January 1. As usual I start the year out at Grandma’s, giving toasts and hanging with the rest of my family. I’m beginning to feel like a perpetual seventh wheel with my three married siblings and their spouses.
January 10. I fly home to DC. Yeah, I call it “home” now. Upon arrival I find myself talking with Russ and Steve, my roommates, and at some point I say, “you’re going to drive me nuts?” Russ’ reply, without missing a beat, is “Anything I can do to speed up the process?” I stare at him. He continues, “I don’t want you to go crazy, I want you to come crazy.” I have approximately 355 days left, but I already know that Russ will probably win quote of the year.
January 17. I go on my first date with a girl named Leah. She’s a friend that I met through Russ. It’s been pretty obvious that we’ve wanted to date each other for a while now, but since I’ve already been on a date with her roommate, we had to wait until that roommate was no longer interested in me. That happened over the break.
January 22. Leah and I attend a concert at the Kennedy Center that she asked me to. We start holding hands. Once again I go from first date to girlfriend in about a week. (This appears to be my pattern.)
February 20-22. I fly up to Harvard to the second “Faith and Reason” conference for young LDS scholars to present my paper “The LDS Argument Against Homosexual Marriage: Not a House of Cards, but Not Built on a Rock Either.” It’s good to see many of my friends in religious studies. Most of them are still marginally LDS, even! (sigh)
March 13. Leah makes me an ice cream cake for my birthday. Fantastic.
March 20. Battlestar Galactica ends its 6 year, but only 4 season, run. Best science fiction to come out for TV since Star Trek: The Next Generation, in my opinion. Yes, even beating Babylon 5.
May 3. Leah drops me off at the airport to fly home for the summer. I’m already a week late for BYU’s German 101 class starting. As I leave the car she says “give me a ring sometime.” *cymbal crash* We’ve gotten pretty serious, but I do want to be home over the summer to hang out with my little brother and sister when they’re in town, not to mention all the family reunions and whatnot, including one at Heber where we haven’t had one for years. Regardless of all the fun I’m expecting to have, I will miss her.
May 21. I book a flight to San Diego so I can visit Leah there and meet her parents. Since I’ve left we’ve rapidly gotten more serious. We’re talking about getting married at the end of the summer now. Rings, plans, housing, budget, etc. all start getting talked about in more earnest. Well, those items and really important stuff like whether or not I’ll have time to grow out my goatee for pictures.
June 3. After building for a bit after we got all serious, Leah tries to break up with me over the phone. I convince her not to break up with me until after San Diego.
June 5. I fly to San Diego to visit Leah. Her parents are awesome, her nieces and nephews are adorable, and her siblings are great. I even get to drive her Dad’s Porsche around San Diego all day on the 6th. Also, fish tacos are great.
June 7. Leah and I break up. I feel like Henry V. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends!” pretty much reflects my views on dating.
June 8. I fly home from San Diego. My brother Stephen and his wife Rachel go to dinner with me at the Training Table to help me begin to ease into the post-breakup process. They’re both actually quite frugal and so their going out with me means a lot.
June 8-12. I cry a lot in the shower, eat ice cream and pizza, listen to sad songs (Dad sent me a copy of “And So It Goes” by James Taylor), and to top it off am invited to watch a movie with my sister Rebecca and her husband Camden. We end up watching Twilight, which is a borderline chick flick. You know what? I’m sorry. Guys need violence to achieve catharsis. Well, at least I do. WarCraft isn’t filling that need at this point—the beginning of the end for the video game in my life—and without access to a first person shooter I just go running a lot.
June 24. On my way to my weekly Dungeons and Dragons session with my friend Sam we end up heading over to my high school girlfriend’s house. She married Sam’s brother, and was going through a bit of a rough time in her life. While I was there she showed me a letter I wrote to her when we where 17 and mentioned how much it’s meant to her over the years. I had no idea she had even kept it.
July 1. Leah calls me and we begin the process of getting back together. This process is made immeasurably more complicated by the fact that she has been accepted to Drexel University Medical School in Philadelphia.
July 4. My brother Caleb and sister Catherine fly into Utah from Russia. I haven’t seen them for two years since my Dad started his stint as a mission president for the Moscow Mission.
July 11. After years of responding to the question “what are you going to do with a degree in religion” with the response, “start my own,” I finally go through with it at my 10 year high school reunion. The First Apostate Church of Cranney is born.
July 12. My sister-in-law Robin points out that I should have announced that I was starting a branch of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. And by jove, she’s right! Also, today is going to be the last day I play WarCraft. Turns out my guild almost imploded the day before. Instead of hanging with my game friends one last time, they’re not talking to each other. Kind of makes me glad I’m quitting.
July 14. I quit my WarCraft account and delete the game from my computer. Then I realize I forgot to transfer guild leadership to someone else.
July 15. I have my friend Chris log onto my WarCraft account so he can transfer the guild leadership.
July 17-18. I attend my Heber family reunion, first one in years. I’m a bit of a celebrity since the Deseret News has posted my eulogy of Truman Madsen a few days before.
July 24. I run my first 10k ever. For reasons I still haven’t been able to ascertain, it destroys my ankles and I’m on crutches for the next few days. (I was prepared and had trained, I promise.)
July 24-25. The Eden family reunion is held. I’m in charge of a flag retirement ceremony, and take lots of pictures since that’s all I can really do as Mr. Hopalong.
July 26-9. Leah is in town visiting family with her roommate Lyndsey. We hang out a lot, she gets to meet my family, and instead of a wonderful last night of . . . holding hands, she gets stung by a bee. Lucky for her we were at the Donaldson’s house, and Brother Donaldson is a doctor so he just writes her a prescription instead of heading to the ER since it was still hurting so bad several hours later. By this time she’s decided to go to Drexel for med school.
July 30. I give my brother Stephen a priesthood blessing wherein I told him that while his wife is pregnant he is to be her help meet, thereby rewriting Genesis 2:20.
August 22. I work with Mark Donaldson (Stephen’s father-in-law) for the last time up at his cabin. It’s been a really fun summer, and working for him was the only part-time work I was really able to find in Utah County. But it’s been great to hang out with him and to get to know him better.
August 27. I fly back to DC to begin my last year of coursework on the Ph.D. Katherine Pentz picks me up at the airport, and
only then do I find out it’s her birthday! I feel like a jerk. My roommates are Steve Ward and Adam Hancock, both spectacular, and the apartment we live in is much much closer to many people in the ward. I can tell it’s going to be a great year. I’ll even get to be social and go to FHE and Institute.
August 28-30. I take the greyhound bus up to Philly to stay with Leah for a few days. Philly cheesesteak sandwiches are better in Philly. That is all.
September 12. Leah is down for the weekend and we attend the opening social at the bishop’s house. A good mutual friend of ours, Susan Mikkelsen, somehow mentions that she’s never had a boyfriend. Leah and I start thinking of who to hook her up with, because that’s just a travesty.
September 25-6. I run the Ragnar Relay. Even though the course was changed at the last minute and I had hills (which I had suspected were the cause of my injury at the 10k earlier in the year) I do fine.
September 27. While eating at our house for the post-Ragnar celebration, my friend Melanie asks me about Leah. In the course of talking about her I mention that I first took her roommate out. JP Easley’s jaw hits the ground and he sputters, “you’ve successfully performed the roommate switch?!?”
October 2. The Chinese food guy wonders where I’ve been since May, but he still remembers what my usual order is—General Tso’s Chicken and Beef Lo Mein. And he still thinks my name is Paul.
October 4. Leah breaks up with me again.
October 5. At FHE Laura Winder says that I’m her apartment’s new favorite guy. They like me, they like talking to me, I have interesting comments, and I’m safe, because I have a girlfriend! I then inform her that I am, again, broken up with.
Most. Awkward. Moment. Ever.
It couldn’t have gone more awkward if we had tried. It was so awkward it was actually awesome.
October 9. I’m offered a position teaching a 6-week intensive course of remedial English at Montgomery Community College.
October 19. I’ve been tracking the people that visit my blog and how they arrive on it. I discover that if you google “Arguments Against the Family Proclamation” I’m the first hit that comes up (this entry here). My roommate Steve posts this fact to facebook, and suddenly my blog is a lot more popular. Sadly, nobody comments on the post.
October 25. Since Susan Mikkelsen has been on my “radar” since Leah and I first wanted to see who we could hook her up with, I decide to get her number after ward choir practice (she’s the director). Right as I ask Susan for her number, I’m called to go sing in a small group. So there I am, with half the choir watching me as I put her number into my phone.
Also, about this time we start learning “Pieta” by Joseph Martin. I think this was the first week we sang it. Anyway, it gets added to the list of songs I want played at my funeral, along with “Death Shall Not Destroy My Comfort” and the David Popper Requiem for 3 Cellos and Piano. Here’s a link to an MP3 of the song.
October 26. I become “Professor Cranney” for the first time ever as I try to teach remedial English in 6 weeks.
October 27. I’m aware of the 48 hour (or so) rule that exists stating you should call a girl back after getting her number. However, I have just realized that it’s Halloween this weekend. Not exactly an ideal time to go on a date. Can’t go Friday—big LDS single’s dance. Already have plans for Saturday night. Anyway, I end up asking her to go to lunch on Halloween. Susan accepts.
November 6. After spending an evening with friends performing King Lear via Shakespeare in a Box, Susan and I head back to my place. I hold her hand for the first time and we try our best to snuggle given the fact that my apartment doesn’t have a couch. Once again I’ve gone from first date to girlfriend in about a week.
November 7. For our second date Susan and I go to Strathmore Hall with her mom, sister, and brother-in-law to watch her dad sing. Susan grabs my hand during the concert before I can work up the courage to hold hers in front of her family (I was going to, I promise). I’m pretty sure at this point she likes me.
November 16. I pay forward the awkwardness from Laura Winder (October 5th) when asked to run an errand with a friend because she doesn’t want to go alone at night. “Don’t you normally have a boy toy [boyfriend] to go with?” “Not so much anymore.” Insert foot into mouth.
November 18. I become an Uncle for the first time as Stephen becomes the first Cranney kid to successfully reproduce. Christian Mordecai Cranney arrives on earth, thereby making the entire planet 1.2% more serious by his mere presence. I have to start typing “Christian” fully out, as I don’t think my family wants me to use the Xn of my note taking shorthand (Xtology, Xnity, X for Christology, Christianity, Christ, etc.). Also, I attend my first book club ever.
November 20. I attend my second book club ever. I introduce myself to Susan’s bookclub as a PhD student in systematic theology. Rebekah Fairbanks wonders if I would have more fun doing chaotic theology. I probably would. Actually, I think you could make a good argument that LDS systematic theology actually is chaotic theology, but that’s a post for another day.
December 1. Worst day of the year. Was so stressed that I forgot to eat breakfast (as my Dad likes to say, it takes a special kind of stupid to forget to eat), totally bombed my presentation for my Emotion and Morality class, went to the library to get a book but it wasn’t there because “holding it for 10 days” apparently includes days the library is closed over Thanksgiving break, and then I roll so badly creating my new Dungeons and Dragons characters that, according to the rulebook, I get to re-roll because the numbers were so bad. Twice!
December 8. After years of trying, I finally get Grandma Holbrook to just buy me a book for Christmas instead of something “useful.”
December 11. While talking to Aurea, a student in my class, I watch her self-correct her English just instinctively. All in all, I only failed 3 students of all those that showed up. The 7 that never came to class? Ever. Yeah, I failed them too. I’ve really enjoyed teaching, and the response from the students was positive.
December 12. Christian makes me laugh because he’s so serious all the time. He learns to glare at me through the internet, a cousin skill to my ability to channel hatred through the internet.
December 19. For Christmas Susan buys me a mug that says “I’m the evil twin.” You see, a few weeks earlier a mutual friend of ours had told me that I have a doppelganger in CA giving lectures for NASA. This friend said, “so now you know you have an evil twin out there,” to which my immediate response is “hey, I’m the evil twin!” This gift wins for best present received in my life, beating out Patricia Hicks’ (girlfriend in 2004) getting me hand lotion “guaranteed for all acid blood levels” since we were going to watch Alien and Aliens later that day.
December 20. I’m supposed to be flying home, but it snows 24 inches in about 16 hours and the east coast shuts down. I get to spend a few more days with Susan and her family. Darn.
Also, Melanie Steimle becomes the first person to be embarrassed about achieving Quote of the Day for her “Good art is about pain and angst. Sometimes I'm afraid that in the celestial kingdom there will be nothing but Greg Olsen” quote. For the record, she’s not opposed to Greg Olsen and if his work helps you feel the spirit, more power to you (and him), but she finds his work cliché. Actually, the one painting I do own is his “Sacred Grove,” but I’m pretty sure that it’s not a usual Greg Olsen painting.
December 24. I finally fly home, after spending practically a straight week with Susan, but realize that DC feels much more like home to me than Utah does. The $400 flight voucher, thought of going to Christmas Eve Midnight Mass in the Basilica at CUA, and spending another day with Susan is awfully tempting. But I go home once I actually get a seat on the flight.
December 25. I get to meet Christian at Grandma Holbrook’s house. He doesn’t glare at me. Much.
December 27. Christian is blessed. Rachel mentions that she thinks he has her eyes. My response is “No, your eyes aren’t little pools of blackness that absorb all light.”
December 30. My former DC roommate Russ calls me up and wants to hang out while I’m here in Utah. He’s been having a bit of a rough spot in his life, so I’m curious why he wants to get together. His response? “You may be a midget (he’s 6’8” and I’m 5’3”), but you’re a damn good friend.” I’m glad people think so, between this and the letter to my high school girlfriend (June 24), that was affirmed to me several times this year. Glad I can help.
December 31. I’m at Grandma’s house with the family. The circle is complete. This is the email my Aunt Lisa sent my Mom, which Mom then forwarded to us:
I feel really sorry for you…
No, it’s not that you are missing the birth of your first 3 grandchildren; no, it’s not that you missed meeting your son coming home from a mission, and sending a son on a mission; no, it’s not that you missed spending the holidays with all of your kids…
I FEEL REALLY SORRY FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO FOLLOW MOM AND DAD’S NEW YEARS EVE PARTIES FOR YOUR KIDS!
I just came back from helping them primp and plan for the grandest, greatest, biggest slumber party at their house for New Year’s Eve. It’s gonna be a tough act to follow next year.
And yes, Russ wins quote of the year. “I don’t want you to go crazy, I want you to come crazy!” Although I must admit Amy Clason summing up all that complicates dating was a close second. "Boys are dumb, and girls are complicated." She at least gets a point of awesome for summing it all up with such brevity. My friend from CUA, Larry, wins for Most Insightful Quote of the Year: "I used to think that Mormonism had only the weaknesses of atheism, but I now realize that it also has the strengths of atheism, and those are considerable." This quote is also worthy of its own post. Anyway, here are all of the Quotes of the Day I collected this year.
I had hoped that the quote of the year would be “yes,” but that ended up not happening. Maybe this year. Who knows.