was the last one to come out the door. HE locked us out. But, of course, he wouldn't admit that. He kept accusing me of locking us out, which was not only ludicrous, it was IMPOSSIBLE!

Then he got this terrible look on his face, like he might throw a full-on, man-sized tantrum and tried to force the door open by rattling the handle while pushing. I stood on the patio and watched him try to hulk his way inside. It might have been funny if it wasn't so sad. He gave up, walking around the house trying all of the doors. All locked because, you know, he's obsessive about locking everything up. 

So, we're standing on he back patio, looking at the doors. Neither of us are wearing shoes, we're both without phones, and we have no keys. We don't know anyone in the neighborhood, or even in town for that matter, and we can't call a lock smith. We can't even drive anywhere. We're stranded, in our own back yard.

That's when I try some of the windows. Matt's in the back, turing to jimmy the door open with a piece of plastic he found. Fortunately for both of us, the front window wasn't locked. It also isn't so high up that we couldn't climb inside. So we go around the house, Matt opens the window and pushes the blinds aside, then climbs into the window.

Meanwhile our next door neighbors and their friends watch us like we're nuts. When Matt opens the door, he comes out to let me in and waves at the neighbors who wave back. At this point, we're pretty sure they're calling the cops. Our dogs are freaking at the side gate, so we go outside to let them in. When we come back inside, Matt unconsciously turns the lock on the door before pushing it shut and then walks away, while I watch dumbfounded. 

He definitely locked us out. I pointed it out to him and all he could do was laugh. I think he owes me an apology, especially since this is the SECOND time he's done this in a week. You see, a few days earlier he had locked himself out of the bedroom at 5:00 a.m., then banged on the door for me to let him in. He accused me of locking him out then, too, which was ridiculous because I was ASLEEP!!

Needless to say, we've begun taking our keys without us outside and being extra cautious about the door being locked. He still owes me an apology!

A long overdue rebranding...

With a new home and a new haircut (okay, so maybe not a totally new haircut), I think I need a new outlook. So, I'm rebranding. Meet my new name: Hesitant, Hopeful. I think it speaks to who I am better than does Pretty Pessimist anymore.

So, what does it mean? Exactly what it says. I'm shy, but looking forward to better things. In almost every way I'm exactly that... hesitant, hopeful.

If it grows on me and I don't come up with a better fit, I'll change my URL. For now, it's a baby step. Just my title. (Update: I got a new domain, but my old one redirects here. So it'll still work).

Since I've been Pretty Pessimist for a long time--since September 2009--it's a big deal for me. But, this isn't my first rebranding. My first blog was called "ya don't say..." and then, later, "Retold." But this isn't that sort of change. When I left those blogs, I completely started over with this one. I have no intentions to start over. This blog has chronicled too many milestones to start over now.

Welcome to the new me, which is pretty much just the old me with a new name. (^.~)

The longest, most difficult and rewarding half year...

It's 12:20 a.m. and I'm awake. Maybe I shouldn't have had that drinking energy drink at 9:00 p.m.? Maybe I shouldn't be binging on Ink Master, season 5. Maybe, maybe, maybe... but I did and I am. So, here I am.

We've been in Utah for about three and a half weeks, so far, and I'm still loving it here. It's remarkably beautiful, everyone is nice--aside from the random scary aggressive driver. But, I can't help think about all of the insanity the first half of this year has been. It's been unbelievable and hectic. It has been the single hardest year of our lives, so far, and that's saying a lot.

January started with an insane amount of travel. Matt went came to Utah, from Texas, for two weeks for a work project. He had an amazing time and learned that he loved it here, and that this was where he wanted to go. Gone two weeks, we were apart and I didn't handle it all that well. He came home for a week and then I was gone, off to California to see my family. We spent one week together during the first five weeks of the year.

We spent most of February and March sick. I had no voice for three weeks and after that I was raspy. It was tough because, well, who likes to be sick? I hate it. At the end of March, Matt came back to Utah to interview for his current job. I was on pins and needles, but I was also so thrilled. One week later, we found out he had the job. Probably the most exciting thing that's happened to us in a long time. We're both so thankful. Matt worked really hard for this.

Did I mention that this entire time, Matt was working on his last semester in grad school? He did an amazing job getting everything done, even though he was crazy busy and very tired. He graduated at the end of May and I could not be more proud. Just in time for our move.

In the months between March and May, we cleaned and packed and prepared for our move. It was hectic in the extreme. I was exhausted. Matt was exhausted. But, we knew it was all for an amazing opportunity, which made every second worth it. Every. Single. Second.

Even the hailstorms... yes, plural. The $9,900 damage to my car and getting it repaired in a hurry. Having to take it back to the auto body shop, two hours away, because the windshield wasn't sealed properly. Only to have it hit by hail again two days before we left for Utah. Covering a car with blankets before a hailstorm will help, it certainly helped save my car. At least it wasn't destroyed completely (I've just gotten it fixed here in Logan this last week).

Our move was crazy and didn't go at all the way it should have. I won't go into that again except to say that it was absolutely, 100% exhausting. Again, every single second was completely worth it. I would do it all again in a heartbeat because we love it here.

Now, I'm looking for work. I put in somewhere around 15 applications. Got a pretty quick call back from a very cool local company and went in to test on Tuesday. They called today to say I passed the tests. I have an interview Friday and I couldn't be more thrilled. I want to go to work for the company, so wish me luck with the interview.

Overall, I think I'm most amazed by the fact that for the first time since I moved to Texas in 1999, something so remarkably awesome is happening for us. It hasn't been easy, it hasn't been quick, but it's happening. We were living in Texas last month. We were in Texas and now were here. We're working toward buying a house and I'm looking for work. It's unbelievable to be living in such an amazingly beautiful place. We could not be more grateful for this opportunity.

Logan Canyon, Cache National Forest



A Happy New Home...

It's raining tonight. I'm in the living room, watching television, listening to the storm and I feel so grateful. I feel overwhelmingly lucky and cripplingly anxious, all at once. I've gone from seeing this whole thing as scary to seeing it as an adventure. I've rocked back and forth between happy contentment and anxiety that wakes me up at night. It's all so much, but when I stop and just take it in during the quiet moments, all I can feel is happiness. Right now, all I feel is happiness.

Tonight's early evening sun from our back patio. So beautiful.
It's been such a beautiful thing, even though it was one of the harder things we've done together. We've only ever moved any distance once before and then it was only 90 miles. I absolutely love Utah. The people are nice, the landscape is gorgeous, and I'm closer to family. Despite the loneliness, because I don't know anyone here, I'm happy.

Matt has gone out of his way to make this comfortable for me. He's not as lonely, but then he has a job. He has something to do where he can meet new people. I hope to feel that way too, when I find a job. He has been really wonderful about showing me all of the things he likes, or sharing with me the little details he picks up here and there. He's an amazing man.

We've only been here a week, but so far we've tried a handful of restaurants we've never had before. He took me to Kneaders (a local bakery & cafe) where we had the most amazing all you can eat french toast. It is to die for and, for the record, I only had one plate. That was both enough and not enough all at once. We went to the Gardener's Market where we got a handful of locally grown foods. I've spent time learning my way around this adorable town.

Macrons, gouda & gruyere, sausage, fresh spinach, strawberry rhubarb jam, vanilla, and raw honey.
All local, all delicious!!
I don't think there's a place I could be happier. It's everything single thing I want in a place. It's perfect. The only thing that could make it better would be if we could stay here forever and, of course, if everyone I love was here, too. Oh, and maybe if I had some Johnny O's Spudnuts right this instant.

Spudnuts. Soft and delicious. Best donut/spudnut I have ever had. Too good!!

The Real, Actual Move...

Long winded and written four days ago, but... 

Wow, so much has happened since Matt's graduation! Where do I even begin to begin? Let's just talk about the move, everything else can wait for another time or isn't important. So... the move... yeah... It has been a bit of a fiasco. We laugh and say that if it was perfect it wouldn't be us (the only other choice is to break down into tears).

Last Friday the movers came to pack our things. I had to go to Plano to get my car for the second time (long story), but Matt had taken the day off to be home with them. My day was long and rainy, and I got lost in a scary neighborhood in Fort Worth, and by the time I got home the movers had gone. They didn't pack everything, but most things. Just before I got home Matt learned that the mover wasn't going to be able to move/store our belongings (another long story). This was a problem because it was less than a week before our departure date. Matt was freaking out when I pulled into the drive.

I calmed him down, then scheduled a U-haul and a storage unit. Okay, great, except that we were going to have to spend Memorial Day weekend packing the truck. Saturday morning, when we were supposed to pick up the truck, we changed our mind and hired someone to pack the truck for us on Tuesday. Win, win. They came and did a GREAT job! First crisis averted.

We spent the next two days after that cleaning, throwing things away, and finishing the packing. Moving is a hell of a lot of work. Thank God for Melanie, who came to help me get rid of several truck loads of crap. Only a true friend will help you dump your junk while trudging through almost ankle deep mud. The area between the house and the drive, about 60 feet, is super muddy because of all of the non-stop, torrential rain. So, the move was a muddy one for sure.

The problem with the movers set us back a day, but we finally left on Thursday morning (2 hours later than we had planned). Except instead of going together in one car and sharing the driving, we now had to take our car and a U-haul (which Matt thankfully drove). We had planned to drive straight through, but couldn't with two vehicles, so we stayed in Cortez, CO on Thursday night... after 16.5 hours of driving--or in Matt's case 18.5 hours because Siri rerouted him down the wrong road by almost two hours.

Yesterday we both had a problem getting out of bed. I felt really bad (because I'm getting sick and because I didn't eat much the previous day) and Matt was so tired. After a somewhat late start, though, we got on the road and let me tell you the little bit of Colorado I saw was gorgeous!!! But, honestly, Utah trumps all. It is probably the most beautiful place I've been.

So. Damn. Beautiful.

On the way in we went through Moab, which is where Arches State Park is. It's a pretty huge tourist area, lots of outdoorsy things to do. So beautiful. My favorite thing there, or near there, is Hole in the Rock. We stopped so Matt could have a cigarette and get some gum, but I took a ton of pictures because I loved it so much. Everything down there is so beautiful. I could live among the big red rocks and be happy.


After a long day of driving, we finally arrived in Logan and it could not be more idyllic if it tried. It's so beautiful here and the town is just adorable. I absolutely love it!! We went to the house we're working toward buying. We're going to rent it until our mortgage closes. Our offer has been accepted, but there are some hurdles. If those hurdles don't clear we'll have to find another place. On the up side, we have a rental agreement through July 31, so if it falls through we have time to look for another place.

Unfortunately, though we worked to get them all on the water wasn't on when we got there because the meter is missing from the street.  So, we're in a hotel in Brigham City, about a half an hour outside Logan until Monday. We're hoping to get the water issue resolved by then so that we can move in. If we can't move in then, I'm not sure what we'll do. Our hotel reservation only lasts through Monday.

Today, we left the dogs at the house and the cat locked up at the hotel, and wen't to see Logan. Seeing it in broad daylight, I reiterate what I said before. It is amazing and perfect. I don't want to leave... like, ever. Which is sad and can only make me disappointed because eventually, someday, we're going to have to move again for his job. Most probably somewhere substantially less awesome. Boo! But, for now, we're enjoying living somewhere so pretty.

Or, we will... once it sinks in that we actually LIVE here. Right now, I feel like a tourist. Probably because we're in a hotel. Maybe when Matt's job starts on Monday and the people come to unpack the  U-haul into the storage unit I'll start to feel okay. Maybe. Then again, with as much anxiety as this trip has caused me, it may take longer. I don't know.

What I do know is that we're spending the weekend resting together. After the week we've had, we deserve it!

One Last Milestone: Graduation

I've been trying to write this post for days...

Okay, so maybe not the last milestone ever, but certainly the last one in Stephenville. Matt graduated today with his MS in Management and Leadership. I could not be more proud of him!

Poor guy was so nervous that he couldn't sleep last night, so he graduated today on one hour of sleep. He was a total wreck, which made no sense to me. He's already done the hard work. This is the reward. This is the moment to celebrate that victory. And, as victory celebrations go, it was really nice.

I did warm him, though, that I was going to take a lot of pictures. Which I totally did. I got pics of him pre-grad...


And post-grad...


He looks so awesome in his regalia. It was raining, so his stole is all messy. I actually love this picture so much!!! He looks great! What am I saying? He always looks great!

He never lets me take his picture of him, so I took total advantage of this opportunity. I got pics of us together...


 Of him with his parents...



Of the stadium...


We had a pretty good vantage point, so we could see everything going on down there. The ceremony was only doctoral and master's candidates, so the ceremony wasn't too terribly long. Just about one hour exactly. Truly and honestly, I could not be more proud of him.

Goodbyes...

I feel like I'm saying goodbye a lot lately. With only three weeks left before we leave Texas, I have a lot of goodbyes to say. Unfortunately, that doesn't make it any easier to say them. It doesn't make it any less painful, either.

I'm having lunch with my best friend, Melanie, tomorrow--and we'll see one another a few more times before it's time to go. Next week, I'm having lunch with my friend Marsha. Today, Matt and I had coffee with my favorite professor.

We went to Waco to see Amanda & Karen one more time. We've had food with my father-in-law, and will again this weekend when Matt graduates with his MS in Management and Leadership from the college we've been attending since 2004. The college where I worked for several years.

We're packing everything away so that we might soon say goodbye to the little house where we've lived for the last 11 years. And though I cannot say with any sincerity that I'll miss this place, I will certainly miss the memories we made here.

We've graduated from college almost four times since we moved here. I've written a thesis and more than one as-yet-unpublished book here. Our precious cat, Chummer, died here. This is where we lived when we adopted both Anakin & Chewbacca. We've gotten jobs, made careers, and lived most of our married lives together here.

Leaving this how, this town, this state, means saying goodbye to almost every memory we have ever made together. It means saying goodbye to the possibility that we will someday live in Waco again--or that we'll even visit there again as easily as we do now. We may never go again to Lover's Leap, where Matt asked me to marry him. Or to Miss Nelly's Pretty Place in Cameron Park, where we stayed up all night just talking. Or to any number of places where we've made lasting memories. It means saying goodbye to all we've known in favor of saying hello to the unknown.

To say we're looking forward to the move would be an understatement. We're so ready for a new adventure, but that doesn't make saying goodbye to our lives in Texas any less difficult.

WIP Fail...

Soooo... According to Bradbury, I fail. Okay, maybe I hunted that quote down to support how I'm feeling about myself lately. I have a lot of excuses, namely that I'm moving and that means cleaning. And, cleaning means a LOT of work because my house is a disaster. Not an understatement. Almost a literal disaster. Seriously. Yuck


But, I've already gone on and on about that. This is about writing. Or lack there of. No progress this month, which is really hard for me because I really wanted to get this damn book done. A lot. But, that isn't going to happen for a while. Since we're moving at the end of May, it's going to be a while before we're settled again. And, once we get where we're going, I'm going to have to look for a "real job." So yeah, where writing is concerned. Bradbury got it right, at least for the time being.

Horror Hailstorm, April 2015

When it rain it pours. That's the old expression. Well, it apparently also hails. A lot. Because we had two hailstorms in two days. On Friday (4/24), it hailed and poured torrential rain for about 10 minutes. We'll call that HS#1. On Sunday (4/26), it hailed for more than a half an hour. This is HS#2. It's an important distinction.

During HS#1, because of the direction of the wind and hail, a tree beside where I parked my Veloster caught most of the weather and my car came away from the storm with only one little dent in the hood. Amen! Matt's car, however, was  covered in dents and had cracked glass. The tree's protection didn't extend quite far enough to protect both cars. Okay, so we filed a claim with Geico for his car. Fine.

Then HS#2 came and it made HS#1 look like a pleasant spring shower. Don't get me wrong, the first hailstorm was bad. Almost all of our neighbors lost at least one window (thankfully, we didn't). But the second hailstorm was just gross. Our little town was plagued by a series of tornadoes and with them came hail and rain. It hailed for more than a half an hour straight, huge chunks of ice the size of golf balls and larger. Blessedly, we're on the side of town where we are, because the other side of town was hit by baseball-sized hail.

Since our roof is metal, the noise was remarkable. We couldn't hear one another talk. We couldn't even hear that obnoxious buzzing sound our iPhone's were making when there was an emergency alert. It was intense and terrifying, and didn't let up for a long time. It only got worse. When the hail and rain finally stopped I had the opportunity to go out and check our cars... I was devastated by the mess.

While Matt's car weathered HS#2 okay, mine was destroyed. My brand new (8 month old) car was wrecked. The glass on the top of the back window was broken out, the windshield was badly cracked, the hood and roof are covered in dents, and the pain is chipped away or breaking off in places where the hail struck it at a bad angle. It looks like someone took a bat to my beloved Veloster.

I am heartbroken. I love this car like it were my own child.


The window breaking out on top like that made for an especial mess. The leather seats are soaking wet. Even as I type this, though I've covered that window with plastic as best I could, all of my windows are fogged up from the wet trapped inside.


To see it like this breaks my heart. I can hardly think about it without crying. And seeing it makes me lose it, almost every time. I literally cried myself to sleep the night this happened. Thankfully, the dog hammock I just installed caught a lot of the glass and, likely, soaked up some of the water, too.

We go today to see the GEICO adjuster. I'm hoping this will go smoothly so I can get my car into the shop immediately. Since we're moving in 4 weeks, it really needs to get done.

My biggest concerns now are whether the insurance adjuster will give me an estimate that will cover all of the damages and whether or not the body-shop can get the parts in quickly enough to get it done before we move. Oh, and also whether or not my rental car coverage will be enough to cover my car's entire stay with the body-shop. It seems to me, at $35/day my coverage will only cover 30 days before it stops paying and I have to pick up the slack.

Fingers crossed we can get this taken care quickly and with as little heartache as is possible.