Monday, March 31, 2008

What Should I Look Like?

The inevitable question is always going to arise: How old are you? For a little while I felt strange telling people my age because I was always older than the person asking the question, it seemed. But soon I became comfortable in my own age and now answer with confidence. I have earned each year of my life. I have had amazing opportunities and experiences. I have even had not so great experiences that have made me who I am. So, when people ask, I answer, "I'm 29." At this point, people seem to think they need to comment on my age, and the usual response is some form of, "You don't look like you are 29." [Although I did have one guy tell me, "No, you're not." I replied that yes, I was and he told me I wasn't. It seemed fruitless to argue with him so I let him win. He was sure I wasn't 29, but I have the birth certificate to back me up. Sometimes it is fun to let people be adamant about something when you know for certain that they are wrong.] So, here's my question: What should a 29 year old look like? Seriously. I have always just thought, oh good, I don't look old. But I'm beginning to wonder about this. 30 isn't old. 30 year olds don't look old. And heaven knows I don't want to look like I'm 22. Don't get me wrong, 22 was great. I loved it. But I want to be where I am now.

So, I posed this question to a friend, and her response was that people might say that because I still have energy. Still? What does that even mean? I have yet to meet a 30 year old that has the energy level of my grandparents. At 30, people are still fun and they still have energy--thus, I don't really think her theory is valid. For awhile, I thought maybe it was a Utah/Mormon thing and was grounded in some weird theory revolving around marriage. But no, I even got the "You don't look 29" response in New York where there wasn't a Mormon within miles. Ultimately my theory is this: people will guess your age based on their own and assume you are near their age.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Real Thing

This is it...the real acceptance! (No dreams for this one) I was accepted to the Cooperstown Graduate Program and have accepted admissions there!! Yikes!! So I will be headed to upstate New York this fall. I am excited, but nervous, and pretty sad to be leaving everything I love here. But this is a great opportunity to further my museum education, so I feel so blessed and grateful for this chance. It's a little strange this has all worked out and it's funny that I am so surprised. I just now realize all the WORK I'm going to be doing. I never thought past getting accepted, but now that I have been accepted, I have to do the work! It should be really great, though. And anyone is welcome to visit!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I Was Accepted to Clemson

Mind you, it was only in a dream, but it was fun, nonetheless. Clemson's method of letting you know you were accepted to the program--giving you a pin in class. When I would be in class in real life is still a mystery to me. However, in my dream, the box with the pin was found on the ground and the people from Clemson were really offended that their pin and acceptance would be treated with such disrespect. I guess I didn't want the pin. Or to go to Clemson*. (You really can't create the absurdity that happens in dreams.)

*Clemson is in South Carolina. It is not a school I have ever applied to.

Friday, March 14, 2008

So, I Wouldn't Suggest Driving from Kansas to Utah

After just completing a 19 hour return trip from Lawrence to Logan, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I was warned...I didn't listen...and now I think I might be scarred for life. This will teach me. When will I learn to trust my car to non-family members? That may have made the trip better because I wouldn't have been the only one driving. Ultimately, though, on top of the pure hell of driving that long, what tipped the scales to traumatic was the fact that I had to drive through two snowstorms/showers today. Yes, two. One in the Colorado Rockies and one in Utah (on that lovely highway from Helper to Spanish Fork no less). I usually don't mind driving in the snow all that much, and even the driving to Kansas might not be that bad. But the two combined created a catastrophe. I am not sad I went to Kansas. But I am sad that Cornelius (my car) and I may have been traumatized for life.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Update from the Midwest

So, it's been a crazy few days. It all began last Thursday, so I'll post my running diary I kept. Internet use was hard to come by in NY (because I was too busy, not because they don't have it...). Enjoy.

I will add pictures later. No time right now.

Cooperstown, NY

[Think of this as a modified journal of my trip. I say modified because y’all don’t need to know every one of my thoughts. But this will give you a feel for my trip hopefully.]

I think Linkin Park says it best: Sometimes beginnings aren’t so simple. Sure, I can get in a plane and travel across the country to interview for a graduate program and then go to Kansas and check out the school and town I could be living in…but there is a lot more to it than the mere act of doing it. It is what needs to happen and it is the time for it to happen, but it is very hard to leave the life that I have come to love so much. But, no need to get sentimental quite yet—nothing is ever final until you actually do it, right?

Today, however, I did find myself rolling out of bed at 3:30 am. And then, suddenly, there I was at the Salt Lake airport, undressing to clear security. Okay so I only had to take off my belt and shoes, but still…awkward! Luckily for me, the weather gods are with me today, and all of my flights will be on time! Hurray!! (Kellie, I thought of you when I flew over Chicago!—I had to change plans. No incident. Thank goodness.)

Fast track to me picking my rental car up from the Albany airport. After a somewhat lengthy conversation about getting a GPS system in my rental (I declined), I ended up a little bit lost. Lost in Albany. Somehow I am wary of even GPS being able to help me in this situation. Someway, I found a road that I knew would get me to where I needed to be and followed it on out to Cooperstown. Albany seems like an alright place—except they don’t have turning lanes. It’s Preston, but 500 times worse because it is a bigger city so more opportunities to be stuck behind someone impossibly trying to turn left.

Cooperstown. Well, I was kind of in a hurry and it was dark when I got here, so I can’t say too much about it. But everyone seems nice…young, but nice. I forgot what it was like to be just out of college! Ah, to have never had the stresses of school groups yet. That would be nice. But I’m not kidding when I say I feel old. Most of these kids are pretty young.

I can see how this place would be really beautiful in the fall and summer. There are trees everywhere! And gently rolling hills. One of the other applicants made a comment about how glad they were to see the mountains here, and I just about died inside. They have a calming charm, but no, they are not mountains. I am sure compared to the plains it might seem that way, but still! With the bare trees and snow on the ground, I had visions of getting maple sap from the trees, though. Things are calming and seem to be rural-agriculture based. So, I feel somewhat okay with being here.

The day began with tours of some of the Cooperstown Graduate Program (from now on CGP) museums that they work with: the Farmer’s Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum. We also toured their storage facility. I was envisioning them having a bit more on the more high tech collection storage, but it surprisingly wasn’t. It is a step up from the Heritage Center’s sad collection storage (who can trust anything stored in the “Coke Building”?), but they do at least have it organized. The Farmer’s Museum is a “village” of living history. Closed right now, but they have a lot of buildings. Lucky them. I think the Heritage Center is cooler because it is an actual working farm…but I realized I am pretty biased. And I am apparently the only one on this tour that has been close to a cow. Everyone was pretty excited to pet the cow.

The program seems really amazing. Students are able to really work in these museums because they have such a close relationship with them. The verdict is still out on how I really feel about it…but it is a small, close knit program. After all, Cooperstown only has 2,000 people until the baseball crazies show up in the summer so the people in the program stick together.

And then the interview—the reason I am here. It was okay. If they accept me, then it went great. If they reject me, then clearly I need work on my interviewing skills. Maybe if I wouldn’t have had to walk up 2 flights of stairs before sitting down to interview, it would have been perfect. Perfect because I wouldn’t have been slightly winded for my first questions: Tell me about yourself…the easiest question on the planet! One more interview tomorrow.

So, it’s official. I am addicted to coke. I hadn’t had any soda today, and my head was pounding. So, since I had some time before dinner, I went to find a CVS. Cooperstown is kind of a fun little town. No grid system streets and really fun houses. Also, it is still Christmas in Cooperstown. I stopped counting the number of wreaths, trees, stars, and yes, even Mary and Joseph. But I wandered the streets and even found James Fenimore Cooper’s grave. (Hence, Cooperstown…named after his dad). I got my coke and was able to carry on.

And it is raining. And I am in a stranger’s house. It’s a little awkward, even though I try not to make it so. It is just naturally going to be so. Oh well.

Ah. It is all over. My last interview was this morning and it went better than yesterday. But I don’t know what they think. We will have to see what actually happens. I am finally relaxed, which is really nice. Apparently they are deciding on who gets in tomorrow. So, I should know pretty soon just how good or bad it went.

After our interviews, we went on more tours! Yeah. (Sigh…) We went to the Hall of Fame, which was actually in a crazy frenzy. Apparently they have a Hall of Fame game in the summer (or spring) where two professional teams play an exhibition game. There were a whole lot of baseball fans there. And they seemed a little suspicious of a big group of people getting to the front of the line. But seriously, the line was so long. I guess the steroids scandal hasn’t affected the game. Although during the introductory movie, they kept talking about players stretching to the extreme limit of their physical capabilities…and I kept thinking, yeah with steroids. I got to see the Roberto Clemente stuff, so it was all good.

We had a small driving tour of Cooperstown, where we saw some deer. My favorite line: “There is a herd of deer who live in my backyard.” People are funny about animals around here. It’s like they’ve never been around them. It’s hilarious. Being in a new place, reminds me of how unique my growing up has been. And how much I do love it.

Then it was time for the formal reception. Yikes! I never go to these kinds of things. I don’t mingle well, especially with people who are in charge of things like accepting me to a program. So it was actually really good for me to try a new experience. Weird because I don’t drink, but good too. It has been good to learn new things and skills like mingling. So whatever happens, the trip will have been worth it.

I am sitting in the Albany Airport, having just pulled out my computer to in fact verify that it is mine. The problem with owning a computer that everyone else does is that when you go through security, there is the off chance you could pick up the wrong one. But this is mine, just like the guy said.

After a rough start to the morning (what with the time change and all), it ended up going very smoothly. Once again, they tell me all my flights will be on time. I’m afraid I will be lulled back into security of flying through O’Hare. I began the day driving in the snow, with window wipers that didn’t want to work properly. I drove from Cooperstown to Oneonta to attend church at the local branch. And it was great. Everyone was so friendly, especially a couple of girls who go to a nearby college. They were so welcoming and it was nice to be out of the singles ward for a moment. In fact, it was refreshing the entire weekend to be out of the Utah/Idaho bunker. All the people I met this weekend were really nice and it was kind of nice to be surrounded by so many different people.

My drive back to Albany was much more uneventful than my drive out. No getting lost and it was actually very pleasant. Unfortunately, I was on a time schedule again and I didn’t get many pictures of the surrounding area. There isn’t a lot to see because everything is still dead, but I can see how gorgeous it would be in the summer. But it is actually very calming to drive through the rolling hills. The hills have a very relaxing momentum to them, something I think the grandeur of the mountains (that I LOVE, by the way) in Utah does not afford.

It has been a wonderful experience, and I am really glad I have been able to come out here—no matter what the outcome of the CGP may be.

On to Kansas tomorrow. Driving. Yipee!!

Lawrence, KS

After a day (and part of the night!) of driving, we arrived in Lawrence. I was okay, up until we got to about 4 hours out of Lawrence. Then I started going a bit stir crazy. Not tired (like yawning, running off the road tired, just ready to be done driving). But we made it, and just like I predicted, Lawrence is a lot like Logan, except there are no mountains-clearly. But who would have guessed it? I actually really like it here! The campus is nice. All of the architecture is so varied and random, although it seemed a little cramped compared to USU where we have the nice open quad. I could see myself walking around the campus because it didn't seem so different than what I knew.

Lawrence itself actually seems really fun. After all, I guess it is a college town. They have this great downtown area where they are restaurants, stores, and such--all in walking range. Whereas Logan has a boring mall, Lawrence has this fun place (although probably not so much in the probably gets pretty cold). The town has some of the fun aspects of a big city...lots going on...without the big city crazy time. I could really see myself here. I never would have guessed that I would actually think that Kansas could be an okay place for me to be.

However, the program seems to be in a bit of transition and in some flux. The program doesn’t seem as strong as I would like and had hoped for. Needless to say, I wasn’t entirely impressed. If this is the only school that accepts me I would definitely make it work to my advantage. This all seems so anticlimactic. But if I get accepted somewhere else, I will be very interested in checking out those programs. Too bad I can't have the wonderful CGP here in Lawrence (and be accepted). Now that would be something to write home about.

I have to say that it was a bit unnerving driving through eastern Colorado and western Kansas (I mostly drove through the rest of Kansas in the dark) without having any mountains to protect and keep me safe. The sun sets right into the fields, and I continually kept checking to see if I could spot any mountains. I never did.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Number 12

That is the ranking Logan gets (no not in the sports world, clearly)--but on the list of places to live in the country. That's right. Number 12. Makes a person wonder why they would ever leave. I think we get the ranking in large part because of almost non-existent crime rate, cost of living, economy, university, weather, and recreational opportunities. I saw it in a book at Borders. That's about as good as my source gets tonight.

Why I Love Logan

You may see a smattering of these titles from now on. I get very reflective on the reasons why I love something when the possibility of not enjoying it anymore are going to be possibly taken away. So, the reason why I love Logan today (in addition to the lovely snow) is Juniper Take Out. I love the turkey salad croissant with fries and a diet coke with cherry syrup and their pumpkin chocolate chip cookie with frosting. I get it every time. Yes, it is possibly the worst thing that I could put into my body, but it is good food. I love it! And when I go to Juniper, I have to stay and eat...the take-out part isn't an option. Part of the draw for Juniper is the atmosphere when you are there. The people there are really a little slice of Cache Valley. Families big and small, couples on dates, old couples, groups of friends, people in their grubbiest clothes, people coming back from the temple--you name it, they will be there. Of course, for someone who has been in Logan for 10 years, I do have the joy of running into people I know. For example, someone from my days in Maple View, known as Clam Chowda, made it a point to make sure we were introduced to his new wife today. And then had the gall to condescendingly ask if we had any prospects. Nice. Despite these types of awkward encounters, Juniper Take Out is truly one of the reasons I love Logan.

Things I will miss in Logan. Getting my hair done at King Hair. I have had the same girl doing my hair for quite some years now. She does a just the right job, is the right price and we have such a good time every time I go in! King Hair will never be known as a chic place, or cutting edge, but much like Juniper, it is quintessentially Logan. I will truly miss it.