Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My New Found Love For Audio Books

A few months ago, my book club had decided to read Dracula. I don't know if you've read or seen a copy of Bram stoker's Dracula, but it's incredibly long. I started freaking out because I was worried I wasn't going to be able to finish it. But, then I remembered I had downloaded a free iPod app for free audio books. The website has volunteers (yes, even you can read for them) read books, poems, short stories, essays, etc. that are in the public domain. It's all free (hence the volunteer readers part).

And that's right, Dracula is in fact in the public domain! I quickly found the audio book and started listening. I was saved! I listened to it at work and at home. The only downside? Because it's free and all volunteer readers, you don't always get the best narration.

What do you mean, Mattie? As long as you're "reading" it, why does it matter who reads it? Oh... let me tell you, friend, it makes a huge difference. Here, I'll show you:

There were a few really great, enjoyable people (I could only get a link to the full chapter the person reads, so listen for a bit (perhaps starting half way through) and then come back here):

Click here to listen to Reader 1
Click here to listen to Reader 2
Click here to listen to Reader 3
(As you can tell, I fancy the male, British readers...)

Then there were a few okay, tolerable readers that were only slightly irritating, but I got through it:
Click here to listen to Reader 1
Click here to listen to Reader 2
Click here to listen to Reader 3

But then, there were truly terrible people (well in this case, just one), that thought Dracula was a really melodramatic Harlequin romance novel and called for really breathy narration:

Click here to listen (go to middle to get full effect)

This same person read the last two chapters! I could barely get through hers when she read a chapter in the middle of the novel, but luckily she was a tiny bit better at the end. Only, she decided to read Van Helsing's parts with a weird accent that didn't add to the visualization but instead just made it hard to understand.

Click here and here to listen (same person, but the ending chapters... so a little better, minus the ridiculous accent for Van Helsing, which can be found towards the beginning of the second link).

But, I did get through it, and for the most part it was an enjoyable experience. It converted me to audio books, and I listened to other ones. It helped me finally finish Pride and Prejudice! (Yay! I'm no longer a failure as an English major!) I also bought some other audio books (definitely worth the money) from audible.com for the following month's book club after Dracula.

I now LOVE audio books. Granted, it's not the same as reading the actual book (which I will still try to keep doing), but it helps so much (especially if you get really good readers) because you can listen to it in the car, and while you're working or exercising. It's amazing! Well, except of course when you get a dramatic, romance-novel-type reader, in which case you might be better off just reading the book yourself. In fact... I think I will. When I get a chapter/book up on that website read by me, I'll let you know!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

November--Speed Reading

I was hoping that by me doing speed reading it would be a quick thing. The month of November was pretty crazy for me (you know... making a wedding cake and all). I bought A Complete Idiot's Guide to Speed Reading, and I read about four chapters and then gave up.

If I really concentrate, I can read fast. But, my problem is that most of the time, I read to read, not to get information, which is why speed reading is kind of hard for me. I got to the point where I started "speed reading" the speed reading book.

A major point in the guide is that you're supposed to practice and time yourself. Well, I really didn't have time to do either let alone finish reading the book! I'll have to revisit it again, so I can really get better at speed reading.

But, at this point in time, my secret to speed reading is... audio books.

December is the last one in my "learn something new every month" resolution. Let's hope I finish out strong.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Texas White Christmas

So I realize that my most recent post gave the impression that I have been rather lacking in Christmas spirit. Lest you worry, I wanted to clear up the fact that I did find some in time for Christmas. Turns out viewing a few choice films from the canon really did the trick.

Granted, I don't think I'll ever obtain the child-like glee I once had about Christmas (except perhaps when I have children of my own), but for now, I'm ok with that. I have been rather busy these last few weeks with trying to prepare for Christmas. Last week I was baking up a storm I tell you! But luckily, the busy-ness subsided this week and I was able to enjoy a rather relaxing Christmas Eve and day.

Now, living in Texas, there is no way I would expect there to be a "white Christmas." It just couldn't possibly happen. But, lucky for me Texas tried the best it could. Perhaps it was the constant playing of "Let it Snow" and other snow and winter-related songs on the radio, or maybe it was the 24/7 showing of "White Christmas" on A&E. Whatever it was, on Christmas eve afternoon it started snowing! Now, it wasn't enough to play in, or enough to really coat the ground (like I said it's Texas), but it was good enough for me.

(This was during the day when it started snowing.)
(This was Christmas eve night when it was still snowing.)

The snow stuck around for most of the morning on Christmas day, but eventually it turned into ice and then slowly melted by the afternoon. It was fun while it lasted. I guess all the dreaming of a white Christmas with all those Christmas cards I wrote and sent on the 23rd really worked!

Hope y'all had a very merry Christmas! And if you don't celebrate this holiday, I hope you had a good day staying at home since practically everything was closed!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Feeling a Little "Scrooge-ish"

When I was younger, I used to love Christmas. I mean, I still do, but I used to go all out. I was one of those people that started listening to Christmas music early, sometimes even as early as July (yeah... I was one of those people...). I couldn't wait till the day after Thanksgiving when my family would put up the tree and all the decorations. Wrapping presents was my fave! Even after I knew about Santa Claus, I still couldn't wait till Christmas morning and to see the excited looks on my family's faces when we each took turns opening our gifts.

While Christmas is still one of my favorite holidays, the last couple of years my joy and excitement for the season has gone down. I really didn't help my family put up much of the decorations; I haven't been listening to Christmas music all that much. I'm still excited about giving presents, but the normal Christmas spirit, I feel, is lacking and in turn leaving me feel Scrooge-ish.

My thing is, I've been thinking about it, but I can't figure out why. I'm really trying to be a little more cheery, but I'm not my usual Christmas self. Is this how it's going to be now, now that I'm all grown up? I hope not. I have no excuse not to be in a good mood, but for some reason, Christmas is feeling a bit like a thing I have to do/get done, rather than what it's actually supposed to be: A celebration of Christ's birth.

I'm slightly getting back in the spirit, I'm just a little behind. Hopefully, I'll be up to speed by the time Christmas rolls around. Snap out of it, Mattie! Remember the reason for the season! :)

Maybe I just need a pint of eggnog and to watch some movies from the Christmas canon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Christmas Movie Canon

That's right, there's a Christmas movie canon, just like there's a scripture canon and a literature canon. If anything, the Christmas movie is just as sacred and important as the other canons in the world. And just like every canon contains differing things with every person you ask, the Christmas movie one is different depending on you and your family.

There are, however, a few classics that are pretty much required to be present in your family's Christmas Movie Canon:
1. It's a Wonderful Life: There is a law (I'm sure) that says it is not Christmas unless you watch this movie. The end.
2. White Christmas: While this one is not quite as important as "It's a Wonderful Life," it is still one of those movies that helps ring in Christmas. I mean, who doesn't love Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye cross dressing? (If for some reason the musical aspect of this movie is too much for you, feel free to add/replace this with "Miracle on 34th Street" (old school or remake).)
3. Some version of A Christmas Carol: Come on, there's like 500 versions, surely you can pick one to include in your Christmas canon. Personally, I have two--Scrooged and The Muppet Christmas Carol.
4. A claymation/animated classic: It's just not a true Christmas season without watching at least one of the claymation/animated movies. Take your pick: Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (my choice), The Little Drummer Boy, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, The Year Without a Santa Claus, A Charlie Brown Christmas, not to mention the Disney/Mickey Mouse Christmas movies; heck, I'd even let you count The Nightmare Before Christmas if you wanted!
5. A Modern Christmas movie: Although I tend to pick many in this genre to include in my own canon, you can just pick one if you want (or can). Here's the one's I pick--Elf, The Santa Clause (I could care less about the sequels), The Polar Express (which could be considered an animated also), The Grinch, Christmas Vacation, and Love Actually (which isn't explicitly a Christmas movie, but it's set during Christmastime, so it's good enough for me). There are plenty more (and new ones come out every year) then these. If anything, turn on the Lifetime or Hallmark channels (or ABC Family) during the season, and you will be barraged with thousands of made for TV modern Christmas movies (many are cheesy and predictable though, just to warn you).
6. Lastly, A Christmas Story: If you have not seen this movie, you have obviously lived a terrible, deprived childhood. If you've seen it and didn't like it, I encourage you to give it another chance and don't watch it for an explicit plot or moral life lesson. If you're telling me, "Look, Mattie, no matter how much you plead, I am not going to like this movie!" then I am sorry for you. If you have already made up your mind, then there is no way I can convince you. Go watch "A Christmas Vacation" or a few Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas movies to make up for the gaping hole in your Christmas movie canon. For the rest of you, this movie is an American Christmas classic. It is silly, hilarious, and just all together enjoyable for the whole family. It completes any Christmas movie canon.

And with that said, it completes my Christmas movie canon. How is yours shaping up?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Sans Family

This Thanksgiving, for the first time in my life, I had someone else's family's traditional Thanksgiving meal. My family drove to New Mexico to spend Thanksgiving with my grandparents, but my best friend was getting married the day after Thanksgiving (and I was making her cake), so there was no way I could go to NM too. Luckily, I was not without turkey because some family friends invited me to join them for their feast. It was great, and I'm thankful that I did not have to spend Thanksgiving crying at the McDonald's all alone (like another friend was worried I'd be doing). I am also thankful for some great friends that were worried about me and offered me their leftovers so I wouldn't go without.

Here's the reason why I stayed home while my family was out of town: It really took the whole week to make, but because I love Mary a ton, I did it. The leaves are made of fondant and all hand painted. The acorns are made from chocolate and peanut butter chips, and the butterflies are the only things that aren't edible. My Thanksgiving was incredibly busy, with cleaning, getting the cake made, and shopping, I wouldn't even really call it a break. In fact... I think I need another one. Good thing Christmas is coming up really soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What I Learned in My Driver Safety Course

I had to take a Driver Safety Course a month ago, and I did it online. I passed, and I thought I would share with you what I learned because it was so helpful (at least some).

1. Traveling with children and pets can be "fun and a challenge." (no kidding?)
2. All people with road rage will dramatically throw their arms in the air, have an angry look, and frustratingly look at their watch.
3. You should hold the steering wheel at the bottom, not at 10 and 2, and you should use a "push/pull" type of thing when turning instead of crossing your arms.
4. Driving is a privilege not a right (this was emphasized several times).
5. Any badly animated CGI video will help emphasize any obscure point.
6. I should always fill my tank once it gets half way empty.
7. I read faster than the required amount of time I was supposed to spend on the page.
8. Thank goodness for save buttons so I could go and do something more important than reading driving facts and statistics.
9. I will know when someone is drunk if they look weird and loopy and laugh like Beavis and Butthead.
10. I never want to get a ticket or have to take this class ever again because it was a huge hassle.

Lesson Learned.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where Has Common Courtesy Gone?

Recently, I attended the midnight showing of New Moon on Thursday. Yes, I attended the midnight showing, and I'm not a teenager. I will have you know I went with my little sister who's 12 and my mom. There were plenty of older ladies there, too, so I am not embarrassed.

Anyway, I knew that because it was a midnight showing, there would be some screaming when it started and when the main guys came on the screen. I knew it was coming, but what I wasn't expecting was screaming and squealing every time Edward or Jacob came on the screen. I'm not even exaggerating, EVERY TIME.

It was especially bad when the people behind us kept talking and screaming after the initial yelling. They were upset every time Taylor Lautner came on with his shirt on; they were yelling "NO!" when Bella and Jacob had near kisses, then yelled "Yes!" when the kiss didn't happen.

What was worse, they were talking about things that weren't even related to the movie we were watching. They were talking about Channing Tatum and the new movie Dear John that he was going to be in. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore so I shushed them. Then they shushed me back. Seriously? You are the ones talking for crying out loud! I'm missing half the cheesy, ridiculous dialogue because you are too ADD and rude to concentrate on the movie at hand.

The constant screaming was annoying, but the incessant talking behind me was aggravating. Do these people not have any common courtesy to quietly enjoy the movie so others can enjoy it too? I've been to plenty of other midnight showings, but this one was the worst. There were hoots and hollars at the beginning of those showings, too, but at least these Spiderman, Star Trek/Wars, Batman, and Lord of the Rings nerds had the common decency and respect for other people to shut up during the rest of the movie.

Then when we left the theater, people didn't have any courtesy then either to let people take turns out of the parking lot. Seriously, people? Why must these people be so rude? We were stuck in our parking spot forever just because there was no one nice enough to let us through. It was ridiculous. Where have kindness, courtesy, and manners gone? And, how do we get it back... or can we? I'll have to see New Moon again to be able to hear the dialogue I missed, although... I think I'm ok with waiting.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

September and October--Calligraphy and Photography

For those that are wondering, yes, I have been keeping up with my resolution of doing something every month. This post has been a long time coming, but it's finally here. I kind of did both calligraphy and photography in September and October (and even some this month), so I combined them. I will say, both calligraphy and photography are difficult to learn in a month. Here's what I mean:

Calligraphy: I bought a calligraphy kit that included a book and ink and nibs (the tip of the pen that you write with). I read that book, but it was really difficult to figure things out by reading a couple of written instructions and looking at a black and white picture. I tried to follow the directions,but after a while, I just gave up and started to play around: I probably made up my own type of font because I didn't exactly follow one. I combined the ones I liked:I also gave up on using the old school ink/gouache, and I broke down and bought some marker-type calligraphy pens.I could probably get better if I had an actual teacher and practiced some more, but I don't think I like calligraphy enough to invest in that kind of thing. Oh well... as long as it kind of looks nice, people won't be able to tell, right?

Photography: When I first tried to get into photography, I knew I was going to need help. My friend's sister directed me to a rather helpful website, and in my own research I found this site. I also took a little Relief Society Super Saturday class from a professional photographer (I'd have to say, she was probably the most help). Even my brother, Cameron decided to give me some tips!

Even with all this help, again, I think having a teacher (and a nicer camera than my current point and shoot) would help me more. I did the best I could on my own, and it's helped me remember some good tips when I am taking pictures. I would love to get a really nice camera and take a photography class or two (which I might do someday), but at the moment, my time and funds can not help me fulfill this dream. Here's a few "artsy" pictures I tried to do:Yeah, I need help. Well, even though these last two months were not my best this year, I have two more months to go, and I've got high hopes.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Few Changes

I was getting tired of that background since I've had it for a while. So, I picked one for Thanksgiving. :) I also got rid of the music, in case you guys were wondering where it went to. I enjoyed the music, but I think sometimes people get really annoyed by it, which I can understand. I might bring it back, but for the moment, it is not here.

Also, I would like to add a few more things to the side bars like a search bar, labels, links etc., but I'm curious to how you guys feel about that. I know alot of you just follow me on Google Reader (or some other kind of RSS feed) so you don't really come to my actual website, and therefore don't really care what I put on the sidebar. But, if you do care and want your opinion heard, please, please tell me. I'm kind of clueless about this sort of thing, so I could get all the help I can.

Speaking of help (no, I do not need mental help, so don't comment on that...), does anyone know how to add an audio clip to my blog? I'm working on a blog post in which you need to hear audio clips to really understand my post, but other than linking to another site that has the audio clip, is there a way to actually make it part of my blog post?

You guys are awesome... more blog posts to follow, don't you worry.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Fun Times With Google

(I'm trying to make up for my lack of posts in October; can you tell?)

I'm sure we've all used Google for other things besides research, right? We've googled ourselves (don't lie, you know you have). We've even used it as a fortune teller of sorts. Have you tried the "(Your name) needs" and then seeing what comes up? Such as... "Traci needs a good map to Vegas." Or perhaps, "(Your name) wants"? If you haven't, you should because sometimes it can be really funny. In my case, it's just sad because tons of people name their dogs "Mattie" so most of mine are "Mattie needs a good home." I'm sure there lots of variations of Google as Oracle that you have tried/can try to get some entertainment.

Well, inspired by this Slate article in which they use the Google search guesses (the predictive searches that appear when you start typing) to find hilarity between "less intelligent" and "more intelligent" searches. For example, typing "how 2" brings up significantly different results than "how might one" (for more funny searches, click the link for the article).

While, I'm not going to try my hand at the more/less intelligent searches, I was curious to find out what my fellow googlers are searching for (which is where Google gets its suggestions to your searches). So, here's the funny results I found: I hope Google helped whoever that person is who wanted to know what to do with his life. I also enjoyed Google predicting what the person was going to have for dinner. Yes, because I too want to know how to own a Canadian. And, I just don't understand the reflection in the television one.Ahhh poor kid, why don't girls answer him back on facebook? Google, please tell him.All of the "learn how to" searches seem pretty generic until you get to "learn how to type for free." Ummm... who's charging you to type? Did you just have to pay to type that phrase into Google? (Yes, I do know what it actually means, I just thought that was humorous at first glance.) Really? Who loves getting cursed at? I don't get it. (On this one, it kept bring up lyrics, so I just kept typing until it brought up something funny.) Ok, last one: Ummm pretty sure all of these are hilarious. Obviously these googlers have alot of bodily problems... which probably lead to the one that doesn't have any friends.

Ok, now it's your turn. Try to find hilarious search suggestions, and let me know if you find some awesome ones. When I get bored, I'm definitely turning to Google to entertain me.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Music Box

Last week for FHE, we were supposed to bring something to have a little silent auction and then bring a story to go with that item. Here's what I brought and my story (the funny events will follow):
"When my great, great grandma Emma was younger, she lived in England in a rather poor but loving family. For her 12th birthday, her family had scrounged together 3 pounds for her to buy whatever she wanted. Her family rarely gave gifts, so this was an incredible sacrifice. Emma was so excited because there had been this jewelry box at the store, and it cost exactly 3 pounds! With the money her family had saved for her birthday, she went the very next day to purchase the box. When she took it home, she discovered it was also a music box! Even though the box is not worth much, Emma cherished it. She listened to it every night before she fell asleep, and although she didn't have much jewelry to put in it, she loved the box.
Eventually, once she was married and had a daughter of her own, she moved to America. Emma played the music box for her daughter Blanche when she was a baby as a lullaby. Blanche also came to love her mother's music box as well. When the time came, Emma gave Blanche the music box to illustrate the importance of willing to sacrifice for others and to show her daughter love. Blanche, after Emma died, held on to her mother's music box to remember her mother by. Blanche passed it down to her daughter Verla, and it has continued through the generations.
Although this is a family keepsake, I think Emma would understand if I sacrificed this music box to help someone else, just as her family sacrificed to let her buy the music box.

Now before you start fretting about how I just gave away a family heirloom, this story is entirely false. (I made it up in like 5 minutes before the activity.) I think the only truth to it is that I have a great aunt named Verla. I originally thought that the silent auction was with real money for charity, hence the last part about sacrificing to help someone else. What it was is that we each got 10 poker chips that we could use to "bid" on what other people had brought and to take it home. Items ranged from a used band-aid to a guitar (that's right... someone brought a GUITAR to just GIVE away...). I made sure we could make up the story, and since it was ok, I had fun with it (since the fun part for me was making up the story not auctioning for items). The funny thing was that several thought my story was real and were really worried that I was giving away such a priceless family treasure. I assured them that it was not such a treasured item, nor a sacrifice for me.

The real story is that last Christmas (I think, could have been the one before that), my aunt gave me some jewelry, and she put it in this box. In fact, my sister has the same type of box only her's is green and oval shaped. I'm sure my Aunt got it at some department store or something. I think that the box is very nice (don't ask me what song it plays though cause I can't remember), but it has been sitting in my closet since that Christmas I got it.

There was a guy there who wanted the box desperately; he even wanted to pay me actual money to take it out of the auction because he wanted it that bad (I'm pretty sure he was getting it for his girlfriend). I probably should have taken real money over poker chips, but I figured he'd probably get it in the end so why make him pay real money for something I'm just giving away anyway. This guy was hilarious; he ended up paying real money to someone else to get their poker chips, and you know what he bid? The infinite symbol. Yeah... he won. Hopefully his girlfriend will appreciate it as much as my great, great grandma Emma did... or would have had she been real.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Bummer Halloween Weekend

I didn't use to be into Halloween (that is when I was too old to go Trick or Treating to get candy), but I think I started getting back into more when I was in college. My senior year, I even had a Halloween party. Well now that I've graduated and living at home, I have found friends that enjoy Halloween just as much as I do. Even my place of work makes Halloween into a big deal... or at least they used to. Last year, Halloween at work was awesome and we decorated it really cool. Our department even won a prize last year for best decorations!

I was excited this year for a great Halloween, I already knew what I was going to be, and my schedule was already booked up for that weekend of Halloween. Work Halloween was going to kick things off on Thursday, then Friday we were having a Dracula book club, and then Saturday, Halloween, I was going to a party! This year was going to be awesome! Little did I know that other circumstances would foil what would have been another fun-filled Halloween weekend.

For various reasons, be it busy-ness, economy, etc., work Halloween ended up being a real bummer, at least in my building. Over in the other building, there were still plenty of fun and food to be had, but where I am, there weren't too many people that dressed up, and the food comprised of a bowl of dip, a bowl of goldfish, and a bowl of cheetos/chex mix (they were together in the same bowl). Our theme was "Television," and while the front door looked pretty amazing:
(That's right, I made it.), the rest of the decorations were printed up, pixelated pictures of random TV shows taped up on the wall and a "TV schedule" of people that were participating. There was a whole side of the floor that refused to participate and even put up this sign: I mean I realize that they don't like/celebrate Halloween, but that doesn't mean they have to put up a rude sign saying not to come over there. (I don't celebrate Hanukkah, but I don't put up a sign saying "No Jews." Ok, so maybe it's a bit extreme, but I thought the sign was really not necessary.)

Anyway, I was kind of bummed after the work Halloween, since it was pretty sad. Friday was okay. Book club was fun, but I got confused on the times, so I was late. Then we watched Bram Stoker's Dracula, which is disturbing and disgusting (but not in the way you would think), and is totally not like the book. They definitely sexed it up for the movie.

Then, Saturday, I hung out with the family and finished getting my costume ready. I helped my parents pass out some candy and walked down the street to get some donuts and cider they were passing out for the adults. Around 9ish I finished getting ready and set out for the awesome Halloween party in Carrollton. Yeah, an hour and a half later, I had finally found my way back home. I had missed the turn off or something, and ended up driving all around Dallas and Garland and parts of Lewisville and Irving just trying to find my way back. It was an adventure. I was pretty angry at myself cause I could have called someone, but I was being stubborn and thought I could figure it out. So, I didn't make it to the party, unfortunately, and I finally called my mom to get me home (this was around 11).

This Halloween was kind of a bummer. But, at least I know what I'm going to be next year. I got the costume all ready...

Monday, October 19, 2009

She's Alive!!!!

So, I am not dead in case any of y'all were wondering. I apologize for not posting in a while. I actually have 3 blog posts in the works, but a few required some more research and "tweaking" and some pictures from friends to get the full effect. Please know, they are coming.

Things have been crazy this month, so I'm really just trying to keep everything under control and not stress out. I'm doing ok so far... So, while I try to keep my cool and get things done, please enjoy these videos (a few artsy and a few hilarious):

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.





(I think the dramatic music on this last one gives it a nice touch. This is both hilarious and incredibly sad.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fort Worth YSA Conference

AKA: More than a thousand single (or at least not married yet) Mormons ranging from ages 18 to 30 all in one building.

Last weekend I attended what we LDS folks call a multi-regional young single adult (YSA) conference. For those who aren’t in the know, basically all the Mormon YSAs in a particular region all meet and do service projects, have activities, attend classes/workshops, and eat over the period of a weekend. This is fun and a great way to meet people and see old friends. This time around, however, we were having a very important member of our Church come to speak to us at the end of the conference: President Uchtdorf, a member of the First Presidency and an apostle. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s basically like having the secretary of state come and speak. What this means is that EVERYONE wants to be there and come hear him speak. This is both good and bad: Good that we get to hear someone who is closer to the Lord than most of us, and bad in that there is going to be so many people in attendance that it’ll be really hard to actually meet new people.

On with the story: While Fort Worth is only an hour to an hour and a half away, my friends and I didn’t want to be driving back and forth Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So, instead, we got 2 rooms at a hotel 15 minutes away from the stake center for the weekend. I was joking with a few friends that for all the money I’m spending on gas and a hotel, I better have a boyfriend (ok maybe a date) by the end of the weekend. Realizing that was quite the unrealistic goal, I amended my statement: I at least want a better sense of self and some new friends.

Well, I was right, I didn’t get a boyfriend or a date (not even a number), but I did achieve my more realistic goal. Here’s what I got:
1. I don’t like an activity with no structure like when it’s “here’s some stuff, do whatever you want.”
2. Getting footballs thrown towards me, more specifically my face, is not a pleasant experience, and I cringed every time.
3. Yes, I did meet a few people (yes, guys too, Mom), and they were nice. But, again, I didn’t really see them again after we met because there were so many people.
4. I cannot tie a cute bow for a hair band to save my life. I tried, several times; it’s impossible.
5. Recycling greeting cards (cutting up old ones to make new ones) was fun, especially with all the old wedding announcements we could mock. Not sure who would actually use the cards we made out of them though.
6. Apparently, you can’t die filthy rich and get into Heaven (cause you can’t be filthy in Heaven). But, you can, however, be wealthy and get in (new life goal now set).
7. I loved this quote, used in one of the workshops, by C.S. Lewis: “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time—waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God—it changes me.”
8. It really bugged me when people said they came from far off places for the conference (like Alaska, Hawaii, etc.). I’m sorry you did not travel all the way from “Sai Pei (it’s next to Guam)” just for the conference. You’re at school at U.T. You are here from U.T., honey.
9. Dancing in a room with 1000 other sweaty people squeezing in next to you is not always fun.
10. I do not want to be proposed to by a DJ request in a room with 1000 strangers at a YSA conference dance. (Yeah, it did in fact happen to someone else there.)
11. Sometimes sitting on a hard metal chair for 5 hours is worth the pain in your buttocks.
12. Sister Uchtdorf, President Uchtdorf’s wife, is hilarious and so cute! She told all of us we need to be getting emails at this conference, “Don’t twitter, just email.”
13. On a more spiritual note, she also told us about this statue in which it was Christ but without hands. On the statue, it said, “You are my hands.”
14. President Uchtdorf covered A LOT of things and topics in his talk at the fireside. What stood out most to me that he said was the following 3 things: (1) Instead of looking for the right one (when it comes to a spouse), we need to be the right one because when we try to be the right one, then we focus on the right things. (2) He quoted Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (which is freakin’ awesome), saying that it is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. (3) If you know who you are, you know who Heavenly Father is.

Overall, although very crowded and cramped, I enjoyed the conference. I met a few new people, became better friends with others, did some service, learned some things in general and about myself, and felt the Spirit. I’m glad I went. There’s another one in November in San Antonio. Who’s with me?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

August--See a Musical

So, remember how awhile back, June was supposed to be to see a play/musical? Well, I couldn't find any good ones then, so I had given up on that goal. But, my awesome friends decided to go up to Oklahoma to see Wicked in August! YAY! I was going to do something else as well, but August got pretty crazy, so seeing a musical was all I got to do.

Wicked was awesome! I have the soundtrack and have listened to it many times before. I also have seen it... um sort of. Don't ask me how I got it, because I honestly don't remember who gave it to me, but I saw a pirated copy of Wicked (someone recorded the New York Broadway version). The pirated version is ok, you know apart from the 5 minutes of blank screen with sound when I'm assuming an usher came by and they had to put the camera down. But, seeing it live was amazing, and there were no blank periods (although the zoom feature used in the pirated copy was a plus, we were kind of far away).

There's not much I could say about the actual musical, but being in Oklahoma was interesting. It's an odd state. We were driving along en route to Tulsa, and we pass a sign saying that it's a toll road and that the toll is 25 cents. We gather our change and drive and drive and drive. We drove another 15 miles or so until we finally reached the tollbooth and then BOOM! it's two dollars! We were really scrounging around for change then. There were odd signs like: "Do Not Drive Into Smoke." Is it really that much of a problem that there needs to be a sign?

There there were odd stores like this:

Yeah... awkward. But other then that, it was nice to get away. The drive was very peaceful, and the scenery was pretty. It was a fun trip, and I'm glad I went. All in all, seeing Wicked live was definitely worth the 4 hour drive, the weird hotel guy (that's another story for another time), and the odd signs and stores. Everyone should go see it!

(Wicked photos courtesy of Aibi and Erica.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

July--Make a New Dish

First off, I apologize because I didn't take a picture of any of the delicious foods I made. I did, however, find a few pics of the same foods online, so I'll post those. Originally this month, I was going to do a little photography. But, I didn't really have time to improve/practice anything. Then, I realized that I had made alot of new foods and tried alot of new recipes for a little get together I had at the end of the month. So, then I realized July could be making a new food instead of photography (don't worry photography will come later on).

For my book club meeting, I made lots of food (probably more than necessary) that I had never made before. I was going to post recipes of them, but I realized that will take up alot of space, so if you want recipes for any of the things I list, let me know and I'll send them to you.

Here's the delicious feast I had, at least the ones I made, (those that ate it, feel free to comment on whether or not you actually thought it was delicious or not):
Mango Chipotle Salmon Dip (on the back of the Salmon Creations package)
Salmon Croquettes
Cucumber Sandwiches
Toasted Ravioli
and Oreo Truffles (Pic later in post)

I also made some other things for my family:
Tuna Croquettes
Crunchy Chicken Chunks
Parmesan Crusted Chicken

And even though it was a recent recipe I did that wasn't in July, I also made spaghetti squash with sun-dried tomato alfredo sauce and sauteed mushrooms, yellow squash, and zuchini. (It was delicious, but I really needed to put some meat in there though.) I think everything I made was delicious, although I think the fried (toasted) raviolis got a little over cooked/burned, so the ones I ate weren't the best.

My favorite thing I made was the oreo truffles. Those were amazing and so easy too! I had gone to a family friend's eagle court of honor, and they had made these truffles. My little sister at a bajillion; in fact, I think what she said was something like she could now die happy and she wanted a lifetime supply of them. I obviously had to ask the lady for the recipe so that I could at least partially fulfill my little sister's wish of having a lifetime supply. My brother later told me a girl in his Home Ec class made these and called them snowballs. I will leave you with this recipe:

1 pkg. of Oreo cookies, finely crushed (I would use a food processor or blender to get it really fine)
1 pkg (8 oz) of cream cheese, softened
2 pkgs. (8 sq. each) Baker's Semi-sweet chocolate, melted (or you can use candy melts chocolate)

Mix the crushed oreo crumbs with the cream cheese until well-blended. Then shape into 1-in. balls (about 42).

Dip the balls in the melted chocolate and place on the waxed paper. Garnish with sprinkles, oreo cookie crumbs or drizzle melted white chocolate (that's what I did). Refrigerate until hard.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Old Soul

My mom has told me several times that I am an "old soul," and that I was 30 years old ever since I was 5. Let me explain: Basically, I have been more mature and knowledgeable than others of my own age. I don't mean this to be boastful, because sometimes I don't like being more mature; it makes things more difficult. It's true, I am an old soul, and there has been several occasions in which I have known this about myself. There have been times where I have given helpful advice or counsel to others even though I had never been through that experience myself. I try not to get caught up into petty, childish problems because I know it's not worth it. And even though I admire this about myself and it helps me sometimes, there are other times when I don't like it.

My maturity makes it difficult to make friends with those of my age. I've almost always had friends who are older than me (or younger, mainly because I feel like I have to protect/take care of them). Even now, the majority of my friends are older than me, and sometimes I feel like my age is holding me back when I'm with them. Because although I act more mature and older, I don't actually have the years of life experience to back up my wisdom.

My old soul also makes it hard to date and find someone I like. Granted, there are other reasons why I probably don't date, but it is also hard to find a guy I could potentially like/go out with. I'm not completely opposed to asking a guy out, but I'd want to ask someone I'm somewhat interested in. But, with my maturity level being higher than most guys my age, most every guy in my ward is not what I want. I want an equal, someone who is just as mature and intelligent as me. I'm really not finding that guy in the rather slim pickings of my branch.

Maybe I'm just being too picky and snobbish. Perhaps I should open up more and be more willing to go out/meet/become friends with a guy that isn't exactly what I'm looking for. Who am I to judge and determine that he isn't mature/smart from the limited interaction I have had with him (although I'm pretty sure you can tell right off the bat for many)? But again, here's where my old soul gets me in trouble. I feel like if I already can tell it's not going to work out, my old soul says, "Why bother trying? It will only be a waste of time."

I don't quite know what to do because sometimes I can't have fun because I'm too mature for my own good. I'm trying to not let myself judge others too quickly, but it's hard. My old soul gets the best of me and thinks it knows better (and perhaps it does). Hopefully, by the time my age catches up to my soul, I won't feel quite so out of place.

Perhaps I just need to find an older man. Now where to find one... Can I buy one at Target?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lemonade Can Be Delicious

We've all heard the cliche, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade." (I'm sure you've heard other twists on it too, but let's not go there.) Although this saying gets used so much that it has become just empty, meaningless words, if we get down to the main message/point of it, it is helpful to us. Really what it comes down to is if something happens to you in your life, you just need to accept it and have it help you, not hinder you.

Sometimes it's easier or makes us feel better to sit there and complain about our circumstances or wallow in self-pity about various trials in our lives. Believe me I know, I'm not above it at all. Happens to me a lot. I think that when things happen in our life that is unwanted or makes life difficult or that are beyond our control, we need to desperately find the silver lining in the cloud or else we'll just be miserable. And who wants to live their life miserable all the time?

I know many people, however, choose instead to keep dwelling on the negative and keep complaining about their lot in life. While all of us feel this way occasionally, a few seem to take it to the extreme. They analyze what they (or someone else) could have done differently or if they hadn't had been at this place or at that time. I think playing with what might have been is a fruitless endeavor. It doesn't get you anywhere, and you don't get anything out of it apart from becoming more upset. A better use of your time would be to find a solution to the problem, to find a way out or to move beyond your current troubles.

Now, I'm not saying you should just be happy all the time and just suck it up. Everyone goes through a grieving/mourning/questioning process when faced with conflict. This is human nature. But, the key is to not dwell too long in this period. Doing so would only make things worse.

Sometimes, when faced with a rather difficult set of circumstances, we tend to reach a stalemate in our progress. We don't quite know what to do or how to handle it, so we are stuck. This is when we need to actively search for the good or the lesson we should be learning from the trial. Only then, once we realize why we are in the situation and what to get from it, can we move on and become a better person. It's hard, yes, and it might take you some time to figure out, but once you do, your life will be better.

Don't fall into the trap of self-pity and self-wallowing. Again, it will get you nowhere, and it will only set you back farther in the grand scheme of things the longer you focus on the negative.

I apologize if this sounds rather preach-y. I mean this as much for myself as my readers. I've just realized that when I dwell in the negative and get complain-y, as I'm want to do, it only makes things worse for me. I too am trying to be more positive when faced with my trials. I hope, and pray things will get better, and then realize if I don't do anything about it, it won't get any better.

Life can make some sweet, delicious lemonade, but it is we who have to squeeze the lemons to make it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quest To Replace Old Blue--Finale (AKA Thank you Obama and my fellow taxpayers!)

Previously on The Quest, our heroine had decided on a car, but had held off buying it because of lack of funds. With the knowledge of what she wanted, her only obstacle was money. Will she finally be able to replace her once trusty steed with something a little more shiny? Will she like it? Find out in the final installment of The Quest to Replace Old Blue:

Well, it's been almost a year since I first started looking/thinking about buying a new car. It has been almost 9 months since I had sold Old Blue, and while juggling schedules to arrange cars between my family was a small annoyance occasionally, it wasn't too bad. I was fully prepared to keep it up, too (my family, probably not).

Then, recently, Congress decides to pass a bill for a "Cash for Clunkers" program. I had always planned on trading my family's Expedition, which my brother used and lovingly referred to as "The Beast" (you can't tell in the picture, but the driver's side window was guerilla glued shut, and the leather inside was all torn up) to help me in buying my car. But with this program and talks of it running out of money, now was as good a time as any to buy my new car. I had a sizeable amount of money saved up to put a reasonable down payment on the car.

The timing/decision-making process to buy the car now rather than later literally took a day. On a Tuesday, I had heard about how the program was running out of money and discussed with my family that night about purchasing my car sometime that week. My dad and I went to the dealer on Wednesday after work and negotiated a price. Then Thursday after work, we finished the paperwork, made the trade, and drove off the lot in my new Beauty.



It happened so fast, and believe me I (and my family) was scrambling around the house/emailing/faxing to get all the right forms and necessary paperwork. (The government requires a bunch of extra papers, e.g. a year's proof of insurance, a year's proof of registration, etc., for the CARS program.) The whole experience of negotiating and working out the loan/financing was enlightening (car salesmen really are tricky folks).

So, it's official; I have purchased (well ok, started making payments) on my first car. I haven't christened it yet, but I'm open to suggestions (perhaps New Blue?). (The car is Glacier blue; it's kind of hard to tell in the pictures.) I feel I need some more time with it to really know and understand it. We need some more time to get to know each other. But, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


THE END

Sunday, July 26, 2009

May and June--Cake Decorating

Originally, cake decorating was only going to be May, and June was to "go see a play/musical." Well, there wasn't any plays or musicals I was interested in seeing, so I continued cake decorating in June. I took the class through Michael's, which only teaches the Wilton method (I didn't even know there were other methods, but apparently there are). There are a total of four courses, each one is a once a week, 2 hour class for a month.

May, the first course, was mainly an introductory class where we learned a few borders, some figure piping, and the final culminating class was the "Wilton rose."

This was my first cake I made.

This was my second cake. I made this for my mom and dad's anniversary.

This was my final cake for the class.

After I finished my first class, the mom of one of my sister's friends called me up at 10 0'clock on a Friday night and asked me to make a graduation cake for her niece... for the next day! I accepted the job and then proceded to freak out. I ran to Walmart (only store open that late to buy cake mix, frosting, etc. I actually ended up having to make 2 cakes. I had thought that the first one I had made was cool enough. But, it was too big, for one, and not cool enough, for another, and it completely fell apart as I turned it over. Hence baking a second cake. The important thing is, I got it done.


The second class was basically flowers galore.


I plan on taking the last two classes, but I needed a break. The next one starts in August. I have since made other cakes. If you would like me to make you a cake, let me know! The last cake I made was for a "Threadcakes" competition. Here's the final result:
It's based off of a design titled "Eclipse!"

I'm planning on making another one for the Threadless contest before the end of the week. I'll post pics when I'm done.

Monday, July 20, 2009

High School Reunion

A few months back, I received a Facebook message from a person I don't know but who apparently went to my high school and graduated with me. They were inviting me to attend the 5 year reunion in December. Ummmmm... 5 year reunion? Who has a 5 year reunion?

I doubt very many people in my class have really accomplished much in five years accept maybe graduate from college. Then I started thinking, would it really be worth it to me if I went? Apart from being facebook friends with them, I don't really keep up with anyone from high school. If I want to know what they're up to, I check their Facebook. Of the people that would go to this reunion, a) would I even know any of them (my class was 1,237) and b) would I even care to see them?

After much debate (not really, I think I thought about it for five minutes), I decided I'm not going. I joined the Facebook group for it in case I change my mind as it gets closer (I probably won't) and can see when and where it is.

High school reunion: not worth it. But, if there was a high school band reunion, I might seriously consider attending that one.

Friday, July 17, 2009

In the Meantime...

So I'm currently crafting a few excellent blog posts, but they are not entirely finished, and some parts I have at home and some I have at work, so I got to bring them all together. However, since it's been a while since I posted, I figured I'd share something with you.

Below is a video I stole from my friend Megan's blog, and I loved it so much, that I wanted to show it to you guys. It is kind of long (16 minutes), but it so worth it. It just makes your day better and makes you smile. I did share this on my facebook, so if you've already seen it, I apologize.

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

It Is Not Death That A Man Should Fear...

A few days ago, I went to a funeral of someone at church who was a family friend. I didn’t know him that well, but for some reason while I was there, it didn’t matter. I wasn’t expecting to cry so much, but boy did I. It was a wonderful service with very many touching and tender moments. I’ve only been to two other funerals in my life. One was my great grandfather’s when I was about 6, so I don’t remember it at all. The other was my great grandmother when I was a little older, and while I do remember crying and seeing her, I don’t remember the service.

Ok, back to the story. What I loved most about the funeral (believe me, I know how odd and awkward that is to say) was feeling the spirit and feeling a sense of hope. What am I talking about? I mean that although we were honoring someone that lived a good life and unfortunately was no longer with us, we were still here to carry on and live. My favorite belief that I have through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the knowledge that death is not the end. That after this life we continue on to the spirit world where we give service to others there.

But while we can take comfort in the fact that our loved ones who have passed on just happen to be somewhere else, it still leaves us in the lives we are living now. Attending the funeral helped me get a perspective and a different take on my own life. I heard all of the friends and family of the one who passed saying all of these wonderful things he accomplished and how he impacted the lives of everyone in attendance and then some, and it made me wonder what people would say about me and my life and more of what would I want them to say. Am I living the life that would have people say what I would want them to say when I passed?

Are we living the kind of life that has an impact (hopefully positively) on our friends, family, and others around us? I think we try to avoid thinking about death, mainly because we are so scared of things we don’t know about. But I think sometimes it’s good to remember (not dwell on it, mind you) to remind us every now and again that we need to live our lives the best we can because we might not be here for as long as we think.

It was a good chance for me to reevaluate my life. When I pass (and I’m hoping it will be many many years down the road), I want people to say good things about me, that I was a positive influence in their life, and that my life was something meaningful. Well, if that’s how I want it to be, I need to make sure that I’m living that way for that to happen.

So, my question for you is, what do you want people to say about you at your funeral? Are you living your life so people will say that? If not, change it so they will.

OH, and in case you were wondering, the partial quote that is the blog post title is from Marcus Aurelius: "It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

One-Year Anniversary

On this day a year ago I started my first, real-life, grown-up, out of college, full-time job. I can't believe it's actually been a year; it feels like it's been shorter and longer at the same time. It's weird and is a really odd feeling. And while I don't like cliches, I'm going to use one anyway:

When I started, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (sorry I had to), excited to start my first real job. I felt that I had to prove myself; I was competent despite my lack of real-world, corporate experience. I was ready to make friends with my co-workers, thinking it would be less like "The Office" and more like "Chuck" (with the lovable guys at the Buy More). I was a little overwhelmed with training and learning all about my new job, benefits, retirement, etc. but still hopeful for the future when I had mastered it all.

Boy, how stupid and naive I truly was... if only I could go back to that innocence now though.

Many things have changed within this year, including myself. While I hate to say it, my work is much more like "The Office" than I'd like (which has made me have an even greater appreciation for the show). I've come to learn that people aren't always how you think they are at first for good and for bad. There were people that I thought we would become friends that ended up not being, people who I thought I wouldn't get along with but instead have become my friends, and still others even now I can't tell.

I realized that sometimes beneath the nice pleasantries and civil chit chats (like my alliteration?) is turmoil, dislike, disdain, and/or indifference, although sometimes it's not. It's only after some time that you find out who you can vent to and who you can't and who is really nice through and through and who isn't.

I discovered that while having doors on your cubicles seems like a great thing in the beginning, you find out quickly it is not (either for yourself or others), which is why the head of our department is now banning the closing of doors unless absolutely necessary. (Don't worry nothing terrible, but people feel less welcome and approachable, and who knows what those people are doing behind that door [ummm not work].)

I learned that there are certain things that really bother me that I never would have thought would have had it not been for my co-workers doing them all the time getting on my nerves (like talking loudly in their cube on personal calls, banging loudly on the computer, and rubbing their hands together). (Side note: the rubbing the hands thing is like nails on a chalkboard almost for me, weird, huh?)

I noticed that bosses are interesting creatures each with their own set of managerial styles (or lack there of) and how they act in the hallways (not in meetings) truly effects the mood of their employees and the office in general. One or two managers always say hi and talk with people, therefore buoying up their employees and making everyone else feel welcome and appreciated. One avoids eye contact and communication in passing, focusing on that one thing she needs or one place to get to, which in turn closes off her employees and results in a lack of communication. One boss seems friendly and welcoming, but when push comes to shove and he has to answer a question about something, he refers to the higher up and/or puts it back on the employee, thereby making the employee feel he can't come to him since he is not knowledgeable about the job.

I have come to learn that the average American business employee loves their coffee and their alcohol (two things of which I hate, which also "alienates" me even more from the office crowd). The coffee pot (which is a high point of conflict, apparently; there's signs every where around it regarding the use and clean up of said coffee machine; really the whole break room area--sink, fridge, water cooler, microwave, toaster oven--is a point of conflict) is constantly running all day. Every company party/event always has alcohol of some kind, which is sometimes funny, sometimes not. A few others love their cigarettes and the "breaks" that come with them too, but not the whole office, thank goodness.

The business world is more of a survival of the fittest type, dog eat dog world (more cliches, I know) than I'd like. While my company is nothing to the extreme (I mean we're a non-profit after all), I am just noticing things about people used to this sort of thing that makes me wonder if I'm even cut out for it all. The thing is, yes, I want to prove myself and get that promotion or raise or what have you, and I want to make sure that my work is noticed and appreciated. However, I don't want to have to go about getting there by being rude and mean and nasty and cutthroat because that is not how I roll. But, does that mean because I'm that way, I'll never get ahead?

I don't think so. As I started working more and more, I noticed that I was changing and I was being meaner (not necessarily to people, but it was the things I thought in my head), and I didn't like that change in myself. I'm trying to be better and retain my sweet, partially innocent self I had and to not let the competitiveness of it all swallow me whole. I think I can still get ahead in life being the same way I am; it might take me longer, but I'll get there, and I'll get there the right, honest way. And in the end, not only will I feel better about myself because of it, I'll be blessed more too.

While I could complain (and have) about my job, co-workers, boss, etc., I have learned a lot and am still learning, which I love. And really, I'm just thankful I have such a great job at all in this crappy economy. Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Engaged People

Being a single girl in her early to mid 20s, I've known several engaged people. After experiencing a range of differing engagements and the stories (and then weddings) that go with these engagements, I've come to find that there are three types of engaged girls. Yes, there are exceptions (as there are to any theory), but in my opinion, the majority of engaged couples fall into one of these three categories.

The first of these is the disappearing couple. Everything is all fine and dandy while they are dating, and they come to activities together and join in the fun. But, as soon as they get engaged, they fall from off the face of the earth, remaining illusive except for the occasional facebook posting of engagement photos, countdown, or request for addresses for the wedding announcements/invitations. Suddenly, they never return phone calls, don't show up to activities or church, and shirk their responsibilities except for those of planning the wedding. Y'all know someone that fits this description. Once that ring is on their finger, you can just plan on never seeing them again until the wedding (if you're invited), and then after that, don't count on it.

Which then brings me to the opposite engaged person, the one who has to constantly remind you that, yes in fact she is engaged and, in case you didn't know, soon to be married. They flash their ring around or are constantly holding it up to look at it, only to make sure you are looking at it too. They have to keep announcing how hard and time-consuming it is to plan a wedding and that you couldn't possibly know how happy they are because you are a poor single person with no one to love, but they recommend getting engaged and married to everyone (like we are in a store debating on if it really is worth spending the money on it only to have it dry out our skin or not be as high quality as we were expecting).

In every conversation they have to squeeze in how they won't have to go to the single's ward anymore soon and that it'll be hard to adjust to the family ward because they've been away from it for X amount of years, but it will be absolutely wonderful. This type of engaged person always has to keep you updated on the progress of the wedding plans and their future life together: where they'll be living, what kind of bedroom furniture they are looking at, wedding colors, honeymoon, and really anything you could care less about (or don't want to know). After awhile, those in this category get freakin' annoying, and you almost wish they would be like the ones in the first category cause then you wouldn't have to hear them. If you know/knew someone of this type, you too were counting down the days till the wedding: Only X more days left of "Oh, sorry I can't, I'm engaged" (like it's a deadly disease that keeps you from doing anything fun with non-engaged people).

Then, there's my favorite type of engaged persons. They are the kind that quietly announce their engagement (or perhaps not quietly, depending) once and then go about their daily lives perfectly normal. They don't disappear; they continue to attend church and fulfill their calling and responsibilities. They even keep attending the single's activities and have fun with their friends even if those friends are non-engaged people. They do not have to constantly advertise the fact that they are getting married or are engaged. Those of this category may not even come off as clearly "engaged." Although after some time, you can figure it out by the ring or the fact they are always together or holding hands. They aren't overtly engaged, I guess you could say. These are my favorite kind of engaged people (cause they are easier to get along with/stand/be friends with still), and most engaged people tend to fit in this category. These people are still cool to hang around and who, for the most part, you will probably still see around or hear from even after they're married.

Funny thing is all three types of engaged people are in my current single's ward... oh the joys of being single are endless.

Monday, June 08, 2009

My Recent Epiphany--Part 2

Again, I apologize for my delay in blog posts. This last week was my brother's graduation and my other brother's Eagle scout court of honor. Many of my extended family were in town, and I'm sure you can imagine the drama and stress in my household before and during their stay. But, now that the family events are over and done with, it's time to get down to business.

I had a previous post about a recent realization that I had. I had just had a horrible experience at the doctor's office, and it started getting me thinking. This next part was the second "event" that led to my epiphany:

I've never really be a huge fan of "reality" TV shows. I think I watched a few episodes of the first few seasons of Survivor, Big Brother, Amazing Race, American Idol, and the Bachelor (and perhaps a few others I can't remember now). These types of shows did't really grab my attention like it has for others. However, this past season of The Biggest Loser (Season 7) had obtained my faithful viewership every Tuesday. I had heard of the show before, but I'd never actually watched an episode. For some reason, I had been hooked, along with my family, and we watched every episode (occasionally on Hulu a week later if we missed it).

While, like any other reality TV show, the Biggest Loser has it's fair share of drama and build up of suspense between commercial breaks, it also has the feeling of inspiration and hope that some reality television shows lack. Sometimes it was a bit much, and boy did NBC lay it on thick with a few episodes (especially towards the end of the season), but it still got to me. I watched this show week after week thinking that while I wasn't secluded on a ranch with exercise equipment and my own personal trainer, I could still be doing something. Of course, I thought this as I was sitting on the couch watching the show eating dinner or ice cream/cake.

Every episode ended with a call to action for home viewers to loose weight at home and report their weight loss online. For every pound the American public lost (and reported) they would donate one pound of groceries to Feeding America (the Pound for Pound challenge). Not only would you be doing a good thing for yourself (losing weight), you would also be helping your fellow man. I mean, who really needs that double cheeseburger: your obese self, or the starving single mother with three kids? Yeah... really gets you thinking.

So after episode after episode, the cheesy inspirational music and admonitions from newly ejected contestants that "if they could do it, so could you," I decided I really could do it. It wasn't quite enough just yet (no this was not the epiphany), but it was the slope that helped the ball continue rolling.

Stay tuned, the final "Aha" moment is coming...

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's Coming... in the Meantime

I know I haven't written in a while, but it's not that I haven't thought about it. I just seem to be pretty busy lately and so have not had sufficient time to sit and write out a blog post. I have several ideas in mind, and they will be written and posted shortly. But, to keep you mildly entertained in the meanwhile, I am posting the 1st episode (in several parts) of what's turning out to be one of my new favorite shows.

My aunt told my mom and I about it, and I think it is great and fun. It's a BBC concotion entitled Lost in Austen, and it's about a girl, who's obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, and finds herself switching places with Elizabeth Bennett and must then move the plot along herself... only it doesn't quite work out like the book. It's a fun show and I have feeling most of my readership will enjoy it. If you like it, please feel free to watch the other episodes on YouTube! Enjoy!