Way to Go, Wahlee!

Today, one of my very best friends achieved one of the most significant accomplishments of her life. Emily (aka Wahlee) has been working on her masters degree at BYU, and after much travail has completed her thesis and passed her defense. I was on campus when she passed to give her a big hug. She’s worked so hard…CONGRATS!

Emily and I have known each other since 1993. We met in our 8th grade science class. We were at the same table, and I was quickly intrigued by her last name Bytheway. She loved music (just like me) and was smart enough that I couldn’t keep up with her. We became fast friends, and have been ever since. She adopted my quirky addiction to They Might be Giants music, and we created our own TMBG-land as partners in 9th grade Geography. We wrote intricately-folded notes to each other in a secret language. We planned things out in our Franklin Quest planners. We listened to Broadway music together. We were roommates for EFY, and attended BYU Education Week together for many years. We were in the same high school dance groups, went to plays together, studied like maniacs, and sang together in MHS’s Womens Chorus, A’Cappella Choir, and Bel Canto. We memorized Scripture Masteries together. We both took French in high school, and still slip in words en francais without thinking. She put up with my boycraziness, which is a MAJOR feat.

Emily is a DIE HARD BYU Cougar fan. She’s been attending BYU football games faithfully, and has even attended some of their womens’ football clinics. After high school, she headed down to Provo as I headed up to Rexburg. We emailed each other often, and met up on the weekends we both were in Murray. She was one of the first people I introduced “my fiance” to, and was my maid of honor at my first wedding. She was my shoulder to cry on when my marriage dissolved. She got me into blogging. She hooked me on to Harry Potter (and I’ve never seen such a devoted HP fan). She shares my mad addictions to Keane, Donny Osmond, Disneyland, BYU bookstore fudge and chocolate-covered cinnamon bears. I’m really lucky to have such a great friend.

Je t’aime Em!

At my 17th Birthday party

Green Gables Girls on High School Choir Tour to British Columbia

Jello-suckaholics Anonymous

Emily with her Hogwart’s-obsessed family

Me, Em, Rosie, and Dobby at WahleeCon 2004

At my (2nd) wedding reception

Chilling with old friends at Dana Point

In line for Star Tours at Disneyland

Em’s Family has felt like my 2nd family for many years, especially her sisters

Chillin’ in the SLC at Sam Weller’s Bookstore
Out to eat…our favorite thing to do together

The Tayviator is Thirty

This is my Tayviator. That’s Taylor + Aviator, if you didn’t already figure it out. He turned 30 today, and I want to tell you some of the reasons I love him.

He’s a good big brother…he’s the oldest of seven and he makes sure that all of his siblings feel important.

He’s good with technology. He figures out the stuff for me that I’m too impatient to do myself.

He’s a good protector of the family

He’s Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent

He’s worked hard to complete his education

He’s willing to try new things, even when he looks like a fool

He stands up for what he believes in

He is an extremely loyal friend

He has a “Taylorsmile” and kind eyes

He has forever enriched the lives of Rosie and I

He came into my life exactly when I needed him

He let me put this picture in our wedding announcements, even though he thought the pose was cheesy and contrived

He tells me often that he loves me more than the day he married me

He looks so irresistible lying next to his laptop

He’s survived some pretty hellish times, including a trip to Hell (Michigan)

He shares his Diet Coke when we go out to dinner

He puts the twinkle in my eye

He humors me with taking pictures for my blog that he thinks are really lame

He loves the beach as much as I do (especially Ventura County)

He introduced me to In-n-Out

He takes my breath away

He makes our house feel like a home

He understands my need for adventure and culture, and takes me out on the town

He treats me the way an adoring husband should treat his wife

He has secret magical powers (and is a blast to be with at Disneyland)

He’s a devoted husband and father

He’s fun to fly with

He has extremely kissable lips (and they’re all mine)

He looks hot in his uniform

He’s fun to be with, both day and night

He loves to travel, and has afforded me many opportunities to see many parts of the country

He “rocks” my world

I love you, Tay!

Nine Years of Adventure

Dear Rosie,
Excitement and boredom. Joy and sadness. Change and adaptation. Hugs and kisses. Creativity and silliness. Independence and bravery. Fun and Culture. Travel and Home. Love and empathy. Childlike, yet mature. Seven moves, four states, lots of great food and countless people who love you. I’m so blessed that you’re mine. Please don’t grow up too fast.
Happy 9th birthday!


Camarillo the Cali Camry

I’m really attached to my car.

Last week, Camarillo the Cali Camry (Or Cami for short) hit 150,000 miles. I felt that it would be an opportune time to give an ode to my dear vehicle. We met in 2007 in Orange County. I’d been a Honda Girl who went to the lot originally scoping out Accords. After an unimpressive test drive, I decided against purchasing a particular Accord, and decided to browse the lot a bit more. Tried a Jetta with a shimmy. Quickly played with the idea of a small SUV….and then I saw a pristine looking Camry. I quickly knew it was for me, it drove well and was exactly in our price range. We signed on the dotted line and drove her home to La Verne. I was a little nervous buying her so quickly, as I hadn’t sold my other car yet, but things quickly worked out with the sale of the Fittle.

Her name, Camarillo, comes from a town in Ventura County, near where Taylor and I went on our honeymoon. When he was in his flight training, we took a day trip and flew out to Camarillo for dinner. It was such a fun experience to fly over southern California and point out the freeways and landmarks, and have the sun set behind us over the ocean on our way back.

Cami and I have traveled much of the country together. In our two years, we’ve driven through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. She’s worn license plates for California, Michigan, and Georgia (and possibly Utah soon.) She’s driven through temperatures from -15 degrees to +115 degrees, through wind, rain, sleet, snow, hail, blinding frozen fog and scorching heat. She’s seen gas prices from $1.43 to $4.80 per gallon. She forgives me when I don’t wash her often enough. She’s taken me to stores, churches, concerts, schools, parks, restaurants, family and friends’ houses… as well as many, many trips to airports. She’s been filled to the gills as we moved from California to Michigan, then to Georgia, then to Utah. She kept me comfortable and safe on my commutes to Montclair, Ann Arbor, and Emory. Her speakers have blasted my favorite music through them. We’ve spend a LOT of time together. Over 40,000 miles in 26 months.

Of course, she isn’t without her quirks. When I purchased the car, I was only given a valet key, which means I can’t open the trunk without popping the latch. The brake light on the dash has been wonky since the day I started driving it to Detroit. The cigarette lighter adapter has been broken for months. It has a rusty scar by the rear driver side wheel from when it was wounded in a Good Samaritan attempt. And last week the moulding on the passenger side started coming off. But I love her still.

Here’s to another 150,000 miles!

To Liz and Mary

Dear Liz and Mary,
I love you two! Thanks for such a fun time this weekend. You ladies are truly remarkable. I miss living close to you like crazy. I will never forget our night together of great food, great conversation, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (post on that to follow).


Farewell, Mary Ruth Taylor

Today I’ll be attending the memorial service for Taylor’s grandmother, Mary Ruth Taylor. She finally succumbed after a 25 year fight with Alzheimer’s. She had been staying in a care facility in Rexburg, ID for the last year or two, so I hadn’t seen her for a while. This is his second grandparent to pass away in 2008. Taylor’s really broken up about not being able to attend the small family memorial service today, and possibly not attend the large funeral service in California in January (depending on his ability to claim bereavement days right as he gets 9 days off for moving).

I was fortunate to have 2 visits with Grandma Taylor in 2004 while still somewhat lucid. She was a sharp wit and loved to entertain. She immediately fell in love with Rosie, and loved to dote on her. We had our wedding open house at her home when Taylor and I got married. Through all of Taylor’s tumultuous growing-up years, his grandparents raised him as a son. It tore him up when they sold their home on Edgecomb in Covina, CA because he called it “the only solid place in his childhood.” We will miss you, Grandma!

Oh, Kay!

It makes such a difference when you work with great people, even if only a few. My first day of work, I was strolling by Kay’s desk. She was perusing Zappos, and I sauntered in her cubicle and we began discussing our shoe preferences. (She’s a Merrell lady, while I prefer Keens). Then later in the day, I saw her on Fodors and we started talking food. She’s always on the up-n-up on artsy flicks at the State, places to eat and shop, and tasty recipes. She’s traveled all over the US and Europe, and has given me ideas for future trips.

Kay has such intelligent wit, and keeps me in stitches. We developed a great cellmate relationship – she’s right over the wall from me. We always have something to say to each other, and continually make each other laugh. We giggle and gossip. We’ve had a great time discussing conflicting issues respectfully through the election season. She was the one who arranged pro bono Utah vs Michigan football tickets for Rosie and I. She’s spent a lot of time in Utah, and understands the “Utah Mentality” that drives me crazy. We take lunch trips on the city bus downtown, most often to Silvio’s Organic Pizza. Agewise, I’m between her and her son. She’s wise with a youthful style and edge. And she’s understanding and empathetic, and has made the tough times bearable. Merci Kay, Je T’aime!

Another Farewell

“I wish I could engrave on every heart what I so keenly know and feel. I bear unwavering testimony that our Heavenly Father and His divine Son, Jesus Christ, rule and reign, and that we must all understand that the gospel is everlasting.”

Joseph B. Wirthlin 1917-2008

Everybody’s Got a Pretty Friend

Last week, Taylor and I were listening to his new Zune (I’m such an awesome wife for getting him what he really wanted for once). “Pretty Friend” by Frente came on, and Taylor said “Wow, this song really reminds me of 2001.” I burst out laughing. My cousin Susan and I used to listen to Marvin the Album by Frente over and over in junior high in 1994. Granted, it’s only a 7 year difference, but there’s a big maturity difference between 8th grade and early adult life.

A lot of my teen-year music choices were influenced by Susan. One of my favorite memories with Susan is having her sleep over and my house, listening to one song at a time, over and over. The ones I recall most vividly are “One” by U2, “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin and “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman. She made me listen to Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and other stuff from X96. I made her listen to The Beatles, They Might be Giants and 80’s New Wave stuff that I discovered from Randy (who deserves a full blog post of his own). Sometimes our cousin Mark from down the street would sneak in my bedroom basement window and listen to music with us till the early morning hours.

Susan and I were born 10 days apart. For our young years, I lived in Portland and she lived in Salt Lake. I was always excited when we’d visit Utah because I’d get to spend time with Susan. She is one of the coolest people I’ve ever known. She is stylish, outgoing, intelligent, and beautiful. I think the only way I handled my family’s move to Utah by knowing that I’d finally be living close to Susan. We went to choir concerts and stake dances, on drives up the canyon, and shopping at Fashion Place Mall. We worked together at her dad’s optometry office. We always kept each other informed on boys we liked, boys we kissed, and boys that wouldn’t leave us alone. We got married the same year. We were pregnant with our daughters at the same time. She just found out she’s pregnant with her 4th baby, and I’m so excited for her. She keeps me company on MSN messenger when I’m lonely at night. And she’s a great friend. I love you Susie-Q!

Ordinary Angels by Frente!

You get the world for your birthday baby
Open your eyes and say yes, no, maybe
The box ticks on, the core is a bomb
The world is silent, you listen like a lover to it

Sometimes a mirror's a miracle
Sometimes it's nothing at all
In this reflection even angels fall
You could fly anytime
Even though you own your own comet

Ordinary people it's okay
You don't have to wear those wings
They're stupid things

I know some dizzy, easy heights
Don't stop your life at the lights
Don't be smart, be a beginner
Don't be wrong, even when it's right

Ordinary people it's okay
Where not watching anyway
It's okay

Some Early Morning Humor

This is dedicated to Mme Underwood, Mme Larsen, and the French professor I had at Ricks (I can’t remember his name, but he reminded me of Mr. Bean):

May I just say that I’ve recently become obsessed with Flight of the Conchords? This is my favorite clip…although Taylor and I have recently purchased the first season on DVD, and have laughed till our guts hurt as we’ve watched it. If you haven’t heard of them, just YouTube them… check out “Inner City Pressure” (a dead-on spoof of Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls”), “A Kiss is not a Contract,” and “Business Time.”