Friday, September 28, 2007

Shoot the Moon

It's been a full moon lately, and I have LOVED watching it move across the sky and change light and color. There's something about the moon... I think its cool and sometimes uneven surface is comforting in a strange sort of way. I love how the clouds can cast both an ominous and a warm shadow over the moon. Sometimes the moon looks angry--it casts an orange color. Sometimes it looks cold and slightly sad. And sometimes it's warm and inviting--like you want to do something crazy in the light of the moon.

I remember living in Arizona, where the moon can loom so much larger over the horizon than it does in other places. I would want to follow the moon out into the desert where it looked like I could drive right up to it.

My grandmother told me the other night that when she was young, when it was a full moon, they used to climb to the top of the haystacks on the farm and sing to their hearts' content. I can just picture it. I love that. I want to find a haystack in Virginia and sing to my heart's content.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Baby steps... making bread and entertaining dignitaries

So I've always joked that the reason why I'm not married is because I can't bake bread. Ask any of my former roommates. I have tried and tried. I have ruined Rhodes Frozen Rolls and I've messed up bread maker bread. I have even had problems with those stupid Pillsbury biscuits in a can in the refrigerated section. I do not know what is wrong with me. I am a strict follower of instructions. I go by the rules precisely. And yet nothing seems to work out. I can bake cookies and desserts and I can grill. I can crock pot and I can make ice cream. I can also quilt and clean. So I've decided that I'm not married because I can't bake bread. And that may or may not be a problem with my secret desire to entertain dignitaries (but that's an entirely different story...) There's always a reason, right?!?

On Friday my dear roommate Jessica walked me through making some crescent rolls for our book group. She literally watched me do everything from the yeast to the rolling to the baking. And, friends, I have some wonderful news: the rolls turned out incredibly! They were flaky and melted in my mouth. They were even good two days later!

So last night I felt a little more confident when my roommate Janae planned a big pizza dinner. She had invited 14 people and made plans for all these gourmet pizzas--goat cheese and spinach, BBQ chicken, mozzarella/tomato/basil, and pepperoni. But then something came up and she didn't make it home to prepare. I gathered all the courage I have and rolled out the dough as people started arriving. I assigned one person to be my souez chef and another person to be my facilities manager. Someone else was the table arranger and someone else became the head pizza chef. Another person started the ice cream maker. Despite problems of pizzas cooking slightly unevenly, we had success.

So bring it on, baby. I need MUCH more practice when it comes to really entertaining dignitaries, and while I did make some good crescent rolls, I still need to perfect the actual bread experience. But baby steps... baby steps...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing"

I love that sense of confirmation. Yesterday on my way to class I ran into my friend Patrice who used to work at the Center for History and New Media with me. She got a job teaching second grade and is working on a master's degree. I haven't seen her since school started. She was absolutely glowing last night as she left campus. I asked her how things are going with her class and she beamed as she told me how she wakes up excited every day because she loves what she's doing. She even got her first love letter from a second grade boy yesterday:

"Mrs. Mortson, you're the best teacher ever!" with hearts all over. How great is that?!?

When I worked at BYU I had the same feeling. Most days I couldn't wait to get to work because I loved what I was doing. That excitement has worn off a little bit as I've marched through graduate school--the late nights and long readings sometimes take their toll. But the sense of confirmation--of being at the right place at the right time makes all the difference. I'm in the middle of the process right now, but I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing.

I love what Mother Theresa said once when she was asked if things were better in Calcutta as a result of her efforts: "It doesn't matter that we're successful as long as we're faithful." Therein lies the contentment.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

These are a few of my favorite things...

I admit it. Yesterday I was feeling a little grouchy (yes... it happens... especially when I get pulled over because my windows are tinted too dark. What, you might ask? Yes, it's true. The cop even told me my car wasn't registered in my name, but then it turns out he punched in the wrong number. Hmmmmmm....). So on the way home from class last night I turned on my Sound of Music soundtrack and blasted "My Favorite Things" with my windows down and my sunroof open. Then I sang as loud as I dared. I decided I didn't care what other people thought of me.

It sort of reminded me of one of my favorite JB things--her depression sunglasses. She had this totally old school HUGE 1970s sunglasses that she kept in her car and when she was feeling a little depressed, she would whip out those babies and put them on, then smile and wave at all the folks. I love it. Wreckless abandon of fashion sense and what other people think, singing at the top of your lungs... these are a few of my favorite things...

What are YOURS?

Friday, September 07, 2007

OBX and the End of the Summer

I know, I know, it's been a little while since I've blogged, but since school started last week I've been reading like a wild banshee (I hope they read--they should). So how great was Labor Day weekend at the Outer Banks? It was my first experience at Duck Beach and it was almost magical. I loved it. LOVED it. And yes, I was a total nerd and toted a bag full of books to read on the beach.

If you've never been to the beach in North Carolina, I think you should make it a point in your lifetime to go. I've been often to the beach in California and even a couple of times in New York (I'm not sure Coney Island counts--but it's an experience all its own--and Fire Island was grand). But nothing compares to the Outer Banks, where the water is warm, the body surfing is exhilerating, the sun is pleasant and the sea breeze is invigorating. We experienced the beach at all its finest hours: early in the morning for a quick run, throughout the day, biking in the afternoon, in the evening at sunset, and at night scrambling from sand crabs and ocean foam. Oh--and the lighthouse!We rented a big beach house with about 20 people--complete with a pool and a hot tub, across the street from the beach. It was all about cards and food and BBQs and talking and lounging and ME dancing. It was the perfect end of the summer, and now it's time to really buckle down and hit the books.