Jun 4, 2004

Well, I'm back from Chicago. I got stuck in the usual rush-hour traffic for about an hour (the conference ended at 4:30) but it wasn't too bad. The 98 Neon I got stuck driving, though, was a major piece of crap. It burned oil and would not accelerate for the life of it. Cheap automatics, grrr. ;)

So when Rob called me (a guy I met in Indiana last weekend who ended up being in town; he's finishing his phD in Pharmaceuticals and could finish his experiment here only) about half an hour after I got home, to meet up and go out, I was more than ecstatic to park the Neon on the street and jump into my own car. Oc course I had to remember to use the clutch, and the accelerator is harder to push in my car, but it sure goes faster:) Plus, no more burning oil smell. We had fun. I took him to Ella's Deli, which is a kosher deli on the east side of town, famous for its wild and crazy circus-like atmosphere and its infamous pound cake sundaes (which he ordered). He is a really nice guy and very easy to talk with. I really enjoyed the evening.

Well, it was something I needed -- to get out and spend some time with someone I didn't already know. While I had a great time at the conference this past week, I still had to deal with some personal stresses. Well, that is life for you. Rob and I talked about that; about Paul's thorn in his flesh, and how he rejoiced in his infirmities and afflictions, and realized that he could learn from them and grow from them, and rather than curse God for them, he took joy in that recognition. He truly made his weaknesses become strengths.

I just love how you find another member of the church and you instantly have a ton in common and a ton to talk about. I know I lived in Utah for 2.5 years, and I should be used to that, but I'm not. I certainly don't get along, or like every member of the church I meet, but if you take two Mormons and put them in a room full of a few hundred strangers, chances are they will find each other (even if they don't know each other) and spend the evening in a pretty engaging conversation:) We tend to recognize certain traits or behaviors in each other. I know I was looking while I was at the conference. I can't help it; it's a cultural thing. It's just like what I did when I was living in Spain...if I saw anyone who remotely appeared American, I would talk to them, and if they were, I immediately felt that familiar bond. It's ironic how it works; living here in America with all these Americans, I don't feel any connection with them, but if I saw these same Americans in Europe with me, I'd immediately talk to them and vice versa. I guess the same goes for members of the church outside of Utah.

Well, I have a free weekend and I'm just going to relax and probably clean. We have stake conference so I don't have to prepare a lesson for Sunday. My sister's birthday is coming up and m my mother also talked my brother into coming down to Madison next weekend, so I should prepare for that. I don't know how that is oging to go, but it's been awhile since the 4 of us have been together, and I know we need to all talk about some serious issues and have a family meeting, more or less.

Well, I'm going to go grab a Vader and cuddle her for awhile. I have missed my kitties so much! I love having them in my life. Ciao....

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