Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Lone Man in the Wilderness

Well, since my wife left me 22 days ago (not that I'm counting), I have made every effort to stay as busy as possible. I have also avoided being home much except to sleep. Doing these things helps me avoid facing the reality of my loneliness. This afternoon is the first significant exception to my extreme business. How have I kept myself so busy you ask? Let me tell you:
  • Student teaching at Jordan Seminary (and prepping lessons too)
  • Working at Access RV
  • Serving as counselor in branch presidency and branch clerk to Friendship Branch
  • Spending time with family
  • Traveling everywhere by bicycle, bus and train (while the car is in Pittsburgh with Kara)
  • Talking with Kara on the phone and on Skype during whatever free time I have
Today, I find myself suddenly with significantly more free time for one main reason: the end of the school year at Jordan Seminary. This is an enormous weight lifted. Teaching has consumed me. I've loved it and I am sad to see it end, but it's a lot of work. I am also sad that it also marks the end of my brief career with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. I had a very candid conversation with one of my seminary pre-service trainers on Tuesday after he observed my class. It was good.

On Wednesday afternoon, he called and informed me that I would not be invited to continue to student teach for the next school year. That was hard news to receive. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to attend a dinner and testimony meeting held for Jordan Seminary seniors that evening. I was uplifted, edified, touched and strengthened by the wise words of teenagers. (And the food was great, too.) Then I had the opportunity to attend two more testimony meetings Thursday morning and yet another testimony meeting on Friday morning. I will also get to attend Jordan High School graduation on Wednesday morning. I ask you, from what other job would you receive such a sendoff?

So I am disappointed that my seminary career hasn't worked out, but I'm certain it's for the best. There must be greater things in store for me. The difficulty is figuring out what those things are and being patient to see how life unfolds.

The only other event I wish to log here is my time with the Taylor children Friday and Saturday this week. My sister and her husband recently celebrated ten years of marriage. This week they celebrated by spending a few days in Zion National Park. When they left Thursday morning, my brother-in-law's parents were there to take care of their four children, ages two to eight. Then on Friday evening, I took charge of them until their parent returned Saturday evening.

When I arrived Friday, they had already been fed dinner. We played outside for a while and then I said it was time for pajamas. We all got changed, including changing a diaper for one and putting on a diaper for another. Then it was decided that they would sleep in a tent. It was too chilly to sleep outside so the tent was set up in the family room. Two of the boys slept in the tent while one of the boys joined Uncle Matt on the hide-a-bed. Only the youngest slept in her bed.

Saturday, we woke up and had both cold cereal and hot cereal for breakfast. Then we went and played at the fitness center for a couple of hours. We came home and had sandwiches, pizza and yogurt for lunch. We then played with Legos for a couple hours until they decided they wanted to watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the 2005 Tim Burton version with Johnny Depp). It was at that time that Uncle Matt had a nap in another room. I watched the end of the movie with them because one of them came to get me so he could sit on my lap for the "scary parts". I then enlightened them on how much fun it can be to watch American films with foreign languages dubbed over. They greatly enjoyed watching Willy Wonka speaking French. Not long after the movie was over, their parents came home in time for dinner. I ate with them, looked at pictures of their trip and then went home.

Tomorrow I look forward to spending Memorial Day visiting graves with my parents, aunt, uncle, cousin, brother, sister-in-law, sister, brother-in-law, nephews and niece. It will be lovely.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Peanut Butter & Jelly

I stumbled upon this video on Facebook and I think it describes Matthew and I's relationship perfectly! Our favorite Jelly is Raspberry too!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dancing Queen and Other Things

So, my first day at my internship went well. I only had a half day, so that was a nice start. For the most part the therapist I followed just tried to get me acquainted with the clinic I would be working at. He only works there once a week, so if I work on a Friday I will follow him. He also showed me little bits of the computer system I have to use to document. He said it will probably take me at least a month to really feel confident in navigating that will be exciting! He also let me treat a few patients, it was especially fun when I was able to do mobilizations on them.

Friday night my cousin Justin took me out salsa dancing in the city! I had never been before, I mean I have learned a little bit of salsa dancing before, but not to this extent. Justin is a really good dancer and I can easily see why he is a teacher. He seems to be able to dance with people who are at so many different levels. Very impressed! The only unfortunate thing of the night was that I got so motion sick on the drive to the dance place that I had to have Justin pull over to the side of the road so that I could empty my stomach. It was a bit embarrassing and later I discovered that I had gotten a little bit on my shoes and pants, but Justin and his friend Erin were really nice about it.

Saturday I spent the morning and early afternoon doing laundry and working on my doctoral project. I also had plans to go and explore, but time got away from me. That evening my Aunt Kristi took me to the new movie "Robin Hood" with Russell Crow. It is more about how he became Robin Hood. I enjoyed it and afterwards we went to a restaurant called Panera Bread...very yummy!

Sunday I went with Kristi to choir practice and discovered that they were singing a song that I have sung before in sacrament meeting so I decided to join them. It is a very simple, lovely song called "Beautiful Savior". It was ward conference so Uncle Leland spoke. In Sunday School I learned something about the definition of missionary work that I have never thought of before although it makes complete sense. If we define missionary work as bringing souls to Jesus Christ then anything that I do to bring any soul unto Christ is missionary work, including when I am learning for myself. So as I study and grow in my knowledge of Christ, I am really doing missionary work for myself, which not only helps bring my soul to Christ, but helps to prepare me to better be able to bring others to him.

As far as my internship goes...the beginning of this week was pretty tough. My clinical instructor (CI) was still on vacation and so I was with an "as needed" therapist. She was great, but the PTA who works there was not so nice...when I left on Monday I was crying....she was just so mean and I didn't understand why, then when I got home I realized that I was home alone because my aunt and uncle were working the night shift. So, I had a bad day, I was all alone, I really wanted a pizza, but I didn't know where to go to find one and was worried I would get lost in the process. Needless to say I just went to bed and hoped that the next day would be better. And it was and so was the next and the next. I met my CI on Thursday and I think it will be challenging but good. I only wish there were more hours in the day that I wasn't tired, working, or doing school work, but hopefully I can get settled soon, so that I have time and energy to site see.

On Thursday after my internship I called Justin and told him that I was in great need of pizza, so he gave me directions to his side of town and met me at a tiny pizza place just a few blocks from his house. After picking up the pizza and "wedgy" we went over to his place to eat and watch a movie. We ended up just talking, but it was great! So this Wedgy thing is basically like a pizza folded in half. I never really got an explanation of it, but it doesn't really matter because it was gooooood! It was a steak wedgy...can you imagine if you had a steak wedgy?!?

Friday I spent the day working on my doctoral project. I organized and found a few more articles that I think will be applicable. I plan on trying to have the majority if not all the articles read by Tuesday...wish me luck with that. That night I went out with Justin and Erin again. We were planning to go play some pool at this arcade place, but by the time we got there they were closing, so we came back to my aunt and uncle's house and talked while enjoying a mug (coffee cup) of ice cream!

Saturday I was planning to get things done in the morning to prepare me for Monday at my internship and then spend some time exploring and taking pictures, but by the time I got things done, it was raining outside...and not like it rains in was pouring! Later that night I watched a movie with my aunt, her brother and his son while waiting for Justin to pick me up so we could go out dancing. This time we went to a line dancing place. I went expecting to know a lot of the dances, but discovered that I only knew a few, but that was okay because Justin put his dancing skills into action and we did some variations of his expert dancing to country music. I commented how I thought it was kinda funny that once he put the dance to country music I picked it up faster than I had the previous weekend. It was a lot of fun! After dancing we got to talking and didn't get to bed until 2 in the morning...I am surprised I haven't crashed, but I'm sure it will come.

Today after church I decided that it would be a good time to go out into the nature surrounding me and get some photos. My Uncle Leland took me to a park near one of the bridges closest to where I am staying and I think we got some pretty good shots! It is definitely beautiful here!

My aunt and uncle are great and I am grateful for their hospitality...I thought I might have a good shot at losing a little weight while here since I don't have Matthew around. I figured I would fill that extra time with working out, but with the way my aunt cooks, I will be lucky not to gain more weight!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hooray, Hurrah!

So this last week has been full of celebration and the start of a long summer apart. Most of last week I spent my time getting things prepared to leave for Pittsburgh, so needless to say even after finishing finals, I still felt like I wasn't done with school. I had to start back up on my Doctoral Project because it had come to an abrupt halt and I had a meeting with my Chair Ed, luckily he thought I was coming along and liked my summer hopefully I make time to stick to it in between my internship work and the traveling/tourist plans I have!

Tuesday evening Matthew and I decided to go do some sealings at the temple. It was a wonderful experience; three other couples joined us, which made for a wonderful session. At the end one of the couples (the Henderson's) came up to us and asked if Matthew knew the Bowens in California. Now, most of the time when this happens the answer is easily no because there are so many Bowens around. But after asking about some first names, Matthew said that he did know them and in fact they were related, even though Matthew didn't know them well. It was kind of fun to once again realize how small this world really is!

On Wednesday after my appointment with Ed I went to an interview at Shiners Hospital for an internship spot. I really liked the facility and thought that it would be a wonderful opportunity, but I found out yesterday that they did not select me. This was very disappointing and hard for me to hear because a few weeks ago I also found out that I did not get the Primary Children's Medical Center spot. I would like to think that I am somewhat of a marketable person, but at the same time I feel that when I am up against some of my peers I have no chance, they are just that amazing. I am pretty bummed out about it, but hopefully I can find a great opportunity that will give me what I need to know how I feel about working with children and give me direction as far as my career goes.

Later that evening I went to the Branch Home Teaching Meeting with Matthew. He taught again this month because of the change in Presidency. We are excited for the change even though I know that it will most likely be more work for Matthew until everyone settles in. Matthew told me that this past Sunday they called a new second counselor and the new branch president would like to call a clerk so that will help.

On Thursday morning I got up early so that I could join some of the branch members at the temple. Again because of the changes in the presidency, there were not enough members to drive those who are unable to, so because I am out of school, I volunteered! We went to the Bountiful Temple and it was wonderful. I was tired during the session, but I could still feel the spirit and it was nice to be among the members in such a sacred place. The rest of my Thursday was spent doing laundry and packing for Pittsburgh.

Friday was Matthew's big day; Graduation! It was a fun day. Matthew still taught Seminary in the morning and was evaluated by Brother Hardy. The class went well, but not as good as it has the past few weeks. Matthew and Brother Hardy talked afterward and Matthew got some good guidance, but I think he was a little bummed. I told him that celebrating graduation was the perfect way to get his mind off of it for a little while! So he graduated and when they announced his name, Matthew's parents and I yelled out, "We love you Billy!", which is a little joke Matthew and I share. It comes from a few different sources; the first being that in Junior High Matthew decided he wanted to go by Bill Bowen instead of Matthew because there were too many Matthews and the second, from the movie "Two Weeks Notice". There is a scene with Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock where he asks if she has ever been in love and she says, "Yes, his name was Billy," and then Hugh says, "Did you tell him? Did you say 'I love you Billy'?" I then turned to Matthew and said, "I love you Billy."

After he graduated, we met him outside the Huntsman Center and took some pictures. He then awarded me is "Stole of Gratitude" which is the sash you wear while walking. Someone had told him earlier that after he graduated he was to give it to the person he was most grateful for helping him with his education.

After pictures. Matthew's parents took us to lunch at Bucco di Beppo, an Italian restaurant that serves food in a family style fashion so that when one person orders something it is enough to feed multiple people. It was wonderful food. We also exchanged graduation/birthday/Mother's Day gifts with each other. Matthew's parents decided that since I would be away for my birthday that they would give me my gifts now. I received a travel size Hymn book, an Atlas and some travel bottles that I can put liquids in like shampoo and lotion when I travel by plane. Matthew received a card with some money and we gave his mom (along with my mom) a candle warmer and a candle to warm it on. I kind of feel bad getting them the same gift, but we thought they were wonderful and something that both of our mom's could enjoy!

After lunch, Matthew took a short nap while I finished my packing plans and then we prepared for the Ice Cream Party we planned for our Graduation/Going away party. Luckily, our amazing friends Cory and Danielle were once again willing to let us have it at their home since it is significantly bigger than our apartment. We had many friends come and enjoy ice cream and conversation and in the end we bought way too much ice cream, but that's okay.

Saturday morning came the exciting, yet sad departure from my Matthew, luckily I had to drive so I wasn't allowed to cry and Cynda was there to help me think of other things like; water, state license plates, 50 cent ice cream from Little America, crazy animals (like bulls, horses and wild turkeys), how many miles and hours it would take us to get to our destination for the night, which way is the right way to get on the freeway (which we did wrong twice or so), buying food from the Village Inn and Subway within an hour of each other (what! we were really hungry..hehe), booking a hotel room at the Holiday Inn Express as "Mrs. Bowen" from SLC, UT..."I'm the 'new bride'", and Gary Indiana...never mind...Portage Indiana sounds perfect!
I know it is hard to make much sense of some of these things, but I will explain some of them.

It took us 3 days to travel because neither of us really like to drive in the dark especially when we are going through a big city with a lot of signs to figure out and I needed plenty of breaks for my leg. So we played two games while on the road; one, how many different state license plates we could find (we found 30 I believe) and the second we started in Nebraska when Cynda remembered that some of her boys used to see who could call out "water" the fastest when it was seen.

The first night we stayed in North Platte, Nebraska and I called around to some hotels to check prices and availability. We decided upon the Holiday Inn Express and when they asked me for an ID code I gave them one that Cynda and Steve have and they lady said,"Is this under Steve Bowen's account?" I said, "Yes." She then asked, "Is this Mrs. Bowen?" I said, "Yes." because I am Mrs. Bowen! She didn't ask which Mrs. Bowen! Later Cynda took the joke a little further saying that it would be funny if when we checked in the receptionist asked which of us was Mrs. Bowen and we both said, "I am." and then explaining that we were from Utah and that I am the "newest bride". That last part didn't happen, but we got a good laugh just thinking about it.

As far as why we bought two dinners within an hour of each other...we didn't want to have to by food on Sunday, so after dinner at the Village Inn, we stopped by Subway to get a couple cold sandwiches for the next day.

On our second day of travels we decided that we wanted to make it to "Gary , Indiana, Gary, Indiana, Gary, Indiana!" (insert singing) Many insisted that it wasn't possible, but we showed them...and once we got there we decided that we didn't want to be there anymore. Unfortunately, Gary seems to be a scary place for two women to be in, especially after dark. And besides that, we were unable to locate a hotel. I said to my mom later that the nicest thing about the place was the sign we passed that said, "The people of Gary welcome you!" Sad, but from what I saw, true. And to be honest, our travels, at least at first, in Indiana were the most frustrating. I wish they would make their signs a little more clear because that is the reason why we got on the freeway the wrong way once and almost took the wrong exit. There was one point in our journey that I was stopped at one of the splits because I wasn't sure where I should go (I know it's not safe, but what's a girls to do?!). When I finally figured it out I had to put the petal to the metal so that a semi-truck wouldn't crush me.

Other than that, Cynda and I made it to Pittsburgh without much trouble and we arrived with perfect timing; my Aunt Kristi had just finished making dinner and it was indeed yummy...BBQ chicken, green beans and potatoes! Kristi had to leave for work shortly thereafter, but Cynda, Uncle Leland and I stayed up pretty late talking.

On Tuesday Cynda and I continued to talk with Leland and also Kristi when she got home and before she went to take a nap. I unpacked all of my things with the help of Cynda and then I continued to work on Carl's book while Cynda read her book/fell asleep on the couch. After awhile we put in "Fiddler on the Roof" and at the end we had beef enchiladas that Kristi made in her "spare time"; she is amazing, she just keeps going. If I were in her shoes I don't know if I could do all she does. After dinner Leland had to go to work and Kristi had a meeting so Cynda and I played a board game and not long before we were finished Kristi came home and we had a conference call with Matthew on Skype! After we were done talking with Matthew we played speed Scrabble and Cynda wiped us with the per usual. We then began to prepare for the next days errands and head for bed.

On Wednesday Kristi and I drove Cynda to the airport to send her back home. It was a little hard for me because it helped me to realize that I was alone in terms of connections to Matthew and those I had been used to surrounding myself with on a regular basis, but luckily I still have family and Leland and Kristi are very hospitable. Kristi then drove me to where I would be doing my internship and I picked up some paperwork and then to a lab so that I could get my blood checked. It was nice because we found one that is not too far from her house and in between there and work just in case I have to do it on the way to or from.

For the past few days I have been somewhat lounging about, watching a couple of movies, working on my project or on Carl's book, calling Matthew about this or that just so I can get small doses of him and checking my email, my grades or Facebook every few minutes, needless to say I am ready to get started so that I don't freak out about being away. Not to say that I am not excited to be here...I am excited for this adventure, it is just hard to be without My Matthew.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Changes and Surprises

So this last week was my last week of the semester. I finished all of my finals on Friday! 2 years down 1 to go! On Thursday night Elisa and Alex came over. Elisa went to Vegas for the weekend to get dome more wedding stuff done. She called me Wednesday wondering if she could stay the night on Thursday and get a ride to the airport in the morning since Alex had work early the next morning. While they were here we collected some pictures that Alex and I had to put on a cd for my mom. She is making a guestbook like the one she did for our wedding and needed pictures to get it started.

Friday morning I brought Elisa to the airport and went up to the school to finish some last minute studying for my last final. About an hour before my final I got a call from Matthew, he missed the Trax train and needed me to come pick him up. I was frustrated at first because I hadn't finished my studying and now I wasn't sure if I was going to. I was irritated all the way down to go pick him up, you know the whole talking to yourself about how inconvenient the whole situation is, and if he would have just done this or that then he wouldn't be in this mess sort of thing, but as I got closer to picking him up I began to realize how silly I was being. It wasn't like he had done it on purpose, I wasn't really worried about my test, and he was about to go teach students and was probably already frustrated himself, there was no need to bring contention into the situation. I was sort of embarrassed of myself, why was I making a big deal of something that didn't really effect much at all? Everything turned out fine, I made it back in time to get some final tips for my test and although he was a little late, Matthew was able to make it to his class.

Later that night we went out to an Institute Party for all the High School Seniors at the Sandy Institute. Many of the students Matthew teaches were there and we felt like we should support, and there was free food; can't beat that! It was kind of weird to be there I have to admit. It was like walking back in history. My memories of all the fun I have had at the Institute activities came flooding back to me and a part of me wanted to go "bust a move" on the dance floor, but as I walked into the gym I realized that that part of my life has passed. Not that I can't go dancing anymore or go to Institute activities, but that my awkward teenage years and all the craziness of it are gone. Well, I am not explaining it very well, but I realized that my place there had changed. I was now the chaperone, I was the old one! Although some of the students didn't even realize that; while Matthew was still in line for the free food, I went to go get a place to sit so we could more readily eat said food. As I approached a table I ran into a group of Matthew's students, some of whom I have met previously and some I have not. I said hello to a few of them and then one of them asked me if I was from Alta! I could not believe I was being asked if I was a high school student, it made me laugh. Well, I didn't want to hurt this young man's feelings or make him feel like a complete fool, so I just politely said, "No, actually I am the wife of one of the Seminary teachers at Jordan." The young man was very gracious and asked which teacher. I replied and he then complimented Matt saying, "Oh, Brother Bowen! We love brother Bowen at Jordan, he is wonderful. Jordan is already a great school, but he makes it wonderful!" It was a funny experience. Matthew and I ate, talked with some of his students, danced to a slow song, ate some ranch dressing on a dare and then head back home to bed. All in all, it was a great blast from the past moment for me.

Saturday we spent most of our time at home. I worked busily on typing a book for one of our branch members and Matthew tried to figure out how to amend our taxes. We turned them in early and got money back from the government, but after applying for FAFSA my taxes were selected to be verified by the financial aid office at school. After filling out all the paperwork, I went to the financial aid office to turn it all in and they found the discrepancy. I explained that it had been a complicated year as far as work went for us and after talking and looking over our forms he thought we had just reported some of our income on the wrong line of our tax forms. He gave us instructions on what we had to do to fix it and Matthew tried, but we decided that it is just a problem that is slightly over our heads, so tomorrow we will be headed over to a company to help us straighten everything out. I agree with Matthew that it is sort of a pain to have to do, but I think it is better to get it fixed now and even have to spend a little money doing it, so that we don't have to pay my tuition for the next year. Matt is working full time now, but that is still a lot of money to put down all at once. Unfortunately because of how long it took to figure this all out and because of all the other errands we had to get done, we had to cancel some of our plans with friends, but it was probably best because at about 5pm I got a call from my younger brother Jordan. He has been going to school in Virginia for the past year and was driving back home to Las Vegas with a friend. Their original plan was to take I-70 all the way to I-15, but there were some landslides on I-70, so they had to take I-80 which just so happens to go through Salt Lake! Jordan and his friend had decided to stop for the night so Jordan gave me a call! I was so happy that he did. We went out for a quick bit to eat and he tagged along with us while we ran our errands; I'm glad he didn't mind driving around with us. We are really excited for him. He found out this week that he goes into the MTC on July 28th to prepare to go on a mission to Guatemala. I was especially happy to hear that he wasn't leaving until July because that means he will be able to go to Bean's wedding and will go through the Temple to receive his endowment on the same day as her, which again makes me super glad that I decided to fly in on Thursday night.

One of the very important errands that we had to do was to go pick up a new camera!! The one we have is nice, but has been acting funny lately so we decided that since I was going to Pittsburgh, and we were planning a road trip this summer, it was the perfect time. I am so excited about this camera. We got a Sony Cyber-shot with an automatic panoramic picture option! It is really cool. I will post the first panorama shot that I took on it! It is of our living room, so it isn't that exciting, but it was so easy. (And unfortunately, that is as big as the picture will upload) All I had to do was set the camera to the panorama setting, press a button and sweep the camera along the scene I wanted captured, then the camera did the rest! Today Matthew and I also made a video that involved a pineapple and the Titan Peeler I got him for his birthday!

Today was a happy and sad day at church. President Heninger, Matthew and Brother Willie were all released from the Friendship Branch that we have been serving in this past year. The release came because President Heninger moved to Layton. Matthew and I have both really enjoyed serving with President Heninger and Brother Willie and will miss their company. Lucky for us Matthew was called to stay serving in the Branch as the 1st counselor to President Langheinrich. We are sad to loose President Heninger and Brother Willie, but are excited to serve with President and Sister Langheinrich and know that the Lord will continue to bless us as we serve.

Tonight we also went over to the Humphrey's home for Sunday Dinner. It was us, Gregily, TJ, the Longloopers and Ashley and Rusty. We missed Parker and Trina, they were at home with their new little bundle of joy, Brooklyn. We had a BBQ, but because of the cold weather ate inside. Along with the yummy burgers and franks we had an assortment of chips, potato salad, apple juice, cookies, homemade ice cream and a yummy plum yogurt surprise pie! We kept asking Jason what was in the pie, but he was not quite sure, a little scary, but very delicious! It was good to get caught up on what everyone is up to.