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Boats in Venice

We said we could have skipped Venice. Too far away from the other cities we visited. Too tiny and claustrophobic. Too rainy, too dark.

But then I think of spending thirty minutes in a store full of masks, trying on gold ones, silver ones, red ones with Megan and pretending in front of the store mirror that we just arrived to a masquerade ball.

I think about looking for our hostel, “Venice Lagoon House,” which we found was a regular house outside of the city owned by a man named Luca. He had a couple of bedrooms, and when it got full, Luca slept on the couch next to the kitchen.

I think about Megan and me buying 4-euro pizzas from the pub two blocks from Luca’s and walking back to eat the boxes while watching Spiderman on Megan’s iPad.

I think about how excited we were to finally have a room we didn’t have to share with other people.

And when it was time to sleep, we were so delirious that we had a laugh attack. I don’t remember what was so funny, but we laughed until our stomachs burned.

I think about trying to weigh a peach at the grocery store and when I couldn’t figure out the Italian weight machine, an old woman came over and showed me how to print out a receipt sticker by pressing the button with the fruit name on it.

And when I said “grazie mille” to her, she took my face in her hands and said “Ohh, ohh” followed by cutsie Italian words.

I think about puddles and umbrellas scratching on brick walls as we tried to walked through tiny, busy streets.

Looking back, Venice was a dream.

Since I got back on Tuesday, Spencer and I have been saying each day that we’ll go running. We haven’t.

Today I woke up at 7am with more energy than usual and bullied Spencer out of bed. “Get up, you! No more sleeping!”

He groaned. “Will you scratch my back for just 10 minutes? I’ll feel so much more relaxed on the run. Please just scratch my back.”

I usually fall for Spencer’s morning back scratching whines. Not today.

“HECK NO, GET UP NOW!” I stood next to his face and jumped on the bed.

“That’s not good for the bed, you know.”

“Then get up!” I kept jumping.

We went outside and it was already sunny. Both of us like running when it’s dark. But I still pranced around and gave Spencer flirty kisses on his cheek to celebrate that we were running together.

I was mostly excited to show him the run to the zoo and then up the Bonneville shoreline. Amber, Charlie and I ran this last year every morning. No stops.

But before we got to the trailhead at the zoo, I was panting.

“I can’t do it. My knees. I can’t breathe. No. Too hard. No.” I was totally pooping out.

“We’ve got this,” Spencer said. “You lead. You set the pace. Let’s just get to that cement block at the top.”

I walked and waved my arms around, hoping my arms would distract Spencer from the fact I wasn’t really running.

“I’m so glad we did this,” he said. “Look how beautiful the valley is!”

My flirtiness had worn off and now I was the one whining. We walked through the shrubs and ran when another runner was passing us, until they couldn’t see us anymore and then we walked. I was pissed at myself.

“I’m so out of shape. I used to run this every day! I can’t even get to the trailhead.”

I gave myself another minute to be negative. Then I said, “At least we got up this morning.”

“And got our running clothes on.”

“And ran to the zoo.”

“And… ran when it was sunny out!”

“And got up the steepest part.”

“And ran even though we’re sore from boating.”

I guess my summer Netflix workout wasn’t doing it for me. Back to running!

Anne & Meg

Megan and me at the leaning tower of Pisa

During the summer before 7th grade, my parents moved us from Salt Lake City to the middle of nowhere. There was nothing but our house and dirt hills, which my parents took as an opportunity to come closer with nature. In the mornings, my dad threw a bag of garbage over his shoulder and walked to the trash can down the street. With only his see-through underwear bottoms on. Whistling as he walked.

To show how angry I was at my parents for making us move, I’d storm out of the house with my dog, Miss Cairo, and find an unfinished house to hide in. I’d sit on wooden boards and play with leftover nails until I thought I’d been there long enough to make my parents frantic. But they were never frantic. “Hi Anne!” They’d say when I walked in hours later. “We’re making cookies! What have you been up to?”

Maybe they’d get frantic if I smoked pot, I thought. Just once. But getting pot meant finding human life, which was non-existent. Continue reading First Day of Seventh Grade

I need a break from packing.

So I’m watching the Republican debates. I’ve made it a tradition to watch the republican debates since the beginning of college. I wanted to eat up any kind of understanding I could.

I listened to the whole thing and I wasn’t riled up or anything. But at the end, I started feeling this overwhelming sickness. Like I needed to run to the bathroom. Like I needed to turn off the TV immediately. It was when they all started talking about God. And how God has blessed the republican party. And how they have received revelations from God. And how God has NOT blessed the democrats. I felt so icky.

So I just wanted to say to you, republican politicians, that I also receive personal revelation. And I know that I receive just as many blessings and revelations, even when I don’t think like you.

Everyone has their right to believe what they want. But what gets me is when I hear that God is not blessing me because I’m liberal. I mean, how completely un-christian is that thinking? I think everyone receives personal revelations. But something is just wrong when one thinks that God favors one party over the other.

The presidential elections in Utah are when I want to run away from any social outing, including church. Because even though the LDS presidency makes our bishops read the statement over the pulpit saying that all parties may have our values and stances, I still have to hear on the news about that bishop who wouldn’t give his democrat member a temple recommend because of her political stances. I was still called a baby killer in junior high. I still had Mormon friends take my Obama pins off my bag. I still don’t know of any Mormon democrat my age in Utah. I still sit in church hearing comments that assume all of us are on the same page politically and anything on the contrary would be apostate.

I know everyone feels targeted. I know conservatives are afraid of how life is changing now. I just wanted to give you my little bits. Think what you want. Learn as much as you want. Do what you want! But for the love, please don’t tell me that God loves me less. And FOR THE LOVE, do not tell me that God loves me, he just doesn’t agree with me. HAH! Because guess what? I’ve gotten my own personal revelations and what I hear is this: “I love you. You’re my daughter. I get you. I understand you more than anyone else. And I’m sorry you feel isolated at church sometimes. That isn’t fair. Because your thoughts are just as important as everyone else’s.”

Phewf! I feel better.

I’m avoiding the house mites.

It started when I found little bumps on my palms and fingers. They showed up one-by-one at the beginning of the summer. I thought they were spider bites. But tonight the bumps are all over my hands. So I googled “little bumps on fingers and hands” and found a picture that looks similar to my hand. It’s called “dyshidrotic eczema.” It’s these tiny blisters caused by seasonal change, stress, or allergens. These bumps can all meet up together and create a big blister, which they have happily created on my pinky finger.

Wikipedia quickly mentioned on the “dyshidrosis” page that a study found a connection between those who have dyshidrosis and those who are allergic to house mites. Not knowing what that meant, I clicked on the “house mites” link which brought up a picture of a black bug with lots of crooked legs and sharp edges. I closed out of the image before I could see more, but I picture the little devil with a monstrous mouth and sharp teeth, ready to feed on my brain. House mites feed on organic stuff. Like me.

So I’m avoiding the house mites. That’s why I’m up. The only thing is, I don’t know how big they are. They might be microscopic. I could clear this all up by reading the page, but I ain’t going back there! So I’ve decided the couch is safe and the bed is not.

Have I told you I’m on anxiety meds? Ha! You’re like “Uhh, are they working?” I’ve been taking them for a month and a half now. It’s my first time taking anxiety meds on a daily basis.

This is when I decided. I was sitting on Hukilau beach in Hawaii. Watching crabs run across the sand. Breathing the salt air and the warm breeze. Cheering when a turtle poked his head out of the water. I thought, I am in paradise. No place on Earth can get better than this. I am in paradise.

 

And I am still afraid.

She Believed She Could, So She Did

Image from Society6

So I graduated college. My first instinct is to figure out the next adventure, but instead I’ve let myself be bored and think about my life.

I’m proud of myself. At fourteen, my biggest goal was to find a solution to my bloody noses and beat Paper Mario. Who knew a year later I would submit an $8000 scholarship application to be a foreign exchange student in Europe? At sixteen, I left my family and lived in Germany for a year studying at a German gymnasium and living with a host family. At seventeen, I was the editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper. When I was nineteen years old, I married a fabulous, loving man. At twenty, I spent a semester interning at the Schleswig-Holstein Governor’s Office of Coordination and Planning where I met a handful of terrific people. I became an expert in the strengths and weaknesses of minority policies in Germany and America.

I took on challenging jobs like campus news writer, instructional designer, managing editor of the College of Science magazine, and German speaker for the church’s Europe team. I read and wrote essays about Kafka, Hesse, Thomas Mann, Goethe, and Nietzsche–all of it in German. I presented my research on the Nazis and the “Degenerate Art Exhibition.” I won the German Department’s $800 scholarship as well as the one-year tuition scholarship from the Department of Languages and Literature. I worked with kind and brilliant professors who encouraged me to move forward with German and were more than willing to meet me when I struggled with assignments.

Yes, I also threw up at Zupas once. I kicked a dude out of my group project. I stormed out of the house when marriage as a 19-year-old was pissing me off. I sat on the shower floor and bawled a few times. I laughed when my co-worker in Germany told me his friend died because I didn’t understand. I said coño instead of cono in Mexico. I asked two women of the same age if one of them was the other’s daughter. I sold shoes and hated my life. I went to group therapy for anxiety on campus. My grandparents caught me making out with Spencer when we were dating. I embarrassed myself constantly.

I’m proud of all of the things I have accomplished and I’m proud I did them while struggling with anxiety and depression. I’m proud of my unique college experience and that I used all of my resources to make it fantastic. I’m proud of the family Spencer and I have become. And I know that all of these opportunities were made real because of my loving God.

So no, I’m not going to worry right now about the next thing. I’m going to watch Fringe and eat Reese’s peanut butter malts, and drive to national parks with Spencer, and shop online, and watercolor, and write in my journal, and sleep until noon.

Marriage and family

Happy July!

I felt I needed to give a little update, or rant, for you. Whichever one comes first, I guess.

There’s only one downfall to my whole summer, so I’ll start with that. Insomnia! I haven’t gotten a full nights sleep for the past three weeks. I slept for two hours last night. That’s better than the night before. I’m exhausted, but I just can’t fall asleep. So instead of hopping in bed, I sit on the couch and watch shows or read the news or write letters to friends or pray or read my patriarchal blessing or whatever. Then I’ll go in bed at 2am and lie there for an hour and half. I might fall asleep. I like it when I do.

Other than that, this has been an amazing summer for us. Spencer loves his internship. We run into his co-workers at Wal-Mart and Home Depot and they all joke with him as if they’ve known each other for a while. He comes home with funny stories. He is learning so much. Spencer constantly impresses me. Also, he’s hot.

On the weekends we drive to Fish Lake and walk through yellow meadows.

We check out Capitol Reef and hike upstream to waterfalls. We drive past petroglyphs and hike to arches.

We wake up early for the hot air balloon festival.

We go for banana shakes at the local ice cream shop.

We check out the nearby towns to find my ancestor’s graves and my great grandmother’s house. We take early morning drives to see the sunrise and eat Pon Pon Chicken at the Chinese restaurant.

We count how many elk heads are hung on the cinderblock in Walmart and count how many people are in the “Camouflage” isle.

We joke with the waiters at Main Street Grille.

We play Nintendo 64. I scream at the TV when master hand punches me in Super Smash Bros.

We have sleepovers in the front room with all of our pillows and blankets. We make crepes on Sunday mornings and I make Marlies’ syrup on the stove.

We eat a lot of Mac & Cheese.

We listen to The Promise by When in Rome over and over just to sing the chorus.

We drive past the movie theater to see which two shows are playing.

This is the first time in our marriage that we haven’t been ridiculously busy. We come home and that’s it. Nothing to worry about in the evenings. Nothing to worry about on the weekends. No second job. No 20-page paper to write. You guys. We needed this summer.

It’ll get crazy again in the fall. Actually, thinking about it makes me want to throw up, so I’m not going there right now. For now I’m grateful for this time we have to just be together. To be us, and learn what that means when we’re not going constantly.


I’m sorry, but I’m just thinking of the right words to say

I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be
But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me
I promise, I promise you I will

Need to tell yuhhh! Gotta tell yuhhh!

*dances in kitchen*

I had the privilege to spend two weeks in Oahu, Hawaii with my family in May. It was the perfect vacation after graduating. Salt water heals the soul! My favorite parts were watching my baby cousins sink their chubby toes in the sand, slobbering over banana macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup, and waking up to the salty breeze brush over my face. When it’s time to leave, we all sit at the airport asking ourselves why we don’t live here.

It’s been a month since I got back and I’m in denial. I’d like to keep goo goo gawing at my pictures forever. So hey! Here’s all of my favorite things to do in Oahu.

Things to do in Oahu at annelouiseblog.com

 

Continue reading Things to do in Oahu

1. I watched Amelie for the first time ever. I cried during the last scene with Amelie and Nino on the motor bike driving through Paris streets. Not just because it was perfect, but because the movie was over. I watched it the next day with Spencer, who also thought it was wonderful. I like watching a movie first and then watching it with Spencer. I like to look at him during the funny parts to see his reaction.

2. I’m looking at GoPros and 50mm/1.8 lenses. I want both and I want them now. Really I want a F1.4 but ain’t nobody got money for that.

3. I came home from work and made myself a cup of hot chocolate. 1 teaspoon of cocoa, 4 teaspoons of sugar, one mug of milk.

4. I read the two sentences my brother wrote home to us. He’s on a mission in Uruguay. There’s an Elder Rust who has red hair. That’s pretty much all I know.

5. Our tax returns are coming and we’re feeling rich. Rich, like, “Oh you made how much? Oh okay, here’s every cent you paid in taxes last year so you don’t die” rich. Cool with me, yo.

6. I’m thinking about being with Megan in Europe. Train rides, plane rides, bike rides, gondola rides, rowboat rides. Pizza in Italy. Gelato in Italy. Crepes in France.

7. I’m thinking about squeezing my cousins’ cheeks in Hawaii. Snorkeling with Mom. Taking pictures with Dad. Eating pancakes with coconut syrup. Cracking my sunglasses.

8. I’m thinking about the things I’m good at–speaking in front of a large group of people, writing papers, analyzing shit, remembering symbols and metaphors and stories, smiling, listening, saying thank you, acting like a big dork, laughing at inappropriate things, budgeting, being a leader, being powerful, being empathetic, doing an A+ job at work and school, knowing when someone is being manipulative.

9. I’m thinking about that one time when Spencer said, “When you lose it, you’re so articulate.” Hahahaha.

10. I’m remembering Spencer’s and my emergency Sunday grocery run yesterday to grab tampons and icy hot. The combination just cracks me up.

11. I’m thinking about one day in middle school this boy humiliated me on the bus ride home in front of all my friends and how, four years later, I made out with the same guy on a bench. The hell, Anne? What were you thinking?

12. I’m thinking about being 16 and sitting on the garden roof with Ethan and Ky a few days before flying to Germany and wearing blue jean sandals I bought from D.I.

13. I’m thinking about my first Sunday back from Germany, walking into church and seeing Megan and Tasia on the bench. And how we kept leaning over to grin at each other during Sacrament Meeting.

14. I’m thinking about this woman. She barely knew me. Three months after coming home from Germany, she said to me in front of my best friend, “You’re kind of strange since you got back from Germany. You used to be so bubbly and fun.” Lady, it’s called reverse culture shock and I hate you.

15. I’m happy today.