Wednesday, June 27, 2012

pet peeves

I love pet peeves.

I realize that pet peeves by their very definition are things that you hate, but I really love them.
I even like the cringing alliteration of the name: "pet peeves".

Everyone has their own.
It's our own way to individualize ourselves by saying, "You hate people too? Well, THIS is why I hate people."

I've heard all kinds of pet peeve sob stories.

"I vomit at the sound of chewing."
"I despise hot cashew breath."
"I hate when people smack their gum."
"I can't stand it when people interrupt me."
"It upsets me when people talk on the phone in public restrooms."

I feel really left out, because I've never really been able to think of any pet peeves for myself.
Sure, I don't like stupid people. And sure, I get annoyed with them quite often.
But whenever that classic party-game of "who has the best pet peeve" comes around, I come up empty.

It's like when people ask, "What's your most embarrassing moment?"
And I simply can't think of one.
Because I'm perfect.

So I'm going to hereby start a mini-journal to keep in my wallet for those emergent occasions when someone does something so cringe-worthy that I will be able to permanently mark it in my "pet peeve pages".

This is really just a diary of the human condition.

I just thought of one.

I'm going to start every entry with a cursive "please" because "please" can actually be one of the rudest words in the English dictionary.
Even worse is "thank you". Did you know?

(Side bar: Dusty and I's biggest fights often come from me exploding when he condescendingly says "thank you" immediately following a statement, giving me no time to respond. WHOA. Just thought of number 2.)

These Pet Peeve Pages are solid gold.

I'm just going to let my interactions with humankind dictate the rest of these pages.

Happy Wednesday, all.

What are your pet peeves?
(And more importantly, what are some more of mine?)

In love,

CAUTION: I am very sarcastic and silly, and really aim to love people, not hate people.
Even the stupid ones.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

u.s. snareways

This post is dedicated to frustration.
While not all bad (every moment has a silver lining, be it ever so small), we had an infuriating experience yesterday. All. Day. Yesterday.

After a delightful trip home, and lots of fun times spent with family and friends, we had to wake up at 4:30am yesterday morning to hop on a plane back to Virginia. Or so we thought.

Pre-sunrise cheerfulness:

We arrived at the Phoenix airport in pretty good spirits.
Having said goodbye to our families, we had been able to keep it together fairly well. A few private tears, but we were focused, and had the promise (silver lining) that both of our parents would be visiting in July.
Now we were heading to the middle-ground dimension, the place I hate the most. The in-between of both places we call "home". Once you leave one place, you're extremely anxious to get to the next.
It's the traveling that I hate the most. The aiport time, the dragging-around-luggage time, the dreary time.

So, the first flight came and went. We read and slept, and landed in Charlotte, NC around 1pm.

I had to go to the bathroom upon arrival, so I meandered into the women's bathroom right by our arrival gate. Things got interesting.

There are a few things about public restrooms that I will speculate about.

1. Don't make groaning or sighing noises. Don't care about your suffering or your fatigue. Please, keep the vocal exclamations to yourself.
2. I will judge you by your shoes.
3. When there are 57 stalls, and I'm the only one in the entire restroom, do NOT come into the stall next to me. Why would you? We're not friends, we don't need to hear each other, we don't need to be close. Take the 56 extra steps to the stall at the end, and we'll both be better off. Etiquette.
4. Don't drop your skivvies all the way to the floor. Bathroom stalls are bottomless, and it baffles and upsets me to see stranger's underwear.
5. Please don't text or make phone calls while you're atop the can. It's creepy, aside from being unsanitary.
6. To the girl who came in barefoot a couple months ago: I still haven't forgotten about you. I can't even believe you exist.

So, back to the Charlotte restroom. It was nice.

When you first walk in, there's this delightful table full of Listerine shots, mints, and tampies.
If this bathroom had a couch, it would've had it all.
I also noticed the plastic bins full of money, but I didn't think much of them.

Once I settled into my stall, a woman walked in and began to talk to people. I realized immediately that she was a greeter for this women's restroom.
Let me say that again: she was a greeter for the women's restroom.
That means that this particular motherly black woman was hired for the sole purpose of greeting and directing women to have a pleasant experience while using this restroom.
Let me break down her performance for you:

"Oh baby, hello baby! Well aren't you the most beautiful little thing, you scurry on along to my penthouse suite, the one right there at the end."

"Welcome to Charlotte! Oh now hello pretty thing, you gotta go? You gotta go? Right there, baby. Right down there."

"Hold it miss, you gotta go? You gotta wait. Ooh, you dancin' aren't ya sweetie, you go right on ahead."

"You're next beautiful, you step right on up. Hold it, you gotta go? You gotta wait in line, sugar!"

"Hello baby, hey baby, hey baby, go on!"

I just listened with pure glee in my stall, then walked out to find Dusty leaning up against the wall outside the door. You could hear her clearly from where he stood, and he was cracking up. We even tried to record her talking from outside, but to no avail. I was really glad we could share that moment together.

We had a few hours to kill, so we decided to go to an actual sit-down restaurant where we could just sit and relax for a while. We decided on La Taquileria, because we hadn't had Mexican food in a while....NOT.

Pretty sure it was our tenth Mexican food meal in a row, and apparently we aren't tired of it yet. In fact, I think eating it so often at home has made me more angry that I can't have it at every meal. Now I'm stuck craving it until I can have it again.
BEANS. I just love beans.

La Taqueria was actually delicious, though.

Spicy and fresh and really surprisingly excellent. Well done, airport restaurant.

But alas, the rest of our Charlotte experience was not so pleasant.

I got the first automated US Airways call while we were still eating -- our flight was delayed.

Our first flight was scheduled to depart at 4:06pm.
Then it got delayed, because of maintenance 4:30. Then 5:00. Then 5:30.
I kept getting the dang automated phone calls, informing me of our fate.
Then they finally just canceled our flight altogether.

This is when things got hazy.
We went to the help desk, and waited in line behind all of the other angry Lynchburg-bound people.
Both of my parents had had less-than-stellar experiences in their Lynchburg travels, so I became very stressed out about our future.
People were going quickly past us, being put straight on the 6:45 or 7:45 flights.
Come to find out, they were the important flyers. The gold and platinum and silver and unicorn-colored passengers that get to go right to a comfy spot on the next available flight. Upon finding this out, Dusty muttered to me "this is ridiculous."
The worker-man next to the woman who was helping us retorted, "Ridiculous? Ridiculous? These people fly with us all the time. They're the platinum members, the gold members [the unicorn members]. That's what you do, you serve them first. They have the right."
That's when a lot of heathen words came to my mind, and I just looked down and started counting the tiny dots on the floor tiles.
Once we got out of line, we started heading to the 6:45 flight gate, where we were now on standby.
I started panicking that we needed to get a rental car, because I was not going to be stuck in this airport all night, and I just wanted to get home, home, home. But, US Airways doesn't comp people who get screwed over by their airline. No food vouchers, no rental car, no hotel, no anything. Nothing.
Dusty and I had a stressed-out exchange, and I plopped down and burst into tears.
We had held it together so well after leaving Arizona, and now it was just all piling on top of me. I was UPSET.
Very emotional.
Dusty went into action. He's really good at that. He called the rental car place, finding out that it would be $140. Which was way too much for us to spend on a 3+ hour drive, when we could possibly be flying out within an hour or two.
So we waited.
Dusty bought us Einstein Bagels, then some sodas and peanut M & Ms. His crying wife was much obliged.

The 6:45 flight was a no-go.
They had overstuffed the flight, and were struggling with being over the weight limit.
So they were asking people to give up their seats, for a $200 gift card.
We of course couldn't give up our seats for the money, because we were only standby. Not platinum or gold or unicorn, just poop-colored standby.

The 7:45 flight was now full. So by this time, a large group of people were stuck without flights.
The last flight would be at 10:45. I internally sobbed, but managed to keep it together.
We once again revisited the rental car idea, but by that time, we would have arrived at home around 10:30, when the flight would be getting us there at 11:30. So one hour wasn't worth it.
Besides, Dusty argued -- if we wanted to, we could go right now and give up our seats for two $200 gift cards, and then get a rental car and drive home. That would at least make it somewhat worth it.

Upon talking to an airport worker, they informed us that they wouldn't be offering those gift cards until they knew they needed people to give up their seats. And they wouldn't know that information until 9:30, at the earliest.
We plopped down somewhere, sleeping and reading, reading and sleeping.
I woke up to 3 messages.
Our flight has been delayed to 11:20.
Our flight has been delayed to 11:30.
Our flight has been delayed to 11:50.


We lost it a little bit.
We decided to get some food before it got too late and everything started to close. We started wandering around the airport, bringing all of our stuff with us. We started to giggle, and then we hopped into our imaginary car to take us on our date.
The airport was relatively empty at this point. It was around 9:30.
Dusty "drove" us to our destination: Chili's.
He "opened the car door for me", we got out, and giggled into our table. We were really tired and weird.

We enjoyed our food, and even sought out some gelato for dessert.

I had cried off most of my makeup earlier, and slept-off the rest of it.
What started out as a pretty cheerful day had become exhausting and a little weird.
But, we somehow began to make the best of it. I was really enjoying my book, Dusty got a lot of homework done, and we were able to enjoy some one-on-one time with our favorite person in the world: each other.

So, when our flight was further delayed until 12:30am, we somehow managed to just laugh it off.

Oh, and P.S.? We get nothing. Nothing. 
The people who gave up their seats at 6:45pm, to fly on the eventual 12:30am flight, got $200.
But us, who were delayed and canceled and thrown around because of maintenance, overbooking, platinum fools and weather, get nothing but a monumental waste of time and money.

We arrived in Lynchburg at 1:30am, and collapsed into bed around 2am.
I didn't make it into work this morning until almost 11am.

Oh, and they found it necessary to shut off our water today -- so we couldn't even shower this morning.
And I also discovered that our kitten has fleas again.
The end.

Recap of our misery:
US Airways is the worst airline in the world, 12 hours spent in Charlotte, delirium and exhaustion, our cat has fleas again, our water has been shut off for the day....
Oh, and upon arriving to work today, I realized you could see my undies straight through my dress.
Oh, the trials of the Lord.

The moral of this entire post is that a motherly black woman cheering you on will always make you feel better, even in a public restroom.

Take that as you will.

In love,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

butterfly kisses

I can't remember how old I was the first time we sang it.

All I remember was that we would sing it every Father's Day, my dad and I.
Butterfly Kisses.

I also remember thinking it was our song. I remember people at church always asking when we would sing it again, and telling me how beautifully I sang. I remember loving every moment of being on stage with my dad, because he and my mom were the best singers I knew.
Dad has always been a passionate, animated, and loving man. His presence on stage and as a speaker have always blown me away.
And he definitely spoiled me.
He used to tell me that my shoulder blades were the stubs left behind from my angel wings.
I believed him.

That songs still gives me goosebumps, and brings tears to my eyes. I can hear my dad singing it, and I would give anything to have a recording of that first time, when I was so little.

I remember the way our church smelled, and the way it felt to be in there before everyone else, practicing together. I remember the bliss of being young, living only in happiness and play.
When the bridge of the song would come up, right before the beginning of the verse "Sweet 16 today", there was a little section that echoed "spread your wings and fly."
When I was young, I would flap my little arms and go down the steps to sit in the front row, and dad would finish the song alone. Since the next part was about being 16 and then getting married, it didn't really apply to me.

But I remember that first time I was able to stay for the whole song. Boy oh boy, it was a big step.
I felt really grown up, and I also felt a little scared and sad. I think dad did too, because it was making us both cry.

When Dusty and I got engaged in the Powerscourt gardens in Enniskerry, Ireland, my family was waiting inside, safe from the wind and rain.
They were watching through the windows.

Powerscourt Estate Gardens
The proposal begins...

Coming in from the wind and rain and with the elation of the moment, I came into a warm embrace from dad.

He leaned down and whispered, "There are two things I know for sure. You were sent here from heaven, and you'll always be daddy's little girl."

Crying as I write this, it was one of the most special moments of my life. Years and years of memories and happy father-daughter dates and sweet moments were wrapped up in that moment.

One year and two days later, Dusty and I got married.
My dad spoke beautiful words in the ceremony and at the reception, loving on us and blessing us.
He walked me down the the same church he married my mother, in the same church we had sang Butterfly Kisses so many times before.

"Walk me down the aisle daddy, it's just about time!"

Such a beautiful moment, one which I could not contain my tears from.
As soon as those big doors opened, I was lost. Dad had to keep pulling my arm back, trying to have me slow down and enjoy the moment. My face was distorted in tears, and all I could keep thinking was, "I have to hurry or I won't get through this!"

At the reception, we walked out to the dance floor to dance to our lifelong theme song.
"Butterfly Kisses" played, and we cried, and he was sweet and wonderful. I love my daddy.
I'm so glad we danced to this song, because I never would have made through singing it.

I love my family.
I am so thankful for a mom and dad that have raised me in the ways of the Lord, to love and to laugh and to experience and learn all that I can.
I'm so thankful for my humor and silliness that I have inherited from parents who love to laugh.

Singing at Johnny Fox's pub in Ireland.
Dad's 60th birthday party!

I am thankful for the many, many memories of travel and adventure and story-telling and laughter and family and friends and so much more.

While I don't have current access to our many childhood pictures or photos of dad and I when I was a little girl, I have all of those memories locked up tight in my reservoir.

When Dusty and I started dating, I would save his texts and notes, and mom would always call that my love bank.
I think the development of words of affirmation as my love language began from my parents constant output of positive encouragement and edification to who I was.
I have all of those tucked away in a special place inside of me.
When I was in High School, my dad would tuck little sticky notes inside of my lunch box. "You rock!" and "You're beautiful" and "Have a groovy day" and so many more little nuggets of love.
I owe so much to my loving family. The more and more days that go by, the more I realize that I have been raised by two wonderful people, by God's design.

Thank you, to both of you.
And thanks to you dad, as today we celebrate you as a father. Thanks for raising a beautiful family with our beautiful mother, and for continuing to love us and pray for us together.
We are so lucky.

In love,

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mahna Mahna


Well, it's not time but it's THE day.

Do doo, be-do-do...mahna do-do do!

This is my theme song for today as I go about my business.
And by business, I mean sitting and drinking coffee while my eyes go blurry at a computer screen.

We both were up quite late last night, but I think everyone will be redonkulously impressed with how talented I am at packing.
(Granted, it's summer, so all my clothes are now dresses and shorts rather than pants and sweaters...)
But I'm chalking it up to talent. Pure talent.

Just in case you guys don't know how I pack, it's a very serious activity. It takes me several hours, and I try on many outfits and match jewelry and sometimes just sit down and stare blankly in the mirror until I decide to start packing again.
I'm very easily distracted.
When I find an outfit I really like, I run down the stairs to get Dusty's approval. Even if the outfit is a pair of jean shorts and a frilly top, I always expect this reaction:

He has it down pat.
Doesn't even really need to say anything, being speechless is always good. Or saying "fine" like Richard Gere, when Julia Roberts tries on the wedding dress in Runaway Bride. Classic.

Moving on to a more pressing matter. If you don't already know this about me, then...well, it may be a deal breaker for us. I guess we'll see.
I'm a cat lover.
Yeah, I'm one of those. More than that, I'm an animal lover. But it really comes down to cats, for me. I love them, and they love me, and it's been that way ever since I had that big fat weird and loyal calico cat when I was little. I still miss that silly little (big) feline.

I've said it before, I'll say it again.
Kittens are the closest things we can have to Pokemon.

Remember when I said I was 5/8 nerd?
Still true.

The point is, I feel guilty and stressed leaving Luna at home alone. I always feel sad leaving her sitting in the window. She is a very cute watchgirl, though.
Except that's she's broken 3 1/2 panels off of our blinds.
Dedication to her post? Who knows.

We have some friends that are going to check in on her while we're gone, so that makes me feel better.
I think I'm just talking to myself now, more than anything.

Interesting facts for today:

--Thus far, I have still been unable to persuade our local Starbucks to ask "The Usual?" when I walk in.
Not that I've tried to actually persuade, because it's something I need them to figure out on their own. Otherwise it's cheating. I think they recognize me, but it's becoming a little disheartening.
--I went to the tanning salon two weeks ago, and went back yesterday and the same girl was there that I first checked in with two weeks ago. She remembered how much I spent, what bed I was in, and asked how my husband was.
Get with the program, Starbucks.
--I'm really beginning to pray that my dreams aren't prophetic. That would be horrible. Although it wouldn't be all bad...if they are prophetic, that means Dusty and I adopt a really adorable Asian child.
The down side is that we'd have to raise her in the midst of the zombie apocalypse.
--I am currently listening to the best mix of relaxing music ever invented.
The irony is that currently the girl is saying "I can't sleep" over and over and over.

Relax Yo'self 101:
1. Godless Brother In Love by Iron & Wine
2. Can't Help Falling In Love by Ingrid Michaelson
3. Turning Page by Sleeping At Last
4. Torch Song by Priscilla Ahn
5. Love Will Take You by Angus & Julia Stone
6. Heart's Content by Brandi Carlile
7. Flightless Bird, American Mouth - Wedding Version by Iron & Wine
8. Sparks by Coldplay
9. Oh Dear by Brandi Carlile
10. Posion & Wine by The Civil Wars
11. You Belong to Me by Carla Bruni
12. U.F.O. by Coldplay
13. Piazza, New York Catcher by Belle & Sebastian
14. Sleep by Azure Ray
15. Over the Rainbow by Harry Nilsson

--When I'm bored, I make awesome mixes.

Okay. I can't vamp anymore.
It's so hard being in this quiet office and trying to keep my cool.
When all I wanna do is The Ross.
Dusty and I did this for about 7 straight minutes the other day.

It's too much!
We leave for the airport in 6 hours!!

Now I've gotta go make a list of all of the things we CANNOT FORGET.
Things like bridesmaid dresses and birthday presents and underwear.

Maybe I'll sneak Luna onto the plane, too.


In love,

Thursday, June 14, 2012

what day is it?

Last night, I had a dream that I saw Conrad Grayson from Revenge at a restaurant.

I was with about 30 other people for a big dinner party, and I frantically began to ask someone to follow me over there so I could discreetly ask for a picture with him, and maybe get his autograph.
Before I knew it, the 30 people I was with revealed themselves to be enormous idiots, unable to even walk straight, let alone take a picture with my iPhone.
They were crowding Grayson, walking in front of the picture, taking pictures of themselves instead of us...the list goes on and on.
Grayson was getting extremely annoyed with me, and I was about to die from embarrassment and frustration.

Now, while this wasn't a zombie dream, it was probably the most stressful dream I've ever had.

Funnily enough, the one thought I kept thinking was: "If I don't get this picture, I'll never be able to show it to them!!"
"Them" meaning my husband, my brother and sister-in-law, and any other friends that watch the show.
I was seriously upset.
I did happen to send a quick blurry photo to my dad via text, and he was pretty excited for me. Even though in real life, he's never watched the show.

It's so strange how often I'm absolutely convinced that my dream is real, and wake up really upset that whatever I've gained in my dream didn't magically come with me.
At least my dream dad will believe me.

Just wanted you to see and hear what I'm like in the middle of a nightmare.
Just ask Dusty.

We actually had a stellar Wednesday. Is stellar my new word? I've been using it a lot. So yeah.
Greek salad, pork, creamy dark chocolate pie with raspberries, coffee and 3 games of Dominion with friends made for a really nice mid-week break.
It's the general opinion that the infamous "hump day" shall now be our designated game night. I'm game! Pun intended!
Our friends also enjoyed Dominion so much that they whipped out their laptop and bought the big box set right then and there. So things are gonna get wild and crazy with our Dominion sets!

Speaking of interesting days of the week, I've been waking up every day this week like, "AH I can't believe it's Friday!"
Then, "Oh wait. It's Tuesday. Dang."

But today I can say, "It's STILL not Friday!!!"

So happy Thursday, everyone.

In love,


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies, 
That though they never equal stars in size, 
(And they were never really stars at heart) 
Achieve at times a very star-like start. 
Only, of course, they can't sustain the part. 

-Robert Frost

I came across this little poem by Mr. Frost, called "Fireflies in the Garden."
Isn't is charming?

Fireflies are wonderful. They're kind of magical, and bring about a lot of sweet feelings and memories.
I can remember going to Missouri for our family reunions and catching fireflies by the jar full! 
Sometimes we'd forget about them or fill the jar too full or forget to let them breathe, and they would die...further proof that young children shouldn't really have pets of any kind. 
But nevertheless, we loved and respected the little flickering bugs. They're the stars of the earth. 

The appearance of the first firefly this year honestly startled me. I hadn't even thought about seeing fireflies out here. This will be our first summer out here, and we keep getting more and more pleasant surprises!
The weather has been rainy and beautiful, the grasses and trees are glittered with lightning bugs, and we're surrounded by friends and snow cones and fun times. 

This was last night:

Last night was lovely. I went for a run, Dusty made chicken for dinner (lemon and dill, sooo yummy), and I had the whole night to work on my to-do list!

We MAY or may not have gone and gotten frozen yogurt and then impulse-bought food from Taco Bell AND McDonald's, but we neither confirm or deny those events.

The truth is, if you get something sweet, you've gotta get something salty to follow it up.
Don't blame me, blame the human body. And science. And maybe American obesity.

TWO DAYS from now, I'll be sitting here at work counting down the hours until I can leave for the airport :)
We have a fun night planned tonight with friends, to have a relaxing dinner and a game or two.
Then it'll be cleaning and packing, full-throttle!

I'll leave you with one of my favorite parts from The Princess and The Frog:

Let the fireflies lead the way!

See you soon!

In love,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

things i love

One of my best friends is getting married in less than 2 weeks.
It's actually the main reason we're going home. We're really excited that we were able to extend the trip to see our loved ones as well, and spend time at home.
It's hard to believe we're only 3 1/2 days away from flying out!

I was in our apartment last night, working on some things that I'm making for Lauren for her wedding.
We were texting and reminiscing...

The first picture of us.
It's hard to believe that's us.
When we met freshman year of college, we were both 3 hops and a skip away from being total messes.
We clung to each other like bees to honey. Or more like Taco Bell to a freshman girl's waistline.
We had a lot of the same things going (or not going) for us: long-distance boyfriend, being a freshman, not having many (if any) friends, new to choir...
I think Lauren and I were able to fill in the gaps of where the other person struggled the most.
We were there for each other.

I started out as a Music major, so all of my classes were at 8am.
I was never on time. I slept through a lot of them...but worst of all, I would go to my classes in the clothes I slept in, and then go back to bed after they were through.
It was embarrassing.
And Lauren helped me out of that funk. She was so much more outgoing than I was!
I always knew she was coming when I heard that fast-paced pitter-patter of her feet running down my dorm hall. We became inseparable.
She was my first adult friend, one that I met and loved and clicked with right away. We were our own little love story.
That first time we said "you're my best friend" was as dramatic as a proposal. We were both nervous, shy, and ecstatic when the other person returned our sentiments. Haha!
This is the moment right after we said those fateful words:

It's a horrific picture, we know. Probably one of the most awkward pictures we've ever taken.
Unless you count these:

We had a game we played, where we'd yell out something and have to imitate that in the picture. It could be anything.
"Lesbian dinosaur", "Constipated hippo", "Seductive man," "Rogue fairy"...the list goes on and on.
She was a pro.

Sometimes it's hard to think about too much, because I honestly miss those days a lot.
There's nothing like being married, and I wouldn't trade that for the world. But there's something about the community that exists in college that you never really have again. Being down the hall from your best friend, living in an apartment with a group of girls, always within hands reach of a late-night escapade.

In the midst of it, we thought our lives were pretty boring. Lauren and I would always complain that we weren't living life, or seizing the day, or going on adventures, or whatever.
But looking back, our lives were fantastic, and hilarious, and ridiculous. We could have been our own TV show. "How I Met Your Mother" or "Friends" status.
The fun adventures, the cheesy inside jokes, the road trips, the parties, the apartment troubles, the "coming of age" stories, the shopping, the boy troubles, the silly fights.

There are so many moments I look back on.
Freshman year, we would try so hard to have a "thing" have a hobby, or something to define us.
I can't tell you how many times we went to Target. Sometimes just to hang out. Sometimes for inspiration.

This is when we bought new Tennis rackets at Target. We went all out. Got all dressed up for our new daily Tennis routine!
We. Never. Played.
Not once.
On that night, the Tennis courts were closed. So naturally, we took a bunch of pictures in our new gear with our new rackets.
That would never be used again.

But, that's just what we did. We bought puzzles, crafts, plants, you-name-its. We were constantly in search of new projects to take on. We were searching for who we wanted to be, and what we really wanted to do with our lives.
It was kind of wonderful.

One time, Lauren had to attend a play for a class.
She asked me if I would go, so we headed out to what would become known as the aforementioned "coming of age" type of story.
This is us:

As soon as we walked into the theater building, we felt different. There was something oddly unsettling about going to a play by ourselves, surrounded by adults and fancy old ladies.
Were we adults?
It was like someone handed us two bright shining badges that declared us officially done with childhood.
We sat down in our seats and sat up straight, looking around and smiling at all of the sophistication around us.
As soon as the play started, we were wide-eyed and open-mouthed.
This was a real play. Gritty, real, and emotional. It was dramatic. It was worldly. There was cussing and loud yelling, and no musical numbers to whisk us away.
As strange as it sounds, I think that honestly was a turning point in our lives, in our maturity, and in our friendship. We promised to take advantage of this theater that was so close to us, and to see the inexpensive yet powerful plays that they had each month.

(We never went again.)

We had a lot of fun adventures. We were in choir together, so we traveled around each weekend to different churches for concerts. We also went on choir tour together, all the way to San Francisco and back.
We also ended up in student leadership together, and she even got to be partners with Dusty our senior year!

We frequented Disneyland, as well as San Diego and occasionally the beach.
(We had a really bad experience at the beach early on, and I think it haunted us throughout the rest of our college year. I'd tell it to you, but it's probably best that I don't, to avoid any hurt feelings or mean words. We just refer to it dramatically as "the worst day of our lives".)

We were constantly shopping, eating, getting our nails done, eating, and going to Starbucks.
We actually had a legitimate "regular" Starbucks we went much so, that the adorable lady that worked there began to ask, "The usual?"
I don't know about you, but everyone else on the planet wants to be asked that. If you didn't before, now you do. Because it's in our nature to want to be noticed, and respected as regular patrons.
It's in our nature to want to belong somewhere.
Somewhere like Starbucks.
So, we had a very real dream realized. It was bliss.

That Starbucks is gone now, and it still hurts to talk about.

I was also able to go to Brawley several times, which is Lauren's hometown. Honestly one of my favorite places. I think because it reminds me so much of my hometown of Casa Grande. They're basically the same place, only Brawley is smaller and closer to Mexico.
I fell in love with her stories and her family. I loved going there over a weekend to just hang out, sleep in and drink her mom's coffee.
I remember a very specific instance where her mom came to visit us at CBU, and we went out to dinner. I remember feeling so happy that I had a friend, and I remember Lauren and I telling her mom how we never, ever fought. We were in the honeymoon stage of our friendship, you could say.
While we definitely didn't stay conflict-free forever, our friendship never stopped getting better.

I think one of the biggest gifts was the friendship that was able to develop between Dusty and Lauren. Against all odds, they managed to form their own special bond apart from me. And together, they were my favorite.
It was more than I could have hoped for. And I'm so thankful to both of them.

We went through a lot those crazy 3 1/2 years.
She graduated a semester early and moved to Connecticut, so we ended up saying our goodbyes at Dusty and I's wedding, over Christmas break our senior year.

Suffice it to say, we came a long way from this:

To this:

Well, maybe we haven't changed all that much.

The moral of the story know that whole "Count Your Blessings" thing?
Well, it was true for Andy Griffith, and it's still true today. For me and for you.
You just waste time if you're not enjoying the present.
I would love to travel back to some of the best days, and pay more attention to some of the best moments.

Especially here in law school, I worry that a lot of wives are sitting by, waiting for their "real" lives to start...but the truth is, no matter what part of life you're in, that is your life. And it's passing you by. You're in it, right now.
To quote P.S. I Love You...

Holly: "...I see people buying bigger apartments and having babies...
I get so afraid sometimes that our life's never gonna start."

Gerry: "We're already in our life. It's already started, this is it.
You have to stop waitin', baby."

I have a hundred "Lauren" stories up my sleeve. We had an incredible few years together.
And now it's her turn to get married, and I'm so proud to call her my friend! I'm so happy for her.
And I'm so glad we had each other when we did. Sometimes, the timing is perfect. For us, it was.
Perfect and ridiculous.
Not sure what I would have done without her :)
I thought she was great when I first met her. But to see the woman she has become is pretty stellar. She has changed so much, in all of the best ways.
And she never gave up on me and our friendship.
I'm so happy for her happiness, and for all of the adventures she's going to have with her new love!

To avoid being too sentimental, I'll leave it at that.
Just a few chapters from the Caitlin and Lauren saga.

In love,

3 days until Arizona!!