Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Adventures in Poughkeepsie

A recent letter from our dear Sister Baxter, currently serving in the New York New York Spanish speaking mission!

(If you would like to write her, her address is on her facebook page!)

To everybody:

I didn't want to write the same stories 6 times but I thought you deserved your first personal letter so this is the "story letter."

#1) I live, well proselyte, in the ghetto. One day while walking down Main Street Poughkeepsie (very different from Main St USA by the way) we were stopped by some police officers. I know we're not doing anything wrong, but I'm still nervous. Cop #1, we'll call him B.G. for "Big Guy" asks what we're doing. My hija ["daughter"--a missionary nickname for a younger, newer companion] looks a little frightened so I go into an explanation about how we're missionaries and we have a message about the love of God. Then I give him a pass-along card. B.G. then tells us to go down to the "Spanish side of town because they eat stuff like that up." Stuff? You mean, like, religion? Uh, ok. Then B.G. continues to tell us how rough Main St is and says (exact quote, I wrote it down), "This is street is a breeding ground for narcotics and an amusement park for murderers and rapists." Who uses amusement park, murder, and rape in the same sentence!? Then Cop #2, L.G. (Little Guy) points across the street and says "We had a rape over there just last night." Well, clearly you're not doing a good job of amusement park security! Then B.G. grabs his gun (still in holster) and says "There are a lot more of these floating around than the general public would like to admit." My hija then give L.G. a pass-along card and we continue on our merry way. Thanks for that comfort and protection, guys!

#2) I have been grounded more on my mission than my entire life. When it snows we aren't allowed to drive so we stay in. Today is P-Day and we are grounded. We walked to the library in the snow so we could e-mail, but it was closed. Not cool. There's only like 3-4" c'mon New York! Buy snow tires and go to work!

#3) I've been sung to on the street twice. Yesterday the little old black man with a cane sand us a gospel song (all 3 verses) called "One Day At a Time" while we stood on the sidewalk. He had a great voice. The other time a guy named Andrew saw us walking down Main Street and sang "Latter-day Saint POWER! Oh yeah! Hey sisters don't look at me I'm married!" He's crazy and not a member or investigator. He gave us his sister's address and told us he lived there in a $1.6 million house. He works @ Reggae Boy Cafe. The 2 really don't mix.

#4) I've taken up scrapbooking as a missionary. I bought 150 sheets of paper just because they were on sale. I also make cute envelopes, huh? [The letter came in a handmade, flower-print envelope, which was very cute indeed.]

#5) My hija and I have planning glasses. Mine are huge horn-rimmed beauties.

#6) St Patrick's Day is my 1/2 way mark! It's so crazy!!

#7) You guys are the best. I love you tons. Thanks for your examples and support. Don't freeze and go make a snow angel!

Love, Hermana Nellie

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Two reasons I can't wait for summer:

Reason #1:

"There were nights in winter when he woke with porcelain in his bones, with cool chimes blowing in his ears, with frost piercing his nerves in a raw illumination like white-cold fireworks exploding and showering down in flaming snows upon a silent land deep in his subconscious. He was cold, cold, cold, and it would take a score of endless summers, with their green torches and bronze suns to thaw him free of his wintry sheath. He was a great tasteless chunk of brittle ice, a snowman put to bed each night, full of confetti dreams, tumbles of crystal and flurry. And there lay winter outside forever, a great leaden wine press smashing down its colorless lid of sky, squashing them all like so many grapes, mashing color and sense and being from everyone, save the children who fled on skis and toboggans down mirrored hills which reflected the crushing iron shield that hung lower above town each day and every eternal night."
--From "The Scent of Sarsaparilla," by Ray Bradbury

Reason #2:

July 10th. For time and ALL ETERNITY!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Seasonal Affective Disorder

I don't know how many of you have the winter blues, but I got 'em something terrible. Despite the enormous happinesses that are present in my life lately, all this snow and cold and stress is really getting to me.

So in case it's getting to you too, I offer this cheerful little post to uplift you! All of you mean a whole lot to me, and I'm so grateful for the friends and loved ones who help me to carry my burdens, even when they seem to overwhelm. Your support is a miracle.

They say laughter is the best medicine, so here are some giggles for you.

First, words:

"I'm trying to create a new board game that combines Risk, Monopoly, and Chutes & Ladders. Oh yeah, and I'm supposed to use all of the planets somehow." --Shaun Scrivner's 5th grade student

Jacob: "Small-mouth Whittaker."
Liz: I should be a mobster.
Jacob: Or a bass.

"You know, for being a dog-rooster, you're pretty anticlimactic." --Brant Hurley, Comic Frenzy

"Hawmps" whiteboard message
- Liz's jump drive/free time
- Mallory's scissors
- Annie's voice
- Lauren's sanity
- Carrinne's ring
- Hannah's name on this list
- The Book of Lehi

Liz: Look at this pretty twinkle wonderland! (pause) I sound like Meredith Bellows.
Annie: Yeah. (pause) Or a pervert.

Panther (the cat): Meow!
Ray: You only say that because you're a cat.

Liz: I never played with kazoos as a child. I have lots as an adult.
Jacob: I never have as an adult! They should give you one when you're grown up.
Liz: "An inaugural kazoo."
Jacob: "You are now an adult. Here is your kazoo. You'll need this."

"He looks so scary! Look at his eyes! He has no soul! And he's tap-dancing!" --Beckah

"My name's Gibralter. Like the strait." --Jacob

"And we'll have lots of toppings for all you silly people who like jelly on your pancakes." --Bret Abernathy

(on discussing rhubarb) "AND it's leaves are poisonous! That's what's so great about it. Half of it is DEADLY." --Beckah

"Oh no! She's hi-jacked the scoop-a-ma-thon!" --Jacob (while playing with toy trucks in the grocery store)

"I've always liked the idea of being a hippie, but I could never bring myself to...buy the shoes." --Jacob

"What?! It's not a hackey-sack! It's a muffin!" --Thomas

"You know there's a full moon on February 14th? I kind of hope some people's dates turn into werewolves." --Beckah

Jacob: Eucharist! (laughing) It's a metal band!
Seth: How is that funny?
Jacob: 'Cause it's a metal band!

Annie: Why did you write "school" on the board?
Aubrey: Uhm...I think it's an id manifestation.
Annie: "School"?
Aubrey: I don't know! I like "s" words!

And last, pictures:

These are just some gems I've found on the internet recently (a handful from awkwardfamilyphotos.com) that have made me laugh.

A family after my own heart! I love it so much!

She must know something we don't.

Who doesn't love a nun on stilts? This is just a funny idea to me. Nuns on stilts.

This one is for you, Jesse.

May this be the temporary sunshine unto your soul until the REAL sun can take over!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I used to celebrate Valentine's Day by dressing in black and listening to "anti-love" music, but now that I've got someone, I'm unsure how to proceed. I'm not sure where my loyalties lie...to my future husband, or to the ranks of singles whose opinions about V-Day I still sorta share (strictly commercial holiday...hmm...). I guess in this entry, though, I'll stick with love.

After numerous demands from various parties to hear the proposal story and see pictures of the ring, I am answering the call! Here's how it went down.

Jacob and I met playing husband and wife in a one-act play last summer.

He was actually engaged at the time, so I ignored my growing adoration until he told me that the wedding was off (which was because of a lot of things, and NOT because of me! I'm not a home-wrecker!). Then I faced the music and realized that I'd already fallen fast and hard. We stayed friends for a while, finally confessed our mutual adoration, and eventually made it official and exclusive. We've been dating happily since August.

Early in January, we both separately had some affirming experiences that made us realize that we wanted to marry each other, and that making that decision would be a good thing that the Lord would be pleased with, and that it could really work. So we continued to think and pray and talk about it a little, and finally, at the top of a hill in Rexburg on night (the very same hill on which Jesse Thorson realized that Kathleen was the one), we decided to get married!

We kept it a secret for a long while, sneakily going ring-shopping and figuring out a date. I told him that I would love a big public proposal, which he was great with, and we both separately thought of him asking me during curtain call of Macbeth, which we're both in. But as time wore on, we both grew impatient. Macbeth doesn't open for another week, and I wanted to be able to tell people NOW! So I gave him my father's contact information, and kept reminding him to call.

So I was impatient. =) Then on Wednesday night at rehearsal, Roger (the director) requested that everyone be in the theatre for Jacob's porter scene, since he's running around the audience and making jokes with them, and it's awkward for him to rehearse messing with an audience if there isn't one there. As we gathered into the theatre for his scene, I thought in my heart, "Oh, if only it could be tonight! I want it so badly!!! I'm so eager and impatient. He could do it during the porter scene. And everyone's here, and it's so perfect. But he hasn't called my dad yet, and I don't even know if he actually HAS the ring, and there's just no way it could be tonight. Oh, but how I wish it was!"

And looking back, I think my crystal child self could sense something in the air. But my grown-up, logical self was saying that it couldn't possibly happen that night.

Anyway, in the porter scene, Jacob gets to run around the audience and make knock knock jokes and make up lines. There's one particular joke when he jumps off the stage at a very particular point. When he got to that part, though, he jumped off the stage and landed in front of me, without saying the line that he usually did. I was thinking "What's going on? Why didn't he interrupt the way he usually does?" And then suddenly he was kneeling in front of me! And grabbing the ring from Jordan, who was sitting next to me! And saying "Will you marry me?"

And I gasped and cried and laughed and said "YES!" and flung myself into his arms. Everyone was cheering and clapping, and then the lights came on and we kissed and he put the ring on my finger. It was especially wonderful to have so many people that we were close to--and people that I've known and loved for YEARS--be a part of the experience...Meredith and Carrie and Scott, Jordan, Nancy, Roger, Gary, Annie. Afterwards, I was so overwhelmed that I just called my mom, texted my sisters, and then made a general announcement on facebook. (I take a moment now and apologize to all my dear close friends whom I didn't call to tell personally. I was orbiting other worlds and must be forgiven any social faux pas.)

It turns out Jacob had the ring all along, and had called my dad earlier that afternoon, before rehearsal. Sneaky boy. =) But he's only sneaky when he's about to surprise me with really really wonderful things. Altogether, it was one of the more wonderful experiences of my life. It was one of those moments of pure, unadulterated magic. Not the hocus-pocus kind, but the I'm-surrounded-by-beauty-and-love kind. The "Alive"-by-Pearl-Jam-in-concert, Sundays-in-Yellowstone-Park, singing-karaoke-in-a-bar-in-Idaho-Falls-for-Carrie's-bachelorette-party, riding-a-motorcycle-around-Rexburg kind of magic.

I'm so excited to marry this man. He is one of the most open, fun, caring, wonderful people I've ever met. I'm marrying my best friend (the one that's a boy, at least), and I can't wait.

So if you're in the Rexburg, Idaho area on July 10th (tentatively), stop by our reception. There will probably be cookies. And dancing. And a lot of love.

Pictures of the ring and a video of the proposal to follow sometime soon!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

In the mean time...

I PROMISE I'll post about the proposal story soon! I'm just waiting for pictures of the ring and a copy of the recording. But in the mean time, I got spring fever something terrible.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Better than magic

If you're in town around July 10th, you're invited to the WEDDING!!!! Proposal story and pictures to follow soon -- stay tuned! He proposed during Macbeth rehearsal, hence the witch wig in the above photo.

I'm in love with him.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Facebook fads

A current facebook status fad: apparently you can type your name in at Urbandictionary.com for a definition of yourself.


1. (Noun) basically the definition of being amazingly cool and fun. can dance black as hell, whether their black or not. athletic, fun and wild. gets into trouble a lot. says stupid things, but people like Liz's. sexy, and fiiiiiiiine.

1b. The most beautiful woman in the world. Despite what she may think of herself, she's very smart, and very very sexy. She's also the sweetest person in the world.

2. (Verb) The act of being incredibly cool. Commonly misunderstood to mean "one who is attracted to homosexual men."

3. (Adjective) A positive attribute that one possesses, or can be gained by physical and mental labor, similar to coolness and beauty.

The other definitions were super-offensive, but this was a nice confidence-booster for the day. My favorite is the part about how I can dance "black as hell."

Damn straight.