Sunday, January 27, 2013


Another busy week with a few surprises I wasn't expecting.
Having Monday off was a nice event, particularly when my mental calendar wasn't at all planning or preparing for it. There's just so much I'm trying to get done and accomplished right now, that having an extra day off wasn't on the radar at all. That sounds silly, but true; I'm actually busy enough with enough on my mind that I wasn't looking forward to time off. Amazing.
Brien and I drove up to West Jordan Monday to see Mom. If you've not seen the haze in Salt Lake and Utah county, then you have no true concept of disgusting. It is SO nasty. We enter Utah county via Spanish Fork Canyon, and we drop down from crystal clear skies into this thick fog that initially looks pleasant and inviting, until you realize it's not nature that's done this, but just the pollution of northern Utah. It's thick, it's gross, and it's another reason I'm glad I don't live in northern Utah.
Anyone who knows much about me knows how much I hate Utah drivers. My niece Makayla started referring to them as Utards. That may be politically insensitive, but once you've been on the highway with them, you'll probably call them much worse. They switch lanes time and time again without warning, just so they can feel they're ahead of the other guy; they speed at upwards of 90+ in every lane except the fast lane; one could be driving on a 6-lane stretch of I-15 and find no one in the right 4 lanes, but the left 2 lanes are jammed packed with idiots fighting over whether to go the speed limit or not. No one seems to have ever read the sign, "Keep right except to pass." And everyone seems to believe that God is their copilot. Literally. I hate Utah drivers. Literally.
So with this in mind you can imagine my reaction when approaching Provo on the I-15, drivers around me passing me, weaving in and out of traffic, no semblance of order in any lane, that suddenly I find a cop on my tail with his lights on. I'm happy to say I kept my cool (last time I was pissed at a cop I said a few things I shouldn't have and it cost me $300+ and 10 hours in a driving class). But after this guy walked away from my window, I wanted to punch somebody. With all the asinine drivers surrounding me, I was pulled over for going a bit too fast (I was going 70 in a 65, with much of traffic speeding past me), and for changing lanes too soon after turning on my blinker.


Needless to say, the officer didn't even give me a warning. He just instructed me on my blinker, and pointed out to me that technically my insurance covered me in Arizona, but not Utah, and I needed to update it. That was it. Asinine. I hate Utah drivers. And Utah cops who seem to not be aware of the Utards around me.

While there're other things to discuss about that day, I was most surprised by events of the week. Tuesday morning I found out from students that the mother of 2 of my students had passed away. These are two girls I've come to care for and admire, but also the stepmother of this lovely young woman I've been spending time with. To my surprise, Nicole hadn't said a thing to me. This was an awkward time, and more than once I recomposed a thought or text when I reminded myself that this whole event wasn't about me. I mean, technically, although I am marginally crazy about this girl, we've only known each other a little over a week, which makes me a stranger in a time of family. So I did my best to be supportive, encouraging, and patient. I went to the viewing Tuesday night, and to my surprise, Nicole drove up from Vegas without even telling me she was coming; it made sense, but I wasn't aware she would be able to get away from work. I spent a moment with her two younger sisters, and Nicole walked in while I was talking to the older of the two. I offered consolation to her father, and then stepped out. Again, it wasn't my place to make it about me.
So this all led to, eventually, a more pleasant week with time with Nicole I wasn't expecting. We got to see each other Wednesday night for a few minutes, and Thursday night, due to some words from her younger sisters, I got to meet the rest of the family and have a formal introduction to her father (I wasn't planning THAT so early.) We spent a few hours together, and following the debate trip on Friday and Saturday, she and I spent a few hours together at her family's place last night.
She's a pretty special girl.
That's all I'm going to say about that.
I should mention that our trip to Kiefer's Memorial at West Lake High was a ton of fun. The kids did great, I learned a lot, and it was a really memorable couple of days.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nearly a Year

                   Wow.  Nearly a year since I last updated my blog.  Barney would chasten me.  Definitely not legen -- I'm sorry -- dary.

                  So much has happened over the past year, that it would take hours if not weeks to update properly.  For anyone who doesn't know the changes in my life, let me give a very simple recap:
1. I decided that Yuma was not for me, and I needed to move on.
                  This was a huge decision, because unwisely I made this choice before I had a new job.  That led to quite a few days and nights of anxiety.  Ask me sometime and I'll tell you how this also led to a redefining of my relationship with God.
2. The job search
                  I filled out easily more than 70 job applications, and only interviewed...maybe 10 times.  Not as rich of a response as I'd liked.  A few of these jobs would have been only English, or in a place where Drama was probably beyond my current skills; in the long run, I'm grateful for the experience of that interview, and grateful I was not hired.
3. Mt. Pleasant
                  I interviewed in a little town east of Nephi and north of Manti in Central Utah.  Cute place, nice school.  The interview went well, and I was offered the job in less than a week.  A little talk and conversation with God, and I took it.  Absolutely no regret.  I'm in a great school in a great community with great kids and great teachers.
                  We missed the Shakespeare festival, but that was me not being prepared and misunderstanding.  We performed Aida, and I feel confident it was one of the best productions of my career.
                  We're currently working on improv and a 30x60.  I'm teaching debate and next weekend we'll be in Saratoga Springs.  I'm planning on You're a Good Man Charlie Brown for the spring production, and it's going to be great.

                  All right.  There's the update.  Now on to this past week.

                  I bought an iPad for myself for Christmas, and one of the things I've done this year is each Sunday morning I've awakened and typed a journal.  It occurred to me this week that I needed to get back to my blog, so my journal is now here, although I'll not be quite as personal as if I was the only one reading this.
                  This week was NOTHING like I was planning.  Monday morning, one of my students had an unfamiliar person sitting with her in class; since this is the new semester, this hasn't been unusual.  I was surprised to find that this wasn't a new student, but actually her older sister, Nicole.  Now, I was aware that Nicole was enviably cute, but also younger than I'd dated before, so I did my best not to let her distract me, and just teach class as normal.
                  To my surprise, one of Nicole's sister's came to see me during 4th to tell me that she was interested in me.  This was insane.  I was older than her by more than a decade; shouldn't that have turned off that possibility?  I texted Nicole that evening, and invited her out for Wednesday night.
                  We ate at the Snow Dragon in Ephraim, and it was a terrific evening.  Dinner was great, and the conversation was terrific.  I was surprised and very satisfied at how much we had in common.  And something else was uniquely different.  Nicole admitted that she has typically hung out with an older crowd, feeling more mature than the people around her.  I guess in a very real way, this was my first date in years where I didn't have to worry that I was too old, and this erased a level of anxiety that might have been there.  This was the most pleasant evening I've had since moving to Utah.
                  I'm not going to give all the details of this night, nor Friday night when we saw each other again.  But a few highlights include being introduce to Firefly, eating Sushi and wasabi for the first time (which I loved!), and a woman that has turned my life upside down.  I found myself making decisions and doing things that were WAY out of my comfort zone, without regret.  I found myself with a woman who sees life differently, in many ways, opening my eyes.  She expected me to make choices, and once I had and those things sometimes fell through, she made the choice for us.  Including that first hug.  Including that first kiss.
                  The kicker to all of this: she lives in Vegas.  I'm not saying this is love or my future, but I'm hoping this time apart will allow us to get to know each other, to share more, and let me get through my first year here in Mt. Pleasant.  She expects to be here every now and then, and I expect a 3-day weekend will find me down there.
                  It's amazing how quickly life can change, and amazing how pleasantly the changes in my life this last year have been such enormous blessings.  A year ago, I would not have guessed I could be in a such a great job in such a great community.  6 months ago I would not have bet I would love the school, kids, teacher, and admin, as I do.  A month ago I would not have bet that 2013 would already be such a great year.  A week ago I would not have bet I would be meeting a girl that changed my perspective on nearly everything.  Amazing.