Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dear 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Predictions.

When my siblings and I were little children, my mom started a tradition that has lasted to this time. Apparently it was difficult for us to understand the concept of New Year's Resolutions, so she instated New Year's Predictions, where each person in the family predicts one thing that will happen in the coming year for every other person in the family. All of the predictions are written down and placed in an envelope for my mom to hide away (and impressively never lose) during the next year. On New Year's Eve, sometime during the day, we would gather round and not only make our predictions, but listen to my mom read the predictions from the previous year. Every time someone got a prediction right, they get a "bean" (aka: a peanut butter m&m). Eating of the m&m's is not allowed until the very end, when we can tally who got the most right. It is mostly funny, and sometimes a little sad, if things you hoped for yourself (or others hoped for you that you wanted to happen) didn't happen. All in all, it is one of my very favorite things my family does. Here are our predictions for the coming year:

Rachel predicts:
Dad will finish his book on the atonement, and sell it to the highest bidder. (Also, what happened to the red letter Book of Mormon book?)
Mom will get a new job in Provo, so her awful (sometimes snowy) commute will be over.
H will record music again. And watch Lannegan at least twice.
P will convince H to have another child (because they make such beautiful ones). But my real prediction for P is that she will sell her knitted goods (possibly on Etsy).
J will finish whatever novel he is working on at the moment. (I think it is the youth one.)
S will name her daughter Jane, and J will call her Django when S isn't looking.
Cu will write at least five chapters of her book.
D will not buy his children (and/or wife) any more weapons.
L will get offered a full-time job at the school, and can quit her night shift job for good.
Ch will get another promotion at work.
R will do something cool during the summer. I.e., work at a library, participate in Richard Bushman's seminar, or learn Danish in Minnesota.
Sp will get Best Thesis. (Everyone pray for this.)
Sa will get to move into the house of his dreams.
V will get a full-time lawyer job, and can likewise quit her night shift job.
The family will celebrate Christmas all together at Cu's house.

Spencer predicts:
Dad will get a teaching or art job.
Mom will get a promotion.
H will go skydiving.
P will get a Harley Davidson. (Rachel adds that she'll ride it while wearing her black leather jacket, and pink tutu.)
J will get a movie contract for his book.
S will actually have a boy. The doctors were wrong!
Cu will benefit by someone moving into her ward that is just as dedicated and just as creative as her, that can help share the load.
D will find a million dollar mansion in Arizona for a hundred thousand dollars!
L will learn Spanish, and meet a handsome muchacho.
Ch will get a different job.
R will get pregnant.
Sp will get his first commission in China.
S will ride a camel this year.
V will become the boggle champion of the world.
The whole family will get to go on a sub-orbital weightless adventure.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Day.

What better thing to do in Amelie's Paris than take photobooth pictures?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

R + S: A Year in Review.

Spencer designed our Christmas card this year (inspired by one AJJ). As you may see (possibly by clicking the card below for a more legible version), we have had quite the adventurous year. We can't wait to share many more adventures with the ones we love. Joyeux Noël!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hunt Family Christmas.

I have been thinking about traditions a lot lately. Maybe because this is my second Christmas away from home in two years. Maybe just because I am nostalgic by nature. Either way, my family's holidays are rich with tradition. Some are just from when my siblings and I were small, small kids. Some have continued to this day.

+Advent calendar. (My mamma made it, many years ago. It is a tree with velcro ornaments. The first ornament placed is a star. The last is baby Jesus. Placing either is an honor).
+Setting up the nativity, piece by piece.
+Getting the Christmas tree.
+Drawing names, but not ever keeping it a secret.
+Caroling to neighbors/friends. (Each child got to choose one friend's house, and would be the presenter of the cookie platter.)
+Muppet's Christmas Carol.
+Graham cracker houses.
+One million cookies.
+Reading the scripture story.
+Acting out the scripture story. (Cumorah was always Mary, which left the rest of my sisters and I as shepherds. Lia and I would braid our long hair into beards.)
+My mother reading a children's Christmas story.
+Singing so many songs together. (Many celebrating Christmas. Many celebrating Bob Dylan and the Band.)
+Christmas pillowcases. (Made by my granny with love.)
+Matching pajamas. (Formerly made by my granny with love. Each year had a theme, and each grandchild would walk down the stairs to model them.)
+My grandpa's train set.
+Poem to Santa, Christmas Eve.
+All of the kids sleeping in the same room, or at least the same side of the house as we got older.
+Not being able to sleep.
+Charity reading The Christmas Box.
+Lia sneaking out to look at presents.
+Waking up to the sweet smell of wassail. (That smell for me is Christmas, more than anything else.)
+The youngest child cutting a ribbon to enter the Christmas tree area. (Everyone else gathers round, and there is a requisite picture.)
+Poem from Santa, Christmas morning.
+A table bedecked with treats.
+Sausage, hash-browns, hot chocolate, wassail, toaster strudel breakfast.
+Almond roca.
+Sees candy.
+Sees suckers.
+Opening presents. One at a time/youngest to oldest.
+Nicknames on labels. (Real examples from the real past include Madam Librarian, Philosopher Queen, and High Jumping Hottie.)
+Family bowling. (No one is good. No one. But we do it as a family every year, twice a year: Christmas and Thanksgiving.)
+Watching a movie at the theater.
+Playing basketball/volleyball at the church.
+Ham and turkey dinner.
+Eggnog punch, red drink, rolls, mashed potatoes, shrimp, crab salad, etc.
+Crackers, sharp Kakuna cheese, and sausage.
+New Year's predictions. (Instead of resolutions.)


What are your family's traditions? And, if you are in my family, what am I missing?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Solstice in Paris.

I spent the longest night of the year finishing a 40 page paper and walking to the Eifel Tower and back. The walk took over four hours, and lasted until 3 in the morning. The paper took many more, and lasted a semester/intense week.

If you ever want to read about Søren Kierkegaard, Regine Olsen, and their life of sacrifice, I'm your girl.

Joyeux Noël, from the City of (Christmas) Lights!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Letter pressed.

My dear friend Leland printed my invitations at his letterpress shop, Rowley Press. I could not have been more pleased. (I was also pleased with S for designing them, and Ash Mae and Carl for inspiring them.)

I met Leland when I was a baby sophomore at BYU. The place: his house. The reason: Sunday crepes. How: he was already friends with Meg and Drew, two people I loved dearly. I didn't know it at the time, but that day would prove an inspiration for me. It a) helped me develop a long lasting friendship, and b) gave birth to my own Sunday Crepe Nights, several years later. When I was still in Utah, Leland and I had many clubs together, most notably Hot Chocolate Club and Churro Club. They were as legitimate as can be. Additional things to know about Leland: he builds a mean chicken coop and has fixed bike problems for me about a million times. He loves C.S. Lewis, the history of milk, letter press, and Dar Williams' After All.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And the drum roll please....

The dear winner of the Shabby Apple dress contest is none other than Samantha Soucy. (Spencer did some sort of computational geometry to keep it fair. It was too fancy for my blood.)

Samantha is lovely and kind, and was both of those things in a not-so-lovely and not-so-kind Cataloguing Class at Simmons College, during my years of Library Science school. I will forever be grateful for her friendship during that time.

Congratulations, Samantha! The dress will look perfect on you. (As does this baby:)

To all those who did not win, please accept my sincerest apologies.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Psychic hugs.

What do you do when you read the saddest, most beautiful words you have ever read, and you start crying late at night because they are not fiction, but real, and the person you suddenly most want to hug is on the other side of the Atlantic? Please tell me.

All of the love I possess goes out to a friend, a girl, with lovely brown hair and a bad eight months.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Love LA.

(AKA: the first of a flurry of belated blogging.)

Sometime in the summer, my lovely sister, Liahona, and her very precious daughter, Ede, drove S and I to our old home of Los Angeles. (We had driven our friend's car to Utah for her, and were semi-stuck.) Lia rescued us, in more than one way. Not only did she drive us the ten hours, she took our engagement pictures for us. The very day we got in. Pre-shower. Pre-unpacking. Pre-anything. We stopped by Spencer's house first, and walked down the street to the Disney Concert Hall, so he had the full gamut of what he could wear, but not I. How do I compete with a man in a tuxedo? :)

Thankfully for me, we took more photos the next day. Post shower. Post me seeing a pretty place in Beverly Hills, and asking if we could pull over. I am counting my lucky stars the answer was yes.

The last two are my favorite favorites. That Liahona, she is a champion.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

For Winter.

Be ahead of all parting, as though it already were behind you,
like the winter that has just gone by.
For among these winters there is one so endlessly winter,
that only by wintering through it all will your heart survive. -Rilke

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. -Camus

When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter. -Phil

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shabby Apple Giveaway Extravaganza, Part II

I'm not really sure how I got to be so lucky, but I received another email from our friends at Shabby Apple about the possibility of giving away a free dress/skirt. And since it doesn't take much work from me, and one of my dear friends comes away a winner, I thought, "Why not?" Why not, indeed.

The low down, for anyone not aware of Shabby Apple is this: they make dresses. Pretty (women's) dresses. Pretty much any dress I own, that I like. (See my last blog post on the issue.) Now I think they also make skirts, and perhaps even aprons, but I am less familiar with those.

The winnable dress:

It is called Waimea and with its ocean waves, it is about as far away from dreaded winter as one could hope. To be entered, leave a comment, like their fbook--you know, those good things. The drawing/winner will be posted on Sunday.

Also, I have a goal to be a blogger again. And with marriage/bike trip crusades/and European adventures, I have some pretty good stories to tell. I even started reading books again. Real books.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A fall.

When I was a child I had a great love of escalators, but an equally great fear that I would fall getting on or off. They seemed so fast for my small legs. Today, after riding an all night train from Zurich, Switzerland back to my temporary home of Vienna, Austria, my childhood fear was realized. Spencer was carrying the big, backpacking bag I had been using, and I my normal sized backpack. He was behind me, and the way he was positioned, every time he turned to talk to me, the big bag would swing to one direction and come mere millimeters from hitting the other escalator passengers. I looked back to try to warn him of this, but unbeknownst to me, the escalator was at its end. I fell sideways on the floor with a loud boom. It all happened so quickly. My right shoulder, hip, and knee took the greatest hit. Thankfully I was able to get up rather easily, and walk away from the scene. The Austrian folk stared and stared.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halls history.

Two years ago today I was in New York City with Jendar and Becca Lou Who, marching in a rainy parade and dancing in a teeny apartment. One year ago today I was with my little lion nephew in Los Angeles, passing out candy to other little treaters. This year today I am in Vienna (Austria) with Spencer, and just this morning we moved into our very first home together.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall feelings.

It always makes me miss Boston, and equinox celebrations, and Katie Baratta. This year it makes me wish I read books this summer, which I didn't. It also makes me wish I were in school, which I am--but only kind of. Only independent study with a professor who is in Switzerland when I am in Austria. Thankfully that independent study is of my own choosing, and so is on Kierkegaard, my love forever. I would also like to be eating spaghetti squash on a daily, or near daily basis with my lovely sister-in-law/friend in California, like I did last year. She recently sent me a picture of our favorite meal, and it filled me with a heart yearning I cannot explain. I miss (and don't miss) that particular fall for other reasons. We went on walks every day. We carved pumpkins. I always appreciate the crisp cold air of fall, the changing leaves, and abundance of fresh apples. On that front Vienna has been kind to me. Today I made a pie.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Once upon a time I promised to write more about my proposal.

Once upon a time, I started writing about it, but then failed to finish, because hey, I was planning a wedding and was very busy.

The original title was "We are getting married," and the body went something like this:

We are. August 20th, 2011 in Salt Lake.

As soon as we pulled into the campground after the long biking day in Oregon, Spencer announced, "I found me a wife!" I thought it was funny, but it turns out he wasn't joking. We left the group and walked to a nearby black sand beach. We chased seagulls, danced to the Shout out Louds from my ipod's speaker, took pictures, and talked. The night before he had asked me how sure I was about marrying him and I answered a percentage that was very high, but not quite 100%. Overlooking the Pacific, I asked him if he was that same percentage sure about marrying me. He said, "If I were just (that) sure, would I do this?" And he got on his knees right there on the beach and asked me to marry him. I thought he was kidding. Not very nice kidding, but kidding. When I finally realized that he was serious, I nodded slowly, then said yes. An emphatic yes. He then made me promise not to tell a soul until he got my father's blessing, after remarking that he did it in the wrong order.

We got back to California a few days later, then took off to Utah a few days after that. a) so I could attend a philosophy conference I wanted to attend, and b) so he could talk to my father in person. Those days of being half engaged were Hard (with a capitol H). If I was getting married I wanted to tell the world. And also start planning. Maybe especially start planning as we knew it would be expedited...Spencer had dinner with my father on a Friday, and asked him for my hand in marriage on the car ride home. My dad said yes. Or rather gave some sort of fist pump in the air. (Cheesy and true--my dad Loves Spencer. And fist pumps.)

Spencer didn't (re)ask me to marry him until Monday. That morning we had a crepe brunch in Salt Lake with his sisters and one brother-in-law. We had plans to reconvene with them at dinner time, but were going on a bike ride in between. Spencer wouldn't tell me where we were riding. "Just around." The bikes we rode were mountain bikes--so another kind of bike I hadn't ridden before. And while the gear principle was the same, the gears were in a different location on the bike and different in other ways. I never got good at riding that bike. Every hill made me grumpy.

We ended up at Salt Lake Public Library. Spencer led me to the children's area, where he sat down at a computer and typed in The Little Prince. He wrote down the call number, turned to me and said, "You look like a librarian. Can you help me find this book?" At first I couldn't, because it wasn't there. But we went upstairs and found the one copy left in the entire library. It was large print. We went back to the kid area, book in hand, and read it out loud in a space that looks like an attic. When we finished, he turned the pages back, and reread a passage to me. He told me that he loved me, and that that part reminded him of me. I was crying a little bit by this point (the happy kind of crying), and thought for sure that he was going to propose to me then. Instead, he announced, "Okay, let's go to dinner now."

We rode on. And on. And on. And it was not the way we came. I was grumpy again from mountain bike riding. And tired. And hot. And thirsty. I asked him how much further. "The next turn." "There is no next turn." (There wasn't. There was only a park, straight ahead of us.) He insisted that there was. We rode into the park and he told me that it was called Memory Grove, and that he used to run cross country there. We sat at a bench, "so we could rest."

He began telling me things he loved about me. While I don't remember all of them (or even very many of them), the ones I do remember go, "I love you because you're beautiful, but that's not my favorite thing about you." "I love you because you're smart, but that's not my favorite thing about you," until the last one: "I love you because you're mine, and that's my favorite thing about you." At this point I was most definitely crying again, those very happy kind of tears. And at this point Spencer asked me to get a lens out of his camera case. I was smart enough to suspect what would really be waiting, but I was too teary eyed to be able to open the case alone. He helped me. There I found a light turquoise Tiffany's box, and in that box I found a smaller box. A black one. And in that black, leather box, I found a ring. My dream ring.

He proposed again, and I said yes again--this time with certainty that he was not kidding.

I asked him what we would say when we got to his sister's house that evening for dinner, and he said she wouldn't be there. I was confused. He answered, "It's just for us. They made it just for us." And they did. It was a lovely candlelit dinner, with many delicious courses and homemade apple pie. Afterward we slow danced to the same songs we danced to on the beach (which happen to not be slow songs), and I kept saying silly things like, "You're getting married!" "We're getting married!" "We're marrying each other!" But my very favorite part came, when during these moments, Spencer said, "Let's just look at each other and smile." And we did. For many, many moments we just stood there smiling.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Utah, Sweet Utah.

You are my second home, and second summer road trip. I will always love you, too.

Thank you for your:
+Lake home.
+Family time.
+(Too brief) Friend time.
+Museums of Art.
+Philosophy conference birthday parties.
+Little Prince earrings.
+Little Prince reading.
+Salt Lake Public Library.
+Salt Lake Temple.
+Memory Grove.

(More on the last one later.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

If you believe in yourself, you will know how to ride a bicycle!

This little boy--and this little video--gave me courage to ride a (road) bicycle, 36 miles down the Oregon Coast. This is true despite the fact that I have previously only ridden vintage bikes and cruisers, where their baskets carry my school bag or groceries, and their high handle bars let me sit straight up. This is also true despite the fact that I have previously only ridden 25 miles in a single day, not even at single time.

The whole thing came about by a joke. Each day for three days one of the riders touring with S said he would be willing to trade me places. I.e., he would take my car for a day, and I his bike. Each day for three days I laughed it off. This time at lunchtime I said yes. We switched right then.

I was terrified--that a car would hit me from my left side or that loose gravel would make me wreck from my right side, of dropping down to one of the lower handle bars, down-hill's massive speed, the narrow shoulder with its beautiful, but treacherous heights, my inexperience in such conditions, or on such a bike. I didn't even know how to shift gears. S gave me lessons and encouragement, but it was not quite enough. At this point I was still afraid of listening to music, so kept reciting memorable lines from the boy's speech in my head.

At the end, I truly felt happy of myself.

Waiting for the cyclists to break camp-time.

Directly pre-lunchtime.

Post lunch-time.