Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wedding, episode 2... Honeymoon!

One month later, I continue writing about the wedding.  I'll have to be less detailed to be able to write about all the events, honeymoon, etc... there's just no time, and the longer I wait, the more I forget!

So... I left off at the luncheon.  The luncheon was amazing.  Mom had found the place, and it was beautiful, and the food was delicious.  Heidi and I and our parents were at the head table.  We waited a while for people to show up, and then Dad got on the mic, welcomed everyone, gave Heidi and I chance to say something, and then Uncle Steve said the blessing on the food.  I wish I had thought more about what I wanted to say, but I recently watched the video (Andy did a great job) and I think I did okay.  :)  I was just really happy to be married, and loved having so many family and friends around.  During the meal, Mike Morris made a toast.  He talked about how he and I have had a lot of experiences waiting in line... at a Weird Al concert, in the standby line for the Late Show with David Letterman, and then winning the same-day ticket lottery for Wicked.  He compared it to the people we've dated, disappointments, times we thought it would work out, and said that "Heidi is your broadway.  You have won the lottery."  It was a great toast, and once again, thanks to Andy for getting it on video.

One of the highlights of the luncheon for me was talking to Charlie.  I hadn't seen him in a long time, and it was great to catch up a little bit.

After the luncheon, we got all the framed pictures (for the reception) from Lindsay.  When I was narrowing them down, it seemed like I chose so FEW pictures, and then when I saw them all framed, I realized I had picked so MANY!  Now our house is a Heidi and Brett shrine... or an advertisement for Jenny Hansen's photography.  :)  I loved having all those pictures.  Anyway, we got the pictures from Lindsay and my suit from my Dad, and then we sat in the car for a while just talking.  When my parents were leaving (Dad driving), they circled around our car honestly three or four times, and my dad was smiling and nodding in a sort of "I like what I see!" gesture.  Heidi and I were laughing so much.  My parents are the best.

We went straight from the luncheon to a gas station... in our tux and dress.  I didn't have much gas, and definitely didn't want to stop between the reception and the honeymoon.  The guy at the next pump saw my tux, and Heidi in the car in her dress, and asked if we had just gotten married.  I told him we had been married for just a few hours, and he congratulated me and wished us well.  :)  Here's a picture I took with my phone at the gas station... nevermind the filthy windshield.

Then we drove to Garden Park Ward to deliver the pictures and help set things up.  IT... LOOKED... AMAZING!!!  Robin Lewis, Heidi's family's friend, along with Julie Crowell (I think?) had put together the most incredibly beautiful reception.  Wow.  I'll have to post pictures once I get them (Heidi and I still haven't told Jenny which pictures we want edited... I'm telling you, life has suddenly gotten SO DANG BUSY it's insane).  I won't take time to describe - thank goodness for pictures - but it was incredible.

We helped set things up until people started arriving, and then we made our way to "the line" to greet people as they came in.  We had talked about having a line for about an hour... nope.  We stood in line for the whole reception.  When someone came to ask if we were going to cut the cake, I couldn't believe it was 9:00 already.  It would have been nice to be able to sit down, talk to my groomsmen some more, eat some food, etc., but it was so fun meeting and greeting people, introducing and being introduced, that the time went by really fast.

The reception is definitely something I wish we could do over again and again.  There were SO many people to see, and so many of them that I wished I could have spent more time with.  Some people were there that I didn't expect, and it meant a lot to me that they showed up.  Then there were really good, close friends that I hadn't seen in a while, like Charlie and Shannon.  Like I said, I'm glad I got to talk to Charlie a bit at the reception.  Then of course there were my groomsmen.  We got some good photo booth pictures, minus JD and Kent, but it would have been fun to just be able to sit down with those guys for a while.  Anyway, it was a really great reception.  And the weather all day and night was so nice!

Robin had set aside some salad for us.  Side note - I'm not sure if I believe in Robin.  I think she's kind of like Santa Claus - a legend of someone who is so incredibly giving and somehow capable of being in a million places at once, but can't possibly REALLY do all the things she supposedly does.  I don't know how she did it.  She was there for the bridals, loaned Heidi her daughter's dress, made the bouquets and boutenirs (I have stopped caring how to spell that word), prepared everything for the reception (centerpieces, tables, lights, linens, candles, food, etc. etc. etc.).  She and Julie did such an amazing job, and we had a lot of great conversations with Robin, too.  She is our hero.  And she had set aside salad for us.  We gratefully ate it, and headed over to the "photo booth" for some fun pictures before we went next door to Heidi's grandparents' house to change our clothes.  Then we were off on the honeymoon.  Heidi's dad returned my tux for me, which was a huge favor because it needed to be returned while we were on our honeymoon.

The drive out to our honeymoon... is hard to remember, actually.  I remember I was tired, and happy, and relieved.  There was SO much stress leading up to the wedding, and a honeymoon was exactly what we needed.  Finally we were married, all the stress was over, our families were taking care of the cleanup, and we just got to drive away to Park City for a few days of zero stress.  Our honeymoon was AMAZING!  I'm so glad we didn't go somewhere far away.  I'm sure that feeling is influenced by the fact that we didn't have a lot of time for a honeymoon because Heidi's in school.  But even if we had had a week or more, it was nice to have our car and be in a place we were somewhat familiar with.  We were never lost, and I remember feeling carefree and relaxed pretty much all the time.  So... here's what we did!

First of all, we stayed at the Grand Summit Lodge at The Canyons resort.  They accidentally upgraded us to a deluxe king suite!  Totally awesome!  I'm having trouble with a video upload, so I'll just put it on YouTube and add the link.  Anyway, it was awesome.  We got a call on Monday informing us of the mistake.  They were going to kick us out of the "suite" part of our room and give us the "deluxe king guestroom" we had reserved.  Or, they said, we could keep the suite for an extra $10 a night.  Now... granted our honeymoon was a gift from my mom and dad, this still would have been an easy decision even with my own money.  TEN DOLLARS for an upgrade that definitely should have cost hundreds?  Yes please!  So we had the suite the whole time, and LOVED it.

We got there VERY late Saturday night, and managed to find a ward on Sunday that met late enough that we could get out of bed and make it to sacrament meeting.  It was fast Sunday, and we both bore our testimonies.  It had been a hugely spiritually significant week, with Heidi receiving temple ordinances for the first time, and of course both of us having a sealing pronounced on us for the first (and only) time.  We met some nice people there, but we were pretty anxious to get back to the hotel for a much-needed four hour nap.  Before that, though, we stopped to pick up some food.  We would have liked to avoid buying food on Sunday, but it was either that or go hungry, so we opted for takeout... from Ruby Tuesday.  Oooooh my gosh... we went back there later another day and both ordered the same things again.  I had lobster tail and steak, and Heidi had salmon.  YUM.  That night, I stopped by a Burger King and Redbox and brought back dinner and a movie... turns out Burger King has some seriously good non-burger food... salads and chicken sandwiches.  We went back there another day, too.

Monday morning we had room service breakfast (oh yum).

Then we went to the Park City resort and got a park pass for the alpine slide, zip line, coaster, and bunjee trampoline.  The first thing we did was the alpine slide, and I BAILED!  I should have taken it a little more slowly the first time, I guess.  I crashed, but didn't come out of the slide.  Instead, I slid along FOREVER with the sled half under me.  The side of me that wasn't on the sled got some major rub burns on my knee and shoulder, and a little bit on my hand.  My knee still isn't fully healed.  Ugh... that was not fun.  But we got some help (insert laugh) from a park staffer who asked if he could just give us some bandages because if he did the bandaging he'd have to fill out some paperwork.  Uh, yeah... I think we'll do it ourselves.

We went on the coaster once before we learned that we could ride on one car together... by the end of the day we must have gone on it three more times.  SO FUN!  We also did the zip line a couple times.  We had such a good time... and our camera broke... so we used some gift money and bought a new one later that night.  The last thing we did on the hill was the bunjee trampoline.  I had always wanted to do that, and I was EXACTLY the max allowable weight according to the scale I had noticed and stepped on at the top of the zip line (200 lbs... I think it was a little low, but hey, it's their scale, and it allowed me to go on the bunjee trampoline!).  It was really fun, but the highlight of the bunjee trampoline was Heidi's face at the apex of her jumps!  Oh my GOSH so funny!  Her eyes got so big every time!  We both did a bunch of backflips, and I had sore abs the next day.

After our Park Pass time was up, we went to a sushi place we had found online, ordered some takeout, and went back to the hotel.  I think I must have showered, or maybe I was cleaning up my wounds, I can't remember, but I was distracted for a little while, and when I came into the living/dining room, Heidi had set up our food all nicely on the table.  :)

Tuesday we went on a HOT AIR BALLOON!  We had called around the day before and found a company that would give us a discount.  I said on the phone, "We don't have money, but we're pretending that we do because it's our honeymoon."  The pilot was really nice, and I asked on the phone if I could help him setup the balloon, which he was happy to allow.  Here are some pictures:

And here we are taking off:

It was a beautiful day, and the people in the balloon with us were really nice.  There was an older couple who had been married for I don't remember how many years.  Heidi asked if they had any advice, and the man said, "Just be patient with him.  He'll come around."  :)

After the hot air balloon had landed, it was still pretty early in the morning, so we went to breakfast at Treasure Mountain Inn.  Yummmm.  Then we went back to the hotel for a while, took a nap, and debated how we would spend our $200 gift card, which was part of the hotel package we had chosen for our honeymoon ($50 for each night).  We decided to get a couples Swedish massage at the spa, and wow... that was a good choice!  Holy canoli.  First we went and changed into robes, and then we sat down in the "relaxing room" on a nice sofa and drank some lemon water.  Then our massage therapists came in, introduced themselves, and led us to a dimly lit room with some kind of aromatherapy scents going on, relaxing music with nature sounds, and two massage tables.  They left to allow us to get between the sheets on the tables, and then they came back in and gave us 60-minute, full body massages.  I had to give a warning about my alpine slide injuries, and she did a good job avoiding them.  Oh my goodness... when they were done, Heidi and I didn't want to move.  It was amazing.  After that, we went back into the relaxing room, and they had set up a plate with a HUGE piece of chocolate cake, two forks, and rose petals everywhere!  And there was a card for us, too.  We sat and ate cake for a little while, and then took the rest of it back to our room.  Oh man... that massage was amazing.  We went back to Ruby Tuesday that night, pretty late, and then back to the room and to bed.

Wednesday was the last day of our honeymoon.  We went to Treasure Mountain Inn again for breakfast, and then back to Park City Resort to ride the lift aaaalll the way to the top, where we went hiking.  We didn't end up hiking very far, because there's an old mining facility up there that we explored.  It was all closed and locked, but part of the wall was broken open, so we went through and climbed down to the floor.  It was so old and kind of creepy and fun!  Here are some pictures...

 It was darker in there than it looks... the flash... well... did its job.  After exploring for a while, we climbed back out and hiked for a while.  We went to a garage type building where they had a lot of snow grooming equipment and (thankfully) they let me use their bathroom.  That made the rest of the hiking much more enjoyable than it would have been!

Eventually, we knew it was getting late enough that we needed to make our way back to the lift.  We had ridden that lift lots of times for the alpine slide and zip line, but we had never ridden it facing down the mountain... the view was amazing!  And we saw some deer on our way down.  It was a great end to the honeymoon - a nice, slow ride down the lift with an amazing view and lots of time to talk about the fun we'd had.

We got back to the car, drove back to Ogden, and decided we'd have one last "honeymoon meal" from Tona, which is where we met.  We called ahead, got takeout, and took it home.  I carried Heidi across the threshhold, and we went downstairs to our apartment to find JD and Natasha's paint job in our bedroom!  Natasha was also in the process of hanging curtains.  It looked so nice... and then we opened Aunt Marlene's gift (hoping it was a painting, and it was!).  We hung that on the wall of our bedroom, and it was nice to have such a good-looking bedroom to come home to.

We ate our sushi, and then started facing all the real-life stuff we had so blissfully ignored for four days.  :)

It was such a great honeymoon.  Mom and Dad, thank you.

And Heidi, I LOVE YOU!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My letter to Priceline

Dear Senior Vice President:

I recently had an incredibly frustrating experience with Priceline. I reserved a rental car for my wife so she could pick it up in Salt Lake City on her way home from Sacramento, where I had to stay with our car for work. Upon arrival, she found that she could not pick up the rental car because I had reserved it with my credit card, and she has no credit card. The rental agency would not allow me to pay for her rental. Fortunately, my parents drove her home, and her parents loaned her their car for a week.

The frustration began when I called Priceline for a refund of the $66.00 charge I had received for insurance on the rental car. I spoke with two representatives who religiously repeated the same mantra, “I’m very sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. Fairbourn, but we cannot issue a refund.”

In summary, I paid $66.00 for insurance on a rental car that we were not able to pick up, and Priceline will not issue a refund or even a $66.00 credit toward a future Priceline reservation!

I know you understand the value of word-of-mouth marketing, especially in today’s world of online social networks. I frequently receive emails and Facebook messages from friends seeking travel advice. I am 27 years old, I have traveled to fifteen countries in the last four years for education and leisure, and I am very good at traveling on a budget. I also travel at least once per month for work. I have often used and recommended your website for comparing rates and fares, but now I will actively warn against it.

For example, after my frustrating experience, I posted my story in response to the Facebook question, “Have people had bad experiences with Priceline?” Also, I have begun posting status updates and links to warn my 857 friends about the risk of booking through Priceline (namely, if something goes wrong, you will not get a refund). I would love to follow up my warnings with a happy story about how Priceline recognized the problem and made it up to me, but in the meantime, I will continue to warn my friends that Priceline is “very sorry for the inconvenience” of having charged me $66.00 for nothing.

In closing, here are my suggestions:

  1. Refund my insurance payment.
  2. Revise your rental car reservation procedure. When someone books a rental car, and the name of the driver does not match the payment information, display a dialog box warning about payment on pickup. Of course, include a link to the fine print about acceptable forms of payment.
  3. Make this up to me. I would recommend a credit toward a future reservation (in addition to the refund), because that is the only way I will use or recommend Priceline again.


Brett Fairbourn

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wedding, etc.

Yeah, with a title like that, you know this is going to be a long post... deep breath...
I'm sitting in the Howard Johnson hotel in Rocklin. I went to church, and I caught up on Survivor... which might be my second choice for a religion. Ah crap, we learned about idol worship today. Church was really good, and I needed it because I was so sad to see Heidi leave today. She's back in Utah by now... or soon. Driving with my parents. Anyway... let's go back a couple weeks...

The week of the wedding was STRESSFUL of course. Heidi and I had a couple of rough days, and then one of the most comforting conversations I've ever experienced. (Now I'm hesitating... maybe I should be writing in my journal instead of the blog... well I've got a week here alone, so I'll copy this into my journal and fill in details later). Ahem... so, we had a great conversation where we worked things out. I love her so much.

The day before the wedding, I went to Melissa's house for a delicious breakfast that I'm afraid I didn't get to enjoy as much as I would have liked! Lindsay organized the event, and it was great to see a lot of my family. Plus I needed them... there was a lot to get done and I knew they would help. Thank you, siblings and parents. Melissa submitted a picture order to Costco, Julie picked up the prints, Lindsay picked up the frames... if I try to list what people did, I'll forget something. I just had a lot of help. Thank you.

Haha... one detail I might forget one day if I don't write it down is that Heidi had moved her bed into our (now "our") house, and she slept for two (?) nights on couch cushions pinned in the corner of her room by a laundry basket. Thank goodness Scott Bell came over with his Blazer and helped me move a mattress to her house. I ended up moving it back by myself... it fits in the civic! But it was more fun to have Scott's help, and Heidi and I got to talk to him for a while, too.

The night before the wedding, Heidi was over until very late/early moving stuff in, packing for the honeymoon, etc. The next morning, I found a card she had left for me. It was the greatest start to the day. Well actually, the START to the day was my phone alarm... and 30 seconds later JD knocking on my bedroom door saying "Natasha made breakfast if you want some!" Oh wow... 60 seconds earlier and it would not have been as cool. But that timing was PERFECT, and breakfast was my favorite - French toast. For those who don't know, JD and Natasha are our friends and landlords that live upstairs. We rent their basement. What a great start to the day. And THEN I found the card, which included a list of 27 (plus more in the margins) reasons why Heidi loves me... written two weeks after the first time we spent any time together. She had saved it, and gave it to me the morning of our wedding. It was wonderful.

I got ready to go, and then had to bring Heidi her dress at Quinn and Kristy's. So I saw her, hugged her, and said, "Well aren't we just breaking all the rules?" We also broke the rule about not seeing her in her wedding dress when we took bridals/groomals. So we're rebels, what can I say? Then we drove down to American Fork. I was in my car by myself, and the Bates (Quinn and Kristy) had a carfull right behind me, including my Heidi, who was singing "Don't Stop Believing" at the top of her lungs, I hear. :)

We arrived at the temple a bit early... perfect. We waited by the recommend desk for a while, and I saw Bishop and Sister Ferrin arrive. I love them. A few other people arrived, and then we got escorted back to a little office where they made sure they had our information correct, checked our marriage license, etc. Before long we were all dressed in our temple clothes, waiting in the celestial room. As it turned out, we got to sit together in the celestial room for almost an hour because Heidi's grandparents were running late. It was really nice to have all that peaceful, yet anxious time together in the celestial room before our sealing.

Finally it was time to go in. We stopped in the hallway outside the sealing room to meet our sealer - George D. Durrant. I recognized the name, but didn't realize it was actually the same man that my dad and I had listened to during road trips. We hadn't requested anybody, so we were just meeting whichever sealer had been assigned to us. What did he say to us out in the hall? Oh yeah... I remember some... he told us the basic agenda. We sit in the little bench, he talks for a while, then when we actually do the sealing ordinance, he told us we could look at him or at each other, it didn't matter. He said it might be nice to look at each other when we say "Yes," but again, it didn't matter. He was so nice. When we walked into the sealing room, he shook mom's hand, and mom's reaction confirmed that his name wasn't just familiar - he was the guy with the talk tapes. :)

He said so many great things during the sealing, and he was definitely inspired. He mentioned some things that were so personal to Heidi and I (journal this part), and he talked about opportunities and scenarios we'd face in our future together. I felt like he talked about me a lot, and he said some very complimentary things, but I kind of felt like Heidi was getting left out. I talked to my dad about that afterward, and he pointed out that Brother Durrant had focused on me because of the blessing and opportunity and responsibility I had to be married to Heidi. That's true. I was definitely the luckiest and most honored person in that room! Anyway, a lot of it was personal and sacred, so I'll save it for the journal. Those of you who were there, please send me an email with what you remember from the sealing. We want to remember as much of it as we can. It was a wonderful, beautiful sealing. Most people reading this already know that in temple marriages, we don't say "I do." We just say, "Yes." Well, when I proposed to Heidi, her response was three distinct nods and a whispered, "Yes" with a huge smile on her face. She did the same thing in the temple, and it was our own secret memory right in the middle of our sealing. I love her for thinking of things like that! I loved knowing that this was it... this was making it official. We were getting married... not in a futuristic "we're going to get married" sense, but we were actually in the ceremony and ordinance, getting married.

After the ceremony, we got to greet and hug everyone as they left the room. Heidi's dad hugged me and said, "Now it starts. Now it's your job to take care of her." I said, "I will work very, very hard." Bishop Henrie may have looked happier than anybody... although he usually does. :) He is such a great man. It was so great to hug each of my siblings. When Julie and Chester were preparing for their sealing a few years ago... wow, more than a few, Julie told me about it by "inviting herself to my wedding." She called me in the middle of a crappy day of pest control sales, and told me she'd be at my wedding because she and Chester were going to the temple. I've lived in Julie's basement, and she has really helped me a lot during the hardest times of my life, so it felt like a team victory when I got to hug her in the temple. We both knew that we both made it... and now I'm thinking about how much I'll miss my family when we're in Hawaii... but I'm sure that thought is harder to bear right now because I'm also away from Heidi. Anyway, back to the happiness! The sealing was wonderful. After we hugged everybody, we went out into the hall to figure out where we were going next. The lady that was helping Heidi was one of the first to greet us, and I said, "Sister [forgot her name], I'd like to introduce you to my wife, Heidi." :) She guided us to an elevator, and then to the dressing rooms.

After I put on my tux and checked the mirror, the man that was helping me showed me a seat where I'd wait til Heidi was ready. It wasn't long, and one of the temple workers said, "Well, I'll say you did better than the last guy. He was waiting forever!" Hahaha... I thought that was pretty funny.

I went out to meet Heidi, and of course she looked amazing in her wedding dress. We walked out past the recommend desk and into the foyer, but before we went outside we practiced a dip... AW now everyone knows we planned that. :) But hey, that's not a moment you want to mess up! We walked out the doors, people cheered (which they're not supposed to do at the temple... shame shame), we hugged, kissed, dipped, kissed, got our pictures taken, kissed, etc. I love the picture Melissa posted of Heidi and I hugging Veronica and Austin.

Holy crap uploading pictures on this blog makes me want to smash things. I'll post all the pictures at the end, and they'll probably all end up at the top.

...regaining composure........

So... we had a bunch of pictures taken, and Andy started videoing stuff. We still haven't watched the result, but I'm really looking forward to it. During the week leading up to the wedding, Heidi faced a lot of unnecessary stress imposed by people who... were trying to be helpful? And aside from that, my only sadness was that Andy had moved out. I hardly saw him during the pre-wedding days, and it was weird to know he wasn't my roommate anymore, and never would be. The happiest times of my life have been when I lived with Andy... until now, of course. But even saying that makes me a little sad. But it's not that big of a deal, really. Of course we'll always be good friends and have plenty of opportunities to do stupid, funny, adventurous, and/or lazy things. The end of an era, the beginning of a better one.

Anyway, after the pictures we went to the luncheon. I had forgotten to look up that address, but fortunately when we pulled over to text/call/look at the map, Heidi's parents passed us, and we followed them to the luncheon.

Holy moley... that might have to be all for now. I've been typing my fingers off, and we just got to the luncheon! More later tonight, or possibly tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gay Marriage

This is a message I wrote to a friend of mine with whom I had been debating prop 8.

Hey [name], sorry for the delay, I spent the weekend at my fiancee’s grandparents’ cabin with no internet or cell coverage… glorious. I actually spent a lot of time thinking about the facebook thread we had going and realized something: my goal should be to understand your point of view. We are not going to convince each other of anything, but we can try to understand each other. So, in that light, I’d like to share my point of view with you, just for your understanding.

First, I believe in God. In fact, I know God is real, and he is my father. I know that he loves all His children. He doesn’t pick favorites, but he has particular compassion for those who are ridiculed, abused, misunderstood, etc., because his only “begotten son” was treated that way. Jesus Christ suffered not only for our sins, but also, in a very personal way, he felt our heartaches, loneliness, depression, and isolation.

Because God loves us, he has given us guidelines that will lead us to the greatest happiness, and his plan for us centers on families. In fact, He intends for our family relationships to last forever, even after this life. In short, the purpose of life is family. Understandably then, many of the guidelines He has given us revolve around the formation of families and the rearing of children. One of these guidelines is that marriage is between a man and a woman. Others include the sacred nature of the sexual experience, which is to be reserved for expression between a husband and wife who are completely committed to each other. Additionally, children have a right to be born within the bonds of matrimony and to be reared by a father and mother who love each other, and love their children. Of course, these ideals are unrealized for many families, even many of those who believe in them, but that does not diminish their value or validity.

I’m trying not to be too long winded, so I think I’ll skip to the thought that might have come to your mind two paragraphs ago… “This guy is a dyed-in-the-wool product of his religion.” The fact is, I know of God’s existence, his love, and his plan through personal communication with Him – my own, independent experience. I pray, and He answers. He speaks to my spirit in a way that is difficult to describe, but impossible to truthfully deny. Sometimes it has been with specific words, but usually it’s with feelings and promptings that I have come to recognize. To borrow an analogy, it’s like trying to explain the taste of salt. When you taste salt, you know it is salt. You don’t “think” it is salt, or want it so badly that you convince yourself that it is salt, you just know it is salt, even though you can’t quite describe it to someone who has never tasted it. God is real; he cares about us, and he has a plan for us. I know it because, spiritually speaking, I have tasted salt… and I taste it often.

That’s pretty much it, but I want you to understand how this translates into the topic at hand. Again, I’m not trying to convince you of anything, just explaining my point of view.

Given the framework above, here are some of the “societal” reasons why I believe Mormons supported prop 8.

- Schools/Children. If same-sex marriage is legalized, then schools will undoubtedly be obligated to contain curriculum about homosexuality. At what age do we introduce stories with same-sex parents? Immediately, of course, because all marriages are equally valid. So now Goldilocks will encounter Mama Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear. Instantly parents are obligated to start some degree of sex education long before it would be appropriate (except, sadly, for a “good touch/bad touch” lesson for the kid’s protection). So then what happens to the kid who blurts out, “My mom said it’s not good for two boys to get married.” It will be handled the same as if the kid said, “My mom said it’s not good to be Mexican.” It becomes unacceptable to believe in a particular theology, and freedom of religion is restrained in the area of sexuality.

- Churches. Will churches be obligated to perform same-sex marriages? This seems unlikely, but certainly conceivable. You can see why this thought would spread quickly and strengthen pro-8 opinions, despite its unlikelihood.

- Pandora’s Box. If we redefine “marriage,” and thus, “family,” then the new definitions are not final. What about three people who fall in love? It would be unconstitutional to deny them marriage because their love does not follow the “traditional” 1:1 ratio.

Anyway, I hope this helps you understand how Mormons can support prop 8 and still claim not to be haters. We believe that everyone in the world is a beloved child of a compassionate Father. Countless gays (and their loved ones) have suffered at the hands of uncompassionate tormentors. That is not right, and I firmly believe that 1) Jesus Christ has felt their pain, and 2) Abusers and tormentors will stand accountable to God for their mistreatment of His children. I also believe that God has given us guidelines that will lead us to eternal happiness in eternal families if we follow them, and sometimes (often) those guidelines go against our natural inclinations and desires. Nevertheless, I trust and follow God to the best of my ability, and I personally believe in the principles taught in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

I was going to reread your posts, and anything else you’d like to post, but I see the original post is gone. I’d love to read a message explaining your “personal framework” and point of view, if you want to write one. If it’s easier to explain your point of view by referring to mine, that’s fine, but I’m more interested in your personal thoughts than your reaction to mine, because I know we disagree.

~ Brett

p.s. responses to posts that I remember:

From you: I would be interested in knowing where you found those quotes, and the one you posted originally. There are thousands of anti-Mormon websites, and many of them seem to care little for honest research. Perhaps you already know, most the men you named were born in the 1800s. You named one person who is alive, but the quote you attributed to him actually came from Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008). I am not totally discounting your quotes. Maybe they are all real. I’m just pointing out why I ask for references, especially when LDS leaders are quoted, and double especially when the quotes are short and unfamiliar. If you have references (titles/dates of addresses, etc.), you can check them at

From [other name]: Lots of good info, especially about the medical situation. I’ll look into that. I would respond about one thing – when names of prop 8 contributors were published, their houses were attacked and jobs were lost. Some of my friends hired private security to protect their home. I think you can understand why they’d try to prevent that by un-publishing their names. But Mormons are not shy about the principles stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.

p.p.s. [Name], you’re one of the very best. I mean that. I hope we can disagree and still respect each other’s views, and be friends. I’d still risk my life in the face of [high school bully] for you if I had the chance! :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Quick post

Yeah, it's called "Quick post," but for me it will be sllllloooowww due to my one-handedness.

Just thought I should write a little, since this is such an important part of my life and I haven't written any of it. It'll be choppy and business-like... takes too long to do more.

I should be working, but... see above. Important time!

I love Heidi. Last night we were playing Monopoly with her roommate, Jessica, when her other roommate, Kiley joined in our conversation. We were talking about relationships, about Heidi and I, about Kiley and her boyfriend, etc. Kiley's facing big decisions, and I gave my 2 cents. Kiley said, "You and Heidi are so alike!" I said, "Why, because I suggested a book you could read?" Kiley laughed and said, "EXACTLY!" :) I've been thinking about that (about similarities between me and Heidi), and I realized Kiley is right. We're really similar. I noticed a similarity today that made me laugh. It made me laugh because it was something that Heidi did that bothered me... and then it dawned on me - I DO THAT ALL THE TIME!!

Ready for it?

Heidi called me about numbers for the luncheon, and I couldn't give her a definite answer because we need to look over our list together and take care of some of the question marks. After a slight stall in the progress of the topic, she said "We'll just talk about it later" and then got off the phone pretty quickly. She was at work, just got there from school, has her shower tonight, plus she's not feeling well, and she simply couldn't spare the time just sitting there on the phone not making progress on anything. I felt annoyed for two seconds... then I realized how Brett-like that was of her, and laughed! And, in retrospect, she said "I love you" before we got off the phone, and I don't think I did, because I was playing the "shocked at your abruptness" role.

I remember one day when I must have given Heidi at least three "Okaythat'sfinegottagonowbye" conversation enders, and they were pretty dang rude. I was stressed, and the phone was just an obstacle to my next objective. Anyway, I hadn't really thought that much about how alike Heidi and I are, so I'm glad Kiley pointed it out. I look forward to finding more ways we are alike, especially when it's a mote and beam situation!

She is the greatest person in the world... haha... I don't mean for that to follow TOO closely after "ways we are alike," although I must say, if Heidi Evans has chosen to marry me, I must be doing something right. I can't do this topic justice right now with one hand... (so Igottagonowbye). :) I'll just mention a couple things. First, monopoly last night. I tried to veto the board game idea, but it was just my ploy to see if Heidi really wanted to play, or if she was just trying to make me happy. I asked if we could please watch a movie instead of playing the game, and she said no. Then she started fingering the plastic on the monopoly game (it was new), and said, "Am I going to get in trouble if I open this?" What a trickster! But we were both doing the same thing to each other (I think!). We were both pretending we wanted something else in order to get the other person to be a little more selfish. Haha, it sounds so funny writing this out! My point is this: I hate playing games with begrudging partners. If you're going to roll your eyes when I play competitively, because you actually don't care about the stupid game, then you should have told me you thought it was stupid/boring/whatever, and we wouldn't have played! But Heidi shot fire out of her eyes while she bid against me in property auctions, and I felt threatened! It was serious business between the laughs, and she wanted to win. THAT MAKES IT FUN!!! And I still don't know if she wanted to play in the first place! We didn't finish the game, but I look forward to the next one. She is a really, really fun game partner! :)

...and that was just one reason she's so wonderful. It also illuminated more similarities between us. I AM SO EXCITED TO BE MARRIED TO THIS WOMAN!!!

The other thing I wanted to write about was my trip to CA, and Heidi's visit. Since I can't seem to be brief, even with one hand, I'll make it a bullet list:

  • Dad drove with me to CA!
  • The week was stressful in many ways
  • Heidi got bumped to a later flight & got to visit Melissa with Kristy
  • I stayed at the hotel next door, and came back to an OCCUPIED room the second night! Got a free night out of that mix-up... $50 for two nights!
  • We went to Blue Nami twice! Discovered bbq albacore... oh yum
  • Went to the Sacramento Temple, ran into friends & made new ones. Such a great temple visit
  • Visited Casa Roble (my high school) and found Mr. Lange prepping his room for the new school year. He took lots of time to talk with us, showed us Student Government scrapbooks that I was in, opened the library so we could see my picture on the wall... what a great visit, and what a great man.
  • Drove by Woodbridge & Oak Cove Ct. houses
  • Visited Scott & Cherrie
  • Went to Woodbridge park, fed killer geese, walked around the pond (lake?), avoided the duck patrol, met the nicest, cutest kid walking his dog.
  • Rented Valkyrie, paused it to talk, and talked too long to start it again
  • Took Highway 50 through Tahoe on the way back
  • Renamed the days of the week
  • Made weird noises for each seam in the road
  • Played 20 questions - Heidi stumped me with "American Flag"
It was such a great trip, especially considering Heidi arrived late Friday night, and we started driving back on Sunday morning.

I love Heidi so much. 22 days til she's my wife!!

p.s. all the "one-handed" talk is due to my accidentally putting my hand through a window, severing a tendon and nerve, and nicking another tendon. Surgery and lots of physical therapy... it's healing and rehabilitating well.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Countdown to the Wedding!

Just in case you were wondering, this is how long until the sealing ceremony begins in the Mount Timpanogos Temple.

Click Here to See the Countdown!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Timp Top Tona Proposal

The picture links weren't working, so I put them all in again at the top... hopefully these ones will work...

Well well well... there certainly is plenty to write about nowadays, and I've been so busy doing it all that I haven't written a thing. I'm tempted to play catch up, but if I write all I want just about the proposal, I'll be here all day just writing that much. So... the proposal...

Heidi's dad and I tried for a few weeks to find a time to get together and have "the talk." I finally decided I couldn't wait any longer (the ring was making frequent trips out of my drawer so as to be in front of my eyeballs), so I told him the date I planned to propose and figured we'd either talk before or after... either way I was getting that ring on her finger! We did manage to get together on Thursday, and I spent that whole day gathering supplies for the upcoming proposal. The talk itself went really well.

The next day I spent all day preparing again. I set up the table in my bedroom so JD and Natasha could see the vision. Heidi had mentioned a couple weeks ago that she wanted to hike Mount Timp, and immediately my brain started picturing a proposal on the mountain.

Preparations included the following items/thoughts/errands/tasks:
  • Two light folding chairs
  • Tablecloth
  • Borrow table from Quinn and Kristy
  • Red flowers (fake, so as to survive the hike)
  • Red tea lights and little glasses to hold them (for wind protection)
  • Red wine glasses (plastic)
  • Red plates (plastic)
  • Silverware? Nope... we're eating sushi.
  • Martinelli's
  • Granola bars
  • Wipes (hey, it's a long hike)
  • iPod speaker
  • Charged iPod with "Heidi" playlist
  • Charged camera
  • Another camera for JD and Natasha (thanks, Andy)
  • Headlamp, flashlight, batteries
  • Printed lists of supplies and schedules so JD and Natasha know where they need to be, and where Heidi and I will be at the time.
  • Research the trail - which trailhead is better, how long is the hike...
  • Create "Timp Top Tona" menus
  • Email lists and menus to Kinkos, go get menus printed on thick, glossy paper
  • Fill the car with gas
  • Give JD and Natasha money for food and park entrance
  • Pow wow with JD and Natasha to give them supplies, talk over plan
  • Make sandwiches, pack up backpack with food, water, and well-hidden Martinelli's... and lots of ice.
So. On the day of the hike, I was back and forth up and down the stairs to collaborate with JD and Natasha (they're my friends and landlords - they live upstairs), give them the charged iPod, borrow ziploc bags, remind them of the bag of ice in my freezer, etc. etc. etc. I made four PB&J sandwiches, packed my backpack with the sandwiches, two bananas, two nectarines, five granola bars, an iced bottle of Martinelli's (I put it in a grocery bag with a gallon ziploc bag of ice), a sweatshirt, an extra menu in case JD and Natasha's got ruined (theirs didn't; mine did), a flashlight, a headlamp, a camera, and two bottles of water. Also packed a duffle bag with overnight stuff for staying with Kristy's family in Midway (Krisy is Heidi's best friend, and her family is amazing), and church clothes. Oh... and the ring.

I went and picked up Heidi, and we drove to Midway. It was a beautiful drive, and Heidi and I had some good conversation, laughs, and singing, like we always do. :) We got to the house Kristy's family was renting, and Quinn (Kristy's husband) and I managed to shove my entire backpack in the freezer. I had a lot of stuff I wanted to keep cold, everything was packed so nicely I didn't want to take it out, and of course, I didn't want Heidi to see the Martinelli's. Kristy's family is SO much fun. We played the paper bag game (you have to pick up the paper bag with your mouth without your hands touching the floor, then rip off part of the bag). I was one of the four people who were still in the game when we were down to a quarter-sized piece of paper... it was a lot of fun and a huge surprise to me that I could do that (obviously I was proud of it... hence my writing about it). After that, we did some limbo, and I sneaked away to exchange a few texts with JD... they were running a little late, but not too bad.

Heidi and I left at about 4:00, which was when we were originally supposed to start hiking. Getting to the general area of the trailhead took longer than I expected, and then we totally missed it and almost drove all the way to Highland. We stopped at the Timp Caves... uh... place, and asked for directions. We had missed the sign because we were distracted by water flowing over the road... fortunately, though, that made for a good landmark for someone to describe where we were supposed to go. We headed back up the canyon and got stuck behind a freaking horse trailer! I was shooting the horses in my mind and trying not to seem stressed out.

We finally found the campground/trailhead parking lot, and started on our way. A couple of rangers chatted our heads off about the length of the hike, conditions of the trail, blah blah blah COME ON GENTLEMEN, MY FRIENDS ARE GOING TO BE WAITING FOR US UP THERE!!! I kept trying to nod and turn like I was walking away to shorten the conversation, but they weren't getting the message.

We finally started up the trail, and I quickly realized I was missing a water bottle. This was the last straw... I couldn't pretend not to be stressed anymore. But of course, Heidi was really understanding and reminded me that her camelbak held a LOT of water and we'd be fine (we ended up having tons of water left at the end of the night, even after Heidi refilled the one water bottle I did have). We started hiking again, and then paused to say a prayer. Heidi said the prayer, and I felt so much better afterward. Still, I was afraid my not-so-jovial attitude had ruined her fun, and I stopped a couple times to apologize and ask if she was having fun. Before too long we were having a blast again.

We moved up the trail pretty quickly, with only short breaks for pictures, snacks, etc. But just about every hiker that came the opposite direction talked our EARS OFF. One guy told us all about how he used to hike these trails with his dad during a full moon, and you wouldn't believe how bright the moon is out here at night, and on and on. Super friendly guy, I'm sure we could have sat down and had a nice, long chat, but my gosh! JD and Natasha are going to be wondering where in the world we are!!!

Ready for this? Turns out JD and Natasha could see us coming up the trail, and they were trying (WITH all the gear I heaped on them) to stay ahead of us, and they were telling everyone that passed them, "We're setting up a proposal for our friends, and they're catching up to us! If you see a bald guy in a red shirt, and a really pretty girl, stall them!!" Hahahaha! Can you believe that??? Well, some of them stalled us quite well. We never saw JD and Natasha or had any idea that we were catching up to them. Well, of course Heidi had no idea at all, but I was convinced they were WAY head of us.

As we got higher, we started running into a lot of snow. Long story short (ha! real short, Brett!), we lost the trail in a big patch of snow. We did find one set of footprints, which, unfortunately (and fortunately), were JD's. They got as lost as we did! When we got across the snow, we could either head to the right, which was a gradual incline around the mountain, or to the left, which was a steep incline to a ridge that appeared to be the near edge of a huge bowl in the mountain. We knew we needed to go to the "Alpine Bowl," so I thought we should get to the top of the ridge and see if we could spot the trail again. Heidi explored the lower portion, making sure we were always in sight of each other.

Climbing up that steep, often snowy hillside was a pain in the butt. Partway up, I yelled back to Heidi to ask if she'd found anything. She said no... I looked around, and I heard, "Goooooooo south!" It was JD's voice!!! I thought, "Okay... does he mean downhill or south on a compass? We worked together at a Boy Scout Camp for crying out loud, he means south on a compass of course!" So I kept climbing, southward, to the top of that freaking ridge. The last little bit was pretty steep and snowy (but short enough that if I slipped I'd just slide on the snow a bit and start over at the dirt). I crested the ridge and saw......... JD and Natasha, and the "table" set up on a big, flat rock that just HAPPENED to be in an absolutely perfect location. I was so, so, so relieved and happy to see them!

I went back to the ridge and yelled to Heidi, "THIS WAY!!!" She started coming toward me, and JD and Natasha finished setting up the table and then hid behind a bit of a bluff a little ways off. I went back to the ridge to see where Heidi was... still really far away. Went back to the table to unload the Martinelli's... no glasses on the table! I motioned to JD and made a drinking gesture and then put my hands in the air in a confused gesture. He turned around, got the glasses, and ran them over to me. I set them up on the table, went back to the ridge, and Heidi was getting really close. I told her the last bit of the climb really sucked, and she said she'd kill it just like she did the hill in her Ragnar run. :) I disappeared again to start the music, and when I came back to the ridge, she was at the top! I had expected to help/guide her up that last climb, but she really did kill it... and she was frustrated that I hadn't been there to help. She didn't seem frustrated, but she told me afterward that she was thinking, "What in the world??? He's always attentive and helpful in situations like this! Where did he go!?" And then we crested the ridge together. She saw the setup and said, ".......whaaaaaaaat? What is this??" I said something like, "I don't know! But it looks like we should have a seat!" She laughed and hugged me, and I could tell she was wondering whether this was the proposal. She said things like, "Oh my gosh! You do the most wonderful things for me!" (Translation: is this another fun surprise? Or is this.....?) We hugged and kissed (we tend to do that a lot), and then she had to blow her nose. I realize that sounds like an unnecessary detail, but she turned away from me to blow her nose and it gave me the perfect opportunity to get the ring out of my backpack and put it in my pocket.

We sat down, and that was Natasha's cue to emerge from hiding and serve our table. We looked at the menus, which Heidi loved, and she asked, "Do we have a server?" just before Natasha started walking over. It was perfect! Natasha came over, welcomed us to Timp Top Tona, and asked if she could take our order. Here's the menu:

By the way, Heidi and I first met when she was serving my table at Tona, a sushi restaurant in Ogden. I got a PDF of their menu online and grabbed their logo and the wording for our favorite items there. She doesn't work there anymore, but we have eaten there a couple times (well, once, and take-out another time).

Heidi asked, "Is everything available?" Natasha informed her that it was, and Heidi ordered the Dynamite and a Nectarine. I ordered the Cali-Cali with cream cheese and a nectarine. Natasha disappeared for a minute and then she and JD came back with our food, and asked if we needed anything else. By this point I had realized that I needed a bottle opener to open the Martinelli's. I asked JD and Natasha for help... they disappeared for a while and (somehow) Natasha came back with an open bottle. She handed me the bottlecap and said, "Would you like to smell the cork? It's a very good year." :) She also brought over a blanket for Heidi. The whole thing was just awesome, and THEN the sun started setting... LOOK AT THIS:

We ate our food, and then I asked Heidi to dance. I put on "Magic" by Colbie Caillat, and we somehow managed to dance without tripping over rocks. I tried to tell her how much I love her, and almost wished I had written a script because nothing I said seemed adequate. After I felt like I had done the best I could to tell her how I felt, I said, "...and so, there is something I've been dying to ask you, and something I've been dying to give you." I got the ring out of my pocket, got on one knee, opened it (toward me first to make sure the ring was centered... it was), and said, "Heidi, I love you so much. Will you marry me?" She smiled SO huge and gave me a few really big nods, and then whispered, "YES!" and leaned down and kissed me. It was the best response I could have possibly imagined. I put the ring on her finger, and then stood back up for some more hugging and kissing, which I believe I mentioned, we like to do. :)

We danced some more (with the blanket tied around both of our waists to keep our legs warm), and after a while JD and Natasha reappeared... with SPARKLERS!! The blanket and the sparklers were both details that I had not thought of. The blanket was a lifesaver, and the sparklers were perfect since we had hoped to see fireworks down in the valley but never got far enough to see the other side of the mountain. The four of us played with sparklers, JD turned up the music and took more pictures, and we just had a ton of fun. IT. WAS. PERFECT!!!

After that, we started packing things up, and then JD and Natasha led us back to the trail, and we started the trek back down in the dark. Heidi's ring sparkled like crazy in the light of the LEDs in the headlamp and flashlight... that was really fun to see!

On the way down, JD and Natasha talked about their engagement, wedding, and reception (they've been married for a year). Heidi and I talked about our thoughts so far, and we all talked about the difficulties we encountered in trying to make the evening's proposal work out! JD had been carrying a table for the first couple of miles and then ditched it in a thicket of trees because it was way too heavy. He found it on the way back down, and I carried it out. JD and Natasha filled us in on why EVERY stinking hiker was so dang chatty on our way up, and we told them about a European couple that they had apparently not sent on a mission to stall us. The man had said to us, "There was a guy carrying two folding chairs up the mountain!" to which I had responded, "No way! Seriously??" :)

The hike down was a lot of fun, with the exception of a couple ankle rolls by JD and a trip by Heidi that resulted in a decent gash on her knee. She washed it out like it was a towel... my gosh she is superwoman. Natasha had a first aid kit, and she helped Heidi get bandaged up. Then we were on our way again. A while before that, we had stopped to eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and unload some no-longer-necessary ice. It was a really, really, really fun hike down, and I'm so glad JD and Natasha had been our helpers. First of all, they did such an excellent job with everything. But also, the story of their meeting, dating, engagement, wedding, and reception are so much like ours have been/we want them to be, that it was really exciting, comforting, and refreshing to hear them talk about their experiences and be so excited for us.

We got back to the trailhead at about 1:30am, got in our cars, and drove home. JD and Natasha went all the way to Ogden, and Heidi and I only had to drive to Midway thanks to Kristy's family. We got to their house (that they were renting) and found quite a few of them awake and watching The Prestige. I was happy they were awake so we could share our excitement and pictures with them and also find out which shower we could use with the least risk of waking people up! We showed them pictures, took showers, borrowed a Book of Mormon to keep our daily reading goal, and then we each took a couch and slept for not nearly long enough. :)

In the morning, Kristy's brother-in-law made omelets and someone had made French toast and potatoes. They fed us lunch before the hike, too. We went to church with them, and Heidi got up to bear her testimony. I had consciously thought about bearing mine and decided I didn't feel so inclined, but when Heidi went up I couldn't resist following her! It felt so good to hear her bear her testimony about love and family, and hear her express gratitude for her own family, Kristy's family, and the family she is about to join. She said it's important to tell the people we love that we love them, and expressed gratitude for Kristy always telling her she loves her, and for me always telling her I love her. When I got up, the first thing I said was, "I do love her." I mentioned that I had just asked her to marry me the night before, and then shared my testimony, mostly about how the Lord can forgive us and make us worthy to enter the temple and someday become like Him in spite of all our mistakes, sins, and shortcomings.

We went to Sunday School, and then I went back to the house because I was so tired. Heidi stayed for Relief Society, and then found me asleep on the couch when she got back to the house. We had some more delicious food, told the proposal story, sent out some texts and got some congratulations, and then drove about ten minutes to where Heidi's family had just arrived at the Homestead in Midway. They were there to stay the night, relax, and celebrate the 4th. We spent almost all our time with them playing tennis. Heidi and I challenged her parents, and they beat us. My only victory was against Heidi's 10 year old brother, and I won after a loooooong stretch of deuce, advantage, deuce, advantage, etc. It was a LOT of fun, and it felt really good to just have a laid back, fun time with Heidi's family. They loved the ring, her dad referred to our tennis team as the "Fairbourns to be," and her mom said she was excited for us. Her family is a lot of fun, and she texted her dad today to find out when would be a good time to visit them again. He said, "Don't know yet. Come on down anyway!" :)

When the sun started setting, Heidi and I ate some food she had packed and then said goodbye to her family and started heading home. We could not believe that we had left Ogden only the day before. It was a busy, productive, WONDERFUL weekend.

We are SO excited for the Fairbourn family vacation that starts this Saturday!!!!!

I have never, ever been even remotely close to this happy in my life. Heidi makes me feel so loved, appreciated, and secure all the time. I love her so much, and I am simply the luckiest person alive. Correction - most blessed person alive. I get to be with her forever!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Quadruple Birthday & New YSA Stake

It's been a big weekend preceded by a big week! Mina was born on Thursday, adding to the plethora of April birthdays.

Apr. 22 - Mina's birthday
Apr. 23 - LeSueurs' anniversary (congratulations!!)
Apr. 24 - Heidi's birthday
Apr. 25 - My birthday
Apr. 26 - Scott's birthday

After a couple fun days in Ogden with the Powelsons and Mom, I met Heidi in south Salt Lake for her brother's baseball game on Friday. He hit a homerun at his first at bat! He's 14 and hit a 380 ft. home run. A runner was on 3rd, so 2 runs scored. At his next at bat, he got a double with 2 RBI's. The guy is a total stud, and it was fun to be there with Heidi and her youngest brother, Brian. Heidi's parents and her little sister Brynn showed up in the middle of the game and were bummed to have missed the homerun, but we still had fun. Heidi and I were singing old TV show theme songs and commercial jingles, like "Zac, Zac, he's a lego maniac!" Hahaha! It was so fun! So... that was Friday.

Saturday (Heidi's birthday) we went to a spin class at Gold's Gym with Heidi's best friend, Kristy. Then Heidi went to arrange my birthday present (details to come...) while Kristy followed me home to help arrange Heidi's birthday. :) Around noon, Heidi and I left to Salt Lake to help set up a silent auction for a charity group her cousin works with. I met some of her cousins and watched a bit of amazing Heidiness at work, and gained a little confidence in my own decorating abilities. After helping there for a few hours, we went to the "Secret Garden" - Heidi's second favorite place on earth (#1 is her family's cabin). The "Secret Garden" is what Heidi calls the grounds of a very unique church building next door to her grandparents' house in Salt Lake. The building used to be a mansion, and the back yard really is like a secret garden, with a pond, ducks, a stream with waterfalls, flowers, grass, trees, stone walls with barred windows, etc. Really, really cool place. Then we drove north for a while and found a park where we could set up my hammock. We relaxed in the hammock for about an hour, and then I said I needed to change my shoes (due to shin splints) before we went to our next activity (which was a mystery to Heidi).

Well... I really DID have some shin pain, but the change of shoes was just an excuse to get her to my house, where Kristy and her husband Quinn (and his brother) had decorated my living room for a surprise birthday party! I endured some harsh BYU-bashing in the midst of red and white streamers. UGH. Actually, I realized again how much I really do love BYU. I consciously started thinking about something else so I could easily ignore the jabs, because I was outnumbered and alone! Haha... anyway, Heidi was very unsuspecting and surprised, so it was a lot of fun. Kristy and I had both played up the fact that I had stolen Heidi's birthday and Kristy didn't get to be a part of it. I was apologetic, and Kristy was a little upset... heeheehee. Heidi had no idea Kristy was in the plans all along! We ate some Wendy's that Kristy & Quinn had picked up, including Heidi's favorite apple pecan chicken salad, and Kristy made a "cake" out of a pile of packs of gum in a cake pan! It was great. Heidi doesn't really eat desserts, and she LOVES gum. Kristy put a good-smelling candle on top, and Heidi made a wish and blew it out. Then we all had a piece of "cake." :) And then we watched "What Happens in Vegas," which is one of Heidi's favorite movies that she's been wanting to show me. It's hilarious! After the movie, Kristy, Quinn, and Quinn's brother went home and Heidi and I had a couple hours to just relax and reflect on an amazing day!

The next day was Sunday, my birthday. I went to church a bit early because the bishop had appointments. It was a pretty normal day, with a really spiritually inspiring sacrament meeting. One of my friends, who is one of the most sincere, humble people I have ever met, had a hard time getting through the sacrament prayer because he was emotional. I know from conversations with him, as well as a testimony he bore in a testimony meeting, that he really, really loves and leans on the Savior. His heartfelt sacrament prayer was such an impactful start to sacrament meeting. Then Michael Kidman spoke - he's leaving on a service mission, and he has worked hard to prepare for it. His talk was so sincere and simple, and his testimony was so powerful! Then Scott Bell and Chelsea Bingham sang a duet (the song that starts "I've never been the kind to testify..."). Then a high councilor spoke, and his talk was really good, too. I sat next to Darren Griffin... I love that guy. I just felt so grateful to be in my ward, and I texted Heidi "I love my ward! There are so many great people here!" It was such a great Sunday, including a "linger longer" with sloppy joes. :)

After church I facebooked, emailed, caught up on Heidi's "Songs of the day," :) and researched Hawaii Pacific University until Scott came over. We went and picked up Heidi and went to the "historic" and overly-speculated meeting at the Ogden Tabernacle. The historic event, for which this area is serving as the pilot area for the church, is as follows:

1) There will no longer be any distinction between "student" and "non-student" singles wards or stakes. There are only "YSA" wards and stakes. Student status doesn't matter. [This was not a big change... this distinction has been de-emphasized to the point that I honestly was not even aware of it... I was in a student ward and stake, and I'm not a student].
2) Young married wards have been dissolved. Married couples attend the residential ward for their area.
3) YSA's who do not live at home are automatically part of a singles ward. They do not attend a residential (family) ward. YSA's who live at home should counsel with their parents and decide whether to attend their family's ward or the YSA ward.
4) Boundaries should be clarified and enforced. [This is a big change... people around here tend to "shop" for a ward they like, regardless of boundaries. About 60% of my ward (well, former ward) lives outside the boundaries].

In accordance with these changes, the two Ogden University stakes were dissolved, and two new YSA stakes were organized, with new boundaries. For me, this is big news for 3 reasons:

1) I am no longer in the 13th ward, which is where I have met 99% of my Ogden friends.
2) Since I am no longer in the 13th ward, I am no longer the executive secretary, temple committee chairman, or an elders quorum instructor.
3) :) :) :) :) :) Harrison Blvd. used to the boundary for my ward. Now the boundary takes a turn at 28th street, which puts me BARELY in the same ward as Heidi!!! I'll include a map if I can figure out how... there! The blue is me, the red is Heidi, and the green is the new ward boundary. Does it seem perfectly tailored just for us, or what???

So... I love my ward, and I'll miss it. But as I was sitting in that meeting with Heidi, I just kept thinking how much I loved sitting in a church meeting with her. Holding her hand, her head occasionally on my shoulder, and listening to her sing the hymns... I loved it so much! And then we find out we'll be in the same ward, effective immediately. :) AWESOME!

After the meeting in the tabernacle, we went to Heidi's house. By this time it had leaked that Heidi had planned a surprise party for Scott and I. I saw blue streamers in her house (Kristy at work again) when we picked her up for the meeting, and then she stopped trying to keep it a secret. :) She had invited a ton of my friends from my ward, and we had so much fun playing "Celebrity," a game that Scott often gets started when we have a group together. When Scott proposed that we play a game, I said, "On two conditions. I want to play a competitive game, and I want to be on your team." He approved of my conditions, and we won 36-31. It was a really, really fun party, and my amazing girlfriend planned it all and crowded her house with strangers for me!... and Scott.

Heidi gave me the coolest birthday present! It's a "running survival kit," including GU gel (an energy/electrolyte boost for long workouts), transformer band-aids (hahaha), Nike Fit-Dry socks, and the highlight: A Mizuno quickdry running shirt that she customized into a jersey that says "Fairbourn" with the number 27, and "CC" on the sleeve for "co-captain" - a title we have given each other. I. LOVE. IT!!!!! The socks and the running shirt are both things that I have thought would be really cool to have, but I'd never spend my own money on them. Those are THE BEST kind of gifts!! I'm excited to wear the shirt for running as well as biking.

After people funneled out of Heidi's house, she took me home and hung out at my house for a little while before we called it a night.

What an incredibly amazing weekend! Now it's Monday, Scott's birthday, and for our last 13th ward FHE we're having a surprise birthday party for the bishop, which I'm guessing will turn into a joint party for Scott and the Bishop, since today is Scott's birthday. So... three surprise birthday parties in as many days. Wow!

Before FHE, Heidi and I are going to go jogging to calibrate our new Nike+ sensors (that was my gift to her, along with a book with pictures of stained glass). I still need to hook mine up and see if my old iPod Nano is Nano enough to work with the wireless receiver I got with my Nike+. If it doesn't work, I'll just sell it.

So... that's the latest in my world. Life is so good!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hawaii Interview

I had my interview with Hawaii Pacific University yesterday. They asked questions that really allowed me to shine... like, "What's your experience in your teaching field [Spanish]?" "Have you had experience working with young people before?" It feels good to have lists for answers to those questions.

"I've spent a total of over a year in Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru. I also minored in Spanish at BYU."

"I worked at a residential treatment center in Orem, Utah with at-risk youth. I've also worked three summers at a summer youth conference. I also taught a seminary class to high school freshmen and sophomores."

They also asked why I want to teach, what professional values and attitudes are required to teach, what I hope to gain from their program, etc. They asked where I want to be in five years, which I had just recently talked about with Heidi, so I was completely prepared. I said, "I'd like to be living in southern Utah, hopefully teaching in the same district or school as my brother. I'd like to teach the higher-level Spanish classes, but I'll take what I can get. And I want to lead study abroad programs in the summers to give my students opportunities to be immersed in the language and Latin American or Spanish culture." Then they said, "Where would you like to be in ten years?" I said, "Still doing the same thing!"

At the end of the interview, Dr. Abordonado said something like, "Well, Brett, your passion for Spanish and for teaching are obvious, and they're contagious." She said they'd give the admissions people "our strong recommendation for your admission" and, "We'll leave the porch light on for you here in Hawaii." My poster had fallen off my wall during the interview, and I had made a comment about it. At the end of the interview, Dr. A said "I think your poster falling off your wall is a sign that you need to start packing your bags for Hawaii." She said I should call in a week or so if I haven't heard back, but that she expects I'll hear very good things from the admissions people. Heidi mentioned that I should have asked if they were going to pay for me to go there... wish I'd thought of that! I have to look into that now.

Speaking of Heidi, she came over last night and we made a fort in my living room. The fort incorporated the TV, so we could watch a movie from in the fort. :) It was fun! Today we're going to help her aunt with a mutual activity for youth with special needs. We're doing yoga! Should be fun.

So... life is GOOD and I'm just waiting to hear from the University of Virginia. Honestly, though, now that I know Hawaii has a Spanish teaching program, it's going to be hard to resist the opportunity to live in Hawaii for a couple years. BUT it would be like a mission all over again, and I have so many nieces and nephews now! I've been spoiled by the Powelsons' proximity for a long time, and I can't imagine going that long without seeing those boys... and the soon-to-arrive little girl. Of course, now the Richards are even CLOSER and K, B, & B are not terribly far away, either. So the only bearable way to leave seems to be Houston, but for some reason Houston is just not causing any kind of resonance in my mind... probably because they don't have a Spanish teaching program.

......... decisions, decisions.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Speaker For The Dead

I just finished Speaker For The Dead. This was in Orson Scott Card's commentary at the end, and I love it.

"...and when it comes time for the speaking for the dead… he is not a saint, not a sinner, simply an honest man. That’s what I think all of us would like at some point in our lives, is to be seen truly and wholly for what we are. I could face the criticism if the person could also see the good things in my life. Likewise, I wouldn’t feel guilty about somebody praising me for the good things if I knew that I was receiving that praise from somebody who also knew the bad."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Calling

I've been serving as the temple committee chairman and an elders quorum teacher for a few months. A co-chair was recently called, and we're really getting things together to help our ward do family history and temple work.

This morning I had a voicemail from the stake executive secretary... no way... that's weird. I called him on the way to ward council, and he asked me to stop by the stake offices after ward council. So I did, and I met with President Sterret (who I had seen a couple nights earlier at the screening of the "Pimp This Bum" documentary). He extended a call for me to serve as my ward's executive secretary. I laughed because it was so unexpected and amusing that I'd be called to that calling again. I told him about my OCD and how hard it was to stay OUT of the bishop's office when I was executive secretary before, because I always felt compelled to confess something. Anyway, I accepted, and he said I'd probably be called and sustained within a couple of weeks.

So... after our temple and family history class, I told Wendy (my co-chair) that I had received a new calling, so I wouldn't be the temple guy much longer. In sacrament meeting, I saw Paul (the executive secretary) and told him I had a feeling he was getting released. He made a gesture like he was lifting something heavy off of his shoulders and placing it on mine. I laughed, and then something he said made me realize he was expecting to be released immediately. I said, "Wait, this isn't happening today, is it?" He said, "Oh you bet it is!"

He was right. He was released, I was sustained. After church I was set apart, and then I got paperwork and instructions from Paul, and he stuck around to help facilitate the comings and goings of the bishop's interviewees.

So... I'm now the executive secretary. I'm also the temple committee chair and an elder's quorum teacher, but I'm guessing I'll be released from those callings before long.

Definitely didn't expect this when I woke up this morning!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Grad School Apps and Dad's iPod

Let's start with the fun news first. Actually, the grad school apps are exciting, too... just expensive.

The fun news is that I went to California... last week??? Geez, it's been a long few days. Yes, last week I went to California and visited Mom and Dad. I loaded up Dad's new iPod shuffle (SECOND GENERATION) and gave it to him all charged and ready to go. When I gave it to him, I was really excited for him to start skipping through the tracks, randomly falling on song after song that he LOVED. He eventually did that, but I had to prod him a lot. Initially he just kept turning the iPod over in his hands while we listened to the first track that came up and Dad gave commentary on the amazingness of this tiny little device. I agree, it's amazing, but "Dad! Press next! See what other songs are on there!" I have to admit, during the process of loading up the iPod I got half-converted to country music. I'll never be a cowboy, but there are some really, really good and inspirational songs on that iPod. The music made me feel so good and want to BE so good... pretty cool. Anyway, I showed Dad how to use iTunes, where to download church talks, etc. It was a pretty quick crash-course, so DAD: feel free to call any time with questions! It was a really fun gift to prepare and give, so props to Lindsay for the idea and props to all the siblings for pitching in. Now we all have props. Woo! Dad went running the next day, and he told me how he thought the music was supposed to make running easier, but he still felt tired! Hahaha... well, it's not magic, just a distraction. :) I think he really likes it, and I think he'll like it more as the controls become more second-nature. Feel free to leave a comment with an update, Dad! How's the iPod treating you? HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I love you!

Next item of business:
As you all know, BYU doesn't want me. PSH, well I don't want THEM! Actually, that's partly true. While I am forever a fan of all things BYU, I realized I probably should apply to a masters of EDUCATION program and actually study something related to my intended career. What a novel idea! So it has actually been fun to explore Masters of Education programs and apply to new schools I'd never thought of attending before. I would apply to BYU again (for the M.Ed. program), but the deadline has already passed. I realized I am a true BYU fan when I was happy to see that the U of U deadline has also passed, thus eliminating any temptation to apply there. Therefore, I have applied to (drumroll please).....

The University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)
Utah State University (Logan, UT)
The University of Houston (guess where they're located?)
Hawaii Pacific University (Honolulu, HI)

It would be kind of nice if only one school accepted me. Then I'd know where I want to go. Here are advantages to each school:

University of Virginia
I feel really drawn to this one... before any logic comes into play, let's just say I feel good about it. Now, for the tangible reasons: First, they actually have a program that focuses on secondary Spanish education. I would get licensed as a Spanish teacher, and they work with students who are seeking licensure in states other than VA. I would be looking for licensure in Utah. I like the idea of working and living near Mom, Dad, Kent, Brittney, and Beckett. It would be fun to teach at the same school as Kent, and go to basketball games to cheer on my students and my brother. AWESOME. But that's all after college... let's get back to Virginia. It's close to Washington, D.C. I would love to have plenty of time to explore all the museums and history there. Also, it's Virginia! That place is beautiful. The one time I've visited, I noticed the state line between NC and VA is like the state line between NV and CA. No offense to anyone who loves North Carolina or Nevada, but once you cross those state lines, wow. There is beauty all around, when you enter certain states.

Utah State University
Advantages: More LDS girls. Closer to family. Those are the only reasons I applied to Utah State, but they are REALLY good reasons.

The University of Houston
Advantages: Close to the Le Sueur's. Mild winters. Again, the reasons are few but REALLY good.

Hawaii Pacific University
IT'S IN HAWAII!!! I would probably invest in scuba gear if I lived in Hawaii, and that would be AWESOME. Maybe people would come visit me (ahem DAD scuba cough). Also, it's on the same island as the temple, which was a deal maker as far as deciding to apply. Also, their program provides licensure that is valid in 44 states, including Utah. They don't have a Spanish secondary education program, but they do have English as a second language. I'd go for that, then seek Spanish licensure after graduating. Then I could teach virtually anywhere in the world.

So that's the rundown. Now... guess how much it cost to apply to four schools???
$23 per school to send GRE scores = $92
$2 per official transcript; every school wants 2 copies = $16
Virginia application fee = $60
Houston application fee = $45
Hawaii Pacific app fee = $50
Utah State app fee = $55
Praxis exam registration = $130
TOTAL = (I haven't even calculated this yet... here we go).... $448!!!!???? THAT IS INSANE.

At this time I would like to thank Brittney for doing my taxes, which have resulted in a $900+ return. Hallelujah! Thank you thank you thank you.

The Praxis test was only required for Hawaii Pacific, but apparently I'll have to take it sooner or later for teaching licensure purposes, so I figured why not throw it in now while I'm already cringing? I looked at some of the sample questions and it looks... like it's not worth $130. Kent said it was pretty easy. Virginia allowed me to substitute my SAT score for a Praxis score! It just had to be above a certain score. Didn't think I'd be using my SAT scores... good thing they're recorded in my BYU Route Y stuff.

So... that's the latest. Tomorrow I head to Provo to request the official transcripts, deliver stamped envelopes to my recommenders (who are AMAZING and just keep sending letters for me), take out Katie Fager who recently returned from Romania (I'm so excited to see her again!), spend the night at the Powelsons, and then PLAY Saturday morning with the coolest family north of Ivins and south of Bluffdale. It will be a great break before I start into making up for lost time at work. Oh yeah... I need to prepare a Sunday School lesson. Oh, I also got pulled over the other day and I need to schedule traffic school (no speeding ticket! He was a nice cop).

Well, I must say that Melissa's stresses have made me realize I really don't have that much on my plate. By the way, CONGRATULATIONS, MELISSA!!!! I'm so excited for another Richards baby, and I'm praying all the time that you will get an opportunity to relax and regroup sometime soon. Actually, Julie said you might be coming over when I'm at their house... maybe I could take care of all the kids while the two pregnant ladies take a break? That's a good idea. I'll call you.

I think that's all for now. Thanks for all your prayers for my BYU acceptance. It seems like all I heard from my friends was, "Well, if you don't get in, I'm sure there's something better waiting for you." I thought, "Yeah, shut up." Something like that. Well, they were right. I'm excited for a new experience somewhere in the USA, and I'm excited to actually be on track toward teaching Spanish!

Please pray that I get accepted SOMEWHERE!! :)