Monday, December 22, 2008

Dance Pictures

Here are the dance pictures I talked about last entry. I thought they were funny, but they've been creating a bit of a stir on facebook...guess people just aren't used to seeing this side of me :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Three Papers Down, One to Go

Usually I like to wait until I have photos to post, but I figured it's been long enough since I updated...

So it's finals week. Again. I think this is the only time I ever hate being an English major--I'm up to my ears in papers and research and printouts! Or at least I was. I actually have gotten most of my stuff done, with the exception of one essay revision I should be working on right now. But considering I've worked on a paper (or two) every single day for the past two weeks or so, I think I'm entitled to a break. Last night I finished the essay that was causing me the most grief--a 6-8 page research paper for my African Lit class, where I had to incorporate five analytical essays on Ngugi Wa Thiong'o's Weep Not, Child into my own analysis of the novel. I'm a little bit proud of it, actually; it turned out a lot better than I thought it would. I attribute that to the fact that I carved out an hour yesterday morning for scripture study. Funny how much better life goes when I start my day off right like that!

Work's keeping me super busy this week; seemingly all the athletes have procrastinated their studying for their finals until this week, so I'm pretty much tripling my hours this week . . . plus my other job kicks in this week, too. Luckily finals only last one week, otherwise I think I would go mad from all the busy-ness. But, despite the stress, I somehow managed to find the time to start creating a second blog. It's something I've been wanting to do for awhile, and I needed a break Saturday from writing an essay on Mark Twain's Puddn'head Wilson, so I created a blog called "Soul in Symmetry." Basically it's going to be a collection of things I find inspiring or beautiful or thought-provoking. My whole life I've been a collector of words: my notebooks, my planner, my grocery receipts all have scribbled-down phrases (either from my own head or others') that I find interesting, confusing, fascinating, or worthwhile. When I move home this Friday, I'll have a lot more time to start adding to it, so you should all check it out: .

I fulfilled a random life goal last week. I've always had a secret desire to enter and win a dance competition. I didn't think it would ever happen (has anyone SEEN me try to dance?!), but all these ballroom lessons with Manuel must have paid off, because him and I won first place in the cha-cha competition at a holiday celebration held at Club New York. True, there was only like, 15 other couples, but most of them were in various dance classes, so I was still proud of us :) I meant to post that little tidbit with all these pictures Liz took of Manuel and I dancing in my apartment, but I don't have a card reader here, so those will have to wait until next post. (Warning: after seeing those pictures, you probably will never think of me the same way again. True story).

I still haven't sold my contract, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Mom reminded me that Heavenly Father blesses us with the things we need, and that He'll be especially mindful of my situation (seeing as how I need to sell my contract because I'll be devoting 18 months of my life to further along His work). I know that she is right, and so I'm not really worried. I feel confident I'll be able to sell it somehow.

As I prepare to move back home again and thrust myself into full-on preparation for my mission, a part of me is a bit sad--Logan and USU have been my home for the past three and a half years, and many of the happiest times in my life have been up here. It is strange to be saying goodbye to it all for almost two years. But time will fly, as it always does, and I'll be back here before I know it, stressed out and everything!

Well, I'd best stop putting off my last essay. I just have to keep telling myself that after this, I am a FREE WOMAN!!! Woo hoo!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Early Thanks-Giving!

Since I'll down in St. George this whole week for Thanksgiving, I figured I'd start my thanks-giving early!

I've had a great year, and have a lot of things to be grateful for.

These are in no particular order (mostly because I don't know how to upload pictures in the order I want on here):

1. All my free trips that I've gotten this year! Talk about lucky! First I had the almost-too-good-to-be-true free trip to Hawaii through Student Athletic Services, and then the trip to Las Vegas with my kids and the other counselors from Upward Bound. Pretty lucky, I'd have to say.

2. The Temple!!! I've always loved going before, but now that I've been through for myself, it has become a sweet refuge for me. I love having so many temples so close to me, and I love how I have the opportunity to go every week. Love it!

3. The opportunity to have so many occasions where the whole family came together. I love how even though we all live far apart and most of us are adults and have our own lives, we all still take the time to spend together. I realize more and more every year how blessed I've been to come from such a strong, supportive, caring family. You guys are the best! I love you all!

4. Dancing (both with roommates and with my various dance partners)! I've learned a TON about partner dancing this year, and I've now performed three times in front of screaming crowds...well, maybe not screaming, but appreciative :) Dancing is one of my new passions, and I love that I have friends who love it too!

This is Manuel (probably my favorite dance partner of all time!) and I all dressed up for The Howl. In case you can't tell, we went as a Christmas tree and Christmas present.

5. All of my friends finally being home from their missions! Boy, did I have fun with them all this summer! I'm glad that I was able to spend so much time with them all before I go on my own mission.

6. The chance to view some of the awe-inspiring scenes of nature, be it in Havasupai, Hawaii, or just in good ol' Utah. I love how I've done so many things out in nature that I never really used to get into, like camping, snow-shoeing, sledding, backpacking, rock's been a great year to be outdoors!
7. Nieces and nephews who always know how to bring a great big smile to my face and who remind me that life, even amidst all its complexities and hardships, is still something to smile about!!!

8. The chance to live in the greatest apartment EVER for three whole years. Boy, do I miss you Old Farm!

I could never count all the things I'm grateful for, but as this holiday season comes up, I give thanks to my Heavenly Father for a loving family, understanding friends, joys in my everyday life, and the opportunity to serve a mission in only two short months. I can't wait to spread the joy of the Gospel to the people of El Salvador. We truly do have a Savior who loves us dearly, and His true Gospel on the earth today. Yay life!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Temple Day!

So the day that I've been preparing for my whole life came on Saturday--the day I went through the temple for myself! Talk about a fantastic experience, holy cow! I loved it so so much, and I can't wait to go back. In fact, I originally was going to wait a couple weeks before coming home again, but I'm so eager to go through again that I'm making a special trip home this weekend just for that.

I was so excited that so many of my friends could be there with me. Callin was going to come too, but he had to work, and the six of us below were later joined in Chukarama by most of my other friends--Kayla, Liz, Taylor, and Fish.

I tried to have this picture of everyone first, but for some reason it came up second, so here's everyone who came through with me. It was so much fun having everyone wait in the Celestial Room for me after to congratulate me and give me hugs. Thanks everyone for all the support now and throughout all my life--it is because of you all that I was able to do this!

After, we all made the usual trip to Chuck-a-Rama to gorge ourselves on fresh rolls and thick slabs of roast beef. Carter, Ryan, and Hannah all joined us there too. Side note: Jill and Andrew were at the temple too, but they just weren't in the pictures.

What a good looking group! I'm sure going to miss everyone...
So afterward, I had a lot of people ask me how it was and what I thought. Really, the most honest thing I can say is this: it was worth everything it took to get there. I have never experienced such an overpowering confirmation of God's love as I did in the temple, and I know that He is so pleased with my decision to go on a mission. A lot of the lessons on Sunday were focused on the gathering of Israel and on missionary work in general, and I just got so excited--my heart started pounding faster, and I couldn't keep a smile off my face. I love the people of El Salvador already, and I hope that these next couple months I can prepare myself the best I can so I can serve them in the best way I possibly can.
I love this last picture of Mom and me--Mom was my escort, and I loved having her by my side through this beautiful experience. Thank you Mom, for everything you do for me: I love you so much!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Box Elder Bugs

Piles of crumbling black and red bodies suffocate the windows of the English building at USU (which I’ve affectionately dubbed the Ray B. Baby), creating clouds of insect dust that seems to hover like an oppressive film over the glass. Live specimens pick their way among the debris of legs and broken antennas, sunbathing in the early morning sunlight. My eye catches the one climbing with steady steps up the windowpane and watches as it billows its wings out like a sheet and flutters to a stop at my desk. I cringe, fighting the urge to wrap my fingers around my face and run. I watch it click its sooty feet over my desk, black feelers probing the wooden grooves of the “Lord of the Rings” desk, and think back to Funda’s class last year when Bradford, Jon, and Rory all enjoyed the spectacle of putting bugs on my shoulders and hearing me squeal. Good times.

Box elder bugs always come in droves, never one by one. They crawl over each other, mating, oblivious to everything but their own instinctual passions. Hedonistic, they pour through the cracks into the pleasure of warmth and a rousing lecture on Mark Twain, parachuting down the pinpricked white walls and swooping up again with the breeze. The one on my desk continues to patter along over my notes, blackening its feet with undried ink. I start to feel itchy.

We sit here in opposition. Me versus It—one focused, collective, worried, self-concerned, the other following natural pleasures and the reflexes of survival, seeking heat and flight and sex wherever he can get it. I envy him for his freedom, but more for his simplicity. He envies nothing as he explores his newfound territory, this playground of wood and metal and carpet.

As the snow starts to fall by the flake outside and I start slowly adding more and more layers of long johns and sweaters, he moves less and less, conserving his energy. Mating season is over, and he prepares himself for months of stillness, stirring only in the piercing rays of noonday, occasionally letting a wing uncurl in the wind of a heater. I scrutinize his scrapings and rustlings, looking for signs—clues about the answer to my own existence. But all he does is nap in the dry heat, never considering for a moment that life has any reason for concern.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! In honor of the holiday, I decided to post a picture taken right before the family party a couple Sundays ago. Even though you can't really tell what most of us are supposed to be (Mom - Dorothy, Scott - Wizard of Oz, Carter and I - mafia members / Blues Brothers), we had a lot of fun competing against the rest of the extended family in pumpkin carving and fear factor. It's a pity they didn't bring in some halloween word game or something - we would have smoked everyone! (Esp. since Ryan, Jill, and I are all very much in-practice when it comes to playing word games every day online. Thank you facebook!)

Last Friday was the Homecoming Dance. Manuel and I doubled with Liz and Manuel's friend Mike. Can I say how much fun it is to go to a dance with someone who REALLY knows how to dance? It's awesome! Manuel can do it all--breakdance, ballroom dance, swing dance...we had so much fun together trying all the different styles. So much fun, in fact, that we went dancing twice this week (instead of the usual once) at the Fun Park and at Club New York (country swing and ballroom, respectively), and we're also going to the Howl tonight to dance some more. Funny story--at Club New York on Tuesday night, Manuel was teaching me how to break dance. I can now do the windmill (I think that's what it's called) and this other little floor twist thing. One of these days I plan to bust out a breakdance routine in a public place to the wonder and awe of all present. I think it would be hilarious.

This morning I had to teach my first full-length class! I spent a full hour teaching Modern Poetry to my Teaching Literature class while they filled out evaluations. It went SO well--I'm really happy about it, actually. My teacher was so happy with how I did that she actually had me come up to her office afterwards to give me (as a gift) one of her personal books on teaching, plus she praised a few of the specific things I did in front of the whole class, and told them to model theirs after mine. I tried to incorporate lots of different components and learning styles into it to connect with everyone, and I ended up having a lot of fun with it; we watched a clip from Dead Poets Society, listened to the radio a bit (as an analogy of how a good poem is like getting a good radio signal, but to pick up on the signal, the radio, or reader, has to be in good condition and know how to receive it), talked about what poetry is and is not, and even wrote our own "slang" poems. I'm so happy that it went well, and that it's done now---I can finally concentrate on other things!

So I go through the temple next week...I couldn't be more excited! I've waited my whole life to finally get to go through for myself, and I feel ready to take this step in my life; I know it will help me prepare for my mission even more. Boy, I can't wait!

I've got to run off to my last class of the day now...but I just wanted to say, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Random Pictures From the Last Month

For my birthday, my friends took me out to Winger's for dinner (above), and earlier Manuel took me out to a new restaurant on Main Street called the Blackstone and bought me a gorgeous arrangement of tigerlilies, red roses, and sunflowers. Even though I still had to go to school and do homework and all that fun stuff, I had a great birthday. It's super weird to be 22 and I feel like I'm growing up way too fast, but what can ya do? I've learned a ton over the last year especially, and I'm glad I waited this extra year to turn in my mission papers; I'm much more prepared to go now than I would have been a year ago.

This is Matt and me at the Saturday morning session of General Conference (I also went to the Sunday morning session with Manuel). Matt's dad is in the Tabernacle Choir, so we had KILLER seats--about 6 or 7 rows back from the front on the far right, behind all the missionaries. Between that and the fact that the first couple talks were completely about missionary work, I got positively giddy at the thought that this would be me in just a few short months. Hooray! After, Matt and I went to what is now probably our favorite place to eat together--the downtown Leatherby's. SOO good. It brings back all sorts of memories when I used to go down to the one at the Five Points with Kayla every week, or with Grandma and Grandpa Austin on special occasions.

Last week, after Liz and I and our friend Will went to Manuel's soccer game, we all decided on the spur of the moment to buy these huge 4o-lb pumpkins and have a carving contest. It took us two consecutive nights of staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning to finish, but here's the finished product--I think it turned out rather rad, if I do say so myself. Manuel did the design though, so I can't take credit for that. But I will take credit for the left half and body of the spider and part of the web.

I took these last two when Mom and I went to see Jill and the girls after I got some of my shots for the mission. The top picture of Zoe seriously cracks me up--she was so dirty! She had drawn chalk all over her face and would keep coming up to me to deposit all her chalk into my lap. Mom pointed out that the two new babies would be Zoe's age when I got home--how strange is that? I'll really miss not being able to see my two new nephews grow up that first 18 months...hopefully Chris and Sarah will send lots of pictures!

Well, that's about all for now. School's still going really well; sometimes it surprises me HOW well it's going, considering that I sometimes procrastinate WAY too much (like yesterday--I wrote one of my essays in literally 20 minutes, right before class started). Hopefully I'll be more on top of things this week so I won't have to crunch things that close next time.

I can't believe November's only about a week ago--where is this semester/year going?! It's a good thing though--the only thing on my mind is mission mission mission, so the sooner it comes, probably the better. Only three months and one week left to go...

Mission Call

I had just sat down to eat a pb & honey sandwich and watch Oprah two Fridays ago when I got an unexpected call from Mom telling me my call had come. I had completely given up hope that it would come that week (because they usually come on Wednesday or Thursday), so I wasn't expecting it at all. I was supposed to go to the Fall Ball with Manuel that night, but there was no way I could wait to open it. Liz drove Kayla and I down to Bountiful (like a madwoman, I might add), and I was met at the house by most everyone in the immediate family and Grandma, as well as many of my closest friends. I've got to say that I was a complete spaz from the moment I got the phone call to about the time I was slitting open the envelope; I was shaking all over and would randomly emit a high-pitched squeal. Thank goodness it didn't come on Wednesday--I can't even imagine having to wait two whole days!

The thing I was most nervous about was that I would be disappointed or that I wouldn't get the confirmation that that was the place I was supposed to be. But I'd been praying for weeks that I would be able to get over these fears and that I would indeed know that wherever I was called was the right place for me to go. When I opened the envelope and pulled out the letter with my assignment in it, I let my eyes skip ahead so that I could see where I was going before everyone else knew. It took a second for my brain to process it, but the second I read aloud "El Salvador San Salvador West/Belize Mission," I KNEW that I'd been called to the right place (which would explain partly why I started crying right then). I just felt the Spirit so strong bearing witness to me that that was exactly where I was supposed to go and that I would love it. I am so thrilled! I really wanted to go Spanish-speaking and I really wanted to go foreign, so I'm feeling incredibly blessed right now; I just know that this will be one of the best experiences of my whole life and I can't wait to leave! Of course, I still have over three months until I enter the MTC on January 28th, but luckily I have school to keep me occupied for at least part of it. It will be strange to leave everything and everyone (and how I'll miss everyone!), but I know this is what I'm supposed to do. What could be better for me than to spread the happy message of the restored gospel, which I have come to know for myself is true? I'm so so excited. Thank you everyone for your support and love and for helping me become the kind of person that would want to do this! I love you all :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Quick Update Before I Have to Run...

I haven't updated in a couple weeks (mostly because I've just been so stinkin' busy!), but I thought I'd pop in here real quick to do a quick update on what's been happening. I wish I had some way of getting the pictures from my camera onto one of these school computers, but alas! The pictures will have to wait until next week when I go home (not that there are that many, but maybe by then there will be more).

This week's been pretty crazy; I had so much to do this week that I actually took off work tonight (I do drop-in tutoring for 2.5 hours every Wednesday and Thursday) so I could have some extra time to work on a big essay that's due tomorrow for my Mark Twain class. And yes, I probably should be working on that right now as I write this, but I have an athlete coming in about 15 minutes for help with math, and I figure there wasn't much use in getting everything spread out everywhere only to have to collect it all back up again. Luckily she only needs help for an hour, so I'll have the rest of the night to work on my essay.

Despite my busy-ness (and even despite the fact that I might possibly be coming down with a cold), I've had an excellent week. Today I had a big presentation in my African Lit class that required a lot of preparation on my part, and although I rarely get nervous before speaking, I got a teensy bit nervous before this particular presentation. But the whole thing went GREAT--much smoother than I thought it would, and I even got some really nice compliments from my classmates and teacher. So I feel really good about that. Last week marked a first for me in my academic college career: in this same African Lit class, I missed my first assignment ever (just because I'd totally spaced it), and my teacher was nice enough to let me hand it in late. Originally he said he was going to knock off a few points for it being late, but I got it back today and I'd received full marks! Happy day! I will never cease to marvel at the tender mercies my Father in Heaven gives me every week; it blows my mind.

Last week I had the opportunity to go to two sessions of conference down in Salt Lake--once with Matt and once with Manuel (a guy I met swing dancing about a month ago who I've become fast friends with). When Matt and I went, we had KILLER seats about seven rows back from the very front, right behind all the full-time missionaries. It made me SO giddy about my own mission coming up--I just couldn't wait to get out and spread the good word! Speaking of that, my call didn't come this week, just like I figured it probably wouldn't. But just knowing it COULD have come this week was exciting; I was on pins and needles all day yesterday just thinking about it. But I have a feeling it will come next least that's what I'm hoping for...

Funny story of the week: So I was in my mission prep (Institute) class the other day, and my teacher for that makes us do a lot of practical things--like teach lessons to each other--that we'll have to do on the mission. So last week got a chance to testify and teach to the class about how the Holy Ghost works in our lives, and every time someone teaches, the whole class always gives them a critique afterwards. Well, after I was done testifying (and had challenged the "investigators"), my teacher asked the class, "Okay, great. So class, what are your responses to that?" And some guy in the front row looks right at me and pipes up: "I will marry you right now." Between bursts of laughter, my teacher said, "Torrie, I think what he really means to say is, Will you wait for me two years?" So awkward. But so funny.

Anywho, I need to take a potty break before my athlete comes, so I'd better cut this off now. Hopefully by next week I'll have pictures (and my mission call!) to talk about. Until then, peace and love y'all!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Petrice & Caleb 9-27-08

Yesterday, I went down to Central Utah to celebrate Petrice & Caleb's wedding. Road trip! (Except I was so tired I fell asleep for about half of the car ride). They got married at 11:15 in the Manti Temple, and I was lucky enough to get to play photographer afterward (they had an actual photographer, but Petrice asked me to do a couple different ones, just in case they didn't like the photographer's). I was really happy with how they turned out. Rachel got a better one of the picture below, but I still thought it was funny, so I posted it.

The five of us waiting for them to come out (they took SO long...but that's okay. Petrice had to have time to fix her hair and do her makeup because she'd woken up an hour and a half late)

Petrice and all her friends who came. I love how this turned out.

Petrice catered her entire luncheon and wedding luncheon. Apparently she'd almost pulled all-nighters the two nights previous to getting married to prepare all the food. Everything looked and tasted delicious.

We just had to have one of us making terrible faces. Side note: we hadn't planned to, but all of us friends were wearing black and jewel tones, which was kinda cool. We even matched a lot of the colors of her reception.

Below are some of my favorite pictures that I took of them

That last one is my absolute favorite from the whole day. I thought it turned out amazing (I'm pretty sure I lucked into it, but I'll take it!).

It was so fun having the six of us together again--I thought it was really special that we could all be there to support her. I love how all of us have stayed together for so long--most of us have been friends since elementary, and we've been there for each other through everything (despite both Liz and Petrice moving away in high school). I truly have been blessed with the best friends ever.

As for the rest of my life, I'm staying abreast of all the work (albeit just barely, some days). And all my efforts are starting to really pay off--I've been getting killer grades on my work (which makes me especially happy, because many of my teachers are VERY tough graders), receiving regular compliments on my writing from my creative nonfiction teacher, and my boss has used me as an example on numerous occasions about how to be an effective tutor. There's nothing like feeling appreciated :)

I have a lunch date tomorrow with a guy I met swing dancing named Manuel. We've been dancing together for the past three weeks (he's AMAZING and has shown me all these crazy lifts I never thought I would do--you know the big lift they do in the movie Dirty Dancing? Yeah, I can do that lift now). Anyway, we've been talking quite a bit outside of swing dancing, and he's taking me out tomorrow. Oh, and he's going to teach me how to drive a motorcycle. Boy am I excited!

And of course, the biggest news---if all goes well, my mission papers should be going in TODAY!!! Woo hoo! The long wait is almost over...hopefully in about 10 days I should get my call. Then I can finally stop wondering about where in the world I'm going to end up...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Beginning Again

And here I am again--another school year, another beginning. You'd think I would have gotten used to it all by now, but I still feel the anticipation bubble up in my stomach whenever I get the chance at a new start. The beginning of this school year though has been very different than years past--for starters, I'm living in a new place, with almost completely new people (with the exception of Liz). This has also been the first time I've ever taken more than 2 or 3 English classes (I'm taking four this semester). It's a good thing I really really love my major, because most people think I'm crazy--for example, this week I've already written 3 essays (and it's only Monday) and by Wednesday I will have read about 300 pages. It's a crazy workload (even now, just starting out), but I don't mind it; it's easier for me to stay focused when I have a lot to do.

Funny random incident: so right before this semester started, I decided to switch out of the ballroom dancing class I was supposed to have with Todd (because I thought it would be easier for both of us to meet other people in our dance class if we weren't in the same one). I originally switched into another ballroom class, but when I went to class that first Monday and discovered that there were only 5 guys (2 of whom were married) and about 35 girls, I decided within the first 30 seconds to drop the class. There was no way I was dancing with a girl all semester. Right after that class ended, I made a run for the nearest kiosk and decided to sign up for intermediate country swing, which promised more favorable numbers (since it shows how many guys and girls have signed up for the class). So I go bouncing into class on Wednesday only to discover that I'd transferred out of Todd's class only to find myself in Cameron's. Ah well. Life goes on. I actually thought the whole thing was quite funny, although I don't think he did...

While I'm on the subject of Todd, I'll settle it once and for all (since everyone has been asking me)--no, it hasn't been awkward seeing him, and yes, we're still friends. As for whether I think anything else will ever happen between us, I don't wish to conjecture at the moment. Whatever's best will happen, and that's that.

Below, you'll all find most of the pictures I've taken in the last two and a half weeks--the first six are from when I stopped by at Jill's before moving up to school and the last five are of USU's crazy 80s dance I went to with some of my friends Labor Day weekend.

Zoe was so funny when I went over to Jill's--at first, she would cry whenever she looked at me or whenever I got too close, but by the end, she was cuddling up to me with her blanket and playing "catch" with me with Lily's purple soccer ball (more like "Roll across the table" instead of "catch," but it's all good--you can get away with a lot when you're that cute). And when I tried to put my "eyes" (sunglasses) on Zoe, Lily gave me a very exasperated look and told me that those weren't Zoe's sunglasses, and then proceeded to go get the appropriate pink pair.

Me and the two cutest nieces in the world! I can't get over how blue their eyes are--my eyes don't even look blue in comparison.

Labor Day weekend, a bunch of my friends came up to spend their holiday partying with us in Logan. Friday night, Dean and Taylor came up for the 80s dance, and then the next day Matt and Callin came up. Saturday, part of us played tennis and the rest went to a free tumbling class, and then later we all joined up together for rock climbing in Logan Canyon and dinner at Olive Garden. It was an awesome weekend, and it made me wish all of my friends were up here in Logan with me--I really miss them all.

The 80s dance was pretty nuts (just as it was last year)--the fun started with our trip to DI a few hours before it started, where we basically picked out the brightest, most horrendous clothing we could find (side note: apparently everyone at USU also had the same idea--guys were coming out of the dressing rooms modeling tight basketball shorts and little girl vests. I think people somehow translated 80s to mean "dress as weird as possible--use Richard Simmons as a guide"). I didn't think Dean esp. would really go for the whole dance thing, but he shocked all of us by jumping around like a fish out of water and busting crazier moves than any of us. We all had a lot of fun, even though it was about a million degrees in there and our hair had all gone flat by the end.

When we first came out of the bathroom after getting ready, Liz and I basically looked like 80s hookers. Or at least that's what I felt like with my gigantic, hairspray-stiff hair and little pleather skirt.

Below is everyone that went--there weren't that many of us, but definitely enough to have a good time.

I think we'd all have been pretty popular if we went to high school in the 80s. Or at least I'd like to think so--it makes me feel better about life :)

I decided that if Dean and I had gone to high school together back then, he would have been my preppy-80s boyfriend and we would have ruled the halls together with his rolled up jeans and old sneakers and my shirt that said "Sorry-I'm Taken" (see below for the visual picture, if you can't visualize it completely).

Well, that about sums up my first couple weeks. I went home last weekend to go to Scott's dad's funeral, and while I was down there I also checked out the Greek Festival with Carter and Dean (where we waited almost two hours in the most ridiculously-long food line), played tennis with Dean, Matt, and Kayla Friday night, and went out to dinner and to see Kung Fu Panda with Dean on Saturday. It was overall a pretty good weekend, and recharged me for this week (which, if you couldn't tell from my first paragraph, has been just a little jam-packed).
Below is a poem that has come to mind over and over again as I've started this new year--even though it can seem tiring sometimes to constantly begin, it's a chance at a new start, a new day, and a new me. I love that. As for now, I've gotta jet---I haven't eaten a real meal since this morning, and that was about 12 hours ago. So I'm outta here. But here's the poem real quick before I go:

Beginby Brendan Kennelly
Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.
Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark
determination and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and future
old friends passing though with us still.
Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it, perhaps, is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces,
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.
Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin.
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