Dear 100 Hour Board and Alumni,
What's new since last Alumni week? Any major life updates? Any life-changing discoveries? Any cute furry friends or little humans (please send pictures!)?
I love Board Babies SO MUCH. Anyway, in case you missed it:
- I got married!!! And my husband is SO handsome and kind and funny. Wedding day pictures, because you haven't had those (even though I know you're probably sick of me talking about it):
- Apartment life is both awesome (I don't have to live in a house with 10 other people and a dog) but also stressful (landlords are cheapskates and some of the paint is bubbling and also, how am I supposed to remember when to take the trash can to the curb???)
- I started Research Work in the Sociology Department with two of my favorite professors! It's reassuring to know that working on these actually keeps me excited.
- I like reading for fun again! I was one of those kids in elementary school that was reading books through the night, consuming anything and everything I could get my hands on. Then high school hit and I just... stopped reading. I couldn't do it for the sake of enjoyment anymore. BUT GUESS WHAT, I've started taking a comfy camp chair with Pebble when he goes fishing and I've made it through 2 books, which for getting started again is pretty good!
The biggest life changing thing is that we bought a house and moved to Ohio! It's definitely got some issues, and apparently there was a prostitution ring and drugs and illegal cars from the renters before we bought it? And the house was trashed when they left? It's so surreal being a homeowner, knowing that you can do absolutely anything to the house because it's yours. (Except if it involves the exterior the HOA cares deeply about what you're doing.) We definitely couldn't have afforded a house of equal size in Utah, so moving had that big perk to it. It's still really expensive to own a home.
Unfortunately, seven months later, my depression isn't cured. I have a few ideas of things we want to try, but we've been working on some of my physical health issues first. I have some appointments coming up that will hopefully answer some questions, but I'm not optimistic. Chronic health problems often leave me feeling like I'm looking for a solution to create a lightbulb, and I just keep finding one of the thousand ways that don't work.
Menstrual cups are a life changer, and I love them so much. Tampons haven't really been great for me for the last year or so, and I'm not a huge fan of pads, so I thought I'd make a leap to a cup, and it's been well worth it. Put A Cup In It has a great quiz that helps you find which cup would be the best fit for you--depending on cervix depth, whether or not you've had a baby, and flow amount. The first couple of days of my period I have to empty it rather frequently, but the last couple of days I can go the whole day without touching it. Related, I changed my birth control for one reason, but found out that it had also been suppressing my libido, so I'm never going back to that option. It's weird how much things can affect you without realizing it.
Spectre and I switched to Slack for messaging each other. We used a different office system before, but Slack is a bit better in various ways. I love having multiple channels to discuss various things rather than just one message chain where everything is overlapped and can get easily lost.
I'm also majorly back on the Harry Potter train. I can't remember what inspired it, but I'm back to slight obsession. We've been reading it to Lil' M. occasionally before bed, and he seems to be enjoying it.
Dear Unregistered HyperCam 2,
Nothing is all that much different with my life than a year ago. My book collection is bigger. I have a cat that alternates between cuddling (see below) and running around like a psycho. I sold homemade apple and pecan pies at a farmers market in December, but the summer market - where I was planning on selling bread - didn't happen as planned.
When I first answered this question, this was my answer:
"I'm still living and working in Wisconsin, so I guess the biggest update is that I'm dating someone! The Goose Guy and I met in our small singles ward, became good friends, and eventually started dating. It's been nine months now, and we're as happy as ever!"
Two weeks later, I stumbled upon this, realized it wasn't published yet, and decided to give it an update. It's basically the same but with a slight modification:
"I'm still living and working in Wisconsin, so I guess the biggest update is that I'm engaged! The Goose Guy and I met in our small singles ward, became good friends, and eventually started dating. It's been nine months now, and we're as happy as ever!"
Here's to joining the planning a wedding during a pandemic club!
Also, my cat is not new, but he's as cute as ever:
Thanks for asking,
-the Goose Girl
While with my dad on a trip to Germany, I finally got to see a Van Gogh painting in person.
(no source because, like, it's my picture. I guess I could see if my dad could offer some written permission since he took it but that seems like a hassle)
I'm only going to focus on the biggest thing that happened last year, which is that my siblings and I saved up for a few years and surprised my parents with a trip for their 40th anniversary, and then any of us kids that wanted to go along could pay our own way. So last summer D.A.R.E. and I ditched the kids and got to spend 10 days in London and Scotland, and it was the absolute best, mostly because my sister planned everything to a tee. Yes, we lost D.A.R.E. in Westminster Abbey, but we found him again in the Churchill War Bunker, and in the meantime I got to eat a really delicious lemon drizzle cake. And yes, I developed a terrible cold upon arriving in London, which turned into Labyrinthitis that made it feel like I was always walking on a boat, but I got to see Hamilton in the eighth row. We visited Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey), and spent a day at the Harry Potter studios, which was probably the highlight of the trip, aside from finally getting to meet my little Kewpie doll of a niece. In Scotland we toured Crathes Castle, because my mom is a Burnett, and we walked all over Edinburgh and went to the Military Tattoo. Four of my siblings came on the trip, so between spouses and kids there were 15 of us, and it just made for the best trip ever. I've never traveled internationally before, so the UK was a nice easy English-speaking place to get my feet wet, and I can't wait to go back.
Last year I was in my first trimester during alumni week. We had found out that I was pregnant on our three year anniversary at 1 a.m., expecting a negative pregnancy test. (Alas, it was an expired test!) Instead of going to Walmart at 3 a.m., I forced myself to fall asleep and go in the morning. I was super sick and I do not miss throwing up every other morning. I had recently found out during this time last year that I need saltine crackers, 'bed bread' (bread that never left the bedside), and Powerade to not get sick in the mornings. If I had all three of these things before I woke up, I was fine. This was also the time of my life where I became obsessed with cinnamon.
I was also finally promised by Tipperary that my Board application was going to be sent right after alumni week. I waited since February so I was SO ready. But also, so very sick.
We moved to North Salt Lake at the end of August to be closer to Carl's family as they would only be ten minutes away from us. Carl Jr. was the first grandchild, so telling them on Mother's Day was such a shock to them. I remember my mother-in-law practically shouting "Are you KIDDING me?!" as we gave her Mother's Day gift that entailed a onesie that said, "No means ask grandma." To be honest, it was pretty dumb we told them that early because I was only 3-4 weeks pregnant. But I'M so bad at keeping secrets, and it was hard hiding it because I was so sick and nothing like myself.
Carl and I went to Tonga during my second trimester right after we moved. It was a once in a lifetime trip and I'm so glad I pushed Carl to buy the plane tickets (during alumni week actually).
Then earlier this year I gave birth to Carl Jr. at the beginning of January. I was induced at 39 weeks since my family is known for having fast labors and my hospital was 20 minutes away. (I was also fully effaced and dilated to like a 4 at my 38 week check-up.) I'm pretty sure I would have gone into labor later on that date anyway because I'm pretty sure my water broke as we were waiting for the Pitocin to start working. Labor really wasn't all that bad, but the 10 weeks of recovery were absolutely AWFUL. No one really told me to prepare for post-labor... I know now and will be prepared for the future childrens.
Overall, being a Mom has been a huge adjustment. I love it but it's so hard. Being a mother stretches you in ways that I never thought was imaginable. For example, I'm actually now used to being up at 7 a.m. every morning when it was a struggle when I had an 8 a.m. class! So much growth over the last 5 months or so.
I am down an additional 4 organs and have been in the hospital 4 times since last reunion (5 if you include my stay that was taking place this time last year). Basically I am running out of "non-essential" organs (I think my gall bladder and 1 kidney are the only "optional" things left. Maybe my spleen?). I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer two weeks after last reunion, which made pregnancy... extra fun. Oh, yeah! I also had the pleasure of being tested for Covid-19, too, because my life isn't exciting enough.
This summer I am earning my TEFL certificate from UC Berkley and starting a math endorsement. I hope to move to Asia with my family in the next couple of years (we're planning to do a test-run either next summer or the following one) because I'm getting really sick and tired of the way education is viewed here in the States and I would like to not be treated like garbage.
Here are some pictures of my cat and babies.
Dear OmittedCamera93 ~
I don't know if it was Quarantine Insanity, or if Dragon Baby just finally wore us down, but we got a cat. River.
(I don't know why the photo is sideways. I don't care enough to try to figure out how to fix it. Sorry.)
And when I say "we got a cat" I mean "Dragon Baby got a cat." I told her months, if not years ago, that I had no interest in getting another cat. (We tried that many years ago, and there were lots of problems.) She has never stopped begging. She asked what she could do. So we told her she'd have to prove 3 things: 1. Responsibility in money. She would have to set aside enough every month for several months running for typical monthly expenses plus extra to save for an emergency, plus save up enough to pay for all initial expenses. 2. Responsibility in chores. Especially the chores that she really hates doing. She needed to prove to me that she could do something she didn't want to, because I would not, under any circumstances, become responsible for the kitty litter again. 3. Problem solving. She would need to go through my lengthy list of why I don't want another cat and solve them. It took a very long time, but she did all three things. I have been shocked at her level of responsibility the last 6+ months. When this girl wants something, she will do anything to make it happen. I'm seriously impressed by her. Eventually we reached the point where Yellow said, "I don't think it's a good idea to bait and switch our own children."
So I took her to PetSmart where she adopted a cat (which was technically from a local shelter.)
I have to admit, River is possibly the best cat I could have possibly asked for. He rarely jumps on the table or counters. He doesn't shed or cough up hairballs (much). He (mostly) doesn't scratch up my furniture. He doesn't try to run outside when I leave the door open to bring in groceries. He doesn't wake me up at 5 am meowing for food. He doesn't wake me up at all, in fact. He doesn't scratch us. He isn't overly needy, but he does like a good belly rub, and will lay next to me on the couch. He wants to be near people, but not with people. Half the time I forget I have a cat.
I love cats, but I already have 3 needy children. I don't need a needy pet. He really is perfect. I kind of love him.
~ Dragon Lady
As always, a lot has happened in my life in the past year. I guess I'm a little more chaotic than I like to admit.
1. I got GOOD treatment for my migraines. I use one of those injector pens once a month! Instead of having 15-18 migraines a month, now I have around 3-5. I think the last time I didn't have to worry about migraines on a daily basis was when I was about 12 or so.
2. I got BETTER treatment for my mental health issues. I had a very serious sit-down with my psychiatrist at the beginning of the year and said that medication just wasn't working for some of my symptoms. We readjusted some dosages/added a few things and I'm doing better.
3. I finally admitted to myself that I'm asexual, and it was really difficult and confusing to get to this point. I have been in many meaningful romantic relationships that I have enjoyed, but as I've thought about how others have described their sexuality and I've thought about my own experiences, a few doubts and questions crept into my mind.
In high school, I had a boyfriend that I absolutely adored. We spent all of our free time together and did all that high school handholding and smoochin'. Awesome! I remember having a conversation with him once where he expressed his fear that we needed to be "really careful" about kissing because he didn't want it to go "too far." I was confused by that because I had never (and this is weird to admit) once even daydreamed about having sex with him. Had HE thought about doing that with ME? I was shocked that real people actually thought about that; that it wasn't just a Hollywood exaggeration.
When I was married, I, again, adored my spouse. They were a very affectionate person, which I loved, and we could spend hours talking with each other and never tire of each others' opinions. We had sex occasionally, which in honesty was a relief, because while sex was fine, cuddles and talking is so much more fun. But at the same time, I wondered - maybe I just haven't found the right person? Maybe I haven't experienced what I'm looking for yet.
After we divorced, I wanted to see if I could figure out what it was like to feel sexually attracted to someone, so I started dating. I've dated a few guys in the past years who I have found romantically attractive. I even enjoyed having sex with them! However. I still had the sense that something was missing on my side. While I could easily describe every character attribute that I loved about each guy I dated, there was a question that I couldn't ever really answer when it popped into my head: What do I actually find sexually attractive about this person? Am I attracted to them, or do I just like that they are attracted to me?
This was followed up by another, more confusing question: Do I actually want to have sex with this person? Or any person?
This bothered me, so I started doing some research. I read everything online I could find on asexuality. I attended an asexual Meetup group in Salt Lake City. I talked to folks I knew who identify as ace. Hearing these different experiences opened up my eyes and helped me confirm that what I was feeling wasn't weird, and that there were other people like me. It was so exciting.
The most difficult part for me to grapple with at this point in time is: I am ace - now what? I'm trying to reimagine a life for myself that doesn't hinge on a sexual relationship. Will I try to date partners in non-sexual relationships? Will I just keep being an awesome single lady? I don't really know at this point. But I do feel better now that I'm coming to terms with my sexuality.
4. I adopted two cats. I've been afraid to adopt cats because I, frankly, knew nothing about cats except that they have sharp claws and teeth, and everyone says they're mean. I don't like mean things. But when I was forced to start working remotely, I just felt the urge to nurture some living thing. I'm bad at keeping plants alive, and dogs are pretty high maintenance for me (I have a hard time keeping up with all the walking and high energy). So I thought, Welp. Cats, maybe?? And my cats are the best. They are bonded orange tabbies named Sweet Dee and Dennis (names I picked out, jabronis). They just turned 1 year old a few days ago. They're both very vocal - Dennis meows at me when he wants something and Dee chirps because she's a chatty lady. They're super cuddly and love to play. Why has everyone kept the adorableness of cats a secret from me all these years???
5. I got to see The New Pornographers in concert in January. I have been waiting to see them for years, and I stood right up at the front and sang as loud as I could and it was such a happy experience.
*this answer was finished as is by the editors*
Highlights from the past year:
- I got called to be a Young Women's advisor and consequently had my first experience with Girl's Camp as an adult. I discovered that I am a terrible sleeper when I'm not in my own bed, not to mention the girls staying up and having dance parties until 2 or 3 AM... Thankfully camp got cancelled this year so I didn't have to worry about breaking down after only 3 hours of fitful sleep. But YW in general is fun and I hope I don't get moved anytime soon.
- Mr. Maven and I went to Michigan for our anniversary and to visit my brother who lives there. Mr. Maven grew up in Michigan, and this was his first visit back since he moved away. We visited Mackinac Island, the Upper Peninsula, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Midland, Cedar Point, and Detroit. Michigan is beautiful and I can see why so many people love living there (when it's not winter).
- I coached Mavenboy's city soccer team for the second year in a row. Due to some very strong personalities, it was quite a challenge, and I will never do that again.
- Got a new niece, the first on my side of the family.
- Saw Miss Saigon, A Christmas Story, Fiddler on the Roof, and Dear Evan Hansen at the Eccles Theater courtesy of our season tickets. Dear Evan Hansen was so touching and I'm grateful we got to see it before everything shut down. We have season tickets for next year, but now with coronavirus I'm worried about being in an enclosed space with so many people...
- I took a trip to California with my brother, sans-kids. It was so great to get a break from parenting and responsibility! The main objective of our trip was to go to Disneyland, specifically Galaxy's Edge. We got to ride Rise of the Resistance, I hugged Chewbacca, we flew on the Millennium Falcon, my brother built a lightsaber, and after drinks at the cantina we tracked down Rey. Plus we did all the other fun Disneyland and California Adventure stuff. I highly recommend kid-free trips for all the parents out there!
- We're still not done finishing our basement, which has been in progress for the past year. But it's close, and I *think* we'll finish in the next month or two.
- As always, I've done lots of cooking and baking along the way.
Dear my brother's age:
A year ago I was running around literally crashing at random dudes' places in another state, fruitlessly interviewing everywhere from Google to minimum wage campaign jobs, and that escalated to me moving in with a lawyer dude I'd just met for like, several days, actually. We went to Pride. It was the first time I had cohabited in a decade.
Remember ... doing things??? Well when you go to a strip club for the first time and back to Church for the first time in years ON THE SAME DAY I think that's quite enough doing things in one day. I was rescued from Church by one of the three or so engineers I was seeing at the time and we went and scored the worst of any team in a county-wide trivia contest, and he made a crack about strip clubs, and I was very very very broke so I thought, well maybe I can work in the, uh, office side, and when I went and the paper application asked about my "grammar school," and I tried to imagine them calling my very conservative grammar school, and both places felt patriarchal and kitsch, and then alcohol became involved and I ended up with a girl's phone ... Was this really just a year ago? Even for me, um, wow.
So, yeah, I definitely had a nervous breakdown.
How did I get to here? A sober professional dating (and this is true!) a Salt Lake native engineer who although also ex-Mormon is an RM from the most basic mission you can imagine (that's the one!) and was a middle manager and lives alone?
Good question, glad you asked!
Well first, I got intervention-ed I suppose, and agreed to seek treatment, and ended up not at a fancy Westside LA clinic like this super hot UVU dude (BYU, lower your academic standards, jk, but seriously) but at a sketchy probably illegal one in Murray and my very Mormon grandmother sat there with the Golden Retrievers while I got shot up with psychedelics to try to not off myself or shack up with random lawyers.
And, reader, it worked.
We deal with the real stuff here a lot, and it sounds trite to say "I tried an experimental treatment for depression that is apparently trending among the ex-Mormon professional set, and it cured my suicidal ideation instantly," but it did. I'm not sure I can even put into words why it worked. Why did I do all that stuff I did in the weeks leading up to it? Why do some treatments work so well for some people and some make your condition worse? Why would our own brains turn against us this way in the first place, and why is it so hard to find yourself for those of us who have made irreversible life choices?
So I went on my brain journey and I guess if I had to sum up what it felt like, it was like feeling unconditionally loved.
The past year of therapy and a real adult job and getting more vulnerable and quitting drinking really did open my eyes to a truth — I did not receive the type of love that a young kid really should, and I didn't get a fair response when I reached out for it as an adult.
But my drug trip seemed to rewire my brain to fix whatever flip switched to allow me to keep it together enough to get a fabulous job, not feel suicidal and make strange choices, and to try some different drugs to see if that was the answer.
I loved my job, and I was great at it, and I made some poor life choices in it but mostly progressed to a better place. The apartment fell into place, and I used my time alone to really "work on myself" as the Reddit says. I was a bit like a lady incel, but vitally, without the blaring hatred of the gender I wasn't involved with, for many, many months, and it was boring but probably necessary.
Even after my epiphany, I still drank, but not with quite the same gusto as before. I started seriously thinking about giving it up when a close friend whose whole life was my June got off the sauce. I went and stayed with her in Hawaii. Hawaii is both sublime and kinda boring. I wouldn't live there.
I couldn't afford therapy until I had the mid-level manager job (CHEW ON THAT) and after hearing it from my very Jewish, very smart boss many many times that I should go I finally booked a consultation in Sugar Hood.
And now I feel like I understand myself. I don't think I became a self-actualized adult until I found the right therapist and stuck with it for several months.
All of this weirdly prepared me for the world going to hell. I was laid off from that great job (not my fault, for once!). Obviously, I'm living through the same stress that everyone else is.
But there was nowhere to go but up, and I'm actually in a good place.
Now the worst thing in my life is that I have to pay for a yuppie apartment on whatever I can cobble from savings, side hustles, and unemployment. But I didn't have any of that a year ago.
I thought this would be mostly funny, and trust me, I'm laughing, but I think it illustrates so much of how our systems fail us: the mentally ill, the creative class, ex-Mormons, anyone who's not Jeff Bezos.
I was lucky, I was smart, and I have a rich grandma. Not everyone is the Rory Gilmore of Salt Lake, you know? Sometimes you steal one yacht and that stuff stays with you for life.
I would dare say that's part of the message being put out today: being a hot mess was no picnic, and there were definite biological and sociological reasons that I had a nervous breakdown. But being an educated white lady was definitely part of the luck side of that equation.
And no children or pets were created, acquired, or harmed in the making of this very memorable year. Phew.
Last year during reunion week I was on a Disney cruise (without internet) with my parents, sister and her family, and boyfriend and his daughter. Since that time I:
- Completely changed jobs. I knew my boyfriend and I were planning to get married and I would be moving. Not wanting the hour+ commute to work every day, I miraculously found something closer to him.
- Got engaged. Right after our cruise, my parents, boyfriend and daughter, and I went to Mackinac Island, Michigan to meet up with my birth dad and his family (I go to Michigan to see them every year). My boyfriend proposed to me after an early morning bike ride around the island.
- My fiance and I bought a house about a week before our wedding. Cutting it stressfully close to when we needed to find housing.
- Got married. Our wedding was performed by my mission president (which was really tender). We went on our honeymoon to Boston specifically so we could take a day trip to Lake Winnipesaukee just so I could say, "AHOY! I sail, I'm a sailor, I sail!"
- Moved into our house. It's fantastic and I love it.
- Are expecting a baby in November. I'm not sure if I'm more excited or terrified. I like planning way ahead and apparently babies aren't great for that.
- I'm in year 13 of my Photo A Day journal. I keep wanting to quit because it's kind of a pain, but I think I'm committed now. (My disclaimer is that it's not a true Photo A Day because I miss days here and there. I admire the people who never miss, but I'm not one.)
And here is a token wedding photo:
-Marguerite St. Just