Monday, January 26, 2015

A weekend with girls

I went to a Relief Society retreat in Midway over the weekend. It was a smashing success, but there were a couple of head-scratchers that I'm pretty sure wouldn't have happened if this was a retreat for guys:
  • There was tons of food leftover, including a whole pizza and dozens of cookies (I was one of the few who actually ate more than one slice of pizza).
  • We played a game designed primarily to quiz us on how well we knew each others' names.
  • When we finally went to bed, it was floor space that was claimed first, not beds and couches. Two beds and two couches were left sad and lonely all night. Apparently girls' need for togetherness supersedes comfort. Don't ask me to explain it—I slept on a double all by myself and I have no regrets.
But there were some girlisms that I didn't mind so much:
  • Like the amazingly comfortable fuzzy socks that came with our handout.
And, that's it.

Luckily, I eventually learned that there were several fellow BYU basketball junkies in attendance—finally something I understood. Except right now I'm wishing I didn't care about sports—it has not been a good year for BYU fans.

It probably won't surprise anyone that my favorite part of the whole weekend was the breakfast send-off. Breakfast burritos are an excellent choice any time of day (even though the eggs were a bit too salty, even for me), but it was the French toast that made me forget about all the bad things in the world. That sauce—oh, that sauce. The two minutes I spent eating each delicious morsel were some of the best moments of my life. If the new bishopric was trying to impress us, let me tell you—it worked. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

So long, dinosaur

When I got a new phone at the start of my junior year of college, I was excited it had a camera. I have no idea what the elite phones were like in 2008, but at the time I still thought it was a novelty to have a phone with not just call and text capabilities, but that took pictures. Even though the pictures were stuck in the phone forever.

(And there are some great pictures in there: BYU campus at varying stages of weather and daylight, funny signs, Mom sitting on Kimberly while Dad tries to watch ESPN, Tyrel in a SARS mask, an extremely blurry capture of me and Kimberly at the dollar movies after we finished finals (I think we saw He's Just Not That Into You, which ruined any chance I had of ever thinking Bradley Cooper was attractive), me wearing a Relief Society service crown I unintentionally kept for weeks, a selfie of me "sleeping" at work, a close-up of my eye, and documentation of the last Jazz game I went to.)

As cellphone technology outstripped me, my phone got more and more useless. It couldn't send or receive pictures. Group texts didn't always make it. It used T9, not autocorrect. It had no GPS to get me out of helpless wanderings. Emoticons showed up as boring boxes. I couldn't check emails or consult Google. I rarely saw more than three bars for reception. And I never did figure out how to change the embarrassing voicemail greeting I recorded in high school.

Sure, I could still call people—which is the whole point of cellphones in the first place, in case you forgot—but as the world got more used to carrying computers around in their pockets, it got harder to keep up as a dumbphone user. I rather like being disconnected for hours at a time, thank you very much, but you'd be surprised by how often other people are annoyed, offended, and/or inconvenienced by my phone's lack of abilities.

I held on to that phone far longer than was practical. What can I say? I saw nothing wrong with being the last millennial dumbphone user. It made it much easier to not think about work on vacations. I enjoyed the "What the heck is that?" looks people gave me when I pulled out my flip phone that was actually small enough to fit in my tiny pockets.

"So you have an iPhone 6, do you?" I say. "Well, I've been using the same phone for six and a half years."

I think you already know which feat I think is more impressive.

And just like I did with my first car, I was fond of my phone's faults. Everyone else's phones were smug and hoity-toity—my phone was quirky and charming.

But about a month ago, those faults ceased to be cute. In a matter of days, the battery went from lasting almost a week to losing a third of its power every time I sent a lousy text. For four days it re-sent bits and pieces of the group texts I got last Tuesday, telling me several times a day that Kimberly was moments from giving birth, followed up by a stranger's reply-all congratulations text. (Which had five grammatical errors in it, by the way. After receiving the message 23 times, I think I'm justified in resenting that person for several more months.) And it chose now to get its revenge for all the times I dropped it—the back won't attach snugly anymore.


My iPhone 5 arrived in the mail today.

As a last show of respect for the phone that worked well enough for over six years, the first thing I did after I activated my phone was take a picture (in HD!) to immortalize its existence.

So long, dinosaur. I might have been a little more sad about this parting if you weren't so irritating at the end.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The superpower of newborns

From the moment I predicted Kimberly would have a girl, I've been eagerly waiting my niece's arrival. Of course.

But I had this nagging worry. How could this little girl possibly compare to Jaxson and Bronx? They have surpassed all of my nephew expectations (and believe me—those expectations were high). No other kid has given me reason to doubt that the best nephews ever created, in fact, belong to me.

They're the ones who made me an aunt. A special experience that only happens once, one that I had to wait a long time for (oh the woes of being one of the oldest in your family).

This worry had nothing to do with the different type of awesomeness of the parents-to-be; it had everything to do with the fact that I didn't think there was enough room in my heart for more of that kind of love.

When those "We've got a baby!" texts started rolling in, that silly worry started slipping away. Just knowing there was a brand-new human being in existence to bless my family was enough to make my heart grow.

By the time I finally met my niece—who is every bit as beautiful as her name, Avonlea Kathryn—I knew I would have no trouble letting her steal my heart. It's a superpower all newborns are born with: the ability to enchant you with their tiny fingers and unpredictable facial expressions and overall preciousness. But because I get to watch this girl grow up, she's more than just another cute newborn; she's a blessing with limitless potential.

I've loved being a daughter and a sister, but at the moment, I'm most grateful to be an aunt.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The thing about January

There's nothing spectacular about January. Next to the glamor and glitz of December, it's downright dull. And in the inversion-trapped valley of Salt Lake, not even sunlight can brighten things up a bit.

But January has one redeeming quality (besides basketball): it kicks off the new year. The sun rises and sets on the new year just like any other day, but because the last digit of the year changes, so does your mindset. Everything from budgets to will power resets.

And I do love resetting. I love New Year's resolutions. Those predictable comments about how everyone forgets their resolutions by January 15? I ignore those. I'm not ruling out failure entirely, but my resolutions in recent years have meant too much to me to become the brunt of another not-funny joke.

This isn't the kind of mindset that can be summoned on just any random day of the year. But it always comes during the first week of January.

Don't let the return-to-normal-sleep-schedule failure and the resulting headache stop you from plowing forward.