Thursday, September 29, 2011

2002 - the dodge shadow

i didn't own a car in college for two reasons: first, i didn't have enough cash to pay for one myself {and there was no way i was making payments} and second, my mom and step-dad decided only boys needed cars at byu {i'm not bitter at all...}. it wasn't normally a problem - my roommates who had cars also had to do things like go to the grocery store, so i was usually able to tag along. but, every so often i really needed to do something at time that wasn't convenient to those with their own transportation. 

tuesday, november 19th was one of those times.

i really needed to go to target to grab a few things before i headed out of town that thursday to be a bridesmaid in my roommate regan's wedding. another roommate, liz, wasn't able to drive me because she had to go to work. but she was kind enough to let me borrow her white dodge shadow to make my target run so long as i would pick her up later that night when her shift ended. i readily agreed. 

i left around 6:00pm, so as i made my way home, the november night was dark and chilled. i drove down state street from orem, then made my way down university parkway. as i turned the corner onto university avenue, i hadn't gone more than 100 feet before the ginormous ford f250 in front of me slammed on his brakes for no apparent reason. i braked as well, but not in enough time. i remember gasping and then driving slow motion into his rear bumper and tail hitch. the shadow didn't stand a chance. the air bag released, saving my face from shards of glass, but have you ever felt an air bag? they're canvas and so not soft like the balloons they show on tv. and they're hot, hot, hot!

after the initial impact, i sort of checked myself to see if everything was okay. my glasses had flown off my face and were resting on the inflated air bag. i felt a little blood in my mouth, but found it was from my front teeth {which were still in tact} scraping my lower lip. 

moments later, a man named scott was at the driver's side window, motioning for me to roll it down. he was driving behind me {in the other lane or he most likely would have slammed into me} and was an off-duty e.m.t. there to make sure i was okay. 

"does anything hurt?," scott asked. no. 
"can you move your arms and legs?," he continued. yes. 
"can you move your neck side to side?," he questioned. um...the answer to that was a little more complicated.

the short answer was no, but the long answer was that i couldn't before the accident either. i woke up with a really bad kink in my neck and couldn't move painlessly all day long. {this made for an interesting case presentation in my public relations class that morning. my teacher got a kick out of my owl-esque movements.} 

after he determined i was okay to move, we tried to open the door, only to find it was jammed shut. i crawled across the seats and, grabbing my purse and target bag {and the items strewn across the front seat}, exited through the passenger side door.

i spent the next hour or so filling out police reports and answering {and asking!} questions. turns out a pedestrian was jaywalking* across university avenue, in the dark, wearing dark clothing. the driver of the ford truck didn't see him until it was almost too late. he stopped inches short of ending this person's life - just too quick for the life of liz's car. his car was fine. 

we exchanged info, they towed the shadow and he left. since i didn't have transportation, i asked a policeman to drive me the final 14 city blocks home. he said no. apparently it's illegal for a policeman to help a fellow citizen. who knew? if you'll remember this was a time before cell phones {at least for me}, so i started home on my own two feet. as i continued, my right knee started to ache a bit, but it was dark and i wanted to get home. when i entered the front door of sierra apartments, i went straight to the kitchen table to call my mom. after she knew i was okay, i gave her a detailed description of the evening's events and she suggested i write it all down while my memory was fresh, so i did. 

while i was on the phone, my knee continued to ache even more. i pulled my pant leg up over my knee and gasped. it looked like a grapefruit made of extra skin was sitting just below my knee bone. i quickly covered it up, but my roommate laska, who had wandered into the front room, saw it. she wanted me to go to the hospital, but i refused. so we settled on icing it and not moving for the night. 
{my knee a few days after - before the bruising continued down my leg 
and turned the disgusting purple shade. 
you can kind of see the large mass below my knee, though}

as the evening wore on, i was so nervous to call liz, but i had to since she no longer had a ride home, let alone a car. she took the news beautifully and never said anything negative {at least to my face} about the entire situation. i paid for her deductible and she got a new car, so hopefully it wasn't too awful. 

i did go to portland for the wedding. and my entire leg from my knee down to all of my toes now matched my dark purple bridesmaid skirt perfectly. it was disgusting. 
{regan and johan's wedding. 
i know i have a picture of me showing my bruise that matches my skirt 
but i can't find it! i'll repost when i do.}

when i got home, i took it easy over thanksgiving break then jumped right back into school for finals. suave ryan, who i had just begun to date, came every morning in the cold ice and snow to drive me five blocks to my 8:00 class on campus. he then turned around, drove home and then ran back to campus to be on time for his own 8:00 class since he didn't have a parking pass. i didn't like being in need of service like that - it was embarrassing to an independent person like me. and i was further put to shame when i attended my cousin's wedding during the christmas break. his dad, my doctor, got news of my car crash and demanded to see my still bruised leg. he was so mad when i showed him - and my uncle never got mad at me. at that point, nothing much could be done. the grapefruit went away and the purple changed to green, then yellow, then faded back to normal. i started running again in january. 

my knee has never been the same, though. sometimes i wear a brace when i run and you can usually hear some cracking when i walk up stairs {this grosses ryan out}. but other than that, it caused no damage. just the death of a car and an "in" for mr. layton. 

to be continued in 2003...

also in 2002:
 {february - meg's wedding, maren, meg, carrie}
 {february - watching lavell edwards run with the 2002 salt lake olympic torch with chris and johan}
 {march - one of my first 5ks - with kelly, amber and naomi}
 {2001-2002 roommates - whitney, regan, morgan, me, amanda}
 {july - fun up provo canyon with my roommate nancey - in black}
 {august - cleaning uncle gary's office with bratny}
  {september - the first and only picture of all ten kinnersley and hauley children all together}
 {r.i.p. hbll copy center}
 {december - finishing scott's mission scrapbook}
 {december - watching kelli perform at assembly hall with the skyline high school madrigals}
 {december - our p.r. campaign about mitt romney's turn around of the 2002 olympic games. 
we titled it "mitt happens". maren, amyann, kurt and ???}
{riding the city bus to dinner with my roommates...because i totaled liz's car. 
kim, maren, laska, liz}

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

2001 - breaking out

college was an interesting change for me. i've always been an introvert, but at that point, i was also relatively anti social when it came to larger groups. i was fine with close friends, but i had a hard time reaching out. as i made my way across campus each day, i had to make a conscious effort to actually keep my head up, look people in the eye and greet them with a quiet hello. sometimes the greeting was so quiet it actually came out silent because it had been so long since i had spoken that my throat needed to be cleared first.

near the end of the summer of 2000, i got my dorm room assignment: 115 shipp hall. i was to live with five other girls. the notice listed their names, home towns and contact information in case we wanted to connect before school started. three of my soon-to-be roommates had already come for summer term, so as the six of us emailed back and forth, i got information about all of their backgrounds as well as a little about the apartment and area of campus. 

i'm still not sure if contacting them before school started was a good idea or not. i began to formulate preconceived ideas of who they were and what they were like before i even met them. i knew i'd have nothing in common with some and just hoped i'd click with at least one. 

i was the first of the three new roommates to move in. my mom and kelli had both gone to work and, as it was a thursday, my stepdad richard had the day off and drove me down i-15 and into happy valley. together we unloaded my belongings, took a trip to the grocery store and then he was off. as i was unloading some things in the kitchen, i became a little wary of my new roommate who was sleeping in the sunlight resting on the windowsill. yes, the windowsill. later, i found out she also frequented the top shelf in her closet for some shut eye as well. when she woke up, she introduced herself as L, from the midwest. as our conversation progressed, L dropped to the floor and proceeded to pretend that she was attacking herself with a razor blade.

that was it. i was outta there. 

and i so would have been had richard not already been a half hour up the freeway. i shook it off and did my best to steer clear of L*. i hid away in my room and began to unpack. it wasn't long before J arrived with her van full of personal effects and R and C returned from their afternoon classes. 

J was to be my roommate. she was extrememly friendly and upbeat, but as our conversations continued to fall flat, i realized we just didn't have much in common. plus, she wore a cape around campus and often jumped off a set of steps...feigning superpowers? she seemed to get along well with C, though, who was nothing like her but most likely just all around more kind and accepting than yours truly. 

it wasn't until the next day that morgan came. she was the one i thought i might, maybe, have the most in common with. but only time would tell . after all, extremely important information about the strange sleeping habits, razor blades and capes were all conveniently left out of introduction emails. 

i was nearly settled in my room, but it quickly became apparent that the best combo would be J+C and me and morgan. the only problem was, morgan and C had a "better" room and they both wanted to stay. i'm not sure how it was eventually decided, but morgan and i won out. {i tell ya, that C really was a kind girl.} so, i packed up my things again and moved them ten feet down the apartment hallway. 

and time did tell. morgan and i got along smashingly. we soon found ourselves gallivanting around campus together, grocery shopping together and even setting up modeling photoshoots in our room together. 

we were super cool. so super cool that when we went "running" at night {a mile down a hill until we got so tired we had my cousin drive us home} we wore matching black leggings with matching boxer shorts on top of them. 
morgan and i were very different, and yet i feel like we were perfect for each other that first year. 

i, the over-studious student, spent most of my mornings, afternoons and nights at the library. if i wasn't at class, i was at work. and if i wasn't either of those places, i was studying at the library. i can't tell you how many times i heard the battle hymn of the republic blaring out of the loudspeakers telling me the library was closing and yes, it was time to go home. my schedule both semesters of that first year was way too jam packed with serious classes. i didn't know it at the time of registration, but i guess that's how it goes. in december, i came home with a 3.6something GPA - my lowest ever - and wanted to cry. my only extra curricular activity was going to the football games, but i was good at it. i even tried my best to teach morg the fight song, which i have committed to memory.

morgan was a little more well-rounded. she secured a spot on the touring international folk dance team and immediately became better connected with people across campus. to fit everything in her schedule, she worked early early mornings cleaning the bean museum. we're talking 4am early. i was so happy every morning when her alarm clock went off and i knew i had a couple more hours of sleep. one of my favorite memories was that of her anatomy final. the year didn't start off as she had hoped and she didn't do well on her first few exams. if i remember correctly, even if she aced the final, she still wouldn't get a passing grade. so, knowing she was going to retake the class the next semester {and the new grade would replace the old}, she just didn't study for the final. she had to take it to complete the class and i still remember her coming home with her testing center printout of 33% and proudly hanging it on our fridge. she taught me to not worry about things not worth worrying about. and i taught her how to study at the library. she took anatomy the next semester and passed with flying colors. 

morg came home with me a few times {and i secretly hoped she would fall in love with my brother}, and that february we took a road trip to sacramento with her sister and her sister's friend to visit her family. we had lots of fun goofing off in the laundry room, singing and playing the piano in the dorm basement, ditching f.h.e., singing christmas songs {n*snync christmas most specifically} non-stop and cutting each others' hair. 
we ended up rooming together off campus the next year as well and had even more fun making cookie dough in our bedroom and dressing up with all our roommates as fairies for halloween. 
there are lots of small, probably insignificant memories together, but they all added up to make a perfectly complete beginning to college. i came in so worried about meeting new people and unsure about myself. and left with a wonderful friend and being much more confident in myself. and i owe that to morgan. 

*the fall of 2000, we all became so worried about L that we eventually got her to seek help. she did. she moved out and we got an awesome new roommate, T. we saw L on campus every once in awhile and she looked like she was doing so much better. i guess all's well that ends well - even with a razor blade scare. 
 {morg, in her closet, demonstrating L's strange sleeping positions.}
{shipp 115 2000-2001: top - j, maren, c, r; bottom - morgan, t}

also in 2001 {although, these photos have been carefully selected as morgan and i also liked to eat graham crackers and frosting a lot, so i gained a freshman 20. i ran it off the next summer.}:
 {first day - august 2000}
 {december 2000 - welcoming dan home from the argentina, rosario mission}
 {april - finals week, just before we were moving out of the dorms...
not sure what we are doing because neither of us play the guitar. 
but...please take note of my J.T. no strings attached puppet on the shelf. nice.}
 {august - this is what you do when you visit the shaws 
in the summertime and the mariners are playing}
 {april - so. many. newspapers. 
that's what i get for being a communications major 
and being required to stay caught up on current events.}
{october - probably one of the only pictures of me smiling and someone else pulling a face}

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2000 - not the way we planned it

the turn of the century was a big year for me. after y2k came and went without the earth imploding, i started to get antsy about life after high school. 

in january, i received my acceptance letter to brigham young university - the only university i even applied to. in the same envelope was also news about an academic scholarship being awarded to me. i was ecstatic, and quite relieved. i had worked hard to save money, but didn't have quite enough to straight up pay for college. 

and the icing on the whole college cake was that megan was also accepted to byu and we were going to be roommates. but one day in march, after i had turned in my intent to attend, a pale-faced megan approached me with some not-so-good news: she had decided to not attend byu.

i was devastated. that meant we weren't going to room together and i was actually going to have to meet people!? all while apologizing profusely, megan explained that she wasn't sure why she had come to this decision, but she knew it was right. 

the months passed; prom, a choir trip, *senior awards night and graduation all came and went and we began to make our separate plans. i commenced shopping for life on my own: spatulas, bed sheets and lots of boxed cereal, among other things. megan, who was instead planning to live at home and attend the university of utah {byu's arch-enemy, of all places. no fear, she's still a cougar at heart.}, joined in my excitement. 

the summer passed and we spent our working hours at einstein bagels {me} and a local smoothie shop and reception hall {meg} and our non-working hours at the pool and grocery store parking lots loading up on snow cones. it was a pretty relaxed summer - a great way to spend my final days in salt lake city. 

and then, one day in august, i got a phone call. i was at work when i got it, and it was megan, crying, on the other end. something about her dad - he was on a bike and something happened and he had a stroke? and he's at the hospital and going in for surgery. it was all such a blur and i couldn't believe what i was hearing. megan's dad joe was healthy as a horse, super active and still quite young, so this was very strange and unexpected news. as soon as my shift ended, i packaged up some bagels and cream cheese, checked in with my mom to let her know what was going on, and got permission to drive to the hospital and sit in the waiting room with megan and her family.

when i walked in, i spotted her immediately. she was there with her mom and some aunts and uncles. i don't remember if her three little brothers were there. i got some updated news that joe had just come out of surgery and was stable, but the prognosis was still unknown. he had simply been mountain biking with the scouts when it suddenly became apparent that something was very wrong.

i handed over the bagels {remembering that food was the last thing a family in crisis mode would be thinking about} and they seriously devoured the entire box. they were grateful. and i was glad i could at least do something. i remember a quiet conversation i had with meg sitting on those less-than-comfortable hospital waiting room chairs. it was pretty one sided as i knew she just needed to talk, but it went something like this, "mar," {she is the only person in the world who calls me mar - pronounced like the first half of martyr}, "i just didn't know what to do. i didn't want to bug you, but i felt like you were the only person who would know a little bit of what i was feeling because of what you had been through with your dad." there was more to the conversation, but that was the gist of it. 

and in that moment, i was actually grateful for the things i had gone through a short seven years earlier. that i had felt the confusion and uncertainty and sadness of a sick father. i prayed with all my heart that meg's situation would turn out differently than mine, but knew if it didn't that i would do everything in my power to support her and that either way, things would be okay. 

the next few months were long and hard for megan's family. but they were in such good spirits. joe initially lost use of one side of his body - hands, face, etc., but slowly, through therapy and lots and lots of hard work, regained nearly all of it. i heard one story of all of his monitors going crazy one night. his nurses ran in to see what was wrong and it was just joe doing exercises. and the first time i saw him in the hospital bed, half his hair was shaven as a result of the surgery that first night. he greeted me with a larger-than-life droopy smile and said, "hi maren! do you like my new haircut?!" 

joe was in a rehabilitation home {or something similar - kind of an annex of the hospital?} for a little while and it was then that megan's decision to not attend byu became apparent. her mom was gone to be with her dad a lot and megan, living at home, made that burden much lighter on her mom as megan was available to help with household chores and shuffling her three brothers around to where they needed to be. that would have been much more difficult, not to mention stressful, if she were even a mere 45 minutes down the freeway.

i learned two things as all of this unfolded. 

one - things happen for a reason. i know that sounds cliche, but in march, megan had no reason to believe that there was a reason she should live at home and attend the u. she wanted to go to byu. and yet, she knew she shouldn't. in the end, that decision ended up being pivotal in supporting her family. something that was ultimately much more important than what school gave her a diploma {she did graduate with her masters in accounting, by the way. she's a smarty.}

and two - my own personal experiences helped me to prepare to help megan. i think this happens more often than we realize. i don't think this was the only reason i was placed in megan's life or she was placed in mine. the web is much more complex than that. but this was just one strand that fit perfectly together. something that i had struggled with years before {and had others in my life to get me through} was turned around to hopefully help bless the life of someone else.

joe, by the way, is doing amazing. he runs marathons and participates in triathlons and he's just as funny as he always was. after our ten year reunion last summer, megan and i decided to spend the last part of the evening sitting in her mom and dad's new living room chatting with them - something we did often when we were in high school. they updated me on their life the past few years and i updated them on mine. and we talked about the past. joe even reminded me of the time he and megan were arguing about something and they came to me to settle the dispute. megan was certain i would side with her, but i didn't. and joe loved me for it. i can't think of a better way to have spent that evening. it was high school come full circle and it was perfect. 

also in 2000:
{february - junior prom after activity at a gymnastics arena - megan, maren, nicole, maquel - 
i sprained my ankle falling off a beam into this foam pit}
 {march - choir trip to disneyland - megan, nicole, alysha, maren, mary}
 {madrigals singing on the news - at 5am - monica, jeff, heather (at bottom), maren, bob, megan, caroline, katie, evelyn, suzy, erin, haylie, bethany}
 {may - maren and kelli in jackson hole}
 {june - mar and meg at graduation}
 {june - meg and mar on our graduation trip in st. george}
{august - maren the baker - please note the excellent amount of cheese on those asiago bagels}

*senior awards banquet - megan's parents were on a cruise, so she came with her brother. i came with my mom. we had both just double pierced our ears - against our parents' desires - and we were afraid to show them. so, the entire night, we left our hair in a bob in front of our ears. we were very careful - and terrified - to let them know. in the end, guilt won out and i told my mom as we pulled into the garage on our way home. she just looked at me and said, "you know how i feel about it" and left it at that. the guilt almost worked, but not quite. that's about as rebellious as i got.

Monday, September 26, 2011

1999 - a bit of excess

my junior and senior years of high school were filled with four things: school, baking bagels, student government and singing. 

my junior year, i was part of a girl's barbershop choir called highlites. i apologize to whoever might have decided upon our "uniforms" but they were horrendous. seriously ugly business. navy blue polyester pant suits with gold buttons and oversized collars. we felt like flight attendants. one of the choir members actually bought all of us wings once to pin on the aforementioned oversized collars. 

so, when i tried out for and then became a member of madrigals my senior year, we were all excited for more flattering attire. we tried on the dresses for size, but if we hadn't purchased shoes at the time of our fitting, they were left unhemmed. this was the case with my bff megan knudsen and i. it wasn't a problem because my mom, the master seamstress, had offered to hem ours once we found our shoes. we did and she did. and in the process of hemming, she was able to cut off a few inches of length from the bottoms. 

my mom isn't one to waste extra fabric, so the spare strips were stashed in her hope chest among the patterns and prints from my childhood. 

as the year progressed, the idea of wearing the same dress day in and day out without the slightest variation was wearing on us. so, the evening of the school choral holiday assembly, megan and i got a great idea. as we gathered in the choir room across the hall from the auditorium, ready to walk on stage, we pulled out the extra fabric we had retrieved from the hope chest and tied them into our hair. we looked ridiculous and it was actually quite of character for us as we knew mr. miller, standing on stage as we walked past to our positions, would be livid. 

it turns out, that because of the seams in the side of the dresses, there were actually four hairbows, so two more could join the fun. but we only got one volunteer: joe. yup, joe. a tall, thing boy with not much hair in which to tie a bow. it was definitely going to stand out. and, as per protocol, we walked onto the stage arm in arm to take our places. 

mr. miller's eyes grew wide as he noticed megan and i walk past. he. was. angry. but we didn't know angry until he spotted joe. i'm pretty sure we saw smoke steaming from his ears and nose. our veteran choir teacher {who was retiring the following spring} mouthed some threatening-in-a-teacher-way words to poor joe. by the time he reached the risers, joe's big maroon bow was no longer on his head, but hanging limp between his tightly gripped fingers. 

we sang our songs, took a bow and exited stage left. i don't remember what was said post performance, but i know it wasn't pretty. needless to say we never wore those hair pieces again. good thing it was the last holiday performance of the year where we were accompanied by mr. miller and we had the christmas break to give him time to count to ten and calm down.

we don't have a picture of joe in his girly glory, but we do have one of meg and i. as well as some future hairstyles we tried that were less anger inducing to choir directors. 

also in 1999:
 {sending dan off to the argentina rosario mission, january}
 {women's association dance - girls just wanna have fun - march}
 {with cousins rachel and bratny, april}
 {at scott's wedding with beckie and kelli, may}
 {true jazz fans holding onto "the net" for good luck - scott, maren, nate, tracy, megan, carly, tyler}
{after getting one wisdom tooth pulled, june - this is a story in and of itself}
{skyline-bingham football game, november}

Sunday, September 25, 2011

1998 - meeting a celebrity

i had never been a huge celebrity buff, but i knew the basics. i knew the big wigs. 

when my friend megan w. invited me to her cabin in jackson hole for the weekend, i figured relaxing in a hot tub and exploring the local trails would be a nice change from AP US history homework. we also had another friend (megan h.) who had moved to jackson hole a few months earlier and we were excited for a chance to see her.

as we drove around the quiet wintered streets of jackson in megan's huge van, we got a little lost. these were pre-technology days so we hadn't even dreamed of a garmin suctioned to the windshield, a smart phone to give us our location or even a cell phone to call someone while we were busy getting lost. 

we drove through neighborhood after neighborhood trying to find xyz drive, to no avail. it was winter, and it was cold. so if the locals were out and about, they weren't wandering the streets in the suburbs, they were flying down the slopes. 

but it was in one of those deserted neighborhoods that we spotted it: humanity. 

two figures off in the distance. a father and a son on a lazy saturday morning stroll together. the dad looked as if he had just woken up. his graying hair disheveled, whiskers growing long, and oversized gray sweatshirt and sweatpants well worn. they seemed friendly and harmless enough, so megan pulled the car over to the curb and rolled down the window. the man looked familiar, but since i didn't know anyone in jackson, i brushed it off to a familiar face. 

we explained our situation, including our desired destination, hoping he would know where to send us. and he did. he asked if we had a pen and paper to write down directions. we didn't. so we had to commit them to memory instead. as he verbally led us out of the neighborhood and on the path to our friend's street, we took mental notes, thanked our new friend, rolled up the window and continued on our way. 

we drove around the corner and down about two blocks before megan slammed her foot on the brake. we looked at each other straight in the eyes and she said what we were both thinking. 

"that was harrison ford."

"i know," i replied. 

we both sat there in shock, not willing to believe that neither of us had recognized him in the moment and swooned as any sane and normal 17 year old girls should do. 

nope. we just asked for directions, graciously accepted his answer and drove away. 

we were probably the first two people in the history of the new world who didn't recognize harrison ford. he probably loved those two dumb girls from utah that cold, winter day. in our defense, he was extremely out of celebrity context and looked nothing like he does on the big screen or the red carpet. not in our defense, we were idiots.

megan tried to make us feel better by remembering that we didn't have a pen and a paper. we couldn't have had him scribble his signature even if we had swooned. so no one would have believed us anyway.

"but we had a camera," i sighed. 

yes. we had a camera. at worst we could have snapped a photo of the sci-fi heart throb from the distance, but by that point, he and his son were long gone. as real as a mirage in the winter desert of jackson, leaving us thirsty for a do-over in the distance. 

every time i see harrison in the media, i think of that fateful winter day. i've still never seen him in action as indiana jones or han solo. but there's no need. because i've seen the real deal. 

but i don't have a photo, so you'll just have to trust me. 

also in 1998:
 {welcoming scott home after two years in italy...after a few flight delays. i think this was one in the morning!}
 {yes, i spent some of my after-school afternoons fake modeling with my friends. we were hot.}
 {sophomore senator. i love my room in this picture - such a mix of childhood trinkets and new, important stuff like a panoramic picture and lettering from the signs i made to run for office.}
 {jackson hole, memorial day weekend}
 {siblings, october}
 {skyline-brighton football game - women's association junior rep}
 {maren and meg during one of our many sleepovers}
{the big haircut}