Thursday, February 28, 2008

when i grow up

So as you all know, I'm a somewhat avid American Idol watcher. (Avid in that I avidly forward through Danny Noriega. Seriously? Although I do covet his bangs.) And I realized that it may seem like I'm really kind of obsessed, especially with David A.

But this is the honest truth. (As opposed to the lying truth.)

As my sisters will be more than happy to tell you, as a small, albeit big banged, child, I honestly wanted to be a singer (and a dancer) when I grew up. There were other career aspirations too, of course. Take a photographer for example. I took this one pretty seriously. Upon my enrollment at Dixie College, I had every intention of pursuing that dream. I enrolled in the introductory course, listened to the instructor ramble on about the small facility we were dealing with for several classes, all the while being puzzled regarding the gender of said instructor.

Then two things happened: (1) I realized that I wouldn't always have a cute boy to get to do my darkroom work (I have zero dark room vision, and digital was just barely making its debut), and (2) Because I'm rather naive (and my car locks were manual, making it oh-so-difficult), I usually left my doors unlocked, and my camera was stolen - my precious Canon Rebel, gone. I had to drop the class. Bye bye career. Bye bye he/she teacher. But being without my camera helped me realize that it wasn't really my niche at all. I needed a niche with a little more light.

But I digress. So I really did want to be a singer. I used to do performances for my friends, belting Debbie Gibson at the top of my lungs (no wonder I had few friends). I'd make my little sisters do dance concerts with me, that of course I choreographed (we like to recall the one where I literally made Kristen run in circles around me). But the fact of the matter is, I kind of have a man voice. It's true. So the whole singing dream (and my two left feet killed the dancing portion) sort of got killed by sheer lack of talent.

But I still love singing. And music. Good music and a good voice - ah, nothing better. I love hearing amazing voices. I love listening to the words of songs. I love how a song can hold memories, can transport you to a different time and place. Like when I hear "24," by Switchfoot, I'm instantly on a family vacation in Cape Cod. I'd always wanted to go there, one of those dream places for me. And at the expense of the rest of the family, my dad indulged me. And that song reminds me that I was there.

And so while I will absolutely admit that watching the auditions is mostly comical, there's something in my soul that smiles when someone makes it to Hollywood. When they choose the perfect song. When they hit all the notes. Because they're notes that I won't ever hit.

At least not that anyone will hear. That's between me and the RAV. And my long lost dreams.

P.S. Watched the girls last night. For the most part, nothing to write home about. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


"I want to squish you and dangle you from my rear view mirror."
- Paula Abdul

She's not the only one. :)

Monday, February 25, 2008

kicking the can

I attended sixth grade at Woodward Sixth Grade Center, located on the original Dixie College campus. (Woodward lasted until an earthquake rattled the old buildings just enough to warrant a renovation.) All sixth graders in the area attended school together, packed like cattle into four historic buildings. With barely enough room for the students, we had to pack around "tote trays" from class to class, rectangular tubs that slid nicely into our desks.

And every other day, we got to go to Judd's, St. George's original, one-room general store (from the early 1900s). The girls went one day, boys the next, and I remember literally racing over so I could squish my way through the sweaty, squirming pack of sixth graders and order my regular - breadstick, cheese, and a Sprite. There was something about sitting on the curb, enjoying the most delicious breadstick in the world (you can still get them) with my cool, crisp beverage that made me forget all about how awkward I was. It was almost as if I didn't even have poofy bangs and an oversized NKOTB t-shirt with rolled sleeves.

Somewhere along the way, my preferences shifted to Dr Pepper (probably about the same time I stopped rolling my sleeves). For years, I've been drinking the stuff, usually not too excessivly, although I've definitely had my moments. However, recently I switched from Dr Pepper to Mountain Dew.

I can't really explain this shift in tastebuds, but alas, Mountain Dew became my daily vice. I've always said that it isn't so much the caffeine addiction (although let's be honest, it had to play some sort of role) as much as it was I loved the taste of Dr Pepper. But on Saturday, I realized that not only was I totally addicted to the Dew, but the taste wasn't much more unique than say a Sprite. And Sprite not only eliminates the caffeine problem, but it also has the added benefit of being a "non color" liquid, preferable to the Dew's unique shade.

So I kicked the can. I drank my last can on Friday, and I've just been chilling with the turkey for the past few days. It feels good to not be attached to a liquid. I feel like I've reclaimed a little part of me.

And to be perfectly honest, the sixth grader in me is really happy that Sprite is back in her life. And she wants her NKOTB t-shirt back. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Today, I had to say goodbye to Utah once again. :(

Jodi, Jess' mom, came to visit us this weekend. She was in town for "Family Weekend" at the Law School. She's the first Cheney to venture into Durham Land, and we loved having her here. She and I got to go to some first year law classes on Friday, which was interesting but altogether tiring. I forgot how tiring school can be, and we only went to two classes! I now have a remembered respect for my husband and the exhaustion he brings home some days.

We did a lot of hanging out, as Durham seems to cater to that type of activity (in the summer you can take road trips to the beach or the mountains, winter just seems to be a little lazy), but we also had the opportunity to attend a scholarship luncheon on Saturday, held to honor the scholarship recipients and thank the donors. It was a decent meal, great company, but there was just one problem. Apparently, at law school functions, one is pretty much REQUIRED to wear something black or gray or any other dull color that blends in with a funeral crowd. (Come on, is law school that depressing?)

Just one problem - Shauntel was sporting a yellow sweater, with a polka dot skirt. Awk. Ward. Missed that memo. I was happy when we finally got to sit down and I could cover the offending skirt with the dark colored napkin that blended perfectly with its surroundings.

We didn't take many pictures (thank goodness my bright blemish of apparel is not recorded and can be eventually forgotten). However, we did make it to Sunset Lake where we snapped some shots (see above photo). It was the most muted sunset we've ever seen there, unfortunately for Jodi, but it was beautiful anyhow. Such a peaceful place.

So it is with a sad heart that I said goodbye to Utah once again. I sure wish you visitors would just stay here - this whole saying goodbye thing every weekend is getting old! Especially as it seems we're probably some months away from another visit.

Thanks for coming Mom! Come back any time!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

hold the beans

So I don't know a whole lot about coffee except that I love the smell, hate the taste (well, at least as far as Jelly Belly coffee-flavored beans go), and corporate environments seem to thrive on it. But despite my appreciation of its aroma, I'm pretty sure coffee doesn't really like me. I once attempted to make the dark substance for my VP at SkyWest - her assistant was out of town, so I was lending a hand. Let's just say that coffee grounds, the wet soggy ones, don't particularly go good with carpet. Or her briefcase. Or her desk.

So initially I wasn't too excited about this fancy pants coffee machine at work. Gone are the messy grounds of yesterday. With this new fangled contraption, one picks from the 20+ selections of coffees, lattes, etc. (like I know what I'm talking about), slides the little fancy packet into the machine, and pushes go. Insta Starbucks. I'll admit I experienced a small pang of jealousy when I first saw someone use it, albeit no desire to actually drink the stuff.

But then, my life changed - I discovered the Choco pack. Hot chocolate delight. Twice a day. All mine.

And for those of you who were wondering, non dairy creamer (perfect for the non dairy girl) is not only for coffee.

I expect GSK to experience a sharp decrease in Choco supplies. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

vote for david a.

Okay, so forget that he's from Utah and that we Utahns (or Utahans, depending on which state of usage you hail from) tend to really rally around our own. And forget that he's really giving the button a run for it's money in terms of cuteness.

Last night was the first night of the Final 24. The boys had the honor (girls tonight), and hands down, David A. was the best performance of the night, regardless of voting precincts or his button-like levels. He's a small fry - 17 years old and five foot nothin' - but blowing the twenty-somethings sharing the stage with him right out of the water. And due to his cuteness (and loyal Utah voting block), I'm predicting that David A. is in it for the long haul.

I'll be honest - my political persuasions are decidedly unpersuaded. Mostly just personal biases at this point (and a hopeful wish that Huckabee would concede - I get it, you've made your point, but come on).

But one thing is sure - David A. has my vote. :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

the sisterhood

This weekend, the Christensen Sisterhood was in (almost) full force here in the NC. (Kristen was missing [the Houston sister], so our superpowers were a bit on the weak side.)

The girls (the mama included, after all, she is the brain power behind this 'hood) flew in late Friday night and left early this morning. We didn't do anything real thrilling per say - visited the Duke bookstore, ate at Cheesecake Factory, did some shopping, visited the temple, watched Superman D. Howard. But what counted is we did all this non-thrilling stuff together. Even if it was for just a weekend, I loved having them here. So what if we're really good at doing nothing - I would rather do nothing with them than anyone else. :)

I love these girls so much. We're all so different but so very much the same. Which makes our sisterhood what it is.

As for our superpowers, I'm pretty sure it comes from our shared nose. :) (Thanks Mama.)

P.S. There are now three additional people to vouch for the SERIOUSLY obnoxious alarm clock birds that reside in trees just outside my windows. It's real folks. These birds have taken alarm clock/cell phone ring imitation lessons. And they're practicing outside my window every morning at about 5:00 a.m. DIE.

Yes, those are matching hoodies. Danielle found it first. Then Rissa wanted one. And I refuse to be left out. And since Mama was buying, we got her one too. :)

up in the air

Was scanning my CNN, and read the below beauty in this story:

"Police temporarily allowed the only incoming flight that was already in the air to land."

Um, so how does one temporarily land an airplane?

Just curious. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

i heart jess

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

from Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda, one of my favs

Happy Heart Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

meanwhile, back at the farm...

As promised, I'm keeping you updated on the goings on of AI. Not only does this little tyke hail from Utah, but he's got talent (with a dash of humility) to boot. (He's the one I featured a few weeks back from auditions.)

Pretty sure you'll be hearing more from Mr. David. Go Murray!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Humour Me

So at GSK, things are done in British English. (They're headquartered in the UK, locations all over the world, my director is Irish.) As the new editor on board, I'm learning to flick the editing switch when it comes to the use of the letter "Z" as well as some other funny British usages (programme anyone?) and quotation marks inside the period. (Talk about reversing my education.)

Now, I really didn't think it would be too much of a problem. I mean, I practically have a second minor in British Lit. I've seen my fair share of funny spelled words. I wrote my best paper on my BFF Jane. (That would be Austen.)

So I was sure my boss had committed a typo when I came across this beaut: LICENCE.

However, my gut told me I should look it up. (Always trust your editing gut.) So I did. And, come to find out - licence is a word. It looks hideous, but that's how those in the mother land spell our license.

I guess there really is more to England than Collin Firth.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

crack of dawn

Just want ya'll to know that this is what I'll be staring at in the morning. (My job finally starts. Apparently paperwork moves slowly here. Maybe it gets lost on the cattle trails.) It's not normal. And while I actually haven't been sleeping in too late as an unemployed individual (I get up at 8 a.m. with Jess), there is this world of difference that occurs between the hours of five o'clock and eight.

However, this morning as I put a pillow over my head to silence both the stupid yacking birds as well as the psuedo swears (and some not so pseduo) running through my head, I realized that at least I'll be up with the birds instead of trying to sleep through them.

They better hope I don't actually catch a glimpse of them. I carry pepper spray.

And I'm not afraid to use it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Wrapped Up

So someone I love is hurting right now. And I want so badly to take her heart and mend it up for her. I know almost exactly how she feels. That feeling of waking up in the morning, just waiting for the hurt to settle down around you like a blanket. A blanket that seems to stay draped on your shoulders all day. There are moments you shake it off - someone makes you laugh, you get distracted - but at the end of the day, you’re still wrapped up in hurt.

I remember just wishing time would pass. I literally craved hindsight. I stopped wearing a watch because time passed too slowly. I put a post-it over the little digital clock on my computer at work because I hated realizing that only two minutes had passed.

Eventually, I got to the point where I could wake up and feel hopeful, the blanket of hurt folded neatly on the end of my bed – still in sight, still present, but not weighing on me. I stopped looking at clocks. And time just passed.

And I moved on.

It’s strange how we move on. How time keeps ticking, and we move forward. And even more strange is how valuable hurt is. It doesn’t feel valuable when you’re in it. It feels lonely and sad. You can be in a room full of people and still feel hurt. But I’m beginning to realize that in some ways it’s the hurt in each of us that enables us to love. We see in each other something familiar. And we’re able to share those parts. We can’t take each other’s pain, but we can share it. We can wrap each other up in all the love we possess, maybe smother out the hurt for just a minute. And in the end, it’s those minutes that we remember anyway.

It’s the minutes, those minutes that we watch tick away, that count in the end, as they become the whole of what we experience.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Like A Real Person

So we had the missionaries over for dinner last Saturday. I was a little stressed putting dinner together as I had never been in charge of dinner with the missionaries. For some reason, I was pretty sure I wasn't ready for something like this. As I said to my mom while consulting on the menu, "I know - it's like I'm a real person."

They were really cute little (when did I get so old?!) elders - dedicated, humble, and happy. This morning I had this thank you note waiting for me on my car.

I suppose I really am a real person. And I guess that's okay. :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sweet Squaking

So I really love sleeping. It's in my top five things to do. Seriously. Right up there with napping.

Those who grew up with me will tell you that waking me before I chose to rise was nigh unto requesting to die. I was cranky and mean. How dare you interrupt my slumber?

I like to think that I've gotten over that crankiness - years of rolling out of bed at 5:30 a.m. will do that to you - but I still love my sleep.

And lately, I've just not been sleeping well. Tossing, turning, Having all sorts of insane dreams. Last night, my childhood best friends, identical twins Wendy and Andrea, found me at Disneyland. Wendy had the curly perm they sported in middle school, and Andrea looked how I last saw her. As we waited in line, Andrea informed me I had acne. :) (And I haven't seen her in years.)

And the worst part? At about 4:30 a.m. EVERY MORNING the neighborhood Ornithological Society gets together and has a little chirpy chat. I'm pretty sure they gather just outside my window (and our window panes are nearly paper thin) and chat away, sipping their tea through insanely annoying squaks. These obnoxious chirpy, squaking, yelps. Repeatedly. Over and over.

Another thing about me? I can't stand repeated patterns for too long. Like a clock ticking? If there's ever one where I'm sleeping, I remove it from its place of residence (whether it be the wall or the nightstand or elsewhere) and smother it under pillows until the annoying offender is silent. Songs on the radio that have the same beat pattern for three minutes and 32 seconds? Ah, kill me. (I become nearly suicidal with
this one.)

So really? These birds needs to fly south. Or do they even do that? Because I am south now. Honestly, I think I'm stuck with them.

I'm seriously losing my mind.

PLEASE NOTE: I actually love birds. That's the most ironic part. Two of my favorite friends growing up were my birds. They were so cute. One even learned to say "Clean your room!" (thank you Mom). And they were both trained to sleep (and remain silent!) when their night cover was on their cage!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Calling the Search Off

Since arriving here in October, I’ve applied for over 70 jobs. I'm being totally serious. With statistics like that, this might be surprising, but - I got a job!

Last Sunday, Jess and I were enjoying a lazy morning. (This whole one o'clock time slot is really less than effective for us.) My phone rang. A North Carolina number. Lest we got prayer duty, we let it go.

However, the voicemail was a treat. In a very thick North Carolinian accent, we listened (over and over) to Aretha Franklin’s (yes, that's really her name) message. She was calling in response to a job I had applied for last week (Which one!? I applied for like twenty!) and wanted to set up an interview with me at - what sounded like - the Black Socialist Club.

We listened to it over and over again. But all we got was Black Socialist Club. Hee hee. (It still makes me laugh.) Luckily, she resorted to e-mail. As it turns out, it was a position with Glaxo Smith Kline, a huge pharmaceutical company here in Durham.

I went into the interview relatively blind. But thanks to Garmin (and Jess’ reprogramming skills), I made it there in one piece, and once there, I found out about the position. It is full time, and temporary. Through March or April. Convenient really, as we will likely be in Japan or China or Singapore or some other Asian land of paradise come May.

The position title is “database manager.” A long title for what amounts to basically a technical editor. They need a bunch of technical editing and formatting work done, quick.

Now, pending a clean drug test (if Diet Mountain Dew counts against me, hasta la vista el employment-o) and a spot free background check, I’ll start some time next week. I’m sometimes excited, sometimes nervous, and sometimes dreading the whole getting up at 5:30 a.m. thing again.

But really, it should be just what I need. :)

Friday, February 1, 2008

For Dear Life

Ever feel like this? Like you're practically hanging on for dear life?

Saw this little guy in our forest wasteland (the forest that surrounds our waste facility) and snagged a shot.

Keep it up little guy. :)


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