Thursday, December 29, 2011

The December we almost went insane

For anyone who cares about their insanity, heed the following counsel: do not take on a "finish the basement" project while planning a wedding that takes place the week before Christmas. There's a pretty good chance that you will lose your mind.

In fact, I'm pretty sure my dad has already lost his mind, and it won't be long until the rest of us join him at the happy place beyond the breaking point.

The aftermath of Christmas is usually enough to make anyone start to get a little panicky: no matter how many times the parents threaten the children, not all presents make it to their owners' rooms; the mounds of chocolate and other goodies from the neighbors overtake all of the pantry and counter space in the kitchen, making us sincerely wish that we weren't so popular; the Christmas decorations start to sag pathetically and the tree becomes nothing but a nuisance; the garbage accumulated from Christmas morning takes several weeks to get rid of; and the oodles of free time afforded those who are "blessed" with a Christmas vacation turns into slothfulness as our brains become hazy, and the most thought we put into anything is when we're trying to figure out what day of the week it is.

Well, Christmas wasn't the event of our December this year; in fact, it was very much an afterthought, something that at times felt like it was just another thing to check off our list. But we've still had to deal with the Christmas aftermath.

We've also had to deal with the aftermath of the basement not being done in time for the newlyweds to move in.

Which means that the downstairs bedrooms became dusty storage facilities for wedding gifts and unending piles of other stuff that is supposed to somehow fit into that tiny apartment. It means that the upstairs accumulates piles of dust every day (we had to dust the sibling Christmas presents several times before we opened them Christmas morning). It means that Kimberly and Jeremy's Christmas presents are still in the corner of the family room, and their stuff from the honeymoon is spread across the upper level of the house. And of course there are the leftovers from the reception—the huge bowl of crab salad that I swear I ate it at some point without feeling like I was punishing myself, the miraculously untempting trays of fudge, and the overflowing bags of pecan logs—stuff that we usually like, but that we have slowly come to disdain as the food diminishes slower than our appetites can handle.

And that's just from my perspective, one of the girls who knows nothing about building stuff and who can try to ignore the chaos around her by reading princess books, and is also comforted by the fact that she can return to her clean and orderly apartment before the madness subsides here.

The newlyweds, on the other hand, returned from a blissful honeymoon in Idaho only to find that they would be homeless for at least another week. Dad works on that apartment every day, but the cursed basement insists on throwing time-wasting problem after time-wasting problem at him. He keeps getting cabinets, only to find that these ones don't fit either and that he'll have to borrow a truck the next day and head back to Home Depot for the tenth time, where the workers are probably making bets on how many more trips it'll take before my dad cracks and tries to bring back cabinets that were mysteriously smashed during a rampage no one wants to talk about. (What they don't know, however, is that my dad has already lost his mind, and that every problem the basement throws at him at this point will simply make him more detached from the life he knew before the basement, his travel schedule, and his bishop duties consumed it.)

I'm pretty sure this family won't be sad to see the world return to its normal pace. A bit of normalcy should do just the trick to cure this insanity—assuming we survive the next few weeks.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The top 10 most annoying Christmas songs of all time

All awesome things have a dark side, most especially Christmas music. While I love Christmas music as much as the next person, there are some songs that trigger my gag reflex and make me a bit of a Scrooge. Such as these songs, for example.

10. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire). This is one of the Christmas classics (that I like) that I tend to get sick of the fastest. It seems that every artists feels morally obligated to put this song on their Christmas album, and, well, it gets old fast. This is by no means the most-played Christmas song, but it's just not good enough to warrant all the attention it gets.

9. Do You Hear What I Hear? Some artists have too much fun with the echoing effects, making this song incredibly annoying. However, it can be a wonderful song when done right (I rather love Vince Gill's version, for example).

8. Patapan. I wouldn't be surprised if only choir nerds recognized this song. It is a rather popular choral song, though I think the musical advancedness, rather than the nonsense lyrics, is the reason why acapella groups always sing it. It's one of those songs that latches itself in your brain and forces you to hum it for months at a time. However, its slight redeeming quality is its pure mockability. My family regularly adds to our made-up lyrics, most of which center on farm animals. (Think "cock-a-doodle-do" instead of "tu-la-ru-la-ru," and "pat a pat a pig" instead of "pat a pat a pan" and it'll be effortless to find more ways to slaughter this song.)

7. We Need a Little Christmas Now. I've sung this song in a couple of choirs, and it always ends up being the one the choir hates the most.

6. Christmas Time is Here. Yes, "Where Are You Christmas?" is one of my favorite Christmas songs, but the movie from which it stems has produced some equally bad songs. All it takes is the first screeching phrase of this song and my hand will shoot to the radio dial to change the station.

5. Angels We Have Heard on High. I would be prepared to bet that Relief Society sisters throughout the world sing this song every stinkin' year for their ward Christmas programs. My home ward may have started this tradition, and I hate it more every time we sing it, mostly for picky musical reasons: (1) no one can ever do the eternal "Gloria" in one breath, and (2) no matter how many times we relearn it, a majority of the sisters pronounce "in excelsis deo" wrong, which grates me the same way fingernails on a chalkboard does. For the record, it's "een egg shell sees day oh" everyone, and yes, that means you too, Josh Groban.

4. The 12 Days of Christmas. Who came up with this song, anyway? Every remake of this song (with the exception of the Vocal Point version) is long, annoying, and tedious.

3. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas. The first time I heard this song, it intrigued me. However, by the second verse I was so sick of the baby voice that I forever denied it the honor of my listening to it.

2. Merry Christmas, Darling, by the Carpenters. I love the old-time Christmas classics like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, but I hate, hate the Carpenters. I may have broken a few nails in my efforts to change the radio station every time Karen Carpenter's warbly voice airs. I'm not even sure if this song is the one that annoys me the most, but there's not way I'm going to listen to it to find out.

1. Santa Baby. Sultryness and Santa should not go together. 'Nuff said.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Glimpses of eternity

It's been a special/insane/exhausting/awesome December, one full of both stress-related sleep loss and excitement-related sleep loss.

The headaches, constant pounding in the basement, frantic planning, and frustrations of the past few months have already dimmed though, being brightly overshadowed by the tender mercies given to us over the past few weeks. Despite living in an imperfect world, God does grant us small glimpses into eternity throughout our lives; this month I saw three of those glimpses.

First was when I held Jaxson for the first time. Even though he was so small (about 4 1/2 pounds), I couldn't help but marvel at how perfect he was. I held in my arms a precious gift sent straight from heaven, a little miracle who just hours before was in the presence of God.

The second glimpse came when we accompanied Kimberly when she went through the temple for the first time. The line between this life and the next is thinner in the temple, and I felt that difference more poignantly as one more member of our family received the blessings of the endowment.

The third, and perhaps most powerful, glimpse came when I watched Kimberly be sealed to her eternal companion for time and all eternity. It was hard not to feel a bit of that "fullness of joy" that we are told we'll have all the time in exaltation. It was probably the most perfect half hour I have ever experienced.

These three experiences serve as a great reminder to me that God didn't just dump us here on Earth and leave us to figure out our own way to get back to him; we have been given so many opportunities to feel his presence on a more-than-Telestial level, whether it be in celebrating new life or in performing sacred ordinances. Even if these glimpses are fleeting, they're powerful enough to sustain us as we strive to live worthy of exaltation.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Disney movies and viewer perception: Part 2

I had so much fun talking about Disney movies a few months back that I decided to do a part 2. I may even do a part 3, and just keep going until I've talked about every Disney movie there is.

It would be so easy to write an entire dissertation on Disney movies. As I watched my next batch, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, and The Lion King, I may have gotten a little carried away with my newfound scholarly perspectives and neglected to ponder on my childhood memories.

Sleeping Beauty

Younger self: This movie always has been, and always will be.
Older self: Wow this movie is old. Just look at that animation! And I'm watching the DVD version that's 12,000 times clearer than the beat-up VHS back home.

Younger self: King Stephen--my sister has a friend named Stephen! He's famous!
Older self: "Good king Stephen and his queen--" wait a minute. Why doesn't the queen get a name? Now you've gone and pushed my "annoyance twitch" button.

Younger self:  . . .
Older self: You know, this movie isn't very original. Tangled, Enchanted, and Snow White all have similar storylines, the witch (whose name, apparently, is Maleficent, which is news to me) has minions that look exactly like the emporer's guard in The Emporer's New Groove (after they get turned into cows and stuff), the prince looks like Peter Pan, and his dad looks exactly like the king in Cinderella.

Younger self: The fairies must get their powers from Outer Space because it shows Outer Space when they give the princess her gifts.
Older self: Of course they give her the gifts of beauty and song first. It's not like she'll need anything like, I don't know, intelligence.

Younger self: What is a spinning wheel?
Older self: My 90s upbringing fails to understand how anyone could accidentally prick their finger on a spinning wheel. Who uses those, anyway?

Younger self: Why did the fairies kidnap the princess?
Older self: The king and queen actually agreed to letting three strange fairies raise their child? How--what--I don't understand how that solves the problem.

Younger self: You're supposed to crack the eggs first, silly!
Older self: How is it that the fairies still don't know how to cook? Am I really supposed to believe that they haven't used magic in 16 years?

Younger self: Maybe if I wish it hard enough, the mop and broom will come to life and do my jobs for me.
Older self: Maybe if I sit here long enough, someone else will do my jobs for me.

Younger self: Aurora's voice is too operatic (or whatever the 5-year-old word equivalent of "operatic" is. Vibrate-y?)
Older self: Aurora does have a lovely voice. Better than Snow White's, for sure.

Younger self: "Once Upon a Dream"--this song is the reason I love this movie.
Older self: Classic Disney courtship: prince and princess sing to each other, dance, and fall in love. Then the prince says, "Who are you? What's your name?" AWESOME. Apparently the fairies forgot to give the prince brains too.

Younger self: Why isn't Aurora happy to be a princess?
Older self: Stupid boys. They ruin everything.

Younger self: I want to drink juice out of a guitar!
Older self: There sure is a lot of drinking in this movie.

Younger self: Why can't the kings stop talking? I want to get back to the good stuff.
Older self: Apparently my parents aren't the only ones who talk about their grandchildren before they're even born . . .

Older self: Of course I didn't recognize this when I was little, but it's interesting that the fairies give the prince a shield of righteousness and a sword of truth.

Younger self: I want a dress that changes colors.
Older self: Actually, I would still love to have a dress that changes colors. Only if I can control it, though.


Older self: Hmm, for some reason I don't remember the very beginning of this movie at all.

Younger self: Who the heck is Little Brother? Why doesn't she ever find her little brother?
Older self: Easy way to confuse a 4th grader--just name your dog Little Brother.

Younger self: "Reflection"--this song is the story of my life.
Older self: Actually, my problem isn't that the real me is unacceptable--my problem is letting the real me out.

Younger self: Climbing on the roof to spy on people . . . what a great idea!
Older self: If I thought I could do this inconspicuously, I would totally do it.

Younger self: Now Mulan's just being a bully. There was no reason for her to slap Mushu.
Older self: "My eyes can see straight through your armor." Now I understand why Mulan slaps Mushu.

Younger self: I sure hope Mulan never has to take her shirt off . . .
Older self: Forget that--my biggest problem would be hiding my attraction to Shang . . .

Younger self: I don't care how dirty I am or how late at night it is; I would not go bathing in the lake in the middle of a camp full of dirty men.
Older self: Ditto.

Younger self: Guys are gross.
Older self: The whole lake scene is just . . . awkward.

Younger self: "A girl worth fighting--" Come on, just finish the phrase!
Older self: Please?

Younger self: Poor doll--it will never be reunited with its mommy.
Older self: Who the heck cares about the freakin' doll? It's the little girl and her family we should be worried about.

Younger self: Wow. The fat guy's really strong.
Older self: It's not at all unrealistic that the fat guy can pick up 4 soldiers, and by extension a horse, 2 more people, a lizard (I mean, dragon), and a cricket without making that arrow snap in half.

The Lion King

Younger self: Brace yourself for the opening song . . . AAUGH!!! That first note scares me every time.
Older self: Yep, still takes me by surprise. And I still have to make up gibberish if I want to sing along. (That is, until the English starts.)

Younger self: "Didn't your mother ever teach you not to play with your food?" I thought my mom made that up.
Older self: That part still reminds me of my mom.

Younger self: Mufasa's voice is probably what God's voice sounds like.
Older self: "Remember who you are."

Younger self: Why does Rafiki have a blue butt?
Older self: That is a bit distracting.

Younger self: Circle of Life--pretty song. In fact, all the music is great in this movie.
Older self: So, I read an article awhile back written by some overprotective Christian that talked about the evils of The Lion King (particularly the circle of life and Hakuna Matata concepts) and that if you let your kids watch this atrocious movie, be sure to explain these delicate issues so that they won't turn into demons later in life. See the next comment . . .

Younger self: It's so sad that Simba's dad dies.
Older self: And this is the part the scarred me, not the anti-Christian stuff. I haven't watched The Lion King for probably a decade because Mufasa's death is just too upsetting. In a lot of ways, this movie is geared toward a more mature audience than the princess movies. It's not about overcoming female stereotypes or finding your one true love; it's about learning from your mistakes and accepting responsibilities.

Younger self: Do bugs really taste like chicken? Maybe I'll try it . . .
Older self: I am 99.9% sure that this is a lie.

Younger self: "Hyenas. I hate hyenas." --Timon. Why doesn't Timon like hyenas? Isn't he like a baby hyena?
Older self: I'm still not sure what sort of animal Timon is.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

For a season

During the early 1800s when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was just beginning to get its bearings, the Saints were commanded to move to Kirtland, Ohio, "for a season." Many of the Saints had come from far away just to get to Palmyra, only to be commanded to leave again. This became an unfortunate pattern for the Saints during the early days of the church, even after they made the trek west to Utah.

Despite knowing that they would have to leave everything behind and start over again somewhere else, the Saints were fruitful. They planted trees and gardens, built homes and churches, started businesses, even sacrificed everything they could to build temples. It would have all too easy to simply lay low for a few years and not waste any sweat, blood, and tears over something they knew was only temporary, but instead they turned swamps into beautiful cities and made the desert bloom as a rose.

One of the greatest blessings/cursings of this life is that everything is temporary, both the good and the bad. Knowing that some things are more temporary than others often prevents me from giving 100 percent to a certain project or even chunk of time. At times I live more in the future than I do in the present; I know I'll have certain things later in life, so I'll just scrimp by on certain things until I turn another page. When life starts to get uncomfortable, I tend to take on the following philosophy: be content with what you have until you can get something better. Not exactly a bad philosophy to have--it's certainly better than wallowing in misery and cursing the world until life magically fixes itself--but it's still not the "best" philosophy to abide by.

Someone in my ward recently said that, speaking specifically about our time as young single adults, we will be held accountable for what we do with this time of our lives. It's a good thought to pen in a pretty font and tape to your bathroom mirror, no matter what situation of life you are in. The Saints understood that, and so have many people throughout time.

I, however, am still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of something fleeting being worth my time and effort. The problem is, those fleeting moments tend to become more permanent, and if we don't invest in those fleeting moments, we may find ourselves 10 years down the road wondering why we wasted so much time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"I'm an uncle!"

Earlier this week, the Carter phone networks were inundated with exclamations of "I'm an uncle!" followed by virtual fainting actions. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go watch 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. And then practice fainting on the couch and in the swimming pool for good measure.)

On December 5, two of the most perfect little boys made their entrance into this world, Jaxson and Bronx. (I guessed one of the names right! Even though I spelled it wrong . . . )

It used to annoy me just a tad when my friends, cousins, and Facebook acquaintances would brag about how cute their nieces and nephews were. Yes, I get that babies are cute and all, but I'm pretty sure all of these braggers would be saying the same thing even if the babies looked like trolls. A little biased, yes?

However, I won't be rolling my eyes at those proud aunts and uncles anymore. As a newly inducted aunt myself, it is impossible for me to not boast a bit. Every aunt and uncle has a divine right to be biased about their nieces and nephews; we simply cannot help ourselves. So yeah, I get it now.

For the record, though, my nephews really are the most precious human beings I have ever laid eyes on. Just sayin'.

I'm not sure how I feel about the title "aunt" though. I kind of feel like I have to sprout batty gray hair and start hobbling around with a cane. Not sure why I feel that way, seeing as none of my aunts are like that and becoming an aunt isn't an indicator of age (heck, some girls are aunts before they're even born). It's a title I'm proud to have, but I think I'd rather it not be included with my name for the time being . . . Kind of like how older women don't like to be called "Mam" because it makes them feel older than 25, you know?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Two-week crushes

I recognized early on in life that life, in general, is more exciting when you have a crush on someone. It means you'll always have someone to sigh over when girl talk is going on and that you'll always have something to make your heart flutter a bit, whether it be from daydreaming for hours on end or seeing the person in the actual flesh. Even if nothing real materializes out of your little crush, at least you had something fun to think about every day.

So I've made it an effort throughout my life to make sure that there was always a guy to plant my thoughts on. I've had crushes that have spanned years, and I've had crushes that took me by surprise, consumed my thoughts for two weeks nonstop, and then evaporated without warning. And I have to say, those two-week crushes are the most fun. They allow you to indulge yourself in ridiculous fantasies for a few days without the risk of being disappointed or getting hurt.

Of course, two-week crushes are good, innocent fun if you're single, but I don't imagine they are particularly healthy when you're already in a real relationship.

However, we're all human, and I highly doubt that even those with strong marriages don't stop to admire a delicious human specimen every now and then. Or even to casually stalk their celebrity crushes on the internet (that's how I found out that Chris Pine was an English major and has the same birthdate as Harry Potter).

This crush-seeking habit I've got is probably going to be a hard one to break once I find my ultimate crush, but you can't make me stop having fun with it while I'm still wild and free.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The top 10 Christmas songs of all time according to . . . me

Basically, Christmas songs are awesome. Especially the 10 I've listed here.

10. "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town," by the Chipmunks. You probably weren't expecting the Chipmunks to make this list, but let me explain. These little dudes were an important part of my childhood. We watched The Chipmunk Adventure on a regular basis, and every year we would torture my dad as we listened to the Chipmunk Christmas songs over and over again. I distinctly remember listening to this particular song one year on Christmas Eve and almost exploding with excitement and impatience as I envisioned Santa making his rounds on the snow-covered streets of West Mountain. Childlike excitement is one of the best things about Christmas, and the Chipmunks capture some of that magic.

9. "White Christmas," by Bing Crosby. Christmas just wouldn't be the same without Bing Crosby.

8. "Grown-up Christmas List," by Michael Buble. This song tends to be overplayed on the radio, but Michael Buble's version is my favorite. His warm, sultry voice is perfect for Christmas music.

7. "The Christmas Shoes," by NewSong. For some reason, I like songs that make me cry. Especially if they share a good message.

6. "Mary, Did You Know?" arr. by Mac Huff. This was the first song we started to learn back when I was in Trouveres at PHS, and it was the song that made Mr. D. cry when we, the group he spent two years training before he retired, sang it to him. It was also the first song the Carter girls sang together and which basically was the springboard for our a capella singing habits. I associate a lot of good memories with the choral version of this song, and it carries such a beautiful message. (If you've only heard the radio versions, though, just know that they don't do the song justice at all.)

5. "Were You There?" by a massive choir of priesthood holders. Every year my home ward does a Christmas program the sacrament meeting before Christmas, and everyone gets a chance to participate. By far the best part though is when every male over the age of 12 fills the entire area behind the pulpit and sings this song with vigor and power. It is probably the best three minutes of my entire year.

4. "Infant Holy, Infant Lowly," by Vocal Point. Vocal Point takes its role as a singing band of entertainers/missionaries very seriously, and this song is pure testimony. (If you haven't heard them sing it, be sure to tune in to the Sing-Off next Monday at 7:00 on channel 5 . . .) I can't think of a better song that reminds us of what Christmas is supposed to be about.

3. "Let There Be Peace on Earth," by Vince Gill. Listening to Vince Gill's Christmas CD always brings back precious memories of my childhood. We listened to it all the time when I was growing up, until it mysteriously disappeared or exploded or something. About 8-10 years later, the first year I lived away from home during Christmas time, I found the CD on Amazon for 3 cents. Best investment I ever made. I cannot listen to this song without remembering Christmases passed, and it is one of my favorite sings to sing to when I'm all alone in my car.

2. "Where Are You, Christmas?" by Faith Hill. I'm not a big fan of the original Grinch movie, and most especially not the Jim Carrey version, but I absolutely love this song. During the two months I listen to it on my iPod it rapidly rises in play counts, and it usually isn't bumped off my "Top 25 Most Played" playlist until September. One of the hardest things about growing up is losing your childhood. I remember the tugs at my heartstrings I felt when I hit Jr. high and it seemed that the magic of Christmas had disappeared forever. However, I eventually found the magic again, and pacing my bedroom early Christmas mornings while I impatiently wait out the "no earlier than 6 a.m. rule" my parents insist on imposing year after year is still a tradition I hold on to, even though I should have outgrown that years ago.

1. "O Holy Night," by Josh Groban. Oh, Josh. If you only knew the effect you had on me when you sing this song. It's somewhat dangerous to listen to this song while I'm driving because I get locked in a sort of paradise-like trance as Josh Groban's gorgeous voice fills every fiber of my being. Such a beautiful song, finally done justice by a man with a beautiful, beautiful voice.

Better late than never?

I never got around to writing a Thanksgiving post because I was too busy making the most of my four days off, doing everything I could to drain my brain of any usage. And I was reluctant to do an "I'm thankful for . . ." post anyway because being grateful is a daily thing for me, not a once-a-year thing.

However, there are a few things I am grateful for this holiday season that I thought I'd share with the class. Both have to do with having what others lack. I don't mean that in a boastful way, but rather a more humble way. (Though it's not completely humble, I guess, because I just used the word "humble" in a sentence about, um, myself.)

First, I am grateful to have a job, a job that I enjoy and that's full of awesome people. I am also grateful that the rest of my family is employed. This recession has hit a lot of families hard, but thankfully, my family has been spared this time.

And second, I'm grateful that I get to spend the holidays with the people I love the most. Not everyone gets that blessing, whether it be because of work, distance, or some other circumstance. My roommate's dad died on Halloween, and her family is going through that painful first holiday season without him there. Even though this was something they knew was coming, it can't be easy trying to celebrate when that gaping hole is there, even if you're doing something as simple as scouring the neighborhood for the best display of Christmas lights or handing out the presents to scores of impatient children. I, on the other hand, know that my dad will be there when we barge into his room at 5:59 on Christmas morning, and that's better than anything that might be under the Christmas tree.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Vocal Point's biggest (silent) stalker

I haven't been this obsessed with a singing group since the '90s when it was still cool to like 'N Sync. My obsession with Vocal Point began a few years before I started college and increased steadily until I found out they would be singing on the Sing-Off on national television--then my obsession was elevated to freak status. It wasn't really their ascension to fame that got me all excited, but rather that the rest of the world would be able to see why I love this group so much.

I went to their semi-annual Covey Center concert last night and enjoyed every millisecond of it. It did dawn on me, however, that I've become a bit of a Vocal Point stalker. Not one of the annoying/creepy ones that drives by their homes every night or gushes all over the place when I see one of them at my grocery store, but rather the one who faithfully watches every episode of the Sing-Off, who attends their concerts regularly, who has 83 of their songs on her iPod, and who knows which ones are single, which ones are engaged, and which ones are married. During the trivia section of the concert last night, I knew the answer to all of the questions (except for "What is the collective weight of Vocal Point?" though I'm pretty sure they weigh more than 300 pounds . . . )

So even though I've seen everything the current group has to offer, I still can't get enough of them. Acapella is quickly becoming my favorite genre of music, and this group is just so darn fun to watch and listen to. I've never seen a group perform with so much energy and enthusiasm, and sound so freakin' good while they're doing it. It's probably a lot more fun for single girls to watch them though because we can fantasize about marrying one of them some day (and yes, I've picked out which one I want, though I've got two backups just in case it doesn't work out). I certainly seemed to enjoy watching them more than the two married girls I was sitting in between last night. No one else had any trouble holding back sighs, squeaks, and exclamations of awe.

But what really makes Vocal Point awesome, though, is the heart they put into their spiritual songs. Their ridiculous songs like "The Telephone Opera" and "Super Mario" are tons of fun and watching their live performances make me grin so hard my face hurts, but it's songs like "Nearer My God to Thee" and "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" that touch my heart and speak directly to my soul, filling me with indescribable joy and peace that only good music can bring. More than one of their songs have been my beacon of hope when nothing else in life seemed to make sense.

So, yes, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm in love with Vocal Point, and I doubt this love affair will end any time soon. I think those 9 hot and talented guys will forever have a place in my heart. Speaking of love, this is what the soundtrack of my life would be using only Vocal Point songs . . .

Opening credits: Stick Shifts and Safety Belts (from Standing Room Only album). I'm off to a good start already--this guy doesn't want to be separated by bucket seats and seat belts.

Waking up: Meowing Off (from Mouthing Off). If this song were my alarm that woke me up every morning, I'm pretty sure my alarm clock would be broken by the end of the week.

Average day: THX Deep Note/20th Century Fox Fanfare (from Nonstop). Oh yeah--my life is so epic that it requires its own theme song.

First date: Praise to the Man (from Nonstop). Apparently the date was a hit.

Falling in love: Home (Michael Buble version from Nonstop). Oh, how cute; we're missing one another from a distance.

Fight scene: It Had Better Be Tonight (from Back in Blue). If I'm smart, I'll kiss the guy before he moves on to someone else.

Breaking up: Summertime (from Grand Slam). Crap. I don't remember what this song's about. Apparently, though, I annoyed the guy one too many times with my games, and we both spent a miserable summertime apart.

Getting back together: She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (from Grand Slam). By the end of the summer, though, the guy's friends/spies are telling him that I clearly haven't moved on because it's obvious that I'm still hung up on him. Why didn't I just give him that one little kiss?

Secret love: Carry On My Wayward Son (from Mouthing Off). Yikes. Maybe that's why I didn't kiss him.

Life's okay: Footloose (from the Sing-Off). Ah, who cares about past mistakes. Let's just dance and pretend everything is okay.

Mental breakdown: Remember When It Rained (from Back in Blue). Of course, pretending something doesn't exist never works because there's always something there to remind you about that time it rained.

Driving: Thank You (from Standing Room Only). Apparently I was grateful for the reminder, though.

Learning a Lesson: You Really Got Me (from the Sing-Off). I go back to the guy, and he says, "You really got me--I thought you were gone for good. That'll teach me not to doubt us."

Deep thought: Primarily Vocal Point (from Standing Room Only). That's when we realize that everything we really need to know we already learned--in Primary.

Flashback: A Pedir Su Mano (from Grand Slam). Have I mentioned that I only speak English?

Partying: I'm Yours (from Back in Blue). Oh man, if Ben Murphy sang this to me, I'd be a goner.

Happy dance: 12 Days of Christmas (from Standing Room Only). It has been decided that we will get married 12 days before Christmas. That definitely calls for a happy dance.

Regretting: Never Say Never (from the Sing-Off). 'Nuff said.

Long night alone: The Way You Look Tonight (from the Sing-Off). Um, if I ever had to part from a guy who sings this the way Jake sings it, then, yes, it would be a very long night alone.

Death scene (why does this have to be a tragic loves story? I refuse to cooperate, I tell you!: Ain't too Proud to Beg (from the Sing-Off). If my guy were about to jump off a cliff, I wouldn't be too proud to beg him not to. Crisis averted.

Closing credits: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Medley (from Standing Room Only). After the honeymoon phase is over and we've emerged from our non-human (a.k.a. newlywed) status, we start to wonder what's up with our families.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The way my brain works on Fridays

It is extremely difficult for me to be productive on Friday afternoons. Today, I blocked out my entire afternoon to write the copy for one little project, but I am not much further along now than I was two hours ago. I simply cannot focus on the task at hand, no matter how hard I try. I often find myself staring off into space, with no idea how long I've been sitting there or how I managed to lose my train of thought again. I swear there's a little demon that lives inside my brain just so it can flip the off switch on Fridays (and sometimes Tuesdays).

Allow me to illustrate.

Task at hand: Write 40 words on eEligibility.

Thought process: Even sissies can write 40 words. Except, I don't actually know what eEligibility is. I should probably Google it. Oh look, I left my Facebook tab open--I wonder if anything exciting is going on. My desk is really dusty. I should probably clean it. Or maybe the maintenance guys do that. With all the construction going on around here though, keeping stuff clean at this point isn't really that important. Oh wait, I'm supposed to be learning about eEligibility. I should probably just ask Eric, but then I would have to go find him. I wonder if it will snow at the football game tomorrow. I should check and see what time it's at. And while I'm there I'll check out the basketball schedule. eEligibility is important for some reason. . . . *Stares at wall for an uncharted amount of time and then suddenly jerks back into reality* I was totally making progress a while ago--how come I stopped working? eEligibility . . . intense staring match with wall . . . maybe I should write 40 words about something else, like, the claims center! I know what that is! Holy cow, it's 3:30 already and I haven't done anything! Claims center. I will think about nothing but the claims center. Pause . . . pause . . . pause . . . my ChartLogic pen is stupid. Maybe I should flip it around and do that cool wobbly thing. I think I left my pencil on my TV. I need to buy a DVD cleaner--how do those work, anyway?--so I can watch movies not on my laptop, but I have to wait till tomorrow because I'm going to the Vocal Point concert tonight, but I can't think about that too much because then I'll get all mad again that Vocal Point was voted off the Sing-Off and now I have no legitimate excuse to skip FHE. *Writes two words* Man, I need a break. I haven't made a trip to the drinking fountain for awhile. I'll go get a drink and then come back and get some real work done. What am I supposed to be working on, again?

You see, my intentions are always good. It's the results that leave much to be desired.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

10 reasons why the NBA lockout sucks

  1. No Jimmer.
  2. No Jimmer.
  3. No Jimmer.
  4. No Jimmer
  5. No Jimmer.
  6. No Jimmer.
  7. No Jimmer.
  8. No Jimmer.
  9. No Jimmer.
  10. No Jimmer.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Coupon Lady

I am the absolute worst at picking the fast check-out line at the grocery store. Usually, I have fewer than 15 items, which allows me to whiz through the line without putting a damper on my mood, but today I wasn't so lucky. I rejoiced last week when I discovered I didn't need to replenish my milk and bread supply for the week, but I paid for it today when I had to buy twice as many groceries and take my place in the horribly long lines of Walmart.

Today I thought I had picked a good line for once; there were only two customers in front of me, one of whom was already paying. What I failed to notice, however, was that I had just parked behind every hurried shopper's worst nightmare.

The Coupon Lady.

Not quite ready to lose my spot, I got on my tippie toes and stretched my neck to its fullest capacity in an attempt to furtively analyze the lines adjacent to me; as far as I could tell, every line had at least two or three customers.

So I decided to risk it; I stayed behind the Coupon Lady as she unloaded her alarmingly full cart.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, don't stop to think--just get into another line.

Because I clearly made the wrong decision.

Hidden in the recesses of Coupon Lady's hoodie was a massive pile of coupons big enough to keep a wet campfire going for three days. She then proceeded to count out all 237 of her cans and make sure each one got to use its special coupon. She jotted down notes on how much each type of processed food cost. Then she moved on to the 42 boxes of frozen pizzas, the three turkeys, the cans of ice-cream and soda, and the other tiny items like yogurt that fell through the cracks of her 700 pounds of food.

All this time I was having an intense debate with myself: should I move? should I stay put? I compromised by staying put and plastering an immensely annoyed look on my face. At least three people got in line behind me and then left to find another line while I stayed there, trying not to lash out violently every time Coupon Lady stopped Bag Boy so that she could rifle through her stupid coupons.

I almost cried for joy when the last yogurt made it to the check-out strip thing (the name of which escapes me at the moment), but then she started double-checking all of her coupons and casually glancing through her tree for that last coupon that would undoubtedly save her three cents.

Then I got my lucky break; the empty lane next to me opened up, and I shot over there before anyone else had a chance to move. By the time I was finally rolling my cart out of that cursed place, Coupon Lady was still checking out, but by now word had gotten out that a religiously fanatic coupon lady was proselyting on aisle 16, so everyone steered clear of her.

At this point my plans to make an extravagant meal (the ingredients of which I had painstakingly sought out today) had turned into plans to heat up some beef fajitas for dinner. That plan was further reinforced when I had to traverse through 15 miles of parking lot from where I parked my car to my apartment, loaded down with my purse, two gallons of milk, and nine shopping bags. At this point I was too ornery, too starving, and too tired to put forth any more non-required effort.

Add the horrible Coupon Lady to yet another reason why you should not shop hungry. It probably doesn't help to shop when you're powered on only two measly hours of sleep, either.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Polar opposites of awesome

I am pretty much a walking contradiction. However, that's my prerogative as long as I remain a woman.

In my last post, I elaborated upon my delight at finding myself in need of a sick day. I have never had so much fun being sick in my life. I was sick enough to force myself to slow down, but not sick enough to have to be hospitalized. And I'm telling you, it's a good position to be in . . . as long as you can get away with pretty much putting your life on hold for awhile, which, I totally can.

I still went to work four days that week, but I'll be the first to say that the work I did wasn't up to my usual standard, and every minute outside the office was spent honing my skills as the new veg queen of the week. This is the first time in my life that that was acceptable; it was completely in my power to cater to my every sickly want and need. If that meant taking two naps in one day, so be it; if it meant finishing an entire crochet project in a week, that works too; if it meant possibly skipping out on relief society, well, it is what it is; and keeping up with exercise, piano, social interaction, and all that other stuff that is completely good for me was completely out of the question.

Call me crazy, but I loved how many things being sick got me out of doing.

This week, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. I decided on Sunday that starting Monday morning, I was going to be as healthy as a horse and as productive as an awesome person.

And for once in my life, the world accommodated my request. Aside from some lingering congestion, I was completely healthy again (never in my life have I recovered from a cold so quickly; there is something to be said for getting plenty of rest to spur speedy recovery), and I have been awesome this week; I worked out and practice my piano every day, I did a lot of cleaning and laundry, I ate nutritious meals (and even managed to avoid the grocery store this week; score!), I caught up with my roommate a bit, and I've had the most productive week at work that I've ever had.

The aligning of these two polar opposites of awesome--abject laziness and feverish productiveness--might have something to do with why I've been so completely happy lately. I used to think that to achieve this kind of giddy, unexplainable happiness you had to be in love, but obviously that isn't true, seeing as I have no prospects and have still found myself smiling for no reason at random moments.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Long-awaited sick day

I've always been intrigued by the concept of paid vacation and sick days. Since I turned 16 and started working, I've only called in sick once (and that was my very first week at Domino's), and taking vacation days, while fun, always left me wondering how I was going to make up for the money I didn't make that week.

So naturally, I couldn't wait until I had a real job that would pay me to go on vacation and pay me to be sick. I loved the concept that you wouldn't always have to work for your pay, and that jobs with benefits would take into account that you need a day off every now and then and would pay you to do so.

It was quite exciting the first time I got a holiday off (Memorial Day) and still got a full paycheck. It was even more awesome when I played in DC for a week and still had a normal paycheck waiting for me when I got back.

Now all I needed was a sick day, and my life would be complete.

The only problem with that, though, is that technically you have to be sick to call in sick. I haven't been sick (beyond allergies, headaches, and other non-contagious stuff) since my sophomore year in college, which, shockingly enough, was four years ago. I was starting to feel invincible, and it felt pretty good to be confident in my ability to not ever get sick, even when those around me were coughing and sniffling.

Well, I guess I bragged about that a little too much, because come Halloween night, I started to feel a bit woozy. I don't know why, but this made me a little bit giddy. By the next day, I knew that this cold was for real, and I left work a little early to stock up on cold medicine, orange juice, soup, tissues, and hot cocoa mix. I was ready to experience my first paid sick day ever and it was going to rock.

Unfortunately, the next day, Wednesday, was packed with to-dos, and I wasn't about to skip out on one of my busy days (those are my favorite, by the way). So I went to work, and soon understood why people complain about being sick; it really sucks keeping up with your normal routine when your body isn't 100 percent.

Not about to repeat that experience again, I decided my best course of action for today would be to . . . stay home and sleep all day. I like to be lazy, and I finally had an excuse to milk it for all it was worth without the productive shoulder angel making me feel guilty; because really, it's hard work being sick. Simply making a trip to the bathroom or heating something up in the microwave is enough to make you a little dizzy and somewhat exhausted, so it can be argued that you did work hard enough to deserve watching that second movie.

So my sick day consisted of watching daytime television, taking naps, reading my book, and crocheting. (Although I had to watch my movie on my laptop because my darn DVD player won't play anything but Boy Meets World at the moment; that show is just too awesome to live down, and now that I'm done watching all the episodes I guess my DVD player is protesting.)

In short, my first paid sick day was supremely awesome. Even with the mountain of tissues I've gone through, the fact that my head still feels like it's trapped in a bubble, and the medicine that is doing its best to make me feel weird, it was all worth it because it allowed me to truly feed my laziness and enjoy it more than I have in a long time.

Sadly, though, I'm bringing this brief reprieve to a crashing halt tomorrow, because I have too much work to do to justify taking tomorrow off too. I'll probably hate being sick 12 hours from now, but I must admit that for today, it's been kind of awesome.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A fun tradition

For the sake of all those who are children, who have small children, or who will some day have children, I hope the Halloween tradition lives on. Adults have corrupted most of what is good and fun about Halloween, but as far as kids are concerned, it's a highly anticipated event that is full of innocent fun.

Today we ended the work day a little early and brought in all the employees' kids, giving them a head start on their trick-or-treating endeavors. It's been a while since I was part of the trick-or-treating tradition, so it was a lot of fun to watch the eager kids in their adorable costumes politely say (at the admonition of their parents) please and thank-you and then shyly move on to the next cubicle. I think I may have had more fun watching the parents though; even if they weren't as adorable, they still had that glimmer of excitement in their eyes, only it was magnified by the unsuppressed pride in having the cutest kids in the entire building.

All the little families left with broad smiles, some of the kids already spinning in circles in an attempt to control this new feeling of sugar high. Tonight will be a night they will all remember, an unusually warm Halloween spent romping the streets with their families, friends, and bags of candy.

That's the kind of tradition that builds memories that stick with you forever. I may not be much into Halloween now, but I can't wait to do the Halloween thing again with small children who are positively bursting with excitement.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Compartmentalizing the best things in life

It has begun yet again: the traditional joyous plunge into holiday-making by some, followed by the gripes of holiday compartmentalizers by others.

The people of this world can be divided into three different groups (at least, prior to the launch of the end-of-year holidays): (1) the Scrooges/Grinches, (2) those who shut their eyes and crash into innocent bystanders when the Christmas hoopla goes up before Halloween and who shove their fingers in their ears when they hear even a hint of jingle bells before Thanksgiving, and (3) those who listen to Christmas music whenever they want, regardless of unwritten societal rules.

I belong in the third category. Christmas music is one of the awesome things of life, and only one month of listening to it is not enough time to make me so sick of it I can't even think about it without gagging from January to September.

The category 2 people, however, are starting to get on my nerves. Families look forward to vacations months in advance regardless of events that take place before then, businesses plan for future events simultaneously, students take on humongous workloads of school/social life/work at the same time, and sports seasons overlap each other--so why is it a crime to be excited for Christmas before Halloween is over? Who decided that we have to spend exactly a month on Halloween, exactly a month on Thanksgiving, and exactly a month on Christmas? To whoever did, I ask: WHERE'S THE FUN IN THAT?

*Acknowledges that there is some logic to this scheme for those who spend significant amounts of time, effort, and money making the seasons joyous for their children. On that note, however, my mom is listening to Christmas music already.*

Refusing to participate in Christmas festivities before Thanksgiving makes about as much sense as refusing to talk about anything that doesn't involve fabric, dresses, and flowers when you're planning a wedding. Or ignoring your three other children while you master how to manage one child.

So listen to this, category 2ers: there is no need to compartmentalize the awesome things in life. It is possible to enjoy each holiday in its own element without being deaf and blind to the other holidays. Sometimes life is full of extra awesomeness: get over it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On having a life

Last night, I went visiting teaching. As much as I would like it to go away, visiting teaching always manages to be part of my life because in every ward I've been in I a) get partnered with the Relief Society president, b) the Relief Society president is assigned as my visiting teacher, or c) I get called as a visiting teaching supervisor. Every stinkin' ward. Without fail.

Yesterday's visit was enlightening on many levels. The other two girls spent an hour gabbing about dating, random trips they take every few months or so for no reason, the TV shows they watch, the different cultures they've experienced, and the plethora of people they have come across in their many adventures, and I just sat there and thought, "Wow. I have no life." It's normal for me to sit and say nothing while conversations are going on around me, but this time it was because I had no similar experiences to draw from, not because I wasn't assertive enough to raise my voice and say something.

That hour opened up that window in my brain that has been getting smaller and smaller since Jr. high, the one that tells me that if I want to have a life, I need to spend my weekends having awesome adventures so that I'll have legitimate stories to tell others on Monday. These girls were taking advantage of their freedom from family and the poverty of student life to truly go out into the world and experience it. It made my little goals to enjoy the little things in life look feeble and pathetic.

Before I started to slide into the self-pity corner of my brain, though (which has also been getting smaller since Jr. high), I remembered that I am most definitely not a social butterfly and I certainly wouldn't enjoy plopping myself two states away just so I could get to know the people there. I don't like going to parties unless my sisters are there to entertain me, and most of my hobbies are of the solitary, introspective type.

So how do people like me make sure they "have a life" and live life to the fullest? Smell the roses and watch the leaves change? Drink a Dr. Pepper? Find a way to change my personality so that it suddenly becomes possible to go to social activities without having to bribe myself with a brownie or a new shirt to make myself go? (Which rarely works, by the way.)

Despite my musings to the contrary, though, I'm having a hard time making myself feel guilty about the way I've spent my life. Yes, I've probably spent too many Friday nights at home, and I really should step outside of my comfort zone more than I do, but I've been pretty happy, even though many would call my life boring (including myself at times . . .).

However, I think it's possible to live life to the fullest without climbing Mt. Everest or being the Dating Queen of the century. I'm pretty sure that those of us who see playing cards or cross-stitching as the ultimate sources of entertainment still have a shot at having a life. If life makes you happy, then you're seizing the day.

I'm pretty excited that I've figured this out. Otherwise, I would have to change who I am in order to satisfy my desire to have a life. And that wouldn't be fun for anybody.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The difference between Provo and Salt Lake YSA wards

I'll admit, I was relieved to find that the church is just as true in Salt Lake as it is in Provo, even though the 50-mile dividing line between the two cultures is pretty strong.

However, my first time in a non-Happy Valley YSA ward has portrayed some notable differences from a typical Utah County YSA ward. For example:
  • Obviously, there's this school in Salt Lake that a lot of people are loyal to. . . . However, my entire bishopric graduated from BYU, so when BYU lost to Utah, there was pain at the pulpit that day rather than gloating. As it should be.
  • Those of us up north actually get to meet in a real church, rather than a classroom on campus. No sacrament meeting in the testing center for us.
  • The very first speaker at our adult session of stake conference last week had a full-blown Mohawk. There is no way a BYU bishop/stake president would have allowed that to happen, but in Salt Lake it isn't really cause for concern. (He gave a very good talk, by the way. And his closing line was classic: "I'm trying to get into law school, I play guitar in a band, and I love to ski; I'm a Mormon.")
  • Stake/regional conferences often take place in the Conference Center downtown. As much as I like the Marriott Center, the Conference Center is way cooler. Yesterday I sat in like the 8th row of the bottom section and could actually see the speakers, the chairs are way more comfortable, and I'm pretty sure Elder Bednar looked at me directly when he was waving good-bye to the congregation at large.
  • At BYU, all we ever talked about was dating, marriage, and marriage. My SLC ward still has its obligatory relationships class, but our theme from the start has centered on missionary work. It is refreshing to be relieved of the marriage pressure thing, but I'm no better at the missionary work thing, so, frankly, I can't decide which one is more annoying.
  • This may be because I always lived south of campus, but the average age was much younger in Provo than it is in SLC. At 24, I would have been considered ancient and way past marriageable age in Provo, but in Salt Lake I am one of many in the mid-to-late twenties. I can't express enough how nice that is.
  • A lot of famous (Mormon) people live in the Salt Lake area. Utah County gets its fair share of Mormon celebrities, but most of them call the Salt Lake area home. My ward specifically has already hosted firesides for Thurl Bailey, Elizabeth Smart, an ex-Oakland Raiders football player that I can't remember the name of, and many other big names.
  • Utah County still only has one operating temple; Salt Lake County has got at least five.
  • Facial hair and "extravagant" fashion styles aren't frowned upon in Salt Lake.
Despite the subtle differences though, all the important things are still the same, including the nuances that make singles wards different from any other congregation in the world.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The importance of being entertained

Sometimes I feel like the world is forcing me to think about something, because everywhere I go there are "signs." This week I've felt like Steve from Full House when DJ goes to Disneyland without him and he starts seeing her everywhere, including in his cheese toast. (Does anyone else remember that episode, or did I just make it up?)

This week, I've been seeing the same recurring theme in my Jr. high journal, on Facebook, in 2 Nephi, and in blog comments by David Farland. I figure that if my younger self, the internet, and the scriptures all make note of something, then it must be true.

You're probably wondering what I've been thinking about now, eh? And you probably want me to connect the dots for you too, eh? Too bad; I'm having too much fun being vague.

Dot one
Last night I was typing up one of my old journals, and I hit a section in the summer between my 9th- and 10th-grade years. My family and I had taken a mini vacation to St. George to go to my dad's half-brother's wedding (of course, I didn't know that this guy existed until I found out we were going to his wedding, but it was usually occasions like this that enlightened me about the confusing reaches of my dad's family).

I don't remember anything about the wedding (which makes sense, because according to my records we arrived too late to witness anything of consequence), but I do remember the hotel. It was probably the worst hotel room we ever had to cramp all 7 of us into; the room was kind of yucky, the hot tub was full of bugs, dirt, and leaves (I am pleased to note that I possessed the same common sense then that I do now when I stated that I didn't care about the hot tub, because who would want to boil away when it was over 100 degrees outside, anyway?), and the place just wasn't well managed.

Rather than dwell on our unfortunate circumstances, though, we elected to make the best of things, and we spent a lot of time outside in the pool laughing and playing stupid games. When we were forced to go inside, we made light of the situation, and possibly my favorite part of the day was fighting over mirror space and hair-doing appliances with my mom and sisters as we tried to beautify ourselves for the wedding that we missed most of.

Dot two
Also last night, I was reading in 2 Nephi when Nephi is lamenting that his posterity would go astray because of their wickedness. All the Book of Mormon prophets had to deal with (I assume) knowing that ultimately, their posterity would end up killing each other off because their wickedness was so out of control, and I can't imagine that was easy for any of them to deal with.

This has nothing to do with the point I am leading up to, but does anyone else ever get tired of reading Nephi's diatribes? He reminds me of a kid I went to high school with who was a bit self-righteous and overly favored by his father. The more I read about Nephi, the more I connect with Laman and Lemuel; if I had a little brother who was always right and faithful and who was always trying to make me a better person when I just wanted to sulk in my wicked ways a bit longer, I would definitely get annoyed and possibly lash out violently at times. Not to mention the guilt I feel whenever Nephi mourns over his own wickedness because, honestly, if he's a wretched man, what does that make me?

Moving on . . .

Dot three
Here's what I saw on Facebook this morning:

Dot four
And finally, the words of published author, talking about frivolous stories:
"There are those who would tell you that such stories are a waste of time. I'm going to argue very strongly that simply entertaining people can be a worthy endeavor, a profoundly moral deed, because it enables your audience to engage in emotional exercises that people need in order to remain emotionally healthy."
So, how did you do in connecting the dots that I have so masterfully laid out for you? Here's what I've concluded.

Sometimes it's hard to go through the motions of life because it feels like your efforts are worthless: the kids will just fight the entire vacation, your posterity will scorn the blessings you worked so hard to attain for them, and the passion you are pursuing at the moment really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

To all that I say, so what? True, we were sent to Earth to prove something, but that doesn't mean we have to take life so seriously all the time.

And you all thought I was just trying to entertain myself as I tried to get through another Friday at work.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Psychology, personality, and . . . something else that starts with a P

Sometimes I think it would be fascinating to study psychology. I've always been interested in certain facets of what makes us all human--who isn't?--but my academic instruction in that area has left me with more knowledge about crazy psychology teachers than the subject they thought they were teaching. My high school psychology teacher sniffed a few too many markers, and my college psychology professor spent all of his time conducting pointless mind games on us, the willing victims who walked unwittingly into his classroom. It really is a shame that even the most fascinating of subjects can be rendered dull by the skill of the speaker, er, teacher.

But despite my lack of sane instruction on how the mind works and all that jazz (or perhaps because of it), over the past few weeks I've been pondering certain motivations that shape a person's personality.

Allow me to use a real-life example to demonstrate my point.

There's this episode in Gilmore Girls where Lorelai's mother agrees with her 100 percent. For those unfortunate enough to not have yet discovered the delights of this show, just know that Emily Gilmore never agrees with her daughter on anything. At least not 100 percent. So, naturally, Lorelai freaks out and spends the rest of the episode reevaluating every decision she has ever made in her life, from how to style her hair to whether or not she likes pop tarts. For her, the motivating factor behind most of her decisions depends largely upon whether her mother would approve of her decisions. Would Emily approve of eating a cold pastry out of a box for breakfast (or lunch or dinner)? Of course not; that's why pop tarts are Lorelai's favorite food. Would Emily approve of of high-speed internet? Of course she would; that's why Lorelai and Rory make do with a slow, dial-up connection.

*To experience the true Gilmore Girls feel of the previous paragraph, read it really fast without taking a breath.*

I had a similar thought-altering experience a few weeks ago when I was sitting at work, off on one of my tangents. I was wondering yet again why anyone would voluntarily wear a dress and heels all day without being required to do so. I certainly would never in a million years do such a thing.

But then I started thinking about why I strongly dislike wearing church clothes, buying (and wearing) shoes, painting my fingernails, and accessorizing myself with necklaces, belts, and purses. Ever since the day my Aunt Deona told me that boys like girls with pretty nails, I have fed the tomboy within me and done everything I could to repress my more feminine side. Something as simple as trying to impress the boys with my manliness rather than my femininity has been the motivating factor behind a lot of my decisions, and not just the ones that have to do with fashion choices.

But do I really hate skirts and purses, or do I just feel like I have to hate them because a true tomboy would hate them? Do I really enjoy sports, or am I just trying to convince the guys that I can relate to them on their (sort of) level? Do I refuse to carry around lipstick and hairspray everywhere because it's impractical or because I don't want to be caught with such embarrassing items? Do I make these decisions because I want to, or because I feel like I have to?

So many decisions, so many different ways they could have gone.

Now I remember why I didn't try harder to find a decent psychology professor. This stuff gives me a headache.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Crazy, happy, freezing-cold Mormons

A normally quiet section of Payson found itself overflowing with crazy Mormons early Saturday morning. All decked out in Sunday best, thousands of Saints thronged the sidewalks of southwest Payson, undeterred by the freezing rain. They were all headed to the same place: a huge, muddy field that was lined with chairs.

October 8, 2011, marks the date that the ground was broken for the Payson Utah Temple. For thousands of members in the surrounding areas, witnessing such a historic and long-awaited event was enough to get them out of their warm beds on a cold, Saturday morning to sit outside in the rain.

I was one of the crazy lucky ones who got to witness the ceremony live rather than in a stake center nearby. (There are unusual benefits to having your dad as the bishop and always being the odd man out; when there's one extra ticket that no one wants, I am the ideal recipient.) I woke up earlier Saturday morning than I had all week, bundled up the best I could, and set out with my parents to watch Elder Oaks dig up some dirt.

Okay, we went for more than just that. We went because we wanted the honor of being able to say that we were there.

It was definitely a unique experience, that's for sure. As we approached the mass of lined-up chairs, we noticed that each chair was housing a mini lake in its seat. (Luckily, we were smart enough to bring towels to sit on and blankets to bundle up in, but we watched a lot of people trying to dry off their soaking chairs with gloves, hats, and dripping-wet towels.) Nearly everyone was holding an umbrella, which created a massive, leaky roof over the entire congregation that managed to keep some of the heat from escaping.

Once situated, we took a look at our program and realized that there were five speakers lined up for the ceremony, and we seriously started to doubt our sanity in braving the elements.

Once the meeting officially began, most of the umbrellas went down, even though it was still drizzling a bit. However, we came to watch this ceremony no matter what the costs, so if it meant we had to get our hair a bit wet so we could actually see the speakers, then so be it. A lot of people, including Elder Oaks, said that they were grateful that the rain stopped falling when the ceremony started, but from where I was sitting, the rain was still falling. Not enough to really cause any discomfort, but enough to add insult to injury.

Fortunately, the talks were short.

The announcement of new temples is a lot of people's favorite part of conference; even if temples are being built in places you've never heard of or will never visit in your lifetime, it's still exciting to know that someone, somewhere will get the wonderful blessings of temples.

I doubt very many people cared that much when they heard that Utah was getting yet another temple, one that was a half hour away from the Provo Temple and about an hour away from the Manti Temple. Many members still have to travel for hours (if not more) to get to a temple, while we here in Utah can go to a different temple every week and feel obligated to get married in a different temple than our siblings got married in.

However, members throughout Utah County rejoiced. We have been dreaming of a temple in this valley for generations, not because we didn't have access to one previously, but because it is getting harder and harder for Provo to keep up with demand. I love the Provo Temple, but sometimes it is hard to feel peace when you're being rushed through the baptistery or when you're stuffed in a hot room that is completely full of people.

Even more, who doesn't want to have a temple in their own home town? As previously mentioned, so many Saints would give anything to have a temple nearby, and here we are, blessed enough to have one being built in our backyard because enough members worked for long enough to make it happen.

One of the things I love most about the church is that we are all part of the same big family, no matter where you come from. I know that members will feel that in the Payson Temple, just like they do wherever the spirit resides, but there's something special about knowing that a temple was built for you personally, that your friends and family helped make the temple a reality. At the groundbreaking, I saw a lot of familiar faces: my high school choir director lead the choir and congregation; my stake president was one of the first to grab a shovel and dig up some dirt; and even Elder Oaks was a true native because he went to the same elementary school (Peteetneet Academy) that my dad went to back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.

My favorite part of the entire ceremony, though, was the dedicatory prayer. As Elder Oaks prayed for the protection of this holy place and officially dedicated the site for the work of the Lord, I felt the power of those words sink deep into my soul. I thought to myself, I am sitting in the exact place that the people I love so much will come to be closer to God, to receive the extraordinary blessings the temple offers, to seal their families together for all of eternity. Not just my spiritual brothers and sisters will be affected by this temple, but the people I know right now, in this life.

I don't know if this is customary or not, but Elder Oaks had the 12-year-old deacons come up as the last "official" group to dig up some earth. I thought this was most appropriate, because for those young boys, this will be their temple. They will probably get their endowments there, get married there if they wish. Those boys represented thousands of young people, including my youngest sister, who will experience life-changing events in the building President Monson decided we were ready to have.

So years from now, long after the temple has been completed, I'll be able to say that I was there the day construction officially begun. True, the people in the warm stake centers still had a better view than I did, but I got to sit on a wet chair under my Utah Jazz umbrella and truly experience it. And it was pretty cool.

Friday, October 7, 2011

What? Winter already? No, please . . . I need more time!

Was it really just a few days ago that I turned on the AC before I went to bed so that I wouldn't have to sleep in an oven?

Right now, just thinking of turning on the AC is enough to chill me to the bone. As if the sudden temperature drop isn't enough to do that for me. I had forgotten how cold 40 degrees really is.

Normally, the first cold stint of the year gets me all excited. There's lots of great things about wintry weather: hot chocolate, some of the best holidays of the year, pretty snow, not to mention my wardrobe doubles. It's always exciting wearing my leather jacket for the first time of the season, getting reacquainted with my sweaters, replacing my thin blankets with my heavier-duty ones, going to sleep to the sound of the heater, and smelling that cold, end-of-autumn smell in the air.

This year, however, I'm just not ready. I don't want to be able to see my breath in the air. I don't want to start scraping the ice off my car every morning. I don't want to see snow-capped mountains; I'm still marveling in the autumnal trees. I'm not ready for the drama snow brings.

Wouldn't it be nice if Mother Nature would treat us with some warm weather again, just so I can enjoy a few more weeks of warmth so I can mentally prepare myself for pre-winter excitement? Never in my 24 years of life have I been caught off-guard when winter reemerges; it just feels wrong to be complaining along with everyone else about the sudden cold and wet, and it's ruining one of my most-anticipated adventures of the year.

But wait; according to, next week is nothing but suns and temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Is Mother Nature really going to give me a second chance to enjoy the turn of the season? Oh, I hope this isn't one of her cruel tricks. If it is, you'll probably see me outside pulling a Lorelai Gilmore, attacking the snow on my car while I yell "You and I are through!" to the sunless sky.

Please, Mother Nature; give me one more chance to do this thing right.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Working at home

Sometimes, I really hate having the option of working at home. If I ever do get sick enough to call in sick (which I'm kind of looking forward to, actually, because I've never had a paid sick day before), I'll probably just end up working at home because I can work just as easily from the couch as I can from my desk. I am free to leave work early when I need to, but I'll have to resume working again at home to get my hours in.

Basically, having an easily mobile job makes it very difficult to get away from work.

However, sometimes I really love being able to work at home. Today is one of those days. My boss is at a trade show until next week, I desperately needed to catch up on some sleep, and I'm having one of those weeks where I just want to curl up in my bed with a humongous teddy bear, if you know what I mean. So, I'm taking advantage of my annoying mobile office option to have a major hermit day; I have donned my ratty old Payson Lions t-shirt and pj bottoms, no way am I putting any makeup on, my hair is pulled back into a greasy ponytail (it's long enough to do that now, even with all the retarded layers), and I'm lounging on this couch with my friend, the laptop, until my work is done. The only way anyone will hear from me today will be via email or text.

And after I'm done working, I'm going to take it easy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Riding on the wings of testimony

There are few things in this life that are absolutely necessary. Most of the things we spend most of our time agonizing over really don't matter: that darn chemistry class; hair that won't fall flawlessly into place every day; inconsistent BYU quarterbacks; keeping up with laundry, dishes, and garbage; annoying people who don't realize that they're annoying; and finding creative ways to make ends meet.

The things we absolutely do need in this life can be summed up in one word: testimony.

I realized this a few weeks ago as I was driving home from work. I was trying to figure out why I was having such a good day; work was uneventful, I had nothing going on that night at home, and nothing exciting had happened to me for a while. A few months prior, I would have spent my time thinking about how boring my life was, how life was passing me by because I didn't have someone to share it with, and how everything was just going to be exactly the same tomorrow.

Why the change of perspective? Again, it can be summed up in one word: testimony.

Several months ago, I was living the gospel as I always had; I attended all my church meetings, read my scriptures almost every day, accepted church callings, and followed church standards. My testimony was firm, partly because I don't give in to peer pressure very easily, partly because it is something I have always had, and partly because I had given it just enough nourishment to keep it alive. I never thought I would need to "raise the bar" of my spiritual progression because I was already doing everything I was supposed to be doing.

However, the time came when I realized I did need to raise the bar, simply to ensure my own happiness and sanity. It finally became necessary to go the extra mile and do a bit more, if only because I had all this extra time that needed to be filled with good things.

So, how did I fill that time? I started out by going to the temple every week. (Thank goodness I have so many temples to choose from so I can switch temples whenever I get bored.) Later on, I decided I needed more social interaction in my life and committed to going to institute at least once a week, since it is pretty much impossible to force myself to go to FHE alone. This goal in turn drove me to actually study--not just speed-read--my scriptures.

These three small but significant changes bring me back to my drive home from work a few weeks ago. Why was I so happy? It was because my testimony, given extra nourishment over a longish period of time, was able to make up for everything that I lacked. I realized that I didn't need anything--not even family, school, or grand accomplishments--as long as I had my testimony to bring real and lasting peace and happiness.

I thought it was interesting that a lot of speakers touched on this during conference. Usually, I will find inspiration through words that I needed to hear but hadn't yet thought of, but this time I found inspiration in speakers saying exactly what I had already discovered. That was pretty cool.

But it's the words of Gordon B. Hinckley that I'd like to conclude with:
If you will live the gospel, nearly everything else will eventually take care of itself.
There's no room for fear or doubt when this is your motto.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Small-dog syndrome

There's this dog that lives across the street from my parents' house, and as far as he is concerned, he owns the entire street.

His name is Pickles. Despite being named after bottles of stink, he has a pretty high opinion of himself.

He can usually be found at his post in the neighbor's carport; safe in the shade, but in clear view of everything that happens on Cortez Drive. Every now and then he will do his inspection of the block, barking at every leaf and bug that offends him. More than once, we have approached the stop sign just down the street from our house, only to find that Pickles is sprawled out in the middle of the road as if he's trying to remind everyone that this is his road, and that he will only let us by if it pleases his fancy. If someone threatens to run him over, that is a risk he is willing to take.

Of course, every time Tyrel runs at him like a wild man, Pickles scampers, barking that terrified, high-pitched yelp. Without fail though, he will always reappear a few minutes later, safe at his post, and bark for several minutes, as if he spent his time in hiding coming up with a brilliant comeback that explains why he scampered.

Today between conference sessions, I decided to be active and move out to the porch to sit rather than continue sitting on the couch while the between-session documentaries were going on, and to my delight, Pickles was just returning from his bi-hourly inspection of the block. I decided to engage him in a staring contest to see how his ego could take it.

He didn't respond well.

The minute I stepped outside, his focus was on me. He continued to stare at me as he walked, causing him to walk sideways and his tiny legs to get tangled up in each other. He made it safely back to his house, but he stayed on the edge of the street and barked and howled like he was being severely abused. After about five minutes or so, he got so exhausted that he had to lie down. He stopped barking for a while, and he even tried to ignore me, but his gaze kept flickering back to me as if I were a huge annoyance that he just couldn't get rid of. Just to make things interesting, I flapped my arms in the air for no reason, which caused him to jump up in the air and resume his barking, highly affronted that I would have the gall to do something so unexpected without his permission.

That 15-minute staring match that involved a lot of laughing on my part and a lot of barking on the part of a tiny, ego-centric dog, finally ended when Pickles slowly backed into his corner, glaring at me (he may have even stuck his tongue out at me), letting me know that he wasn't going to go without a fight. He returned to his place with his haughty tail high in the air, and I was able to continue my peaceful observation of nature during the most beautiful time of year at my most favorite place in the world.

Pickles is never going to forgive me for this. However, two can play this game.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Golf: I'm starting to get it

Guess what I did on Friday? I went golfing.

Yes, you read that right; I—the golf mocker—went golfing.

This is what happens when you work with a bunch of guys; when it comes to company rewards, golfing is always part of the picture, no matter what time of year it is. We’ve had a very good year so far, so management decided to take the sales/marketing team on a Friday golfing retreat. And despite my complete lack of skills and experience, I was actually looking forward to it, mostly because it meant I had one less boring day at the office to endure (this week has been one of those excruciatingly boring weeks).

So, equipped with my dad’s old golf clubs, I went on my first golfing adventure. My golf post from several months ago, “Golf: I still don’t get it,” outlines some of my reasoning for why the male species is so obsessed with golf. No longer a golf virgin, I have decided to revisit some of those points here:
  • The bizarre fashion choices. We at ChartLogic aren’t known for our stylish clothes. In fact, for about 10 minutes before we left, the various clothing choices—especially the shorts—were mocked mercilessly. So, I still don’t know if the bizarre fashion choices showcased in professional golf tournaments are universal, because it really isn’t fair to decide that based on what my co-workers wear.
  • Watching the crowd scamper for cover whenever the ball comes their way. We had a few instances where someone from our groups would nearly kill innocent bystanders because, even in the most experienced of hands, those balls and clubs are lethal weapons. Frantic shouts of "Fore! Fore!" are the only cause for adrenaline in this game, and it's always good for a few laughs.
  • Listening to the crowd's dramatic intake of breath while the small white ball teeters on the edge of a cliff, hill, or hole. Yep, that totally happened to us. Despite being one of the newbies of my group, the guys are such inconsistent golfers that they had to rely on the two girls to "save their bacon" on many occasions. Sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we didn't, but it was always dramatic.
  • Riding in a golf cart and calling it "exercise." We did indeed spend a lot of time in those golf carts (which also double as bumper cars). Weaving through trees, swerving dangerously close to lakes, and racing down the green, seeking out those wayward golf balls, was surprisingly fun. However, to my dismay, golf does require the use of some muscles, as evidenced by the soreness I feel in my entire upper body today. Apparently, swinging those clubs does in fact require some physical exertion. I'm not sure I would have been able to survive an 18-hole round of golf.
  • Skipping out on work to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Several times during our little Best Ball tournament my boss would say “Golf is beautiful,” and I didn’t even scoff. We could not have picked a more perfect day to spend outside: it was a little warm (about 85 degrees), but there wasn’t a cloud in the pure blue sky, the mountains were bursting with fall foliage, not to mention the golf course itself was gorgeous (we went to Wasatch Mountain State Park). I understand now why many guys dream of spending their retirement golfing; spending every day surrounded by such beauty sounds like a nice reward for a lifetime of hard work. And despite my successful attempts thus far to avoid getting a farmer's tan, I went home with a nice sunburn that is turning into an interesting farmer's tan. I guess summer can end now.
  • Age is no limit. That applies to both genders, may I add. Ladies may not have the strength that guys have simply for being guys, but they are just as capable of golfing as the men are, even if they do swing like girls. And here lies the great secret that may have something to do with the universal male golf obsession: you don't have to be good at golf to enjoy it. Sure, it's awesome when you manage to hit the ball in the right direction--if you manage to hit it at all--and it's awesome when the ball actually goes into that little hole, but simply hitting the ball brings its own set of pleasures. It's similar to everyone wanting to practice batting rather than throwing at softball practice--it's just fun to hit the ball. And, okay, it gives you an awesome sense of power when you're watching that little speck of white soar through the sky, especially if it ricochets off a tree and almost kills a squirrel. And because golf isn't the most strenuous of sports, small children and crinkly old grandparents can still play the game with some skill.
My conclusion: I had a great time golfing, and I would willingly do it again. My boss kept telling me that I was doing very well for a beginner, and even though he is rarely serious, I decided to believe him. We used my ball on a couple of the holes, and I hit the ball into the hole twice. I also *coughbrokeoneofmyclubswhilewarminguponthedrivingrangecough*, but with any luck, my dad will read this before I have to break the bad news to him. . . .

Despite our many team meetings and constant talk of dominating, my group came in last of the four groups. We had one hole where we all hit the ball in the lake, which completely took us out of the running. I suspect that next year's rematch will be intense.

But I would totally do it again. So long as someone else is there to make sure I'm following the rules.

*Note: my new-found interest in golf still does not apply to watching golf on TV. I refuse to sink that low.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

God's fingers

After buying a piano over a month ago, I had three main goals I wanted to accomplish: (1) learn new stuff (stretching beyond the wonderful world of Jon Schmidt), (2) strengthen my fingers, and (3) memorize those songs I've been playing for years.

So far, I've done pretty good on #1, great on #2, and not so good on #3, though that hasn't been from lack of trying. I haven't memorized a song on the piano in years, and now I'm remembering why: memorizing is hard, and what's the point if you've always got music with you?

However, I don't always have my music with me, and I'm getting a little sick of only being able to play "Waterfall" when I find myself sitting at a piano with no music. So for the past five weeks, I've been working on "All of Me."

Because I have learned, relearned, and polished this song many times over the last decade, I thought this would be an easy song to kick off my memorization project. I figured that since I've played it thousands of times, I would be able to play it straight through with no music after just a few tries.

Boy was I wrong. What I thought would take a few days at most ended up taking five weeks. Deep down I knew the song by heart, but I just couldn't keep my eyes from the written music where I was safe.

After a few weeks being stuck on the same two pages, I decided to try a different tactic: I would close my eyes and just let my fingers play. And to my surprise, I got through the section without any hesitation. I was then able to move on to the next two pages. Again, at first I couldn't help peaking at the notes every few lines or so, but eventually it was only after I closed my eyes and trusted my fingers that I was able to master those pages and move on to the next two.

It's an odd experience letting your fingers play when your mind is blank. Thoughts like "I sure hope you know what you're doing, because I've forgotten everything about playing the piano" float through your mind, but if you keep trusting in those fingers, they will know what to do.

Last night, I made it through the entire song without the aid of any music for the first time. It wasn't perfect; I bumbled my way through a few parts and I broke a couple of fingernails. And I played most of the song with my eyes closed; every time I opened them, I would get distracted, I would lose the cool connection I had going with my fingers, and I would lose my way completely. It was only when I played the song on blind faith, so to speak, that I was able to make it to the end without trouble.

And let me just say that despite the setbacks, it was well worth the effort memorizing this song.

Much of my progression along my rocky but beautiful path of life has been accompanied by the music I have learned to play on the piano, from the C-major scale to the the masterpieces of classical composers. That music is the loudest during the high times and hard times of my life, and is rarely silent, because whenever I come up short, God's fingers are always there to keep the music going. All it takes is just a little bit of trust.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rivalry week in enemy territory

I always thought it would be scary to be among the minority during the build-up to a rivalry football game. If you're one of the outnumbered guys, there's no crowd of friends to hide behind when things get ugly, and there's nobody there to back you up when a boastful opponent gets the better of you on verbal sparring match.

While both these problems are unavoidable, I've found that being dropped in enemy territory during rivalry week is actually kind of fun, simply because I am the annoying reminder of the other side. Or at least, I joined my boss in being the annoying reminder of the other side.

So while my fellows in Provo are surrounded by the familiar blue and white, I've been stuck in a town that's been getting redder and redder by the day: cars whizzing down the street have Ute flags flapping in the breeze, balcony after balcony is covered with huge Ute banners, and some of my co-workers seem to have lost track of all articles of clothing that don't contain at least a modicum of red.

It was about Thursday that people noticed that I had replaced the Ute sticker on my cubicle window with the Y sticker I stole from Tyrel's go-cart (which was put there by me in the first place, so technically I wasn't even stealing). And then somehow I got sucked into a bet with Chris that involved one of us enduring the abominable paraphernalia of the opposing team littering our office space until the end of the season. (The only downside to this bet is that now I have to go out and buy a bunch of BYU-blue stuff to litter the loser's office with, and then beat him to work on Monday so I can decorate unscathed.)

Today simply escalated off yesterday, but all the jesting and boasting thrown at me have just bounced off my BYU t-shirt. (Eric did all the defending because I had nothing intelligent to offer.) A lot of people attempted to sing the Cougar and/or Utah fight song, but no one actually knows all of the words. The football has been flying around all day (though that's nothing new), and, after a very productive half-hour meeting that took place in Darren's office, I bet a dollar that BYU would win 17-16. Bam.

The only drawback to this entire week has been that my family are vile betrayers; they went ahead and used their prestigious connections to get tickets to the game, despite making plans to watch the game at home beforehand, leaving me all alone to watch the game on TV with no one there to explain what's going on. True, if the situation were reversed, I would have done the same thing in a heartbeat, but since that is not the case, I feel no guilt in making certain people feel guilty.

Needless to say, I've never wanted BYU to win so badly. Who cares if there's no bowl game on the line, or that the game is in September instead of November--I, personally, have a lot to lose if things don't go as I planned.

Go cougars!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The birthday curse

We all know why birthdays are awesome: all day long you are bombarded with birthday wishes, you can use the "it's my birthday" excuse whenever you don't want to do something or whenever you want someone to do something for you (and, of course, everyone will understand), people lavish you with gifts, and if there's only one cheesy bread left at your Sizzler birthday dinner, your demands automatically outweigh anyone else's, no questions asked.

In short, birthdays are the one day a year that it's okay to be self-absorbed. And I am finally man enough to admit that I like taking advantage of that.

The downside of birthdays, however, is that they're only 24 hours long. All too soon, you must return to your "normal person" status because there is no longer anything special about you. If you want that last cheesy bread, you'll either have to fight for it or politely let your sister have it (although, in my family's case at least, there would be no "politeness" involved in that transaction).

So not only do you have to suffer the cruelty of relinquishing your princess throne, but you also have to go back to proving your worth and being nice to people again.

Life is just so hard.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Email communication: crises averted

Of the many technological conveniences available to us today, email is probably my favorite. Actually, there's no "probably" about it; email helps me avert crises on a daily basis. For example:

Crisis #1 (at work). You need to ask someone a question, but don't want to do it face-to-face for at least one of several reasons: (1) You don't like the person, (2) the person is currently unavailable, (3) it will take longer to gather up the courage to interrupt someone in their "important" work than it will to shoot them an email, (4) You are too lazy to yell or leave your chair.
Crisis averted: By sending an email, you save yourself the trouble of leaving your chair and approaching someone who also doesn't want to leave their chair or who is otherwise engaged. Tone and facial expression are also absent, so it is harder for the person to detect that you don't like them.

Crisis #2 (at church). During Relief Society, someone bubbly announces that the month is almost over and that it is time to call your visiting teaching supervisor and confirm that you were awesome enough to encroach on someone's personal life for a half hour.
Crisis averted: Half the time I don't know who my visiting teaching supervisor is, and if I only communicate with them through email, then chances are they won't know who I am either, which reduces the likelihood of them hunting me down. And, coming from a person who has been a VT supervisor twice, the supervisor will love you for reporting your success/failure without taking any of their time, and they really will leave you alone.

Crisis #3 (anywhere): Someone delivers a brilliantly concocted insult and you have no comeback.
Crisis averted: Email gives you the extra time you need to fabricate a few well-chosen words, even if the insult wiped your mind blank during its initial delivery. Of course, this only works when someone insults you via email, though sending the offending person an "oh yeah?" email isn't a complete waste of time.

Crisis #4 (at work): You work with words and information on a regular basis, which requires you to not only read a lot, but to be all-knowing.
Crisis averted: The email attachment feature is a godsend.

Crisis #5 (anywhere): You need to give a large group of people the same information.
Crisis averted: This one is pretty self-explanatory unless you're 80 years old and have never used a computer before.

Imagine the dilemmas you will be faced with in the event that your email provider fails you: people will have to be confronted, ancient means of sharing information (i.e., paper) will have to be used to distribute information, and a lot of "I don't knows" and "I'll have to get back to you on thats" will replace your brilliantly constructed (and grammatically correct) dialogue.

Actually, what really happens is this: deadlines are missed, vital communication doesn't happen, work-at-homers get lost in the vortex of loneliness, and we all sit in the dark, frustrated that our perfectly legitimate excuses for laziness are no longer valid but secretly glad that we can blame our inactivity on inefficient technology.