Monday, July 18, 2016

My Two Rings

I have two CTR rings. I wear them all the time. Sometimes people ask why I wear two and I tell them it's because I need the extra reminder to make good decisions.

 The first one is the ring my parents sent me while I was on my mission. I'd had one before, but I'm kind of hard on rings and I bent it out of shape to the point it broke. [insert sad face here]. So they sent me one that had a thicker band. It's probably meant to be a man's ring, but who cares?

The other ring I wear, well it has more story to it. Years ago I decided that for Christmas I was going to get everyone in my family a CTR ring. I put a lot of thought into them and tried really hard to match them to each individual personality. For example, Randy's had footballs on it, Travis' had basketballs on it, Kim's was red, Shayla's was pink, etc. There was one I was especially excited about though- instead of the letters C.T.R, it had the ASL signs for the letters. This one was for Melanie. One of my favorite memories of Mel was sitting and watching her talk to her friend Kelly. She learned sign language just so she could talk to her friend. I think that's amazing.

So I was quite excited when I found this special ring. This might have even been the ring that 
inspired the whole thing.

Anyway, she wore it always. She had other rings that would come and go- but she never took off her CTR ring. When she died I took it back. Kim wanted to keep it- but I used the "I bought it" trump card and got it.

Now I wear it. I rarely take it off (really I only take it off to play violent card games with Shayla).

Today marks two years and six months since Melanie passed away. I still miss her every day. I miss her so much my heart aches. I don't cry nearly as much as I used to (except for right now... sitting here bawling as I write this) but a day doesn't go by that I don't think of her.

I miss just talking nonsense with her. I miss her talking me out of my anxiety. I miss her reassuring me that I'm not a crazy person- or that if I am, she's crazy right there with me. I miss discussing books and movies with her. I miss geeking out with her over stupid stuff.  What I wouldn't give for one more day.

I miss my best friend.
I miss my sister.

But I'm glad I have reminders of her goodness- reminders that if I make good choices, I'll be with her again someday.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Adventures in Macy-sitting

A few weeks ago I got to have my summer adventure. My neice, Macy came to stay with me for a week. Last year I got her for ten days, but this year we were both pretty busy so we were lucky to find a week that would work for both of us.

She had just completed her first Trek experience, and was high on church history (she likes that kind of stuff anyway, but she was more excited than any normal 16 year old to do the things we had planned).

A few years ago when she was here, I took her and her sister up to the City Cemetery and kind of gave them some histories on individuals buried there. She rather enjoyed that and requested we do it again. City Cemetery is one of my favorite places so I was only too happy to oblige.

While we were hiking around, it began to pour rain. Big, huge raindrops- but the sun was still out. So we danced in the rain for a while. There is nothing quite like dancing in the rain. We made up a dance when she was really little- and we both still remember it. So here we are, two crazies dancing in the rain in the middle of a cemetery.

 One of the nights we went to see the new Alice in WOnderland movie. I introduced her (and me, it was my first time too) to the theater in Sugar House that has recliners instead of chairs. Oh. My. Gosh. I was so comfy... I uh... fell asleep. Oopsy!

One of the things she had planned to do was go to the Salt Lake Temple. She had some names she wanted to take to do baptisms for the dead. I've been to the SL temple several times, but never to do baptisms, so that was fun for both of us. I didn't do any, but I got to be with her while she did.

She brought 10 names to do, but it was so busy they only let her do five. That's ok.


 During her visit I had to work- so during the day she'd sleep in and catch up on her Netflix queue and then when I'd get home we'd go out and par-tay. I felt bad that there was so much wasted time, but I think she rather enjoys the chance to be a lazy bum. She's usually a pretty busy kid.

I took the day off work Friday though so we could do some special things. I didn't tell her anything about the day. It was all a surprise. All I told her was that it involved a picnic.

Because she only got to do half her names in the Salt Lake Temple, I took her down to the new Provo City Center Temple to do the rest of her names. That was pretty fun. I got a little nervous when we pulled up behind a bus load of kids... but things worked out in a way that we were in and out pretty quickly.


Another activity she requested was to visit the Springville Art Museum. We have a rather famous relative who is featured there and she wanted to see his stuff.

I have been there before, but it was under some construction when I went before, so I don't remember seeing this little beauty. I think I would like one of these (smaller, of course) for my nerd room. A dragon reading a fairy tale book- surrounded by little fairies. You can't see them well in this picture, but they're adorable.

 The big surprise was that I was taking her to see the Mormon Miracle Pagent in Manti, UT. It was a pretty uneventful drive. I had her pretty nervous though that I was going to take her into the mountains to kill her. Hahaha.. I know a 16 year old who is pretty gullible.

Speaking of gullible, when we got to Manti we were WAY early. We had a lot of time to kill so we went to visit their pioneer cemetery.

There we ran into a little old guy named Woody who pointed out all the highlights and famous names. There was one grave that interested Macy. He told us that the angle statue, if you walked around her clockwise seven times and asked her what she was doing she'd reply, "nothing, nothing at all." Macy had to try it.

(And yes, she threatned that if I told this story that she'd pay me back by telling everyone my embarrassing story- but it's too late, Macy, TOO LATE! Everyone already knows I have an irrational fear of sharks! And that I panicked when they were brought into the Salt Lake Valley.)

So she walked around seven times and asked, "What are you doing?" in a sultry voice I replied, "Nothing, Nothing at all."

To which Macy replied, "Heaboo! Stop it! That's creepy!"

When we walked back toward where Woody was working, he asked Macy, "Well, what did she say?"

Embarrassed, Macy said, "Nothing, nothing at all."

Hahaha! Maybe you had to be there, but it was hilarious.

Of the names of note in the cemetery, the one that stood out the most to me was that of Isaac Morley. His is a name I know well from church history, and it just tied things in with my trip last summer.

We still had a lot of time to kill, so we wandered the town. Macy had some pretty nasty ice cream, and was embarrassed by my conversastions with strangers, but she lived.

As excited as I was to see the pageant (it was extra special for me because it was the anniversary of my returning from my mission and the first thing we did when I was released as a missionary was to head to the Manti pageant) I was even more excited for the fireside they had planned before.

Because this year was the 50th anniversary of the pageant, they scheduled special firesides and concerts. I didn't really know this when I planned the trip- in fact, I didn't find out until the day before we left, but the group that was scheduled to speak on our day was the family that does Kid History and other Bored Shorts TV YouTube video. Macy and I are both HUGE Kid History fans so when I told her they were speaking she about had kittens!

They were very funny, and very entertaining, and talked about how this whole Kid History phenomenon (do doo do doo doo...) has been a great missionary tool for them.

Afterward people were gathering around to chat with them- I knew I wanted to put pics of them on my blog- but Macy refused. She was so embarrassed by me (who'd've ever thought I'd turn out as much like my dad as I have?) so I went by myself.

They were all very kind and obliging when I told them this was for a blog post. I didn't want to take up all their time- all the adoring fans that were crowded up- so I didn't talk to them for long. John (bottom right) actually engaged me in conversation and asked about my blog. I felt stupid telling him the name of it (I really don't rant and rave like I used to) and that it was about being Mormon and single. It was supposed to be at first- but no one likes a whiner- so I try not to complain as much. I was probably the most awkward I've ever been in my life (which is really saying something).  He was super nice though.


After they spoke there were a couple of concerts, a local group and then the acapella group, Voice Male. I was really excited for them too. I've not heard them before, but Melanie LOVED them so I knew they had to be awesome. Macy and I had an empty seat between us and I'd like to think that Mel was there with us. They were so funny and kept our attention so well- that I didn't even think to take pictures. Dangit!

After that was the pageant. We had great seats. Macy had never seen the pageant before so it was really fun to see her reaction to things. I promised her tears. And there were tears.

Even though we had an great parking spot- we still couldn't get out of town easily. So it was about 1:30 when we finally got home. I had to take her back to Idaho early the next day so there wasn't a lot of sleeping time.

It was a great week though. We counted 10 temples that we'd seen; Brigham City, Salt Lake, Jordan River, Oquirrh Mountain, Draper, Timpanogos, Provo, Provo City Center, Payson and Manti.

She sure is a good kid and a fun one to have around. She likes the same geeky things that I do so even though I'm an embarrassing adult, she'll still do some of the silly things that I like to do. I look forward to next year.