Monday, March 30, 2009

On getting over it ...

Before Sam was born my family would squish four people, one car seat, three pillows, three suitcases, two packages of RedVines and one package of CornNuts into a 1985 brown Volvo with plastic paneling and head toward Southern Utah. After Sam was born my family would squish five people, one car seat, four pillows, four suitcases, two packages of RedVines and one package of CornNuts into a green 1995 Ford Explorer and head toward Southern Utah.

Family vacations didn't change much until a couple years ago when both of my little brothers alternated throwing up while winding through canyons and Alex's glassy-eyed response to the next destination on the itinerary was, "Oh goody. More rocks."

At least that's the story he tells.

I was in Tennessee at the time. Since then, my dad's new job has resulted in frequent traveler points. Traveling has gotten infinitely cooler. When my parents announce where we'll be staying on our next vacation, my 12-year-old brother asks if there's a concierge lounge. We've come a long way from Motel 6 and car camping.

I don't miss the hot car with no air conditioning. I don't miss having to share a bed with my brother, drawing a clear line down the middle and swearing I would murder him if so much as a toe crossed it. I don't miss the rocks. Two decades of "rock trips" were enough for me. But I do miss the music.

My parents had two tapes we would play over and over on vacations: "Never Die Young" by James Taylor and "When Hell Freezes Over" by the Eagles.

The Eagles' album opens with the song, "Get Over It," basically a rewording of my dad's mantra "No fussing, no whining, no crying."

Rocking out to the Eagles and watching Santaquin, Panguitch and Cedar City fly past, I was perfectly content to agree that everyone in the world really should "Get Over It." Life was good with it's blue skies and bright sunshine spilling through car windows, and I was sure if everyone else in the world stopped whining it would be even better.

I thought about this phrase a few times this week. First when my work schedule changed, then when the Internet wouldn't load on my laptop and again when I realized I was headed for a school I swore I would never be a part of. "Get Over It, Brooke." Life is good. There was green grass and wonderful music and good food. Then it snowed. It took a little longer to get over that one, but scraping off my car in the sunshine this morning I found myself realizing how very good life really was.

There is one thing, however, I will never get over.

As of this week, I have been home for a exactly year from a 19-month LDS mission trip in Tennessee. I've been flooded with the memory of intense emotion -- inadequacy, miracles, failure, total joy, pure love and deep friendships.

I might be tempted to move on now, to just "get over it." But I refuse. I would be losing too much of not just who I was, but who I am now.

Here's just a few things about Tennessee I will never, ever get over:
  • Fried pickles
  • The way Dalton smiled when he announced himself as a "Dictionary"
  • Dogwood trees in bloom
  • The confidence I was exactly where God wanted me
  • Planning
  • A small apartment in Dickson and the smell of Jo cooking Indian food for breakfast
  • Morningstar chicken nuggets
  • Pulled pork and Southern bbq
  • Haley's munchkins
  • Firesides
  • Superheroes and super powers
  • Real rainstorms
  • Watching a font fill and laying out clean, white clothing for a baptism
  • The way the morning smells in Clarksville in the spring when you're jogging
  • Wishing I could tell the man at the airport counter how much my heart was breaking when he asked if I was excited to be going home

Friday, March 27, 2009

On distraction ...

I'm REALLY happy. Ridiculously happy. I have an unusual amount of energy and I wake up smiling. Every morning. Really big. And I'm not normally a morning person. I would be thrilled about this except for the fact it's made focusing at work hard. REALLY hard. Still, the downsides are hardly enough to tempt me to trade my current bliss for focus. I'll keep the boyfriend ... I just need to lose the daydreams. Maybe there's an herb that could help? I don't think Ginkgo Biloba can help with situational ADD, though. Pretty sure that's just supposed to prevent memory loss or something ... huh, I should look that up on Google. I wonder what those leaves look like. Remember that time in young women's camp they made me take apart aloe vera leaves? Hey! Sarah talked about young women's today. I should read that blog again.

Ahh ... distractions.

(Links, random thoughts and future Google topics welcome.)

On exhaustion ...

Maybe it's not a good sign I almost fell asleep in the orientation for law school. It was only 2:30 p.m.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Don't do it ... it's a trap

We're having a meeting at work about social media on Tuesday. I'm curious if MySpace or Facebook will come up but there's rumor that Twitter will be discussed as a legitimate journalistic tool.

I have passionately avoided Twitter up until now. Just one more thing to be addicted to and one more way for me to electronically put my foot in my mouth.

I didn't realize how truly behind the times I was until yesterday. The conversation went something like this:

me: I can't decide between the U and BYU for law school.
Emilie: You should talk to graduates from both programs.
me: That would be nice. Huh. I think I might know someone that graduated from the Y?
Emilie: If I found people would you be interested in talking to them?
me: Do you really have time for that?
Emilie: I'll send it out on Twitter.

I've been thinking about really complex ways to run into law school graduates. Thought about some old-fashioned ways like calling their alumni associations. All it really takes, however, is for Emilie to press send on her cell phone. And putting out a plea for help on my Facebook status probably won't hurt either. Oh, this brave, new world.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

On trains ...

I'm an '80s child. I remember slap bracelets and big bangs and perms and bright purple stirrup pants. My first Barbie was an aerobics instructor with legwarmers and a matching sweatband around her head. Playground talk centered around four mutant turtles and I could sing the Duck Tales theme song at the age of four.

Then I turned five and the decade turned, too. A little brother came along a solid product of the '90s. He watched Barney and Power Rangers. He rode a Razor scooter to school and idolized Kobe Bryant. Meanwhile, I was taking down a bully at school with one solid hit of my Trapper Keeper to his head.

Another brother came along six years later with TeleTubbies and Dora the Explorer and Blues Clues.

Three decades of children saw shows come and go and new marketing strategies and cheap plastic toys enticing them to buy a McDonald's Kids Meal. All of them, however, remember this character:

I talked to train fanatics this morning. Men in their 70's who have been playing with trains since they could put two and two together and haven't stopped since. Their great-grandchildren's eyes light up with delight watching a train move under a tunnel or see the shops of Ogden go whizzing by. All of them know about Thomas.

There are Lego trains, model trains, trains for gardens and trains for Christmas trees. There are trains with elaborate scenery and trains to ride in. Young and old alike are feeling the magic of something many the older generation are afraid is disappearing. You can't buy an Amtrak ticket without going through a travel agency. If you want to go by train from Salt Lake to Los Angeles, be prepared to be detoured through San Francisco. Cross-country train travel is a novelty, not a normalcy.

I'm not worried. Trains may be disappearing but their magic and history is only getting brighter. Too many toddlers screamed with delight when they saw a blue-painted engine and too many older kids sat piecing sets together. Ogden became the junction of the world's most mobile nation in 1869. If the model train festival at the same historic site 140 years later is any indication, nobody's forgotten. Thanks, Thomas.