Sunday, July 24, 2011

I see London, I see France...

Because I am going on a Visual Arts Study Abroad this fall through BYU!

We will be living in London with some weeklong trips to Scotland, Paris and some other sites around England. I am registered for 12 credits while I'm there. I'll be taking Creative Writing, Mixed Media (painting/collage), an advanced art class for my BFA where I’ll work on my own 3-D projects, a walks class (where we literally walk and see the city), and a religion course that will be taught by a local institute teacher. And since it is a study abroad for Art majors we will be spending a lot of time going to Museums and viewing architecture and gardens.

I leave on August 29 for 3.5 months but my only hold up is that I haven't earned the full $10,000 to go. I received a $2,250 grant and $1,386 in scholarships and have paid almost $2,000 just from working over the summer. I got a federal loan for $2750. But I still owe $1,350 before I leave.

The great thing about being a Visual Arts major is that I can offer original prizes for anyone who wants to donate to my semester abroad. Whoever places the biggest donation will receive first pick from the artwork I make while in London and then on down the list. I plan on doing a lot of sketches of places I travel and assemblage work with found objects. I will finish works when I return (clean up, make frames, etc.) and have each piece delivered before Christmas.

Monday, July 11, 2011


(Pictures make this post even longer)
thankful for...

Over the weekend I drove with John to Denver, CO to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and The Avett Brothers Perform at The Red Rocks Theater. I'd never heard of either of these bands when John bought the tickets back in March but after watching them perform live, they have both become favorites (especially The Avett Brothers).

We had some time to kill in Denver before the show so we got some lunch at The Hard Rock Cafe. It was the first time I'd ever been there but the 7th Hard Rock John has been to. We also drove around the city and had ice cream sundaes in front of a beautiful cathedral.

The day of the concert, July 9th, was our 1 year first kiss anniversary.

tender mercy...

We got out of the concert at 11pm. Sat in traffic waiting to leave the parking lot until 12am. Got on the freeway, stopped at the first exit with a gas station. It was super sketchy. The Gas Station was up this hill that was surrounded by trees. No one was inside and one of the windows was covered with cardboard. It was straight out of a horror movie. I was motivated to drive all the way home that night because I knew I was going to get as far from that building as I could.

We got back on the road just to get off on the next exit with a Wendy's. We weren't sure if that would happen anytime soon, so we settled for a McDonald's, got a snack (sugar, caffeine), said a quick prayer and were back on the road. It wasn't 15 minutes later before John asks, "How tired are you?" I wasn't very, so he pulled over so I could drive.

I hate driving on the freeway. I take Main to Spanish Fork and State to American Fork and haven't had a need to go further than that until we thought Denver was a good idea. But I definitely didn't want a sleepy John driving me home at 70mph, so I got in the drivers seat.

Everything was running smoothly for the first 5 minutes of my drive. I knew I wouldn't fall asleep because my nerves were wide awake.

I caught up to a truck following a semi. They kept braking so I went around them. The lines on the road were almost nonexistent so I was really having to focus to stay in my lane. Then it started raining. I have never driven in such darkness. There weren't any towns around so I couldn't see anything other than the tiny bit of road ahead of me that my headlights could light up. The rain even made those worse.

I was leading the way until 2 deer came up on the edge of the road. I freaked out and stepped on the brake not realizing the semi had caught up and was right behind me. He went around me without being rude or honking and I decided it was a better idea to follow him. I was feeling stupid for being such a terrible driver.

The truck had brighter headlights so he could drive faster than I could, he obviously had more experience on these roads, and most importantly, he had bright red lights all over his back, so I could follow those instead of the faint lines on the road. This was the biggest tender mercy.

I followed those red lights for almost 200 miles. In that time I was ordering John to play upbeat Beatles songs so that I could sing along. It helped me not be so nervous and kept me awake. I never took my eyes off of the red lights. I would stick my hand out and John would hand me M&Ms and my Coke when I needed them. We passed a lot more deer but none of them jumped in the road, another tender mercy.

The truck driver was really courteous. He would quickly get over if we passed someone stopped on the side of the road and he knew that I was following him. I'd see him brake and know that there was a bump in the road before I came to it. The red lights would disappear and I knew the road went down hill. He swerved, so I swerved, not seeing the dead deer in the road until it was a couple feet away from me. The darkness wasn't so powerful when I could read the road so far ahead of time.

It started to rain really hard and without thinking I slowed down and was then focused on catching up to my truck, which made the time go faster and kept me even more focused on the truck instead of how heavy my eyelids were.

Eventually we started passed city lights again. And my trusted truck took one of the exits. By then the rain had slowed down and the lines on the road were easier to see. There were even cars coming the other direction that revealed the twists and turns of the road ahead of me. I blew my truck a kiss and hope he's blessed for saving our lives that night.

We made it back to Grand Junction at 5am full of gratitude. My hands were stuck in a fist from clenching the steering wheel so hard for so long, and my voice was scratchy from my hours of nonstop singing. We quickly fell asleep, and woke up just as quickly for church 4 hours later.

made me laugh...

When we were leaving the concert we heard a guy shout out to his friends, "Ok, everyone have keys, cell phones, jackets, cameras..." John busted up laughing and said he was the best DD anyone could have. He was so on top of things!

John shimmying to MIA.

On the way to Denver John pointed out a sign for a town called Silt, CO and we thought it was a goofy name for a city. On the drive back to Grand Junction from Denver, I didn't have a good idea of how much time was passing while we were driving because I was so distracted by other things. So I was reading the names of the towns remembering when we'd passed them earlier in the day. We came to that city sign and I yelled out "Slit!" because I knew we were getting closer. We both busted up because I couldn't even read the sign right.

I learned...
  • Vail, CO not only exists but is a major ski destination.
  • Red Rocks is the best venue....seriously worth the trip.
  • Avett is pronounced "A-vet"
  • Never drive 5 hours through the night during a rain storm after a long concert.
  • The US Mint is in Denver.