Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tomorrow I'm going show shoeing ... and I'm not going to eat.
I WILL give you juice...soon.
Posted by Noelle at 10:50 PM
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I drove past my grandpa's house yesterday, on my way to visit one of his neighbors who has become a dear friend. I've thought a lot about him since then. I can't help but wonder if he's proud of the life I'm trying to live - if he's happy with the choices I've made.
Do you believe in life after death? I do - and I believe that I will see my grandpa again. In my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - we believe that a marriage can last for eternity, not just until 'death do we part.' And if a marriage, performed by one with authority in a temple of God, lasts forever, so too do family units. I get to spend forever with the people I love most - and I love that.
All of that brings me to Chapter 5. I imagine this scene in heaven:
One day my grandpa said to his brother-in-law, my other grandpa, (go here for an explanation of my crazy family tree) "Gayle, what are we going to do with our granddaughter? We have to to find a way to help her out." And my grandpas probably had no clue...UNTIL Jason's grandpa Van joined his two friends.
My Grandpa Gayle - who was very astute - probably noticed that Van looked distraught.
"Van," he would have asked, "What troubles you?"
And Van would have said, "I have this grandson that I'm worried about. He has a lovely fireplace and no one to build a fire for."
And the three grandpas would have sighed...and then in unison they probably had an AHHH HA moment.
Someday I'd like to know how long our three grandpas have been plotting - and then I'd like to give them all a really big hug and say "THANK YOU!!!"
Because friends - meeting Jason is the best thing that's ever happened to me.
Oh and just one more thing:
Amy and Loralee...I LOVE that Jason thinks I'm beautiful...
And just one more one more thing:
Chapter 6 might contain a bit more juice...for you Amy.
Posted by Noelle at 12:38 PM
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Thank you...I knew I could find sympathy here.
People...your comments make me laugh. Jamie, yours make me laugh super a lot.
Chapter 4 is going to be written by Jason...I can't wait to read what he says...
* * * * *
Noelle says I'm cheesy...
I would tend to agree with her. I can't help it. It seems that the more I'm around her the cheesier I get. I'm not sure what kind of cheese, but I'm pretty sure it's the long stringy kind. I'm not typically like that. I guess it's been bottled up for so long that it's coming out in gobs. You know, the kind of cheese that certain pizza chains put in their crust that makes you think that you might die of cheese overload? Yep, ooey gooey goodness! These kind of quantities can be unhealthy, but so far I've kept it just below the threshold. I'm sure one day Noelle will finally say, "I just threw up in my mouth..." after a particularly cheesy episode, but until then I'm going to continue to lay it on thick! Who doesn't like cheese anyway?
When I first met Noelle in person it was at the REI, a place I'm normally very comfortable in. However, as she approached me I suddenly became less sure of myself. I had anticipated this meeting for awhile and couldn't wait to meet her, but at that moment all of my weaknesses flashed before my eyes (kind of like a near death experience, only that my life was replaced by my weaknesses). The thing I will never forget is Noelle's striking appearance. She literally made me take a step back and regretfully realize 'I'm really not worthy'.
It took considerable courage to even speak. It seemed when I did that the stuff coming out of my mouth didn't match my intellect. Although I can't completely remember what I said, I do remember that it wasn't very impressive...something like 'Uh...hi, I'm Jason", or something like that. I quickly came to my senses and asked her if she wanted to take a stroll around the store and she agreed. I prematurely assumed that she was interested in my line of work. We walked around and I showed her all of the stuff that I thought was so cool...backpacks, water filters, backpacking stoves, sleeping bags, and other amazingly awesome gear. Although she was interested, I couldn't quite get a read on her level of interest.
Fearing that I might really blow things, I decided it was about time we went to lunch so I picked one of my favorite restaurants, Barbacoa. I hadn't eaten all day so I was really looking forward to lunch. When we walked out to her car she gave me the keys. I thought, 'Are you serious? Awesome! I love this car!' (she drives a Toyota 4-Runner).
We walked into the restaurant, ordered, and sat down. As we began to talk I realized that she was much more that just her appearance...she actually was very articulate and, might I say, interested in me and not at all stuck-up! The fact that she was so kind and thoughtful struck me...traits that are very important to me. She was so complimentary and mentioned she looked forward to our meeting . We talked for what seemed like hours and I loved every minute of it!
After all that time together I realized that I had only eaten about half of my burrito, as hungry as I was, and didn't mind throwing the rest away. Just like most guys I love to eat, but I was only interested in getting to know this beautiful, articulate, kind, funny girl and really didn't care about anything else (there's a little sample of cheese for you). Thus came my first impression of not wanting to mess anything up, but also that I was very interested in wanting to learn everything about her. I guess you could say that I was beginning to fall hard...
Once we left the restaurant, I took her back to REI, as I was working there at the time helping with one of their major sales of the year, and walked her to her car. I was so worried that I had been too shy it concerned me the rest of the day, but Noelle later told me I had nothing to worry about. All in all it had been a wonderful day...I really couldn't wait to see her again!
So there you have chapter 4 from my perspective. Cheese and all :).
Posted by Noelle at 1:43 PM
Saturday, December 26, 2009
That's the greeting I got when I walked into my mom's house a few minutes ago.
"Why mom? I wrote one just a few days ago."
"The neighbors need an update...you would be surprised how many people have called me."
"Gee Mom, I didn't know the neighbors read my blog." That's what I said.
So...although this might not be what the neighbors are expecting...(it will come Natalie, it will come) here you go...the next chapter.
Jason mentioned one day in an email that he would be in Salt Lake City for work. He didn't say anything about meeting me and I kind of thought he was a chicken...so I suggested that I meet him and get some snow shoe advice. He made up for his chickenness (it's my blog...I can make up words) and said, "I would love to take you to lunch." It was settled...I was going to meet Jason at REI and we were going to get lunch.
Saturday came, and to be honest, I was nervous! I was excited to meet Jason but I was worried that there would be no spark. We had great communication and I wanted there to be more. My sister-in-law, who I LOVE and ADORE, suggested that I take a lighter with me...that's how much she was hoping for spark.
Jason told me he would be hanging out in the snowshoe department and that he would be wearing a white visor. When I walked into the doors of REI I thought I was going to hyperventilate...and to make matters worse the snowshoe department was near the front of the store. I skirted the snow shoes and walked around the store for a bit, trying to find my courage. (I'm not usually such a whimp...really.)
I finally approached him and from the minute he said hi my nerves were calmed. There were no awkward moments, the conversation was good, and there was definitely spark. (Hooray for spark!)
We spent 4 hours together and we never ran out of things to talk about. We laughed a lot and we had a great time. I didn't want to say goodbye when he walked me out to my car, and I'm guessing that he didn't want to say goodbye either. (Jason did you want to say goodbye?)
We stood at my car talking for a few minutes and then he gave me a hug. I was half hoping that he would kiss me but he didn't...
I smiled the entire drive home.
Posted by Noelle at 3:43 PM
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Dad was driving, and Mom was next to him, asleep. My siblings were sprawled across each other, also asleep. I was wide awake, staring out into the darkness as the miles passed. On occasion we would pass a home that would have one lone light bulb shining through the darkness.
The homes were small, made from red brick, and they were spread out with several miles between each one. One home stands out in my memory. Rather than having only one light bulb, it had a strand of colored lights...running from the front of the house to some point out in the middle of the yard. I remember wondering about that family: how many people lived in that home? Did they have a Christmas tree? Did they have gifts to open? Did they have enough to eat? Did they have the money to pay for the electricity to power that strand of lights?
Years have passed, and yet each Christmas season when I drive down a road and see Christmas lights shining through the darkness I think of that home in Baja, Mexico. I find peace in knowing that at Christmas time that little family and I are unified. We are celebrating the same thing: the birth of Jesus Christ. Our lifestyles are different, our circumstances are worlds apart, but in the thing that matters most, we are one.
Christmas allows all of us that opportunity...to be one with our fellow men...in honoring the birth of He who makes everything possible.
May your Christmas be filled with His love...
Posted by Noelle at 10:08 AM
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
After the initial exchange of emails Jason and I emailed several times a week...and we learned a lot about each other.
Here are some details:
Jason is 39.
He works as a sales rep for several outdoor gear companies...he sells snowshoes, backpacks, tents, etc. He would never say this but he's really good at what he does.
His favorite color is blue.
He climbed a volcano in Ecuador last year.
He almost died once in an avalanche. (Perhaps that is a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one.)
In an email I sent to him I said something about my grandpa being from the small town of Fountain Green.
He emailed back and said that his grandparents were also from Fountain Green. In fact, his grandma's sister Eulita still lives in Fountain Green.
His grandma's sister Eulita named one of her daughters Beatrice...after my grandma Beatrice who died when my mom was a baby...Eulita's daughter Beatrice and I are friends...and Eulita is one of my favorite people.
And as I mentioned before, our grandpas were the best of friends. His grandma loves showing me pictures of her husband and my grandpa.
In one email Jason sent me, he sent me this link: www.youtube.com/user/pianojasonlivy
I had already decided that Jason was pretty much perfect for me, but listening to him play the piano sealed the deal.
Piano music makes my heart happy...it always has.
Whenever we're together Jason plays the piano for me...and I just snuggle into the couch and smile.
Posted by Noelle at 8:57 AM
Friday, December 18, 2009
For as long as I can remember I mocked the idea of looking for someone online. I didn't mock it for other people...only for myself. The first time I signed up online I did it on a dare. I lasted for three weeks. After a couple of disastrous dates (my fault...not the guys) I deleted my profile and said, "There. I did it. I proved it didn't work for me."
Fast forward many months later. My relationship with the dentist ended...somewhat painfully...and I was completely gun shy about trying again...with anyone. I was at dinner one night with some friends and we were discussing the pros and cons of online dating. We agreed that we would all try it together. (As most of you know, I agreed mostly because of the stories I could tell on my blog.)
To say I got a lot of messages would be an understatement. I couldn't quite figure out what the big deal was. EVERY person who sent me a message said something about my looks...and to be honest, it drove me crazy. (Maybe I'm just weird.) I had decided that I was going to give it one more week and then I would delete my profile.
One day I was reading my messages and I found this one:
From all appearances, it sounds as though you have had a great life! Hopefully things will only get better :)...
I've backpacked into the Grand Canyon a number of times and have absolutely loved it! My two favorite trails are the North Bass Trail and Hermits Trail. Absolutely spectacular! You have set a worthy and fulfilling goal. Climbing out of the canyon is the challenge but totally worth it!
I love South America! I recently traveled to Ecuador and climbed a huge volcano called Cotopaxi. I ate in this authentic restaurant in a town that was really out of the way. We actually had to motorcycle to get there. I hope to do it again someday...wish I could speak the language.
Glad you liked your mission enough to mention it in your profile. I loved my mission as well and served in Iowa. I use the lessons I learned and the testimony I gained there on a daily basis... I'm going to ask a question, but don't feel obligated to answer. I would love to hear about the book you're wanting to write. Fiction or non?
You have an admirer...
Who wouldn't respond to that message? My little sister read the message over my shoulder and said, "He's nice. You better write this one back."
I wrote him back that same day and thanked him for the sincerity of his message.
Secretly I was thanking him for not saying one thing about how I looked. Good move Jason, good move.
And I promise pictures of my house next week!!!
I'm headed to Jason's for the weekend...5 hours is a long drive...but the end result is worth it!
Posted by Noelle at 9:33 AM
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Posted by Noelle at 11:46 AM
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
* * * * *
I was nervous!
The day began cold and blustery. I knew there would be some weather, which didn’t discourage me really. I was the proud owner of a large array of various jackets, hats, gaitors, and gloves that would easily combat any adverse weather. After my grandma’s warning, I didn’t want to take any chances in making sure Noelle was safe and warm. Noelle was in good hands!
We loaded the car and set out to the destination I had planned. We parked the car and, with some apprehension, began the task of layering, putting on the snowshoes, getting the poles the right length, and making sure everything was in order. There was no way this was going to go wrong!
I could tell that Noelle was a little nervous, not only with the idea of heading into the great unknown, but in her ability in learning how to snowshoe. I told her that with my 10 step program she would be an expert! So, with that, I had her take 10 steps…
Noelle picked it up very quickly and we were off to my secret destination, Jake's Love Shack. We walked around, and it seemed to elude me, but we finally found it. Apparently someone had discovered this old cowboy cabin and did some ‘renovations’ which included an old chewed up bed, some plexiglass windows, and a bit of insulation. My father had warned me about taking her there, fearing that she might get the wrong idea. I assured him that she, nor he, had anything to worry about.
Once there we went inside to find a rather cozy haven but little desire to explore the ‘love shack’ idea. We looked around, felt good that we had done it it’s due diligence and then headed out. Unbeknownst to Noelle, the hard part was ahead of us. I wanted this to be fun, but also worth remembering. Taking Noelle to Strawberry Rock, though bold and daring on my part, would give her something to talk about and definitely remember…
The route to Strawberry Rock was a little daunting, especially in the winter. The path was covered with logs, overgrowth, and brush that seemed to thwart every step we took. It was also fairly steep which made getting any kind of traction even more difficult especially in 4-5 feet of snow.
Can I just say how impressed I am with Noelle?! She proved to me that she is every bit the outdoor girl she said she was. She never stopped smiling nor did I hear her complain. In my opinion, girls like her are so rare…
We both fell many times, but the snow was powdery soft and we were so bundled up that it was actually fun! (This is Noelle...Jason is being kind. I don't think he fell once.)
Once at Strawberry Rock, a beautiful view was unveiled to us. We could see all of the Colorado Plateau, other than some ground level cloud cover, and the newly fallen blanket of snow made everything look celestial. It would have been absolutely magical, except for the wind.
I took Noelle down to a nearby rock to get out of it. We drank hot Irish Crème Hot Chocolate and ate a bit of a peach fruit bar. Here I was, with one of the most beautiful girls I’d ever known, in one of my favorite places in the world. I really did feel I was the luckiest guy on earth! There was only one thing left to do…
The way down proved to be more of a challenge and we seemed to tumble all the way down. (Me again...I tumbled, Jason ran.) It being very steep was a bit scary but Noelle took it in stride. Even after falling several times, all I heard from her was laughter and ‘please help me up’ which I rushed to do. I had more fun than I had ever had taking anyone snowshoeing! I couldn’t wait to go again!
Later that evening I finally realized what kind of toll this took on both of us. Noelle quickly settled into the couch with a down comforter and a roaring fire. This was my opportunity to show her how much she meant to me by fixing a meal which included smoked brisket, a garden salad, and steamed vegetables. All the while Noelle took a well-deserved nap. I couldn’t think of a more perfect day!
Until next time…
Posted by Noelle at 2:05 PM
First you need snow.
A lot of snow.
Once you have the snow you need the gear. (This is where to comes in handy to be dating a gear nut.)
You will need a destination so that you are not aimlessly wandering through the woods.
Jake's Love Shack and then Strawberry Rock were our destinations. Sounds romantic doesn't it?
It's helpful to have a grandma who tells her grandson 'You make sure you bring that girl home safely.' (After she told us we were dumb for going in the first place. She is truly delightful.)
And then...well...you just put one foot in front of the other...for a long time. And when Jason says, "Do you want to climb straight up this mountain?" you say, "Let's go."
And you'll fall a lot...going up and coming back down. And you'll laugh and Jason will pull you back up.
When you reach your destination you should have a thermos of really warm hot chocolate...and it doesn't hurt to have a really cute date to share the hot chocolate with. (And that's all I'm sayin' about that.)
When you're done with snow shoeing you need a fireplace to sit in front of, a down blanket to wrap up in, Christmas music to listen to, a couch to fall asleep on, and someone to make you dinner while you sleep.
Now... who wants to go show shoeing?
Posted by Noelle at 10:02 AM
Friday, December 11, 2009
(Assuming I don't fall asleep during the 5 hour drive to his house.)
I bought new snow boots...hopefully I wore them enough yesterday to break them in.
(Don't tell Jason. If he finds out I bought new boots he might strangle me. He has connections everywhere and probably would have helped me get boots for a whole lot less $.)
((Dear Jason...don't strangle me!))
Want to hear an interesting tidbit?
Once upon a time Jason's grandpa and my grandpa were best friends.
(We didn't know that when we first met.)
My mom has pictures of Jason's grandpa, and Jason's grandma has pictures of my grandpa.
(This is where you sing the song 'It's A Small World')
Thanks to all of you who said you would write a letter to my friend in Afghanistan.
My email is email@example.com.
If you want to send your letters there that would be GREAT!
Have a FABULOUS weekend!
Stay tuned next week for pictures of my house and maybe a post from Jason!
Posted by Noelle at 10:12 AM
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The simple things in life are what make me happy.
Like having a friend who goes to Mexico and brings me back my favorite soda.
I searched everywhere and didn't find anyone.
Don't ask me what I would have done had I found someone. I didn't get that far in the thought process.
Maybe tonight I'll have a slumber party at my sister's house.
Dear Becca, can I sleep on your couch forever?
Posted by Noelle at 10:53 AM
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I don't think that's normal.
Want to read something really sweet and sappy?
This is what Jason said about meeting me for the first time:
"I have to admit that when you approached me at REI I wasn't prepared for that moment. I was really taken back by how beautiful you were! Although your profile pictures were good, I was completely caught off guard!"
I'm thinking I should do what I can to keep him around.
And now I'm out of time. (I stole my brother's computer and he will be back any minute.)
Wait...one more little thing...would you maybe, possibly be so kind as to help me with something? Would you write a Christmas letter/note/greeting to a soldier I know in Afghanistan and then email me or mail me your letters and I'll include them in a Christmas package I am going to send him? Pretty please with sugar on top? I know he will really appreciate it! If you're willing, let me know in the comment section and I'll send you my email/house address.
THANKS!!! I think every last one of you is simply splendid and my blog is ever so happy that you read it!
Posted by Noelle at 1:24 PM
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Because I feel like I've neglected you the last few days.
I'll try to make up for that with this post.
My hard drive probably crashed this morning. I'm still waiting for the official word. If I think about all of the pictures I may have lost I get a little sick to my stomach.
In case you wanted to know...Allie and I did GREAT at the piano recital. She was the star of the show. In my very unbiased opinion she performed the best and it just so happens that I didn't mess up either.
Saturday we resurrected our Christmas tree cutting tradition. We braved the elements and made the trek...it was delightful!
The kids were troopers...they laughed all the way up the mountain...and Uncle Ben didn't dump them out of the 6-wheeler once.
My sister is a Christmas tree beauty queen don't you think?
Josh and I did our best to keep each other warm.
See this picture? If you're observant you might notice that there happens to be an extra guy standing there...one you've never seen before. (He's the one on the left holding the tree.)
I think it's probably time I introduce you to Jason. Everyone...meet Jason.
Once upon a time Jason saw my profile on-line and sent me a message...a very sincere and sweet message. I sent him a message back...and so it went until one day we actually met and realized that we liked spending time together more than we liked emailing.
Last year at this time I was blogging about the fake tree I bought...the one that came with lights...I said I wouldn't get another real tree until I found a guy to put the lights on for me.
I cut a tree this year because Jason said he would put the lights on for me. Christmas doesn't get any better than that.
Posted by Noelle at 12:14 PM
Friday, December 4, 2009
At one point Allie stopped playing and said, "You're off." And she was right, I was messed up on the timing.
Posted by Noelle at 8:38 AM
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Written by Grandpa to Grandma on their anniversary
June 5, 1945
My Dearest Vic,
Remember five years ago? Oh boy what a day. Quite a contrast, then and now. I think the weather was even different, at least it's been quite cool here today. This makes two anniversaries I have been away from you. Here's hoping we’re together next year, and a lot sooner than that, I hope.
I have been out with the Sgt. tonight getting a few parts off some wrecked trucks about 25 miles from here. Gee, it’s pretty country. Everything is growing so nice. We passed through several small villages where the houses are right to the edge of the crooked cobblestone road, and most people wear wooden shoes. The women out working in the fields look just like the pictures of these countries we used to see – wooden shoes and white bonnet.
The men cut most of the hay – orchard grass or timothy, with a scythe, and then the women, girls, and boys help rake it with long toothed wooden rakes. I believe there are more women and girls working in these fields than men. In one small field we passed, the whole family was out raking and piling the hay. One girl was going up and down between the piles of hay pulling a big wooden rake, built like our little garden rake only much larger.
I certainly wish I had a camera so I could take some pictures. They would be very interesting. A few guys do have cameras, and I am in on a picture or two. I hope I get them.
If once in a while, you feel a little pain in this letter it’s my thumb. I hit it a good one with the hammer, and the lower half of the nail is black. I guess there goes another nail. Yeah man, it sure does throb.
Say, but it would be swell to talk with you in person. Don’t you think so kid?
Here's hoping you had a happy day today Vic, but I also hope you were just a bit lonesome. I was, and riding out in the country about sunset made it more so.
I guess it all just goes to prove, I love you Vic,
Posted by Noelle at 9:29 AM
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Maybe I lost it yesterday when I called Comcast and asked them to hook up my cable. After asking me a million questions and telling me my options, and me choosing the option I wanted, the lady said, "My computers are down today. I can't help you. You will have to call back tomorrow." Do you wonder why they didn't tell me that in the first place? Me too.
Maybe my sanity got lost in the shuffle of me moving stuff from one house to the other. 95% of my clothes are in the new house...tucked safely away in my walk-in closet. The rest are in a heap on my bedroom floor of the old house waiting to be washed. I didn't think that one through very well. This morning I realized that I had nothing warm to wear and had to drive over to my new house to find a sweatshirt.
I'm still sleeping in the old house. I'm waiting for a guy to install the blinds. It should have been done a week ago...but I'm learning that NOTHING is ever done on time. Call me crazy but I don't want to live in my new house until I can block the rest of the world from seeing inside.
Maybe my sanity is buried under the papers scattered all over my desk. (Dear Me...remember when you used to be organized? What happened?)
Maybe my sanity left when I agreed to play a duet with my niece at her piano recital. She's 8. My part of the duet? I had to say, "Mom, what is this note? I forgot how to read the notes that low on the scale."
Lest you think all is lost there are a few things that I'm hopeful will restore some of my sanity:
I bought the COOLEST table to go by my front door...and I found the perfect rug to match...on sale!
I have a dad who actually understands IRS tax forms.
I deleted my profile on the dating site. (Oh don't get mad...I'll still have stories for you...trust me.)
Sandra gave me a beautiful watch! Thanks!!! (You should go here if you want to get yourself a beautiful watch...or something else equally beautiful.)
My brother-in-law understands the importance of measuring everything twice...to make sure things are centered on the wall. (That is huge in my quest for finding my sanity.)
And if I can survive the week I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a great weekend.
With that...I'm off to find my keys...oh dear...I'm in trouble...
Keys? Where did you go?
Posted by Noelle at 2:37 PM