Friday, December 17, 2010

oh the places you'll go!

so it's unofficially official.
i'm a college grad!
time for your best celebratory shriek 
(because you're ecstatic I didn't COMPLETELY lose my mind while surviving this semester)
and wolf whistle 
(because you already know how cute I'll be in my cap come April).

I thought I'd have more to say about being done.
about bidding farewell to my days as a Cougar and college coed.
But the truth is, it hasn't quite hit me.
And I'm not so sure it will.

Not anytime soon at least.

I'm guessing reality will set in on January 10.
That'll be the 2012 of my school career,
the day I realize my undergrad days are GONE.
gone forever.

What's interesting, though, is that my day to end all days will, 
at the same time, 
be a start.

A start to the days I'll envy Parker for trotting off to campus at the crack of dawn to spend five-plus hours breaking down syllabi.
The days I'll go a little green over all his "learning opportunities"
a.k.a. listening to LONG chem lectures and wasting away weekends on studying 
The days I'll look on longingly as he hunkers down to do homework.

Oh the "grass is greener" syndrome.
Gotta love it.

Luckily I have post-finals euphoria to keep me free from it over Christmas break.
My plan.
Pretend school doesn't exist.
Pretend work doesn't either.

partyparty. and party some more.

And as soon as January 10 rolls around
do everything else I can to avoid facing the finality of finishing my last batch of finals 
and what, realistically, needs to come next.
deciding where to go from here...

Oh the places I'll go to find new ways to fill my time!
I'll let you know what I come up with...

'Til then,
I'm signing off for 2010.

send me off Dr. Seuss...
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
Oh yes you will! your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bill 
or Mrs. Chelsey Brianne White DeMille

You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your 2011 is waiting.
so get on your way!

Monday, December 13, 2010

how to ditch the grinch

"Every Who
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas a lot...

But the Grinch
Who lived just north of Who-ville, 
Did NOT!

The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small."

Now my Parker does love Christmas.
very much so.
And I most definitely do.
so I guess I'm not quite sure who's to blame for our little home's grinch-y green hue.
(I'm not one to point fingers, BUT, all five of my little piggies seem to be pointing to
Parker, Parker, Parker, Parker, AND...Parker. respectively.

Ok, that was unfair.
I'm guilty by association,
an accomplice to this Christmas crime.
I'll own it.)

Needless to say,
this isn't how I pictured out first Christmas.
As soon as that first snow dusted our rooftop I began mapping out our Christmas shrine.
And with December 1st just days away, I decided to relay my holiday shopping list to Santa...
"Peppermint candy canes, 
heaps of holly, 
twinkling lights on a baby tree brimming with ornaments,
and a sprig of mistletoe glued to Parker's noggin' so I can kiss him all I want."

He said no.
We don't have the money.
We don't have the space.
And we won't even be home for Christmas.
Why bother?

With my Christmas dreams dashed I tried to see the Santa's logic.

I thought about money.
If we did buy decor, it'd be chincy.
Nothing I'd dare display in our future home.
Plus, I could buy more presents with the money I'd saved for the deck the halls fund!

I thought about space.
I'd already claimed the entirety of the main closet
and left Santa the coat closet for his things.
And if that didn't put me at the top of the naughty list,
adding another box or two to the growing heap in the hallway would guarantee me a sooty stocking.

So I thought about his last point.
True we wouldn't be home for Christmas.
Not home in this home at least.
But even still,
we had 24 long December days to get through before we'd be saying so long to Salt Lake and hello to Sparks.
And that, to me, seemed like reason enough to celebrate.

But Santa'd sold me on 2 of his 3 points,
and I thought that might be enough to get me through those long December days. wasn't.
About a week ago I'd had it.
I was to my wit's end with school.
I'd endured back-to-back days of my slowest-going commutes to date.
And, to top it all off,
I'd been hit with the cold from you-know-where 
and was well on my way to sounding like Wheezy from Toy Story.
(And let me tell you...there is no better way to kill this girl's spirit than to take away her voice.
I feel absolutely helpless whenever I sound like Squeaker McSqueakin'.
It scares me to death that my voice might never come back.
Could you imagine me as a mute?!
I can't either.
The idea terrifies me.
Absolutely terrifies me.)

I bought a bundle of cinnamon-scented pine cones to make myself feel better.
But it didn't really help.

Every other blog I read seemed to be about decorating for the holidays.
And with a million-and-one pictures of my Sparks' home's North Pole appeal
and a visit to my in-laws' home-show-ready winter wonderland,
I really started feeling like the Grinch of the group.
Dumb pine cones...

One day I decided to take one of my long commutes to relay the sad story to my mom.
I should've known what would happen after my request for one Christmas tree photo turned into twenty-plus pictures and a blog post,
but I never take a moment to think before I vent.

I ended my tirade as I walked through the front door.
I'd blown a fuse when Parker'd pointed out that a total 2.5% of our neighbors had decided to put up lights this year.
Where's the Christmas cheer people?
Come on!

Parker eyed me warily as he listened in on the conversation.
"Really Mom, it's not worth what it'd cost to ship it."

"I know, it'd be nice.  I just don't know where we'd store it.  Plus it's one more thing to move when it comes time for dental school."

"Well that's true.  I can't imagine skipping Christmas for a full five years."

I can hear the cautionary tone in Parker's voice.
Don't cross me on this,
he says with his eyes.

"Uh-huh.  I'm still not sold on the whole shipping thing.  We'll be okay mom.  I'll be home before I know it."

Parker smiles.

"Okay...I can't say no to that.  
I'll clear out a spot in my closet.  
I'm so excited!"

He frowns.

I say a quick goodbye and hang up the phone.

"I thought we'd agreed on this Chels."

"We had. I just changed my mind."

"Where will you put it?"

"I'll find room."

"You'd better."

He smiles.
Deep down he's ecstatic.
I know from the way his face lit up the night I brought the pine cones home.
Turns out my Grinch really isn't green after all.
His heart never was two sizes too small.

Two days later I came home to a big white box.
I hurried inside to unpack the little tree my mom had promised.
To my surprise, the Christmas cheer kept coming.

Before I knew it I'd unwrapped big red bows
a smiling snowman
sparkling silver snowflakes
a mini nativity
cinnamon & sugar
a crafty holiday hot pad
twinkling lights 
for our baby tree that'd soon be brimming with 
brightly colored ornaments
and a winter garland Christmas candle to make it all seem real.

Christmas came early!

I had to leave my little haul and head off to work.
I couldn't bear to leave it all lying in that box.
But I didn't have any other choice.

I sped home at the end of my shift, ready to kick into Christmas gear.
I stopped short when I reached the kitchen.
Parker sat criss-cross applesauce on the kitchen floor poking through our box of Christmas cheer.
At his feet lay a big red box
with a real Christmas wreath inside.
I gasped.

"Merry Christmas!"
said my little Grinch with a smile.

Turns out Mom & Dad thought the real scent of pine might make it feel more like Christmas.
They were right.

We spent the rest of the night decorating for our very first Christmas
to the tune of a Pandora playlist with all our favorite carols.

When we finished we snuggled up next to our pretend fireplace (it's a Parker thing) and our twinkling tree to admire our little winter wonderland.

It's the best day I've had all December!

"And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, 
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so? 
It came without ribbons! It came without tags! 
It came without packages, boxes or bags!" 

And then he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. 
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! 
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. 
Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

And what happened then...? Who-ville they say
That the Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He wizzed with his load through the bright morning light
And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast!
And he...


The Grinch carved the roast beast!"

Thanks Mom & Dad for helping us ditch the Grinch.

I'm so much happier for it.

Love you and LOVE Christmas.

11 days and counting...


Friday, December 10, 2010


Observation: Beds are for SLEEPING.

May 12, 2010 may just be a date for the history books.
It's the day my mom resigned from her twenty-year term as master and commander of...

my bedtime.

An ambitious cadet by the name of Parker thought it might be fun to take on the general's duties.
Little did he know he'd be fighting a battle that'd already been lost.
Time and time again.

I've explained this all before.
The me-lees of the night owl and the early riser.
And despite my knack for acknowledging that there is indeed a problem,
I'm absolutely incompetent when it comes to finding a way to solve it.

Good news though,
it gives me funny stories.

Like the other night.
I walk into the bedroom, laptop in tow, ready to multi-task the night away.
As I crawl into bed my little snuggle bug comes to cuddle me.
I settle into his strong arms, smile, then reach for my computer.

Before I even have a finger on it...
"Put the 'puter down."

"But sweetie..."

He cuts me off.
"No, no buts. Can't you see I'm in desperate need of your attention?"

"Not really..."

"I'm CRYING for your attention!"
He sniffs and wipes away a phony tear after a few exaggerated wails.

I just laugh and let him win.
What's one victory for the battered general?

Beds really are for sleeping anyhow.

Consideration: a Master's maybe?

I'd promised myself I would never work with entertainment news.

I refused to waste my talents on an industry that's success stemmed directly from its ability to stir audiences with sensationalism and hype.

Which glamorous celebrity’s Hollywood life could possibly merit the attention of millions of viewers?

I can’t think of one.

Because it just seems so very silly to me that the most trivial aspects of life suddenly become news if multi-platinum recording artists or Academy Award-winning actors or snooty and spoiled rich kids are caught on camera doing it.

Anytime I come across a feature detailing Kim Kardashian’s $100,000 handbag shopping spree,

a cover story on Taylor Swift’s beau,

or a blip about Mary-Kate & Ashley's latest latte stop,

it reminds me why I absolutely deplore the E! News-style story.
It’s not news!
It isn't!

(It makes me wonder, too, why so many people LIVE to be "in the know."
how is your life so small that you care THAT much about someone else's?
someone you don't even know.
Maybe the drama's their draw.
Which still, to me, makes their lives seem sad.
but that's an entirely separate subject...)

Despite my distaste for entertainment news, I spent a good deal of my time as a BYU broadcast student with its closest relative—features.
As the BYU Daily News Friday 411 reporter, I dedicated my time to finding the hottest spots for a bit of weekend fun.

Sound like entertainment news?
It gets better.

I spent the next year at ABC4’s Good Things Utah dreaming up hot topics for “table-talk” and helping coordinating producers track down local celebs.

And then—my cherry on top—I joined The Daily Dish; a show that dedicates its entire A, B, and C blocks to segments called “Hot Dish, Quick Dish, and ...wait for it...Celeb Dish.”

Oh my.

I’d nearly become that girl I promised I’d never be.

The only difference between us—I still knew what news was, and what it was not.

And let me tell you, my internships were not news internships—
couldn't be.
because I had way too much fun.
(I still assert, however, that there is a monumental difference between feature shows and celebrity news.
I haven't crossed over the dark side just yet.)

How, may you ask, does that realization tie into my decision to maybe pursue a master's?
I missed it.
the minute I walked out the back door of ABC4
I wanted to turn and go back inside.

And with the end of my college career less than a week away,
and the only certain aspect of my future my 9-5 days at the bank (eek!!!),
the more I realize just how abruptly I'll be turning my back on the broadcast world.

And I wonder if that's really what I want.

Live the banker's life
and say so long to creation and innovation and having something SHOW for your work outside of a paycheck from the bank to which you've sold your soul?
(oh the irony...)

I'm slowly figuring out what it is that I do want.
It changes every day.
But one thing never does change.
I want to keep learning.
And whether that means getting a master's in events planning,
or even education
(that's kind of a stretch; broadcast writing just has me trained to abide by the list-maker's "rule of threes")
I know I'll be loving the learning curve every step of the way.

Realization: I'm a more confident college coed than back in the Bond days

My Wednesdays are insane.
I wake up for my internship.
Fly down I-80 like a bullet to make sure I make it before air time.
Beat feet to finish all my intern duties after back-to-back shows before zooming off to Provo.
Fight traffic on the I-15.
Arrive to advanced reporting 5-10 minutes late, without fail.
Then realize about twenty minutes into class that I am starving.

As soon as I'm out I'm off to the Cougareat to squeak in a meal, all the while studying for my two-and-a-half hour 4 o'clock class.
Because as soon as that's over, I'm on two wheels back to Salt Lake to make our 7 o'clock YW activity.

Long days.
We all have them.

But the point of this post is that, back in my dorm days, I did not dare dine in the Cougareat alone.
Heaven forbid someone take me to be the lunch-hour leper!
Because I had friends.
Lots of them.
And I'd rather go hungry than have someone think otherwise.

Fast-forward to 2010.
Every Wednesday I eat alone.

Do I prefer dining as a party of one?
Not particularly.
I'd take a warm body over my ice water and cold L&T salad any day.

and this is a big but,
I'm okay with it.
I am absolutely okay with being alone (for awhile).

Because sometime in the last 3 years
I realized what others think of me may not always match up with my reality.
And it in no way defines me.

Just because some self-proclaimed hot shot at the bank thinks I'm an empty-headed half-wit programmed to spout off unnaturally cheery hellos does not mean I'm brainless.

Just because another ward's YW leader judges my hit-and-miss attendance at Wednesday planning meetings (that overlap with my school schedule, mind you) as apathy doesn't mean I don't care.

Just because someone who sees me clip-clopping around campus in my best broadcast heels is surprised when that I'm decent enough to hold the door open for them doesn't mean I'm the narcissistic snoot they originally took me to be.

And just because a classmate secretly believes I've sold out by trading broadcast success for a successful marriage does not mean I'm a failure who gave up on my dreams.

I just traded one.
Traded it for another that's bringing me exponentially more happiness than I ever could have hoped to find had I kept it.

In short,
somewhere along the line, I decided my confidence was no longer conditional upon other people.

Some days I think it's all thanks to Parker,
a maturity everyone takes away from marriage
when they realize they really are unconditionally loved by someone who, unlike family, did not have to love them from Day 1.

Other times, I think it's me;
something that came when I decided being me was enough.
(and a heck of a lot easier than trying to be perfect...)

And then there's the days I think it's all a part of growing up.
something we all learn along the way.
some earlier. some later. some much, much later.
but, in the end, something we'll all overcome sometime in our lives.

Whatever it is,
and whatever it was for me,
I'm grateful for it.
I think it's one of the many reasons life is so incredibly happy right now.
I'm kind of hoping it'll stay that way...