Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Flying Time

Hey there!

I'm always kind of surprised by how Wednesday sneaks up on me every week. Lately, I feel like time is just moving by so fast. I can't keep track of the days and before I know it another week has gone by! It's scary, because I want to be sure to 'live while I'm alive' (or whatever), but how can I when I don't even know what day it is?!

Anyway, it's been a pretty good week around here. I guess as long as the weeks are good, I don't mind so much that they're going by fast.

Friday night, we went to SUU's production of Urinetown. I had never seen, nor heard of this musical, but apparently, it's famous (and it's Heather's favorite). I had no idea. It takes place in a world where there was a drought or something, so the government restricted water usage, and private companies began providing and charging for basic necessities like toilet access. Then the characters decide that they should be able to pee freely and they revolt. It's reminiscent of Les Mis in a way.

I enjoyed it so much! The dancing and singing was amazing, as it always is at SUU, but it was hysterical! I especially enjoyed the narrator character, or rather the actor who played him. He was amazingly talented and played the part so well. I love seeing people who are so gifted at what they do, and who seem to truly enjoy doing it.

Saturday morning, Katie and I went to Heather's baby shower. It took place at her aunt's house, except her aunt lives in a dreamy farmhouse that overlooks an actual farm with animals and everything and it was just the most magical morning. I'd been there before for the Tour of Homes, but it was amazing to actually spend time there. The aunt runs Red Acre Farms, which is a big part of the local farmers' market here in Cedar. All of the food that was served was from the farm-- there was yogurt they made, and I'm sure the eggs in the quiche were laid there on the farm. I had some chocolate milk and I'm fairly certain it was made with goat's milk.

I was just in awe the whole time because it feels so quaint and like the people who are living there truly love what they do and are happy to live a slightly alternative lifestyle. I admire that so much. I admire the passion and hard work I'm sure it has taken to get them where they are.

The baby shower was sweet. I only knew Heather and her husband's mom, but it was still so much fun to celebrate Heather and the arrival of Charlie. She was due this past Tuesday, but he still hasn't made an appearance.

Heather actually came to Improv tonight. I didn't really expect her to be there, but she was and she killed it. Every week has focused on a type of game, and this week was Guessing Games. You can probably imagine how it goes, but there are 4 players and 1 player leaves while the other 3 are assigned a character, and the 4th person comes back and has to figure out what the other 3 are throughout the scene.

In my scene, I played that I was in a courtroom, so I pretended to be a lawyer and threw around what little courtroom jargon I know. One girl played that she was walking on ice no matter where she was, and the other guy played that after every sentence he spoke, he had to strike a pose (just to give you an idea of how it goes.) It was a good time, but I learned that I am extremely uncomfortable on a stage when I don't have anything to do. I just stood there, like, I don't know what to do with my body in this space! I'm much more comfortable when I'm talking and interacting with another person.

It's good to notice those things, because it gives me something to work on and be aware of. At the end of every class, we circle up and tell what we enjoyed or learned that class. One girl said that she enjoys seeing how we all improve from week to week, and I love that! I love that we're supportive of each other and growing together. Even though we're all at different stages, both in life and in comedy, we have something to learn from the people we're playing with. I'm so happy to know them all.

What a life we live.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Happy

Helllllllo.

It has been a slow week around here. This was the first weekend in a month that I haven't left Cedar City. I had big plans to do all my laundry, clean the whole house, finish my taxes, and do good, productive, adult things that need to be done.

I'm happy to report that I did some laundry. Adult Sarah does adult things.

Improv this week was so much fun, and honestly better than last week. We did scenes instead of step out games and I am much more comfortable with scenes. The difference between the two is, in step out games, the players are given a topic and they step out (into the circle or onto the stage) and make a joke about it, and in scenes, the players are given different suggestions that affect the nature of the scene they're playing.

Ugh, I tried writing that several different ways, and that explanation still doesn't help. I'll just tell you about what we did tonight. We played a game called Accents. (Maybe you can guess how it went?) There were 3 players and they were given a location for the scene, with a person offstage pausing them every few minutes and telling them what accent to speak in. The players then kept playing the scene in the new accent. It would change, and change again, and it's so funny because people are really, really awful at accents. I am really, really awful at accents.

But it was good because it forces you to pay attention to how you're speaking, while also trying to move the scene forward. There were moments when every person on stage was waiting for someone else to speak because they weren't sure how to do the accent. I cannot confidently do a Southern accent, and I literally grew up with it. My English accent is poor at best, and if I you ask me to do Australian, I'll try my hardest, but you would never guess that Australian was the goal. It was a painful game, but at least I tried!

Heather's husband asked me before this round of classes started why I would voluntarily do something that makes me so uncomfortable. (And it does make me incredibly uncomfortable.) I answered that I know it's good for me. Every time I step off the stage, I am both impressed and proud of myself for doing it yet again. When I'm playing, I just accept that this is my reality, and I must get through it. It's always a highlight of my week.

I feel like apologizing for how much I still talk about Improv, but I'm not going to. I wish I could convey how much I truly enjoy every class, even though I truly dread every class. I'm still so excited about it and it's not often I feel this strongly towards something.

Other things I've done this week include two volleyball games Monday night, dinner with some friends Friday night, and a play Saturday night.

The play we went to was called 'Molly and Peter.' An SUU student wrote it, how cool is that?! It was about the struggles of growing up in an LDS family. I admit, it might be a niche topic, but here, it was amazing. There were sex scenes, coming out of the closet scenes, jokes about Family Home Evening, and picture perfect families-- it had everything that is hilarious about Mormons. And it was great because even though they were poking fun, it somehow managed to still be respectful of the people and the religion.

One of the things I love about Cedar City is how much the people value the arts. We Cedarians love events. We love festivals, parades, concerts, and plays. We love the arts. It's one of the attributes that keeps me here. Where else can you live in a small town and also have so many opportunities for live entertainment?

Lately I find myself pausing and realizing that I feel happy. Usually its not for any particular reason-- I just feel good about where I am and what I'm doing. I have things to look forward to and I'm surrounded by good people. What more could I ask for?

What a life we live.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Colors of Spring

Hello!

It has just been the best two weeks!

My sisters, mom, Katie, and I went to the Holi Festival at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple up in Spanish Fork last weekend. This was our second year going and somehow it was even better than the first! Plus, I've been looking forward to this weekend for months and it did not disappoint.

I loooove this festival. The atmosphere is so incredibly happy, light, and encouraging. Everybody is there to have a good time. We got there a little before the gates open, and there's just so much excitement in the air! The key is to go down and reserve your spot right in front of the stage. The first event is a guided yoga class. The guy teaching it was funny and intermingled in the crowd as he taught. Then comes the fun part-- Indian dancing! The girls are in brightly colored saris and they so patiently teach the basic prayers and dances. It's one of my favorite parts of the day!

They songs start slow and traditional, but grow in tempo and excitement until the whole place is jumping, dancing, and yelling! It's so hype and the energy is so high! I don't even know how to put into words how enchanting and magnificent it is to be in the middle of it.

Every hour on the hour, there is a countdown to the color throw. This is another favorite. Everybody is shouting the countdown, and the throw is so beautiful. When the colors are in the air, everyone is jumping and celebrating. It's just the most fun a person could have on a beautiful morning in Spanish Fork.

As the day goes on, there are bands that play, dancers that teach dance. To the side of the stage, there's an ongoing yoga class you can join in on if you want something slower. Mid-afternoon, the Bollywood dancers get on stage to teach us more moves. Gracie and I were front and center for the majority of the day-- it's the best place to be! There's a video on Facebook and you can see Gracie and I dancing. Gracie said it looks like we were having and the time of our lives, and honestly, I think we were.

Most of the week days were fairly uneventful, but Friday the family headed towards Ely, Nevada. This is the second year we've gone there for Easter, and if this becomes a tradition, I am perfectly fine with it. I truly enjoy that small, sleepy town. There's not a whole ton to do, but we always have a ton of fun! This year, we went out to Great Basin National Park to the Lehman Caves. I love a good cave! Our tour guide was so, so good. She was funny, informative, and knowledgeable. It was a solid tour.

Afterward, we went to the White Pine County Museum. It was a typical county museum, but I love museums, so I didn't mind. They had a few train cars in the yard out back sitting on the tracks, so we were balancing on them and started racing. Dad and Amy went back to the hotel afterward, so us kids walked Main St. This town loves art and murals. There are beautiful murals on almost every building! There's a small grassy area between some of the buildings that have several sculptures, and a labyrinth. We walked it, all ended up in the middle, then ran out. We were laughing so hard by the time we all reached the end. I'm so glad we all can get along and have fun together now that we're older. They're seriously my favorite people.

Saturday night, we attended an Easter Vigil at St. Bartholomew's Church. I think it's interesting to go to services in different churches. We very obviously did not know what was going on, but the people were nice and just helped us along. Sunday morning, Dad and Amy went to church, and us kids went garnet hunting on Garnet Hill. There are thousands of garnets just waiting to be found. I'll be the first to admit that I was terrible at it. Gracie and Zane were finding them left and right, while I could not find one to save my life. I finally found a few tiny ones, but they paled in comparison to the large ones the others found. It was a great end to Easter weekend.

We started up improv again today-- this time the class is Games 101. It was so much fun tonight! A lot of the same people were there from the last class so that was nice. It got rowdy and it was amazing, and I so enjoy having 2 hrs to just let go and be silly.

I feel so incredibly blessed to be living this life.

What a life we live.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Busy, Busy

Hello!

It's been a busy two weeks since I last wrote. Last Wednesday was spent on the road!

My grandpa passed away over the weekend, so I made a trip to Texas for the funeral. It was a beautiful service. I cried through the singing of the hymns, but what really got me was the burial and the poem that was read by my uncle. Even when I read it now, I can't help but feel overwhelmingly sad, but also proud of the legacy my grandpa left. The poem so perfectly encapsulated his life, his work, and his family. The poem is 'Close the Gate' by Nancy Kraayenhof, and the last line reads:
 
   Your labor is done, your home is now heaven; no more must you wait.
   Your legacy lives on, your love of the land, and we will close the gate.

I wish it had been under different circumstances, but it was so good to spend time with that side of the family. Now that all the cousins are older, it's hard to get together, so I cherish the time I'm able to spend with them. I also got to spend some time with old and best friends, and that's always amazing. Friendships that last the time and distance that ours have are worth holding on to.

I returned to Cedar City Wednesday night, then turned around Friday afternoon and left again. This time the destination was Moab! I'd never been, and I'm so ready to go back. My mom and I were there to run the Canyonlands Half Marathon. The town of Moab is so fun. There are shops all along main street, and there's a winery, a brewery, and a distillery! Next time, I want to spend time there and take tours of them all.

The half marathon was so incredibly hard. It was very windy and hilly. Around mile 11 I started falling apart, mentally and physically. Running that far is incredibly painful (I think), and it's frustrating because even though there's only 2 miles left, those 2 miles feel like they're never going to end. I was honestly running down the highway fighting back tears because I was so upset with myself. The run sucked, but it's over now and I'm glad I did it.

This was the last week of Improv Class and it was good one! We started with a dance game, which is scary, because I cannot dance. (I'm looking for a dance class because I feel this is something I should be better at.) Every week I surprise myself with the stuff I'm willing to do with these people. It's so cool how we created a safe space together and at the end of these 5 weeks, I'm happy to call them friends.

The rest of the time we played a game where 4 people "build" a scene by describing the room and describing the things in the room. Then, two other people play within the scene. These scenes lasted longer than I'd been on stage previously. The first scene I played took place in an interrogation room that was decorated for Christmas. I was the criminal, handcuffed to the table, and opposite me was a nervous cop on her first day on the job. She was trying to get me to confess to a murder, but I was too occupied by the Christmas cookies and claiming my innocence. The second scene, Heather and I played that she welcomed me to her Airbnb, but it was very dirty and she had 7 cats, and I was allergic to cats. She also self-taxidermied one of her cats that had recently died.

I think what's fun about Improv is that it's so surprising what you'll come up with, and you never know what the other person is going to do or say. That used to really scare me, but now I see it as something great. Really funny scenarios can come out of it!

I was initially relieved that tonight was the last class, but now I'm kind of sad. The next round of classes starts in April and I can't wait to start again. After class, Heather asked if I would be taking the next round, and I told her that this class is too good for me to stop. All I'm doing is playing with a bunch of other adults on a stage, but I can see actual evidence of how this class has made a positive effect in my real life.

Never before would I have said this, but I would encourage any person to take a class like this one. I believe it helps with communication and confidence, and everybody could use a little help in those areas!

I'm so happy to be in a place where this is available to me, and so happy I have friends who encourage me to step out and do things that scare me.

What a life we live.



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Follow the Fear

Hey there!

I might sound like a broken record, but I'm here to talk about Improv again! (Because I literally just got home from it, and it's fresh on mind.) (I'm also feeling very proud of myself, and I'd like to bask in that before the inevitable self doubt plagues my sleep tonight.)

This week's class was amazing. We amped it up and only did one group game, then did nearly 2 hrs of straight up Improv-- just two people on a black stage, making up a story in front of other people. Do you know how exhilarating/terrifying that is?

The scenes started at 15 seconds, and when you haven't been on stage, 15 seconds feels like an eternity. Seriously, in my first scene, I was looking over at the guy with the timer, like, dude, I know time's up, I need you to call it.

Just when I thought I'd survived the worst of the night, they doubled the time we spent on stage. 30 seconds is (wait for it) even longer than 15. But I did it! (I even did it more than once, which is a big step forward for me.)

AND THEN THEY DOUBLE IT. And you have to play for a full minute. But it was so good! And once I'd be exposed to 15, then 30 seconds, 60 seconds no longer felt like it would never end. In fact, I was surprised when the timer guy told me to stop.

It truly was a good time. I think part of why it's so fun is that every single person in the room is entirely supportive of every choice you make on stage. (I honestly think that they're equally as uncomfortable as I am, but much better at hiding it.) We ended with a strange game where we could only talk in numbers, and it was meant to teach that it doesn't matter so much what you're saying, but how you say it and how committed you are to the scene.

Commitment was the theme of the class, and I'm confident I fully committed during those 2 hours and came out stronger on the other side.

I was looking at one of the teachers' tattoos while he was talking (low-key not listening and very distracted), and what it said may have changed my life. It was a ship wheel with a banner across the center that read, "Follow the Fear." I've heard similar things, like 'do what scares you', but I'd never seen it written that way. I'm still processing exactly what that could mean in my life (because it could mean very big things).

I think I'm sometimes good at doing things that scare me, but for the most part, I stick with what I know. One thing this class has taught me is that doing something I NEVER thought I would like can lead to really fun things. Perhaps Follow the Fear means more than going and seeing; it's doing-- stepping out and participating. That's where I'm lacking; I'm most comfortable as a spectator, but I think the players are the ones having more fun.

Something to think about.

Also this week, Heather, Katie, and I went to Paint Nite. This is a thing I'd never done, and I was kind of anxious for it because I have perfectionist tendencies and I worried I wouldn't be happy with what I created. The thing about it though, is that the process of creating is much more important than the end result. I got to spend an evening with two great friends, talking and laughing together, in the presence of 30 other extremely supportive women and men who were there to have fun, just like we were. And that's why it was great! The atmosphere is so positive, and we're all fumbling idiots just trying our best and trying together. In the end, I was very happy with what I created-- I gave myself permission to do what I felt, instead of trying to make it perfect.

We're so cute. 

I've felt very supported this week. I'm learning that when you're surrounded by happy, encouraging people, you can't help but also be happy and encouraging. And who doesn't want a happy and encouraging person in their life? (I do. I want several.)

Anyway, that's where I am right now-- extremely gratefully for the people I get to spend my time with and happy to be ever-growing and ever-learning.

What a life we live.



Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Scary Things

Hey, two weeks in a row! And it's been a really good week.

Friday night, Heather and I went to the Improv Show. They have one every Friday night, but I'd never been before. This is unfortunate because I had a blast! This is a seriously untapped gem of Cedar City. They put on a great show. I will say however that it did very little to calm my nerves about what we might be doing in Improv Class this week.

Despite the snow and abhorrent weather, I was able to escape to sunny St. George and get in a good run this Saturday. It was even better because I got to run in Snow Canyon State Park. I figure any place that's cool enough to be named a state or national park is a place I want to spend time. And it was beautiful! I've been there a few times before, but I feel this time I was really able to appreciate it's beauty. I'd like to go back and actually hike some of the side trails instead of running the main trail.

Sometimes I really hate running. It's a hassle, it hurts, it's really freaking hard. But I also really love it. I love how it clears my mind. I love how I begin to appreciate my body and how it gets stronger with every mile. I love that step after step, I prove to myself that my willpower is stronger than the thoughts that tell me I can't do this or maybe I should just stop.

Monday night I started playing volleyball again. Cedar has a fall and spring adult league. My team killed it in the fall, so I'm very excited for this season. I'm playing with 3 of the same girls, so hopefully we'll fall back into a good rhythm. This week we beat both teams that we played, so we're off to a good start! Since I didn't play college ball, I didn't think there would be any opportunities for me to play competitively again, so I'm very excited for this.

That brings us to tonight. I went back to Improv class. If it's possible, I think I was more nervous/ anxious for this week than I was for last-- partly because I figured this would be the week I'd have to be on stage, and partly because the Friday night show really freaked me out. I was right about having to be on stage, but thankfully they built us up to that.

We started with a few group activities just to loosen everyone up. Then, we had to play The Game. Actual improv, on an actual stage, with actual people in the audience. And you know what, I'm really happy with how I performed! The game was that you knock on a door and the other person has to answer it, and you build the scene based on what the other person says and you just go with it.

Once I got out of my head and stopped thinking, I felt able to enjoy myself and the scene and just react! instead of taking the time to think about what might be 'right' or funny in this situation. My scenes were:
-I'm a vet and the person on the other side of the door has a dying bird.
-I open the door to a friend who showed up to my mother's funeral wearing jeans. I'm pissed.
-I'm a trick or treat-er and the old lady who answers the door doesn't have candy, but she does have green beans.
-I open the door to someone responding to my newspaper ad for a tiny bike.

They were all kind of dumb and funny, but they were made up on the spot and it was so much fun! And once I was on the stage not worrying about what to say, I also was not worrying about the audience and that was a great feeling. It's amazing how much more confident I felt afterward. I felt powerful and confident and just proud of what I'd done. Incredibly proud that I'd done something that scared the pee out me. Doing scary things is hard, but I think it's probably worth it.

Now I'm home, ready for bed, and looking forward to the week ahead.

What a life we live.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I want to live.

How many times have I told myself that I need to get back to this blog?

Well, I'm back, for now. And I'll just get into it!

Lately I have been longing to feel alive.

This feeling came about one morning when I was out running on the canyon trail, here in Cedar. It's a beautiful trail that winds from the baseball fields to the edge of town, through a park and up the canyon. I love running this trail. On this particular day, I was running 6 miles, and I was dying because I hadn't been training like I should, but I was determined to stay on schedule. (even if that meant the longest I had run to date was only 4 miles.)

Anyway, I was running and I became acutely aware of my body and how it was moving and how incredibly proud I was of it for doing this. My body was putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward. I was so in awe that I was capable of this, because just a year earlier, I wouldn't have even dreamed of running more than a mile. (I completed my first half marathon last September!)

I was in awe of my body, and I felt the sun on my skin, and I was in awe of nature and my place in it. How crazy is it that I am alive at this point in time? And I get to be here and do things that I enjoy because my body can take me places.

Maybe this isn't making a lot of sense, but it was a revelation to me in that moment.

The next day, I went hiking in Zion and I felt the same elation to be out in nature and to experience the beauty all around me. The next weekend, I went to Zion again, and I promised myself I would do as many things as I can fit into my schedule this year, because I'm here and I might not ever be here again, and I want to live while I can.

The second weekend in Zion, Katie and I hiked Observation Point. It's an 8 mile roundtrip with 2,000+ ft elevation gain. (This means it's a 4 mile uphill climb.) It was strenuous and I wanted to curl up in a ball after we were done, but it was the most incredible view at the top. There wasn't a single part of the hike that wasn't amazing. There were no boring stretches, because you never knew what was coming around the next bend. It's filled with sheer drops, slot canyons, and a nice stroll on the rim of the canyon. I can't wait to do it again!

Also, this may come as a surprise, but as I write this, I have just come home from my first Improv class. What?! I know. I'm still in shock. But it was so much fun! (And I'm low-key looking forward to class next Wednesday.) My friend Heather asked me if I would join her in the class, right before we sat through a 2 hr musical, and the only thing I was thinking about was the class and whether or not I should do it. The next day she asked again, and I got on the website to sign up before I could think too hard about it! On my way to class (and most of today), I was SO scared, but I did it. And I'm so proud of myself right now!

So that's what this blog is going to be. A journal of the hikes/festival/events/activities I partake in this year. Hopefully there will be so many!

What an adventure this will be!