23 December 2012

i cannot find the way

life is so hard sometimes. making decisions, living with decisions that have been made, making mistakes and trying to clean up and learn from the mess. i've not been in the best mood recently. it's been a difficult couple of months. this time of year is always rough for me...but for some reason this year feels harder. i've made some big, dumb mistakes and i'm paying for them right now. i have some  decisions i've been avoiding, and i'm paying for that too. my stress level is nearing the stars, and i may be headed for a breakdown. not sure. i need some help, but as usual, i'm not sure where to turn. i just don't know what to do.

21 December 2012


there you are again...popping up, unwanted, unbidden...reminder of pieces of me i never wanted to see again. will you always haunt me? my life, my dreams? my every attempt to break free and become new?  always there, somewhere, lurking in the cracks and crannies of my distress and insecurity. the last communication i sent informed that you are the worst villain and my life's destruction. my fears and shards and infected wounds still throb and swell because of you.

but it's me, not you. the memory of my weakness and complete stupidity keeps me reeling and wasted. how can i ever patch the holes and stitch the cavernous crevices of my still troubled self? write more? i've already wasted so many...too, too many words on you. yet here i am, 4am and afraid to sleep. i don't want to see you...miss you...hate you again in my dreams.

16 November 2012


Too many thoughts right now and not enough time to write them...

I want to write about my makeshift extended family, the importance of listening to good friends, and possibly a tutorial on the fine art of hugging...but it'll all have to wait since I need to sleep so I'll be able to function well enough at work in a few hours.

Life is good and I'm in a better place than I've been in a very long time...maybe ever. This is all very much due to certain dear and wonderful fantastic friends who have and continue to blessed my life in so many ways. I am particularly grateful for a few certain people: my dear Bestest Friend of course. The Artist and Man of Steele, D-Ham, Am & Jam, Hey Pey & Shelle, my nieces and nephews, my most spectacular co-workers, and a new addition to the gratitude roll call is Photo. I'm so grateful for all these dear and amazing people who make me feel so loved and who teach me that trusting isn't such a scary thing. Thank you all for being there and for reminding me that I'm not in this alone. Love you! :-)

14 November 2012

Follow up...

Yes...today was much better. I found a secret delight. No, I'm not telling about it yet. I think it's a good one though, so stay tuned! Much brighter posts coming soon. ;-)

13 November 2012

Wilco - please be patient with me (acustico)

this is how i'm feeling today.  i've been awkward and uncertain, not feeling at all like myself and i'm sorry to my friends who spent time with me today for not being better company.  thank you for loving me enough to stick around anyway.

the need i feel is overwhelming and i have no way to fill it.  when that happens, i pull away, i hide, i bury myself in distraction in search of relief and functionality.  i can't...words fail me...i wish...but it's useless.  someday, somehow, somewhere...
in the mean time, i guess i'm practicing my patience some more.  i'm really tired of practicing patience.  i guess i'm generally just really tired.

sorry for the downer post.  i hope tomorrow will be better.

09 November 2012

sing in the deep

i'm wide awake and listening to Sara Bareilles.  something about her voice and the smoky jazz quality of her music reaches my core.  her lyrics speak to me and massage some deep ache i cling to.  it's the loss, the missing, the wanting, the waiting, the longing...

Breathe Again
by Sara Bareilles
all i have
all i need
he's the air i would kill to breathe
holds my life in his hands
still i'm searchin for something
out of breath i am left hoping someday i'll breathe again

open up next to you and my secrets become your truth
and the distance between that was sheltering me comes in full view
hang my head, break my heart built from all i have torn apart
and my burden to bear is a love i can't carry anymore

all i have
all i need
he's the air i would kill to breathe
holds my love in his hands
still i'm searchin for something
out of breath i am left hoping someday i'll breathe again

Christina Perri's music is nearly the same so i created a playlist of just their songs, just the ones with the strongest affect.  sometimes i wish i drank because the idea of a glass of red wine appeals to the poet and romantic in me tonight.  but i don't drink.  so i'll sip my cran/grape juice and pretend.  maybe some candles and a steaming soak will bring the cloud burst and i can just sink into the beautiful melancholy of it all.   it's so mournfully satisfying...

The Lonely
by Christina Perri
2am where do i begin
crying off my face again
the silent sound of loneliness
wants to follow me to bed

i'm a ghost of the girl that i want to be most
i'm the shell of a girl that i used to know well
dancing slowly in an empty room
can the lonely take the place of you
i sing myself a quiet lullaby
let you go and let the lonely in
to take my heart again

too afraid to go inside
for the pain of one more loveless night
this loneliness will stay with me
and hold me till i fall asleep

i'm a ghost of the girl that i want to be most
i'm the shell of a girl that i used to know well
dancing slowly in an empty room
can the lonely take the place of you
i sing myself a quiet lullaby
let you go and let the lonely in
to take my heart again

(disclosure: the words written in this post are poetically and romantically induced and infused by the music swimming around in my head from the aforementioned ladies.  don't put too much stock in them, don't read too deeply or analyze the possible lasting significance, i'm musing and feeling and perhaps a little wallowing in emotions i've been avoiding for too long.  it's part of the process, that's all.  and it's beautiful music.  If anything written here inspires questions or concerns, feel free to ask me about it).

by Christina Perri

how the hell does a broken heart
get back together when it's torn apart
and teach itself to start beating again?
ba ba ba ba

tonight i'm sinking into the delicious loneliness of the artistic and poetic muse.  i'm feeling a little trapped in limbo these days.  so close, but held back from progress by a filmy sheet, paper thin but steel strong.  there's always some barrier isn't there?  fear, time, distance, pain, logistics, one small requirement that cannot be overlooked, a word, a day, a chair, an invisible line as hostile and immobilizing as the Berlin Wall.

by Sara Bareilles 

something always brings me back to you
it never takes too long
no matter what i say or do
i still feel you here till the moment i'm gone
you hold me without touch
keep me without chains
never wanted anything so much
than to drown in you love 
and not feel your rain
set me free, leave me be
i don't wanna fall another moment into your gravity...
here i am have to stand so tall
just the way i'm supposed to be
but you're onto me and all over me

you loved me cause i'm fragile
but i thought that i was strong
but you touched me for a little while
and all my fragile strength is gone
set me free, leave me be
i don't wanna fall another moment into your gravity
here i am have to stand so tall
just the way i'm supposed to be
but you're onto me and all over me

i live here on my knees as i try to make you see
that you're everything i think i need here on the ground
but you're neither friend nor foe though i can't seem to let you go
one thing that i still know is that you're keepin me down
something always brings me back to you
it never takes too long

the wall came down though...miracles happen...
why is love so illusive in my life?  i ache to give it, ache to receive it, ache to stop aching over it...
well, one particular kind of love anyway.  i am blessed to be surrounded by an abundance of other kinds of love.  love from my nephews and nieces, dear friends, siblings, friends who are like siblings, parents, uncles, coworker friends, neighbor friends, even customers and strangers sometimes lend a bit of charitable kindness in a smile or kind word.  there is love swirling around me, and yet, that pesky little most significant of loves (the kind that makes one person out of two) is not available to me.  i'm trying to convince myself that someday it will be...but tonight it's difficult because it feels like there is always some delay, some detour or giant pothole that leaves me restless and wanting...and waiting.

Hold My Heart
by Sara Bareilles
does anybody know how to hold my heart?
how to hold my heart 
cause i don't want to let go let go let go too soon
i wanna tell you so before the sun goes dark
how to hold my heart 
cause i don't wanna let go let go let go of you
is anybody listening? 
cause i'm cryin' oh
is anybody listening?

i may be somewhere on the verge of a possibility.  there are flirtations and a lot of time and words and such but there are obstacles and barriers and detours and hesitations.  i'm grateful for the friendship and the prospect.  i'm grateful for the company and kind attention.  i'm grateful for the little giddiness that has permeated my being over the last couple of days reminding me that all hope and willingness has not deserted my uncertain and fearful heart. time is needed for things to work themselves out.  i have time...and patience and fortitude.  
all i'm looking for is a moment.  whether that moment lasts weeks, months, years...duration is not my concern...i know that fleeting and forever and anything in between are all out there somewhere...i'm looking for a safe place to rest for a while.  whether friendship or more, i'm grateful for the scraps of peace and healing i've already collected.  letting myself trust and care and be vulnerable are not things that have generally come easily...but it is easy; easier than expected anyway.  
both in a mending phase, both needing someone to just be there...both willing to be there.
fortuitous friendship.

 i don't know what the present or the future holds.  all i know is that i have a heart willing and eager to love.  someday i hope to find the man who fills that aching desire to give and receive that most peculiar and all encompassing and permeating affection.  the chorus of this song kind of says it all.
whoever you are...wherever you are...

A Thousand Years
by Christina Perri

heart beats fast 
colors and promises 
how to be brave 
how can i love 
when i'm afraid to fold
but watching you stand alone
all of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow

one step closer

i have died every day waiting for you
darling don't be afraid i have loved you
for a thousand years
i'll love you for a thousand more 

07 November 2012


I am a dope and a fool. I know it, I see it, and yet, I stand there like an idiot and watch myself do it again. Will I never learn? Will I never see the puddle before I'm covered in mud? Will I never learn to keep my stupid mouth shut until I'm sure of my words and the thoughts behind them? I look like such a mental patient sometimes.

Blah! Whatever! We all know I'm quirky and absurd. I'll never be that cool, confident, sophisticated, dignified, attractive woman I ought to be...I'm forever a foolish child. Oh well, children have more fun anyway, right? La la la

06 November 2012

let the future be what it will be

Sometimes I have a tendency to be my own worst enemy.  I allow fear and the past to taint the present and cause anxiety for the future.  The good thing about this time is that I am recognizing it.  I'm aware of my thoughts and fears, I know their sources and although I'm not entirely sure how to conquer them yet, I have the support and the understanding to push through and (hopefully) avoid self sabotage this time.

About a year ago, maybe just over, I decided I wasn't going to allow new men into my personal life as just friends.  I would date or I would hang out with the guy friends I already had, or I would be without masculine company.  The basic reason for this decision, without going into too much detail is that I'm tired of always being the friend and never the girlfriend/fiance/wife.  I'm tired of the blurry line of deep emotional intimacy, date-like hang outs and flirtations without the intention of romantic pursuit.  I'm tired of being the amateur physician to the emotionally unavailable or the crutch to the emotionally wounded.  Too often I have been the (for all intents and purposes) unacknowledged "stand-in girlfriend" (generally lacking the physical intimacy, though at times there has been a certain extent of "friends with benefits" which I try to avoid) until they find someone else they would like to be a legitimate girlfriend.  I want to be the legitimate girlfriend, not just the constant companion until something "better" comes along.  I am something better and I don't understand why these silly boys can't see it!

Anyway, the trouble is that it's often my best qualities that get me tangled up in these less than ideal situations.  My compassion, empathy, loyalty, understanding and acceptance, kindness, enthusiasm, reasonable attractiveness, and willingness to listen attract men to me who have been recently hurt, rejected, discouraged, in need of encouragement or support, or emotional healing.  By nature I am a little overly affectionate and supportive.  I want to heal the world with love and hugs.  I know I tend to be a little morbid, dark and depressing in my writing sometimes, but I'm really a hearts, stars, flowers, rainbows and unicorns type of girl.  I'm sensitive and tender hearted and I just want to love everyone in the world until everyone is happy.  Maybe that would be fine if I didn't have my own needs and deficiencies, wounds and discouragements.  I have often prayed that I could be so filled with God's love that I don't feel my own need and can focus on the needs of others without risking harm to myself or depletion of my own reservoirs.  I tend to give until there's nothing left for myself.  If some of those I give to give in return, it's okay, we take care of each other, that's good.  But when too many of the people I'm giving to give nothing in return and take more than I intended to give, I am left barren and wanting.

A couple years ago my own troubles closed in on me and I locked up the giving part of myself.  I had to figure out how to take care of myself, refill my own reservoir (which was pretty much desert dry) before I could give anything to anyone.  The last few months seem to have brought a torrential rain and my water level is rising.  I have begun opening up, letting people in, allowing myself to hope and begin to trust and even search for lost dreams.  My compassion and empathy have revived and are ready and eager to reach out and serve and love and lend support and healing once again.

I didn't realize I was ready until the last week or so.  A newish friend made a bit of a grand entrance into my life and affection sort of suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere.  Sometimes my heart knows things before my brain (ok, most of the time) and that ridiculous, overly compassionate and eager heart charged forth with open arms and a welcoming embrace (too willing to lend fierce friendship, kindness and affection to one in need) completely disregarding my previous decision to not allow new men into my personal life.  Dear heart, poor fool.  Everything was peachy keen at first, but then this weekend (after dwelling too much on the past that I'm still trying so hard to overcome and forget) my head caught up (it's really slow sometimes) and started screaming and throwing things to get my heart's attention.



Thankfully I have a dear and wonderful best friend who is an expert in my life and the affairs of my heart and mind.  I turned my fears and confusions and frustrations over to her and she called my faculties back to their senses. 

The future is not the past.  I do not need to know in this moment where/when/how the beginning will end.  I do not yet need to know his mind or intentions.  Set boundaries, not fortress walls.  Be cautious but not fearful.  Love, care, give, be involved, even connect and share, but not all at once, not with the full intensity of that dear vivacious heart.  Do not try to predict the future, only enjoy the present.  It is okay to be friends.  It is also okay to be open to other possibilities.  It is okay...

I understand that this all probably sounds completely insane to most people who might be reading.  On the other hand, perhaps a few of you who have been reading my blog for a while and have read previous ramblings and know all the ridiculous episodes I've been through with friends and more-than-friends of the masculine variety, might understand why this is such an event for me.

So newish friend, if you've read this and don't think I'm completely off my rocker, please be patient with me as I find my footing.  I know your steps are uncertain as well, so perhaps we can lend a little stability to each other as we tread a similar path for a while.

05 November 2012


At Gardner Village
To see the witches!

Captain Hook and Peter Pan 
looking at a witch on a raft in the creek.
(Jarom) Captain Hook said it was his ship 
and he needed to find a way to get onto it. 
Funny kid.

Captain Hook is trying to fight Peter Pan
but Alex was scared stiff, not of his brother, 
but of a witch in his line of vision

There was a stage area set up and the boys had a lot of fun "putting on a show" for all the people around. When we were walking away from this area, Jarom said he wanted to put on another show for all the people. What a ham!  If you look closely at (Alex) Peter Pan's feet, they aren't actually touching the ground in this shot.

Watch out, ya little show-off!  
Peter Pan is sneaking
 up behind you!

I had the hardest time getting them all to look at me at the same time, so I stopped trying and just took whatever they gave me.  I actually really like this picture though.  What characters!

A lady that works there was preparing for a presentation and I think some sort of snack time, the boys stopped to watch. She said the bottle is filled with vampire blood, then she put some sort of candy or something that she said was bones in and it started bubbling and fizzing and kinda looked like a lava lamp.  The boys were fascinated

Halloween Night

Captain Hook and Peter Pan can be civil to each other for only so long!

 The Whole family!

Brooke and Jay were pirates, so they kinda fit the theme
with Heidi's family, but Charlie was a cowboy...
maybe he was one of the lost boys!

I didn't get a picture of Mom, but here's Dad in his crazy Jazz fan attire.  
Maybe he's Tootles after he lost his marbles! ;-) 
Ha ha, just kiddin' Pops!

 I've never really been a huge fan of Halloween so I just invited a few people over.  
We were going to watch a movie but never actually got around to it.  
We had fun talking and eating pizza and watching YouTube videos.
A few of my favorite people were missing, but we had a pretty great time!

Heather was a 
Starfleet Officer

Brian and Natalie were Superman and Supergirl fans!

Mike came dressed as Bill Clinton, I'm not sure why I didn't get a picture of him. I was dressed as a pirate...lost boy...street urchin...it was a fun but unflattering costume, so no picture of me this year.  All in all, it was a pretty fun night!

04 November 2012


i don't know the answer.  i'm not even entirely sure of the question.

why do i feel the need to mention the past to new people i become involved with?

it has shaped me, made me who i am (good and bad i suppose).  trying to explain the scars before they are noticed, or before they get in the way.  or maybe to put them in the way.  my scars are my defense and fear of repetition.

beware! i am damaged! do not come too close! please handle with care...

can i forget? how do i forget?

amnesia would be nice.  selective amnesia.  i'd rather have an inexplicable black hole than what i have: regret, bittersweet memories, wanting, waiting, wondering. take the good along with the bad on this one because even the untainted good is painful to remember because it is forever lacking.

why do i hold on?

i don't know how to let go without having some(one)thing else to grasp.

how is it possible to feel the most loved and the most betrayed by the same person?

true, deep, complete betrayal requires love...at least the feeling and appearance of love.  clearly it was never real, true love...

when will i be allowed to love and be loved, purely and truly?

that one only God and time (or eternity) can answer.  i am nearly bursting with affection that i don't know how to give or who to give to...the only ones who have "wanted" it are those who would steal it, tearing me and leaving me in the mud and muck.  i want to give what i have without feeling cheep, discarded, useless after.

i have so much love to give, who do i give it too?
i have a gaping aching void to be filled with love from another, but who?

it's difficult for me to know the boundaries.  when i see a need i want to fill it; when i see someone hurting i want to find a way to heal them...or at least hold them until the hurting goes away.  but my arms hesitate to reach out these days. they opened too liberally before and came back scraped and torn.  how do i guard myself against being used by those who are so needy and wretched that they leave me broken and bleeding?
i know that not all who need love and healing are like that, so how do i differentiate?  every man is not a skunkweasel, but how do i tell the difference? and is there a way to get the non-weasels to fall in love with me?
the good men don't want me that way; the bad men want only to use me.  so i avoid the bad men and resign myself to friendship with the good men, at least i'll have a bit of their influence in my life to keep me from becoming a completely bitter old shrew. 

why couldn't i have been one of the lucky who find true, good love from the beginning?  why was i one of the unlucky to fall into the den and be ravaged and wrecked?  all i've ever wanted was to love and be loved.  my intentions were pure and honest, but pure and honest was not my fate.  and now i can't let go...i can't heal and move on because i am still haunted.  he's in my writing, in my memory, in my dreams.

this is why i stopped writing.
this is why i dwell in distraction and avoidance...it's happier there.  possibility live there.

i want someone i can be completely raw and honest with and still be loved and accepted.  that is a want i don't think will ever be filled.  i was completely raw and honest once before and i fear i will forever pay the undisclosed price.  how can i ever have a healthy relationship with a good man if i can't forget where i've been and what he put me through?

will i ever heal and find peace?  i've been seeking and working and doing all i can think of but clearly i'm still lightyears away.

how do i stop allowing myself to be haunted?

it's not constant anymore.  i was recently reminded and i'm momentarily fixated.  i'll circle back away, but how do i break the wheel so i don't circle in again?

don't mind me...i'm not quite as depressed as i sound.  i'm just talking it out because i have nowhere else to put it right now and i can't leave it alone in my head.  don't worry, i'm fine, really.

28 October 2012

Our house is a very fine house

As some of you know, in June I moved from my parents' house to live with my Missy friend in Sugarhouse. Since then, whenever I visited my parents at the same time as my nephew, Jarom told me that he didn't like that I didn't live there anymore and he wanted me to move back so I would be there when he visited. Well, as you also may know, due to somewhat dramatic circumstances, I did move back about a month ago. I am grateful that my parents have the space available so I can come and go as circumstances dictate my need.

Yes, I am 30 years old and I live at home (again) because I like the stability and support I receive here. In many cultures throughout history and still in many cultures, living situations are a family affair. In some areas many generations live in the same dwelling. In these societies the woman stays with her family until she marries, at which time she moves in with the family of her husband. Now I'm not saying I necessarily want to live with my inlaws when/if I marry, what I am saying is that living in close proximity to family is a source of strength and stability that is desperately lacking in our world today. I struggle a bit with some things and it is comforting to know that no matter what else happens, I need never be homeless.

That tangent was not the purpose of this post. Two weeks ago at dinner someone mentioned that a neighbor's child's family just moved in with them so the young family could save money while building their own house. I jokingly commented that I was also living with my parents until my own house could be built. Jarom, sitting beside me grabbed on to this idea of building a house for me. He said he would come to help and that he would bring the food and snacks for when we needed a break. Then he asked when we would start. I told him we needed blueprints first so we would know what the house would look like and how to build it. He jumped off his chair and went in search of something. A moment later he came back carrying paper and a pencil.

My dear, sweet, adorable 6-year-old nephew then set to work drawing my house, front and back.  It's funny that what he drew was only the outside view of the house rather than the rooms required and desired for living.  The sweet simplicity of children! :)

 Front of the house made by Jarom

 I'm not sure what the door on the top between the windows is for, I guess a quick escape in case of emergency or something.

The squiggle in the middle of the back yard is grass, I think.  And yes, there are three swimming pools in the front yard of my house.  Can you tell what Jarom likes to do for fun?

 Back of the house made by Jarom

The back yard is even more exciting!  The house itself looks the same, windows and doors in the same places, funny kid. 

That is another, incredibly large swimming pool in the back yard.  Right beside the pool is an apple tree.  Above the apple tree is a random banana, not sure what that's about.

If you can't guess, the two fixtures on either side of the house with all the circles above them are sling shots.  I guess we're having a merry war, shooting water balloons or snowballs at each other (depending on the season). 

As we were discussing the drawings, my mom mentioned that Jarom had told her a few days before that he thought I should have 1600 children, 800 girls and 800 boys.  I guess that's why there are so many swimming pools.  I don't know what the boy was thinking.  I guess some day I could open an orphanage or something, but 1600 children seems like an awful lot to handle all at once...especially if I have to keep them all from drowning in all those swimming pools!

When he was done drawing the pictures, Jarom took the paper and used a magnet to put it on the refrigerator where it has stayed.
Today when he came to dinner, he pulled the paper from the refrigerator and said, "Hey Laura!  Remember this!?"  I told him I remembered.  He said, "In your house you have 100 hot dogs!"  To which I replied, "But I don't like hot dogs." He said, "They're for me when I come over!  I can eat them three at a time!"  Okay, whatever you say!

Ha ha ha!  What a funny kid!  Jarom will always be one of my all-time favorite people in all the world!  I hope he never loses his fantastic imagination!

21 October 2012

My Joy

Since I stopped using this blog last year, a lot has happened.  This post is a sort of overview of some of my favorite moments (in no particular order) that I missed out on blogging about.  

I took a picture of myself that I actually like! :)  

 My sister and brother-in-law had a baby girl.

Megan Nizhoni Watts
 Third child in the wonderful Watts family, but the first daughter, granddaughter, niece, this baby girl is incredibly loved, especially by her older brothers.

Two weeks later...

...my brother and sister-in-law had a baby boy.

   Charlie Scott Funk
 My sister-in-law is pretty amazing.  This little guy decided to come on the first day of fall semester 2011, and she was still a rock star, taking classes full-time while adjusting to being a new mom.

Happy Holidays


with all the kids
in costume

 Me with 
Snuggle Pumpkin


Santa Babies

All the 
Christmas Kidlets

Final semester of my undergraduate career!

  Bought an iPod Touch

I realize this doesn't seem like such a big deal, but for me it was.  I had wanted one for a long time but couldn't justify spending the money...then...at the beginning of my last semester of school I finally found the justification!  Over the course of the semester I was required to read 45 books (well, 15 or so of them were picture books, but 45 sounds more impressive, though I guess 30 novels is quite a lot), so I decided it would be a more efficient use of my time if I could just get them on audiobook and spend every free moment listening to my assignments.  While I love reading, I'm terribly slow at it, so this was a solution a wished I'd thought of sooner!  Of course, it was also fun to have the internet, games, pictures, and other fun things right there at my fingertips ;-)

Then, finally, after many years of slaving and studying (and putting it off for various reasons) 
in April I graduated from Weber State University with my 
Bachelor Degree in English Literature/Family Studies! 

My sister-in-law and I graduated on the same day.
(Sorry the picture quality isn't so good on this one)

 So did my dear friend and literary cohort Kaili

After Graduation

Instead of plunging into a career right after graduation, I decided to continue working whatever hours I could at Seagull Book and enjoy my summer by taking some vacations.

Washington D.C.

In May my great aunt who was an officer in the U.S. Navy was interred in Arlington National Cemetery, so we took the opportunity to visit our great nation's capital.

The cemetery is a breathtaking sight;  it is incredibly beautiful and solemn, peaceful and sad.

There are so many graves.  Those buried in Arlington represent only a portion of the millions of men and women who lived and died in the service of our gaining and protecting our freedom.  I am personally grateful for all those past, present, and future persons who gave and give so much so that I can enjoy the liberties and luxuries of this free nation, under God, indivisible.

Because my great aunt was in the Navy, she was given this dashing escort of Naval personnel through the cemetery.

Although she was cremated, they placed the box containing her ashes in this star-spangled draped casket which was pulled by a team of white horses through the cemetery

The place for those who were cremated is at the very back of the cemetery.  When the procession arrived at the appointed location, these men ceremoniously took the box of ashes from the casket and marched to a small pavilion where they performed a gun salute, Taps, and a ceremony in which they unfolded and refolded the flag and presented it to my mother.  My aunt did not have children so her closest living relative is my mother.

My great uncle was also an officer in the Navy so when he died a few years ago his ashes were interred here.  They removed the name plate and placed my great aunt's ashes with her husband's.  We were told that someone would eventually come and engrave her name on the name plate with my great uncle's. The entire event was so incredible and I am grateful for the opportunity to witness and participate in such a special occasion. 

My sister and her family were not able to go, but my parents, brother, sister-in-law, baby Charlie and I all had a great time exploring the city.  My only regrets are not taking better shoes, and that we didn't have more time to spend in one of the most amazing cities in the world.  I look forward to returning with my nieces and nephews when they are a bit older and able to better appreciate the history.

I took over a thousand pictures of the cemetery and the various buildings and monuments around the city.  I wish I could post them all but there is neither time nor space.  Besides, the pictures don't do justice to the immense beauty and incredible history.  I'm going to write a separate post about the rest of D.C.  This post is already too long and I still have more to write.


In June we took another vacation to California.  This time my brother and his family couldn't go, but my sister and her family could.  Because California is closer than D.C. we drove instead of flying.  Again, I took hundreds of pictures, so I'll just post a few here and write a post specifically about this vacation later.

My favorite part of 
Disneyland was having my nephews with us...

...especially Jarom because he is old enough and big enough to go on a lot of the rides.  As the favorite aunt, I was his preferred ride buddy.  I was also his preferred piggyback buddy.  I lost track of how many times he asked for a ride because he was tired of walking.  At one point I told him my feet were tired too so he offered to give me a piggyback.  He said I could either have 10 little piggybacks or I could have one long piggyback.  He's such a stud!  Of course it didn't work out so well, but it was kind of him to offer.

Jarom's favorite part of Disneyland was the Star Wars Jedi Training Academy.  He was so excited and told all the kids that were waiting that he REALLY hoped he would be chosen...and he was!

We spent three days at Disneyland/California Adventures, but believe it or not, that was not my favorite part of the trip.  It was fun, of course, but all I wanted was to be at the beach, in the ocean!

A lot of people were married over the last year and a half.  A couple of couples were particularly important to me though. 

Jennifer & Cody
One of my favorite couples of all time!
I love them both individually and together.

It was a beautiful ceremony! Taking pictures was a lot of fun, mainly because of these silly boys.

 The other wedding that was of particular significance in my life took place just couple months ago.

 Brian & Natalie
The very best guy friend I've ever had finally found his dream girl!

One of my favorite moments of all time was being allowed the opportunity to see this guy so incredibly happily in love.
The first time I met Natalie I knew she was the one for him because of all the girls I've seen him with over the years, she is the only one he was ever truly himself with. She brings out all the very best in my dear friend, The Artist.
The other thing I love about Natalie is that we have become friends and she wants Brian and I to stay friends...One of my greatest fears was that he would marry someone who would not let him be friends with me anymore since I'm a single girl.  But he's always only ever been like a brother to me, so I'm really no threat and she understands that about our friendship.  She is so easy to love!

I am so happy for all my friends who are happily married and hope to one day have the opportunity to join the ranks.  I'm grateful for those friends who have continued to be friends with me even though they are married and I am not.  Friends are more important to me than anything else in life.

 This picture is actually from my birthday last year, but it's one of my favorite pictures because it includes so many of my favorite people.  There are a couple of my best friends missing, but these are all people I hope will forever be a part of my life.   They have given me so much love and kindness over the last few years and have remained true friends, even through some of my most difficult struggles.  I am grateful that I have been blessed with so many dear people in my life.  I don't have pictures of all the people I feel this way about, but these faces represent more than just themselves.  I really need to
 take some pictures of the other dear and important friends in my life.

 One of my favorite moments from the last 15 months that involved friends was going to see The Decemberists when they came to the Twilight Concert Series last summer.  Parts of the concert were disappointing; it was free, so a lot of drunks, smokers, druggies, and people who couldn't care less about their music were there.  Zak and I had gone early to get a nice spot close to the stage, but when people started moshing (even though The Decemberists really do not play that kind of music) we moved further back so we could enjoy the music.  The music and the friends were beyond amazing, though, so in my opinion, it was completely worth it. That night was another of my absolute, all-time favorite moments.

I'm having a little trouble finding a new job...mainly because I'm having a lot of trouble leaving the job I have.  I like the product we sell, I like the generally peaceful and uplifting environment in which I get to work...and more than anything, I LOVE the people I work with!  I have always been blessed with great co-workers and that it always the aspect that makes leaving a job so difficult.
I'm so grateful that I have a job and that I have the opportunity and education to pursue other career options when it becomes necessary.  I've decided to stay at Seagull through the holidays. Things are starting to pick up so I'll be working almost full-time so I'll have the money I need for now. I'll have to find something else by January, but for the moment I'm content.

One of my favorite work moments was in April when they brought in this beautiful piano for William Joseph (a popular LDS pianist) to play at our Celebrating Sisterhood event the week before General Conference.  That was really fun!

Just a Couple More
This week we took the kids to Gardner Village to see the witches! The kids had fun dressed up in their costumes, though they didn't really appreciate how many pictures we wanted to take of them.  They wanted to run around and have fun, but we kept making them stop and pose, but they weren't particularly cooperative.

Here we have Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook (though we forgot the hook so Jarom said he was Captain Hook before he lost his hand to the crocodile), and the cutest little cowboy you've ever seen!

Ok, I'll end now. I have a great life filled with so many amazing people and exciting adventures! Thank you for being part of my joy!