Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Love Halloween

The idea came to me out of the blue.

"I want to be a drag queen for Halloween."

Drag queens get to wear crazy make up, crazy clothes, crazy accessories. Really, anything goes and I wanted a part of it. I didn't know how I was going to go about it, and I didn't know who I was going to be going out with - my Halloween cohort from the past two years has been out of the country - but I was going to do it. So I suggested to my roommate Matti... and she ran with the idea.

We spent a couple of weekends watching movies like Victor Victoria and Connie and Carla. Matti watched youtube.com videos demonstrating how to do the make up and we carefully planned out our outfits.

The week of Halloween is usually filled with parties. Everyone wants to throw a party, and they want people to attend their parties and so they throw them on different nights. Our stake combined with a few others and we had a dance at the institute building.

Matti was the resident make-up artist, and since she didn't get off work until 8 p.m., and it takes about an hour to do a full on drag face (at least), we were running a bit late. But that's OK. As I've mentioned before, stake dances aren't really my thing.


Making your eyebrows disappear is not an easy task.
I should have practiced my drag facial expressions. Amy and Matti had it down.

We looked fabulous.


 



Savannah, Matti, Amy and me.
I'm pretty sure Savannah was going crazy. Fajita was not amused.

We got home late, stayed up later... and Saturday, it was hard to get out of bed at all. We were seriously considering bagging the whole party hopping thing for a second night, but in the end, we decided that we better just go.

We had more time to get ready on Saturday, so more thoughts about outfits, and some laziness had us changing up our costumes. Amy had to work.

We met up with my friend Brooke and hit up three parties (and stayed for about 20 minutes at each).




Brooke getting in some Risky Business (she got more comments on her costume than anyone).

Dance party at Lori, Leica and Em's.

Cleopatra and Fajita

Probably the manliest face I managed to pull off.


Margaret, Brooke and Matti. We got to this party just after it had been broken up by the cops!

Probably the best costumes - or the funniest - was this guy and his "companion" who were dressed like sister missionaries. They looked better in drag than we did... then again, it was probably because they looked still so manly.
At the end of the night, Margaret showed her true heroism and tried to stop University Parking from towing away this car. Everyone around Provo hates University Parking, and we were all dying at Margaret's antics and sheer determination. She went as far as sitting on the trunk of the car, but the guy was relentless. He was either going to tow the car with her on the back or call the cops. She finally gave up. But it was the funniest, most awesome part of the evening.
Another trip to Ihop, and this weekend was complete!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Discount Code: Unrealized Dreams TRICK305

Lulu.com is offering another discount. You can purchase Unrealized Dreams at 20% off, by using the discount code: TRICK305.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

That Time of Year

Well, it's time for the annual car breakdown. And I'm happy to report that Louise (she's my car) was happy to oblige.

I drove up this weekend to attend my cousin's wedding reception. (Shout out to the family members I was able to reconnect with - Congrats Rebecca and Jordan!)

The new Mrs. Bartholomew, i.e. my cousin Rebecca

I was excited to see Amanda at the reception as well!
And then I was off to finish my weekend in Logan with my boys! Of course, it was raining the whole time, but it was nice to go and have a place to stay instead of driving all the way back to Provo that night. Jake cooked dinner and baked brownies and then we all went to bed. I woke up to breakfast being cooked and then I was on my merry way. (Pretty much, it  was like staying at a Bed and Breakfast with two very amusing hosts.)

Only, I didn't get far. Louise was acting up, and so I pulled over to check the tire - which was fine - and then almost immediately after, I lost my brakes. Not that they fell off, or anything. They just, stopped working. So I creeped my way off Main Street and parked the dumb thing on the side of the road and immediately called my cousin Andrew (bless him) who said he needed a minute to figure some things out. I let Jake know what was going on. And called my dad just to see if he would answer in the middle of church. He did. And then I sat in the car and read.

After a few hours, I heard from Andrew (seriously, he's awesome) saying that he was trying to get a trailer. And a couple hours later... I needed to get out of the car! So Jake and David came and picked me up, fed me dinner and I continued to read while they worked on homework.

(Also, David can attest to this - in fact, he commented on it SEVERAL times - I was in a perfectly good mood. After all, this is nothing new. Louise chooses to break down at will, and so I was just very grateful that I hadn't gotten out of Logan, hadn't been on the highway and that Andrew answered his phone! I was doing great! No ogress to be seen.)


Andrew getting the car onto the trailer. By himself. (We all tried to help, but I think we were mostly getting in the way.)
Louise looking pathetic.

It doesn't look like it is raining much in this picture, but once we got out of town it was BAD. Also, i t was cold and rainy and windy and Amanda and I braved it all out in the truck while Andrew showed us his manliness and toughed it out. Louise didn't fall off the trailer, and I am infinitely grateful for that. (But mostly only because it would have risked the lives of other people. I am slowly losing any and all affection for my car.)


Around 9:00 p.m. (eight and a half hours from original departure time) Andrew rolled up with a trailer (YAY!) and we drove through the torrential downpour back to Salt Lake. And we didn't die! Which I attribute to the copious amounts of prayers that Amanda and I sent up to heaven coupled with Andrew (because he's my hero).

We made it to Andrew's dealership - Select Motorsports -  where he gave me the keys to a Camero and let me go home. (YAY!) Which I did. I got home around 1:00 a.m. And my roommates were very pleased that I made it home alive.
Matti and Savannah. Probably a little sleep-drunk because it was well after 1 a.m. and we don't sleep in our apartment.



I drove the Camero around for the day and then after work (and FHE) I went up to Sandy and Louise was back in my possession. If she keeps true to form, we won't have any more major complications for another 10-11 months or so. Maybe I can get her sold before then? In the meantime, she has brakes again! (Albeit, in desperate need to be "bled" - terminology given to me from the menfolk, basically there is still air in the brake lines and I have to pump the brake pedal before I get any sort of response - and then she will be... ready for the next break down.)

Although it was freezing, we had to take advantage of the fact that I was in possession of a convertible. So we did.

It was Savannah's first time.

Over all, it's been an exciting week. With little or no sleep... so that is where I am supposed to be heading now. To bed! (YAY!)

And even though Andrew doesn't read my blog, I definitely wanted to send out another THANK YOU, because I have NO IDEA what I would have done if he hadn't come and rescued me.

The Copper Onion & Capitol Theater

Last week I had the opportunity to have a little night on the town with a good friend of mine.

Waiting for the Opera to start.
We left work earlier than we are both used to and headed up to Salt Lake for dinner at The Copper Onion. It had come recommended from a friend of William's, and neither of us had been there. I had taken a glance at the menu before going, but didn't know what half of what was listed on there actually was. We ended up ordering a salad (that, curiously enough, tasted like feet unless you got a bite of red onion, and then tasted actually kind of good) and bone marrow.

Yes, you read that right.

Bone marrow has the density and texture of... a slug.
It didn't taste bad... it just was interesting. And now that I've had it, I can safely say that I probably won't ever eat it again. The real treat, of course, was the entrees. William got the ribs (already off the bone) which was so perfectly tender and moist and absolutely, incredibly delicious. Probably meat heaven on a fork. I got the veal meatballs. And they were also very yummy. I should have gotten pictures of those dishes.

Next we were off to...


Capitol Theatre for La Boheme. It was my first experience at the opera and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I think more now that I've had time to reflect on it. I was too busy trying to take in the whole atmosphere, that I didn't really think about the actual opera until days later. I thought it was interesting that I enjoyed the female voices more than the male. (My preferences are almost always reversed to that.) And I liked the blended voices more than solos. Also, the song about the coat was weird, and pretty pointless. It was fun to see all the different characters that attend the opera. There was a pretty large age range, dress range and appreciation range. I found myself mostly surrounded by thespians, which is always interesting.

I have to thank William again for a pleasant evening. I really liked my first experience at the opera and I definitely hope it is not my last.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Salve Pater!

Dear Dad,

I just wanted to tell you that, when you asked me, "How are you doing?" tonight, it sounded so sincere. I just knew that you really cared and wanted to know. And I appreciated that, because I know that you don't like to talk on the phone for hours like I do.


Thanks for thinking about me and being SO supportive. I love when you text me about something you've read in my book and that you've done your part in trying to promote it. And that you tell people at work that you're reading a romance without worrying about what people think.

The love and support that I feel from you and Mom, even though we are 1500 miles apart, is the strength I need to do what I can to be a better person and try harder. No daughter felt so loved as I did tonight after talking to both of you. I love you both so much.

You're the best, Dad. 

I love you!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Attack of the Ogress

In an effort to keep this post PG-rated, I had to turn to the thesaurus and find a grandma-appropriate title of how to describe me today. Google's safe search was of no help, so I had to turn to Bing. Ogress was probably the closest I could find for my behavior today, but if you're creative enough, I'm sure you can provide an appropriate title.

Ever have one of those mornings where you wake up, think you're in a fine mood and then something, probably, minuscule sets you off into a fire breathing...Ogress?

That's what happened today.

I retract any statement I've made over the past few years that have gone along the lines of: "But I'm the nicest person you've ever met!" Because that is completely false. I'm not nice; I'm an ogress. I've been told as much only on one occasion by someone who really meant it - and he was only responding to my sarcasm. (Amy, remember Geoff?) Mostly, it's just me admitting to my true nature.

Today was worse than usual, though. I have been irritated, annoyed, rude, hurt and angry before. But never all at the same time, and never coupled with low blood sugar, limited sleep and I'm assuming, hormones. (No, I'm not PMSing... I've just found that hormones largely contribute to the majority of my health problems and mood swings. Either from taking pills or not taking pills.)

After admitting that this funk was definitely not going anywhere, and the Ogress had probably taken over my body in some sort of hellish abduction, I went upstairs and grabbed a handful of raisins.

Yes, raisins.

And you know what? After I got those into my system, my disposition was much improved. And for the most part, I've been my normal self the rest of the day - not quite Ogress-y.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pride vs. Confidence

If pride is the gateway sin to all other sins, but you are unattractive without confidence...

If low self-esteem is undesirable, but humility is sought after...

If there is a line somewhere, but you are unable to distinguish it... then how do you know where one begins and the other ends?

The truth is, I think, that it all comes down to "moderation in all things," like we hear all the time. Of course, I've never been terribly good at moderating anything...so I often come off as really downgrading towards myself or under-confident.

But that isn't always the case. Or, at least, that isn't what I'm trying to portray.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Birthday Planning


My birthday is still over a month away, but that hasn't stopped me from thinking. If you write to Santa Claus, put a tooth under your pillow for the tooth fairy and rub the lamp of a genie... who do you petition for your birthday wishes? (Besides last year's candles? Because you don't always know what you want right when you are blowing out the candles...) Do you have to find a shooting star? An eye lash? A dandelion? What's the birthday wish protocol here?

My list is fairly unreasonable. Everything I want, i.e. teacup piglets, new laptop, trip to Europe, etc., is either really expensive... OR, there is something that I want that doesn't actually cost anything: except my pride and dignity. Which, I'm not really willing to pay.

That being said, I've already bought my birthday present to myself. I probably really shouldn't have. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity. And with it being my 25th birthday... I really felt like I deserved it. Of course, I also think that I deserve all the things mentioned in the above paragraph.

I think it's a good thing that 24 was such a big year (I literally celebrated EVERYDAY of the month...practically) because aside from my GRAND birthday to myself, I'm not really sure how 25 is going to play out. I mean, I know how I want it to play out... I just don't know that it will.

Anyway, the countdown is on... I mean, after we celebrate other IMPORTANT October birthdays first, of course.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Prayer

OK, last post for today.

I told you I learned something about prayer, and I mean to share it because it has been on my mind quite a bit lately anyway. Prayer always seems the first thing to go when it is the most needed. If life is frustrating or disappointing; if we screwed up somehow or feel unworthy to pray; or we just... get out of the habit, prayer is quick to go when it should be the first thing we do.

Prayer = talking to God.

President Peterson is a seminary teacher who made his students make up a tardy by drawing a certain task from a jar and then reading it to the class. One day, this girl had to draw a slip which read, "Pray for 15 minutes everyday for a week."

The class let out a collective, "That can't be done!" Which piqued his interest. After surveying the students, he realized that his students didn't know how to pray. He asked for the longest phone conversation record. There were shouts of "two hours" "five" and then a bubbly girl dancing in the back that said, "nine hours." He asked them why they could talk on the phone for nine hours, but they could not pray for 15 minutes. Isn't that what prayer is? Just talking. "But friends talk back," was the comment.



I'm going to try and put his amazing, life-changing talk into a summarized point. I don't feel like I will be able to convey how much he talk inspired me. So I guess that is what this post is going to have to relate: I felt the Spirit so strongly; it made me want to make some overhaul changes in the way I pray; and I really appreciated the way it was delivered. President Peterson isn't just inspired and insightful. He's also terribly funny.

In primary we learn the basic formula of prayer:
  • We begin by {addressing our Heavenly Father}. He is our Father, we are His children. The Bible Dictionary says that, "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God, then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part. (Matt. 7:7-11)... Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing [P. Peterson adds "eager"] to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessing require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings."
  • We {thank} him for blessings. 
  • We {ask}. P. Peterson then brought up what he calls "agency on a first come, first serve basis." We all know that God has given us agency, which means that he does not force us to do anything. We have the right to choose how we act and consequences follow, usually affecting other people. That is why bad things are allowed to happen. God will not stop a man who has decided to go on a shooting spree. That is, unless someone somewhere has prayed that it will not happen. Because he does and will answer prayers, and he keeps his promises. For instance, in Alma 19, verse 22-23, "Now, one of them, whose brother had been slain with the sword of Ammon, being exceedingly angry with Ammon, drew his sword and went forth that he might let it fall upon Ammon, to slay him; and as he lifted the sword to smite him, behold, he fell dead. Now we see that Ammon could not be slain, for the Lord had said unto Mosiah, his father: I will spare him, and it shall be unto him according to thy faith - therefore, Mosiah trusted him unto the Lord." P. Peterson explains that this is the principle as to why the Iron Curtain fell - "There first mistake was letting a temple behind it." - because the Church was asked to pray that the leaders' of those countries hearts would be softened to allow missionary work in. P. Peterson tells us that we can basically, "one-up" someone through our prayers.
  • Another thing about asking: We turned to Enos, where he prays all the day long and his sins are forgiven him. And then he asks, "Lord, how is it done?" How is that different than typical Mormon prayers? We usually say something like, "Bless the Prophet. Bless the missionaries. Bless our families." But they're open ended. How is our Father in Heaven supposed to respond? "I'll get right on that." Generally, the work just goes on and we don't really seem to get an answer. So, P. Peterson suggests that we "ask questions that require an answer, and when we do, the feedback will be different."
  • {Listen} I don't know that listening is really something we learn in primary. It is a learned art. But this goes back to the telephone call records. "They talk back," was the explanation as to why the conversations can go so long, but prayers cannot. We already know that God answers prayers, and now, if we are asking questions that require an answer, we need to listen for what that answer will be. This is important for two reasons. The first being, that we are commanded to pray unceasingly. (3 Nephi 20:1, "...he commanded the multitude to cease to pray...and he commanded them that they should not cease to pray in their hearts.") And how do we do that? We can't be constantly having inner dialogue with Heavenly Father. But since praying is talking to our Heavenly Father, and part of conversing is also listening, then by listening, we are still praying. Which means, that as long as we are not too distracted and we are ready and wiling to receive inspiration from God, then we are praying. 
  • {Listening} Furthermore, when we are listening, then we can be ready to pray by revelation. P. Peterson cited several scriptures where this is the case. The first was still in Enos. When Enos prays for his children and his children's children and his cousin's children's children, that was not by accident. God inspired him to pray for them. The second was in 3 Nephi 19:24, where "it was given unto them what they should pray."
  • {Close in Jesus' name.} When we close, we close "in the name of Jesus Christ." This seems like the most elementary of principles. Christ is our Savior, he is our Mediator and he is our Advocate. But P. Peterson explains it further by continuing in 3 Nephi 19:31-34. "And it came to pass that he went again a little way off and prayed unto the Father; And tongue cannot speak the words which he prayed, neither can be written by man the words which he prayed. And the multitude did hear and do bear record; and their hearts were open and they did understand in their hearts the words which he prayed. Nevertheless, so great and marvelous were the words which he prayed that they cannot be written, neither can they be uttered by man." We don't know what was said, but then P. Peterson turned to Doctrine and Covenants 45:3-5, "Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him - Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life." (See also Isaiah 51:21-23.) When we pray in our Savior's name, he is taking our petition to the Father with his redeeming blood and our names written on his palms. It is no wonder that we pray in his name, for it is through him that everything is accomplished.
The whole discourse should be written up and sold. It made me think of how shoddy my prayers really are and how much I am not taking advantage of being able to communicate with my Father in Heaven. As his daughter, I know that I am entitled to things that he is eager to grant me if I would but ask.

I am so, so glad that I was able to attend today's meetings, which continued at ward prayer, and hopefully the changes that I want to make will be effective in coming closer to God.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The President's Story

As I said, this is the story that our Stake President shared in Sacrament meeting today.

It was one of those from generation-to-generation types, so try to keep up and not get lost. I'm only paraphrasing his paraphrasing...so if it gets too complicated, I'll might just scrap it up until this point.

He started telling of a couple the William Somethings who were converts to the Church, just as it was getting started. There's record of them in Kirtland and Nauvoo, and then they crossed the plains into Utah. They had many children.

The president then asked us, "Do you think God knows us, even when we do really dumb things?"

Because one of William's children decided that he was going to take off, and so he went as far north as he could, into Canada seeking his fortune. There he had several children, after which one of them ran off and did exactly as he had done. She took off, decided to marry and had seven children of her own.

"Do you think God knows us, even when are doing really, really dumb things?"

The girl's husband was a drunk and abusive. He didn't provide for them, and just after delivering her seventh child, he kicked her out of the house and set it up with a new, younger mistress. This mother of seven, that the president referred to as a "small, cute little thing," went as far north as she could with her children and limited possessions packed into a pick up truck until it broke down. She then traded it for a cow and set off 17 miles into the woods where she discovered a trapper's cabin and made it their home. Miraculously, they survived the winter. But the cow went dry and they were starving, so she left her seven babies and headed back to town to find work where she had to trade in her cow for the rental of a team of horses and she helped dig a road. Payment never came. They kept putting her off, a month more and then two weeks and then two weeks more. Finally, the work was finished, and they told her that they were not legally allowed to pay women.

Upset, heartbroken and angry, she left the office storming and bumped into N Eldon Tanner, this was before he was "Elder Tanner", who went into the office, asked what the problem was and after they told him, he said, "How do you know she is a woman?" "Because her name is Annie," they said. "It's not. This is my friend Arthur. Now write the check out to A. Something, and let her be on her way." They did. And this "Cute little thing, that was as wide as she was tall, and more cubed than anything - in fact, if you shaved off the corners, she'd be a perfect little ball," took her money and went back to her children to see how many were left.

Meanwhile, the children were alive. The president goes onto a side story of how the youngest baby who had just learned to walk found herself down by the stream. When one of the older sisters looked and saw where she had ended up, she saw that a mama bear was on one side of her, and there were two little cubs on the other side. "Not a very good place for a small, fat, edible thing... well, not quite fat, because she was likely starving." The older sister knew that she would never reach the baby in time, and even though she had never been taught to pray, she did was she could and talked to God. Not soon after, a giant, wild dog attacked the mama bear, distracting her and the older sister was able to rescue the baby.

When Annie returned home, she disassembled the cabin log by log, built a raft and placed all seven children, who had survived her absence, and floated down the river closer to civilization where she reconstructed the cabin.

"Does God know us, even when we are in the boonies of Canada? He does. But maybe he doesn't admit it."

The baby that had been rescued from the bear left home at 15. She moved into a dingy, gross apartment and decided to marry a 32 year old man. Only, she didn't know how to get married, so she asked the land lady who directed her to N. Eldon Tanner. He didn't know who the girl was, but not only did he marry them, he also baptized her. She never went to church again. Her husband was a drunk, and after a while, she took her baby girl and left him.

The two were living on their own, and this is where the details get fuzzy. And I don't remember how they met up with the missionaries, but they did. Both were baptized and then they never went to church.

However, the young girl was later sought out. She was on the records of the church, and when she was found and retaught those things, she began attending church and never looked back.

She is the wife of our stake president.

"Does God know us?"

Our president's answer was a resounding yes. All of those experiences, all of the lives that were saved so that his wife could be the woman that she is, and the blessing that she is to him, seem to be the careful watching of God. It's a chain of events that could only be divinely controlled.

This is where the president began talking about their son, who wasn't supposed to be born. She had been told that after five children, she would have no more. Still, she got pregnant with their youngest, and when he was born, he was crippled. After several surgeries and a year in casts, he was walking. By three (THREE!) he had memorized the prophets of the church and all of the Articles of Faith. He survived a fever, a time when he stopped breathing, and various other broken legs, broken bones. He survived riding his four wheeler up a tree! And then racing said four wheeler, crashing and losing an ear.

"Does God know us? Does he answer prayers? Even when we do dumb things?" Yes.

He keeps an eye on us. He loves us and he is waiting to bless us. And by doing so, he is blessing the generations and generations and generations that will come after us.

That Sunday where...

Do you ever have Sundays when you lay in your bed wondering what would happen if you didn't go to church today? (Or if you're in Utah or somewhere where you have the option, you think, "I could just go to a later ward," because you don't want to get up.) It's not that you have anything against church, and it isn't because you don't really want to go (although, there are those days too)... you're just tired and not feeling particularly social and churchy or whatever.

Today started out as one of those days. But I got up, got ready in record speed and made it into my seat at exactly 9:00 a.m.

We were having Ward Conference today, which meant that the Stake President and other stake leaders were there. We canceled Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society classes. And had one big combined meeting.

I think it is one of the best Sundays I've had in a really long time.

Our bishop spoke first. I think all bishops have a special love for their ward, but there are some bishops I've had and they say they love you and you think, "Really? You don't know me. How is that possible." And there are some that stand, and with tears in their eyes they say they love you. And you feel it throughout your whole soul. And even though they don't know you, you know that because of their calling and position, and because of the upstanding way they live their lives...or whatever, you know that they mean it when they say it. And that's the case with our bishop. Which I'm really grateful for. Every ward that I've been in has been truly affected by how I got along with the bishop. Anyway, he spoke about surrounding ourselves with good things and some other things that really resonated with me.

After wards, our choir did a really awesome arrangement of Sweet Hour of Prayer. Which made me realize that they probably don't need more altos. (They do need more guys.) But I almost want to join anyway, because they sing more than just from the hymnal.



Here's a video of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Sweet Hour of Prayer. It's not the same arrangement by our choir, but still really beautiful. MoTab is beautiful, say what? Yeah. The organ is gone in this arrangement, and I sort of love that.

After, our stake president got up. Since he's pretty much incredible, I don't think I will be able to portray how awesome his talk was. First, he told us to stop looking at the clock, because since we were combining all the meetings, he wasn't going to end when Sacrament is supposed to end. And then he proceeded to tell us: God knows us. God hears our prayers.  This isn't the most profound statement I've ever heard in the church. Especially since I hear it so often. And I believe it. But then he goes on to relate a story... I am going to add the story as a separate post, because it is sort of long. He tells stories the same way I write novels, and I loved every minute of it. And then he went on to talk about his son, who was born crippled and they were told that he would never walk. Not only did he walk, but he's survived over and over and over again - with more trips to the hospital than I think are possible without having some terminal disease - including one for losing an ear! Anyway, the point was, that God knows us. He hears our prayers.

The next two talks were similar. Our Stake Relief Society teacher spoke and said something in her narrative that she "was getting old and was still unmarried." She was 23. I rolled my eyes. But still, the message was that sometimes God has another path for us, or a detour that He would have us take. 


And finally, another member of the Stake Presidency spoke, and he taught us about prayer. Prayer. Yes, that elementary principle that we learn in primary and are supposed to continue to use it throughout our lives. Prayer that by his definition means, talking with God. His talk was absolutely exceptional (as it would be, he was a seminary teacher in the past, and I'd venture to say one of the Greats). I think I'm going to put his points in a separate post as well, because this is getting too long.

Anyway, I left church feeling rejuvenated and wanting to change and wanting to be better. And when you leave church feeling edified and after feeling the Spirit, it's remarkable how different that feeling is from when you are forcing yourself to go. 

I'm so glad I woke up this morning. 

Driving the Alpine Loop with Nelson







One of the greatest things to do in the fall around here is to drive the Alpine Loop. You can go through Sundance or you can start in American Fork, and you just drive through the Aspen groves and see the running water. There are plenty of pull off points and you can stand and look at the mountains, and it's really rather stunning. The fall is particularly beautiful as the trees begin to change colors and the weather is crisp and refreshing.

Nelson was in town this weekend and we took the opportunity to check it out. It was so good to see him and to spend the day with him. He leaves to go to San Diego, California for a two-year LDS Mission next month and I'm so proud of him! Since getting his mission call, he went back to Canada to work and save money.




Saturday, October 09, 2010

Brad is a Stud!

My brother is a senior at Troy High School playing defensive back and back-up punter. Last night was the Game of the Week... and also the longest rivalry game in the GWOC (Greater Western Ohio Conference). Troy vs. Piqua is always a big deal, and I would have loved to be there.

From what I hear, it was a very exciting game. Everyone on Troy played well. Especially Brad. With 17 tackles, an interception that led to a touchdown and various other cool plays, he showed how talented he is on the field. This video shows him (number 21) doing his thing. The only thing they missed was him punting the ball and then tackling the guy who caught it. Excellent.

Friday, October 08, 2010

KMA Anniversary

Today I celebrate my one-year anniversary working for Kevin at KMA Architects.

The year has gone fast and I'm still in denial that it is getting cold outside. Why is summer so short? Pretty soon I will be struggling to find the lines in our tiny parking lot -- opting instead to park on the street just so I can guarantee that I don't hit anybody. Our parking lot is super small and super squishy. It typically requires a 15 point turn to get out.

Work is still going well. I take it as a good sign that Kevin is constantly reminding me to find my potential husbands ONLY among Utah boys. I think he's afraid that if I end up with someone from out of state, I'll leave prematurely.

The things that I like best about KMA versus other jobs - especially office jobs - I've held are the following:
  • I work for the most part, with all men. They are easy going, low-maintenance, hilariously funny and sometimes chivalrous. They are efficient. They still have just the right amount of gossipy-ness.
  • The firm is really casual. It's not a big corporate office with corporate policies and fancy lawyers and such. It isn't a small company that is trying to seem like a big company by doing things that are way beyond its abilities. We're just KMA, and we do what we want.
  • That means that my letters and proposals and anything I write can be as informal or formal as I deem necessary. I have way more leverage over the collateral that goes out, and I like that.
  • We're busy. There is no talk of buy-outs or unhappy investors or needing work. 
  • I'm not always busy...and for the most part, I don't have to pretend that I am.
  • There's no office drama. Or, there is, but it's usually hilarious instead of annoying. For the most part, the guys are all friends and you can see it in the way they interact with each other. It makes for a much nicer working environment.
In order to commemorate the year mark, I baked an apple cheesecake. There are only a few who have been able to taste this most delicious thing, however, I made it this morning instead of last night and I was too worried about burning it, that I undercooked it. And it only had six hours to set up - which, everyone knows 24 hours is better - leaving it soupy. I was pretty disappointed that it didn't turn out, but really...it's still delicious tasting, if not properly set up. The guys are picky eaters, but they still seem to eat some of the disasters that I've brought in. So I guess that's a good thing.

Discount Code: Unrealized Dreams Explore305

If you are interested in purchasing Unrealized Dreams from Lulu. com, use the code: EXPLORE305 to receive 14.92% off (that's in honor of Columbus Day... in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue, etc. etc.)

You can click the link on the right hand of this blog to take you to Lulu.com, where Unrealized Dreams can be purchased. I think the code will work on the ebook version as well, which is a cheaper alternative.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Tagged

1. Milk Chocolate or Dark Chocolate? It depends for what it is... and what is paired with it. But, dark usually triumphs over milk.
2. What's your favorite color? I have no idea. I love color combinations. My favorite: the fall colors. Cranberry, true green with golds and browns. Or pink and black. Or that robin egg blue with green and creams. Those ugly mustardy yellows and greens. I see a pattern, I think I like green the best.
3. Do you have any creative hobbies? I like to write. I like to craft - for about 5 minutes at a time. I want to learn how to sew and decorate cakes and I really wish I could design things... I wish I were more creative than I am. But I suppose I am more creative than those who are not creative at all...

4. What was your favorite subject in school? I loved English. And History. And Geography. And Art.
5. What is your favorite season and why? Fall. Fall has the best holidays, the best foods, the best smells, the best temperature, the best wardrobe, the best color palette (see above). It makes me ridiculously happy.
6. Who inspires you to sing like crazy when no one is around? Like Carla, I love Celine and Mariah. I will belt out their songs like nobody's business. And that's always best when no one is around, because I sound terrible. Of course, sometimes it is a necessity to sing "There were nights when the wind was so cold..." to the poor unsuspecting visitors and un-knowledgeable roommates.
7. What's your favorite dessert? Can you make it? How do you pick a favorite dessert? And yes. I can make it.
8. How did you learn to cook? My mother. And trial and error. And the internet. But mostly my mom.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Design Whiplash

Yes.... I needed my blog to pay tribute to one of the greatest holidays.

I've been in denial that summer is over. If it weren't for the fact that it is now dark when I look out the window, I think I would still disbelieve. The only thing that isn't depressing me at this very moment, is the fact that my room is probably going to get very chilly because I left the windows open... and I LOVE that.

Also... I think it is time to buy the stuff to make chili. Mom! I wish you were here to make me chili. That's like, my favorite thing ever. Chili + fall = bliss.

Yup, William... I know what we are having for dinner on Thursday. (It's not chili, but I just thought of it...!)

Raindrops and Lemondrops....

I don't know why I chose that title.

Yesterday the weather could not make up its mind. It was kind of perfect fall weather, blustery and rainy one minute, warm and sunny the next. It was dark for most of the morning and looked like it would rain. And then it did rain for a few minutes; after which, the sun came out and I thought we were good for the day.

I don't have A/C in my car, so I often get caught with my windows down when the sun is out. And since it had already rained, I figured that it was done for the day when I got back for lunch.

But then the afternoon turned really windy. The clouds rolled in, dark and looming. And I had forgotten all about my windows. By the time there was a torrential downpour outside, I decided to go check it out and make sure my windows were up.

I looked out the back window, and all I saw was Todd trying to get out of his car and into the office as soon as possible. I opened the door so that at least he didn't have to deal with that 2-second endeavor, and asked, "Did you happen to notice..."

"Your windows are down," he was saying as I handed my keys to him. He took them without question, confirmed that he had the right key, handed me his i-pod to hold and ran back into the deluge. 

He came back in a few minutes looking as though he had jumped in a pool with all his clothes on.

Sometimes the guys are rude, crude and unrefined. They talk about things that are straight up inappropriate (albeit, hilarious more often than not). And most the time, chivalry wins out and they don't make you run out into the monsoon.

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