Thursday, May 18, 2017

J + R


Once upon a time I worked in the Student Records office at WGU. There was a new guy named Justin who seemed cool, but had a girlfriend, so I never gave him much thought until several months later when he was assigned to my team (which had previously consisted of only me). To be honest, I told my supervisor that there wasn't enough work for two people on the team, and I didn't think it was a good idea.

Imagine if she had agreed with me.

But Justin did get moved to the Transcripts team and we soon became fast friends. We had the same strange sense of humor and could chat for hours. It was easy to talk to him about deep things like religion, politics, and life in general. We had some **real** discussions pretty quickly into our friendship, and we gave each other advice about tough topics. Justin broke up with his girlfriend and I was going through some weird times personally, so we talked a lot and it was nice to put down the 'funny girl' mask. I introduced him to Hamilton and he sent me new bands to listen to.

 My friend Hannah and I would go on walks around the building twice daily; soon Justin started joining us for them. And at some point it became only Justin and I. But the three of us would do mail runs at the end of the day, and often linger outside on a bench in the spring sunshine. Sometimes I felt like I was going to die if Justin didn't like me, because he'd started growing facial hair and it was ruining my life. I'd never had a really close male friend before and it turns out that it's awesome but also I was hardcore falling for him.

Last spring was exhilarating but also terrifying because I had such an intense crush on Justin, we were spending TONS of time together, he would text me after work and tell me that I was awesome, but I didn't know if he liked me back. I AGONIZED over this: in my journal, to my roommates, basically all the time. The butterflies were out of control. At times I felt that he might have a bit of crush on me back, but then I'd quickly quash that idea because, like, it's me.

It was at a memorable Once Upon a Mattress rehearsal that we both took leaps. We'd been choreographing a dance number called "The Spanish Panic" and I was focused on not dying*(#SingerWhoMoves). Several hours into it we got a break and I checked my phone. Justin had texted me “Soo, you’re pretty fantastic. Seriously. I was thinking about it today and I really hope I get to marry someone like you someday.”

He had never said anything like that to me and I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest. But the dancing picked right back up and by the time I was able to sit down again he'd texted, "Sorry if that was weird. I, uhh, didn't mean it to be. I just think you're cool is all." I took a breath and told him that his text could be construed as asking me out, and if he did I would say yes.

We didn't start dating right after that, what with still being on the same team. (This was Justin's decision, but he was probably right.) But he continued to say flirty things, the walks continued, and we started running after work as well. There are so many journal entries I'd like to quote, but suffice it to say there was a lot of "WHAT ARE WE I LIKE HIM SO MUCH" going on.

We kissed for the first time a few weeks after the initial risky texts. We were watching High School Musical 2 and there is no more romantic movie on this planet. But we STILL weren't dating officially! Deathhhhhh.  Three weeks after the HSM2 incident we were driving back from a date in Provo. It was June, the sun was just starting to set, and it was a completely beautiful night. I told Justin that I'd like to save the night in a pensieve. He paused and said, "I think I love you." 

It was honestly the most magical moment. He asked me to be his girlfriend the next day. 

So that was June, this is now. Justin told me that we'd be going out of town after Oliver! closed, but the destination remained secret. We packed up the rental car on Saturday morning and headed north, and then west. Justin told me we were going to Portland!! We went to Portland last fall and fell in love with it. We talk about moving there all the time, so I was very excited for a return visit.

One of my absolute favorite places in the world is Powell's. It's one of the largest bookstores in America, with sprawling rooms over three floors covered floor to ceiling with bookshelves. Any book you could ever want is there. It honestly takes my breath away. So we went to Powell's, and Justin told me that he had a present for me. He took out a book with pictures of us on the cover and that was all it took to start the tears from me. I am such a waterworks factory. 

When I opened the book it was full of my favorite quotes. I've been keeping a Quotations folder since 2010 with quotes from books I've read. I love it because it's not only the quotes that you'd find in an inspirational planner or something, but quotes from books that I care about that I found by reading. My Quotations folder is something that I am very proud of, and Justin put it in a more permanent form: a book that I can review and read (and cry over let's be real).

I was looking over this beautiful book and showing him different favorites and really appreciating the gift when Justin told me that his favorite quote was at the end. I turned to the last page and saw:

Cue more tears. Justin was down on one knee and asking me if I would marry him and I was crying so hard I couldn't even tell what the ring looked like. (Spoiler alert: It's the most gorgeous thing ever created.) Of course I said yes!!!

I always wanted my future fiance to do something special when he proposed, something to show that he truly knew me. But I never dreamed of how perfect it would be, and now Powell's has even more of my heart. I am so excited to marry Justin, and I don't know how I ever landed someone so kind, clever, and talented. I am beyond blessed.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Taken For Granted

Last Wednesday I lost my voice. Well, not completely, but it was scratchy to speak, painful to swallow, and impossible to sing without wanting to die. It sounded worse than it has in years, worse than I’d ever want anyone to hear me in public. Last Wednesday was also my preview performance for Oliver. What a beautiful overlap, she said sarcastically. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make any decipherable sounds onstage, let alone give a decent performance for Wednesday or Friday, the real opening night.

Wednesday was a struggle, and I faked it for the ensemble songs. Sorry, buddies. But thanks to swigging what felt like gallons of Mucinex, Dayquil, and hot drinks, as well as popping cough drops like candy, my voice returned in increments. By Friday I felt I’d be able to sing the Mrs Corney stuff, helped by the fact that my character is a nasty lady who doesn’t have to sing pretty. (Side note that a nasty lady is a whole ‘nother thing from a Nasty Woman, since Corney probably isn’t that cool.) But my voice still wouldn’t go above about a G.

Yesterday as I drove to Centerpoint for my performance, I was singing Beyonce in the car and hitting all the notes, or, as close as I have ever been able to hit them. Once we started the performance, I sang “Consider Yourself” and “Who Will Buy?” with the gusto I had wanted to last Wednesday. Thank goodness for modern medicine and cough drops. Which are part of modern medicine. But I digress. The point is that things we are temporarily deprived of, things we had been previous certain were ours, become quickly dear to our hearts. (Groundbreaking observation, I know.) 

As I drove to work yesterday I witnessed a violent collision between two cars: an SUV abruptly appearing from the left turn lane and a delivery van that had been cruising on through the green-lit intersection until it hit the SUV dead on. No one was hurt, amazingly.
I was driving the car directly behind the delivery van. Another second and it would’ve been me that had no time to brake before crashing. My car is much smaller than a delivery van or an SUV, and likely wouldn’t have fared so well. My hands shook as I continued my commute. I drive my car miles every day without hardly a thought. When I see the sirens that indicate an accident I think, “Wow, I hope everyone is okay” and then turn the radio back up. I forget that my car can kill me. For at least that day, I didn’t take it for granted.

On a lighter note than death, Netflix pulled Buffy the Vampire Slayer from its instant stream. -_- Not cool, not okay. It’s my all-time favorite show, for sure. If I don’t have instant access to Buffy, Spike, and early-seasons Giles I’m not going to be a happy camper. I bought the complete boxed set, but it won’t be here for at least five more days??? Unacceptable. Hurry up, US Postal Service. Justin has been asking when it’ll arrive too; we all take Joss Whedon for granted until his masterpiece isn’t readily on hand.

We take so much for granted: our families, our health, our homes. This is a reminder to hug the ones you love a little tighter. And don’t forget to binge watch while you still can. ;)