Sunday, May 29, 2011

Texas Trip - Day 1

I know, I know...I should have had this up and posted days ago.

Last Friday I ended up working 12 1/2 hours, so, by the time I got home all I wanted was sleep. So much for my plans of being packed and ready to go the night before. Add to that the fact that I failed to set my alarm had me running around like mad that Saturday morning. I managed to get stuff packed and get out the door with time to have a relaxing drive to the airport, check in and still not have to rush to catch my flight. I left Salt Lake for Denver (which was surprisingly flat). I somehow always pictured Denver nestled against the mountains, but I did get a glimpse of them far off in the distance as we sat on the tarmac outside of the airport...stopped because one of the passengers decided to remove his seatbelt the moment we landed on the runway so he could use the bathroom...the pilot actually stopped the plane and we waited until the embarrassed man finished, re-seated himself and strapped his seatbelt back on, to the applause of a group of travelers who were in Denver for a U2 concert.

This is the largest airport I had been in, and I was amused to step off the airplane and be confronted with a large and prominent "Tornado Shelter" sign. Denver airport is HUGE, with a series of escalator style moving walkways, which came in handy when trekking from one end of the airport to the other in order to make my connecting flight. I had a long layover in Denver, but thankfully I had downloaded episodes of the new Sherlock series onto my Ipod, so I was covered.

Back onto another flight, a gorgeous sunset outside my window, and then I was slowly descending into San Antonio airspace. By this time I had been traveling for over 6 hours and I was tired, so I followed the crowd towards baggage claim, and pulled out my cell phone to send out texts letting everyone know I had arrived safely.

There I was, fairly oblivious to everyone around when I hear this voice from my side say, "Hi, are you here for Richard Gregg?" I look to my left, and then had to look down to find the owner of the voice, for this gal was fairly short. A momentary feeling of being the Jolly Green Giant flashed by me (she wasn't quite 5' as compared to my 5'9") before I found my voice to reply, "Yes". The imp by my side flashed a grin and pointed behind me, "You just walked past him" she laughed.

Aw man....what a way to create an entrance.

I turned to see Richard walking towards me, sheepish grin on his face. I knew Richard was a good 2" shorter than I was, but I admit (and he knows this) that the first thought that crossed my mind was, dang he's a lot smaller than I had thought he'd be, closely followed by, he's also much cuter in person. I should probably clarify these thoughts... Richard and I have been Skyping for months now and, while I knew he was shorter than I am, its another thing to actually stand there face-to-face. The laptop on his end doesn't broadcast the clearest of images either. Regardless, he's not as, uh, husky, as I had thought, but, after those first few moments, I didn't think of it again.

this image was taken later in the trip, but this is Richard

He pulled me into a hug, asked if he could kiss me, and then gave me the sweetest, tenderest kiss. Then, holding my hand, he introduced me to the imp, who turned out to be his niece, Felicia, who had begged to come along. We made our way to baggage claim, where he manfully extracted my heavy bag, re-claimed my hand, and then escorted us out to his car, dragging my bag behind him.

Well, San Antonio is certainly humid and muggy, but that evening it wasn't too bad (but then, by now it was nearly 10 at night by the time we collected my bag and headed out of the airport). There was a few moments of awkwardness, and then everything just fell into a sense of comfort and like we'd done this for years. Richard was a total gentleman and opened doors for me (something I am very much not used to) and we started chatting easily as we drove to my hotel and checked me in. We tossed my bag into my room and then all three of us drove to a local Tex-Mex restaurant for dinner. there's an experience for you. I figured before I went down that it would be no big deal...after all, we have Mexican restaurants down here. Wrong! The menu was mostly items I'd never heard of and, understandably, given Spanish names that my poor high school Spanish (what little is left of it) failed to translate. I finally had to throw myself on Richard's mercy and ask for translations of what the dishes are, and ended up ordering his suggestion of Carne Guisada, sort of spicy gravy with beef chunks that you eat with spanish rice. Absolutely delicious. I definitely need to get a good recipe of this.

Felicia asked Richard if he'd get her some pico de gallo, and he asked if I'd like some as well. He was concerned enough (he knows I don't like overly spicy stuff) to ask me to try it before I dumped it on my dinner. Silly me was thinking, I eat pico all the time up here in Utah, but dutifully dipped a finger in and tried it first.

Just as I thought, it was just I dumped it on my dinner and dove in....only to take that first real bite of pico and have tears come to my eyes. Apparently, in Texas, pico is heavily laced with jalapeno. Dang that was hot. So off came most of the pico.

We all talked for awhile and ate our dinner before we finally decided to end the evening and they drove me back to my hotel. Richard walked me to my room, gave me a kiss goodnight and then they left for the evening, with the promise of Richard being back around 7:30 in the morning, as we were going to drive to Mission (4 1/2 hours to the south on the Mexican/Texan border) to go to church together at Richard's ward.

So our time together was short, but it was a very nice end to a very long day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happiness is....

Knowing that countdown you started months ago is nearly at a close....

...Saturday it comes to an end.....

...Texas here I come!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sad sad sad

image shamelessly stolen from the web because I don't want to go out and capture this with my camera

Well, what I was hoping wouldn't happen anytime soon is happening outside my window this very minute....a trio of murders performed in broad daylight that no one but me will probably mourn over...

Across the street from my office window are three very lovely pine trees...and for a girl who spent most of her life surrounded by her beloved pines to then move to a state where they are few on the ground, having those trees outside my window was like a breath of fresh air every day.

Today those trees are being chopped down in order to widen the road.

One is already down and being irreverently hacked into smaller-sized chunks, and as I type this another of those lovely giants just fell.

I feel like crying.

The final tree (my favorite of the trio) is trembling and its branches are shaking in time to the chainsaw that is tearing into its slender trunk, and then slowly topples to the ground....and I feel sick. It is amazing how something that took years to grow so tall and stately can be brought down to nothing in a matter of minutes.

The view outside my window is completely changed now....I am lucky to have two maples in my own front lawn here at work (the landlord asked me awhile back if I wanted them chopped down and I immediately cried out "NO!" to his amusement) I am a tree-girl.... and while I am so sad for my poor pines, I am happy to know that, for the moment, the maples aren't going to be casualties of the road expansion.

Sometimes progress just sucks. I understand that trees need to be felled due to disease, for fireword or so we can construct homes and the like...but chopping down trees simply so we can move more cars on the road? No...I can't say I am okay with that.

They really were lovely...

...and they will be missed.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


is after a long stress-filled week where you can't seem to find a way to calm down and just want to cry... to step outside, breathe in cool air, look up and find solace just watching the stars slowly appear in the evening sky. To find beauty in something so simple as sitting peacefully and just let your mind clear.

My last few weeks have been extremely stressful with work...the busy season has come full swing and I rarely seem to find a moment to use the restroom, let alone take a break. I've come home with severe headaches pretty much every day and find myself being short and snippy with everyone, and find myself hours after being home, still tense and on edge.

What a relief last night to be able to find time to sit outside, marvel at the stars, and be able to sit quietly. I said a prayer and almost immediately felt the stress just flow from my shoulders, down my arms and right out of me. It was amazing. I sat there so quietly in fact that a neighborhood stray cat walked right past me without seeming to notice I was there, and I held myself still while he ate some of the food we leave outside for just that purpose. Poor thing looked fairly starved, so I was glad that my outdoor excursion didn't prevent him from getting in a meal.

After he walked off I sat there still, amazed that my headache was finally melting away, and burst into tears. I've cried a few times since then, but I feel better with each crying spell as a little more of my frustrations and tension seem to fade away.... and while I am certain that they will find me again come Monday morning, at least, for this moment anyway, I am nearly back to normal...or at least what I consider to be normal for me. Still some stress in here...but a lot less than what I came home with.

I am counting down the days until my 4-day mini vacation in two weeks....I think I am seriously going to need every second of it, and am very happy that its nearly here. Fingers crossed and prayers sent upward that I can hang in there....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Just Have To Keep Telling Myself....

Its job security
Its job security
Its job security
Its job security
Its job security
Its job security
Its job security
Its job security
Its job security
Its job security
Its job security
Its job security
Its job security
Its job security.....

But man am I tired.....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happiness is....

Positive Outlooks....

I had a conversation yesterday with a gal about a package she just received from India. Talk about different perspectives..

Here I am: every time I get a package here in the office from another country I get a bit excited. Here is something from another part of the world....somewhere I have never seen. This package in particular had originated in India, however it was routed through France, then to Memphis, before making its way into my hands. FREAKING AWESOME. Seriously, the fact that a package can be halfway around the world one day and then two days later be in my hands completely astounds me. I used to think I could catch a faint whiff of exotic air coming from those little parcels, but mostly any scent I caught I am pretty sure was in my imagination.

I walked the package back to its intended recipient and her reaction??? "Ugh, foreign germs, disease, dirt..." (this is nothing intended towards the people of India, however, just her idea on packages coming from anywhere really.....this person has big issues with germs in general)

Talk about being a buzzkill though....