Tuesday, April 28, 2009

turkish delight, an intro

i don't think i have made any secret of the insanity of my life lately, and i was frankly starting to wonder if it was some kind of sign that i shouldn't come to turkey after all. (and don't try to pretend like you don't believe in signs like those.)

but, despite all the odds, i got everythıng done and there i was, friday afternoon, at the airport and ready to go. and then i was feelıng pretty good about the whole thing. (signs, schmigns.) i had two pounds of red vines in my bag, a good seat on the plane (though not as nıce as busıness class seat my friend shane, who happened to be on the same flight to paris, snagged. the stinker), a nice seatmate and i fınally decided to breathe a sigh of relief and let everything go besides the awesome trip in front of me.

a little nap, a football movie that made me cry (and don't try to pretend like that never happens to you), some dinner, a call for a doctor on board, another nap, and then we were suspiciously descending even though i was pretty sure paris was stıll many hours away.

as it happens, i was right and we were, in fact, touching down in montreal. the call for a doctor on board was to attend to a passenger who had a seizure and then went into cardiac arrest at the back of the plane, and we were diverting to montreal to get him off. and no, they were not shooting an epısode of house. it's cool though. i had never been to montreal. plus shane brought me his fancy business class toiletry kit as a little diversion condolence gift.

what was not cool was that the delay meant i completely missed my connecting flight in paris, as well as my joyous reunion wıth dana. i won't lie and say i dıdn't contemplate just headiıng the sign and catching a flight home and bagging the whole thing. because i dıd. but instead i got on a flight to instanbul later that day, made it wıth no problem and was joyously reunited wıth dana at our hotel instead.

i feel like i got the better deal, though, as dana was not joyously reunıted wıth her luggage until a day later.

and so, the trip began.

now, i have loads of really great pictures to show you of stunning mosques and crowded markets and piles of exotic spices and charming ruins, all taken on a super-fancy camera that becky lent me. the only trouble being that i stıll haven't figured out how to get pictures off that fancy camera and onto the computer. so, you'll just have to wait for all of that.

not to worry, though. i thınk you can do it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

bye bye birdies

i am off. right now.


keep your eyes here for updates from foreign lands. (hopefully.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

cracking up

the fact that my editor offered me some of her prescription anxiety medication yesterday should give you some indication of how my life is going these days.

the list of culprits is long and includes (but is not limited to): a broken water heater (and cold showers/washing my hair in the sink for the past four days); a cancelled domestic flight in turkey; a long and ultimately unfruitful call to a call center allegedly located in the u.s. trying to fix it; 4,000 words worth of stories filed in the last two days.

and let's not forget that little cross-country move coming up.

needless to say, there has been a lot of stress lately, and i have been handling it very badly.

but luckily, in addition to all those bad things, these good things happened, too.

bri boiled some water for me this morning so i could pour it into the tub and have a (mostly) warm bathing experience.

stephanie offered to drive out to fashion place mall (past 3300 south. like i have time for that) and pick up some plug adaptors for me.

dana found me another domestic flight to replace my cancelled one.

ricky took me out for thai food last night, and brought over a little travel kit this evening.

i have two pounds of red vines for the plane.

i have decided not to worry about anything else, except for having a wonderful vacation.

and now i think i am going to watch mama mia! to get me in the right frame of mind. a movie set in greece is close enough, right?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

mexican train

{this is not actually my homemade flan. though i am positive mine was just as delicious.}

the event: my last sunday friendinner (*sniff, sniff*)

the menu: a mexican potluck, with chicken and bean tostadas (they had a more fancy name, but it escapes me), a delicious salad with pears and grapefruit, strawberries as big as my head and dipped in whipped cream, my homemade flan (first try!) and homemade fried ice cream to boot.

the players: ricky, the gourmand and mastermind; stephanie, who had to leave just as the fun began; elliott, the salad-master; briana of the berries; amy of love and friendship; laura and jake of the mistakenly forgotten tortilla chips; jaron of much chicken-shredding and dish-washing; georgia, who slept through it all; ryan, the hometeacher and repairer of doused pilot lights.

the conversation: various but including why it is so difficult to remove eye liner; the recounting of awkward sunday school moments; what it takes to be an alpha male (peeing off elliott's front porch plays a prominent role); siblings; recipes; something medical and gross i couldn't listen to; how everyone will miss me terribly when i go.

well that makes two of us.

Monday, April 20, 2009

the district sleeps with me tonight, part 2

i did manage to do a few things in d.c. besides have a bunch of interviews and decide to totally uproot my life.


a little stroll past the white house (thanks, obama!)...

and a visit to the capitol.

though you might not know it by looking at this picture taken by a well-meaning but ultimately less-than-helpful stranger.

also, we had a delicious dinner of lebanese food, and a delicious brunch at asylum, a truly strange family-friendly/biker bar establishment with a vegan menu and red velvet and plastic bone decor. (the mango pancakes were divine.)

sarah and i did a quick tour of all the big monuments...

{i thought i was going to leave the vietnam memorial without crying for the first time in my life, but then i saw a young man, wearing fatigues, kneeling down and matching the name on a pair of dog tags to a name on the wall. and then it was over.}

(did i mention we saw honest abe himself? shortly before he was inexplicably escorted off the premises by the police.)

and we also celebrated easter with chocolate-eating and egg-dyeing.

in other words, just the way it is meant to be celebrated.

to fill in the holes, there was a lot of hysterical laughing, singing while stuck in traffic, metro riding, internet spying, catching up, breathing deep, hugging, exploring and deciding.

not a bad introduction to my new home.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


one time, when sarah and i were first called to serve together in the (ward) relief society presidency, we had a meeting with the stake relief society presidency (so many presidencies, so little time!) where they asked us to introduce ourselves so we could all get to know each other a little better.

this is what happened.

sarah: my name is sarah. i am from denver. i have a degree in journalism. i served a mission in japan. now i work for a local non-profit.

me: my name is frances. i am from denver. i have a degree in journalism. i served a mission in japan. now i work for a local newspaper.


sarah: but i did it all first!

and so it was that we realized we had been living parallel lives all along, which is fine with me because there are few footsteps i would rather follow than sarah's.

so it made perfect sense that when sarah decided to leave her high-powered senior analyst/technical writer position in washington, d.c., she called to see if i was interested. so it made perfect sense that her call came just as i was thinking it might be time for something new. so it made perfect sense that i sent over a resume, went out for an interview, got offered the job and accepted it. so it makes perfect sense that in a little less than a month i will pack up everything and head to a new life.

now you know.

this major change will obviously be a major topic on this (major) blog in the weeks to come, but here are some initial thoughts.

1. if we do not move forward, our lives do not move forward. this means different things for all of us, but it is true for all of us nonetheless. we must change or be changed and i, for one, would rather dictate the circumstances than let them dictate me.

2. that does not mean that change is not scary and hard and it is possible that i will die of a panic attack. but i am going to embrace change anyway.

3. i am truly thrilled for a new chance, a new opportunity, a new adventure, a new challenge, new learning.

4. my heart is also breaking at the thought of leaving behind four years of life and people that i absolutely love. my life in salt lake has blessed me with things i never could have imagined would become a part of me, chief among them some of the nearest and dearest friends i have ever known. i will find good people wherever i go, but no replacements, i am sure.

5. sometimes, when we bring our true desires and efforts before the Lord, He blesses us with exactly the thing we want.

6. i have no idea how i am going to fit all my shoes into my car.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

the district sleeps with me tonight

i'll be spending a lovely easter weekend with lovely friends, here.

and i will tell you all about it when i get back.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009


for the sole purpose of tooting my own horn, i share with you that i have, up until now, been instrumental in the eternal unions of three-- count them, three!-- couples. (dear karma: it's cool. take your time.)

that makes me three for three. which i would say is a pretty good average, especially considering we are talking about that fickle and enigmatic mistress, love.

since i've had so much success nudging adults in the right direction, i decided to line up baby kyle and baby natalie and see if my skill transfers to smaller people. if this baby engagement-style photo is any indication, i would say the answer is yes.

i am also just going to put it out there that baby natalie totally came onto kyle, lunging towards him and trying to eat his shirt (what a flirt!), while baby kyle seemed a little more unsure about the whole process. and then he started to cry.

so, it looks like baby-land parallels adult-land in all kinds of ways.

Monday, April 6, 2009

free taters for out-of-staters

i went up to idaho this weekend, land of a conveniently located target, deliciously open fields and country roads, home-cooked food (that is not spaghetti) and mexican train all night long, as well as many cousins and the various issue of their loins. (some of whom had recently fallen down concrete stairs.)

there is something entirely soothing about being in the bosom of your family, and it was a treat being around all those little kids, especially because i was not the one who had to change their diapers or put them in time-out when they climbed on top of the pool table.

the trip also afforded me the opportunity to test-drive my latest playlist, a 30th birthday gift for ck and sallee with one song from every year that they have been alive. good idea, huh? it wasn't mine. it was kat's. as i am not that great at making good playlists, i also enlisted some help from heather, mother of the genius valentine's mix. and, under their tutelage, i managed to put together something pretty good. if i do say so myself. which i do.

the initial listen reminded me of a few very important things.

1. no matter how long it has been, you never forget the words to mariah carey songs. same goes for the spice girls.
2. just because a kanye west song isn't labeled "explicit" doesn't mean it is not full of swears.
3. the 80s were awesome, mostly thanks to erasure. (warning: this video involves a highly revealing unitard.)
4. dancing to "u can't touch this" in a high wind area, though fun, is a bad idea safety-wise.
5. j.lo actually rocked it. before marc antony, that is. so did britney spears. before the mental breakdown, that is.
6. n*sync is way better than the backstreet boys. but they're both still pretty great.
7. despite his magically disappearing face, his strangely-named children and his bizarro neverland ranch (not to mention all the things that allegedly went on there), michael jackson is still the king.

(insert favorite MJ song here. and don't pretend like you weren't going to do that anyway.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

idolize 2.0

let it be known that david archuleta fan(atic)s are among the most fervent you will ever meet.

they scream louder than you have ever heard in your life. (their dads all wear ear plugs.)

they chant, clap their hands and sing along.

they cry tears of unadulterated joy (as evidenced by the girl sitting behind us), while repeating with almost manic ardor, "ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh."

some of these fans are moms.

they move en masse, trailing gleeful squeals and giggles.

they snap up merchandise at alarming rates. (i was tempted to procure a t-shirt of my very own. but not tempted enough.)

some of these fans are you friend neil, try as he might to deny it. (if you think you spot a friend at a david archuleta concert, just send him a text. when you see him open his phone a few seconds later you'll know it's him, even though he'll try to tell you that it's not. then he'll try to blame it on his little sister.)

now, not to go all mrs. robinson here, but i think i get it. david archuleta is straight-up darling. he's just so happy to be here, back home and he can't believe the crowd. i mean, wow, you guys! he wants to take your picture. he bounces around the stage in his white sneakers and hoodie and sings so earnestly about all his nights alone without your love. and even though you know he can't possibly have any idea what that's really like, he's just so darn cute, it doesn't matter.

and, though he's not a lyrical or musical genius (let's remember, "this crush ain't goin' away"), his tunes are clean and catchy. and i am not ashamed to say that i danced.

in short, if i were a 12-year-old, i would totally tap that.

fool me once

the best april fools' joke ever played on me went like this.

when i was in high school, there was a missionary serving in my ward named elder craynor, who hailed from one rexburg, idaho. around the same time that elder craynor was scheduled to go home, my bestie, natalie, went out to rexburg for school.

with me so far?

at the start of the second semester, i got an e-mail from natalie. (the internet was still pretty new and i was using AOL. this i remember well.) i would never believe it, but elder craynor (first name: casey) was in her english class at ricks (now, byu-idaho)! what were the odds?!?

as the semester went on i would get little updates from natalie about elder craynor. they had become reacquainted; they went out to lunch; he asked her out on a date; they were spending a lot of time together; it was getting pretty serious. and then, they were engaged! what were the odds?!?

the one trick being that, because all this business about bumping into elder craynor had started way back in january, i didn't even notice that her little engagement e-mail came on... you guessed it... april fools' day.

and it didn't help that she had conscripted all our friends from the ward, who also knew elder craynor, to back up her story in the face of my incredulity. by the end of the day, i was resigned to the fact that it must be true. not that it would have been a bad thing, of course, but it turned out that it didn't matter either way because it wasn't true at all. what are the odds?!?

natalie came clean later that day, so i didn't live in ignorance for long, thankfully. turns out elder craynor really was in her english class, but that was where the reality ended. i had to congratulate her on a well-played and rather involved prank, but i also vowed right then and there to get natalie back and get her back good.

yeah, i'm still working on that.