How to

Jason, world traveler, went to his cousin Jenn’s wedding last Friday. He was only gone for a night, but his return on Saturday night gave me an opportunity to hone my How To Make The Day Go By Quickly As You Anticipate Your Husband’s Return tactics.

1. Stay up late the night before. Jason called at 11 pm on Friday, waking me up. I was pretty incoherent for the first five minutes of our conversation, but after that I was wide awake. I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I read (a book that had previously caused me to fall asleep in the first place), located my retainer, looked for my blue and red-striped shirt and put in some laundry. I think I finally fell asleep around 2 am.

2. Sleep in. Thanks to my late night, I slept right through my internal clock and my actual alarm clock, not waking until 8.

3. Exercise, preferably for a long time. I was going to run ten miles (this is marathon season after all), but it was pouring outside. I checked whether the rain would abate later, but it actually looked like it would only get worse. I finally decided I would just do three miles and call it good.

Once I got going I felt okay, though (per usual) and my good hat kept the rain out of my face. At mile 2.75 two roads diverged and I could go left and end at three miles or right and do at least six. I went right. I stopped for water at a ward member/friend’s house at mile 7, and ended up doing 11. The rain never let up, but I felt pretty victorious at the end!

Of course, now my running shoes stink and my feet are rubbed a little raw. No pain no gain.

4. Nap. I took my first nap of the day at 11.

5. Talk to your mom on the phone for at least an hour.

6. Run errands, or invent errands to run. I went to the running store and tried on some shoes. Then I decided to go to Michael’s for fun and, of course, found things I desperately needed.

7. Read, which may lead to another nap.

8. Cook things. I made pizza and no-knead bread dough.

9. Watch mindless television. I usually don’t advocate this, but in my exhausted state I enjoyed vegging in front of some House Hunters. (Does anyone really entertain that often? Also, as someone who spends the majority of her thinking-about-having-a-baby-someday moments strategizing about whether a crib would work better in our kitchen or dining room, I have little sympathy for the house hunters who “need” two guest bedrooms, an office, and a craft room.)

10. Drive around the airport in circles. To be fair, I usually wait in the cell phone lot, but yesterday it was full–so full, in fact, that cars were partially blocking the lane turning into the cell phone lot. I didn’t want to be part of that mess, so I circled the airport for 25 minutes waiting for Jason. If my calculations are correct, that comes out to more than twelve revolutions. No wonder I was dizzy when I finally stopped to let Jason hop in.

That’s how you do it folks!


Saturday Morning
I ran on Saturday with Dani, after which Jason and I went and played tennis. Our usual courts were full, so we went to an elementary school. The courts there aren’t in the best condition, but they were empty and, for future reference, have lights. Score. I got off to a great start, but Jason rallied and we ended up at 6-6 but were too lazy to play a tie-breaker.

We planned to have a big brunch when we got home, but I was devastated to discover that our favorite pancake recipe has disappeared from the internet! Actually, disappeared is the wrong word. It has been replaced by a supposedly better but much more involved recipe from the same blog (SeriousEats. I’m probably going to write them an email). When I want pancakes, I don’t have time to beat egg whites into stiff peaks. I tried out a different recipe from Martha Stewart, which was fine but not the same. Sigh. Thankfully the perfectly-cooked fried eggs (a skill I have perfected in Jason’s absence) made up for pancakes.

In Which We Baby-sit
Some friends asked us to baby-sit on Saturday night and I wasn’t sure if I should tell them the last time Jason and I baby-sat a six-month-old was never, so I didn’t. It actually ended up being the easiest baby-sitting gig ever. We watched Parks and Rec and occasionally checked the video baby monitor (technology!). There were crazy storms that night, so every once in a while the baby would wake up, look around, and then go back to sleep.

12 Hours Without Air Conditioning
Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, which is saying something considering our May. As I boarded the metro last night, I was met with a burst of warm air. Yes, my train lacked a working air conditioner. Then the train ahead of us had mechanical difficulties and had to be offloaded. As you may recall from past episodes of Amanda’s Commuting Adventures, being the train following an offloaded train is the worst; the disgruntled mass of humanity that has just been displaced from their ride home tries to cram into your already-full train, a process made even more awesome yesterday by the aforementioned lack of air conditioning.

Fortunately I snagged a seat when I learned we’d be dealing with an offload (I’m such a metro pro) and only had to deal with smells and sweating all the way through my clothing on the way home. The offload also added about twenty-five minutes to my journey, and I felt every sweaty second of those twenty-five minutes. When I finally reached my station and fresh air, the 105 degree heat index felt balmy.

Unfortunately, there were storm clouds on the horizon, so I hustled home and only just missed the torrential rain. However, as I walked into our apartment, I was once again met with a burst of warm air. Yes, our apartment air conditioner had apparently stopped working. Fortunately dinner didn’t require turning on the oven and Jason had bishopric meeting and got to spend three hours away from the inferno. I took a cold shower and opened up all the windows so the rain-cooled air could circulate through the apartment, which helped. It was a rough night. I’m sure my pioneer ancestors would be disappointed in what a pansy I have become.

Best Birthday Present Ever
I’m going back to Mexico with Jason next week!


Jason got to spend a whole three hours at home on Friday afternoon. In the last two weeks he’s been in three countries, four states and the District of Columbia. In an unexpected but not unwelcome turn of events he realized on Thursday night before flying home that I had convinced him to leave his keys in case I got locked out (so maybe the logic isn’t quite there…) and thus I headed out of work early to meet him and let him into the apartment. Darn. We had pizza and chocolate chip cookies, after which Jason unpacked his bag and packed it up again and we headed out, New Jersey-bound for Mike and Jill’s wedding!

I almost never drive when we road trip, but since Jason was reeling from all his time-zone-crossing of the last week, I bravely took on the task. We left at 7:30 pm and, surprisingly, hit no traffic. He fell asleep around 9:30 with his noise-canceling headphones on, so I cranked up the Arcade Fire and worked my way through a pack of gum down the Garden State Parkway. I was really blessed to be able to stay awake, since ordinarily I am only lucid after 10 pm if Jason’s away and I’m binge-watching Netflix. I pulled into the Marriott parking lot at 11:54 pm.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel, then headed over for the 11 am ceremony. We were nervous about being late, but almost no one was there when we rolled in. We mingled around the champagne station for a while, slightly worried we were not where we were supposed to be. Fortunately the hotel shuttle (from the official hotel, which I had tried to book too late, hence our stay at the nearby Marriott) rolled in around 11:25, along with all the wedding guests. Whew. The staff herded us out to the garden for the ceremony.

The venue was very pretty, and the programs/fans even had a Dave Matthews quote on the back.

Thankfully we didn’t have to sit outside too long, though, because it was mighty hot! Jason was more than a little worried about a sunburned head and I thought elbow-length sleeves might give me an even weirder farmer tan than the one I am sporting now.

The ceremony was very nice. The flower girls were especially adorable, though one of them burst into tears after their petal-strewing was over. I also liked that the officiant was one their friends (who happened to be wearing the same shirt/tie/suit combination as Jason).

After the ceremony we were directed to the cocktail hour, which featured enough food to count as lunch. Seriously. It was insane. We ate enough from the cold plates table to fill us up, forgoing the pasta and meatballs station, custom mashed potatoes table, and wine-and-cheese pairings. There may have been other food displays that escaped our notice as we were too busy pounding passed chicken dumplings and cheese calzones. Also, there was an ice sculpture.

We rolled into the actual lunch, where we were seated with some of Jason’s high school friends. 

Then the reception got underway. There was delicious food. There was dancing. There was cake.

Probably the most mind-blowing moment of the reception was at the end, when the emcee announced a special video presentation. I assumed it would be more slideshows. Nay, it was a lovely recap of the wedding day, including the cutting of the cake, which had happened approximately eight minutes earlier! As a film major, I was mightily impressed, and assume somebody in a room somewhere was giving herself carpal tunnel editing that thing so quickly. Well played, Estate at Florentine Gardens.

Anyway, the wedding was fun and great. The ceremony ended at five and we headed back to the hotel.

We change and I ate some popcorn and we headed over to the hotel where everyone else was staying and whiled away the evening by the pool. After this experience, I’m a fan of the morning wedding/afternoon reception model. It was nice to get home at a decent hour and have time to relax with everyone who was in town for the festivities.

Jason and I went back to our hotel when it got dark and he did some church work while I curled up in the bed and slept.

Jason is lucky to have a great group of friends from high school. They are all successful and funny, and they have always been kind and welcoming to me, even when it may have been a little weird that we got married so early. We always look forward to seeing them when we can while up in Connecticut. Jason’s lucky (and so am I) to have them.

We drove home early Sunday morning to be back in time for the changing of the bishopric. We didn’t hit any traffic, thank goodness, and I sent the following picture to Adam, future Baltimore-an. 

Jason didn’t end up getting released, but it was good that got back for church. We had pizza for dinner, then unpacked (again) and talked to Jason’s parents and uncle and aunt. Oh, and we ate some chocolate chip cookies. I’m so glad to have Jason home again (for a couple weeks).

48 hours with Jason

I don’t know how Jason does it. He’s been traveling a lot lately, but somehow stays healthy, awake, and on top of all the things he has going on, including executive secretarying. Actually, someone on the ward council mentioned to me the other day that they never know when he is gone because he sends and responds to email wherever he is. (Post-Sunday update: we are getting a new bishop. Does this mean Jason will be released?? Tune in next Sunday to find out!) I won’t say his schedule has gotten easier because it’s never easy to be away from the person you love the most, but I’ve gotten better at handling his absences. Instead of sobbing intermittently for the first twenty-four hours he’s gone, I turn on some music, pick up a good book, check the lock on the door no fewer than three times, and eat all the chocolate while waiting anxiously for him to FaceTime.

That said, dancing around the kitchen while washing the dishes doesn’t assuage all loneliness and I live for the days when he comes home. I think everyone at work gets sick of me constantly reporting on how long he’s been gone and how many days/hours until he returns. Life’s just better with Jason here.

I was grateful he had a forty-eight hour break to spend at home this week. It just so happened it coincided with a visit from my dad. They both got into town Thursday afternoon. I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so I was working from home when Jason got back. We had hoped–if he wasn’t too sleepy–to go to the Nationals game that night with my dad, but it started raining and we assumed the game would be cancelled, so Dad came over for dinner. I made pizza (even though it was Thursday) and we let him sit in the LC1.

It turned out the game wasn’t cancelled after all, just postponed for a few hours, but I’m glad we stayed at home. It is rare to get my dad to ourselves and we had a good long talk.

The next day we all went to work, then met up in the evening for the Calexico concert.

Saturday Jason and I had planned to play tennis, but we were exhausted and slept in until 10 a.m. (thankfully I don’t remember the last time that happened). We had some breakfast and Jason did some laundry from his last trip while I watched the women’s singles final of the French Open (some newly-formed habits die hard). After lunch he packed up and headed out the door. I worked out, treated myself to Cava, and bought all the things I wanted at Trader Joe’s, including these dipped s’more things that aren’t as good as I wanted them to be, and yet I ate half the–wait, no, the entire– package. Now I’m waiting with bated breath for the rain-delayed Payson Temple Cultural Celebration to begin, in the hopes of catching a glimpse of Adam and Grant dancing around with smiley face frisbees.

Oh, one more great thing from this weekend: when we got home from Calexico, I had a text from Hannah (I’d left my phone at home and had Jason bring my license in his wallet. Someone needs to design women’s pants with functional pockets) saying she had run into Monica at the MTC! It made me so happy.
Okay, I stayed up for the entire cultural celebration and enjoyed it immensely. Sure there were some odd moments (1. Since when is Spanish Fork a thriving metropolis. 2. I liked it better when we were into the Mormon Trail founding myth instead of this fixation with the divine destiny of America and the allegedly near-perfect founding fathers. There was something so strange about Nephi sharing the stage with Abraham Lincoln. 3. Wait, Spanish Fork has more baseball diamonds per capita than any other city? 4. There is more to Payson, in my experience, than the salmon supper and the Scottish Festival. No one even mentioned Onion Days or the room in the Peteetneet Museum dedicated to the woman from Payson who died on the Titanic.) but overall I just ate it up. I maybe even cried a tiny little bit when I saw the video of my hometown.  

Such an incredible building. I’m so glad I got to attend the open house.

Sunday was good. I did a four-mile walk in the morning. I took a picture of my Sunday School class as we met outside for probably the last time until August. 

There are so many of them. After church I had a very fun dinner with Lara and McCord. Now it is Monday night. I just finished off my supper (two pieces of buttered bread, some green beans, chocolate chip cookie dough and some more s’mores bites). There’s a great storm going on outside my window, which makes sitting on my couch with a good book all the more cozy. Good night!

in which we go see calexico

A few months ago my dad mentioned the 9:30 Club (now apparently officially known as Nightclub 9:30, which I like less) on his blog and how he had always intended to go to a show there. I joked that he should come out in June and go to Calexico with us. Fastforward to last week, when he called up to say he would be coming to DC for a meeting on Friday, the very Friday of the concert. (The show also corresponded with/prompted a forty-eight-hour break in Jason’s travel schedule, but more on that later.)

We decided to drive in, since there’s something so unappealing about taking the metro after midnight. I thought we had to pick up the $12 parking pass, so I headed up to U Street after work on Friday. Turns out our names would just be on the register at the parking lot that evening, but I did also pick up my dad’s ticket, saving us some time later on.

Before the show we had dinner at Silver Diner, a favorite for my dad because they serve beets and brussels sprouts.

Of the three of us, I have (hilariously) the most driving-in-DC-recently experience, so I took the wheel when we headed into the city at 9:15 p.m. To be clear, I am usually getting ready for bed at 9:15 p.m. and was legitimately worried I might fall asleep during the concert (or worse, driving us home). I missed a turn that I think would have gotten me to a diagonal (New Hampshire?) and instead ended up taking the least direct route to the venue. We pulled into the parking lot just before 10 p.m. and headed inside.

Okay, the 9:30 Club is pretty cool.  

Also, I was really excited to have Jason home.

Gaby Moreno, a Guatamalan singer-songwriter opened with four or five songs. She has a really really interesting voice. A couple guys from Calexico joined her for one song. IMG_2028

When she was done, the band members came out and checked their instruments (which seemed sort of quaint). Around 10:30, Calexico came out and opened up with “Falling from the Sky”.

I can’t emphasize enough how great Calexico is live. Maybe part of the awesomeness was due to the intimate venue, but they were seriously great (and this coming from a girl who speaks limited Spanish)(though to be fair they sing in English quite a lot)(and Jason translated the Spanish songs in my ear because his language skills are on point).

Gaby Moreno joined them for a couple songs. I think she should probably just join Calexico full time.

Also, there was accordion, with a mic taped to the front.

They played for almost two hours, then did four more songs across two encores. Sometimes at concerts I get sick of standing (or standing in the rain, as the Dave Matthews Band case may be), but I was having a blast long after midnight. 

I’m glad I got to go with Jason and my dad, my two biggest music influencers. I distinctly remember hearing the two of them talk music back when we were dating and thinking, “Wait. Jason is exactly like my dad.” That’s a good thing. We had such a fantastic time together, as you can tell from our big grins.

The show ended around 12:45 and we headed home by a more direct route. We dropped my dad at his hotel and said good-bye, as he was flying home to Utah early the next morning to be home in time for the Payson Temple cultural celebration. Jason and I stopped by CVS on the way home to pick up more travel-sized contact solution and finally got to bed around 2 a.m.

dinner of champions

Sometimes when Jason is away there’s a moment when I think, “Come on, Amanda. Pull yourself together!” That moment was last night. I had gone spinning with Emily, so I got home around 8 p.m. and realized I had no food. Well, I had food, but mostly ingredients to make other things: a can of kidney beans, half a bag of raw pepitas, five pounds each of wheat and white flour, a lemon. Taking stock of my cupboard, I opted for a fried egg and some peas. Still hungry, I polished off a bag of goldfish crackers, some homemade pita chips, and a handful or two or three of raw cookie dough.

I miss my reason to make delicious meals. I swear I am going to the grocery store tonight.