Sunday, February 23, 2014

I'm Late, I'm Late, for a Very Important Date!

Ah, the dear old White Rabbit. The way this week has been going, he and I could form a support group for people with "no time to say hello, goodbye!" because that is exactly how I am feeling right now. Run, run, run, get to class, turn in such-and-such, read articles/textbooks for half an hour, forget to turn in something else, grab dinner, rush to rehearsal a few minutes late and jump into a pioneer dress, become frustrated by how close we are to the performance day and how much we have yet to do... lather, rinse, repeat. It's a little crazy here on the home front, yes?

That being so, I am going to focus here on some of the happy moments, blessings, and all around good things that happened this week. I could complain to you from now until the cows come home about the stressful things, but that just doesn't do anybody any good. Therefore, here are some good moments of the life of Rachel.

I went tubing on Monday, first with my family and then with my ward. Most of the members of my ward thought I had just come with them, then were shocked to discover that I do in fact live up there. I spent the night with a couple of friends and had a great time. We caught some excellent air on the bumps a couple of times!

I was asked to sing "There is a Balm in Gilead" for I am Jane. It is a beautiful song, and I have been flattered that everyone likes my voice enough to give me a solo.

I have gotten into Psych lately. I watch it from time to time in the evenings when I can't stand to read another scholarly word. I've also kept up on the Olympics in bits and snatches. The container of Cherry Cordial ice cream in my fridge has also been extremely beneficial for my stress levels. In the way of food, I have lately become a great fan of rose sauce--marinara and alfredo mixed together. So delicious.

We've been having a balmy spell of late. Blue skies, temperatures way up in the forties and fifties, bright sunshine... it's like the groundhog was wrong for once and spring came early. I actually studied outside a little the other day. I don't have enough confidence in Utah's late winter weather to assume that it's going to last, but I will enjoy it thoroughly until the next snow/rain/sleet/hail storm comes our way.

I am looking into moving into a house next fall-winter. I'm kind of excited about it.

I get to read YA novels for home work. Yes, you heard me. I can justify myself for reading because  I'm getting a grade! Hooray!

I got to see the musical of Little Women with my mom and sister the other night. It was a little long, but a really charming story with a fun cast and good music. Still not my top favorite of all time (nothing beats Les Mis, Aida, or Beauty and the Beast), but it was fun.

I went to the temple on Saturday with my ward. Baptisms took three hours and I didn't care. It's been over a month since I have been. There is nothing like the peace and spirit of the temple to revive and refresh and make things better. It was perfect.

Saturday was also my friend Bethany's birthday, so we and some others beat a path for Panda Express for some birthday lunch. I had a great time with my friends, as I always do--nothing makes me happier. I also got to converse with Bethany's older sister, who also made the decision not to serve a mission because she felt she needed to stay (no fiance or anything like that). With so much pressure for girls to get up and get in the MTC these days, it was a blessing to have her encouragement and know that I am not the only one who has made that choice--who has been called to serve at home.

Mio and Jordan came and picked me up yesterday night to go to The Chocolate for Hannah's birthday. Jordan paid for my dessert--his girlfriend's random cousin!--even though he didn't need to, which made me feel very cared for. He is a great guy, and I am so glad he and Mariel are dating. He managed to take on the whole family reunion experience a few weeks back, so he's won a badge of honor in my mind. It was also great to see Hannah again. I have become so much closer to her as we have been through school together the past year, and I am so grateful for her friendship.

Now it is Sunday, the highlight of every week. I never appreciated the value of a day of rest until I got to school. I still wish sometimes that I could run away from Provo and go camping somewhere peaceful and solitary, but I know that I am blessed and have a wonderful life. Things are crazy, but I am happy. "Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard? Tis not so--all is right!"

That's all for today. Love you all!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hip Hip Hooray for Valentine's Day!

Hi, my name is Rachel, and I like Valentine's Day even though I don't have a boyfriend. So there. :)

It has been a good week. I am slowly getting through my credit load, though it's hard--I always have something I can be or should be doing. I have decided that I need to become better acquainted with my student planner. With seven classes and music lessons, I feel like there is always something I am forgetting to do or neglecting when I'm not working. I think I will try keeping my schedule on paper more often so that my brain can have a break.

The Olympics are on, and I am enjoying them very much. Figure skating is always my favorite, but I've also been getting into slalom and slopestyle this year. I am pleased that Russia is managing thing so far. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, I know--there were major problems with the athlete's village, I'm told, among other things--but it's been good to see it coming off OK. Heaven knows, Russia could use some good PR on the international relations front.

I am Jane continues well. Our choir (eh hem, ensemble) is very small, and we don't know all of the songs very well. Hopefully we can start nailing it this week. At our last practice, I got to sing "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" for a scene. Brother Joseph is supposed to sing it, but when I was though half the cast decided that I should do it. I don't know if the director agrees, but we'll see. I was flattered, anyway. It's such a beautiful song and has such meaning, especially with the actors on stage mourning the death of the prophet.

Valentine's Day was great. I went up to Heber to watch the kids so that my parents could go enjoy being each others valentines at the Grand America in Salt Lake. Meanwhile, the kids and I had a party. We went to the library "pajama-rama" to hear fairy tales, brought home a heart-shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's, read our valentines from our parents, and watched a cute movie ("Smooch," a modern frog-prince-type story) while eating Mom's delicious sugar cookies. I love hanging out with my siblings. They are my best friends and I love them more than anything.

The next day we drove to Salt Lake to see Grandma and Grandpa Pullan and meet with my parents. Part of me hopes that my mansion int he Celestial Kingdom can look a little like my grandparents' house--Molen or Pullan. I can't help but feel at home when I'm there. Grandma sent me away with a bag full of packages of oreos and peanut butter crackers to keep in my bag at school, and Grandpa contributed a few books he didn't need to my growing classroom. My Grandparents take such good care of me--and the Molens, too. I hope that someday when I am a grandparent, I can hit some magical combination of both, because I think both my sets of grandparents are the best in the world. Not that I'm biased or anything, of course. :)

I had a Valentine's party at my place that night. My mom helped me get the apartment ready, and I put together some snacks. A few friends from my ward and one from my high school came and joined me. We dipped things in warm chocolate (bananas, strawberries, cookies, pretzels, marshmallows, etc. The fruit is always my favorite. Who knew bananas and chocolate would make such a magical combination?). We also watched The Importance of Being Earnest, which is easily one of my favorite movies ever. "To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be counted as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness." It was a great time--I always love spending some time on Valentine's day with my girlfriends. As long as there's a holiday going on, we might as well celebrate, boys or no!

And don't get me wrong, I did get valentines. As always, my Grandma Pullan sent me a card. Amanda sent me a cute letter (how do you write like that, Amanda? It's like a font!). And once again, my daddy was my valentine. Mom and Dad left each of us kids a valentine letter, and Dad left me a bottle of bath and body works lotion. I am so blessed to have such amazing parents. I realize what an incredible blessing it is that I have never ever had any doubt that my parents love me. I have always felt loved in my home.

That is all for now. I love you all! Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Rainy Weekend

The forecast said snow. It didn't--we got a rainstorm that made it look like my mom's home in Washington. In the meantime, turns out that northwestern Washington got snowed on. Mother nature, she has her jokes.

The weekend was much like other weekends--very pleasant, and much less productive than I intended from the off. Then again, what's a weekend if you don't mess around and waste time a little bit?

Friday started with harp practice early in the morning, which is when my practice happens most of the time. Nobody likes to get up at 8 in the morning to snag a practice room, so if I go early enough I can have my pick of the harp rooms. I am currently playing a song that has so many pedal changes it makes my head spin trying to get back and forth from my feet to my hands. It's a lot of fun, though--a Scott Joplin style ragtime piece. I think it will turn out after I've had a few more months to wrestle with it.

After I practiced I hurried down to the RB for Adaptive Aquatics. Every week I go down there to play with little kids with special needs from nearby schools. Usually I play in the gym--Gym Kids--but Friday I figured, that since I had more time I could swim. I swam with a little girl named Destiny who was always smiling, was terrified of not having someone to hold on to in the water (even with a life jacket) and who loved squirting other people with guns or rubber ducks. Consequently, my good intentions about keeping my hair dry didn't get very far. Fortunately I only had one class (Performance Studies, in which we played a game and talked about the concept of "Play"), but I was still embarrassed when my hair started to dry funny.

I am in a play at present called "I am Jane." It is the story of Jane Manning James, a black woman who was one of the early saints. Want to know more? KSL will have all the details because at our Friday rehearsal we were interviewed for a radio show! Well, actually it's a radio podcast, but exciting nonetheless. If you want to hear me and the other cast members talk about our characters and ourselves and the play and so on, go to and type "Cultural Connections" into the search bar, and click the first link that comes up (KSL podcasting or something like that). On the right hand side there will be a long list of all the podcast shows. "Cultural Connections" is a ways down under the "Sunday Shows" heading. Voila! It was fun to be interviewed--I kept imagining the NPR radio shows I listened to during the summer and felt very important.

There was one downside, though--the dress the director had put me in for rehearsal was owned by a woman who has cats, which meant that I reacted to it. Whoops. I hadn't had the dress on fifteen minutes before I realized that my eyes and skin were starting to itch and I was getting asthma. At first I thought I must have developed a new allergy to muslin or cotton, but turns out its the same old animal hair deal. It was new, though--I've never had an allergic reaction to a dress before. I managed to rub off most of my mascara before the interview was over, which made me look a little less nice and a little more puffy in the face than I had hoped, especially since I had a date right after that. Rats. The date was fun, though--dancing and mocktails--and most of the irritation and swelling had gone down by the time I got there. Whew!

Saturday was busy. Harp practice, a noir mystery movie version of Shakespeare's virtually unknown play "Cymbeline" (I saw a fairy tale version earlier in the week that I liked better, but that's more for another day), and practice again, in which we were taught to sing gospel. I was told a good half a dozen times that afternoon to stop singing like a Mormon. What can I say? Old habits die hard...

Our coach/fellow actor, trying to teach us to sing like Baptists
I hurried home to do laundry, finish some reading very quickly, and throw on my Arab-Israeli dress to go to a birthday party for a friend in my acting class:

Shannon is a Theater major emphasizing in costume design, so she decided to have an ancient civilizations party and went to town tying everybody's toga (or other such garment). She could name each person's style of dress, the country it came from, and the socioeconomic class that would have worn it. I was impressed. We had pizza and cupcakes and talked for a long time--longer than I expected because when I tried to go home I found myself locked out of my apartment (no pockets in the arab dress, so I neglected to bring my keys).

The sabbath was lovely--I fasted (I missed last week thanks to being home for stake conference), gave a lesson on Noah and the Ark and the Tower of Babel, made rolls that didn't rise but tasted fine, and collaborated on a group dinner with my friends up in #22 (Bethany, Audri, and Cami) and a couple of guys. Anything tastes good after fasting, but the spaghetti really was fantastic.

I also got to see Adrianne's baby twins for the first time.

The top two pictures are of Elise, the bottom two are Michelle. They were born in December but just came home last week. Today was their official due date, actually--fun fact. The girls were angels and Adrianne was enamored with them. It made me feel 1) rather old to have a friend with children already and 2) very happy, because I haven't held a baby that small in years.

I then walked home--a beautiful walk both ways, especially because of a really beautiful moon with a huge ring probably caused by inversion. I got back in time to enjoy Disney Sunday (this week's feature was Despicable Me 2) and no-bake cookies at #22.

I never want Sundays to end. I could do with more days like that.

Love you! Ciao!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Fresh Start

Greetings, everyone!

Everybody makes some New Years Resolutions. I did, for sure. Below is a write up of how that's been going for me.

Goal: Exercise twice a week.
Success rate: None. At least, not in the sense I had been intending. I was thinking along the lines of doing the gym a couple nights per week. Instead, I have been walking half a mile and going up and down the stairs south of campus once or twice every day (at least). Required, yes. But still exercise.

Goal: Read the scriptures every morning.
Success rate: Pretty good. I wanted to get in a good half hour a day, and that hasn't necessarily happened every day. I have read and prayed every day, however, and that is what matters most. I also wanted to get to the temple every week, and that is a work in progress at the moment.

Goal: Keep my journal every day.
Success rate: Flat failure.

In light of the response on that last one, I am now taking another stab at this happy little blog. I was reading back over my wonderful Jerusalem chronicles, and I have lately been keeping up to date with my dear cousin Amanda's blog, and it made me want to become a more consistent blogger. My handwritten journal has been going OK, but not great. I am going to make the attempt at doing some blog journaling. Every other day to weekly basis, maybe with pictures...

Here goes nothing.

This week has been insanely busy. One of my many definitions of "College" is "a time of life in which every second of the eight-hour workday is planned...if not more." I am taking 17 credits this semester, which is a workload that is small enough to be possible but big enough to occasionally be a pain in the neck. I finished a huge project this afternoon that involved mapping out in explicit detail every element of the Great Gatsby (theme, plot, character, etc.), how complex it was, and how to approach it with high school students. Granted, I procrastinated working on the project a little bit, so I was doing a lot at once. It was a good experience, but a real headache at the same time and I am glad its over and done with.

My dad came to pick me up from campus, as he does every Thursday. I always look forward to seeing him and talking with him for a few minutes. He always asks me how I am doing--and he really wants to know. We talk about my homework and classes and his schedule and calling. Sometimes we go for dinner, sometimes not. He always ends up dropping me at my apartment, giving me a hug, and telling me that he loves me, that he's proud of me, and that I am awesome. I am so glad I live so close to home and can see him so often--his encouragement and support and our weekly visits have been a great blessing all these years.

Tonight I had him swing by the creamery so I could pick up some groceries. He gave me a few dollars and told me to get a treat. So I did--cherry cordial ice cream.

Side note: my cousin Amanda unknowingly introduced me to the creamery Cherry Cordial when she mentioned it on her blog. I tried it not long after and have been in love ever since. Thank you, Amanda!

I finished some reading and am now seated on the couch, watching Psych (after the figure skating in Sochi was over on KSL) and eating cherry cordial ice cream. When life gets as busy and stressful as it does here at school, it's the small pleasures that keep me happy. :)

That's all for today. In the words of the irrepressible Tigger, "TTFN! Ta ta for now!" Or in my words, 'til next time... Good night!