A Tale of Two Cami's

I’m feeling a little Dickens today; it really is the best of times and was the worst of times not too long ago. Today I am grateful for the opportunity to turn over a new leaf. Today I am grateful for my window at work, and remembering something my mom once told me about finding happiness in the little things. I am grateful for the blue sky and the promise of tomorrow. Who knows how many tomorrows I’ve got, but I’m going to assume I’ve got thousands. Thousands of opportunities to make every day a really good day.

Someone told me once that I have no idea how happy I’m

going to be. I think I’ve taken that as a challenge, so that every night when my head hits the pillow, I can wonder to myself if I made it that day.

I found the Dana Point newspaper online today (not that it was hard…) and was reminded why I want to be a freelance columnist so badly. I have never had political aspirations per se, but there is something really cool to me about being a fixture in the community. I want to be active, involved, and ultimately remembered in my city. For now, that city is Dana Point- a quaint and charming beach town known as the Lantern Village. I plan on making

decisions based on the community events calendar, visiting all the little shops and markets, and really planting some roots. Just another step in building my life! I want an outlet other than my legal pad scribbling and a weekly column seems like just the thing.

In other news, the holidays have arrived! This is my first Christmas season away from the crisp cold and snowy streets of Utah and while I definitely miss that, I am really into the LED-wrapped palm trees at the Ritz. I’m also really into the pen I’m writing with right now. I’m really into Spanish terra cotta pavers and designing a home with them all over the place. Design blogs are my weakness, and I’m on the lookout for estate sales that I can find a cowhide rug at. I’m into committing to a trip to Peru because I want to go and I can go. And I’m really into good home décor. I like reading magazines and pretending I’m going to make the recipes I read and buy the outfits I see. I like making dinner plans and taking trips to LA to see the symphony and latest art installations. It’s as if I all of the sudden grew up. I have to admit that the feeling of having the world at your fingertips yet still feeling like you’re in control is one of the best things I’ve experienced lately. I’ve got a burning feeling in my chest and I feel excited about everything. It feels so good to be at this point and in this place and I am truly lucky that everything worked out the way it has. It is an almost overwhelming feeling, like I’ve got to do something with it or I’ll burst. But I welcome the nerves, and I welcome the unknown because it all means that I’m going to go somewhere and do something. I’m on my way to somewhere else, and I’m willing to bet that that somewhere else is going to be astonishing.


A Photo A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

I'll give credit where credit is due. (As if anyone reading this really thought I was responsible for this photo...) Mr. Sartorialist changed pace and provided me with this gem of a photo the other day. It's hard to pinpoint what I like most about it--most likely because I've got no knack whatsoever for photo composition, technique, blah, blah.
One thing I like about it is the fact that the subject seems to be an underground Chinese food restaurant. I'm never one to turn down some good Chow Mein. Never.
Secondly, I love the fire escapes. While I have long-since said that my place is on the porch of a rambling ranch house, I think I could do weekends in a high-rise full of these quick exits. Industrialism has never really been my thing but I love the hardware in this shot.
Another thought I had while looking at this picture was how interesting it is that I will never see this photo in color. I will never know what color the neon lights of the Chow Mein sign are, and I will never know just what hue the building is either. I won't know if the fire escapes are a freshly painted black or if they've been overtaken by rust. But to be completely honest, I am glad of it.
The people that meet us today, or the people that will meet us tomorrow--they will never know whether or not we are better in color or black and white. I wandered around the mall the other day without a stitch of make-up on, was feeling more than woozy, and figured that I looked about as good as I felt (miserable). Every time I glanced in a mirror I was a little astonished that I didn't mind leaving the house in that fashion but had to laugh because I knew I was going to do it again. And again. And probably again. But here's the thing: no one I encountered that day knew if that was the best or worst version of me, the black and white, sepia, or Pantone color version of me. The thought of flying so incognito is pretty cool.
I digress.
Back to the photo. The last thing that I like most about this photo is the fact that it makes me want to be there. And not just in whatever metropolitan side street offering a popular noodle dish that is featured in the picture. It makes me want to be involved in my surroundings, to see things one time and decide that that is the only version I will ever know, to catch the significance in an illuminated neon sign, perhaps all while eating Chinese takeout.


Love of Beauty is Taste, Creation of Beauty is Art.

"A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us. " - Ralph Waldo Emerson

While I realize that Emerson might have been referring to minds that are well-developed, minds that are schooled in thought and mature, encountering the minds of my niece and nephew startles me on a daily basis. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Eden and Charlie.


I am the Master of My Fate, I am the Captain of My Soul

You heard it here first: working full-time is nothing like college life.

At the risk of sounding hopelessly lazy, it has been a serious adjustment for me to wake up everyday at 7:00am, drive to
work, sit for 8 hours, drive home from work, eat a bowl of cereal, go to sleep, wake up at 7:00am... Lather, Rinse, and Repeat. (It's necessary.) I'm a twenty-three year old child who has never had a traditional full-time job and wah wah wahhh, I'm tired! I keep thinking that any day now summer vacation will be over and it'll be back to the books. And yet, the days keep flying
by at an alarming rate and it is almost
October, one of my favorite college months. As I sit here in my absolutely wonderful bed, on a Friday night, with my wet hair wrapped up in a towel, with a Shape magazine next to me telling me exactly how to lose those pesky 5 pounds I've been despising for weeks but managed to do nothing about, I am suddenly very aware of something. I miss Utah.

I miss planning the elaborate Halloween parties that we never hosted. I miss spending all my time in class online looking up costume ideas. I miss (and yes, I did this. More than once.) planning out several weeks of nightly Halloweenish activities (on paper even) that I would use to persuade anyone who would listen that their participation was vital.
I miss the Haunted Houses. I miss knowing that on Halloween night I would undoubtedly see more exposed flesh than I ever thought possible, even in Utah, as the Mean Girls mantra consistently rings true. I miss walking across campus when there's a slight breeze and a bite on my cheeks of the impending winter chill that was
right around the corner. I miss boots. I miss pretending to study. I miss my friends.

As I was talking with a new friend the other nig
ht, I had one of those "aha!" moments that really shouldn't be an "aha!" moment because it isn't necessarily exciting or epitome-ish or any sort of pioneering thought. "aha!"
I realized, despite the inherent irony of the statement, that change is one of the few constants that exist in this often crazy world. You can count on change, and despite your best efforts to fight like hell when change rears its unfortunate/okay-maybe-kind-of-fortunate head, you will never win. So, unless you're a master debater who strangely needs to go against the grain, perhaps it would be best for all if we just went with it this time.

At this point I've accepted but not quite
embraced the recent changes in my life, and therein lies my goal for the upcoming weeks: I will embrace my surroundings, my good fortune, my family, my friends, and all things currently in my strange new setting. I will grab change by the horns, then jump on and ride bareback (what?) and perhaps have a better view (since I'll be higher up on the back and all) of the wonderful places life has taken and will take me.

One of my favorites poems has long-since been "Invictus" by William Ernest Henle
y. A beautifully defiant, courageous take on making your life truly your own, Henley manages to inspire the champion in all of us with the last line: "I am the Master of my fate, I am the Captain of my Soul." My fate is not solely dependent upon the experiences of my life thus far- it is every bit as dependent on the shape my life will take from this day forward. And rather than sit back and dwell on the 7am wake-ups and occasional slow day at the office, I will become the captain of my soul and approach each new morning gratefully. (And if not, I'll stop at a gas station on the way to work and get a 32 oz. Diet Coke. That'll get me good and grateful.)

I am lucky, I am blessed, I am loved, and I am happy.

And as luck would have it, I get to embrace my change by the ocean, in one of those chairs if I really wanted to.




"être bon"

It’s funny to me that every so often I get in a very specific mood. I get the intense urge to create, to move, to be bigger, to be more. Usually this mood comes as a result of being comfortable, and in essence, bored.

This time around, it comes as a result of the shocking blow of heartbreak. It felt like my soul had it all figured out, was ever-so-abruptly proven wrong, and now begs the question, “What now?”

Once something has been broken, you can attempt to rebuild it exactly the same way it was, piece by piece, trying to find every fragment--then potentially lose your cool all over again when you realize that you might not be exactly the same as you were before. Or, you can feel the antsy anticipation of starting on a new path towards that movement, that need to do more and the need to be bigger. It seems silly to me now that at first I was supremely interested in the former; I wanted to have everything be the same. I wanted to rewind the past year of my life and slow down. I wanted to crawl under the memory of that life, hide from my mistakes, and hide from the pain that inevitably comes from any unsettling change. The last thing I wanted to do was acknowledge that the wedding was off, that the world as I knew it was coming to a screeching and terrifying end, and succumb to the thought that I was never going to be the same.

And then one day it hit me. I am still the same Cami Clayton that loves turkey sandwiches on sourdough bread. I still love getting lost in a book and dream of traveling the world in a good pair of leather sandals. I still want to be a freelance columnist for a community newspaper. I still have an incredible family that loves me, and friends that stick by me even when I'm a total and complete bonehead. I still want 5 children due entirely to my incessant viewing of "The Family Stone", and still think that the ocean can cure any ailment. I still love history books and believe that the written word is an art form all on its own. I still have the uncanny ability to recognize songs within 2 seconds of them playing. I still want to build my children a treehouse and live on a ranch. I still haven't mastered the art of cooking and most likely never will, because I still prefer plain M&Ms over almost any other food item. I still laugh at (probably) inappropriate jokes. I still delight in a slight breeze. I still love card games. I still appreciate the necessity of having fresh flowers in every room of the house. I still love the satisfaction that comes only from working hard for your money. I still look forward to loving freely and living my life in such a fashion that would make my parents proud.

Flaws and all, I am still me. The life I have lived thus far has taught me lessons of every kind and variety. Some have been astonishingly hard, and others have produced moments of happiness that I know will never be forgotten. All the lessons have made me who I am today, the Cami Clayton that is not afraid of the future but anxious to begin it.

"Go Confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined."


Some Things Are Worth Remembering

I used to be an avid writer. I have pages and pages of old school notebooks that were filled with things I liked to call "Ramblings". I'd sit at school, watch people, listen to people and write essays about whatever was on my mind at the time. While looking for something entirely unrelated in my filing cabinet, I came across a folder containing some of these pages that I had ripped out. It occurred to me that these chosen pages contained ramblings that I wanted to remember.
I must have been feeling ambitious this particular day when I wrote down a list of things I would do if I knew I could not fail. Here's what I came up with that day:

- Find a cure for cancer.
- Graduate with 4 minors, a double-major, and a 4.0 GPA. Just for fun.
- Sing opera at the Met.
- Record a CD.
- Write 100 songs that I was proud of.
- Paint portraits.
- Raise horses.
- Be a Concert Pianist.
- Make and Donate Substantial funds to struggling 3rd World countries.
- Write weekly publications in a community newspapers.
- Try everything.
- Climb Everest.
- Build my kids a treehouse.
- Restore a 1960's Woody Wagon.
- Create new computer programs.
- Fund Healthcare programs for deserving families.
- Adopt.
- Sail everyday.
- Dance on Pointe.
- Ace the LSAT and pass the Bar for fun.
- Be fluent in Spanish, Latin, Italian, French, and Mandarin.
- Own a flat in Barcelona.
- Participate in an Olympic sport.
- Read the 100 Greatest Novels, then compile my own list.
- Have a farm that was capable of sustaining a comfortable life with my family.
- Take my kids wherever they want to go abroad.
- Share the Gospel at least once a day.
- Live to see every element of my Patriarchal Blessing realized.
- Write a novel.
- Design an amusement park.
- Create an organization dedicated to showing each visitor how lucky they are to be alive.
- Have an orchard.
- Grow acres of sunflowers.
- Love freely.
- See the Seven Wonders of the World...and then discover the 8th.
- Know enough to write a delicious, gourmet cookbook.
- Know enough to write an Encyclopedia.
- Install rescued wood floors.
- Spoil my grandchildren.
- Make my own clothes.
- Be the best at making everyone feel happy.

While some of these very well could come true, most are things I will never do. I think that the beauty of fantasizing that your life will be everything you want it to be is that you can see just how amazing your life has already been.
I'm just looking forward to the next 22 years.


i figured it was time

here's an update. it's been awhile.
: summer of 2009 meant seeing the world. (or at least a good start). heaven smiled upon me and sent me on a wild 2 and a half weeks in spain, italy, and paris. jamie and i rode planes, trains, and automobiles along the way, (crashing 1 of the above), ate a healthy portion of margarita pizza, a more than healthy portion of gelato, loved the museums, rode the bikes, spoke the languages, and ultimately fell in love with being on the road. i couldn't have asked for a better partner in crime.

: the ushering in of a new year meant the start of my final semester here at byu. i am taking 2 classes, both of which i could have taken as a freshman. more often than not it is painful to go to class, and more often than not the lack of
parking on campus means i turn around and go home.

: i am still fully-employed by magleby's grill, a place i have come to know over the past 4 years. i seem to be a jack-of-all-trades and wait tables, manage the restaurant, help with scheduling, and as of last january, i am the wedding catering coordinator. tasting after tasting and reception after reception, i feel as if i can ably say i can coordinate the dickens out of any catered event. i will miss that place when i am gone.

: i have accepted an internship with amorology weddings based in oceanside, california.

means i will be invading the lives of my favorite minis, eden and charlie, and living with my overly-generous sister and brother-in-law. i couldn't be more excited to make the move right after graduation this april.

: i am, without a doubt, seriously digging my boyfriend. couldn't ask for a better mannish.

would it be all right to say that life is exponentially better when he's around? because i think that's pretty on point.

approaching each day knowing that things just keep getting better has made these last 6 months fly by, and it shows no signs of stopping. i don't mind that at all.

here's to a belated new year full of those moments that make everything worth it.