Friday, August 31, 2007

Passports and Pepsi

Recently I found out that there is a decent chance (about 1 in 15) that I could be going to Cancun Mexico in October. Although this isn't the greatest set of odds out there, I thought that it might improve my chances of going if I were to have a current passport. (Obviously those who don't have a current passport will NOT be going, no matter how cute they are).

So today on my day off, I decided I would go about renewing my passport. Now I am not an international traveling tyro, on the contrary, I have been to several countries around the world. It just so happens that my passport expired about 3 years ago and I haven't really made the effort to renew it. But laziness aside, I set about filling out the forms, getting photographs and heading over to the local Passport Processing Facility, (also known as the Post Office).
The forms were not a problem. I found them online and was able to fill it all out and print them without a hitch. (PS- Mom and Dad, I listed you as people to contact in case of an emergency or if I ever happened to, you know, disappear in an airport or something).

It was the photographs that rankled me. I went to Kinkos FedEx because it was local. First, note to reader: Many passport facilities are already set up to take your photograph, so you don't have to pay more to someone else. Also, when the store "recommends" that you get two sets of photographs, don't bother. It isn't required.
But apparently what IS required is that you don't smile. Now, I have been around the international traveling circuit a couple of times and I really think that this is an old wives' tale. I have never been able to find a law or requirement that states your picture can't be dentigerous. However, the ever diligent and ready to incommode clerical photographer insisted that I not smile. This was the first photograph that was rejected:

And this is the one that he said was acceptable:

Odd...the second one is a much greater likeness to my criminal mug shot from my scrape with the fine men and women of the C.H.P last year and that llama. (Just kidding...there was no scrape...or llama).

Don't forget to smile.

In other news, it's hot. I know that Utah is experiencing a record heat wave right now, and I can't imagine how it is. But things aren't so paradisaical down here in the OC either. If it wasn't for the swimming pool, I don't know how we would survive:)

For those of you seeking an update and knowledge about the drama in my life, I apologize that I have not yet found myself on the transpontine side of Drama River.

And to the anonymous poster requesting it, I give you a Pepsi on a diving board:

And to show that I am not a total sell-out (this one is for me)
Dr. Pepper on a diving board:

Friday, August 24, 2007

Just a Thought

This is a picture of my favorite beverage (on a diving board):

This is a picture of a T-Shirt that I bought at a truck stop:

That's all.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

New AND Improved Blog Entry!

Now 99.9% Drama-Free!

For those of you who have read more than two or three of my posts, you know that I have a proclivity for peripatetic musings. Because of this, my posts are often random. Such would describe this post.

At first I was going to title this, "You say 'Cho-LESS-terol' but I say 'Cho-MORE-terol'", but I feared the play on words would be lost on everyone except myself and my desultory sense of humor. The reason for this naming is because the majority of this writing is dedicated to the awesome experience that is The Orange County Fair! Yes, I went. It was fabulous. Fabulous is not an adequate word to describe the encounter I had with the Carnies and their effrontery to any and all passers-by. It truly amazes me at how bold these mullet-adorned, tank-top wearing, lost generation of the wrong-side of the tracks 80's generation specimens can be. We all know that with their "Business in the Front/Party in the back" type attitude, they are there to make a buck and have some fun at the same time, however, as I turned down yet another opportunity to win a giant stuffed Tasmanian Devil, I had to admire the tenacity at the vendor as he tried every trick and phrase in the book to reel me in. But I can happily say that nary a carnival game was able to procure from me even a dollar.

Nevertheless, I did leave the fair a good $30-$40 less than when I arrived. Part of that went to a t-shirt to commemorate my first ever California County Fair experience, but the majority of it went straight to my ever-climbing cholesterol level. I speak of course, of fried foods.

Most of you know that I have a thing for foods. All foods. Strange foods. Different and New Foods. I am a Foodie. Because of this addiction, the OC Fair happened to be, at least for a time, the Greatest Place on Earth for me. They had everything you could imagine, and then they also had it fried. Here is just a taste of the foods that I partook of:

Fried Snickers Bar! This truly did Satisfy!

I am not sure what these were...but they were good. My best guess is that they were just fried batter.

Last year at the Payson Onion Days, we found, and enjoyed, a sandwich called "The Motherlode". It was basically a cheeseburger, with onions, and a Polish Sausage, all in a bun. This wasn't quite that large...but you have to give them credit for "Kreativity". Behold: The Fried Chicken Sandwich placed lovingly between two halves of a Raspberry-filled Krispy Kreme Donut, (and side items of Fried Avocado and Fried Tomatoes (red ones...not green)!

Now the whole reason that I was at the county fair was because my good friend Christina happens to have some serious connections around town and was able to procure tickets for the both of us to The Plain White T's and Blue October. This was a VERY cool concert, made even more cool when I learned that The Plain White T's song, "Hey There Delilah" was at the time, the number one song on the Billboard Charts and iTunes. It isn't often that you get to see the number one band in the world live.

As an added bonus, after that concert, we were able to sneak into the last part of Weird Al Yankovic's concert!

But what is a county fair without some more food?

Yes...that is a turkey leg!

And finally, as we were leaving the fair, we saw this sign, which I am sure was an aposematic decree to all of the Judean Belief:

Not only is it Non-Kosher...but it is the posterior side of the Non-Kosher animal. But it sure tastes good!

So in conclusion...there is no drama to report of this week...but I give this entry as a dedication to all things County Fair. In the immortal words of Pedro and Napoleon Dynamite, "The bull goes moo, the ducks go quack, Napoleon has got my back. I like to eat the cakes and pies, My shoe just stepped in a surprise! The Utah State Fair (or Orange County), where all of your wildest dreams will come true!"

Monday, August 06, 2007


Please keep your hands and feet in the ride at all times, remember not to spit from the ride, and whatever you do, don't disengage the safety bar when hanging upside down. Enjoy the Ride!

First of all, I want to thank everyone for the enormous outpouring of support (and advice) that I have suddenly found myself deluged with. Despite the sarcastic undertones (*see "advice"), I really do appreciate every one of you and the thoughts you have shared.

However, I think it is important for you to have all of the details. As Paul Harvey is famous for saying, "And now...for the REST of the story."

Since my last entry, I have seen the masses lining up on two sides, those cheering for certain things to transpire, and those who are cheering for other events. I think it important that all the details are laid out in the open. If for nothing else, it makes for far more entertaining reading.

Obviously since The Letter, my world has been turned upside down. It has been clear that there is a lot of favoritism for the ideal "story book" ending to play out. I have to really would be a fantastic story to tell future generations. Fairy Tales couldn't hold a candle to the emotional angst that this has created.

However, before we all go traipsing down "Once upon a" Boulevard, (I recognize the irony that I used those exact same words earlier), it is important to point out three MAJOR points in the story:

1 - Although she finds herself RECENTLY single again, Mandy has a whole lot going on in her life right now and needs nothing more than the love and support of her friends and family to help her through this transition. Tossing on the additional stress and "craziness" that is dating would only hinder her, and in no way help her. All of you married folk...don't forget that dating, for lack of a better term, sucks like a vacuum.

2 - It has been 7 years. A lot can happen in 7 years. People change. In the time of Joseph in Egypt, entire civilizations were wiped out in a 7 year drought. Studies show that every 7 years, marriage relationships cycle through their own growth and developments. 7 years ago, choices were made that have affected all of us. One of those choices made was to marry a man...who wasn't me. Because it wasn't me, I had to move on. It wasn't exactly an easy pill to swallow, no matter how insensitive, shallow and oblivious I might have been. But I did swallow it and I did move on. Huge portions of my life have been locked away for a very long time. Thanks to the Ghost of Relationships Past...I have to face some skeletons in my closet.

3 - Finally, probably the most crucial crux in the situation, is the fact that there is another girl. Three years ago, I met a girl who got me. With no pretensions, no assumptions and no preconceived notions, she understood me and we quickly developed a very close friendship. For the last three years, she has been my best friend. You may ask, why has it taken three years for you to recognize how amazing she is? Well, it is because both of us have found ourselves in relationships with other people all along our path. However, when each of those relationships came to a screeching halt, we were there for each other. You hear stories about finding someone with whom you are comfortable. Someone who you know that no matter what mistakes you might make, no matter what stupid choices you may carry out, they will still care about you. It is a comfort that is rare, but I found it with her. Needless to say, several weeks ago, we started talking about how long we had been friends...and how close we had grown. When I was last in Utah, during my whirlwind trip of Independence celebration, someone said, "You know it works best when you marry your best friend." Well, I realized that this girl is my best friend. We had just started talking about taking things to the next level.

And now my Drama Roller Coaster decides to go for a loop. Please do not mistake this as a cry of annoyance or anything bad. On the contrary, nothing that has happened in the last month or so has been considered an intrusion into my life in anyway. (Except for some SPAM e-mail I keep getting...that is annoying). I know that each of you reading this has probably already "chosen sides" and know the team you are rooting for...(except for my Mother...she loves me and told me that whoever I marry, she is going to love)...I know lines have been drawn...but I implore you to know that I am doing the best I can. I have NO idea how things are going to work out. However, several months ago, when I was asked to teach Seminary, I had a good long, heartfelt discussion with our Heavenly Father. I told Him that I had concerns with taking on such an assignment because it would take much of my free time, time that my priesthood leaders had encouraged me to use to find an eternal mate. There were other concerns, but they are between me and Heavenly Father. Anyway, I received an answer to my plea. The answer is this: The Lord will guide me and help me find her. Whoever she may be.

Please don't choose yet. I haven't.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jack Boots Through My Garden

Do you know what a Jack Boot is? It is a deep lugged leather armament designed with one purpose and one purpose only: To ensure that everyone knows the wearer is coming or has already passed. The Jack Boot is designed to leave a mark.

They have left their mark on my once peaceful and serene life. The Ghost of Relationships Past has hitched up his Jack Boots and stomped his way through the garden of my routine life. He trod right up to my Vault of Emotions, kicked in the door and ripped out feelings long since forgotten. Why did the Ghost of Relationships Past decide to pay me a visit? Because a girl who was a very important part of my life many years ago has returned.

As you might Mom calls me up a week or so ago and tells me that a letter has just arrived at their home in Utah and the return address just has one name: Mandy. No last name, but as soon as she says the name, my stomach drops, my heart leaps and my kidneys do a slight little tango as my spleen sits there, (much like spleens are prone to do). At first I tried to convince myself that this was ANOTHER Mandy that I have known for many years and recently got married and perhaps it was a birth announcement of her soon-to-be-born child. However...I knew it wasn't. Don't ask me how I knew...I just did. It was from HER. THE Mandy.

Let me take you back...many years fact, almost half my life ago. As we walk down Memory Lane, I invite you to take a look at a happy young couple. A blond-haired boy (with a full head of hair I might mention), eager about life, excited about possibilities, anxious to get his life going, and overall oblivious to the major hints coming from the companion by his side, and an equally fair-haired lass with the looks of a super-model, the brains of a college professor, and the love (for this boy), that knew no boundaries. For several years, theirs was a relationship of parry and thrust, a constant misunderstanding of the other person's intentions. Oh there was no doubt that they both cared for each other. Far more than either had ever experienced before. Observers of the young couple would whisper among themselves about how perfect these two really were for each other, if they could only get their heads on straight and bearings on course.

But alas, it was not to be. The boy soon left on his mission, as was always expected. It was never a question that he wouldn't go. The question was..."What would happen when he did"?

The mission soon played out to be a proving ground for their relationship. Although he had told her that he didn't want her to put her life on hold for two years, he secretly hoped she would. And although she had every intention to wait for him, no matter what the cost, at the end of two years...she hadn't exactly stayed the course.

But it was no fault of her own. No...the full fault of that falls back upon the boy. Through a series of letters, the penultimate of which was a letter asking that they "slow things down a notch", and the ultimate being a letter from said girl's sister telling the boy that he will NEVER know how much he hurt her, the relationship was left in tatters on the Battlefield of Love, (I hate that battlefield), never fully regaining its once supramundane status of invincibility.

Over a year later, he tried to re-kindle what was once there. The letters started again from Russia...and for quite a while, they only flowed in one direction. Then towards the end of said mission, a few bare-bone letters made their way back. But the damage had been done. Miscommunication had once again stuck its evil little finger in the light-socket of love and the black mark of scorched plastic could not be erased.

Oh they tried. But it was clear that neither of them were ready or willing to make the sacrifices needed to put one's heart on the line again. They say that "Pain is temporary and Pride is forever". Whoever said that was an ignorant moron that never truly knew what pain could be.

A few failed dates, weeks of non-talking, and several half-hearted attempts later, and they both kind of drifted their separate ways. Oh they stayed in touch on a purely superfluous level. He got caught up in a career. She found another to love and was married. After that...silence settled his big fat butt on the toilet seat of their so-called-relationship and took a dump.

It's been a long time. 7 years? 8 years? 9 years? Something in there. And then this letter...with no last name.

I had to wait almost a week before it arrived. Obviously during that time I did a lot of thinking. What was in the letter? Why no last name? How come it had a Payson Postmark (she was supposedly living in Salt Lake)?

The letter finally arrived. It was very surface as far as detail is concerned. But it was exactly what I had suspected. She is single again. 2 kids. Living in Payson and working in Provo. And she just wanted to see what I was up to.

I can't even comprehend the courage it must have taken her to write that letter. To make that effort was enormous. To what end was she playing this gambit? I guess that will take time to know.

I wrote her back. The majority of said letter was about everyone else in my family and what they have been up to. I might have mentioned that I was in California, (ok, I did). But all in all it didn't say much.

She called last night. It was weird...but at the same time, completely natural. I had forgotten how well we connected...when we weren't getting tangled up in our (my) own fallacies. I hope she knows how glad I am that she tracked me down.

I know some people's thoughts: "What now?" "Are you going to date her?" "What's going to happen?"

The answer is...I don't know. On one hand I guess that whole idea of "living happily ever after" could find itself being replaced with "Once upon a time...."

But it is too soon to tell. Besides...I kind of like the direction things are going with my life.

Editor's Note* If you made it this far...thank you for your patience and congratulations on your tenacity. I know this entry was pretty random, but I appreciate your reading it. I needed to get some thoughts out.