Monday, December 14, 2009

Oh, Christmas!!!

So, I went to the Gateway and Temple Square in Salt Lake City and went camera crazy! I was fascinated by the tree at the Gateway, so I recorded it (the lights are amazing!!) Here it is for you all to see. :) By the way, I could not figure out how to change it so it was turned correctly (it's not as easy as fixing pictures I guess). Forgive me, please ;)

video

And yes, I have other pictures :). Some of them have some pretty funny stories, so here we go:


Ok, so this must be one of the more popular, most-desired places to take a picture on temple square (here and the reflecting pool on the Main Street Plaza). So, in an attempt to be polite, we waited our turn in line. There was a family in front of us who were also waiting their turn. The family in front of us were taking their sweet time as well as enough pictures to fit on 5 memory cards! When it was the family's turn (in front of us), this pack of girls ran up to the platform, giggling like they were funny, and started taking pictures. Then, this old lady walked up to the platform. Her husband kept telling her that it wasn't her turn and she looked at him and gave him this nasty sneer that communicated "I don't have to wait my turn!" Finally, I decided to throw civility aside and ran up to the platform when Mrs Entitled got down. I let the family in front of us come up so that we could take their picture for them and then I took the snapshot I wanted. Obviously, I was annoyed (especially with Mrs. Entitled. I don't care how old you are...wait your turn!!) Ok...I feel better now that that is off my chest. Next:

Wow...this picture has a hilarious story! So, I wanted to take the shot from the corner of the window because it didn't have as many hand and fingerprints on it. The only problem was this couple who were having an interesting conversation--and by that, I mean the guy (no older than 23) was talking to the girl about all the money he had loaned to his family. First of all, he loaned $10,000 to his parents because "they had fallen on hard times". Second, he paid off all of the student loans his sister had incurred. Now, obviously, I did drop some eaves but it was impossible not too...this was an interesting story! I want to know what this kid did for a living if he was only about 23 (maybe 24 but definitely not older than 25)! This guy had loaned out about $30,000 (unless the student loans were not very much)!! AND HE WAS ONLY 23!!! I was about to ask him for a loan, but my better judgement helped me refrain. Anyway, I knew it was pointless to wait for the spot because more people were coming and this story was not about to end any time soon (the girl decided to sit down on the sill!) So, I took my shot from the center (and yes, it was a decent shot) and then we headed down the elevator. Our assumptions were:
  1. this guy was genuine and I am being pretty rude,
  2. this guy was Mr. Moneybags (and I am still probably being somewhat rude), or
  3. this guy was really trying to impress this girl with money and generosity, and he was laying it on REAL thick (and I am still being rude...dang it!)!!
Anyway, here are some other photos:


An amazing nativity!


The temple through the lights (I admit this idea was not original. I saw someone else doing it and decided to follow suit!)

I really like the Assembly Hall! It is an example of some great architecture.


I like the temple and the lights right in front. I will never have enough pictures of the temple!


The best shot of the evening! I love this one (and yes, this idea was original. I took it before seeing the other people on the other tree).

Well, there you are! Some fun little pictures of magic and wonder. I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Something to Think About...

I am currently reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck (among other books). I have struggled with reading it mostly because of what I consider an extreme description of a certain character and her way of life (Cathy/Kate/Vicious She-Devil/Pure Evil/Symbol of the Serpent). Multiple times, I have considered putting the book down and not finishing it. However, something has kept me going...reading about Adam and his sons, and the Hamiltons. I am intrigued by what will happen to them.

Anyway, there was a quote from the book that I really liked and I had to share it. At this point in the book, Samuel Hamilton is speaking to Adam and Adam's servant Lee. They are talking about the Cain-Abel "story" and Lee explains what he discovered after researching the story in English, Chinese, and Hebrew. Later in the book, Samuel says "'Thou mayest, Thou mayest!' What glory! It is true that we are weak and sick and quarrelsome, but if that is all we ever were, we would, millenniums ago, have disappeared from the face of the earth. A few remnants of fossilized jawbone, some broken teeth in strata of limestone, would be the only mark man would have left of his existence in the world. But the choice, Lee, the choice of winning! I had never understood it or accepted it before...Timshel...."

Something to think about....

Monday, November 16, 2009

My New Home!!!

Ok...here comes a "post puke". After months of no posting, you're about to get two, maybe three posts...

As most of you know, I have changed residence. I am now up in Ogden and really like it up here! I have a cozy little place with the Ogden Temple in my backyard and the Ogden City mall down the street. I work at the McKay-Dee Hospital and really really like it! Life is great :)

Since the majority of you are far away, I decided, for your enjoyment, to post pictures of my place.

So, here is "the bedroom" and "the living room". One of my more creative ideas (thanks to my mom) was to have a trundle bed so I could sleep on the top and pull the bottom out just enough to make a couch. IT WORKS!! It's actually one of the more comfortable couches I have had! It also provides a nice little storage area where I can put my suitcases and empty boxes (and you can't really se them!) It works and I really enjoy it.

The blanket on the bed is the best blanket! My mom pieced it together, I quited it (while doing a Harry Potter/Chronicles of Narnia read-a-thon). I was able to listen to "The Order of the Phoenix", "Half-Blood Prince", "Deathly Hallows", "The Magician's Nephew", and half of "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe". It was great!

Here, you see my office :). That picture on the wall is my Master's of Social Work Diploma (I'm very excited about that.)
That desk is just perfect for the laptop and alarm clock, and I was able to get my printer right next to it. I am thinking of moving a bookshelf over by the lamp so I can
have my books right next to the desk. I don't know...we'll have to see how it works out. I'm also debating about getting a Christmas tree and putting it in the area, but I'm still debating on a couple of issues...first, should I get a real or artificial tree?, where will I store it if it is artificial? How much do I want to spend? etc. So man
y decisions...golly!

All right, I am most proud about this! This is my dining room. When my grandparents found out I was moving and didn't have a
table, they told me they had one that they were not using that they would let me use. They told me the leaves fold down so if I wanted a small table, it would work (and if I had company, the leaves would fold up and expand the table). When I saw it, I had to have it, so they brought it up for me (I have amazing grandparents!) Anyway, I then went to Kohl's (that's a dangerous store) and bought the table cloth and the runner. I then brought my old plants from home and put them on the table (one's up on the ledge as well). And, because I am very thankful for Christmas, I put the Christmas decorations up to help me celebrate Thanksgiving. I love it!!!

Here is the other half of the "family" room. You see that bookshelf I was thinking of moving to
"the office". I'm still not sure. Anyway, my family room is the same as the bedroom (if you couldn't tell by now). My brother who just got married asked me if I could "store" some of his belongings until he and his wife were able to move to a place with more space. I told him I think I'd be able to handle it, so he let me store his tv and dvd player. It has been very nice, especially with my very comfortable couch! I might have a piano coming to visit for a time that, if I do get to "store" it, will go here. Which means...I'll have to find a new place for the tv (and the shelf will definitely move to "the office".) We'll have to see if that happens (it would be great to have a piano!!)

This is the entrance to my apartment. Yes, I know the fish tank is empty, but that will be rectified shortly, once I get some time to get it ready and go buy some fish. I also want to buy some shelves to put above so it doesn't look so bare. I did want to put some plants there, but there would be no sunlight...so I might have to buy some silk plants or shelves...again,
we'll have to see what happens. My only concern is the fish. I must be missing something about proper fish care because they keep dying really quickly. I don't know. I do plan on putting fish in the tank...it looks really neat with the light on.

That jack-o-lantern night light is a great memory. I had to beg my mom to let me take it, with a promise that I would never take it to the DI. No worries there...I will keep it until she demands I give it back. It's fun!

Here is the kitchen. It suits me just fine...except the fact that there is no microwave (and really,
no room for one). But, it does have a dishwasher, a nice oven/stove combo, and a HUGE fridge! It's so weird not to have to share the fridge with other people. There really is a lot of space! There is a nice little pantry that I really like as well. It is very nice!!

I also have a huge bathroom that I really like.
My mom and sister bought me the shower curtain and I really like it! It goes along with the fish tank that will soon be running at full power! Anyway...what you can't see is that there was enough room on the counter for me to put a radio. I listen to it once in a while, but I don't know how thin the walls are and the wall with the mirror is also the wall to the hallway. However, I do still use the radio and it is very nice!

Well, there you have the grand tour of my place. Like I said, it is nice and cozy and I really enjoy it. Please feel free to stop by when you are in the area. I love having company!!

Prepare yourselves...the next post is about my backyard (it is amazing!!!!)



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Religious Freedom - LDS Newsroom

I really liked what Elder Oaks had to say about this subject. People may think he is over-reacting and that the Church is over-reacting; one thing to remember is that the leaders of the LDS Church are not just talking about current effects. They are also talking about long-term effects that science will never be able to prove until something happens.

Religious Freedom - LDS Newsroom

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thanksgiving Came Early!!!

General Conference was absolutely incredible! It was a huge spiritual feast. Unfortunately, I ended up having to work Saturday and Sunday, so I was only able to catch the two morning sessions. However, thanks to the internet, I was able to catch up with the sessions I had missed. I wanted to just talk about some of my highlights. It was hard to choose which ones. These ones were the first to come to mind.

First of all, I really enjoyed Elder Ballard's talk in the Priesthood Session (about how sons should relate with their fathers and how fathers should related to their sons). While listening to it, I realized just how lucky I was to have a father who did what Elder Ballard was suggesting. My dad was a faithful member of the church who served where he was called, magnifying whatever calling he held. My dad made it a point to talk to us. My dad made it clear that he loved us children, that he loved our mom, and that he loved the Gospel. My dad always put our needs above his wants. Even though we may not have had the latest and greatest accessories or taken extravagant vacations, we had a strong family united in the Gospel. We children grew up in a home where the Priesthood was exercised on a regular basis. We grew up in a safe, constant, and structured environment. And our vacations were the best! Everywhere we went, we were together as a family, listening to fun vacation tapes with everything between The Rascals, The Association, and Chicago to Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Olivia Newton-John. Our top favorites were Sweet Dreams, Holiday by the BeeGees (I hated this song, but we still have fun memories), and many many others!

I believe he also spoke about showing our family members that we love them and not just saying we do (without showing it). This made me remember my brother's wedding and how I missed everyone after they all left. I realized I need to be better at showing my family I love them instead of just saying it.

Second talk: Pres Monson's talk during the Priesthood Session. The line that stood out the most to me was a quote he used that went like this: "'he who takes offense when no offense was intended is a fool!'" That was some great food for thought.

Another talk that I really enjoyed was by Elder Holland. He spoke with such power and authority that I was amazed! It was great to hear such a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon. I have always enjoyed Elder Holland's talk, but this one was absolutely amazing! I know I need to be more diligent in reading and studying it than I have done in the past.

Needless to say, I really enjoyed conference and was very sad that I could not enjoy it with my family. I am anxious for the Ensign to come out in November so I have the chance to read the talks again!

WOW!!!

Well, what can I say. Again, it has been quite awhile since my last post...and boy do I have a lot to report on! Let's start where I left off...

I returned home from DC, jobless and school-less (not complaining about the second). At first, it was nice to be able to come home and relax. I was able to reunite with my old friend Harry (who also introduced me to Jim Dale...HILARIOUS!!!!!) While searching for jobs, I read HP 1, 2, 3, and 4 and then listened to 5, 6, and 7. While listening to the last three, I worked on a quilt (which I really enjoyed! If you ever want a relaxing activity, I highly recommend it!) Anyway, I enjoyed that. So, while students everywhere were preparing for the beginning of another school year (high schoolers loosing all their extra free time to cause trouble; college students loosing all their hard-earned summer money on books and tuition), I was quilting/running/reading/searching for jobs. It was all very pleasant (except for the searching for jobs).

Anyway, highlights in the job search began to pop up when different agencies called me for interviews. This really made my day; I felt positive about my prospects. I had interviews at a few different IHC locations as well as with Valley Mental Health. All I knew was that I wanted a full-time job doing something that I liked (full-time because I did need money and I really wanted benefits...especially with the piggy pukes--thanks Ben for the name--on the rise and my fun little tradition of getting the flu/food poisoning on Thanksgiving). To my consternation (he he) the majority of my interviews were for part-time/on call positions. Even with the full-time job interviews, the first question I was always asked was "are you applying for the full-time or the part-time position?"

Well, the interviews went well, for the most part. One interview included a Spanish speaking portion. Because I was not prepared with the vocabulary aspect, I scored what my friend Harry would call a D for Dreadful (maybe even a T for Troll!) It was horrible and I am in no way being too hard on myself. I left that job interview (which was the one I really wanted) convinced I would not get the job. When I told my parents, they responded that I should always be hopeful. Interestingly enough, I got the job I wanted with IHC!!!!!! I cannot tell you how excited I was about that. The offer came within 5 minutes of another job offer (which was only part-time). I consider myself very blessed! I also give a shout-out to my parents who put up with a very grumpy son.

Anyway, with the new job came a lot of changes. First of all, I moved (and now I really miss being home!) Second of all, I HAVE INSURANCE!!!!!!! I am so excited. Third, I have a paycheck that allows me to meet my needs (none of this $8/hr business). Fourth, and for the first time, I have my own car insurance! This is all so interesting and new for me. My parents are also experiencing some change. It's like they had a rich uncle die and leave them an inheritance ;). All I can say is that I am a very lucky person to have parents who are willing to help me with my needs. They are willing to sacrifice their own wants to help myself or my siblings!

Other big news...my brother got married! It was an exciting time! He married a fantastic bride and we are all excited to have her as part of our family! (I'm going to see if I can write this entire paragraph with exclamation points!) It was really fun because my sister and her husband came out from back east and my brother and his wife and family came up from down south. The only drawback was my other brother and his family were unable to make it. While we missed them, we still enjoyed being with the rest of the family. I do admit, though, that Sunday morning, after everyone had left and it was just me and my parents, all the excitement and anticipation turned into nostalgia and homesickness (even when I was at home! Interesting, I know!) Frodo said it best when, after going back home to the Shire, he says in his monologue "How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when in your heart you begin to understand there is no going back?" Even when all of my siblings (minus one) were all here, together with their families (again, minus 4), things will never be like they were when we were all growing up. I guess that's one of the reasons God provided the way for memories. However, as much as I miss life growing up with my siblings, and as much as I would love to go back in time and spend more time with them than I did, I would never take that chance. I've gained two more brothers and three more sisters, along with 12 nieces and nephews (and more on the way). Our family is still not complete! Instead of "pick[ing] up the threads of an old life", I go on weaving those old threads with the threads of a life that is improving and progressing. My biggest support is the knowledge that I will be with my family forever, even if we don't get to be together now. It also helps that my family and I have strong ties that keep us unified no matter how far away we are from each other.

Wow, that was a long, long narrative!

Anyway, the wedding was wonderful!

Well, I do believe this post has gone long enough. I am going to have to write another one to finish everything I wanted to share. I'm sure I've lost the majority of readers at the beginning. Anyway, all I have to say is don't loose time; spend it with those you love! You'll never regret spending time with those you love and those who love you.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Post-Graduation 2009

Well, it has been quite some time since my last post, which was a complaint (I left you all hanging on a low note...my apologies!) The question is...what have I been up to since graduation? Well, here is my answer:





As you may already have known, I planned a little US tour to see my sister and brother-in-law as well as my brother and sister-in-law who no longer live close. Unfortunately, this US tour could not be broadened to an international tour and I was unable to visit my brother and sister-in-law. While I am still dealing with the disappointment, I did enjoy my visits to my two other siblings. As a momento of the trips, I picked this photo, taken by yours truly at the Sarah Duke Gardens (I can never get enough of that place!)



Anyway, afterwards, I went to my very own Disneyland (aka Washington, DC). It was
phenomenal! I love it in DC and would definitely live out there if a job ever came my way. There is so much stuff to do out there that I still have a list full of activities (yes, I need and will be going back...sometime).

My time in DC was filled with interesting moments. For example, there was the shooting at the Holocaust Museum and the metro accident (luckily, I was at Georgetown Campus and was not near these incidents, but still, I was affected. It was sad that both accidents occurred.

An extremely exciting and positive event did happen while I was there. President Monson came, along with Elder Oaks, to meet with President Obama! Even though I did not see either individual (I was very sad indeed), it was fun being in the same city (yes, I am a bit quirky...but it makes life fun!)

As you may have noticed (from my previous post), I was in DC for the 4th of July, which was amazing (aside from the three individuals who thought they were the only ones there, but enough of that). The fireworks were fabulous and it was a great experience to be on the National Mall at that time. I felt completely at home!

Anyway, this photo of the Washington Monument was a pretty good picture to share. Again, I love DC!!!! If you have not been, you must make it a priority (unless you're going to Spain, then Spain needs to be the top priority, of course!)

Once my internship in DC came to an end, I returned home. While it was great to be back, I missed DC very much. I did enjoy being back with my family and back in Salt Lake City. The only bad thing about it was...job hunting :(. Yes, it's true, I had to begin the search for a job. The upside has been that I am in good company...apparently everyone and their dog is looking for a job (which is enough to make the experience much more fun!)

I do admit, I believe I have had great experiences during my job hunt. I have had several interviews that helps me recognize that I am competitive. These interviews have also helped me improve in my skills and have helped me recognize areas in which I need to improve. With that being said, I am still quite ready for a FULL-TIME job with BENEFITS (but there aren't very many of those available).

While I have been applying for jobs and interviewing, I have also been hanging out a lot with my friend Harry. I have just discovered book on CD (I have always known about it, but I listened and was hooked). This book-on-tape idea is amazing! I have been able to get so much done while listening to Jim Dale narrate an amazing story!!!!!

Well, that is about all I have for now. I can honestly say that life is good and I am enjoying it. Family and friends really make life more enjoyable!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Honestly???...

Picture 1 (above)

Picture 2 (above)

So, what is different between the two pictures above (something is missing)?

Give up? Here's a hint...

Apparently there were three individuals who thought they were the only ones attending the firework show on the National Mall (which, we all know, is in Washington, DC...the capital of the United States). While you cannot see too well in these photos, all the other hundreds of thousands of people in attendance were seated, except for these three individuals. And what did they cover? None other than the Washington Monument. Not only were the thousands of people behind these individuals shouting at them to sit down, these three kept looking behind them and saw many other people motioning for them to sit down. About half way through the show, someone went up to them and asked them to sit down (which thankfully they did-finally!) Obviously, I was very bugged by these people (I took time out to take a photo and am writing a blog about it). My question is...what were they thinking?

What is your first reaction when you are in a huge group of people who are all sitting down at a very popular landmark on a very important day in a very important city for a very important opportunity? Honestly, is it possible someone can be that clueless? This post seems unnecessary and childish, and I realize that perception is reality, but I was very bugged! Now that I have it all out on the table, I can let it rest.

To focus on the bright side, they did sit down and I got to see the remainder of the firework show over the Washington Monument, which was a very fun and enjoyable experience. I also learned that the saying "When in Rome, do as the Romans" can be some very valid, important, and respectful advice as well as just plain, simple common sense! (And yes, there was plenty of room for them to sit down).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Photos of "Disneyland"







Ok, so just so everyone knows, when I post a picture, I don't see it until it is "officially" posted. What I see before is a bunch of code that magically turns into a picture (I don't know why I can't just see the picture at all times). Anyway, that is why there are no subtitles. So, I will list what I have included and then I'm sure you will be able to match the picture with the name.

1) Washington Monument
2) Lincoln Memorial
3) WWII Memorial
4) WWII Museum
5) Jefferson Memorial
6) The White House
7) The Vietnam War Memorial
8) The Korean War Memorial
9) The US Capital Building
10) The US Supreme Court Building

Life in "Disneyland"

So, I don't know if I mentioned this in a previous post, but I came up with a good analogy for me and Washington, DC...it is my Disneyland! I am fascinated by anything-DC! Call me a nerd (my co-workers did), I don't care. That being said, here is what I have been up to during my stay here so far:

1) Running an academic conference with a mix of good students and children who are raised thinking they are entitled to anything they want and thinking they are exceptions to any rule (thank you parents!)
2) Visiting Capital Hill (more visits to come with just myself!)
3) Visiting the National Mall
4) SPENDING ALL DAY ON THE MALL (I read at the Lincoln and the Jefferson memorials...I even slept at the Jefferson memorial! Oh...it was bliss!!!)
5) Passing the White House in hopes that Pres Obama were taking a little stroll outside (I know, the likelihood of that happening is the same as me becoming the next president!)
6) Best of all...a trip to the Washington, DC LDS Temple

Further plans include the following:

1) A visit to Arlington Cemetery
2) A visit to the cathedral
3) A visit to Capital Hill
4) A quick trip to New York City
5) A Smithsonian or two
6) Another trip to the National Mall
7) Hopefully, a trip to Mt. Vernon

Now, before you all start getting jealous, do not worry. I am now providing some pictures of my fun so you can all participate vicariously :) Enjoy!!!!







PS...because I have so many, I can only upload a few pictures. I will add another post with additional pictures :) Don't worry...I'm always thinking of my loyal readers!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Vacation and Family

To my thousands of avid fans out there, I apologize for the delay in posting. I know you all wait with baited breath for news about me! Well, here we go...

So, I graduated from BYU with my MSW (FINALLY!!!!) It was great! Here are some pictures. NOTICE THE HOOD!!!! That, along with the black robe! (It's very Harry Potter-esque...don't you think? I do!)



Anyway, that was a lot of fun. Shortly after, I took my licensing exam...AND I PASSED!!!!! I then applied for a CSW license (Certified Social Worker) in the State of Utah, which came in the mail shortly afterwards. Now, I can start looking for a job without being denied because I don't have a license (which is what happened, and was a great source of annoyance and frustration!)

After graduation and testing, the fun began! I went to NC to see my sister and brother-in-law. I absolutely love NC! It's green, with trees everywhere, and on the east coast! I had a great time. It was great seeing my sister and her husband and spending time with them. I am still waiting for them to move back to UT (or for me to move out to NC, whatever comes faster!)

In NC, we went to Duke Gardens (I have to go there everytime I'm in NC. I never get enough of it!), New Bern (I guess it used to be the capital of NC. It's an older town and had some of those amazing old houses!!! Also, we went to the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola and had a pepsi!), and an air show. I had a blast!!!! My sister had that new Dyson vacuum (the one that moves on a ball in the center). I begged her to let me vacuum. She relented and I had fun! Plus, her carpet is the best kind to vacuum!

When I got home, we had family who were up for a baseball tournament. We had a houseful, but it was so much fun to see them! I had my first taste of IHOP, which was better than I expected! We also watched the final American Idol (and yes, I still chuckle when I think of the showdown between Kara and DBG!)

I then hopped on a flight to NM to see my brother and his family (we went down to see my niece blessed in church). I had A BLAST!!!!! My oldest sister and her family drove down, along with my youngest brother and his girlfriend and my parents. We had a full house that was overflowing with energy, laughter, and good times. However, we still were not complete!!! My two other siblings were unable to attend.

The next week, it was time for me to head to DC. I was quite anxious about it because I was starting an internship. As most of you know, I have a tendency to worry/freak out/stress/etc over anything that happens. Luckily, after getting to DC, I was able to calm down. Washington, DC is my "Disneyland".

Anyway, I was able to escape from campus every once in a while to see some sights. Unfortunately, my camera was not able to escape (no worries, it now goes with me everywhere!) I did manage to get some photos of the "white house". Here's an eye-feast!!!!!




(And yes, I took them myself!)

Well, you are all up to date. However, things change quickly and I will try to keep you informed. I have many places to go here in "Disneyland" and many photos to take. So, stay tuned...!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Favorite American Idol Moment

I have to say, I absolutely loved the moment when Dumb Bikini Girl (DBG)was trying to sing "Vision of Love" as Kara DioGuardi came out singing. DBG's face was priceless--thinking she had the stage. I loved seeing her trying to find out where the other voice was coming from. And then, when she saw that it was Kara, her face was dripping with fury and loathing. And yes, Kara was much better singing than was DBG! Oh it was fabulous!!! Kara got the upper hand!!!! Now if only Adam was not on American Idol, it would have been a great series finale!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Spring!






So, I had Stake Conference in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square (it was so fun having church on Temple Square! I felt like a pioneer!) Since the weather was so nice (it had rained the night before and the morning of), I decided to take advantage, so I took my camera with me so I could wander Temple Square and take pictures of the grounds. The weather was perfect--not too hot, not too cold. It also smelled WONDERFUL because of the tulips and the lilacs. Holy Cow!!! Here are some pictures...enjoy!

The Suspense is Over!!!!

To my avid fans out there...the suspense is now over and here you have a new post! :)

So much has happened. To begin with, I GRADUATED!!!!!! I now have a Master's Degree (MSW) and am quite happy to be done with school. I had a great time at the Commencement Exercises where President Uchtdorf and Elder Nelson spoke. The procession was a great experience because we were able to walk past President Samuelson, President Uchtdorf, Elder Nelson, and the faculty. It was a different, but nice, experience compared to the last Commencement Exercises when Vice President Cheney came to speak (although I highly enjoyed that speech!!)

Convocation was great as well. We sat on the front row and Elder Christoferson was attending. As my name was read and I crossed the stage, I was able to shake hands with him, as well as Dean Magleby and Vice President Tanner. All in all, it was a great graduation time!

Sad moments that came with graduation were few, but huge. My internship at the American Fork Hospital came to an end, which was bittersweet for me. It was nice to reach the end, but I had forged some great frienships there and was enjoying what I was doing. In addition, it was hard to become unemployed in this wonderful economic time period we are experiencing, thanks to some highly selfless people. Luckily, I do have a summer job that will help me to enjoy the summer while having some sort of income. Hopefully when I return, employment opportunities will be more abundant (especially now that I have a license!)

Which brings me to my next point...my licensure exam. I was very nervous to take this (and quite the basket case--highly unlike me!) I started studying a week before my test date and took my first practice test, on which I scored a 60% (I need a 70% to pass on the real test). I continued to review, then took the second test on which I scored a 62%. At this point, I started to get somewhat frustrated. I took the third test, 64%, and was about to give up. However, thanks to my determination and my mom's persistence, I continued studying and my scores finally reached into the low 70's. I went and took the test and was very nervous as I hit the "Quit" button. After going through a short survey (which seemed extremely long), I was told that I had PASSED!!!!!! Oh, it was a very exciting day. If you heard someone shouting, it was me! I can now register for a license and then am able to get a job. Oh, happy day!

Now, I prepare for my US tour and am very excited! East Coast, Southwest, East Coast again! In addition, I will plunge into the Harry Potter saga, finish the "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" series (I highly recommend it!!!!!) and the Leven Thumps series ("The Ruins of Alder" is taking forever to come out!), and read book 4 in the Fablehaven series. After seeing the trailer for "Angels and Demons", I now want to read the book in anticipation of the movie. The best part is...I have no papers to write, textbooks to read, or professors to deal with (although, I do now have a job to find).

Well, that is the extent of what has been occurring in my life. Things are exciting, unknown, and great (except for the unknown part...I hate not knowing!) I hope all is well with everyone! Take care :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter Sunday and that we can all remember the reason for the day!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Pensieve

This post has been years in the making (even before I started my blog)...

As my good friend Babs sings it, "Memories light the corner of my mind".

Just the other day, I came across two cd's I bought quite awhile ago (although, I like to think it wasn't too long ago). I decided to rip them on my computer and put them on my "relaxing" playlist on my ipod. Then, I started listening to the songs and it was like a dam of memories breaking in my mind!

The cd's were the two soundtracks released for the movie Titanic. Now, before anybody stops reading the post due to the word "Titanic" (as I would do myself), please let me explain. Of all the movies I have seen, there has never been one that I have become so overly annoyed with or one that I have truly regretted seeing (ok, just kidding, there have been many other movies I have regretted seeing). But I cringe every time I hear Titanic (mind you, I still really enjoy My Heart Will Go On for one obvious reason!) That being said, I must confess that I really enjoy a good love story, and Titanic portrayed an amazing love story (but I recognize it could have done with some changes and deletions).

Now, by this point (if you are still reading), you may be asking what in the &@*# does this have to do with memories? Titanic came out while I was in high school (1997). It is also connected with three memories (oh, what I would give for a pensieve)! Anyway, here are the memories:
  1. My first date (yes, yes, my first date)
  2. My sister
  3. Celine Dion

My first date was with a friend I had grown up with. We lived in the same neighborhood and went to elementary, junior high, and high school together. My first memory of her was fifth grade. She was always a great friend. So, obviously, by bringing back my memory of this friend, it opened up even more memories about school (elementary, jr high, and high school) and other friends that my friend and I had in common. Even though the movie was a disaster, the date was a lot of fun. We did go have ice cream afterwards and had a great conversation. A great regret I have is that I have not stayed in contact with her and I do not know what she is up to now.

My sister was willing enough to go with me on my first date (she and her boyfriend, me and my date). Once again, a memory of my sister opens up many thousands of memories dealing with school, friends, and family! (Needless to say, I have been swimming in an ocean of memories for quite some time!) Anyway, I love my sister and I remember I was very glad she was there with me. I tried to act completely independent but having my sister there made me feel more comfortable and, hopefully, it prevented me form acting as socially awkward as I was at that time in my life. Moving on...

Memory number three...Celine Dion. Ok, it is common knowledge now that I really enjoy Celine Dion's voice (as does anybody who recognizes and appreciates good music). What most of you probably don't know is that my first experience with Celine Dion (placing her name with the song she sang) was "Because You Loved Me" and I LOATHED that song! Everytime it came on the radio, the station quickly changed (unless my mom or sister were in the car, then I was forced to endure). However (and you can all thank my sister for my quick education in recognizing and enjoying good music), the tables quickly turned. My sister mentioned that she wanted Celine's Falling Into You album. One day, I was at the store with my mom and, there it was. I pointed it out to my mom saying "that's the cd [my sister] wanted." I knew I was condemning myself to torture because my sister would then have that dreaded song!

Anyway, my mom gave the cd to my sister and, as I expected, my sister loved it and listened to it a lot. While she was cleaning the bathroom one day, she put it in the stereo in the front room and turned it up. The song I heard was amazing! I had to find out what it was (I did not know it was the Celine album my mom got my sister). So I ran upstairs and asked what was playing. To my surprise, it was the album (the song was "It's All Coming Back to me Now"). Since that time, I have been hooked! And yes (I know you're asking...) I do enjoy "Because You Loved Me", very much!

It's funny how one soundtrack had this huge effect (and yes, the soundtrack is still very nostalgic--every time I listen to it! And it's almost addictive...I keep having to listen to it!)

Anyway, I have only given you a "stream" of the memories that I have been entertaining. Some have been happy, others not so much. The overall sentiments have been bittersweet. I miss the days of growing up and having all of my family under the same roof. However, the new additions that have been added to my family little by little are people that I am greatful to have in my life and I would never trade them for anything. Also, the experiences I have had since my growing-up years have been priceless. I miss the care-free days of elementary, jr high, and high school--days hanging out with friends, worrying about what's for dinner, buying whatever you want because money from your job never had to go towards rent, groceries, utilities, or car payments. I even miss the care-free days of college (undergraduate) when I went to class, went to work (both on campus) and hung out with friends. All those arguments I had with my parents; the nights lying in bed (when my parents were able to stay up), wishing I could be a grown-up so I could stay up until I wanted to go to bed. Now, I wish I could be the little kid who had to go to bed by 8:30 and sleep until 7 on weekdays! (Side Note: if kids really knew what was ahead of them in life, I don't think they'd throw such fits when it was time to take a nap or go to bed...I wish I could take a nap or go to bed early!!!!!)

Ok, anyway, this "stream" is slowly forming a small "river". I have left one official side note and about a million unofficial side notes. If you have read with me until the very end, thank you! If this post seems like a jumble of words, you nailed it on the dot...it pretty much is. But then again, isn't that what memories are?! A blessing? A curse? I wondered for a bit, thinking they were curses some times and blessings at other times. Now, I like to recognize them as blessings...even blessings can be painful, but they always have a special meaning or purpose. Memories can only be a curse if we dwell on them too long without moving forward.

I could go on, but it is late and my eyes and body are screaming at me to go to bed. Thank you for reading as I ruminated. It has been fun!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What would I do with $1,000,000.00...no, really!

So how many times have you heard the question "What would you do with a million dollars?" Well, I have 500 times too many, so I am now answering that question so the next time I hear it, I can actually give a real answer. I know, I'm so responsible :). Don't be jealous of me for too long.
  1. First, as always, tithing! That would be $100,000.
  2. Second, I would invest (in the bank...absolutely NO stock market for this money!) That would be $150,000
  3. Next would be the best car in the world! That would be $16,640
  4. $50,000 to the LDS Church's Humanitarian Program
  5. $5,000 for clothes
  6. $400,000 for a small home (4 bedrooms, three bathrooms, dining room, kitchen, front room, family room, study/office, sun room, front and backyard).
  7. $10,000 to landscape/fix landscaping in the front and back yards
  8. $50,000 for a grand piano that looks something like this
  9. $160,000 for a tour of Jerusalem, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Eastern Europe, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia, and the UK
  10. $20,000 to pay off student loans
  11. $5,000 to pay off my car
  12. The rest ($33,360) to travel to see my siblings and their families

Well, there you have it, how I would spend $1,000,000 if I had it. Now the question is...what about you?!?!?!?!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Confessions

Due to the huge population of readers of this blog and the many requests for a new post, I present you with twenty confessions of Yours Truly. I am stealing this idea from some other friends...it sounded fun!!
  1. I love to drink milk/water/juice from the carton. I hate dirtying a cup just for one drink.
  2. When I'm alone in the car, I love to turn the radio up and belt the songs. It's such a cathartic event...I feel more relaxed when I get out of the car.
  3. I am obsessed with good smells. I love things like febreeze, scented candles, glade plug-ins (fresh laundry scent), and air fresheners. I do not like the presence of interesting smells (roommates make this difficult).
  4. I am addicted to gum! I have to be chewing something.
  5. I cannot suck on candy. Within two minutes, I am trying to break it with my teeth so I can chew it. Those huge jaw-breakers are a nightmare for me...I lose interest rather quickly.
  6. I hate tv, but I love movies (although, I do love American Idol!!!!)
  7. I cannot sleep on my back, but I have to start in that position at night or else I will not fall asleep (I say that because I have tried to fall asleep on my side multiple times and it won't work unless I am on my back first.)
  8. I have recently developed an intense passion for indoor plants! The only problem is that I keep killing them. I am proud to say that my babies (Chives, Cilantro, Thyme, Parsley, and Basil) have grown from seeds and are now sporting their secondary leaves (well, Basil is being a late-bloomer, but I can see leaves starting to come up.)
  9. I absolutely love yard work (weeding, mowing the lawn, planting, etc).
  10. I love cooking!!!!!!
  11. I'm a severe clean freak, but my room sometimes suggests otherwise (I don't even get it!)
  12. I hate sports but actually love a good football game if I am in the stadium at the time the game is going and the weather is pleasant or slightly on the warm side.
  13. I maintain a secret love of architecture and construction...I sometimes wonder why I did not study those subjects in college...
  14. I have always (as long as I can remember) wanted an identical twin. Because I did not get that, I want a set of identical twins.
  15. I have only cried after 4 movies (that I am aware of).
  16. I LOVE playing with hair! I find it absolutely relaxing when I run my fingers through hair (even more when people run their fingers through my hair).
  17. I am determined to run at least one marathon (running is my favorite sport).
  18. I have never been skiing (yet I have lived in Utah my whole life).
  19. I would jump at the chance to walk the Camino de Santiago, starting in Pamplona. This will happen sometime in my life!
  20. I love a good campout with a tasty foil dinner, a good hike, and friends/family.

There you have it...twenty things you probably didn't know about me :).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Fun!!!

So, instead of writing my paper (which we were trying to get out of, but have not heard back from our professor yet), I have decided to use my frozen hands to type a fun little post, as it has been quite awhile since my last, and my goal is to make this sentence as long as I can, but I can't think of anything else to write in this paragraph, so I'll end it now.

Anyway, today started out ok with work (it was quite busy). However, all throughout the day, I kept thinking about my delicious pork roast sitting in my brand new crock pot (thanks Santa Claus!) at home cooking away :). I was very excited to come home and when I did, the fragrance permeated the entire apartment (how about that sentence?!) Anyway, I made some potatoes and gravy (for the very first time--the gravy that is!) I was quite proud and I believe my abilities would have made Chef Ramsey's mouth water! The taste was even better!

As I was cleaning up my mess like a good roommate, I smelled a strong pungent smell that reminded me of natural gas. In my attempt to be cautious, I went down to the management office to tell them I thought there was a gas leak and to see what they could do for me. Management told me to keep an eye (or in this case, a nose) out to determine if the problem resolved or got worse. Ten minutes later, when the smell intensified, I went back down and told them the situation was escalating. Management then told me that the real management was out-of-state and maintenance had gone home and would not be available until tomorrow. I was then told to wait until then to ask for assistance.

At this time, I must note that the office employee is not to blame as she was probably as unsure of what to do as I was (I had to call my mom and sister to find out who to call/what to do. I know, I know...a graduate student and I don't know how to deal with a gas leak!)

Back to the story...

So, I was thinking that if nothing was done about this situation tonight, I would not be here tomorrow to report it, so I called Questar to report a gas leak. They sent a representative over (who was great!) to investigate. His findings resulted in a discovery of Carbon Monoxide gas in the apartment (there was not leak...I wonder where the gas smell came from. I am convinced that CO is NOT odorless!) Anyway, the Questar representative investigated our furnace and he said he was surprised it was still working. Aparently, the pilot light was not combusting the natural gas completely, so it was charring the inside of the furnace, making a huge mess. He declared the furnace as unsafe to use, shut off the gas, and told us to contact management quickly to fix the problem.

So...the result...we get to spend the night with no heat! Don't be jealous of us (I know you are...STOP IT!) However, being Mr. Prepared, I have situated my electric blanket on my bed, turned my space heater on, and will be bundling up for bed. However, before that, I must now type my paper for tomorrow (again...don't be jealous!) Let's just hope that my babies (their names are Cilantro, Basil, Parsley, Chives, and Thyme) will survive the harsh environment we have been forced to enjoy.

To all of you who have to suffer through a heated home this evening, I apologize that you do not get to enjoy the winter fun that our apartment will be enjoying this frigid evening in January.

Before ending this post, I want to give a shout-out to the Presidential Inauguration tomorrow (8 am at www.cnn.com). Whether you love or hate Barack Obama, it will be a historical moment that I think all should experience.

Quotes

"[Confucius] taught that the country which develops the finest music, the grandest poetry, and the noblest moral ideals--that is, the country with the most exalted culture--will always yield the greatest power in the world."

-Letters from the Jade Dragon Box by Gale Sears



"Who is such a reprobate as I! And yet it seems that even I am in Somebody's hand!'

-Mr. Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge



"...[T]he magnitude of [life] is not as to [one's] external displacements, but as to [one's] subjective experiences."

-Thomas Hardy in Tess of the d'Urbervilles





"...I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed--because 'Thou mayest.'"

-Lee in East of Eden