Friday, February 27, 2009

Thank You

Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and wishes. We appreciate your prayers and good thoughts.

We're doing well. I called and got Renter's Insurance - one day too late, but I have a lot of peace of mind having it now. Plus in case there's a volcano that ruins our apartment, we'll be set. Although every few hours Avram and I will remember yet another movie that's gone. They didn't take according to resale value, but just by shelf, so all of Lydia's movies, which were on the bottom two shelves, are mostly fine (although Elmo's potty time did go missing), but the drama and action/adventure, plus the old movies (Humphrey Bogart, old musicals) were basically wiped out. Honestly, I don't even really like movies, and I've been wanting to majorly clear out our collection anyway, but I would have liked Avram and I to do the selecting.

Mostly I'm just sad that my wedding ring is gone - Avram bought it on an after Christmas sale, and it was a sapphire ring, so it's not the monetary value as much as the symbolic one. I'm weird, and so I've always wanted to wear different rings throughout my life, just because a wedding ring is really the only fancy jewelry I wear, and I like variety and to try different things. So I'm thinking for Birthday/Christmas maybe we can look into antique/used rings with different stones, like maybe a ruby, or amethyst or something. Plus I've been leaning toward yellow gold recently. I loved the Edwardian style (ornate filigree) of my wedding ring - plus Avram surprised me with it, so he picked it out himself.

Thanks for the various offers of computers. (And Carrie, we don't have caller ID, so please call me back, because I don't know your number, because I stored it on the laptop). Currently Avram's uncle offered a mac that he has, and I'm trying to convince Avram that now is the time to move to a Mac.

Hearkening back to a recent post, despite recent events, or maybe even because of, I am still very happy in my life. Not because I'm happy to have been robbed, but because being robbed (or burglarized, technically, since I wasn't there), but because this made me remember what I truly value. My daughters. My husband. My temple covenants. Our eternal marriage. Although someone could theoretically steal the first two, the second two are untouchable.

I have missed the Internet. It's only been two days, but I feel very distant from the world around me. Suddenly the phone looks like a lot more of a lifeline to the outside world. We should soon have a borrowed computer, so soon I'll be back regularly.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We were Robbed

We were robbed today. Our laptop, half our movies (about 80 movies were taken) and our DVD player. Plus my wedding ring, long may it remain squished. I was gone for an hour and a half, and when I came home there were movies (dvds) scattered, and a bag of them in the kitchen, and the window was broken in our kitchen door. Plus it smelled like cigarette smoke. I panicked and left, and went to the manager's office, who then called the police.

We're doing what we can, but we didn't have renter's insurance (although we will now), so that's that. Mostly I just feel violated. Thankfully they didn't vandalize the apartment. Now that we don't have a computer, I'm not sure when I'll be able to post again, or what exactly we're going to do about getting another computer (which will definitely NOT be a laptop).

Keep us in your prayers. Hopefully next time I write I will have better "good news."

(Although we are doing ok. Mostly just shell shocked.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Utah here I Come!

It's official! I'm going to Utah for my brother's wedding, and I'll be there March 11-16. I'm super excited - I haven't been home in two years! I think that's all I'll write right now, or I would exceed my personal allowance of exclamation points, but just know that I am very, very excited!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Those Sentimental Feelings, that You Feel

I did begin writing another step of my Saga last night. But then about half way through I posted a picture, the first picture ever of Avram and I, and then I pulled out a CD of Club pictures that Tabitha put together. And then I spent an hour and a half looking at all 1179 pictures. By this point Avram had come home, and it was past bedtime, plus I was feeling all sentimental about my college days in general, so the moment had passed. I'll finish it soon, though, I promise.

Looking at all those pictures (of which I was only in a small portion of) several thoughts came to mind.

1. Why did I look so scrubby all the time? The pictures are mostly all when we're doing medieval things, and not just normal stuff, and so I'm wearing one of three dresses for my entire four years of college. That's a very small and boring wardrobe when you look at the pictures all at once. Plus my hair never seems to be done, but just hangs around my face like a dead cat. Very boring. Here, I'll show you a couple:3. Also, looking at all these pictures made me tremendously homesick and nostalgic for my halcyon college days of yore. I wish I could go back and do college all over again. Not right now, not with a family and daughters, but be 19 again. Except this time I want a lot less boy drama. Of course, I know that there are times and seasons. After all, most of my friends in all the pictures are graduated and married now, often with children of their own. But despite the fact that I look scrubby in a lot of the pictures, we all looked so young and fresh and handsome.

4. Man, I know that film pictures have a magic all there own, but I sure wish I had owned a digital camera throughout college. The vast majority of the pictures are scanned in film pictures, and they are just not the same. Digital photography may not be as magical, but it does lower the common denominator needed to take decent photos.

5. I'm really, really sentimental, about every college boyfriend I had.
I saw a picture of Dennis. Awww.Seeing him (he's the shorter one on the left) reminds me of my freshman year. Of the freedoms of college, and the fun of club that year.
Then I saw what I'm sure is the only existing photo with Peter and I both in it (sorry for the really low quality). I'm on the far right, and next to me is Michele, and next to her is Peter. Peter reminds me of the beginning of my sophomore year, of when I was president, and that really fun, drama drenched club week.
Then I saw one of Gui and I (we're on the left). It's only been recently that I go Aww for seeing he and I, but now I get as sentimental as I do about the rest of them.
Finally of course is Avram and I. This is one of the few pictures of us (pre Lydia, when we got a digital camera). Our friend Tom is in the middle, between us. We're at a wedding reception, the first week we were dating (Tammy from Club, so that's why I'm wearing medieval clothing). I also caught the bouquet. Tom is wearing Avram's fedora. I go "Aww" a little bit over Avram and I, but not as much because since we got married, he doesn't remind me of one specific time in my life, since he still is my life.

This summer I'll hopefullybe traveling to Utah, and I want to do a club reunion then. It'll be interesting to see where so many of us are now in life, with spouses or jobs (or both) and some with children. Good times. I loved college.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good News Notes

I'm planning to write the next segment of my Saga later tonight, since Avram is at a priesthood meeting, and the girls will be asleep. But I cannot spin out the memories of my inner soul while Lydia chants in the background behind me, and Elisheva periodically visits me for nursings, so be prepared for Lots of Good News this evening.

1. Lydia has an imaginary friend. She arrived at our house at dinner today, and her name is Joey-Anna. Joey-Anna and Lydia played together all dinner long. They're still playing together now. Lydia has never made up a name before, and I'm curious whether this is a one time occurrence, or whether we have a new imaginary daughter who has moved in to stay.

2. Today I was thinking about how so often the words and thoughts that I have inside that I want to say come out completely wrong. For example, at my sister Amy's wedding 11 1/2 years ago, when I was 14, I was one of the bridesmaids. As I was standing in line next to Amy, a guest came through carrying their baby. Amy wanted to hold the baby, so she handed him her large bouquet while she took his baby, joking that she would keep the baby and he could keep the bouquet. At this moment I opened my big, maladroit mouth and said something to the effect of, "What if the baby dies, won't you want the bouquet back?"

Yep. That was embarrassing. Amy smoothed it over with some comment, and the guest moved on. But that moment is burned into my memory, for what I really meant of course was when the bouquet withered he would want his baby back. But it came out all wrong.

Often this happens to me. While my sister Mary was in labor for two days I talked to her on the phone. She had really wanted a natural labor, but was struggling with exhaustion from her prolonged labor with no sleep. What I really wanted to say to her in this situation was, "Don't worry, Mary, I love you. I know that I had a natural labor, but I also had a quick one, and I understand that you're tired and want a rest. Try eating to keep up your energy, but most of all, remember that I think you're great no matter what, and if getting an epidural will help you rest, go for it." What I actually did was stress over and over her needing to eat some food to keep up her energy, and to remember her goals, and such. I did tell her it was okay to get an epidural (not that I'm queen of labors, to dispense such advice anyway), but it was lost amidst my well intentioned but ultimately unhelpful advice. I know my sister didn't mind, but it still bothers me.

Today Avram was talking about his primary class, and attempting to work with them, and I kept throwing ideas at him for improving the class, when what I really wanted to say was that i know it's hard to have a rowdy class. No, that's not all I wanted to say. See, maybe this is why I am a bossy, non-empathic kind of person. Because I also did want to say that taking toys away is important, and that boudaries must be always kept, etc, etc. So maybe the problem is just that I am an advice-filled person, and can't wait for places to dispense it.

I could give more examples, but ultimately it boils down to this: In my head I desire and feel empathy and sympathy. I care about the situation. I understand what's proper and what's not. But then somehow when I attempt to put this into words I either sound like Dr. Laura with all the hard nosed advice, or I manage to kill off their baby, so to speak. Oh, sure, this isn't every time. But most of the time I wish I could make the empathy part of my mind manage to make it through to my mouth, instead of the "Fix it right now" part.

I think that giving lots of advice is my attempt at being a cheerleader, of trying to help people I care about, and so I think of ideas to fix it. And yet I know that well meaning ideas are not always what people are looking for. Sometimes they just want empathy. But how do I speak empathy? Especially over the phone? Just say, 'Ra Ra Sis Boom Bah, You Can Do it, Yes You Can!' The joke that comes out all wrong I can handle. With age I usually manage to assign death to the inanimate object. But for everything else?

Travis and I use to talk about how we want to be bricks. The kind of people that others really depend on - "She's a real brick" kind of person." I've realized that I'm simply not a brick. I'll never have people lining up outside my door to consult with me. In fact, others often have a hard time telling me their problems. In college one of my roommates felt that I was very un-perceptive when it came to me understanding her, and as we were talking about this (being good friends and attempting to work through it) it came up in the general conversation at large among my roommates and visiting friends. Who all basically concurred that I was un-perceptive, and that they struggled with sharing things with me! This six year old conversation still burns in my mind, because I didn't quite know what to say. They weren't being mean, they weren't making fun of me. They were just honestly stating how they felt. They were my friends, it was not that they did not like me. It's just that they didn't think I was very empathic. Since then I've often wished to be empathic, to be a brick.

Travis and I decided that instead of being bricks, that we were more of flying-buttress or gargoyle kind of people - a little showy, a little flamboyant. Sure, no one would ever depend on us, but we had our own purposes. I've realized that although I'm not naturally very empathic, that I need to develop the strengths I do have, and not worry about all the great qualities that aren't innate in my nature. However, I'd still like to be more empathic with my friends and family around me.

This train of thought has been running through my mind in the last few months (Mary's baby Joshua is 5 months old now, so at least that long), but it usually only comes up in my mind when yet once again I mean to be super supportive in a conversation, and instead come out sounding super bossy. So, I'm not proud. Anyone want to throw me a line here? Especially if people have ever said about you, "Now s/he's a real brick, a real empathic person who truly understands me when I talk to them, and says all the right things." Just tell me word for word what you do and say, and that would be very helpful. Thank you.

3.I've begun babysitting for little six week old James, and it's going well. Like with all newborns, I think that with all the naps he takes I'll be able to get a lot done, but somehow that never actually happens. Still, he's cute and as soon as I find my lost camera, I'll take some pictures.

4.Avram and I have begun a new plan of alternating desserts. So a few days ago we made a pound cake for him, and then the next dessert we make will be something that I choose (so most like Molten Chocolate cakes or Pioneer Woman's Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake). I feel good about this plan. This way we'll both get our desserts that we like.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Delusional Happiness is Better than Your Eloquent Misery

I just finished reading Rachel & Leah, by Orson Scott Card. I loved the book. I've always loved the patriarch's lives - Rebekah and Isaac most of all. Perhaps because their lives are so dynamic. Perhaps because their lives are so real. The people aren't perfect, but they love God and follow him, and try to do his will for them, and they become better. I've always liked Leah more than Rachel - not that Rachel does anything wrong. Just that Leah is the underdog - not only does she end up with a husband through trickery, but from her perspective he never loves her, as the names of her sons progressively show her attempts to gain his love.

I know in regards to my dating life in college that I certainly wasn't the underdog for getting men, but as a teenager I always felt so gangly and awkward when it came to boys. I have many sisters, and all of them dated aplenty, even in High School, while I didn't really at all. Even the boy I had liked for four years ended up liking my sister more than me (well, he liked me too. He just liked her more - or was better friends with her, at least.) So Leah's situation always spoke to me. I always feared in my teens that I would end up a spinster, alone, with no-one to love me. Of course, then I went off to college, and from the day after I turned 19 onwards up through my marriage at 22, my only boy problem was that I had too many to love, not enough (my home bishop once asked my Mom how I was doing at college, and she told him I'd be doing great if they would ever institute Polyandry. Ha ha. Only I'd had the same thoughts myself before.)

Reading this book brought it all back to me - my fears of getting passed over. My freshman year when I started Modern Hebrew, all the Hebrew students had to pick a Hebrew name to go by in class. These names were ours exclusively, to the point where through two years of language instruction I often didn't know my classmate's real names, but only their Hebrew ones. My Hebrew name I chose was Leah. Except in Hebrew it's pronounced Laiya. (Like in Star Wars). If someone were to address me using that pronounciation, I would turn to them as surely as if they called me Thora. (As a totally unrelated sidenote, in Arabic I chose Miryam, and like with Hebrew we exclusively used our Arabic names. Most of the way through the semester I was out to dinner at a Lebanese Restaurant in Salt Lake called Mazza, when we were discussing our "real" names. I told them my name was Thora, and they were very surprised. None of them could picture me as a Thora. It did not seem the sort of name I would have to them, and they could not reconcile it with me. Even weeks afterwards some of this continued to comment on this to me. Miryam was always my name to them. Although once I went to Egypt everyone there called me Surriyyah (their attempts to say Thora), and to them that was my name to the extent that I wanted to give that name to Lydia for her middle name, but Avram and I could never figure out how to write it so that it would be pronounced correctly {Since Surriyyah is actually Thurriyyah, which is the Arabic word for the Pleiades, but in Egyptian Arabic the Th sound turns to an S sound. Not to mention the very Semitic doublying of the Y. Anywho}).

So, to bring you mind back, I really liked the book. Although he ends it at the two weddings, and is planning to continue the story with a book, The Wives of Israel. Except, it's been five years since the publication of Rache & Leah, and no such book has come forth yet. And I'm not a patient person. Oh, sure, I know the major plot points - Leah has six sons. Rachel has none. Zilpah and Bilhah have two sons apiece. Rachel has none. Jacob goes crazy with his crazy family and God changes his name to Israel. Rachel has a son. Leah is jealous. More trouble ensues with the next generation. But obviously I'm not reading the book for the surprising endings anyway.

Moving on to other Mormon Authors, I'm a huge fangirl of Brandon Sanderson, who's Young Adult second book I just finished. The first one is called, Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians and it's as great as its title promises. Plus he writes Adult Fantasy, and he lives in Provo, which means that if I were still at BYU I could go to all his signings, like the proper fangirl I am. But I can't. It saddens me. Plus he was at BYU the whole time I was, basically, and somehow we never met. Sure, it was a campus of 30,000, but honestly, it's a small Mormon world. And then I could be married to someone rich and famous right now. (Kidding, Kidding. Brandon is married anyway, and also I love Avram. But sometimes I like to dream of being rich and famous. Or even more agreeably, resting on the laurels of my rich and famous husband.)

And speaking of Alcatraz versus the Scrivener's Bones (the second book in the series), there's a line in there that rung true to me; "The second quickest [way to feel bad about yourself] is to read a depressing literary work intended to make you feel terrible about humanity in general." Lately I've been reading a lot of books that make me wonder if happiness is an illusion. Or rather, if most of the people in the world are unhappy, and I and most people I've ever personally met are the far minority of people who are happy. But that would imply that I live in a blessed circle of happiness. So perhaps everyone around me is unhappy, and I'm delusional. Maybe I'm even unhappy, and just fooling myself into thinking I love my life, my husband, and my girls, my job as a mother and my religion.

Then all the meta-thinking is too much for me, because if there's one thing I know for a fact, it's that I'm extremely happy in my life. So I know that I'm not delusional in happiness. And I can vouch that most around me seem truly happy (and not because they have easy lives. By far and away the most unhappy lot I ever knew was in boarding school, who had experienced rich and easy lives). But most around me are also Mormons. Some would say that this isn't a fair sampling, but I say that if Mormon's are unfairly happy, then everyone should become Mormon too and be as happy with us. If we're all delusional in our happiness and bubble together, is it delusional anymore, or just paradise? Then I conclude that maybe only the people who are primarily responsible for writing books are unhappy. Or at least obsessed with unhappiness. After all, Tolstoy captured this thought in his opening line to Anna Karenina, "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

I disagree with this statement, but I do think it's easier to write about unhappy families or people than happy ones. Some of my favorite novels are about happy people. Like Anne of Green Gables. Admittedly, some of my favorite novels are also about people who aren't as happy. Like Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norell. The latter expresses what I think the best novels do - take people who aren't perfect, so are not perfectly happy, but who also do not read like a character out of a Greek tragedy, where you already can sum up the rest of their lives in one sentence: They have a fatal flaw, and throughout the course of the story despite (or because of their best efforts) everything turns out horribly and if it's an ancient story everyone ends up dead, but in a modern story they continue along, trapped forever in their miserable lives. (Ala A Hundred Years of Solitude). At the end of Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell the two title characters are still not perfect, nor perfectly boring. But they have progressed in life, and learned things, and I daresay are even happier for their greater growth.

This morning after a wonderful breakfast of eggs, turkey bacon, whole wheat biscuits and grapefruit that Avram made for us, he reseasoned our cast iron skillets while I did dishes and cleared up. We both spent the time singing old rock and roll love ballads and folk songs at the top of our lungs together, while Lydia danced along and Elisheva happily ate. As I shimmied along to twist and shout, while also wiping the table off, as I watched Avram singing and dancing with Lydia, I thought to myself, "I cannot imagine being happier than I am today, with my family. So take that, literary writers." They may be eloquent and insightful into the wretched human condition, but I'm happy, and I think I've come out ahead. Even if I'll never get to read the sequal to Rachel & Leah.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm So Lame

Today my former babysitting employers paid for Avram and I to go on a date while they babysat our kids. Heaven, right?

It was fun. We went to the Olive Garden, and enjoyed their salad and breadsticks (both getting the ceasar dressing, of course). For the first time in years we had a waiter that we could truly rave about. It was very pleasant. Although they had told us to stay out, and they'd put our kids to bed in their guest bedroom, I just couldn't do it. Avram suggested a couple of places we could go, but I don't enjoy browsing socially at bookstores and the like. And we hadn't previously planned any other activity, like going to the movies. I don't even know what movies are playing, and haven't for years.

So....we went and got the kids. I'm so lame. They were really surprised to see us so early. After all, this was the first date we had without our kids since, since Elisheva was just a dream in my eyes (or since Summer of 2007 for the boring/practical readers like myself). And it's not like I was worried about our kids - honestly I didn't even think about them really while we were gone. All I can come up with is that I'm lame. I've forgotten how to date.

We're planning to switch off for babysitting with other families in the ward once a month, and so I need to re-learn how to date. Of course, as I'll soon get to with my Saga writing, Avram and I have never been large daters. Even when we were officially dating we would often go out to eat, and then go for a long walk together afterwards. One Sunday we walked over ten miles around Provo (and went into parts I'd never seen before, and haven't found since. It was twilight Provo, do-do-do-do to creepy music Provo). So, I guess what we really should have done was driven to the local park and taken a walk. Of course, now that sounds like a great idea, and I'm wishing we'd really done it. Too late. I'm lame.

(See, I don't like seeing movies, because they don't feel social to me. I like going to concerts or plays, though. And I like connecting, by talking, or being romantic. I also love dressing up. I wish I owned more formals, and places to wear them to, for that matter.)

So, my dear readers, please tell me how not to be lame.

Oh, and on the romance front, our Valentine's Day dinner went well. Lydia did start screaming in the middle of our appetizer, and finally Avram went up to see what was wrong while I assembled our entree. He found Lydia standing in Elisheva's crib, without out a stich on, including her diaper gone, screaming for all she was worth, while por Elisheva lay there, still trying to sleep, crying with her eyes closed. Avram took Lydia out, dressed her and read to her, and I came up and fed Elisheva again, and then we re-put them to bed, where they actually went to sleep that time. Sadly though in all of this our asparagus got a little overcooked and wimpy. Otherwise the dinner was great.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Part V - Saga of Sentimentality: Thora has Issues, but we all Knew That

To start at the beginning: Saga Part 1 Brought on by the January Snow

On the First Reading Day for Winter Semester (footnote one), the members of the Mystics Guild agreed to meet in the Wilkinson Center and proceed to the Provo Temple to do some baptisms for the dead as a group. On the morning of, Avram and I showed up - but no one else appeared. Avram and I waited for a while, and even called Travis, the guild head, but cleaning checks for his apartment had come up, and so he was a no show.

Avram and I decided to continue the trip anyway, despite our numbers few, and so we two walked up to the temple together. During the four months that I had known Avram thus far, he always wore a fedora wherever he went. On this particular day, he had not been able to find his fedora, and so had worn an East German Officer's Cover he owned(complete with the original German newspaper stuffed in the brim for the proper fit) to cover his head instead. Inured to the historical significance of Avram's cover, I only noticed that it was decidedly odd looking for a BYU student to be wearing while walking down Ninth East, and I felt marked out by walking with him. Avram points out that this was an odd reaction, considering that I regularly dressed in Medieval Clothing and attended classes around campus, but there you go. I never said I was consistent in my quirks.

As we walked up together, I wondered the whole way if people were staring at us, and why Avram had to have worn that dreadful hat. What bothered me most of all was my reaction to his head covering. I knew I liked Avram - a lot - and yet something as simple as a choice in hats made me embarrassed to be with him, and feel awkward about our entire trip. My thoughts spiraled further, and I remembered how I had liked Gui (my previous fiance) a lot at one point too - and yet I could not carry through with marrying him. Maybe I would find fault with every boy I liked? Maybe I was completely incapably of committing to a relationship, to marriage, and as much as I could feel for someone, my capricious emotions would eventually flit away, whether through an odd choice of hat or some other inconsequential moment.

As I remained silent to my inner turmoil all caused by Avram's hat, Avram remained clueless to my true thoughts as we headed up to the House of the Lord together (which was a somewhat awkward trip in and of itself - to be making a trip to the temple together, as innocuous as the circumstances were. I wonder now if the cause for our walk was as much to blame as Avram's hat in my whirlwind mind.)

We did baptisms together, and after Avram walked me home he left, none the wiser in regards to my castigating thoughts. Only nine months out of my failed engagement, everything with regards to romance seemed in my mind to balance between Gui and Dennis. Gui was the symbol of all that failed in my life and myself, a sign of my inability to commit (which was the main crippling force in our broken engagement), a dark smear on my memory, with so much of the heartache roiling in a blackened, greasy smear beneath my seemingly calm exterior. I did not regret breaking it off, but at the same time I did not know how to move forward, how to ever have a working, functional relationship again. How to actually commit to a man, and mean forever.

Sure, I had loved Gui. But it had not been enough. Sure, I liked Avram. But even in the midst of my young spring lilac scented girl-crush I had been repulsed by, of all silly extraneous, meaningless details, a hat. footnote two. If a hat could send me reeling, how could I ever hope to even attempt a relationship? Not that I had any plans to date Avram, but at that moment in mid April, Avram represented all future crushes. As I turned all these thoughts around in my mind, over and over again until they became smooth and round with the friction, like river rocks tumbled in white currents and rushing waters. Except my thoughts weren't smooth and peaceful, just well worn tracks I could see no end on, no resolution in them.

I could imagine a relationship working with Dennis, because I had dated him before I knew heartache, knew the soul wrenching failure of a failed relationship, before I had been only four weeks away from a temple sealing, only to break it all off, because of me. Because I could not marry him, marry Gui. Dennis only seemed a vague idea in my mind, and so of course I could see us working out - with him on his mission for 19 months in many ways I knew Dennis had become a construct, a shadow puppet filled out with my projections, my memories, my hopes, but with very little substance - just a couple of double written sheets that arrived every few months.

Avram represented the reality - and in the reality I could not see myself committing, with anyone. Because if I could be put off by a hat, how could I make an eternal commitment, eternal covenants? My mind wasn't actually thinking of my eternal potential (or lack thereof) with Avram, as much as how he represented mankind in general to me, and how I could see myself being fickle with every man that I liked, and never being able to commit to any one again.

From such simple origins as the communist German hat, my mind continued in this dark vein throughout the day.


Later that evening my friend and the cooking guild mistress Mary Megan came over, as we planned to go shopping for food needed for the Club Spring Festival happening the next day up at Nunn's Park in Provo Canyon. Travis and Avram also happened by as they were bored, and I attempted to share with my three friends my renewed worries about commitment and marriage. As I could not mention the catalyst for all these thoughts, as the object of my affection was one of my listeners, my thoughts came out rather garbled and overwrought, and so my friends were at a disadvantage to help me. I could tell they weren't sure why I suddenly had a fit of worry about an eventuality that had no place in my life at that moment.

Before we all went shopping at Wal*Mart for the food needed, Avram quietly asked me if I wanted him to talk to me after the shopping trip, as he could tell that I was still riled up in mind. As we shopped, I asked Mary Megan if I should just tell Avram that I liked him, and put all my cards on the table, so that way I could be honest with him. At that point I was certain that Avram did not return my feelings - he and Mina were not dating, but I was certain it was only a matter of time, but I hoped that if he knew of my feelings, that I would not always be dancing around a topic, which circumlocution had caused such confusion in my attempts at explaining myself earlier that evening. (footnote three). Mary Megan was against it, as she had seen me twice get into ill-begotten relationships since Dennis had left, and wasn't sure what telling Avram of my feelings would produce except potentially another doomed romance. (Avram and Travis had wandered off to the movie section while Mary Megan and I debated this out).

Our shopping trip took longer than expected, and it was nearing eleven thirty at night by the time we were driving home. I had decided to just let it all slide, but as Avram walked me to my door from the car he asked me once again if I still needed to talk to him (Avram had been in the habit of having me talk to him after Club activities and events, when something was on my mind and I needed advice, so to him this was yet another similar situation). I hesitated, and then acquiesced, that yes, I did desire to talk to him.

He quickly went and told everyone to drive on without him, and after I quickly grabbed my cloak to ward of the chill of the night, we began walking up through Kiwanis Park and then sat down outside a church up by the Tree Streets.

I have never been bold in matters of romantic pronouncements. As we sat on the damp grass staring out into the yellow-lit empty parking lot, all my boldness under the fluorescent lights of Wal*Mart faded until I could not remember my sudden urgency to declare all my inner feelings to Avram. The conversation did not even remain long on my fears of commitment and marriage, but soon veered off to more interesting topics; we even spent a while talking about Avram and Mina (whom he was not sure about any more - matters did not seem to be working out on both sides). I silently prayed for strength to tell Avram of my thoughts, or that someway, somehow Avram would miraculously bring up the very topic I dreaded to introduce myself.

I forgot about his silly hat (which he had discarded in favor of his familiar fedora for the evening), I forgot about my fears of relationships and commitment and failures, and I forgot about my plans to marry Dennis in less than a year. I even forgot that I wasn't always sure that just because I felt a connection to Avram and I enjoyed our conversations together that I actually could see us working in a relationship. I didn't not remember my apathy to Semitic Physiology in a romantical sense.

For the second time that day, April 14, 2004, as our spoken conversation meandered past one and towards two in the morning in its natural course, my inner mind battled along a one topic. I fought myself at every minute to just tell Avram to just be free, and not worry about his reaction, or the situation, to not worry about giving my thoughts away anymore, but to just be wonderfully free and open, and let the inevitably awkward consequences fall where they may. Sure, I knew that Avram would gently tell me that he did not like me, thought of me as a sister/friend/maiden aunt, but then I could laugh it off, and he would be as tender and sincere with my feelings as always, and we could move on into a vague utopia of open friendship....

The natural chill of the wee hours finally brought an end to our tete-a-tete, as Avram suggested walking me home as it neared two am. As we stood up, Avram reflected to me that I and Travis were the closest friends he had in club, and that he really liked us both.

As we walked down Aspen Avenue in the Tree Streets, facing Kiwanis Park under the yellow streetlights, there could have been a soundtrack with a suspenseful silence just at that moment, for I knew that my silently pleaded prayers had been answered; I had an opening into the very conversation I had wanted to have for the past two hours. Before the moment could be lost forever, I swallowed my fear, my natural shyness and reservation, and blurted out, hoping that it could either be taken in a capital letters, romantic way or alternately in a platonic, friendship way, "I like you."

A long, awkward silence followed. Eternally later, after a few steps of walking, Avram replied back, "I like you, too."

footnote one. Reading days are one or two days after classes end, and before finals begin where students are supposed to finish up their semester reading, complete papers, have DTRs, etc.

footnote two. Avram wants you all to know that this much maligned hat is a good hat. He still has this hat. (But he has not worn it again in my company. He wants you to know he's not stupid.)

footnote three
. I'm not sure why I thought that having Avram know I liked him if he didn't like me was supposed to make the situation easier and less awkward, but I cannot explain my previous thoughts; I can only record them.

Friday, February 13, 2009

St. Valentine's Day

Avram and I have never been too successful at Valentine's Day. Actually, life in general has never been to great for me and Valentine's Day. My freshman year at BYU I got pink eye on Valentine's Day, and so although I had a boyfriend, the day was quite romanticless. When Avram and I were engaged, I almost broke it off on Valentine's Day (story to come in due time in the saga). The next year I was nine months pregnant with Lydia and had a terrible cold on Valentine's Day. Although I had planned to make Avram a surprise cheesecake, the day ended up with me lying on the couch complaining loudly until Avram went and bought me lots of cold medicine, and I took it and conked out. The next year I actually can't remember at all. It's a large black hole in my memory. The next year, this last year, Avram and I tried to reverse our lame trend and he made me a scavenger hunt over the house, which was fun. But I still didn't do anything for him. I'm really lame.

So this year, I have been determined to change.

We're having a three couse dinner after Lydia and Elisheva go to sleep. I've written out fancy menus, and have place cards and candlesticks (although Lydia broke on candle in half yesterday. Grrr...). We're having a Mazza plate for the appetizer. That's middle eastern. We're having Hummous, Baba Ghanoush (a roasted eggplant yumminess, that I love forever), and to be really fancy Muhammara (all homemade. Everything is homemade with this meal; I am crazy). Oh, muhammara, how I love thee. Muhammara is a dip made of roasted red peppers, pomegranite molasses, walnuts (with some other ingredients), and it is the most amazing dip in the whole world. I would sell my first born for this dip. When I was in Syria they served it everywhere, and I still haven't recovered culinarily from the experience. I've never attempted to make it here, but I am currently making it as we speak. We'll eat all of this with homemade 100 % whole wheat pita bread and romaine spears. (I think I may make my own lebneh cheese as well, which is basically a cheese made from yoghurt.)

Then for the entree we'll be enjoying Moroccan Chicken over a bed of couscous with sultanas and almonds, along with roasted asparagus.

For dessert we'll have Pioneer woman's Chocolate Silk Pie (Avram can handle chocolate better when it's light, not dark and fudgy and moist and yummy. Since I like chocolate both ways, we're having it this way).

I've been salivating over this menu for days now. I love Mazza plates. So, that's our Valentine's Day. In sha' allah it will be the first romantical Valentine's Day we've ever had. Of course, now that I've written about it Lydia and Elisheva will probably sponaneously explode in the middle of our dinner, or something, but we try at least.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stream of Tuesday's Consciousness

I'd write the next Saga post, but I'm babysitting for a family in the ward while they attend the temple (we're switching off with two different families in the ward once a month for temple attendance and dates. I love it.), and I am at their house, so I don't have my handy dandy journal here to remind me of all the important dates.

It's been kind of crazy around our place. On Friday (2:00 am to 6:00 am) Lydia was sick. Sunday I was sick. Monday Avram was sick. (I at first worried I was pregnant, although I shouldn't be for several reasons, because it felt so much like morning sickness, with waking up nauseous, etc, etc. But then Avram got sick with the exact same thing, so unless he's miraculously pregnant I think I'm ok. I did have to tell him that now he can empathize with me how it feels to feel like that, every day, for two months. ANd try to be productive during it. Although "being productive usually equaled out to lying on the bed/couch and trying to have an out of body mental experiance to escape the nausea.) Plus on Monday and Today I worked (babysitting) from 4:00 am-3:35 pm. Fun times were had by all.

Before you feel to sorry for me and my life, I only have two more days left (next Monday and Tuesday) of early morning babysitting (although only at 5:30 am) left, and then I'm switching to babysitting a little six week old boy named James at my own home two days a week. Ideally I'll add on a full time second babysitting child, who can walk (and to be really ideal is within a year of Lydia's age), but unless someone reads this post and has that perfect toddler who needs to be babysat, I'm not exactly sure how to go about finding that second child. I'm excited to be babysitting from home - it'll be a first for me.

In other random notes, Elisheva yesterday out of nowhere climbed a flight of stairs. She's never even climbed one stair before yesterday, and then went up completely on her own (surprising me a lot). Today she tried to go down stairs head first. (also surprising me). She fell down one step, and balanced there on her head screaming until I got to her, thankfully before she fell any further. I helped her go down the steps backwards a couple of times, but I don't know if it really sunk in at all.

I'm listing all the books I'm reading this year on my sidebar. It's a little embarrassing - I hadn't really realized how many fluff novels I read. Although I have already read more than one non fiction book, and one is even a text book (Golden Arches East. It's a Socio-Cultural Anthropological book).

This morning, when I couldn't sleep, I read Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover book, from about 5:00-8:00 am. It's an easy read. It's seven "Baby Steps" that could have been a pamphlet, but most of the book is motivation to get you to actually do the steps. I've believed and followed his principles before I even heard of him, like not believing in Credit Cards at all, and wanting to be out of debt (ok, and trying). After the debt Snowballing chapter, which is the second step, he says something to the effect of, "now you're debt free (except your mortgage) and have your $1,000 emergency fund in hand (Baby step one) - how does it feel. I know you're smiling." (I'm only remembering this. This isn't an actual quote) Except I wasn't smiling. I was crying. A financial book made me cry. And I'm not a cryer. I never cry. (Except later today, when I was watching Dumbo and the mom was rocking Dumbo with her trunk while she was locked up, but that's a mother's moment, and mother's moment's have my number.) I'll go months and months without crying normally. But I started crying, because honestly I feel so bound down by our debt - it's all student loan debt, and we're not earning any interest on it, and we're paying it off, but I still hate it. And the image of me being debt free, with $1,000 in emergency savings (this isn't the long term savings, that's step three) made me cry.

Avram doesn't even know all this yet, because I have seen him for a total of one minute flat today, so I guess he'll read all this on my blog, which is an awfully weird way to read about the emotional moments of your spouse. But hey, what's the Internet for but to publically air all our awkward moments? Although we're already pretty gung ho about paying off debt, and we don't live frivolously, reading this book made me rededicate myself to being debt free faster, with more personal sacrifices. So, I whole heartedly recommend this book (it's not some weird get rich quick book. Frankly, the Church's pamphlet on money says basically the same thing up through step three. But just knowing financially good practices is clearly not enough to get people out of debt, and live frugally. I think you have to have a moment where you realize being financially a good steward is more important to you than having stuff or going places or whatnot. Although he's all for buying stuff. With cash.)

Oh, while I'm writing stream of consciousness, we're not going to Israel next year. The fellowship would require Avram to stay at OSU. I'm okay with that; there are many years in the future we could go to Israel. Jerusalem will always be there. I hope at least. Just to clarify, we don't actually know about the fellowship yet. He's applied for two different ones, though.

We're going to have a fancy, candlelight dinner at home on valentine's day. Here are my questions. Should we make it a family meal? Or wait until the kids go to bed? And what should we have to eat? We've talked about chicken cordon bleu, but Avram says if we do that we have to buy toothpicks, and not use straight pins that get lost in the chicken, like we did when we had the Sister Missionaries over. I'm thinking some really bad for you, but tastes really good meal, that also has nice presentation and feels fancy. I'm not picky, or anything. Clearly. Also, I'd like to find the perfect dessert, for both Avram and I to love.

Avram - loves vanilla desserts. Cheesecake. Poundcake. Angel Food Cake. Vanilla pudding. Spritz cookies. Butter cookies. Vanilla Icecream, never with anything in it (except for almond pralines). Actively dislikes fruit desserts and chocolate desserts and frosting. He loves simple flavors and textures.

Thora - loves gooey chocolate desserts. Triple fudge and raspberry type cake desserts. Frosted layer cakes, with goopy filling. Fruit desserts, like apple pie, apple crisp. I've always wanted to try the molten chocolate center cakes. I love chocolate moose track ice cream - the more random stuff in ice cream, the better. I love complicated flavors, textures, presentations.

Truly it is a wonder we managed to overcome our differences and get married. And most of the desserts we mutually like - cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pie, homemade donuts, we already do plenty of. We both had a mormonized tiramisu recently and liked it (postum instead of coffee, with no liquer). Should I make some of that?

Sadly I'm realizing as I type this because I don't actively dislike any of Avram's desserts, we have his kind far more than we have any of my kind (although the opposite is true when it comes to main dishes). So maybe it's time for some gooey molten chocolate center cakes.

So, now you know what goes through the mind of a Thora on a Tuesday night. (Before I found their computer hidden away in a basement I didn't know about, (after the kids were asleep) I was beating my head against the wall going, "bored, bored, bored." It made me remember my mother, who would say, "Hi Bored, I'm Barbara." But really, I had nothing to read or do, and I don't like watching movies by myself. I don't like movies. But then I found the lovely Internet, and all my time wasting opportunity was fulfilled again.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Part IV of Saga of Sentimentality: Spring Arrives Arrayed on a Lilac Scented Breeze

Avram is studying. Studying all the time. It's midterm season, and so since I'm an academic widow, humor me while I continue to wander in the romantic fields of my memory, when Avram's main hobby was myself, and not his schoolwork. (He used to joke that he loved studying the Torah. Which is also my name in Hebrew.... Now he just studies the literary Torah. Chaval. (Sad in Hebrew)).

Herkie continued to sit in my driveway, and per Avram's advice I eventually decided that I should let him go, since I had no desire to spend the money fixing his flat, nor for any other future car repair. My sister Camilla desired him, so I still had to fix the flat so that he could move to her home in Salt Lake. Like the strong, independent female that I am, one week in club I timidly raised my hand and asked for some help picking out and putting on a tire for my poor broken Herk, all while twisting my hair with my finger. No fewer than four males, Matt, Travis, Avram and Avram's roommate Jeremy accompanied me from the club meeting that week, all to help me buy a tire. Once we arrived at walmart, I realized I had no actual idea what kind of tire Herkie even needed, and so the trip wasn't a success. Although I was impressed how much helped I had garnered. I did worry that playing a dumb blonde for the rest of my life whenever I didn't understand something was undermining to my sex, and wondered how fair I was being to ply my (supposed?) stupidity to get help from males. I called Travis that night posing that very question to him, and rather than address my maundering thoughts he said he had to get off the phone and ended the conversation right then.

I was quite hurt by the encounter. Travis and I had been the closest of friends over the past school year. He was actually the closest male friend I had ever had whom I was not also dating. Although Avram was an intriguing new possibility in my life, at this point Travis and I were still far closer than Avram and I were. Until this occurrence.

The next morning I hoped to run into Avram during a morning break from classes we both had. I haunted his normal haunts - mainly the fourth floor of the Library, and found him attempting to discover via the Journal of Discourses whether souls could be dissolved in outer darkness (as pertaining to an assertion made by his ward crush. He later ascertained that the quote from Brigham Young did not allow for this.) I asked Avram if he thought that I had been acting like a dumb blonde the previous evening, and if this was a manipulating behavior.

He concurred that I had been manipulating, but that Guys like to help, and I had just been asking for help, so that it was alright anyway - for that night at least.

I appreciated Avram's honest assessment. I have always appreciated that Avram does not sugar coat his opinions, and nor does he lie. I've never understood wanting someone to always say positive things to you just to make you happy. If I look bad in an outfit, I want someone to tell me before I go and wear it all over the free world! So I knew that he was being honest with me, and felt better - for I knew I had been manipulating. My only question was whether I should been badly over it.

Avram and I then spent the next hour finessing our dinner menu for the Passover Meal or Sadar that we were planning. We had casually discussed doing a Sadar together; not an official one with hours of prayers, but a Christianized, "here's some lamb and charoset and make sure you enjoy your grape juice and pass the matzo, 'shalom aleichem' and all that good rot" sort of Sadar. Somehow the idea had materialized into reality, with several interested parties jumping on our pretend Sadar Plans until they had coalesced into an actual event, requiring a menu and planning to pull off. We set the Sadar for April Conference weekend on Sunday evening. He planned to bring his ward crush, whom we'll call Mina because I'm tired of dancing around her name, and Avram doesn't want her name plastered on my life story, and Travis, RoseE (a delightful girl, who went on a mission to Korea in January) and several others were the slated guests.

Conference weekend rolled around, and I waited for Avram to show up at my house to watch conference, while we prepared for the party together. Sure, we hadn't formally arranged for Avram to watch conference with me, but I thought we understood he was coming to help me prepare for the Sadar being held at my house the next day. April third came and went, with nary an Avram in sight. April fourth dawned, and I waited at my house as long as possible before going to the church next door, but he never showed. At this point without any communication from Avram at all, and not knowing his phone number to contact him, I figured that the Sadar must be off, since I hadn't heard from any of the others, either. RoseE and I decided to enjoy together the lamb and matzo ball soup and fake Norwegian Flatbread I had bought at Many Lands to replace the Matzo that was not to be had in Utah Valley for neither love nor money. Then a few guests showed up (that had never confirmed their appearance, so we weren't expecting them. Then Travis came. And then the tardy Avram came, with Mina, with whom he had spent the entire conference weekend. Her father and brothers had even taken him to priesthood with them, and then treated him to dinner with the men afterwards.

All while I had waited in my Homely Cottage (truly the name of my house that year. We all called it that, and I feel that never has a Cottage been more Homely, nor one existed that had a longer, more golden couch than my beloved Homely Cottage). I tried to be happy for Avram. Although they clearly weren't an item yet, it seemed obviously only a matter of time, and for me it was only five months until Dennis returned, so of course I didn't care anyhow....

RoseE and I frantically formed some more Matzo balls off the cuff, and we all squeezed in around my table, and combined our Latter-day Saint commentary on conference with Biblical thoughts. Soon the conversation turned to what seminars Scriptural people could offer us. Like Understanding Isaiah, taught by Isaiah. Or Horticulture, by Eve. Overlooked brothers, by Sam and Jared. Delegation, by Jethro. Marriage - keeping the Love Strong Over Time, by Adam and Eve. The Seven Part History of the World, by Adam, Noah, Melchezedik, Christ, Joseph Smith, etc.

A group of LDS college students drunk on grape juice and their own wit cannot be stopped in their mirth. Soon we were all collapsing from sheer hilarity over our lamb. Mina joined right in, and later commented to Avram that she liked his friends. As this was the first social opportunity I had observed her in, I was happy to see that I liked and approved of her, and resigned that Avram would most liably date her.

In my own mind I had firmly paired up Avram with Mina, and began to see him as taken as I saw myself (that is, very taken indeed. Unless the moment might be right. And one were particularly persuasive...) Still, Avram and I continued our walks, and they only grew in frequency and length as the days lengthened into Spring. As a result of early, gentle days the Lilacs bloomed early that year, and as Winter Semester inexorably moved towards finals, Provo moved towards fragrant evenings and balmy breezes. Lilacs were every where we walked, and I soon associated their heavy fragrance and large bushes with my nighttime friendship. Although Avram and I were pursuing diverging paths of romance, in the evening hours as we walked through East Provo and Kiwanis Park we inhabited a liminal world of lilacs and confidences, of the dark and only of each other. Our walks still remained our only independent source of socializing, but with three Club meetings a week, there was plenty of Spring Walks to be had.

I clung to our walks, as I clung to the unfolding Spring and to the Semester. It had taken me a year and a half, but I had found an inner Nirvana, a small space at BYU that I treasured as dearly as I had treasured my Freshman year with Dennis. I didn't want the semester to end, I didn't want to give up "my boys" as I called Travis, Matt and Avram to myself (all three would often come and we would hang out together). I wanted to keep the pattern of my days as they were at that moment for always: My three official social occasions a week - Tuesday's Club Meeting, Friday's Cooking Guild and Sunday's Mystic's Guild. I found peace in my nightly trysts with the Private Nibley Study room on the Fourth Floor of the Library. I loved the balance my mind had found with friends and school, reading and thinking. I loved how my mind awoke when Avram was near, how I felt so alive as we conversed about any topic.

And I knew, just as finals week crept inexorably closer, that this perfect moment in my life was also inexorably ending as well. Whether from the approaching Summer with its different social patterns, whether from Dennis' return in the fall or my own simultaneous trip to Egypt, I knew that all to soon these halcyon days and nights would only be a memory. For the rest of my life. All this wonder and glory, all my friends and crushes, all my quiet studies in my secret Nibley library, all these lilacs and walks would come to an end, were coming to an end around me even as I clung to them, to my perfect college heaven on my little patch of Provo earth. I knew I could never recapture these moments again, so I like a condemned man clutching at any life as he goes to the gallows, I too knowing my own coming 'mortality' (or change) clung to them, savoring every evening social outing, every midnight walk from the library, every scent laden breeze and every moment with Avram.

Our friendship had only scraps of time, whether weeks or months, before it would change with my changing life, and so I treasured every moment we had together. Imminent endings have always sharpened the interim joys, and the immanent ending of my perfect Junior year continued to sharpen my awareness of all my ending joys - and Avram.

Read Part V: Thora Has Issues

Monday, February 2, 2009

Part III of the Saga of Sentimentality. Thora Progresses Deeper Into Denial About the Flexibility of Liking Your Friend

Part I - Sentimentality Brought on by the Snow; A Connection is Made
Part II - Thora Gets Hit Upside the Head by a Crush

At the beginning of March my Mom came down for a half day conference the religion department put on about the Akadah (the binding of Isaac by Abraham). I invited Avram to come, but he was busy.

It worked out well, though, because my main topic of conversation with my Mom was about Avram. Before we went into the conference, being held at the Harmon, mirrored building at the far northern end of campus, we sat in her Astro Chevy Van and discussed this young man. I told her that Avram was my plan B. That if Dennis and I didn't work out, he was on my short list of people to try dating afterwards. After all, this is me - for every plan I have, I also develop a tiered list of contingency plans "just in case." I love being prepared, even if that's only through having lots of theoretical lists.

Later on in the morning as we waited in between sessions, we continued discussing the situation, and she asked me who else was on my short list. As I thought, I realized although I always referred to my short list as containing plural amounts of available men, the only actual entry on it was Avram. My plan B.

My Mom wasn't as confident in this as I was. She pointed out, "What if you and Avram marry? How would he feel knowing he had been your plan B? That doesn't seem nice to him."

"If I married Avram, then obviously by that point he would have progressed to plan A. I wouldn't actually marry a plan B." Who can refute logic like that?

Throughout this time, I continued to mentally considered Avram a plan B. I had no plans to date him. Rather, I continued in my Journal and my time to actively dream for a future with Dennis, who only had six months remaining on his mission.


Concurrent with all of this the Quill and the Sword called for volunteers to put on a medieval demonstration for an elementary school in a neighboring town in Utah Valley. I volunteered both as demonstrator and driver, and was very pleased when Avram also volunteered, along with two others, Travis and Michele. We met at my house in full medieval regalia and began our trip. Only a mile or so into it, directly outside of Provo High, several passing drivers motioned to me that my wheel was flat, so I pulled into the Provo High School Parking Lot. PoorHerkie had a good and flat, although not blown out - just deflated. Avram and Travis attempted to change it to my spare, but although they found three tire irons in my trunk (none of which I was aware of), none of them fit the lug nuts on the offending tire. With no operable means of transferring to the spare tire, sooner than not we were limping our way back to my house in my still flatHerkie.

To assuage our disappointment at our failed quest, I made everyone my signature lunch favorite of toasted tuna fish sandwiches. We all talked about Club, both its history and present state. That afternoon in my kitchen dissecting our communal social center was the first time that Avram and I had spent unstructured club time together once we knew each other. Like many of our conversations it was dynamic. Avram has never been shy with his opinions, and once claimed to have an opinion on everything, even if he made it up on the spot (time has tempered this rash statement).


Also in early March Avram and I went on the first of our walks. He would walk me home from some activity or another (footnote one), and I would always end up talking with him about everything on my mind and in my life. He advised me on whether to keep my brokenHerk or not (he pointed out that having a car was not freedom, it was mobility.) I told him about my family and the wrinkles we had in being blended together, as well as my own doubts and fears about my future commitment issues with marriage. I remember well the wet streams of slush dropping from my midnight blue wool cloak into my shoes as we slowly made our way down a sidewalk south of campus. I treasured these talks, despite the weather (or perhaps of the weather - I love walking through the seasons with a companion by my side, sharing in deep thoughts). Not for romantic reasons, as I still considered my crush on Avram as largely irrelevant, but for how I valued Avram's thoughts on all aspects of my life.

I talk a lot, and I assume many people think that I'm basically a large pond that's only an inch deep in thoughts - I spread my inner self everywhere. It's true that I superficially share many thoughts with many people, but for most of my life I've felt that there is a lot of inner thoughts and self that are a deep well that no one sees nor hears about. Now I think at this point in my life the first is true - I even amaze myself by how much I'm willing to casually chat about myself and my deep inner thoughts on my blog for the potential whole world to read about. Five years ago though,pre marriage, I still felt a deep inner well. However, when talking to Avram I might as well been an open pond - there was nothing I held back from him (except that I liked him...I managed not to blurt that out awkwardly). As we walked and talked, Avram mainly played the role of mentor to my life and thoughts - I didn't learn much about his family or life through all of this. Perhaps he came from a more boring (read stable) family, and definitely he didn't have the overhanging emotional trauma of having broken off an engagement four and a half weeks before the wedding.

One night after the Tuesday night Club meeting in the Wilk, Avram came and asked me if I would be willing to help him with some advice. He liked a girl in his ward, and had sent her an email basically declaring his intentions. Avram wanted me to read the email and tell him what I thought of it (although what the point of having me preview an email that is already done and sent I'm still not quite sure of). This red letter anti climactic activity marks the first time Avram and I did something together besides walk towards my home. I hadn't yet eaten dinner, and it was already approaching nine pm, so I had Avram walk me to my home first, where he watched me consume twoeggo waffles with fake maple syrup (yes I don't know where my insistence of healthy food went while I was in college) for dinner, and then we walked right back up to campus to the Library, where there was Internet.

I read and approved of the email, and then we spend the next three hours, until the Library closed and we noticed people leaving, sitting outside the library talking about life. Since I had firmly ensconced Avram into a plan B slot in my mind, I thought it was great that he liked a girl from his ward, and was only too happy to help him pursue her. For one matter it made our first solitary social occasion not awkward at all, since we clearly knew where each other stood in regards to each other - just as friends. Avram even told me that he thought that Dennis and I would probably work out, and any kind word about the future of me and my missionary immediately endeared anyone to my heart.

I had met this girl once before, when Avram had failed to show up for a Mystic's guild one Sunday evening meeting at Travis' apartment. After the meeting the group went to my house to eat Sunday night snacks, and I surreptitiously (to my mind at least - it was probably painfully obvious to the rest of the group) developed a plan of going to Avram's home and "kidnapping" him and making him come and spend time with us. I didn't call and ask why he hadn't come - I never even thought of calling Avram. I don't think that Avram and I talked on the phone even once until we had begun dating. Neither of us are phone people, and both avoid calling people, even people we know and like. So, I and a few of my friends hopped in myHerkie and drove to Avram's apartment. When he answered the door all my friends stood back and I was there alone, stammering out an lame excuse about kidnapping him and making him come and socialize with us - when I noticed a girl was in his living room. The girl that he liked.

Yeah. It turned out trying to surprise kidnap someone is a stupid idea. I started backpedaling, and giving Avram lots of outs, while also trying to invite her to come along. She said she had things she needed to do, and left Avram to come with us alone. Awkward. (footnote two). Plus my friends (all girls) blamed me, rightfully, for it all.

She seemed a nice girl, and more importantly her existence meant that mine and Avram's interactions were all the more casual and carefree because we both knew the other was otherwise romantically involved.


Right in the middle of Avram and mine deepening friendship, on March 12 I burst into cooking guild, which was being held at my own house, an hour late and declared that I was going to Egypt. Everyone present was suitably surprised, and I enjoyed the various shouts around me. Avram was purely jealous of my luck, although only for the location - he had no interest in studying Arabic, which was the reason for the study abroad.

I had known about this study abroad opportunity since the previous September, and had always planned to pass it up since it would be the fall of my Senior year, and Dennis would be home, and obviously we would be getting engaged and doing all sorts of things much more fun than living in a foreign country and speaking a foreign language.

Except by the time March rolled around, all my Arabic peers around me sat around the study table in the now moved Humanities Computer Language Lab in theJKHB talking about Alexandria Egypt, and their excitement for the trip. And Dennis seemed so far away in Germany. At the turn of the year he had decided to write me less - I had only received one letter in the previous two and a half months. I filled up pages in my journal detailing out why I thought traveling abroad was a good idea, but the plain truth was I've always had wandering feet. I had spent my entire time atBYU trying to find some sort of study abroad opportunity, whether through the school or no that would let me visit Jerusalem. Failing Israel, forever banned to me because of the Intifada, I determined to go as close as I could - Egypt.

Once I knew I would be going to Egypt in the fall, my harmless, meaningless flirtations with Avram only increased. Not only were we romantically involved elsewhere (well, on his side it was only in the infantile stages of occasional dates and and email, but I was willing to elaborate this into a full scale romance to help my delusions of platonic friendship with Avram along), but now in only five months I would be leaving to a foreign country.


In all of this I still knew that Avram and I had a connection. I had not forgotten my crush - I just subsumed it beneath all other events and considerations. One week I burst into Sewing Guild (yet another Medieval Club guild.) exclaiming that I liked Avram, and what was I to do? This was nothing new to the listeners in the room - I regularly exclaimed over my self doomed crush over Avram to any who would hear. I believe the vast majority of club had already heard, from my lips, of my feelings for Avram before I told him to his face. (footnote three).

Another time I sat in my kitchen with Avram and some others and during the course of the conversation talked about how I felt that it had been long enough since my broken engagement that I felt that I could enter into a relationship. I could and would make it the perfect relationship. I would plot where we would hold hands first, where we would kiss first, and it would all be picturesque. I could be at times fun and serious and construct moments with a boy to his heart's content (all the while mentally inserting Avram into the generic gender mentions). But I could not give a boy my heart, I could not fall in love with another, not again, while Dennis was out (yeah, yeah, so I was overly dramatic and wrong. I have a habit of making large pronouncements like this, and truly meaning them. And then consequently proving myself wrong, time and again.) (footnote three.)

Avram didn't completely seem to play fair either. One night, March 12, the same night I announced I was going to Egypt, Travis had a showing on a rented projector of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark at his apartment. Avram sat next to me, and during some of the violent bits (and I have a very low tolerance for violence) he put his arm around me. From across the room I saw several pairs of eyes asking me what was happening, and I could only shrug with my own eyes back, because I quite honestly did not know. Was Avram trying to put the move on me? Were we having a moment? Even through our determined, platonic friendship I was not adverse at all to moments together. Alas, after about ten minutes, when the movie had moved back to stirring video of Harrison Ford's good looks, Avram removed his arm with no comment on his part.

Then at the end of the movie he commented that he had better get me home, with a phrasing that almost sounded almost...protective, and thenhe walked me home. Unfortunately several other people walked our same way, leaving at the same time, so we had no private conversation at all. Later I was asked multiple times what the whole Raiders arm incident had meant, and I had no answer - Avram never referenced it (footnote four).


On April 1, Avram and I had a DTR (define the relationship, as far as I know a uniquely BYU term for the big "talk") of sorts. All we said as we sat together outside the library in the nice spring air was what I had begun March telling my Mom. I told Avram I considered him a plan B, and he told me he thought of me as the same - a plan B to look into if matters did not progress with the girl from his ward. This conversation did not feel full of portent, nor heavy with repressed romantic feelings. It was a light hearted and casual talk between friends, a small matter of note in our larger conversation. It wasn't even until long after this that on reflection I realized that we had essentially stated our liking for each other through this conversation - at the time it seemed we were more discussing the potential we had for liking each other. (footnote five).

In the next installment I'll actually get to the part where something happens....Shocking, I know. So keep your blog reading eyes trained to the computer, ready and waiting for all the excitement.

Footnote One. Avram lived on the west side of BYU, next to the Utah Valley Hospital, and I lived on the far East side, on Ninth East and Seventh North. From central campus we lived in completely opposite directions - a forty five minute walk. Although I didn't know where he lived at the time, Avram walking me home from campus events was no small walk.

Footnote Two. At the time I didn't know how Avram felt about his "kidnapping," but in all truth Avram in all truth didn't mind being kidnapped at all. He wouldn't have come if he minded.

Footnote Three. It seems rather amazing, but no one ever told Avram that I liked him. He could tell, though. But to him it was all irrelevant, because he completely saw me as taken. Engaged is the word he uses. So he never planned nor intended to pursue me. Not to even ask me on one small date. Avram doesn't have my penchant for loving to love, especially in doomed/awkward situations, so he only focused his time and attention on girls that were single and available. Me? I have made a fine art of liking people when I ought not to. I've dated brothers (Dennis had an older brother Peter get home from his mission right about when he left....yep, that was an interesting story.) I then three months later got engaged. To someone I had known a month. Avram was yet another in a long string of ill begotten crushes.

Footnote Four. I had a lot of conjectures about the whole Raider's Arm incident. Occam's Razor strikes again, for the simplest explanation turned out to be right. He saw that I was scared and uncomfortable, he put his arm around me to comfort me, and when he saw that I didn't need to be comforted any more, he removed it. He wasn't putting the move on me, and we weren't having a moment. Nor was he trying to be extra connected nor protective of me when he talked about walking me home. I simply read too much into the situation.