Monday, June 30, 2008

Birthday Week

Secret of Life #1. Wednesday.
The big day. My 21-run. My Flash my ID to get into the Bayou Bar and Buy a bunch of Diet Coke with it Day. You were AWESOME. And my two girlfriends, Jessica Kruger and Julie Andersen, who bless my life in so many facets of kindness, laughter, and love, drove up from Orem to take me out. And they came bearing gifts, and they bought my dinner (and my diet cokes). Felt like a rockstar to share my 21st with my best friends. And who knew the movie, Iron Man, was going to be such a hit? And who knew Robert Downey, Jr., when not intoxicated on some addictive substance, would be so attractive? And I mean… ATTRACTIVE?

SoL #2. Thursday.
It was the running joke at work that the new bar scene was affecting my work performance, even so much that my boss secured a long piece of scotch tape to the floor and made me “walk the line.” Naturally, I passed with flying colors, despite caffeine overload from the Mormon coffee I pounded the night before. Grant Smith took me out later to a very authentic Mexican restaurant (which to our pleasant surprise really did have AC even if it is in the form of a swamp cooler- and blew directly onto my face the whole time). He even was so kind as to let me buy his cooking wine from the liquor store, which resulted in a congratulations from the cashier and tenures of wisdom added to my countenance. Julie, a girl who truly is always up for anything (for those of you who think you can claim such a title, you need to meet this gal), took me 80’s dancing at Area 51 club in downtown Salt Lake. I was all decked out in black baby-bearin’ hip huggin’ leggings, a pink shirt—scrunched, gathered and tied at my hip—with large gold bangles dangling from my l’oreilles, and joined Julie, her friend Cade, and David Kruger to rock the night away to great oldies from two decades past. {Side Note: Props to David for being up for dancing upon receiving my phone call at 10:30pm, even with Utah football practice a mere 7 and a half hours away, and showin’ off some mean dance moves.}

SoL #3. Friday.
Two Words: Jerry Seinfeld. Enough Said. But… Must add some commentary for those who are not fortunate enough to know the comical greatness this man exemplifies. Went to dinner at DoDo in Sugarhouse with my brother, Parker, cousin Brad Clifford and girlfriend, Julie (a reoccurring theme in my birthday week). Great company. Witnessed epic comedy at Abravanel Hall with Mr. Seinfeld cracking witty and impeccably delivered jokes about everyday situations. Had a few moments where Julie and I were collapsing on one another, laughing so hard the actual laughter was not audible, but more like gasps for air, as the tears welled. And it’s interesting, in retelling the jokes the legendary comedian expelled, they just aren’t as funny coming from me. Thank you, Friday, for first of all being the last week day, being the introduction to the weekend, for allowing late night hours and convincing Saturday to permit sleeping in. And second of all, thank you for Jerry.

SoL #4. Saturday.
Slept in. Til noon. I may have hit the sheets around 3:45am, however… so the 12pm awakening isn’t TOO shameful. A birthday lunch for myself and my adorable cousin, Alex Mangum, ensued at DoDo’s (repeat from the night before), with her mother and my grandmother. I could totally get super cheesy right now, but will save you the grief and just say this: I have been blessed with such amazing family who stand for good, respect, education, principles, health, kindness, generosity, encouragement and friendship. I told my grandmother post-lunch on the drive home, “I think I am in love with Alex and her mother.” She could not agree more. And to my delight, Saturday evening consisted of more Jess and Julie, TJ Maxx and Ross, Wendy’s salads and Diet Coke, The movie-The Brave One-and sweetarts.

SoL #5. Sunday.
Church at Julie’s ward.. and church with many handsome men. I was quite impressed with the genetic material sitting in the same chapel as myself. And this goes for my girlfriends. As Julie walked up to the pulpit to give her FHE announcement in her tight little black dress, I leaned over to Jess and whispered, “Julie? So hot.” And of course, I said that out loud as my inner thoughts were shouting salmon is SO Jess’ color!

Thank you to all who offered birthday wishes, who spent time and money in my behalf. It was such a great week- one for the books. Here’s to a great start to a great year. And here’s to being legal!

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Family 'and friend' Matters"

Secret of Life #1. “Family Matters” The TV Show.
An oldie, but a goodie. Doesn’t really apply to anything that has occurred this week, but my title brought this past time favorite television series to the forefront of my mind. Steve Urcle. I love nerds, particularly as time has given me more years under my belt.

Secret of Life #2. Spontaneity.
11:30pm, Salt Lake City, UT, post wedding reception with Wylie. He came up with the brilliant plan to drive to Boise to surprise our fathers for the paternal celebration on June 15th. We hopped in my white Saturn Ion, drove through the night splitting the driver’s seat occupancy. As soon as it was Wylie’s turn after filling up in Burley, my Jackson Browne soon turned to hard rock and roll… Nevertheless, I passed out, and woke up to our vehicle roaming the streets of Boise at 4 in the morning. I snuck into my house, after ALMOST being caught by daddy-o as he awoke to help with my brothers’ paper route. 8am, my dad comes into the bedroom to wake my brother up for church, and I throw off the covers, wrap my arms around dad and pass on the Happy Father’s Day message in person. He was shocked, or at the very least, very confused. Due to an 8pm flight Wylie needed to catch back to Boston from Salt Lake, we left Boise ten hours after arriving. Totally worth it. And I owe it all to Wylie, the brains behind the mission.

Secret of Life #3. Summer Vacations.
Particularly when they include a visit to me in the great city of Salt Lake. Time spent with Grandmother Clifford (Nani) as she recovers from ailing health dilemmas, taking my baby sister to Gateway mall for sister-sister and Build-a-Bear excursions (not to mention slumber parties at Grandma Mangum’s, my current place of residence, and listening to Abigail giggle in her sleep). Wedding dinners with the four eldest Mangum’s, and consequently all being present to meet my date for Friday evening.. Again, Nate, we are now even (not that revenge was even remotely necessary, but it just worked out that way). But the inevitable withdrawal from family going back home is never pleasant. Looking forward to 4th of July in Sun Valley with the loves of my life.

Secret of Life #4. Above and Beyond Expectations.
Mike, this is all you. All you. The stigma has finally been defeated, ten fold. Thank you for that. My faith has been renewed, but still get a laugh out of your imitated sweet motherly voice saying, “Ohhh look at the stupid football players!”

Secret of Life #5. Get Smart.
Hilarious! My intellectual quota may not have increased after viewing such great Hollywood entertainment, but the laughter certainly did a healthy number on my physical body. Blood pressure down, pulse down, endorphins up, smile widened. Steve Carell is brilliant. Definitely recommend, particularly if you can manage the same company with which I was fortunate enough to secure.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

June Bug

Secret of Life #1. June 11th.

As both the minute and hour hand pointed north to the clock's 12, in 1957.. it ushered in the day that would welcome my father to the world. It has been fascinating living in my father's hometown, in his high school home, with his parents, occupying his old bedroom, employed by his former coworkers, and meeting people who have the same profound admiration and respect mirroring my own for my father. Calling his hometown my summer city has been a true testament to his character and legacy. He is a man of integrity, humility, genuine respect for people, a worthy priesthood holder, dedicated father and husband, and my hero.

If you, my few and far between viewers will indulge my little girl tendencies, I proudly admit I want to marry my father. Or at second best, a Michael Mangum-esque reincarnation. Some of my (many) favorite memories of my father include...

  • The daddy-daughter Middle Fork of the Salmon river trip and ferociously swatting away the swarming insects during the tent-free night before take-out.

  • Establishing great classics like Jackson Browne, Simon & Garfunkle, and Bruce Springsteen as my musical backbone.

  • Listening to Prairie Home Companion on the exhausted trip home from skiing Bogus Basin, while munching on rice krispie treats (which were definitely made from the marshmallow bag recipe, not the cereal's version).

  • His incredible wisdom and lack of hesitancy to permit (and pay) for a life-altering weekend stay in Salt Lake two years ago.

  • His endearing laugh at the jokes he and I totally get, understand and relate to (even if it may be at a Mangum-Clifford's expense, sorry.. All it takes is one look at each other and we KNOW, followed by a simultaneous large smirk) And those jokes that bond he and I so closely together, as we are very alike in our attitudes and ideals on life (or so I would desperately wish to think).

  • And one of those jokes pertaining to the tapeworm, the cookie, and the hammer.. which I made him tell over, and over, and over... including company parties, retrospectively being totally insensitive (at age 8) to his reluctance to tell it 'one more time,' but he did anyway to please his elated daughter.

  • Fishing with him on the river and as soon as a fresh-water creature latched onto the end of my line, unable to think what actions I should take to reel in my dinner due to my excitement, and resorting to just a yell instead, "Dad! Dad! Daaaaad!" Not to mention, the scorching bike ride back to the car, which was fully occupied by my statement on constant rewind, "Now we know what it feels like for Arizonians," and my older brother loosing it and snapping at his ten year old sister... My dad just smiled, kept his cool, and politely prodded Parker to ignore me.

  • And on.. And on.. And on..

If it weren't for you June 11th, my father and subsequently myself would not exist. Hence, for very selfish reasons, I owe you my first born. And though no one may appreciate the sentiments I have divulged, this is my dedication to the number one man in my life.

I love you, Dad. And yes, you too, the eleventh day of the sixth month.

Secret of Life #2. June 14.

My Nani's (grandmother) 83rd birthday.

Secret of Life #3. June 18th.

My late Papa's (grandfather) birthday. And for SoL #2 and #3, more to follow, stay tuned.

Secret of Life #4. June 20th.

Self-explanatory; but for those who don't know (ahem, I SO did NOT have to Google it's significance, how dare you accuse me of condescension), the first day of summer shall arrive. And hopefully warm weather along with it (but here in Utah, there are no guarantees).

Secret of Life #5. June 25th.

Though it be of severe less importance to the 11th, this day isn't so bad either (I may be turning the ripe old age of 21 in the fourteenth day to come). Really, though, it's main relevance and validity is to the effect it adds to my post's title. And that Saint Nick will turn thousand something and one half.

Secret of Life #6. June 27th.

Jerry Seinfeld. And the four tickets my sweet grandmother purchased as a birthday gift. 9:30pm and the following one hour and 45 minutes will be an absolute riot. And we all know how much I love to laugh. ("What a pity, for I dearly love to laugh." -Elizabeth Bennett).

There. Six whole reasons to love June. Let's celebrate. Birthday cake, anyone?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pull a fast one...

Secret of Life #1. People.
As much as I love Boise, and am proud to call it my home, the differences in my social life are astounding. The friends I have made during the short three weeks I have been here is a true blessing. Likewise, ice blocking, Italian movie nights, slurpees, hauling a canoe up Big Cottonwood canyon to find a frozen lake, and renewing my pool-playing skills at Ozz in Provo have been so much fun.

Secret of Life #2. Wylie.
I had the fantastic opportunity of having a good friend, Mr. Wylie Van Den Akker, from Boston make the air-trek from the East Coast to great state of Utah. Though his main purpose of the visit was for a wedding, I was selfish enough to nab some quality Wy-time. Here's to you, my good friend, and our amazing billiard skills and sweet Costa Vida pork fetish. You have certainly earned your very own SoL.

Secret of Life #3. Friends, with pistols.
Came home from a date Sunday evening around 11pm, grabbed a quick snack in the kitchen, walked into the front entry way to feel a cool breeze swim across my face when I saw the front door WIDE open. Being home alone in my grandparent's mansion, I froze in my tracks as they were unable to decide if fighting or flight-ing would be the best course of action. Frantically and with the instantaneous (incredible, really...) release of adrenaline, I turned on the entry way lights and naturally, bolted outside to call my friend back, stuttering out the incident play-by-play. He came right back, pistol in hand and cleared the house for me, mission impossible style. Definitely made for a sleepless night, as I listened to hear the extra ammunition case fall, which had been so strategically placed in front of my closed door. Nonetheless, I am still alive, physically unharmed... but, perhaps the pride took a hit.

Secret of Life #4. Instigating the early onset of left knee osteo-arthritis.
a.k.a I am running a marathon. October 4th, 2008 in St. George, Utah. My knee loves me. And so does my mom- because as a gift for her 50th birthday, she will be running with me, courtesy of Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians (my fabulous new company). After running 9 miles yesterday and still breathing afterwards, my self-defeating mind games suddenly relaxed and took some breaths, too.