Night at the Red Rocks

In Denver, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is one of the best venues for just about any large scale event. A few years ago, I went there to see President Bush speak on his 2004 campaign tour, and I know a few people who've had their high school graduations there. It holds about 10,000 people and it's surrounded by beautiful mountains and believe it or not, red rocks. :) It's really nice and especially during the summer, there are a bunch of concerts there. So on Wednesday night, Rachelle, her boyfriend Ben, our friends Jon and Blake, and I went to see Lifehouse and the Goo Goo Dolls in concert. Lifehouse is my favorite band of the two (but I still love the Goo Goo Dolls!) and when I found out they were coming to Denver I was totally stoked and even more thrilled to discover they were the opening band for my other favorite Goo Goo Dolls!! I got a group together and Wednesday was the night.

Parking there is always a pain, but then what do you expect with a venue that holds 10,000 people? We left early and picked up our will call tickets (they would have charged me an extra $2.50 to email me my ticket--that's just ridiculous) and then hiked up to the amphitheatre to get the best general seating seats we could. (We opted for general admission rather than reserved seating because 1) it was cheaper and 2) we didn't have to coordinate ticking purchasing). We had excellent seats and just hung out until the concert started. Rachelle and I bought Lifehouse t-shirts and Ben bought one too, but we're thinking either it fell out of his bag or someone stole it because he can't find it. Bummer.

The pre-opening act was this girl who sang more pop-country stuff and no one really listened. There was polite applause but nothing really exciting. Then Lifehouse came on and it was awesome! They performed a bunch of songs from their new album and not to mention the lead signer is highly attractive (they had a big screen on the side giving you a more up-close look). the Goo Goo Dolls then performed and the stadium was much more pumped for them (understandably--they've been around since the '80s so they're much more established). I love going to live concerts because there's so much energy and excitement. Plus seeing bands live is different from seeing them on TV or listening to the album (some artists are not so hot live, but these two groups were definitely awesome). The only bummer to the concert was the ever-present smell of cigarette smoke and pot--eew. There were many people (most underage) who were drinking a bunch and getting pretty tipsy, but this one girl who I can't figure out if she was drunk or just like this, but she was jamming out to every single song and dancing and having herself a ball. She was hilarious!! Good for her for getting her $35 worth though!

Well I'm here at home for the day because they cut my temp job short by a day which is a bummer because that's close to an extra $100 I'm missing out on, but whatever. I'll just work extra on my free lance articles today (I got my first free lance check yesterday which I used to buy a new iPod as my mini iPod of over 2 years kicked the bucket the other day. I need an iPod for running!!) It's kind of nice to just chill, but I hope another job will come really soon; I hate being unsure of my income.

Have a stellar Friday and I'll have a great day wearing my concert tee!


The Daily Grind and Grinding Headache

Well, I flew back to Denver yesterday morning (on a 7:10 a.m. flight!! Eek it was early!) and it was actually a really nice day. I anticipated it being kind of blah, mainly because I was bummed to leave, but I was really relaxed the whole day. Church wasn't bad and Mom, Grandma, and I left before Relief Society so we could go and get dinner ready. It had to be early yesterday because all the men had to go to a stake priesthood meeting at 6:00 and we don't usually sit down to eat until about 7:00 or so on Sundays. Anyway, dinner was great and then I napped a bit (that early flight left me really tired), scrapbooked, and tried to get to bed earlier than usual.

The rest of the weekend with Bella went really well. Saturday she was awesome and only freaked out once or twice for not very long. Timm came home early from the symposium, made us steaks for dinner, and then we hung out with Lou and Diana for the night. It was really relaxing and lots of fun!

Today however, has not been as great. I didn't want to begin the week anyway after a laidback weekend in Provo and work did not sound like any fun last night when I realized I had to return to real life. First, my run this morning was a bit longer than usual (55 minutes) and since I run according to a program I can't really shorten it without feeling the large weight of runner's guilt. So I had to wake up earlier than I normally do, my run today was pretty difficult (10 minutes running, 1 minute walking for 5 times), and ever since mid-morning I've had this whole-head-encompassing headache and my neck and shoulders really ache. I hope I'm not getting sick, but I just want to go home and crash for the night. Alas, I can't go straight home because Emily and I need to go to our friend's piano lesson and practice this "2 pianos, 8 hands piece." It's actually a pretty cool arrangement of "Battle Hymn of the Republic," but I just don't feel up to playing vigorously. I think I'll just have to hold out for when her lesson is over and I can go home and put on my pajamas.

Sorry for the complaining post--hopefully the rest of the week won't be as grinding as today.


Bella-sitting and Free Lance Writing

First things first, this weekend Jessie and Timm flew me out to Provo so I could watch Bella while Jessie househunts and Timm goes to his wood symposium. It's all gone pretty well and I'm impressed with how well Bella is doing without her mom here. Bella is pretty good at entertaining herself and she talks all the time (fortunately after 2 days here I can understand her gibberish pretty well). Last night though she started having freak outs. After she woke up from her nap, we called Jessie so she could talk to Bella and Bella was really excited, but after Jessie got off the phone, Bella suddenly seemed to realize her mommy definitely wasn't here she panicked. Screaming "MOMMY!!!!!! MOMMY!!!!!!!" and holding the phone to me she had a little break down. I was able to calm her down and then distract her so it wasn't so bad. I anticipate a few more freak outs today, but I'm sure it will all be alright.

Yesterday was definitely a nice and relaxing day. Bella is such a laid back kid and so I took a leaf out of her book and took things easy yesterday. While Bella colored yesterday morning I spent my time finishing up some free lance articles that were due (more on that in a minute) and I continued to finish them all through her nap. Her biggest freak out came right before bedtime after her nap and then I put her to bed. Then the night was my own. I made myself some mac and cheese, put on the movie "Sneakers," and just lounged around. I had a huge bowl mint chocolate chip ice cream and after the movie was over I read a bunch of my book ("Ladder of Years"--it's an interesting story but I don't find myself really liking the main character). It was definitely a laid back kind of day and I expect today to be much of the same (without the free lance articles).

Anyway, about the free lance stuff. I'm an editing minor and because of that I get emails all the time from the school about internships, jobs, meetings, seminars, and various job opportunities. Anyway, I got this email a couple of weeks ago about this guy who needed someone to write some contract articles for him and so I thought "Well, if it's contract work then I could probably do the whole thing over email" so I wrote him back. It's for a general interest website (I'll get the address soon). Now I'm writing short 400 word articles about general interest stuff and I get about 50 in a batch to write. I just sent in my first batch last night and so I'm hoping they're what he wanted (I wrote 5 practice articles and he liked them so hopefully this will continue). This first batch was all in the "beauty" category and some of the topics I was able to pump out 400 words without breaking a sweat, but some of them were so frustrating! Some of the topics that took a bit more research and time were "Laser Hair Removal, Understanding a Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter person (I think those seasonal colors are retarded), and my personal favorite "Fixing a Torn Earlobe." Are you kidding me?! A torn earlobe? The only way I could get through that one was to be sarcastic. I had to write this last batch in a week and 50 400 word articles are actually really hard to write in just a week! I'll be asking for more time next time.

I'm really excited about this free lance thing--it sounds so legitimate. I think it's cool to say "Yeah, I write a few free lance things on the side,"--it sounds so sophisticated. I'm pretty stoked. Plus this could get me some needed grocery money next fall and it will look great on a resume. And now I'm done for the weekend, I can really kick back today. Anyway, this has been long enough. I let you know how the day with little Bella goes--so far it's been great!


the need for productivity

For the first few weeks of summer (as mentioned in my last post) I couldn't find a job and was frustrated with not feeling productive. I never realized how much I need to be productive until I wasn't anymore. I do love those vacations when you can kick back and relax, not having to worry about anything but after six weeks I was definitely in need of something to do. Also, I've been feeling the pressure to start earning money. The pressure wasn't really coming from anywhere except myself, but I really need to start saving and fast. All of this combined--the unproductivity, the lack of money, the need to do something--soon put me into a funk for a week or two. And then I realized what the problem actually was.

Not only had I started to get lackadaisical with my daily activities, I'd also started becoming lax on the things that really do make a difference like diligent prayer and scripture study. With a "duh" kind of moment I realized that the reason I was feeling unhappy was because I wasn't feeling the Spirit in my daily activities, regardless of what those activities were. I still said my prayers (although not always in the morning) but they weren't as heartfelt as they should be and I was only half-heartedly reading my scriptures and not even every day. Of course I wasn't feeling happy! So last week I recommitted and starting putting the spiritual stuff first rather than the temporal, more selfish needs.

That's one of things I love about the Gospel: as soon as you start doing the right thing again you can immediately feel the Spirit return. You don't have to earn it back besides just living the commandments and if you live the commandments with the right intentions then you'll feel the Spirit right away. Heavenly Father wants us to have that peace all the time and when we're living his Gospel, He won't withhold that from us as punishment. You still have to repent and that can be hard, but you won't be alone while doing it. I love it that Heavenly Father wants to bless us and will whenever our actions allow.

So I started feeling better about everything right away and actually a letter from one of my misisonary friend had a huge influence on my change of attitude. He wrote that if I'm pursuing a righteous goal, and keeping the goal of Heaven in the front then everything will work out for me. God cannot ignore the prayers of the righteous and so if I pray for a job to come through and for a way for me to make money, remembering that Heavenly Father has a plan and I don't always see the full picture, then things will work out. I don't know why I'm surprised when my prayers are so obviously answered; that day I get a call from one of the temp agencies about this job I'm working now through the end of the month that pays well and that isn't too far away. Bam there's an answer! As soon as I refocused my priorities everything fell into place.

This all brought to mind one of my favorite scriptures Doctrine and Covenants 90:24
"Search diligently, pray always and be believing,
and all things shall work together for your good,
if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant
wherewith ye have covenanted one with another."
Things working "together for your good" is different from things working out the way I want them to and that's an important distinction I sometimes forget. I love it that all is required of me is to live His commandments and after that, Heavenly Father takes care of it. With my agency I can make the correct decisions and fulfill my divine potential and achieve the destiny my Heavenly Father can see. I love it when I re-convert to the Gospel--it's an amazing feeling!


My Summer Thus Far

So I looked at my blog for the first time the other day and realized I hadn't posted in almost a month! Once again I take another hiatus. Anyway, here's an update on where I am in my summer. For the first 5 weeks of summer I couldn't find a job and almost went crazy staying at home not doing much. (Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being back home and endless ironing is productive, but I don't get paid for it!) After much confusion with a couple of temp agencies dealing with potential summer-long employment, I finally landed a job that will at least last me through the end of the month. Currently I am working as an administrative assistant for VSMPO, a company that sells titanium. I started last week and the work really isn't so bad, plus I get paid $12 an hour for 40 hours a week--that's income I can handle!

The summer has definitely been relaxing. I'm still running three times a week (can you believe it?!) and so far it's treating me well. I'm to the point where I can run for 3-5 minutes and not get completely exhausted. I only ran once last week because I was justing starting this new temp assignment and my foot had been hurting for a couple of weeks. I thought it would be best to let my foot feel better instead of nursing a chronic pain and running today didn't make it flame up again! I never believed people who said they loved to run or if I did I thought they were crazy, but I will admit, running consistently for 6 weeks now has made it so I don't loathe it. I think I hated it my whole life because I wasn't good at it. While I'm definitely not a champion athlete and definitely not ready to take on a marathon or anything, I do feel in better shape and better about my body. Oh and get this!: about three or four weeks ago I participated in a 5K walk/run that I completed in about 38 minutes. I ran about half and walked about half and I think if I did it again right now I'd be able to run for most of it, granted not very fast, but I think I could run most if I tried!

My big highlight of the summer so far is Katelyn coming to visit this weekend! She flew to Denver on Friday morning and flies back to Salt Lake this evening. We've had SO much fun! I was able to skip work on Friday morning so I could go and pick her up and then I went in for the afternoon, but the huge bummer is that I have to work all day today and Katelyn is still here. An even bigger bummer is that I had to say goodbye this morning because I won't be home in time to take her to the airport. I prayed last night for something to happen to make it so I wouldn't have to go in today, but here I am at my temporary desk at work with no early end in sight. I'm considering playing up the sympathy card and when talking to my supervisor, the HR rep, mention that it's my friend's last day here and that I can't see her all day, that I can't even take her to the airport and maybe--just maybe--she'll tell me to go home early. I even prayed for a mild strain of the flu so I could stay home and watch movies with Katelyn. What's most frustrating is that I thought I'd be working for two or three weeks by now, thus making it easier to say "hey it's my best friend's last day in town today. Could I perhaps have even just the afternoon off if not the whole day?" Alas it is not so. Dad even said he'd call me in sick, but I feel that on my fourth day here I can't really do that. If I'd been working here for even just 2 weeks, I'd feel more okay with that course of action. So in short, today I'm feeling blue, coming into work with traces of tearstains, and wishing I could hang out with Katelyn one last day before I won't see her for over two months.

So I hope this was a satisfactory return post and I won't promise more frequent posts, because whenever I do that I don't. However, I do see more free computer time on my hands with this temp job, so we'll see.
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