Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recent Discoveries...

1) Chess pie. To quote my aunt, "it's creamy heavenly goodness."
2) Vanilla ice cream with balsalmic vinegar. Don't knock it till you try it. Really.
3) There's a Trader Joe's in Lincoln. Really?!?
4) If I try to sew anything other than cotton, I might have throw something.
5) Pit rocks. 3 rules. No blood. One foot on the ground at all times. Ties resolved with Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Observations

My friend Anna teaches art at two of the local high schools. She does a fantastic job. Her kids basically adore her. I think part of the reason is that she supports them in ALL they do. This means that she gets to go to athletic events, choir concerts, and all the other events that occur in the school district. While I wasn't working this summer, I helped out in her classroom a couple times. The kids make me laugh. Earlier this week, I went with her to a choir concert. These are some of my observations.
*Christmas songs make me happy. I love the religious ones even though they DON'T play them on the radio. Choirs rock because they aren't afraid to tackle them and the whole politically correct Winter Holiday issue.
*Clarification: I don't appreciate pitchy sopranos. I've always said that I don't like sopranos because they make my head hurt. I decided that the non-pitchy ones aren't so bad. I still like the lower ranges better.
*Flutes and piccolos DEFINITELY fit in the previous observation.
*I can most definitely appreciate a guy in a tux. There's just something about the suit, right? I decided this week that tails just aren't okay. They take themselves too seriously. Bing Crosby is one of the few that can pull of tails and NOT look like a penguin. (Don't get me wrong, I like penguins.)
Really, more than anything, I'm grateful for those who are willing to share their talents. As opinionated as I am, I really don't have the right to judge because I can't do any better. This is why I like to think of myself as an appreciater of the arts.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Never Again like 2010...

I remember talking to a friend of mine years ago about the fact that two of our friends were getting married. He said, "I think it's perfect, that just means one less Christmas card that I'll have to write." I immediately adopted that attitude however over time it has evolved into "it's just one less Christmas card that I have to feel guilty about not writing". This year I've decided to change that. The only problem in that is the fact that I don't have any addresses. Result? E-Card posted on the blog.
2010 has been a fantastic year. I'm pretty sure that I won't have a year like this for a really long time. I may go so far as to say, the best year yet. I've done so many things and I'm not sure I can break it down to just the highlights so we'll go for a top 10 kind of list. Here goes nothing...
10. 10 year reunion
Yes. I am that old. I had my 10 year high school reunion. It was fun to see people that I hadn't seen in 10 years. Some had changed a lot. Some were exactly the same. Almost more fun that that was going back to Vernal. It has changed so much and I don't get to go there anymore. It has a Farr's fresh now. That makes me supremely happy.
9. 2 Shakespearean Festivals
I learned something about myself this year. Actually, I learned a lot of things, but this is one of my favorites. Shakespearean Festivals are like my comiconI feel like I can geek out and pull out all of my Shakespeare trivia/quotes ("my fingers itch!" and Exeunt: pursued by a bear. and just enjoy myself. There's something about enjoying fine art and literature while surrounded like other geeks too. I the midst of the mega-massive road trip with the parents, we stopped in Stratford, Ontario Canada for their Festival. It was pretty amazing. We actually saw KISS ME KATE which made me laugh really hard. A few weeks after I got back to Utah, I hit the festival in Cedar City. Once again, I had every opportunity to geek out. And I loved it.
8. The GRE
I did it. It scared the tar out of me. I think it was one of the those "character building" experiences. I'll probably have to do it again before I go to grad school, but I think I had myself so psyched out over the ordeal that the night before I was virtually in tears and my stomach was in knots. Ultimately, it was a test. I've taken them before and I'm pretty sure that I'll have to take another, but for now, I don't have to worry about it.
7. Good Food
I love food. I love good food. I love to travel to find good food. This year's passions included cheese, fresh fruit, tomatoes, peas, breads, strawberry bisque...the list goes on. I also decided that I don't want to go to Africa for the simple reason that their food freaks me out.
6. 5Ks
Somewhere in February, I took up running. It was kind of ridiculous. I ran at 6 in the morning, OUTSIDE. I know it as crazy, but for some reason the cold didn't bother me. My father and brother caught wind of it all and in true fatherly/brotherly fashion, tricked me into registering for a 5k. Brother ran it with me which was kind of nice. We showed up the morning of and my nephew was ready to come with us too. They had arranged for me to have my own personal cheerleader. At the last minute they decided that the weather looked a little to sketch for wiggles to come with us. It was a good thing. We ran/walked through rain, snow, sleet, hail...we had it all. It was pretty fantastic. No, I didn't run it all, but I will someday.
5. Caribbean Cruise in January
One of the smartest things I've done in my whole life. Running away from Utah winter to the peace of the Caribbean...ruins in Cozumel, cave tubing in Belize, exploring in Honduras, snorkeling in Cayman. It was comforting to watch it snow 4 inches in an hour and then catch a plane to Miami the next morning. I'm thinking about a yearly trip in January to somewhere warm.
4. Snow Shoeing
For my birthday last year, my parents gave me snow shoes. Best. Gift. Ever. It allows me to hike in the winter. I have a few friends that I went with last winter. My favorite quote was, "let's go get lost on purpose". I've been waiting patiently for the snow this year and I'm pretty sure that it's not going to happen until I go home for Christmas. That would be my luck. We'll see how long Mother Nature holds out on me.
3. 26 states
California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Michigan, Texas, Florida
2. New Job
I quit my job in July. I couldn't study for the GRE and work at the same time. I tried for a good year and got absolutely no success. I quit and studied. I went on the trip with my parents. It was a hiatus from reality. I'm going to start classes in January and I've found a new job. I'm doing the same that I was doing before, but I feel like this job is going to give me opportunities to progress in other ways. I may be opening a new office and it is hard work, but I still have energy to live at the end of the day.
1. Wiggles and Nabber
I have 2 nephews. We call them Wiggles and Nabber. They make me supremely happy. Nabber arrived on my half birthday, perfect gift, yeah? That's what I thought. I'm currently trying to make the most of them before their dad gets the genius idea to move them across the country for PhD school.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I've got that feeling again...

I keep waiting for someone to update my blog for me. It's not that I don't have an exciting life, because I do. But I don't know that the entire cyber world wants to know all about it. Life is beginning to settle down a bit and I'm hoping to recreate a routine. I'm working again. Yes, it's in another doctor's office. So far the highlights have been putting together furniture, hanging blinds, and a wall full of windows. Yes. I now have windows and sunlight is fabulous. I can now enjoy the fall leaves, the snow (when it comes), and the random students that walk past the office. People fascinate me. Fashion fascinates me. I think my Halloween as been absolutely perfect thus far...it has consisted of toast with pumpkin butter, hot apple cider, and a bag of trick or treat candy. Starting tomorrow, I can register for classes in January. Yes. I'm going back to school. I miss it. I might be crazy in the spring, but for now, it feels like the right thing to do. In the mean time, I plan on reading anything that I can get my hands on. Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dear UDOT,

I understand the necessity and importance of construction. Do you really have to work on the alternate routes too?
Sincerely,
A Concerned Commuter

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Crisply Refreshing

While I was in college, a few friends of mine LOVED Martinelli's sparkling Apple Cider. Every dinner party we had included at least one bottle of Martinelli's. It was fantastic. One of the side labels on the bottle said something about it being "crisply refreshing". It's been a catch phrase in my life ever since. This fall has been good for me, a "crisply refreshing" experience. I've studied for and taken the GRE and felt good about the experience. I consider that a positive. Following the GRE, I had a mission reunion and General Conference. We'll count that a double positive. Elder Uchtdorf's talk from conference spoke directly to me. I have an incredible talent to fill my life to the brim (and maybe even higher), forgetting that there are other things in my life that need attention...for example, myself.
My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most. Let us be mindful of the foundational precepts our Heavenly Father has given to His children that will establish the basis of a rich and fruitful mortal life with promises of eternal happiness. They will teach us to do “all these things . . . in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that [we] should run faster than [we have] strength. [But] it is expedient that [we] should be diligent, [and] thereby . . . win the prize.”
My new job doesn't start for a few more days so I've had lots of free time during the past week. I've tried to use it meaningfully and in a small part, I feel as though I have succeeded. I've been able to volunteer in the schools. I went with a high school art class up the canyon to look at the fall leaves and help with their Andy Goldsworthy projects. I was able to spend some time in a 5th grade classroom and talk to them about space camp and all the great training techniques that they would have to go through before they went to space. I was able to help a good friend move, spend time with my sister-in-law and nephews, visit my grandmother and fill up her gas tank in her car. Basic things. I do them for myself regularly and sometimes they drive me absolutely bonkers. Doing them for someone else? Totally cathartic. Now. Before I sound too much like a selfless do-gooder, I did do quite a bit of stuff for myself as well. I no longer have Nebraska plates on my car. I no longer have a Nebraska drivers license. I no longer am on my parents insurance. I watched some of my favorite movies. I did some mega reading in the Book of Mormon. I watched the first 2 seasons of the Office. I read Shakespeare and Dickens. I cleaned my room multiple times. I ate tomato sandwiches with sharp white cheddar cheese. I made and bound a book! (thanks to roommate for coaching me on that one.) I enjoyed daily rain because I didn't have to run in it. I ran in the early morning and there was no rain. I feel blessed and am grateful for it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crash Course

I have a picture from every state that I have visited over the past 6 weeks. (Except Kansas, I have nothing against Kansas, but I didn't have my camera with me that day. I did however, have some of the BEST french toast that I have ever encountered, EVER, in Kansas.)
Utah:

Colorado:

Nebraska:

Iowa:

Missouri:

Illinois:

Indiana:

Ohio:

Pennsylvania:

New Jersey:

New York:

Connecticut:

Rhode Island:

Massachusetts:

New Hampshire:

Maine:

Vermont:

Michigan:

Wyoming:

and just for kicks even though it's not a state...Canada:

These are just a few of the many pictures I took on the trip and are just the beginning of the many incredible things that I saw along the way. I hope to expand a bit over the next few weeks, but you have to start somewhere, right?

Monday, September 20, 2010

so I've been studying for the GRE.
on the past three practice tests, my math scores have continuously improved.
I haven't been studying math. at all.
my comprehenstion scores took a flying dive (like 20%)and have been slowly improving.
I've been studying. a lot.
I don't get it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

a quick update...

So we came home from our mega-New England tour and I noticed something while we were eating dinner. Mary moved. She isn't in the tomato plant any more. She's off to the side. I would have guess that the plant would have been gone, but apparently, I was mistaken. It's good to be home.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dear Canada...

I know that you find kilometers to be superior to miles. I can accept that. I can even appreciate that. I can not accept the fact that your speed limit equals out to 42 miles per hour. Thank you for such a long day.
Love,
Me

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thus far...

I have fallen completely in love with the state of Maine. Surprisingly enough, I'm not a huge lobster fan, but I can think of about a million other reasons to counter that. It's been a fantastic trip.
Pennsylvania made me laugh. I saw my first out house. Literally, a house with an out house in the back yard. It looked insulated and possibly the size of a two-seater. I guess I'd heard too many Kentucky jokes.
New York was super fast, we spent the night with my cousin in Astoria(the largest Greek population outside of Athens). I do have to say, I much prefer the New York skyline at night rather than during the day. I ate breakfast at the number one Greek import of the US, the deli. It was the classic greasy spoon. We were warned before the owner took our order that he would not look at us, but the food was good and cheap. Not only was the food good and cheap, but he looked at us too! Maybe it was because he heard us talking about him, or maybe he was fascinated by the obvious tourists that had entered his shop. Who knows?
Boston was great. I want to come back. We ate paninis and gelato in Little Italy. I tried fried oysters (crispy and chewy all at the same time?). I walked most of the Freedom Trail. We went whale watching (saw 4 humpbacks); went to the Boston MFA (loved the peace and quiet...not to mention Sargent, Monet, Rembrandt, etc); and rode the trolley. Yes. I saw Fenway Park. No. I don't know how the Red Sox are doing. As we were passing MIT, some random kid on a street corner looked up at the trolley and yelled, "Welcome to Boston!" Not going to lie. It was one of my favorite moments from the trip. It was a big city. There was A LOT going on at all times, and yet...one kid cared enough to yell "Welcome to Boston!" I felt validated.
Once we left the city, I fell in complete love with New England. Like I said, Maine is my favorite. Driving the coast through all the antique shops and book shops was perfect. It's relaxing. I actually studied GRE vocab and enjoyed it. There were piles of pumpkins, apples, and fresh cider on the side of the road for sale. Blueberries are just coming on. Cranberries grow here!!! Just think of all the anti-oxidants! I love the architecture of the homes. I understand that it's cold here in the winter. It's cold in Utah too. It snows a lot. Sounds familiar. It's a long winter. I'd rather be cold than hot. If I can get the "go ahead" I'd love to sell the Malibu, buy a Subaru, adopt a large dog named Murphy, and live near the rocky coast forever. We drove through the home of the men's US Toboggan Championships!!!
Well...the trip is half over and we still don't want to come home, but there's still a week to go. Maybe I'll fall in love with another spot too.

Monday, September 6, 2010

An afterthought...

I've noticed a recent trend in my life. Most people get toothbrushes from their dentist at their 6-month check ups. Some get them for Christmas, Easter, or other holidays. I get them on vacation. More specifically, I get a toothbrush from my parents when we go to the East Coast on vacation. There is no reason as to why, but it's the truth of it.
PS The good news is I now have clean clothes to go with my new toothbrush.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Stats.

Okay. I'm 3 days into my trip and here are some stats.
*So far we've driven something like 2,000 miles.
*Slept in 3 different states.
*Been in 6 different states.
*Seen license plates from 35 different states and one province.
*Stocked our cooler with at least 12 pounds of ice.
*Finished our cantaloupe, watermelon, and grapes.
*Been through 3 different toll booths.
Highlights of the trip?
I was offered a job and a place to live in Iowa.
The Grape Stomp at the Grape Festival was actually a 5K.
Singing THE SPIRIT OF GOD in the Kirtland Temple.
I secretly, or not so secretly want to live in Ohio.
Tonight we tried 4 different campgrounds (2 closed to public use, one was actually a trailer park, and one was completely full) before we settled for the Comfort Inn. Such is the stuff that memories are made of...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ahhhhhhh, the memories.

I was going through a box tonight, looking for a pair of wool socks for my upcoming trip. I found much more than the ultra-mega wool socks (which will coincidentally keep my feet more than warm during my 16 day camping trip/Earl dodging expedition); I found my mission tights. I know many sister missionaries find tights to be the bane of their existence. I was not one of them. I wore them gratefully (in addition to MANY other layers) so that I did not lose my lower extremities. I actually brought them home with me as a "family heirloom". Oh, they were funny. I think part of the reason that I couldn't part with them was for the shock factor. I knew my mom would be appalled when she saw them, but I loved them anyway. There were 2 pairs, both black, equally loved. The first have a hole in a nondescript location that my head would easily fit through. The second had multiple holes in the lower foot area. (The inside of my shoes wore out before the outside.) The legs were still intact and I could still wear them, just had to darn them so my foot didn't rub through. At the time of the darning, I was out of black thread. My companion had loads of thread, however, there was no black. One of the feet was mended in sea foam green. The other was mended in hot pink. I guess it's the closest to emo that I've ever been. I still have a cheesy grin on my face and it's been 45 minutes since I found them. Good memories. Chile. I miss Chile. I'll get over it. I've still got the tights, right?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One month from today, it all goes down.

One month from right now, I will be one hour in to the GRE. I will most likely be trying desperately to focus on the pathetically dry pages of information and playing the "guess what I'm thinking" game with ETS. Actually, I will have probably reached the "I don't care anymore" point and be trying my hardest to just finish...gracefully. Wish me luck. (I've still got a month to study, and 15 of those days will with flashcards in the car. Yay me.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

I stressed out my dad tonight...

I think you'll get the basic idea from Bob Newhart. The good news is that no one died and the cars are just fine.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I've got backup!!!

So I took a film class during my undergrad. We talked about westerns, romantic comedies, film noirs, and a few different Hitchcock films. If you talk to my roommates from that year, I'm not very much fun to watch movies with because I get a little too excited when it comes to analysis. Luckily, I went on the mission soon thereafter and quit watching movies altogether. I kind of broke myself of the habit. A few years ago I decided to watch SOUTH PACIFIC over the Christmas break. I had an enlightening experience. I vaguely remembered a 15 minute blurb on musicals during my film class. We talked about how they use bright colors and music to give a happy-go-lucky impression. I dismissed the thought until I watched SOUTH PACIFIC. Talk about mega-issues: race, prejudice, war, relationships, etc. Oh boy. I decided that the purpose of the musical was to take bright colors and music and major issues and diffuse them into a happy-go-lucky experience. Since the experience, I think my ideas have adapted a bit too. Now, it's more of the canvas to paint the issues in a way that the general public can see them (maybe even with rose-colored glasses), but they are still there. My uncle has a PhD in Theater. Currently he's teaching a 19th Century Irish Lit class, but as I talked to him about the class they are looking at Irish theater as well...the stock melodrama character (as displayed through Lucky Charms, Notre Dame, and Finian's Rainbow). The conversation turned to contributions of different locations to theatrical community. America's original contribution to theater? The American Musical: taking issues, making them pretty and giving them to the public. HA! I do still have intelligent thoughts.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Horn of plenty...

Last week I met up with one of my old Nebraska friends for ice cream at one of the coolest places I've ever been. That day, my daring flavor was Sweet Corn Blackberry. (They make their own ice cream.) While we chatted, she updated me on things to do in Boston. In the midst of learning about the awesome Indian place above the Staples in Harvard Square, I wrote Harvest Square. She politely corrected me, and we went on. (Consequently...AWESOME TRIP planned for Boston.)
Today Roommate texted me to let me know that I'm missing the Harvest. Not going to lie, I've been thinking about that since before I crossed the state line. My one consoling thought was, "Hey! Mom and Dad have tomatoes in the back yard-I'll be fine." Right. I got home, checked the planter box for tomatoes, and found...dirt. Upon questioning, Mom said they sprayed out the planter with Round Up. WHAT!?! Why would they do such a thing to TOMATOES!?! Apparently every plant they have ever planted in that box has come back the next year. Four years later, they had quite the mix: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, berries, rabbits, etc. Yeah. Rabbits were the surprise crop from two years ago. Anyhow, the planter box.
Wait. Back track. Let me apologize for the rotten transition. (It's never been my forte.) In Utah we had a family joke. We always had a garden and we loved the harvest, but it seemed that the one thing we produced most efficiently was rocks. Every springs we hauled piles of rocks out of the garden and every fall there was a new batch. I didn't get it. Still don't get it. Makes no sense in my mind. This is why I was completely fascinated when I came home from my mission to find my parents with a garden not even 1/16 of the size that we had growing up. They had tomatoes and a cucumber growing in the box and to be honest, it was awesome. I don't think they had ever dealt with soil so fertile. The thing that made us giggle was the cucumber. They next door neighbor is very Catholic. She has her traditional Mary shrine in the back corner of her yard, right through the fence from our planter box. Over the course of the summer, the cucumber grew through the fence. One night while we were mowing the lawn we noticed that the cucumber was growing around Mary's neck. Amusingly enough, it wasn't even just the vine. It was an actual cucumber. Eek! We're not disrespectful! Honest! We just have highly fertile soil!
Flash forward 4 years. My parents were tired of worrying about what was and wasn't growing and how exactly to keep the rabbits out of he said garden so they Round Up-ed (is that even a word?) everything. The morning before yesterday, the neighbor caught Mom in the driveway and handed her a bag of tomatoes. She explained that she didn't really care for tomatoes, but they had a volunteer plant in their back yard, It just kind of appeared. Mom thanked her for the tomatoes and came in to share the story. We looked out back and noticed that this year Mary is nestled in nicely to a thriving tomato plant. We may get the tomato harvest yet...if not, Roommate, you'll have to save me something, yeah?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Some things don't change... ;)

I've discovered that somethings don't change:
1) Remember how I'm "that one laugh" in the movie theater? Or the non-movie theater? I discovered that I am also "that one laugh" in Methodist Churches during charity concerts featuring "Italian" tenors with ridiculous mustaches singing "You Are My Sunshine". I'm beginning to question whether I should be let out in public at all.
2) Nebraska is one of the stickiest states that I've ever dealt with. I was doing okay with my running regiment until I entered the state that requires a de-humidifier in order to breath while participating in physical activity. Oh yes. They make them. There were two of them with the 11 fans in my 3 bedroom apartment the day it flooded.
3) Hugs from Mama B NEVER get old.
4) Piggybacking the sticky comment above, my hair doesn't know how to deal with humidity. Strangely enough I think it likes to be straight in Nebraska and curly in Utah. I don't know how it works either. Makes no sense to me.
5) I've been wearing the same running shoes for 3 years and you'd never know it to look at them. They still look brand new...unless you look at the bottom. The soles are wearing off.

I guess one thing can change. I witnessed my father sing "You Raise Me Up" at the benefit concert. That is ONE thing that I never would have expected. Ever.

And...the jury is still out. I have a severe "dislike" for anything Bronte. I have many friends who have a passionate "like" for JANE EYRE(the epitome of my previously mentioned dislike). I've decided to read it again and give it a fair chance...I'm trying. Really I am.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Home...

I've learned a few things since I came home and feel the need to share them.
*My dependency on chocolate milk most-likely came from my mother.
*I believe in feng shui. I tried to go running on my parents treadmill this morning and nearly fell over because the furniture needs to be re-arranged: completely out of balance. I couldn't focus on anything. The good news is, I have a project now.
*Photo montages make road trips go much faster. I inadvertently created one on my drive home. I took a picture every time the scenery changed. I was more aware of my surroundings and Colorado went by a lot faster that way. Who would have guessed? (I was also highly amused by the diesels carrying the GIANT Target shopping carts, Toby Keith's roadies, and the motor home towing a John Deere tractor. Bless I-80.)
*Toads have striking similarities to rocks in the dark.
*Playing the piano is like riding a bike. You never really forget.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

sensory overload...

So...the GRE. I've reached a level of total satiation. Sensory overload. There's only so much that I can cram into my brain about reading comprehension: how to read, what kind of passage it is, what kind of message is it sending, what was the author's purpose in writing said passage, how many question can ETS (the GRE people) can twist out of the passage, etc.
I took the day off.
A good friend of mine is a park ranger at Timp Caves so I went for a visit. It was good for me. It felt good to work hard to climb the 1,000 feet to the mouth of the cave. It felt even better to get to the top knowing I was winded, but not exhausted. (I think the running has helped. Maybe I ought to add a few hills to my routine.) She hooked me up with what is called an "IC" tour. I had no idea what that meant. Apparently "IC" stands for "Introduction to Caving" What does that entail? A hard hat, leather gloves, a head lamp, boots, seeping water, and a lot of really dark 45 degree air in an enclosed space. That was a drastic contrast to my Dinosaur experience, a million degrees, giant glass building, T-Shirts, sandals, small plastic dinosaurs, and NO water. The only similarities were rocks and bats. And people. Tourists are the same everywhere you go: people looking for an escape from their real lives, they came to see you on purpose, and they are excited to see you.
I'm a geek. I love to know why rocks are important and why water is an integral part of cave formation. It never occurred to me that caves are living entities. They require air and water to continue to grow...to survive. I learned a lot and re-affirmed something about myself. I love education. I love seeing people learn things that make them happy. Classrooms scare me. I loved school: kindergarten through college. I think I have a fear of public schools because of my public school experience. I don't regret my experience at all, but I did see how many of the other students treated their teachers and their educations. I know there are lots of politics in education and I tend to steer clear of them too, but I had flashbacks to NPS politics today too. I guess this is a really round about way of stating that I do see teaching in my future.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Miscellaneous; or It's Friday, right?

*When are 2 inch inseams on shorts ever okay?
*I've been living in this house for 4 months and I have just realized that the bell tower across the parking lot plays music.
*Grape Gatorade tastes like purple PixiStix.
*Crenshaw melons ROCK!
*The lady at the grocery store was right, I am fortunate. I can quit my job to study for the GRE.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Library. Day 2...

After day one, I arrived at the library armed with ear plugs to drown out any literacy students who may or may not have been practicing out loud deep in the stacks of nonfiction. Today. I encountered a little bit of a problem. Instead of student literacy issues, I found myself flanked on one side by a highly tatooed 30 something man with an ipod blaring loud enough that I could hear it and HIM singing along with his punk music three chairs down. On the other side I had the nearly 30 something married man, complete with personal fan shaped like a flower and pot. Whirring. Endlessly. It was ridiculous. They were both on Facebook for the most of the time...except for the time they were on LDSmingles.com. Really? And people wonder why I'm a hermit most of the time. Oh well. Right now, I have one focus. GRE. August 13th. That's it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Guess where I'm spending the next 3 weeks...

Life is like a library owned by the author.
In it are a few books which he wrote himself,
but most of them were written for him.
-Harry Emerson Fosdick

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Art.

I've always classified myself as an appreciater of art more than an artist. This is why I can tell you I went to the Ben Folds concert last night. He was accompanied by the Utah Symphony. Fantastic. I loved it. As my friend and I left the venue, we discussed why we love concerts. It gives people (be they musically talented or not) the opportunity to gather with others who feel the same way and appreciate a musician and their music.
I don't know if it is something about Ben Folds fans...or maybe fans of the Utah Symphony...but this was the BEST TRAFFIC EXPERIENCE that I have had in a really long time. People filed in one at a time so both lines of traffic continuously moved. I saw two police officers. Total. They were both on motorcycles. More than a mile apart from each other. There was even contruction. Absolutely amazing. City of Park City. I salute you.
In addition to music, I have appreciated more art this weekend. I have a friend who is a highly talented quilter. She does beautiful and amazing work. She called me on Friday and asked me if I wanted to try something with her this weekend. I said sure and resulting from this project, I have a new art form and goal.
We dyed fabric.

I know. It looks like I'm stewing sea urchins, but hey-I ended up with some really cool fabric. I now have a goal to make a quilt out of fabric that I dyed myself. Hold me to it. It'll happen.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 30, 2010

I was at work today and had the great realization that I'm still having a hard time dating things as 6/2010. It just hasn't been the easiest transition for me. The best part of this is that tomorrow I have to start dating things 7. Ha. Well. It's official. I'm refocusing my focus. I'm quitting my job. I'm studying for the GRE. I'm taking the GRE. I'm doing all of this over the next 6 weeks before I go home for a visit. It'll be my reward for finishing. I'm planning strategic rewards for myself: books, slack-lining, trips, nephews, etc. Wish me luck....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

May: In Review

1 Wedding (not my own)
2 Receptions
3 weekends out of town
4 different seasons weather patterns
5K in rain, sleet, snow, and hail
6 gallons of strawberry bisque
7 different beds in the month of May
8 days with hand, foot, and mouth disease
9 batches of hot cocoa
10 days without a run...not the best idea

Friday, May 28, 2010

my latest adventure...

so i decided to go to denver for memorial day. i have arrived. with all the class and style necessary for my type of travel. don't you worry. i left my sleeping bag in the airport and had to go back after it. oh yes. it was amazing. security at the airport said there was no way that i could back after it because i no longer had a valid boarding pass. luckily the airline got me in. i went back to the bench i had left it on and it wasn't there. i did locate it at the nearby information booth. when i volunteered to claim the little lost sleeping bag, the (rather attractive) security guard looked at me quizzically (nice word usage, eh?) and questioned the sleeping bag. i explained that it was in 2 compression sacks. he told me he had been afraid to open it because he thought it was a rubber raft that was going to explode. yes. that was my airport adventure.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I've giggled all morning long...

I read this and the possibilities have been endless.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Oh my...

So my best friend got married yesterday. I had one of those ridiculously awkward wedding experiences that only ever happens in the movies. I generally am totally secure in my single state. When it's my time, I'll meet the perfect guy and live my "happily ever after" but in the mean time, I'm not waiting for him. I'll have "happily ever after" with or without him. Somehow at the wedding luncheon, I ended up at table with 3 other single friends of the bride from different parts of the country, all in varying states of security in their singleness. I'm not going to lie. I found it 100% hilarious and managed to secretly not say anything or laugh out loud. I was rather proud of myself. The conversation quickly turned to how happy they were in the success of their careers, but there is an obvious shortage of men to match their standards. There was an unofficial "wo is me" kind of debate. I think I understand why people get drunk at weddings. That's about it.
PS Best Moments of the Day
1) The bisque was a raging success at the reception.
2) Lidocaine mouthwash is the best thing to ever hit a mouthful of canker sores.
3) I can eliminate stress and hopefully stress-induced maladies with 2 weeks of relaxation.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Update...

I went to the doctor today for the first time since before my mission. What did she tell me? I have a funky virus in my throat. What does that mean? I'm going to have canker sores in my throat and mouth for the next 7-10 days. Yay me.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'm tired.

Since I last posted, I have run a 5K, finished a quilt, shopped for and made 6 gallons of strawberry bisque, done laundry, unofficially planned the next 2 years of my life, spent some fantastic quality time with my nephew, been to 2 different bridal showers for 2 different roommates, filled my gas tank at least 3 times, talked to my mother on the phone about a million times, and caught some cold-ish, flu-ish, thrush-ish something that makes me tired. I don't have time to get sick. I'm not done with my list of things to do yet. I guess the shining factor in all of this is that fact that sick or not, I'm still going. I got an email yesterday letting me know that one of the kids I grew up with was killed in a car accident yesterday. He was coming home to baptize his daughter. Life is so fragile and I'm still so blessed. Tired or not.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thought you might like to know...

I just registered for my first 5k.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ever have one of those days...

In which you are absolutely positive that the Lord is completely aware of exactly what is going on in your life and knows exactly where your breaking point is? I've had about four of them in a row. The best part about it is, I feel His influence in my life and know that He is not only aware, but concerned and has done so many things to make me okay with it all.
Today's scripture of the day is, "For behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction."
I feel nothing but gratitude.
and
I JUST REGISTERED FOR A CLASS!!!
(That would be excitement.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'm getting closer.

I discovered that if I sub out the sour cream for plain yogurt and add more sugar I'm much closer to the strawberry bisque that I'd like to create.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

for the first time in 26 years...

i went for a run with my brother tonight. he's always been the runner in the family. tonight we went on a run while we talked about the walks we used to take before i graduated and left home. (i can walk forever, however this running thing...it's gonna take some work.) it was good. thanks sqweeg.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today my blog turned 2. Can I say that? In Spanish I would say, "Today my blog completed 2 years." That sounds funny too. Well...one way or another, "my funny funny little world" has been global for 2 years. I choose to celebrate by sharing another crazed patient story from work. Our new patient scheduler shared this story with me because she considers me "the literary type" (that makes me laugh). Apparently we had a patient call to tell us that he "knows how the system works" and is writing a book about it. Its name is THE PRETENDERS. Wait, NO! Its name is [said in the voice of a chain smoker or one who has had throat cancer] HARD-CORE-PAIN-THAT'S-TRAPPED-IN-YOUR-BODY-AND-YOU-THINK-THERE-IS-NO-WAY-OUT...PS-BUT-THERE-IS-A-WAY. Yup. That's his title. Nope. Not his thesis sentence. Just his title. I love our patients. They make me appreciate the things that I really have and enjoy in my life.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

my eye is twitching...

I'm pretty sure that Donkey said that in SHREK once, but I'm not sure that I can verify that. I can, however, say it for myself. I seem to have developed a twitch in my left eye. I don't know exactly what it causing the problem, but I do have my theories. I just took a new job at work which has been known to cause shingles among previous employees. Because of the recently acquired twitch, I chose to make this a nice quiet night in (no roommates). In the midst of my productivity for the evening, I spent a little time with HGTV HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL. I watched a couple sell their home and citrus nursery so that they could move to the Great Barrier Island and live a completely self-sufficient lifestyle. I want to live on the Great Barrier Island and live a completely self-sufficient lifestyle. I think my eye would quit twitching.
PS I miss Nebraska.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

thoughts...

I went to a play last week and I've been mulling over for almost a whole week now and I still don't know how I feel about it. It was Shakespeare's AS YOU LIKE IT, which is my favorite Shakespeare. Period. This version kind of baffled me. It was was 'modern musical interpretation' and that's what's boggling me. It was beyond modern. I would classify it as post-modern. Gothic Cold War? Really? The music they chose? I WILL FOLLOW YOU INTO TO THE DARK by Death Cab for Cutie and THE CHAIN by Ingrid Michaelson. I still have those songs stuck in my head. Help? I think I need to go to the Shakespearean Festival this summer. Period.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ahhh...springtime.

i just went to the grocery store and noticed the car in front of me had a guy and girl (in tears) having an obviously important conversation.
i went to bed with the fear of a giant flag and flag pole unexpectedly entering my room during the night. (blessed wind)
i woke up to snow and wind and 34 degrees (as opposed to yesterday's sun and 68).
would i expect anything different from general conference weekend in april?
ahhh. springtime. in utah.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

No...really. I celebrated a pagan holiday.

I'd like to dedicate this post to my parents. They left Utah yesterday morning at 6:00am and asked me what I was going to do with the rest of my day. Happy Holi. We're celebrating the first day of spring.
Here it is...the before and after.



4 washings later, my hair/scalp is still purple, I blow my nose purple, and I have a purple spot on my elbow and one in my ear.
I had a good time...
Oh-and if you want to know what YOUTUBE has to say about it, try this.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

you know what makes me happy?

that feeling you get when you go to bed early and wake up on your own while thinking, "ah man, is it time to get up already!?!" and then you look at the clock to find out that it is 11:30. it's like you get a 2-for-1 deal with your nights sleep!

ps i finally figured out my airbed. i think the problem was that i had TOO much air in it.

also...there are 15 stop lights between my house and my place of employment. this morning's record ROCKED. 13 green. 2 red.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lessons learned on Angels Landing...

So I hiked Angels Landing yesterday. It was awesome. I loved it. It felt so good to climb something...and feel sunshine...and spend time with friends that cause me to laugh so hard that I cry...and save my life.
Today in Relief Society we had a lesson on the Fall of Adam and Eve and it's importance. I had a genius realization in relation to my experience yesterday. We were near the top of this "little" peak and we were actually on our way down. From some of the pictures, you may have noticed that there were chains anchored on the mountain so that there is something to hold on to while traipsing across the slick rock. Remember, it's March. There were still patches of snow on the trail in certain shady spots. Shady spots, slick rock, ice/snow...it was a great experience. I'm not going to lie-there was sliding involved. There was sliding A LOT closer to the edge than I was comfortable with. I will be FOREVER grateful that Karen was just ahead of me and stopped me from sliding over the 1000 foot cliff. In a sense, my fall was necessary. I wanted to get down the mountain. I had to take THAT trail and apparently sliding was necessary as well. I probably didn't even fall as much as I feel like I fell, but it was enough to get my heart beating and Karen got a HUGE hug once we got back to stable ground.
So...how does this apply to Adam and Eve? They fell. It was necessary that they fell so that the Plan of Salvation could actually take place. I had always heard that instead of falling down or falling backward, Adam and Eve had fallen forward. They progressed in their fall. After yesterday, I think I want to tweak that a little bit. I want to think that it was a controlled fall. It was necessary for them to fall so that they could arrive where they wanted to arrive. The Lord was not about to let them fall off a thousand foot cliff and even if it did let them fall...he was going to pad the landing for them. Sometimes fall are terrifying and painful, but we learn from them. Once upon a time, I had a neighbor who had a magnet on her fridge that said, "The harder you fall, the higher you bounce." I'm grateful for my little experience yesterday and I'm glad that I had the opportunity learn without actually falling off the cliff.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

150.

This is my 150th post. I just noticed. It's been quite the week. I could write about:
150 foods I'd like to be eating
150 reasons that I loved ALICE IN WONDERLAND
150 reasons that dark chocolate is good for you
150 snowflakes that are currently in the air
150 songs that make me happy
150 things I should do before I leave this house
Instead I choose to write about the 150+ stairs that I have run this week. Moving from a basement to a second floor bedroom has been quite the trial for my quads. I think I can safely say that I have put Rocky to shame.

On other news fronts...I called the psychologist that I work for "Bishop" this week. It was an accident. It was not my idea. He walked into a conversation that I was apparently quite engulfed in. Not sure that I'm going to live that one down. He continued to walk through my office with "callings" for me to do: call people to come visit him, collect reports, etc... Oh, it's a party. All the time...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

An Ideal Morning...

It's 7:18 and I've had a good morning.
Waking up is not as hard as it used to be.
(Even if I don't sleep as much as I should.)
Running most definitely is not as hard as it used to be.
(For the record...still don't understand why people do it for fun.)
Grapefruit and shredded wheat: Breakfast of champions.
Good Day by Tally Hall will make it a good day.
Moving tonight...let me know if you're going to be bored at about 6:00pm. I could be persuaded to buy you pizza.
Happy Thursday!
(or in my case Happy Wear-Your-Pajamas-to-Work Day!)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

announcements.

1) i found a recipe comparable to the strawberry bisque that we had on our cruise. i made it. it was fantastic.
2) i found artichokes on sale and realized that i had never had an artichoke that wasn't out of a jar. so i bought them. i decided that if i was going to eat artichokes, i must make hollandaise sauce(hadn't tried that either).
3) in the midst of the hollandaise and strawberry bisque i've been munching on MIDNIGHT REVERIE (86% cacao dark chocolate). it's 25% iron. that ought to help right?
4) i got a new house key today. that means i'm getting a new house. that'll be exciting. old roommate. new house.
5) elder rasband gave a fireside tonight. i'm living proof of this statement: "the lord did not change the circumstances. he changed joseph's ability."
6) i visited my nephew today. he said something very close to "aunt shandy". he also proved that the cardboard box is the greatest form of entertainment. my brother said, "shandy. i haven't seen you laugh like this in a REALLY long time." "caleb. you need to stop making aunt shandy cry."

Friday, March 5, 2010

rock. solid. AWESOME. morning.

6:05am wake up to run
6:06am check the weather. find 4 inches of snow on the ground.
**secret thought...scarlet's getting married today and wanted sun. in utah? in march?!?
6:06:30am send text to jess (running buddy) commenting on the weather
6:07am receive a text "i could be convinced to sleep in"
6:08am sleep
6:30am ignore alarm clock
6:45am disregard 3rd alarm of the morning
7:00am rudely awakened to a new foreign beeping
7:01am recognize the foreign beep as the sound that Grandma's phone makes when the power is out.
7:01:14am recognize a "new" foreign beep as the sound the peoplevator makes when the power is out.
7:02am contemplate skipping the shower today to realize that i HAD to shower today. there was NO choice in the matter.
7:05am wander around basement looking for suitable clothing and psych myself up a shower in the pitch black
7:06am remember that the laptop has a battery and could theoretically double as a 10x14 white light.
7:08am enter shower by laptop light. mentally grateful for a) a hot water heater that is gas powered; and b)a shower curtain that is not completely opaque.
7:25am exit shower.
7:34am check the clock. gotta leave in 10 minutes.
7:34:12am HAIR!?! two weeks ago we chopped all the hair to prevent throwing it up, creating the "bald man"/"cancer victim" look. gotta figure that one out quick!
7:35am create 2 small buns on my head reminiscent of danniey...adorable girl i work with. pack the bag with extra bobby pins. still not sure that the hair is long enough for the hairstyle.
7:40am make up? no need to look like a small child playing in mom's makeup. i value both my eyes.
7:45am leave house and scrape 4 inches of snow off my car
7:50am shelley calls. she got a foot of snow last night and is going to be 10-20 minutes late. could i open the front desk? oh sure. why not?
7:55am arrive at work...the ONLY car in the parking lot. oh sure. why not?
7:56am find shawn inside. apparently the power has been out here too. oh boy.
8:00am open the front door with a disclaimer..."we're recovering from a power outage."
8:15am computer still hasn't kicked itself into activity
8:20am the server's down
8:25am shelley arrives and i get to back to my preauth hole.
8:28am add another bobby pin
8:45am trip to will's for sunkist for shelley and chocolate milk for me. it's one of THOSE days.
8:52am discover that we're not the only ones with power/technical issues this morning.
9:07am settle into a groove at work
9:38am groove destroyed. the internet's down. no schedule. no insurance information. no google to even find veracity's phone number.
9:42am embrace the primitivity of morning and call insurance companies.
10:12am spoke with the 3rd "Kim" of the morning at IHC. she saved my hide and helped me auth an MRI that is scheduled for MONDAY.
10:35am the internet's back!
11:30am i decided that i had come to terms with the day. the hair. the weather. moving on.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I laughed REALLY hard...

So a friend of mine showed me this this morning. I see this happening in my future. I think I will chuckle ALL day. (Brief recap: the woman is a Vicar...and apparently performs marriages on a regular basis.)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Nostalgia...

So I've been secretly planning a blog entry all week about the day I received my mission call (one of the girls at work is going to get her's on Wednesday).
The day I got my mission call, I actually went on a field trip to a corn maze. I was living with my friend Monique and her 5 kids. Wendy (the girl) needed a chaperone for her field trip. I had a good time-really didn't think I was old enough to be a chaperone, but 5th graders amused me. It was a rainy day in September so I hit the shower as soon as I got home. The only trick to that was that I wasn't actually home at that point. I was babysitting the girls through the back fence while their parents were at Lake Powell. I had just finished drying my hair and the phone rang. I andswered it to Monique screaming, "IT'S HERE!!!!" I had just submitted the papers a week before. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. "I WENT TO CHECK THE MAIL AND IT'S HERE! YOUR MISSION CALL IS HERE!!!" I called my parents (they were in Nebraksa) and Mom said Dad was on his way home from work, but they would call Monique's as soon as he got home. At that point it all sunk in and the girls and I went home to Monique's. I got home to find not one, but two envelopes. The first was the standard big white envelope from the First Presidency. The second was a standard-sized mailing envelope from the Church Travel Office. Upon a second look I discovered that I could see through the smaller envelope. There was a piece of orange/peach paper with a big header across the top that said "Visa Requirements for Chile". I think I said something along the lines of, "Oh my gosh!" and ran down the hall to my bedroom. Monique followed me down the hall, "You cheated! You cheated!" and she confiscated BOTH envelopes until my parents called. When my parents finally called, I found out that I was going to Osorno, Chile. I was going to learn Spanish. I understood that missions change lives, but I don't think I understood the magnitude of the impact it would have on MY life. This morning I woke up to write and found out about the earthquake in Chile. Wow. Want to talk about a wave of nostalgia? All of a sudden I am concerned from those I met and loved. There's not really anything that I can do for them right now. I'll keep them in my prayers and I'll keep my eyes open for opportunities to serve and bless them like they blessed me. If I go back for a visit...so be it. I'm always up for a good trip.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bucket list...

I've had a theory that since I graduated, my attention span has deteriorated to the bitter dregs of nothingness. Because of that, I have about a million things to blog about and don't remember what they are. Here's comes the discombobulated list:
-THIS is my secret passion in life.
-My misfortunes: Your road to glory will be rocky but fulfilling; Be prepared to modify your plans; Be Content with your lot. One cannot be first in everything. Thanks you PF Changs.
-My nephew is 18 months old and 35 inches tall. That's over half my height.
-For the 6th time, I've learned how to knit. I think it may have stuck this time.
-Approximately a year ago, I went to the East coast with my parents. I successfully left my toothbrush in Utah. After a trip to the local CVS, an adequate toothbrush was procured and deemed "too hard for a soft head". After the trip it was shoved to the back of the drawer. Approximately 2 weeks ago, it was rediscovered, retried and has been titled "the favorite toothbrush".
-I like having Italian friends. They teach you how to make Italian food.
-Running in the morning DOES make my life better.
-Chickflicks and Chocolate. Must involve MASTERPIECE THEATER. Best thing since sliced bread.
-Why did I think that celebrating Lent and giving up ice cream was a good idea?
-I want to "get lost on purpose" this weekend. Snow shoes? Anyone? Anyone at all?
-I need separation in my life. I use my work key to get into my house and my house key to get into the office. Never works quite like I want it to. Grrrrr.

Monday, February 22, 2010

happy birthday george!

for your birthday, i went running.
i also celebrated by purchasing four wonderful red peppers and an assortment of fresh fruit such as oranges, grapefruit, and apples. I feel happy.
happy birthday george.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

observations...

In a desperate attempt to help me wake up in the mornings, I have moved upstairs hoping that seeing sunlight in the morning will give me an incentive to wake up. This morning I got more than sunlight. One of the neighboring houses has a rooster. Nothing says "Good Morning!" like a rooster. I feel like I'm in Los Lagos again.

*10 hours later* I actually saw the previously mentioned rooster. walking down the street in front of my house. Oh my. It's white with grey speckles and looks like a rooster for the most part. It may look like a rabbit from the waist down, but I didn't get a good look...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lessons learned on a really big boat...

Lesson One: Feminine Wiles
I learned how to walk in the high heels (highest that I have owned to date) on rough, choppy water in a long NARROW corridor. (I can't walk in a straight line anyway.) Ha. So I looked like a fool. Eh, I'll probably never see most of those people again. The few that I will see again already KNOW that I can't walk in heels. They won't judge me.
Lesson Two: Synchronized Swimming
Keep your feet away from other people's faces. It's kind of self explanatory.
Lesson Three: Trust the Waitress
We had the most AMAZING waitress on the ship. She recommend the best things on the menu and if we didn't order them-she brought them anyway. That's exactly how we got the BEST food. By the end of the week we had some of our friends coming over to our table to get the recommendations before they ordered. Ha. LOVED IT! LOVED HER!!! She was from Thailand. She might be my favorite Thai woman. Ever.
Lesson Four: Travel in a backpack.
I didn't check luggage this trip. I survived the entire week out of a backpack. I plan on continuing to do this my entire life. Or at least as long as I can carry a backpack.
Lesson Five: Miracles happen.
Four women. Four adult, grown women shared exactly one shower and one electrical socket, (not even an outlet) for an entire week. All four of us could get ready for dinner in an hour and a half. (and we didn't even touch the boat blow dryer because it was frightening!)
Lesson Six: Transitions
A) Two of the girls on the trip had a rough time gaining their sea legs. I had no problem. Now, I've been home for a week, I've been fighting bouts of vertigo and rocking.
B) The number one comment I have received since I got home has nothing to do with my tan. (I am flesh colored now.) The number one, most received, comment that I have had was "Did you lighten your hair?" Apparently my hair knows that it was once blond and doesn't like the darkening concept either.
Lesson Seven: Well...the final lesson for the trip might be a lesson adapted from Belize.
Really...there's no place like home. As much as I loved playing with monkeys and my other great adventures, one of my favorite moments from the trip was squatting down in front of my nephew and giving him a stuffed turtle that miraculously fit in my bag. He mirrored the squat, looked at me with a huge smile and said "Yaya!". That beats any vista, animal, or food that any vacation could give me.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Eat your heart out PF Changs!

As of late, I have had some rather dubious fortunes from my fortune cookies, for example, "Your road to glory will be rocky, but fulfilling." I like Rocky Road of all varieties, but at the same time, it still gives me headaches. Today's fortune said "Be prepared to modify your plans." WHAT PLANS!?! My life has been so up in the air as of late that I have just kind of given up on plans. They are for people with structure in their lives. I haven't quite made it to that category yet. In the meantime, I plan on making modify-able plans.

Lessons learned in Cayman...

Lesson One: Superstition
I kissed a stingray. Twice. Apparently I get 14 years good luck for that.
Lesson Two: Water like blue KoolAid
When I was a kid I didn't learn how to swim until I was 12 because I spent most of my summers in a cast. Because of that, I've never been a big swimmer and have developed the philosophy that "I like to play ON water, not IN water." After my first snorkeling experience, I've decided that if I go back, I will scuba certify first. There is something AMAZING about that world. No question in my mind.
Lesson Three: American food tastes better OUTSIDE the States (lesson relearned)
The best MacDonalds I've ever been to is in Valdivia, Chile. The best Blizzard I've ever eaten was in Grand Cayman.
Lesson Four: Lifestyles
I had many flash backs to my mission on this trip. One of them was to a moment I had in my first area: I was standing on a river bank, wishing I had a raft, and the elder next to me said, "I was born in the water and I'll die in the water, but for these 2 years-I can't even touch it." I couldn't fathom that mentality. I mean, I liked the water (I was even wishing for a raft!), but it wasn't THAT big a part of my life. Flash forward to Cayman, I sat there watching the waves splash past I us and had the realization that I had entered a completely different lifestyle when I had climbed on that boat. The men on that boat lived for the waves and the salty wind in their faces. The captain's 12-year-old nephew stood on the bow of the boat and dreamed of the day that he would have his own boat. I'm sure of it. I don't remember the last time I dreamt about the future like that...
Lesson Five: Limits
I like traveling with cash. I know. It's a liquid asset that is easily stolen. You have to be careful. But at the same time there are perks to having visual limits. Traveling with a backpack and NO checked luggage also helps because then you don't really have space to pack stuff either. Postcards. This is exactly why I love postcards.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lessons learned in Hondorus...


Lesson One: How to Cook an Iguana
They are in season in March and April. Traditionally they are stewed in coconut milk and then just before they are ready to eat they add an egg (of the iguana variety) and eat it before the egg gets hard. (This basic recipe [minus the egg] also works for red rabbits too.)
Lesson Two: I want to buy an island off of Honduras
I LOVE this country. I think I freaked out my grandmother when I told her that I secretly wanted to live there forever. It was green and warm and incredibly BEAUTIFUL. The people weren't nearly as pushy as they had been at the other ports-in fact, they were downright polite.
Lesson Three: I LOVE KNOWING ANOTHER LANGUAGE (lesson re-learned)
Our taxi driver was a very polite man named Heraldo who spoke English...a little. The other two had me sit up front with him and he and I chatted in Spanish ALL DAY LONG. It felt so good. I miss it. In fact, I think I dreamt about it that night.
Lesson Four: Just a plug for women's clothing.
Secretly, I really had to go on a mission to learn how to be a girl. I learned how to wear girly clothes and how to wear makeup. I guess I was in a location that was entirely too cold for sun dresses. I had to learn about them in Honduras. I heart them. They are super comfortable and cool. That's about it.
Lesson Five: Monkeys eat Doritos...and peanuts.
Who would have ever guessed? Well, I eat Doritos and peanuts...sometimes. I guess that makes sense. I can't imagine that they would be very good for them, but then again, I eat things that aren't good for me too.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lessons learned in Belize...

1) "Hey guys! We're half way to somewhere! We're almost there!" These are the words of Edwin, one of the tour guides that took us wandering through the jungle in search of a river. I don't think I've ever heard it stated better.
2) Carmen San Diego lied to me. Okay. Maybe not lied to me me, but definitely misguided me. "From Berlin down to Belize" was not sufficient to prepare me for what I saw. The city was more like Jamaica than my previous Latin America experience. Once we went out into the country, it seemed a little more Latin to me, but at the same time, the jungle TOTALLY threw me off. I'm not going to lie. It is probably the poorest country I've ever experienced. Which leads to...
3) I'm proud to be an American. I grew up here. I left for a while, but I came back. After chatting with Dennis (our local tour guide) about the economy, I learned quite a bit (and I'm sure this same thing applies to other third world countries as well). There are intelligent people in Belize that actually have good business sense and a good understanding of how to make the country thrive physically, socially, and economically, BUT they all leave the country for their education. They never come back. That doesn't help the country. Ever.
4) Allspice smells like Christmas. I actually discovered that earlier in the month while I was out for cocoa with some friends, but we couldn't peg the actual spice that was used to flavor the cocoa. I only realized that when Dennis knocked a few leaves out of the allspice tree (which apparently only grows in the jungle?!?) and crushed them up and passed them around for us to smell. HEAVENLY. Perfect for hot cocoa.
(I have to apologize for the lack of pictures. We were in the water A LOT this day and therefore had one of the cheapie waterproof film cameras. They don't download so quickly as digital).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

a slight commercial interruption.


26 years ago today I got my first set of Legos. Thanks Sqweeg! (You didn't have to bribe me, I would have liked you anyway.) Happy Birthday Brother!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lessons learned in Tulum (Cozumel)...



Lesson One: Mid-sized boats are NOT the happy medium.
The first couple days, I was the only one of our group that did not get sick on the ship. That didn't help me in Cozumel. From Cozumel island we took a smaller boat to mainland. It didn't work out as nicely as I thought it would. I nearly died. I have no problems with small boats (like unto a raft). Large boats cause me no grief. Apparently mid-sized boats are not my friends.
Lesson Two: There is merit to hypno-birthing.
No. I did not give birth on the boat. But I did use some of the techniques that my sister-in-law is learning for her next laborious experience. I'm all about deep breathing and happy places. Even though I was is in 85 degree weather, I found my solace in snow shoeing to Stewart Falls.
Lesson Three: I LOVE KNOWING ANOTHER LANGUAGE!
While on my mission, I got a letter from a former roommate who learned Estonian on her mission. She said "Isn't speaking another language awesome? It's liking speaking in a secret code that EVERYONE understands." It was so fun to listen to and understand people that didn't think the tall blond gringa would have a clue.
Lesson Four: The Book of Mormon is true.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Nephites and Lamanites existed. Having visited the city of Tulum and circling the temple there, I have a vivid/visual understanding of King Benjamin and his tower. There were tents facing the prophet and the people were educated. The Lord loves ALL of His children (even those that lived on the American continent) and made sure that they had all knowledge that they needed to be happy.
Lesson Five: There are no sister missionaries in Mexico.
I had the blessed opportunity to deflate a misnomer. Our tour guide had read the Book of Mormon and had met with the missionaries, but was absolutely shocked to find out that I had learned Spanish as a Mormon missionary in Chile. He was absolutely certain that only men did that kind of thing. Female missionaries must be a new thing, right? Sorry Raul. My mom was a missionary. (Thanks Mom!) We've been sharing the gospel for a long time.

Monday, February 1, 2010

All things considered...

I'm home. And happy. And full of all sorts of great stories which will hopefully be nicely categorized into "Lessons learned..." from each port. I think I may have even successfully avoided flogging by a wet carrot.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm going to be awkward and paranoid for the next week.

The 60 year old man sitting next to me on the plane popped a Viagra as we were taxi-ing out of Dallas. Not okay.
The two drunk guys on the other side of the plane who offered to help us with our bags informed us that they will be on the same cruise we will be.
Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I just checked the weather in Belieze. It is 84 degrees, but feels like 92. I feel good about that.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Grandma Diaries...(part 6)

I visit my grandmother daily. Wait a minute, let's back up here. Grandma had a full knee replacement four days after Christmas. Since then she's had all sorts of ups and downs, including an unspecified number of stitches (I think the direct quote was, "you don't want to know") after an unplanned trip to the ER and a completely unrelated infection in her knee. Needless to say, she's in a rehab center. There's absolutely NO WAY that I could take care of this on my own. I'm grateful for the people that work in the center and help her. I've been amazed by the love and support of her family and friends. Almost every time I go over to visit, she has company or else someone has just left. It's still just hard. I feel like a bad person everytime that I leave her there all by herself. I don't know how to respond when she says, "Tess, why won't you come get me? Why did you have to leave?" I understand that really, there's only so much that I can do. I can't take away her pain. I can't fix it. I can only be there when I can be there. I'm not collecting social security or retirement. That means that I have to work. I try to be as sympathetic as I can, but at the same time am trying to balance sympathy and not get sucked into her depression. In the mean time, here I sit. I suppose it's one of the best lessons that I can have on charity and Christ-like love.
In the mean time...there's nothing like a personal "Climb Every Mountain" moment complete with a goods friends and yodeling. I heart my snowshoes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sometimes, survival is a worthy goal.

Things that have made this week bearable:
(and yes, I realize that today is Tuesday)
*The Ace of Cakes
*Red and Blue Powerade
*LITTLE DORRIT
*Jessica Campbell
*Utah State hoodie, Pirate Pants, and Warm Fuzzy Socks
*Garbage cans and liners
*Ice chips
The good news is it can only get better from here, right?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My Next Dream Vacation...

I spend a lot of time on the phone. I spend a lot of time on the phone with automated systems. I've reached the point that I for the most part I ignore them or maybe it would be better said that I just don't listen to them. Yesterday, I was trying to call to verify benefits for one of our patients and couldn't really read the number on the ID card. I called what I thought it was and no one answered. I tried reading the number from another patient's card who had the same insurance that found that to be much more successful. When I finally made it through the automated system to a live person and the man on the phone told me that I really needed to talk to the Wausau, Wisconsin branch, I was speaking to the Dayton, Ohio branch. He very kindly gave me their number and told me to press option 2 to get a live person. I called the number and immediately hit option 2. The voice that talked to me said something (once again, not REALLY listening) and didn't really sound quite right. I very cryptically stated that I needed to get benefits for pain management injections for one of our patients. The woman on the other end told me that I had just called a resort on Mackinac Island in Michigan. I, like any other unknowing American, hit google. THIS is what I found. Sounds good to me. Looks FABULOUS. I then called my parents to share my experience (they think my life is better than TV). Dad chuckled (as much as a former courtroom attorney can) and told me that he wants to see the Mackinac Bridge. He also found this a few years ago and has been thinking about taking Mom ever since. I told him if they plan on going in the near future, I was coming with them. That's about it. That's what I get for dialing a wrong number.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cullinary Discoveries.

I like cheese. I like soup. Soup and cheese are a beautiful combination that I sometimes don't always appreciate. Let me explain. I love nothing more than a hot bowl of soup, but I don't always appreciate the INSTA-GLOB that appears the moment that the cheese hits the hot soup. Tonight, I learned the secret to cheese and soup. Put the cheese in the bottom of the bowl and then pour the soup OVER it. Worked like a charm. Loved it!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Decade in Review...

Mom was here over Christmas and asked me a question that I've been thinking about ever since: 10 years ago was the Y2K scare. What have you done with the past decade?
Here are a few highlights.
*graduated from Uintah High School
*graduated from BYU-Idaho
*graduated from Utah State University
*lived abroad in Chile
*lived in Nebraska
*Returned to my beloved mountains
*learned to share the things that are dearest to my heart with complete strangers
*learned to trust people
*learned Spanish
*learned how to live with girls
*learned to love the great outdoors
*learned to quilt
*learned to crochet
*learned to love
*learned to cook
*learned to can
*learned to wear a dress and heels
*climbed a dozen mountains
*cooked my first turkey
*shrunk my personal bubble
*defined my own personality and character
*gained a sister
*gained the title of "favorite aunt" or "yaya"
*read the Book of Mormon 10 times
*met countless people who have inspired and changed my life
As I've compiled this list, I can't help but remember a quote I used in my senior thesis from Elder Dallin H Oaks talk, THE CHALLENGE TO BECOME, "Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become."
As cool as this list is, it doesn't really matter. The things that we've done aren't important unless they have aided us in BECOMING the person that we want to become. I still have some work to do. The good news is, I still have time to keep working on it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year.

I celebrated by having my yearly all nighter. Literally. Didn't sleep. That means I'm going to sleep now. And it will be glorious.
I also wanted to leave a teaser for my next entry.
January 1, 2010: A Decade in review.