So it's been a while since I've written one of these long e-mails, so I decided to take the opportunity to write one while I'm alone. Jeffrey is currently the first counselor in a BYU single student ward, so he is at church on Sundays from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Sometimes he even gets to go back for more things in the evening. We are really enjoying our time there though. It has been a lot of fun. Our year is up in April. If everything goes by the book, then we'll be done then. I wouldn't mind staying longer, although it is weird to be in two wards, because our membership records are still in our BYU married ward. Anyway, suffice to say, Jeff and I have responsibilities in two congregations of our church, and it can get a little tiring.
Jeff is going to school full-time this semester. He is enjoying most of his facilities management classes, and he took the time to throw in a basketball class. He is also on an intramural basketball team with some of his friends. He scored 18 points in his last game! Some weeks he has been able to play basketball four to five times. On Tuesday, his friend (Aaron Poulton) called him and asked him to go play basketball. Jeff was kind of hesitant, and then he said, "I can't. I have to go salsa dancing." His friend said, "what?" Jeffrey replied again that it was salsa dancing. His friend's replay was "what are you gay?" Not exactly politically correct, but I found it pretty funny. :)
Jeff has been going salsa dancing with me for the past month (twice last week), because this Friday, we are teaching the students in our ward how to salsa dance (and merengue, bachata, cumbia, and maybe cha cha and samba if I can remember them). If you remember, I used to dance a lot before I got married. I am trying to remember the dances, and Jeff is trying to learn them. He's a good sport. The hardest difficulty we're having is that a lot of the turns can be a little difficult because of the almost a foot difference in our heights. Other than that we're doing pretty good. :) I love dancing again, and the exercise is great!
Jeff's other main activity is his internship. He has an internship with the Church this semester. He gets to travel to Salt Lake City every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. He is working for the Parley's Canyon Facilities Management Group. He watches over 65 church buildings. He is learning some really interesting things, because the church buildings in Salt Lake are really old, so they have very interesting designs and architecture. One had swastika designed in it (it was painted before the Nazis took that ancient sign to be their own). There are some with huge painted murals and stained glass windows. One has a room above the chapel for a "school of the prophets." Anyway, it's kind of fun, since all of our church buildings are so cookie cutter. We save the building money for the temples. But back then they really went all out on the church buildings. His favorite part about his internship is that he is already doing what he will be doing after he graduates. He decided to stay on full-time during the summer, so he is being assigned a lot of projects. He is pretty excited about it. We're not huge fans of the commute, but it is a great opportunity for him.
My life is pretty same old, same old. I did start running again though. Last fall I lasted about a month and a week, but then it got cold and dark, so I stopped. Now I am running/jogging with my next door neighbor. We started a week and a half ago. We go on Monday and Wednesday nights and then Saturday mornings. We've been jogging a mile, then I run another lap, and then we walk three laps. It's kind of funny though. The friend I go with is pregnant, so while this exercise will keep making me faster and faster, she is only going to get slower and slower. She is receiving different benefits though. It will be easier for her to lose weight after the pregnancy, and her doctor said the actual labor should be easier because of the exercise. It has been a lot of fun to have a friend to do it with.
I still love my job. It has its downsides, but I think they are kind of "real world" downsides that I just didn't know existed. My old jobs have allowed me to take non-paid vacation pretty much whenever I wanted. It is really difficult to get vacation approved here now, paid or non-paid. I also don't really like my upper level managers. My supervisor is an incredible guy though. I have currently written text for (I think) 123 websites, and I have edited the text for hundreds more. It is a lot of fun to actually get to be writing and editing. My department is growing, so things are kind of stressful right now. I've been told that our production assigned in January had a 170% growth from December, and our production completed grew to 130%, but we all have our limits. They are opening up at least two more in-house positions, and they are looking to get at least four freelance writers/editors to join our team. That is exciting, the growth to outsource, because that means after I have a baby (in a year or so) or after we move, I could keep working with this company if I wanted to. It is insane how quickly they are growing. We had a server crash last week because of the unprecedented amount of new accounts we've been putting in it. (Or something like that. That stuff is really all over my head.) However, I am still happy. I love writing, and I love editing.
I have also joined a writer's group. It is kind of interesting, because I am not trying to get anything published, but I did share some of my poems with the group. There are four of them who want to be fiction writers. We are going through their books chapter at a time, and I get to edit and critique. I never thought I wanted to get into book editing, but I am having a lot of fun. One book is a juvenile historical fiction; one is a fantasy fiction with a new spin on vampires and werewolves; then the other two are fantasy with magic and completely invented worlds with really unique plot lines. It has been fun to add this to my life.
On Saturdays, I still get to volunteer with hospice. My first lady passed away while I was on vacation over Christmas break. I know have a new one named Irma. She is turning 98 in April. She told me two weeks ago that I shouldn't live past 90. I told her it was her fault for being so healthy when she was younger! She agreed. :) She has been blessed though. Her husband only passed away in 2006, and they were able to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in 2002. She has four sons, and only one of them has passed away. She has tons of grandchildren and great-grandchildren that visit her. She is much better off than my first lady, Millie, who was completely alone. Irma is fun, but sometimes talking to me is hard on her. So we've begun a ritual of talking for about five to ten minutes, and then I sing for the next forty minutes, and then I read to her from various magazines for the remaining ten. It has been really fun to sing to her, because what's the use of a voice if I can't cheer someone else up? We joke that since she can't get out anymore, I bring the show to her. :) She can't really get out a whole lot. She has four caregivers who take turns watching her. They lift her out of bed and into her wheelchair and into chairs. She has shrunk a lot. I look at pictures and see a vivacious woman, but she is like 80 pounds now. She does eat a lot better than Millie though. It has been a lot of fun visiting with Irma. She is a lot older than my grandparents, but when I am with her I kind of wish that I could be with mine instead (even though I like her a lot). I just live too darn far away.
I am also still in my choir, the Mapleton Chorale. We have been meeting in Provo for the past few weeks instead of in Mapleton, so I have really enjoyed that. Instead of driving twenty-five minutes, I now walk a block and a half, and I'm there! We are working really hard for our concert on June 9 on Temple Square. We have been invited to have our own full concert there (as opposed to during Christmas when we just get 40 minutes in a long string of choir performances). It is pretty exciting for me. I'm not from Utah; I never dreamed I'd ever get to sing at historical Temple Square!
So that's my life. It's pretty wonderful. I feel very blessed for all of the gifts I have received and all of the family members and friends I have.
I would love to hear how you have been. Please keep me updated. And, of course, please come visit us! We can offer you a bed or an air mattress. We love guests.
Mimi (& Jeff)