Monday, December 24, 2007

Pavlovian response.

Our family has several traditions at Christmas time, most of which I'm sure occur with some variation in many households. For example, we always open one present on Christmas Eve, and it is always a new pair of pajamas (no matter how many times my mom tries to convince us that this year, it might be something else). For Christmas breakfast, my mom always makes cinnamon rolls.

The greatest tradition, however, is the Christmas morning charge. Every year when we would go to bed on Christmas Eve, my dad constructed a barricade across the landing that overlooks the living room, so as to prevent anyone from that wing of the house (where the kids' bedrooms are) being able to see or sneak down to where the magic happens before it was go time. On Christmas morning, we would wake up and congregate in the hallway behind the barricade, making each other hyper and sometimes chanting to wake up our parents. Mind you, we still do all this, even though five of the six of us are over the age of 20 (although at least now we have the grandkids to use as an excuse). In recent years, the "barricade" has become little more than a blanket held up with a pole, but we insist on having him put it up nonetheless.

And then my dad would come out of his room on the other side of the barricade with the camcorder and turn on the Christmas music downstairs - Mannheim Steamroller's "Deck the Halls." When we heard that song start, the excitement became palpable. This was it. This was what we had been waiting for. All our dreams were about to be fulfilled. Mannheim Steamroller meant that wonderful things were about to happen. (Incidentally, one year Dad tried to play a different CD for the charge. This idea was not well-received.) With my dad waiting at the foot of the stairs with the camcorder, my mom removed the barricade, and the charge began. One by one, from youngest to oldest, we all ran down the stairs, usually shrieking with joy and excitement (these days, we just do it out of habit and silliness... mostly), and the madness commenced.

Last night we made our semi-traditional pre-Christmas trip into San Francisco, during which we usually go to dinner and either catch a show or just walk around the city. This time it was for the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concert. After the first two or three songs, they played "Deck the Halls." Just hearing the intro - with the fast tempo and blaring synthesizers - I could feel my body tense and my pulse speed up ever so slightly. It was the result of years of conditioning - the anticipation that had accompanied this song since I was little had surfaced, and for a split second I was overcome with an irrational sense of glee.

And then it passed, and I remembered that I am, in fact, 23 years old.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Well, crap.

Of course. Of course the one day it's supposed to snow this week is the day I'm driving from Denver to Salt Lake. OF COURSE. I think maybe it's Colorado's way of giving me the final frosty finger, since this will be the last time I have to drive in the snow for... oh, I don't even know how long. Or perhaps I'm being cynical, and really it's like a little farewell party for me, but instead of gifts and confetti it's frigid temperatures and icy death. Great party, Colorado!

Today is a wonderful day, because it is my last day as a temp (at least for a few weeks). I have an interview with the New York Youth Symphony on January 11th, and I have a feeling it will turn out well. I've been emailing back and forth with the internship director since August or so, and he has always seemed eager to have me in for an interview. It's the sort of thing I'm really interested in, and I know they usually hire their interns, so here's hoping. Especially because if I don't get it, and nothing else comes through... well, let me just tell you that there are only so many times a college-educated girl can say the phrase "I'm a temp" before she starts to die a little inside.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


It has been snowing like crazy here. I mean, okay, I know Colorado has probably seen worse snow than this (aka last winter), but I was not here and therefore it does not exist in my brain. All I know is that in my 5 years of going to school in Utah, I somehow managed to avoid driving in the snow almost completely. Everywhere I needed to be (school, work, church) was within walking distance. And really, school and work were acceptable casualties if the weather was bad enough. As far as I was concerned, the only truly mandatory activity on a snow day was lying in the Big Bag in my pajamas with a blanket, watching Seinfeld reruns.

Sadly, that is not the case here. I actually have to go to work, even if the roads are covered in snow. And what's worse, I have to drive to work. As if that's not enough, on Saturday night I had to drive up to Westminster (about 45 minutes on a good day) to play for one song in the Colorado Mormon Chorale's Christmas concert. Of course that was the night that the skies first decided to start dumping snow on us. It had snowed here and there prior to this (see: my car accident), but nothing of this caliber. Anywho, the roads were awful, a nice layer of ice covered by inches and inches of snow. I was terrified the whole way there, my knuckles white on the steering wheel. I didn't dare turn on the CD player for fear that any sound would compromise my concentration. Luckily, traffic was bad enough that my slow driving didn't signal the fact that I was a total n00b. Two hours later I made it to the concert (luckily I had left ridiculously early), with a new-found hatred of snow festering deep in my soul.

However, this hatred was short-lived, as yesterday I returned home from work to see Ainsleigh and Dono frolicking in yet more fresh snow with one of the neighbor kids. Naturally, I decided to join in.

The day before, Sarah took the kids to see Santa at the mall, and came back with the obligatory photos in various sizes that can be handed out to friends and family. She said that when they got the photos and asked who they should give them to, Ainsleigh replied, "We should give one to Laura so she doesn't forget us." Which is both completely adorable and also the saddest thing I have ever heard. So Sarah explained that actually, your family isn't something you really forget about. Like, ever.

And even when I'm living in New York and having fabulous adventures (obviously), I have a feeling I'll still be able to remember pinching little buns as they run up the stairs, or hearing "Baba, you home?" every day when I get home from work, or Ainsleigh's head resting against my shoulder while I read bedtime stories, or Dono collapsing into giggles for no reason while I try to put on his pajamas. Because those aren't really things you forget about very easily, with or without a wallet-sized picture to remind you.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Dah-who dor-ays.

If you're wondering what I'm doing right now (and I know you are), here it is:

My brother-in-law is working late and my sister is having a Girl's Night, so the kids and I are eating candy canes and watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (And I am taking surreptitious pictures of them with my webcam.) Dono likes to periodically exclaim, "He mean!" Yes Dono, I believe that is the general impression they were trying to get across.

Two weeks from tomorrow, I'll be leaving Colorado to go home for Christmas. Two weeks after that, I'll be packing up my worldly possessions and moving to New York City to start my full-on, seriously, for-reals-this-time adult life. Do I have any idea what I'm doing? Not at all. But I do know that I have been waiting for this for a year, and I am terrified and excited all at the same time. I think Pam Beesly put it best when she said, "I don't think it's many little girls' dream to be a receptionist." And while I am apparently an utterly fantastic receptionist, as the temp agency likes to remind me constantly (seriously, is answering the phone something that is particularly difficult for a lot of people?), I look forward to a time when I will get to use my actual skills and maybe even my creative ideas in my career. I'm under no delusions that this will happen as soon as I move to New York, but I feel like it's at least a step in the right direction, you know?

And when I'm paying exorbitant amounts of money for rent and food, I will be able to look back on these three months in Colorado with fondness, when my cost of living wasn't much more than a night or two a week of making macaroni and cheese, playing Hungry Hungry Hippos, and watching an episode of The Backyardigans with two little redheaded hooligans.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


The other day at work a rather... "flamboyant" young man in a tight pink sweater complimented my haircut and said it was very flattering on me. I decided that maybe the fact that he was fabulous gave him more expertise, so I felt good about the compliment. Also, there is a Sassy Black Lady that works in my building, and I love her. Every time she passes the reception desk she says something utterly befitting a Sassy Black Lady. As she was leaving for the day on Halloween, for example, it was: "Now don't you be goin' trick-or-treatin' tonight, child!" You get the idea.

Now, given the relatively low-impact (read: boring) nature of my job, I found myself fantasizing today about the romantic comedy version of my life, in which Sassy Black Lady and Pink Sweater Guy were my hilarious sidekicks and I was wearing fabulous clothes and living in New York and, after a series of charming encounters followed by a comic misunderstanding, I ended up with Jude Law (or that guy from The Nanny Diaries). Stereotypical? Maybe. Totally awesome movie premise? Definitely.

I don't think I'll mention my idea to them, though.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Joining the club.

You guys, I have a blog. I don't know why I feel so awkward about it, since I actually have kept online journals before. I think maybe it's that the word "blog" gives me a creepy feeling inside, like "moist" or "gentle." Or perhaps it's because my online journals were full of charming anecdotes about all the exciting things I was doing overseas, and now not so much. In any case, I have now caved to peer pressure so everyone can experience my life... in blog form.

So my big news of the week comes in the form of a wicked dent in my driver-side door. Please to enjoy:

This happened last Wednesday on my way to work, after it had snowed the night before. The snow on the roads had already melted, and I've driven in worse, so I didn't think it would be too big of a deal getting to work. I'd been on the road for no more than 5 minutes when I thought, "Wow, this street is usually a lot busier during rush hour. That's so weird that there are no other cars around."

Moments later, I was coming around a bend in the road and must have hit a patch of black ice, because I started to spin out. I did my best to remember everything you're supposed to do in those circumstances (let off the gas, turn in the direction of the spin, don't brake suddenly, etc.), but still ended up swerving across the lane next to me, onto the sidewalk where I slid into a small tree. The little tree was destroyed, but aside from freaking out and having a major adrenaline rush, I was completely fine. I gave myself a few minutes to calm down, waited for a break in the traffic that had appeared in the meantime, and then drove off the curb and continued to work.


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