Sunday, August 31, 2008

Magic Shorts

I know I keep writing on observations about Knoxville, but it has been so much fun (and so interesting) to look at the differences and similarities between Knoxville and Provo (as soon as I find some similarities I'll let you know, ha ha). My most recent fascinating observation is how people dress here, specifically on campus. While people in Provo wear normal clothes like jeans, nice shirts, etc., people here wear work-out clothes EVERYWHERE. And I would guarantee most of them are not on their way to work out. The dress code is just gym clothes. My first day here I went to campus by myself while Chris was in meetings and I felt very overdressed. More than anything, the girls wear these Nike running shorts:This exact style. Chris and I call them the "magic shorts" (have you ever seen Forest Gump where Forest says Lt. Dan got "magic legs"? thats where that came from). They come in a zillion different colors and almost every other girl you see on campus is wearing one color or another. As time has gone by, they have really started to grow on me and I've become fascinated to see how many people wear them (really, its crazy) and all the different colors. So, last night I gave in to the trend (I'm such a lemming) and got some black ones with red on the edges (throwback to my Highland Rams days, I suppose). They are so cute. I, however, will not be able to wear them around town due to my modesty commitments, so I'll actually have to work out in them, but they are still fun to have. I seriously want them in every color combination.
But one thing that is completely refreshing about this work-out-clothes-wearing trend is just how down to earth it is. No one is dressing up to be something they aren't. No one is superficial or worrying excessively about how they look, which is something that, unfortunately, I always thought was a problem at BYU.
But then again, maybe they do have superiority issues: "My Nike shorts are cuter than yours?" Maybe so.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The House of Comedy's Summer Vacation

Well, before Chris and I left for our crazy Tennessee adventure, the Thomas family had it's annual vacation. This time around we went to Sun Valley, Idaho. We had a shorter stay due to movings in, movings out, and sports, but we had a great time being together--and consuming about $70 in chocolate in 3 days. Thanks Mom and Dad for a wonderful vacation!

Having a tender mother-daughter moment at the outdoor symphony.

A little lovin' at the outdoor symphony!

Michael and Camie being inspired by the music.

We also went mountain biking--for a long time. This was Chris's first time ever mountain biking--I'm glad he is still with me today. We started out on a beginner-friendly flat paved trail.

The whole fam

Then we rode the ski lift to the top of the mountain (with our bikes).

The scenery was beautiful--Brady is beautiful too. Then we proceeded to bike down the mountain on a trail that the ski lift operator said "wasn't too bad". Turns out he was wrong. About 5 minutes down I began to worry about my husband's beginner status (he is really talented at a lot of things, he's just never ridden a bike in his life). The trail was much more difficult than expected. About that time, I heard a scream and glanced behind me to see my mother's bike flying in the air; she had already fallen to the ground at some point. To make a long story short, my mom, Chris, and sister-in-law Camie decided to go back and take the ski lift down while me, my brothers, and dad decided to bike down (we used to mountain bike when we lived in Arizona). I had a blast. I fell off my bike once, as did Michael. My dad went over the handle bars twice, while Brady and Jason never fell. Needless to say, we were all sore, dirty, hungry, and tired when we got down.
Me and Daddy Brothers taking a break on the trail
The original Thomas kids

Well, it was a lot of fun and made saying goodbye to my family that much harder.

House of Comedy Summer Vacation 2009: How does Hawaii sound?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Life is a Blur of Orange and White

And I mean that in a good way. To tell you the truth, I am slowly but surely falling in love with Knoxville. Everyone here loves it; everyone loves UT. Its horribly contagious. I'm becoming a fan already--and I'll probably never even get to a football game because tickets are impossible to get a hold of, and if you do find them, they are way out of our price range. Anyway, one of the funniest (and most endearing) things about Knoxville is the very noticeable presence of the color orange--everywhere. I mean, people even wear it--people who have no business wearing orange (like me)--even when it is not UT specific clothing, its still orange. I thought I might get into the spirit so I went to Walmart looking for some orange work-out shorts (sounds strange, but here that would be perfectly acceptable). They had every color fully stocked, but in orange they only had a few XL and a few XS left. The town is just glowing orange. A few examples (I was taking pictures of orange things around town until I realized I was embarrassing Chris, so these are the few images I captured in my first few days):
Rocking chairs

They have orange displays in EVERY store. Its not hard to find UT gear. Orange T's painted all the way down the sidewalks on campus. Public transportation

The HUGE stadium (all the railings are orange--it looks like its under construction)
Yes, even the sports cars come in orange and white.

This is neat--look, the shape of the state of Tennessee is in the UT logo--cute!Pat Summitt St. Dedicated to my mom:
Things you never see on BYU's campus. (I wanted to take more pictures of things you never see at BYU, but I didn't think the bikini-clad girls would appreciate that.)

Finally, my gorgeous husband preparing for class. That box contains all his books--he got 6 nice hard-bound books for $250! He asked me to guess the price and I said around $600, because that's about how much they would have cost at BYU. But $250!? You can get a binder and a thesaurus for that much at BYU.

Anyway. His classes are going great. They were a little overwhelming at first, but he has picked right up into the swing of things, like I knew he would. He's just amazing like that.
Now if only I could find a job.

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's Like a Drug . . .

Incredibly addicting. Gives you highs and lows. Takes over your life.
It's the Olympics, and I cannot get enough.
I'm already dreading its ending this weekend.
I'm currently job-hunting (about my least favorite thing to do in the entire world), so I'm home all day on the computer. Thankfully, the Olympics are on to get me through. I get so emotionally invested in them--I care way too much considering I'm just an average viewer. I dare say this has been the best Olympics I've ever seen (granted, I only remember 2ooo and 2o04, but still, its really good). Some highlights for me thus far:
This is Shalane Flanagan. She won the bronze in the 10,000M. It was awesome because she had no idea she was in 3rd until she crossed the finish line and looked at the results. She was so happy she started crying. I love when people are happy just to get a medal! And she was so cute and grateful.

This is the mens beach volleyball team, Rogers and Dalhausser. They have been the most surprisingly entertaining thing for me during this Olympics. They are so fun to watch and amazingly talented. Love them. A word on the women's gymnastics though. I don't know if China got the memo, but the gymnasts are supposed to turn 16 during the Olympic year (and I mean 2008, not 2012). Look at their team! Not 16. They look like they average about 12 or 13 years old. And the U.S. girls keep getting screwed over (excuse the language) by this insane new system of judging. Annoying. I don't know, China just seems like they are a little fishy, raking in all those gold medals. I know, I'm bias. But I'm ok with that. I still think something fishy is going on in one way, shape, or form. Nastia should have won the uneven bars. I just finished watching her lose in that "tie break", and I'm rather bitter, in case you can't tell (remember when I said I get way too emotionally invested?). Anyway. . . . And last but definitely not least: Mr. Phelps.

Remember that one time that I was 10 feet away from Mr. Phelps?

That was awesome.

He is awesome. Going 8 for 8 in Gold Medals is awesome.

And he is the only person in the world who is better looking in a swim cap than without one, so that's impressive too.

And his races were so exciting. That last relay where he was going for Gold #8 nearly gave me a heart attack, my heart was beating so fast. I felt like I was going to be sick (remember when I said I get way too emotionally invested?). I'm glad he pulled it out--with the help of his teammates of course, who I think all too often get lost in the hype. Jason Lezak is the man and Phelps really owes two of his medals to him (remember that 4 x 100 M relay--talk about a heart attack).

I heart you, Olympics. Please don't end.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back from the Mostly Dead

Well, its been a while but I have good excuses. Last week we spent in Idaho/Sun Valley with my family, and I'll post pictures of that later. It was a really fun vacation and made leaving my family that much harder. I am currently sitting in the University of Tennessee library---so we made it to Knoxville. (I have a nervous feeling that someone is going to kick me off this computer and tell me I don't belong here--hopefully that will go away soon). On Monday we spent all day packing up our truck and cleaning and didn't leave Provo until 7 at night, which was bad because we had to make an 8 hour drive that night. Between eating and gas stops and the time change, we made our hotel in Nebraska by5 am, just in time of 2 hours of sleep before hitting the road again. Then we proceeded to drive all day until 4 am, when we arrived at Chris's parents house in Indiana. I thought I was going to die. Literally, it was taking so long that I had inner pain from the hopeless feeling that we weren't going to make it. I had to sleep through the second-half of Illinois just to prevent an emotional breakdown. That night (Tuesday) we got 4 hours of sleep and headed to Knoxville. On the way we stopped in Ohio to drop off our comrade, Matt, who rode out from Provo with us, served as a third driver, and shared the cost of gas.

A big shout-out to Matt. Chris and I talked about the fact that we would be dead somewhere in Iowa or possibly Illinois if Matt were not with us. Thanks Matt!!!! We owe you . . . well, our lives.

Anyway, we finally made it to Knoxville (after going through 10 states) and it is amazingly beautiful. Just hills and mountains of trees. I've never seen so many trees in one place, its crazy. The weather is really mild right now, but our apartment manager said "the dog-days are fixin' to move in", which I'm guessing means it will get worse before fall hits. Everything feels so foreign, so different. When we walked into our apartment it smelled like cigarette smoke, not too bad, but enough. I had been planning on our apartment being the one place where I could escape from all the craziness that is this new place, so when it smelled like smoke I started sobbing like a baby. It was the straw that broke the camel's back, as they say. But we got some Febreeze and some oranges and some vinegar lying around the place and its better already. Our carpet is brand new so it doesn't smell, so I have hope that it will clear out. (Anyone know any other tricks to getting the smell of cigarette smoke out?) Our home can be a haven yet. Speaking of our apartment, though, other than the smell its really really nice and I'll get pictures out as soon as its all set up--so you can plan on about a month. I'm such a ball of crazy mixed emotions right now. I love it here already, but still hate it. I'm so excited but so nervous. So happy but so scared. I'm sure once I get used to everything it will be great. I keep thinking about how scared I was to go to BYU and then how scared I was to move to Indiana, and now how much I love those places. Granted, this is a much scarier move than either of those, but I think that only means I'll love it that much more. Sorry, I'm droning on and on. This post is more for me than it is for you. Oh, and everything is orange here. The football stadium in huge--and orange. The library looks like a ziggarat on the outside and the Smithsonian on the inside. The area code for phone numbers is 865, which you'll notice spells "VOL". Everyone sounds like Mater on the Pixar movie Cars. But people are incredibly nice, so Southern hospitality lives. All in all things are going great. Oh, and nobody uses a blinker to change lanes out here. They just move on over to the other lane. It got to the point on the freeway where I felt like a nerd when I used my blinker to change lanes because I was obeying the rules so closely. But at the same time everyone follows the speed limit exactly because there are cops everywhere. Ok, thats the end of my random Tennessee observations.

The only really tragic part about this all is we don't have cable until Friday and we've missed the Olympics all week. Boooo! I heart the Olympics.

And I heart all of you. Keep in touch. I'm not dead, I was just mostly dead there for a while.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Beginning of the End

Well, we're officially in our "goodbye to Provo" stage. Its been really sad, actually. Today was my last day of work for Dr. Cates. I've worked for him for a year and a half and it was really sad to leave my desk and office and say good-bye. He treated us to lunch and that was really nice. So that was that. It is always good to move on, even though its sad. Then we passed on our little Black Hyundai to Chris's little sister Sarah. Chris was on the brink of tears pretty much because that car has been our car since the beginning and we have a lot of good memories with it. Sad! I, personally, love our new little Honda that my kind, amazing, and generous parents bestowed upon us before our move, but it is, once again, sad to say goodbye. Chris did take the Chicago Cubs license plate frame off our old car and put it on the new one . . . I think it looks great with the red, white, and blue Idaho plate!
In the next couple days we'll finish up packing and we'll head up to Idaho next week for a Thomas family vacation. Knoxville is coming so quickly--crazy.

Now hold on a second while I step up onto my Soap Box . . . .

I promise I'm not obsessed with the Dark Knight, I just thought I'd share some intense feelings I have on one particular issue. There was an article a little while ago online about the Dark Knight and how parents are complaining that it should have been rated R. These parents took their 8 and 9 year old kids to this movie, and then complained that it was too violent for kids. Ok . . . DUH! First, it is rated PG-13. Don't take your children to a PG-13 movie without seeing it first, people! Also, it says its rated PG-13 "for intense sequences of violence and some menace". Intense sequences of violence. And did they happen to miss all the advertisements and trailers featuring a terrifying Joker? Like the article said: "Did anyone not know this was a violent movie about a homicidal maniac in makeup?" Didn't it cross their minds that before they take their children to a movie like that, that maybe they should watch it first, instead of shoving the blame on to the movie-rating system, which has proven itself to be flawed time and time again. The rating system in far from perfect, so people need to clue in before they take kids to any movie not G or PG. It just drives me crazy when people are like "I took my kid to that movie that was rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and it was too violent!" I'm not saying I'm a fan of violence in the media---I am a fan of parents taking responsibility for what their children are exposed to. Stepping off my soap box now.

This movie looks pretty kid-friendly, right??