Arizona Centennial Day

I’m boycotting Valentine’s Day again this year in favor of:
Arizona’s Centennial!

Some reasons I love Arizona:

Grand Canyon Scenery

Oh…and I don’t have a boyfriend. That may have something to do with my boycott.

But I LOVE Arizona! Happy 100!

Having Fun Isn’t Hard When You Have a Library Card

The following is a public service announcement from PBS–blast from the past style.

I am currently taking English 420: Adolescent Literature. It sounds kind of scary, but it’s actually the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m basically supposed to read 30 high school age books over the rest of the semester. For a girl who loves to read, this class is a dream come true. When I first saw the reading list, though, I was shocked. 30 books? How the heck am I supposed to afford 30 books?? This is when I decided it was time to invest in a library card.

This is the Provo Library. Isn’t it beautiful?? It used to be the building for the Brigham Young Academy (which explains the statue of the old man himself) but in the last couple years they remodeled it to act as the city library. (I actually just looked up the story of the whole conversion process. Apparently some people wanted to tear it down to build more university housing. Can you believe it? I think this building is gorgeous!) I am lucky to live just half a block north of the library, so every time I finish a book of the list, I throw on shoes and run down to the library, eager to grab something fantastic and new.
I love going to the library. I love walking among rows of books, searching the shelf carefully until you finally find the one you’ve been looking for. I love scouring the movie section for good oldies you’ve never seen before (Last time I came away with Dial M for Murder, Send Me No Flowers with Rock Hudson and Doris Day, and Mr. Blanding Builds his Dream House–Cary Grant, baby! All in all, a good haul, I would say!) 
One of my favorite parts, though, is seeing the little kids there. More often than not, I see them with their dads–probably because I go late at night when all the moms in Provo are trying to get all their kids out of the house for a moment’s peace. The other night, there was a young dad with two daughters. The dad was actually trying to find something to enjoy on audiobook, but the little girls didn’t seem to care. They asked their dads all sorts of questions about their books, about why there were books on display, why the lights were flickering. They were so adorable, and their dad was so patient with them, it reminded me of my own library trips when I was young.
We went most Saturdays. We’d load up in the old Mazda and drive to the brand new library near our house–how lucky were we to have a new library, and so close! I would pick out a couple books, always including a Clue mystery book where Mr. Boddy never actually died, and then we would saunter over to the movie section. My dad would show us movie after movie, ones that we should see at some point. Very rarely did we actually check out the ones we looked at, though. He usually just added them to an imaginary list for when I was older and could appreciate them. What now seems like an exercise in patience for a young girl has turned into one of my favorite memories, when Dad knew everything and knew exactly what I would like. 
As I’ve grown older, I’ve been shocked to realize my dad doesn’t actually know everything. Sometimes he’s obnoxious, and his jokes have gotten cheesier as the years have gone on. It turns out he knows a heckuva lot, though. He knows about how to change oil, how to register for classes, that getting a job is actually a good thing, and if the International Cinema is showing The Mission or the Utah Symphony is playing at BYU, you had better go. But no matter how many years have passed and how we apparently have an adult relationship now, I will always treasure that time we spent together. I will always trust his movie recommendations, and I will always laugh at his jokes, no matter how lame they’ve gotten. I really admire my dad and am so grateful for him.

Clean Sheet Night and Other Great Adventures

This post bought to you by: Snuggle–The Ultimate Fabric Softener

For all of you that have met my mother, you know what a neat-freak she is. For those of you who have seen my room pre-cleaning check, you know how I have not followed in that particular path. (Come steal my frysauce sometime, though, and then you’ll see how I’m my mother’s daughter. Come on, I dare you.)

There is, however, one trait of my dear mother’s that I have picked up on: Clean Sheet Night.

In my house, Clean Sheet Night was always on Fridays. My mom would take the greatest care in washing her sheets and making her bed nicely afterwards, always doing some sort of tribal chant about her clean sheets. As she crawled into bed that night, she would do so with a giddy grin on her face, murmuring “clean sheets” as she drifted off to sleep. Normally, being the wonderful, loving daughter that I am, I would mock her for this weekly ritual. When I got to college, though, I realized how much I appreciated Clean Sheet Night. I may not do it weekly (I don’t have the time or the money for such nonsense) but, boy do I love my clean sheets.

Clean Sheet Night starts right after I pull the sheets out of the dryer–nice and warm, hopefully smelling like the laundry room back at home (Although no guarantees there. My mother does magic with her laundry and I can never get mine to smell quite the same way. That’s a post for another day, though.) Next comes the ironing. Don’t laugh–this I definitely picked up from my mom. I don’t iron all of my sheets–generally just the top edge that I fold over and my pillow case. And so what if I use my straightener to get them flat? Sometimes a college girl has to do what a college girl with limited resources has to do. After this important step, the bed must be made. It doesn’t matter if I’m getting into it 5 minutes later–the bed must be made with the utmost care. We’re talking army-inspection quality, here. When Clean Sheet Night comes, it’s also vital to slip into bed with clean-shaven and freshly lotioned legs. This provides ultimate comfort as you drift off to sleep, happy and dreaming in your clean sheets.

Yes, I am crazy. Blame my mother.

A Letter to the Former Me

Dear Rylee circa October 2007,

You’re standing outside the Madsen Recital Hall, an eager ear pressed against the double door entrance on the 5th floor. The voices of angels drew you to this spot, as did Dad when he saw the look of rapture on your face. You’ll stand there for a few minutes, watching Singers rehearse. You know hardly anything about the BYU choirs, but 2 short years, you will.

You’ll know all about those repetitive rehearsals, the hours of practice required for 10 glorious minutes on stage. You will become well acquainted with the Madsen: the organ pipes, the cushy auditorium chairs, the less comfortable lip of said chairs, and the clock on the back wall whose minutes fly by until it is 3:50 and it’s time to walk back home, the tune of the last piece still stuck in your head.

You’ll meet Sister Applonie. You will come to respect and admire her as she inspires you every day not only to be a better musician, but a better person. She will almost make up for Ms. Scholz, even if the mention of your current high school teacher will still make you twitch for a solid year after graduation.

You’ll know yourself better. You’ll realize how much you miss your parents coming to concerts; this will be difficult your first concert–a few tears will be shed. You will realize how music is everything. This realization will hit so hard after your last orchestra concert, you will be convinced you were meant to teach music. Don’t be to disheartened when the Lord steers you a different direction–English will give you the same feeling of fulfillment. But enjoy choir.

You will meet some of the best friends you’ve ever had. You will sing so many songs–beautiful songs, goofy songs, serious songs, and life-changing songs. Your testimony will grow and you will have some incredible experiences.

You don’t know this yet, standing outside the Madsen as a high school junior, but you will. You will.


An Older and Wiser You

PS-The movie Enchanted comes out next month. Prepare to be amazed.