Ten Years Lotr

First the what, and then the why:

What- I haven't seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies since the last one came out in theaters in December of 2003. On purpose.

Whyyeeeee???- Because I'm a Lord of the Rings obsesscionado and a big movie nerd and I wanted to try an experiment. If the experiment goes well then nothing will be different and nobody's life will be better (this is quite the noble science), BUT I might understand a little bit more about how my brain experiences movies.

I saw the first two movies, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, like 10 times in theaters, and by "like" I mean "not like." Actually ten times. For real. And even more times than that when they came out on VHS tape and/or digital video disc. I loved those movies so much, but I found that the more I watched them in that short period of time the less I was able to enjoy them. It got to a point where I knew them too well, where I could say every line in my head before it was said on screen, where I didn't feel scared at the scary parts or triumphant at the triumphy parts or even all that hobbity at the hobbity parts.

So then I asked myself I sez, "Hey Sandra, do you think it will always be like this? Have you permanently ruined your favorite movies for yourself? Or is there a way to undo this?"

I wondered, then, if I took a break from watching the movies, would that reverse the process at all? How long would it take to un-memorize these movies? A couple of years?

How about TEN? And yea, verily, that is what I have done. I walked out of the theater after seeing Return of the King and I closed the book, or rather the DVD case, on all things Lord of the Rings. I haven't watched the movies. I haven't listened to any of the soundtracks. I have photoshopped a coworker's head onto Gollum's body, but that was an emergency. Also I did go see The Hobbit, because for the most part it was all new footage and story but I did close my eyes and plug my ears during that one scene with Elrond, Gandalf, Galadriel, and Saruman hanging out in Rivendell, just to be safe.

So I'm breaking my ten year Lord of the Rings fast tonight. I'm interested to see what it'll be like to come back to it after all this time. It may be a bicycle-riding situation where 30 seconds in I'll be right back where I was ten years ago, or maybe it was enough time to leave and come back with mostly fresh eyes. Stay tuned, and get off the road.


Here follows an attempt to not be obnoxious while telling you how wonderful it is to be a part of a group of amazing, talented, hilarious, beautiful, crime-fighting friends. 

Back in 2003 I left home for college and experienced the most instantaneous and comprehensive identity shift of my life so far. After my mom and I finished unpacking and setting up my (half of the) room, she turned to me and said "Well, this is goodbye! Call us later!" She gave me a hug and walked out the door.

And then I was an adult.  Total transition time: 11 seconds.

I looked around my probably-at-least-a-little-bit-nicer-than-prison cinder block dream room. I had a few knick knacks and mementos from home: the quilt that my home ward Relief Society had tied for me, a kick-butt Power Rangers poster (original cast, no Tommy), and maybe a favorite book or two. A good 40-60% of an eighteen-year-old's identity is housed in their room decor, and most of the stuff in there had been purchased within the last 24 hours in a rapid succession of personal-universe altering decisions: "Am I more of a metal mesh wastebasket person or a red plastic one? Canvas laundry bag or white plastic basket?" (One never fully comprehends in the moment all the implications and consequences of choosing the mesh wastebasket. Looking back I would have done so many things differently...)

At that moment my slate had never been blanker. The handful of items I brought from home seemed more like souvenirs, references to a former life. My personality, all my experiences and opinions that represented ME up until that point stood patiently at the threshold, waiting to see if they would be called into play or abandoned.

I heard voices and tentative laughter coming from the kitchen. I walked down the hall and through the doorway.

Then this started happening.

I don't remember the specifics of our first meeting. Logically I know at some point it had to have happened, but my memory sort of goes straight from there to us being besties. There are a few ancient memories of those first couple of days, but somehow even then we were already friends. One night early on we sat around the kitchen table and swapped our best pre-college tales, a.k.a. our entire lives up until that point, that whole 18-year period whittled down to a collection of vital anecdotes. You know, those standard stories we used to bring up over and over again with our family and our friends from home, but now instead of reminiscing with our audience we were filling each other in, catching up on Me Thus Far so we could get on with Us From Now On.

The conversation may or may not have included such excellent segues as, "So, I kind of own my own house...," or "Speaking of well-timed farts...." Elizabeth probably did the doctor sketch, Audrey let on about her Diet Vanilla Cherry Coke obsession, Becky mentioned writing, directing, and starring in a musical named, "Cheese," Linds exploded and giggled her way through some crazy story about her and Shiree, Stephanie briefly considered changing dorm rooms but thought it might be better if she stayed and observed, for science, and I found myself speaking up much more than my previously painfully shy self ever would have. And by "previously" I mean "moments ago, right before the conversation started."

It's fun to look back and think about that time in my life. Freshman year was epic. I know, I know, lots of sweatpants, cross-stitching, Friday nights at home, all nine seasons of X-Files, obnoxious quoting of movies and of ourselves, cakes in jars, and so much bad food-- these aren't things normally associated with the word "epic," but I can't use any other word to describe the year in which I created the friendships that would, for the next ten years, get me through all of the hardest times, sweeten all the good times, and fill all the rest of the times with really good jokes, astute observations, and LOTS of hamburgers (would that we had picked something healthier as our mascot food).

We've all moved around over the past ten years, at times living in close proximity to each other and at other times relying on phone calls and emails to keep in touch. Those of us who stuck around in Utah got together often, at least once a month, sometimes in pairs and sometimes with four or even five of us present. The last time all six of us were together, however, was right before I left on my mission in 2006.

That is why this summer it was such a big deal when we managed to get all six of us (plus four little ones!) in the same house to celebrate our Ten Year Friendiversary. It was so wonderful, bordering on magical, to have the whole group together again, but as we paid homage to the year we all met it was also wonderful to think about all the time we've spent together since then. If there's more to life than finding, keeping, and honoring really fantastic friendships, well I just don't have time for it because these girls and I have a lot of talking, telling, chatting, laughing, creating, cooking, counseling, eating, counseling through eating, movie watching, movie making, helping, serving, teaching, and just plain being together to do.



Shhhh! Sleeping...

See how much fun we are? All piled behind that tree the way we are?

Audrey, Elizabeth, Stephanie, Becky, Cheryl, and Lindsey

So much weird going on in this picture, but please take special note of the next generation besties in the bottom right corner.

Also many many thanks to the incredibly talented Julene (http://www.designstonotice.com/) for photographing the event!

And so I blog

Well the kids are all blogging these days so I thought I might try it out. 

Oh wait.

Been bloggin' since 2005.  (Who remembers 2005? Anybody?)

And art bloggin' since 2009.

And sometimes I trip blog

But other sometimes, dang it I just want to write something. Not making any promises on the frequency of posts. Or on the quality of said posts. Or that there will be any posts.

Now that your expectations have been sufficiently lowered, I guess I better get to writing something. Nothing lovelier/more frightening than a blank canvas...

One of my favorite quotes on writing.

One of my favorite quotes on writing.