Friday, December 29, 2006

blue christmas

so, Christmas was great for the most part. my family situation was a little awkard, with the fact that my mom is already separated from her new husband, my little pregnant sister is far far away in Seattle, Amber and I are still hopelessly single, my mom still refuses to go to the extended family Christmas party, and my mom and dad actually spent Christmas together with us kids... but, all in all, it was a great weekend. well, except for the fact that I put on 3 pounds! :D I am officially back on my diet as of yesterday...

the Powell family Christmas party at the cabins was amazing, of course. I LOVE my extended family. my aunts and uncles are more like brothers and sisters to me since we are so close in age and I grew up with them. it is always good to see them. they bring me back down, remind me of who I am, where I came from, who I want to be, and what the whole point of all of this is. they know me pretty well, and I always feel better when I spend time with people that know me inside and out and still love me. it was also good to be spiritually fed by my grandparents, and jumped on and hugged by my little cousins. ...but - the party also got me a little depressed. my sister too. we are the oldest of the 35 grandchildren. well, I am the oldest, she is the 3rd oldest. there were 4 cousins younger than us that brought "significant others" with them. this was the first year anyone did that, so, of course, it was a big deal. it seemed like it was what everyone focused on. in fact, it seemed to be the theme of the party. "oh, we are so glad you brought someone! we are so excited to welcome new people into our family! you guys are such a cute couple. I'm so glad you all found each other." blah blah blah. I mean, yeah, its great and all, and I am just as happy for them, but what about the rest of us? are we failures? are we disappointing the family? are we now of little importance? is getting married all everyone really cares about? why didn't anyone seem to care that Justin took state in wrestlling, or that Kali won the spelling bee, or that I am starting my own catering business, or that Amber worked hard all year and bought a new Jeep, or that Ricki got a promotion at her job?, not only do I have to face life alone, but I also have to be shunned by those that I am closest to? and if I do find happiness in being single, does that make me a rebel or a disgrace?

it doesn't feel right. maybe I am making a mountain out of a mole hill. or maybe it is my own insecurity that is making me feel regarded in this way. whatever the case, it is hard to escape. I left the Christmas party wishing they could return to the way they were a few short years ago and dreading what those parties hold for me and my hopelessly single future...

Friday, December 22, 2006

merry christa-mas!

I don't remember how old I was, but I was young. all I wanted for Christmas was a Nativity set. I may have wanted some roller skates too, but I don't remember. I even wrote a letter to Santa specifivally asking for one. it bothered me that my family didn't have one to display during the holidays. anyway, I think this really touched my Grandma. she and I had always had a special bond. she lived up the street from us my entire life, and sometimes I think I spent more time there than I did at home. someday I will write a blog about her. she was amazing and she filled my life with beautiful memories...

so, Christmas day came and I didn't open a Nativity set. I remember being disappointed, but not enough to ruin the enjoyment of the gifts I did receive. a couple hours later my Grandparents came over to give us their gifts. my Grandma handed me a big white manilla envelope. I opened it up and pulled out a paper nativity set. it was beautiful! I unfolded it, carefully attached the pieces, and set it up to proudly display in our living room. I believe I left it up in my room for quite a few months, and remember putting it up every Christmas for a few years after that. I don't know what happened to it. I imagine it took quite a beating considering I was the oldest of 5 children with plenty of little cousins that visited often. I'm sure it was destroyed and thrown away, but I think of it every year. I relayed this story to my best friend, Jackie, a few years ago and she then gave me a beautiful porcelain Nativity set for Christmas. now it stands as a reminder of my first Nativity set, the beautiful Grandmother that gave it to me, the blessing of a great true friend that I have in Jackie, and the true meaning of Christmas.

sometimes we get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. I know I do. check this out for instance. all of the excitement distracts us from the true meaning. we should be remembering Christ's birth, his life, and what it means to us. I am lucky enough to have an amazing extended family that gathers together every Christmas to enjoy each other's company, play games, eat food, laugh until we cry, and reflect on Jesus Christ. my Grandparents give us spiritual gifts, and have prepared a presentation complete with stories, scriptures, and testimony. we then take turns sharing our testimonies, thoughts and what we have learned that year. I am so excited to get to the cabins to see everybody and experience our annual spiritual feast, so to speak. I'm sure I will have plenty to reflect on and tell when I return. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope yours is full of love, loved ones and warmth.

Monday, December 18, 2006

blog slacker!

WOW! I can't believe it has been two weeks since I have written! life has been a big hectic whirlwind since I got back from DC. I really can't believe it has been two weeks... a lot has happened, and I have had a ton of thoughts. I better get to it.

I always put myself in overkill in December. for some reason I take on a million projects every year and I end up sleep deprived with an empty bank account! but, I am always satisfied and proud of my work - the gifts I give, the parties I throw, the delicious food I bake, the cards I make, the gift wrapping that looks like a work of art, and my cute winter apparel! I love it! I just wish it didn't wear me out. but, then again, I am happiest when I am extremely busy. when my days are full, I am too occupied to think about things. particularly the big questions like, "what am I doing with my life?" and it keeps my thoughts away from the bad situation my family is in down in Cedar City. which is good, because there is nothing I can do about it and thinking about it just brings me down for no reason. so, there's that, and also the fact that it makes me feel good. when I finish one of these busy projects it gives me a sense of accomplishment that has been steadily disappearing from my life since I graduated from college. I guess you could call me a "busy bee." I constantly need something going on in my life to keep me from making myself crazy. so, here are the things that have been keeping me crazy busy:

CHRISTMAS - shopping, crafts, baking, decorating, wrapping, travleing to parties, annual correspondence, etc.

Catering - I LOVE to cater, and I used to do it often when I lived back in DC. this weekend I finally got to do a job in Utah. I catered a huge dinner for 90 people. It was amazing, but it took up my entire weekend. I also had some business cards designed that I could hand out. my sister did an amazing job considering she hadn't used photoshop since high school.

Volunteering - I am a volunteer for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. I am coordinating the volunteers for the annual Radio-A-Thon fundraiser. It consists of lots of phone calls, emails, faxes, spreadsheets. sure, it sounds easy and a lot like what I do every day at work, but it does take up a lot of time.

Work - I had to stay late at work every day last week. I was in charge of our company's client gifts, Christmas cards and company party on top of my regular responsibilities. It got a little crazy at the office for me, to say the least.

right now I am experiencing the lull right before the big event. I only have two more little errands to run before Christmas day. things are quiet at work, and my mind is swirling with thoughts. the thoughts I usually try to avoid. but, I will try to enjoy swimming in them for now. here we go. ...should I go to grad school? who can I get to write my letters of recommendation? do I really want to burden myself with more student loans? do I want to get an MPP, MPA, or Masters of Poli Sci? should I really try to make christa lee catering work? maybe that would be a good lead-in to be a wedding planner. why do I want to do jobs like that when I have a degree in and a passion for poli sci? would I be abandoning my opportunity to actually make a good difference and impact in the world? ...does Rob really like me? has he lost interest? when am I going to get to see him again? should I make it obvious how much I like him? can I emotionally afford to leave myself open to get hurt again? but, I think he might actually be the one. you shouldn't try to protect yourself from the one, right? am I good enough for him though? I really do think I am a good catch, for many reasons, but does he see it in me? my mom ever going to be strong enough to be happy? what in the world can I do to help her? and how is stacy going to come out of this situation? will her baby be okay? how can we get her back to Utah? is Rachel going to be okay? is my Dad going to live much longer? what if he dies before I get married? how will I handle it if my kids never get to know their Grandpa? am I ever going to be able to have my own family? am I going to be alone forever? why can't I find someone that will love me enough to want to marry me? or at least stay with me for more than a few months? ...why am I so obsessed with the chocolate phone? how can I get one? will I ever be able to afford my own apple laptop? I can't wait until my car is paid off. will I be able to stop myself from buying a new one once that happens? ...are the democrats going to be able to take back the white house? should I get on a presidential campaign again? who would I support? there are so many good ones. would America really reject a woman or a black man? if so, that is a sad commentary and I am ashamed. how long will it be before women and minorities are equal to white men? I can't believe they're not! have we even progressed since the civil war?

okay, thats enough. I need to find a project to work on. see! those thoughts are too much. I don't think I am the only one with thoughts like this though. we all deal with our own concerns - demons if you will. will any of us ever have life figured out? or are we all just doomed to wander in uncertainty forever until we finally die? okay, so that sounded grim, I promise didn't mean it like that. I just wonder if there are ever going to be any answers or sureties in my future...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'm back!

so, I returned a few days ago and I'm still trying to get back into the groove of the dull dreary existence I am forced to call my life... let's just say that my trip back east was so close to perfect that when I landed in Salt Lake City and stepped out of the airport into the freezing cold, optimists would say "crisp", air and looked to the empty pavement before asking a cab driver for a ride, I couldn't hold back the tears. the thought of returning to this life was almost too much to bear. and the realization that I went from a city crowded with people begging to spend time with me to a city where no one cared enough to pick me up from the airport, sent me into a very deep low for a couple of days. BUT - lets not focus on that. I have since gotten over those pitiful thoughts and feelings, so lets talk about the fun things I did and the amazing people I spent my time with... this is mostly going to be a pictoral blog. I LOVE pictures!

first up - Kelly, Chris, and Sam. as I'm sure you know, this is my most favorite family ever!! I almost couldn't bare it when they moved to Williamsburg so that Chris could start law school at William & Mary. I savored every minute I spent with them. we did a million things. we spent a lot of time at Colonial Williamsburg, the new Jamestown, the old Jamestown, Yorktown, the outlet malls, and of course, Kelly and I did several crafty projects! its our favorite passtime. we made slippers, bath bombs, gingerbread and Christmas cards. Sam is the most adorable little boy I have ever met and I couldn't get enough time with him.
Chris and Kelly are two of my closest friends in the world. they are smart, sincere, caring, motivated, spiritual, strong, and they are a match made in heaven. they know me better than almost anyone and they still love me! :) they are very supportive and understanding. my goal in life is to "grow up" to be as close to as great as they are as I can be. and my future marriage has a lot to live up to...

Kerstin - although Kerstin and I only lived together for about 3 months, she is one of the best friends I have ever had. I feel like I have known her forever! she is one of the funniest people I have ever met - she has me laughing all the time, and my own humor bursts at the seams when I am around her. not many people can bring that out in me. so, to say the least, time with Kerstin is ALWAYS fun. she picked me up from the airport, and from the metro stop every day, let me stay at her house, AND dropped me off at the airport! she is great! she had an incredibly busy week. she had just moved into a new place and she was under tight, crazy deadlines at work, yet she was still there for me AND spent time with me! she even took me to IKEA and Cosi! who could ask for more? my hope is that someday she will be back in Utah so our friendship can consist of more than gmail chat while we are both either bored or frustrated at work...

The Hotline - the 14 months I spent at The Hotline were pretty close to the best months of my life. the job was PERFECT for me! my passion is politics, particularly campaigns. at The Hotline I did research and writing about national elections. I co-produced Hotline TV, and I was a personal assistant to Chuck Todd, who some of you might recognize as a frequent guest political pundit on MSNBC. leaving The Hotline was one of the hardest decisions I EVER made. in fact, Chuck made me promise to come back and granted me a leave of absesnce for 6 months after I left. so, when I walked into the office I was greated by screams, cheers, and hugs. it was so great to see everyone again. I visited for a couple hours, and then I was able to attend the American Democracy Conference the next day at the Reagan building. click here for a run down of the amazing people on each panel, and the topics discussed. I also got to see Chris Hamby, Jen Hoar and Eric Pfeiffer there. they worked at The Hotline with me, but now Jen is at and Eric is a writer for The Washington Times. Hamby still works at The Hotline, he does marketing, which might be good for me when I move back! It was great to catch up with everyone and get a taste of the wisdom The Hotline basks in every day. I went back to the office the next day and brought in some of my famous home made oreos for everyone and said good bye. everyone was begging me to come back, and telling them it would be a couple more years was so devastating... so, to make me feel better, I went to the National Portrait Gallery and wandered around for 3 hours! It is amazing there! I got to see the portraits of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young that caused so much controversy, as well as a million other amazing and inspiring works of art.

Jen - I got to see Jen at the American Democracy Conference and then we went to dinner together. Jen is one of the most articulate people I have ever met. I LOVE listening to her talk! she is also one of the best friends I have ever made. she is a very genuine and sincere person, and our senses of humor hit it off the moment we met. she does one of the best Dr. Evil impersonations I have ever heard! and we perfected Kit and Napoleon together as well. She is a Catholic and we have had many conversations about our religions, I have learned a lot from her. she makes me comfortable in my own skin, and I have no problem being very honest with her, she brings out the real me. we always joke about a run in we had in the bathroom at work the Monday after I moved into the townhouse. she asked how my weekend was and I said, "It was horrible. I'm glad its over." then we both laughed because with almost anyone else the usual "good, how was yours" would do, but we have something special, and we expect nothing but sincere honesty from eachother. time with Jen is like a breath of fresh air. I am very greatful for her friendship.

Gus - okay, so his real name is Michael Gustafson, and I could tell his girlfriend didn't appreciate that I call him Gus, but you can't go from calling someone Gus to calling him Mike. It just doesn't work. He is Gus... anyway, I met Gus in Iowa. we were roommates for my first two months of the Gephardt for President campaign and when I moved to my own office an hour away for the next 4 months he was my biggest help and supporter. he is one of the funniest guys I have ever met and he has one of the most unique personalities out there. we share a love for democratic politics, and a fire for campaigns that, after Iowa, has calmed down to warm coals. those were 6 of the hardest months of our lives, and we loved it, but have no desire to do it again. we also both have a humorous passion for IKEA. we are like kids in a candy store when we walk into that place. so, I got to have dinner with Gus and his girl Abby, and then I got to see him again right before I left. we went Christmas shopping for a family he adopted for the holiday. what a sweetheart! we both dream of the day we will get to live in the same city again...

that covers most of my trip. it would take days to tell you everywhere I went and everything I saw and did. just know that it was great! the weather was great - 70 degrees. I never had to wear my coat! it rained on me once as I was walking to the metro, but I didn't mind. I loved every minute I spent with my amazing friends and every minute I spent in that amazing city. I can't wait to go back.