Wednesday, May 30, 2012

No place like home

So. We visited another apartment unit today.

It was really ugly. The outside is actually nice, the grounds are lovely and well-kept, there's a pool and it seems like a nice place, but the apartment? Hideous. Ugly, dark brown cabinetry and woodwork everywhere, and one tiny window for the entire living room/dining room/kitchen area. The fixtures are all straight out of the 70s and don't even get me started on the kitchen.

But it's cheap. And clean. And much cheaper and bigger than the other place that's brand-new.

Being a responsible adult is lame.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sex and world peace?

Read this.

It's the truth.

Men who see women as beings to be subjugated will themselves continue to be subjugated. Men who see women as equal and valued partners are the only men who have a true chance to win their freedom and enjoy peace.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I'm really glad I'm still working as a contractor for my former employer (translating), because otherwise I would definitely go crazy. It's hard to have a sense of purpose while waiting around for a job to open up. Good news is the station just posted an opening today, so hopefully things will speed up now. To be totally honest, I'm still a little bummed about not making the final in the Hearst competition. I'm just feeling it more tonight. Thank goodness for the county library! I officially have a card and have been reading a lot. Although I'm going to have to cut back on the dramatic books because I had awful nightmares the other day...

I bought a good windbreaker/rain jacket today, because I'll definitely be needing it here. The wind is crazy!

It's kind of ominous-sounding at times, honestly. This place is just so wild. Yes, there's a 55,000-people city, but it feels like nature is bent on pushing back just as hard as it can. At least we don't get tornadoes! Although given our proximity to Yellowstone we'd probably be the first wiped off the map in a catastrophic event. Do I sound grim enough for you? :) (sorry, we watched 2012 last night)

We're starting to make friends, slowly but surely. I'm hoping I'll be able to volunteer at the YW camp because that sounds like fun. Ah, and I'll be flying to Las Vegas for my little sister's high school graduation! I'm excited for her: she's singing the national anthem (which is kind of funny considering I'm pretty sure she'll have to learn the words... Growing up in a foreign country will do that!) But I'm sure she'll be fantastic.

Andrew is playing basketball with people from our stake right now, I'm glad he's making friends :) speaking of friends, it never gets old seeing cottontail rabbits in our yard. A big fat turkey even waddled through the other day! Pretty crazy.

And that's about it. Unfortunately I don't have anything very exciting to post about. Maybe I'll put up pictures of our temporary cozy country home :) We visited a SWEET apartment the other day. You guys, it has a fireplace! It was dreamy. And pricey. But man, I dream of cuddling up by the fire on those cold Casper winter days...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Good reading

Here's the thing: I actually rather like "mainstream" Christians. (I'd like them a whole lot more if they weren't so obsessed with telling Mormons we're not Christians, but that's a debate I'm frankly sick of.) But generally I enjoy discussions with fellow Christians. I find them to be inspiring people, and I think we can learn a lot from each other.

So here are two blogs I've been following more closely these days.

Her.meneutics is one I've come across several times in various research, and I typically appreciate the viewpoints. Besides, I like women getting together to discuss faith. While we may have theological differences with "traditional" Christianity, we also have much in common and there are some very good articles on there.

(I'm sarcastically using the quotation marks because born-again baptists getting to call themselves traditional is ridiculous. The only churches that could call themselves traditional, in my view, are the roman catholics and eastern orthodox Christians. Even then, they have morphed so much since their founding (and again, they weren't really Christ's original church to begin with if we're being nitpicky...) that it's hard for anybody to stake a claim to being "traditional")

Another one is a nice mash-up of Christianity and feminism. Good stuff.

And now I must get back to work.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The trek West -- or North-East, rather. It certainly feels more Western though.

We are alive and well in Casper, Wyoming. It's still a little odd to think that this will be our home for the next three plus years... the city has 55 000 people, but it's the only real city for hundreds of miles around, so every once in a while if you look up you realize how easily nature could just press in a little more and snuff out any trace of civilization. No, I'm not being dramatic...

But let's start from the beginning. We were sad to leave Provo :(

The drive itself went quite well, other than the fact that the moving van Andrew drove couldn't go over 50 mph -- we were kind of slowing down traffic. Oh well. Communicating via walkie-talkie was fun though :) And I'll add that it was quite necessary because we didn't have any reception for a large part of the trip!

This is what the last third of our trek looked like:

We started to worry we were moving to a complete desert, but then we finally rounded a few bends (they call them mountains but they're more like hills) and arrived in Casper. It's not bad at all, quite green especially on the mountain, and it's almost always sunny. The North Platter River runs throughout the city and there's a path for several miles so we're itching to get some bikes now.

All sorts of critters live in our backyard: squirrels, rabbits, geese... it's a bit dusty, but the river makes up for it. We're excited to go rafting and also explore Casper Mountain. The city's not huge, for sure, and the lone mall is a bit... well, dead. But there are worse things. Hey, at least we have a Target!

look who came to visit!

Right now we're living in a house that belongs to the city - they rent out rooms to interns and incoming employees. So far we only have two roommates (another couple) and they're very nice. It's a bit on the edge of town but it's only a five minute drive anyway, and we're kind of liking living in the wild - it's very peaceful. As soon as Andrew signs a full-time contract though we'll get into an apartment (or potentially rent a house, but I hear that's near impossible to find around here). We have one place in mind that we really like, but for now we need to wait and see.  

Andrew started his internship on Monday and things are going well so far. He gets along just fine with the people in his office and he also found out there are more full-time positions opening up soon, so his chances of getting a full-time position just got better -- and he could have more options.

We went to city council meeting last night and boy was that fun!

It was the first hearing for a proposed smoking ban (an extension of a current public smoking ban) and some interesting characters came crawling out of the woodwork. Hitler and God were both brought into the discussion, and one lady accused the city council of using the same methods as Nazi Germany... there were reasonable people there too though, and honestly it was kind of fun to get a glimpse at the heart of Casper.

And you're probably wondering how my interview went. I think it went well. I could have maybe said more or something, but I believe I got my point across and he seemed impressed by my resume. I said one thing that may have come across awkwardly but otherwise it wasn't bad. He was very friendly at least. I left him my material and told him I was ready and just waiting to get to work... he seemed to like the fact that Andrew and I will likely be here more than just two years, too. There aren't any openings until July though, so now I just sort of have to wait... forced vacation I guess! And here I was all ready to get going. In the meantime I'll keep translating from home, and then call back as soon as they officially post the opening.

So overall, not a bad start. We're settling in nicely, and we really enjoyed church on Sunday - the people were very nice and welcoming, and it's just awesome to be in a family ward, finally. Well, I will add that we giggled when one lady quoted Mitt Romney in her talk...

So bottom line is things are not bad at all here. It still feels kind of small-town ish, which is a bit scary to me, but things couldn't be going much better for the both of us at this point, so it's all good. And we're going to have so much fun this summer rafting, hiking, biking and generally experiencing the great outdoors! (Let's not talk about winter yet, ok?)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wisdom teeth

I have none. At least not as of Thursday! I had a great experience actually. The dentist was really nice and he even threw in happy gas for free :) I was a little nervous but it went pretty smoothly.

the big bad culprits
After we got home I passed out on the couch for a couple of hours (according to Andrew, he had to stay up with me to "make sure I wasn't dead") I didn't get the chipmunk cheeks, and in fact I've been feeling pretty good. No severe pain, more like a dull ache.

day of

I'm certainly very grateful for effective painkillers. Otherwise, moving hasn't progressed very well but it shouldn't take too long once we get rolling. We've washed the car, packed some boxes, etc.

Andrew and I went to get our hair cut together yesterday, that was kind of fun!

Hey look, a bare shelf! We're getting somewhere!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Might as well tell you now

I didn't make it to the top five in the Hearst Journalism competition. At least they threw in some cash to make it worth my effort. That certainly helps. And top ten isn't too shabby... But I really wish I could've gone to San Francisco.


UPDATE (later today): I'm pretty bummed about this. It sucks to have worked so hard only to not make it another round. But I really don't want to be negative about it. I forced myself to be positive, in fact, by responding to the email. That's something Bitter Lydia would never have done (I mean they just rejected me, what am I supposed to say?) but I wanted to be a good sport.

Dear ----, 

Thank you for notifying me so soon. Of course, I am disappointed to not advance to the final round, but pushing myself to create new pieces for the semifinal has helped enrich my portfolio. I am also extremely grateful for the monetary prize - as a freshly graduated student setting out towards an unknown future, it's nice to have some added security. Finally, it was an honor to be invited to participate in such a prestigious competition. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. 



And I really did mean it. I truly am grateful. That a group of important people would decide to give me money just for doing what I do best is incredibly generous. It kind of blows my mind.

The lady from the Hearst Foundation responded and she was really nice, she commended me for being positive about it.  I am so happy for how far I've come. I just need to remember that.

And go splurge with that award cash. (kidding!)

UPDATE: Here are the final results. It was really an interesting mashup -- two of the fourth-place winners made it, but the top two finalists in the features category didn't. Oh well. Grumble grumble.