Monday, June 29, 2009

23 questions you probably never thought of asking.

1. First thing you wash in the shower? my hair
2. What color is your favorite hoodie? Turquoise
3. What's the closest thing to you that's red? An umbrella and a pitch pipe (the box is red.)
4. Did you meet anybody new today? Actually, yes.
5. What comes to mind when I say cabbage? beets
6. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it? I'm a licker.
7. What are you listening to right now? my fan on high
8. Would you go sky diving? No, I can't say that I would. I really have no desire to do it, and that probably makes me lame, but I'm completely OK with that.
9. Do you like cottage cheese? I love it, especially with peaches and almonds.
10. Have you ever met a celebrity? A few, yes. Mandy Patinkin (think: Inigo Montoya) -- he kissed me. Billy Dee Williams (think: Lando Calrissian in Star Wars) -- I got his autograph. I was probably five.
11. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in? Just me.
12. Ever been on a train? Yup, just a month ago in fact, between DC and NYC. I've even been on a cross-country train trip. Oh and a bunch of train trips in Latvia and Lithuania.
13. Do you have a cell-phone? Yes.
14. Do you use chapstick? Nope. I use vaseline on my lips every night before I sleep. During the day it's just lip gloss.
15. Do you own a gun? No, thank you.
16. Can you use chop sticks? Of course. This is me you're asking... I was nearly raised on them.
17. Ever have cream puffs? Yes, last Monday. Shame on me.
18. Are you sarcastic? Generally not. But sometimes, yes. I tend to think of it as the lowest form of humor.
19. Ever walked into a wall? Yes. It usually happens when I get out of bed in the morning. The other day my friend Brian ran into a wall... I still laugh when I think about it.
20. Do you have good vision? Only when I'm wearing my contacts.
21. What are you wearing? Gosh... this question HAD to be here... just my underwear
22. Can you hula hoop? not if my life depended on it, unless it's an AcuHoop (a weighted hula hoop).
23. Have you ever crawled through a window? Yes. I crawled from the front seat out the backseat window after a car crash where we landed upside down. I was happy I fit!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Random Photo: Cheers to Ziploc in a Suitcase.

Keeping things clean and dry,
you helped me avoid a cry.
Thank you Ziploc!

(Photo taken after return trip to Washington, DC and New York City.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wish List: Swimming with Beluga Whales.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned in this post that beluga whales make me happy. I just love them. Since elementary school, they've been on my list of favorite animals. I loved them so much, that I did a report on them in 4th grade. I'm sure if I looked hard enough I could find it. (I just found it! Man, 4th grade writing is sometimes painful to read, but I got an A+ and my teacher apparently thought it was "interesting" and "fascinating to read.")

So on my wish list is a swim with the Belugas at Sea World or somewhere else. Since belugas primarily roam in Arctic and sub-Arctic waters, swimming with them would require a wetsuit and a tenacious ability to endure cold water. But aren't they cute? I think it would be worth it. I went swimming in my dad's new pool years ago, soon after they moved in (before the heater was turned on) and the water was in the 50s or 60s. I could do it. :)

Remember Raffi? Well, Raffi sang about the belugas. "Baby Beluga" The beluga trio below looks like they're singing. The lyrics are posted below. Come on, start singing.

Baby beluga in the deep blue sea,
Swim so wild and you swim so free.
Heaven above and the sea below,
And a little white whale on the go.

Baby beluga, baby beluga, Is the water warm?
Is your mama home, with you so happy?

Way down yonder where the dolphins play,
Where you dive and splash all day,
Waves roll in and the waves roll out.
See the water squirting out of your spout.

Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga, sing your little song.
Sing for all your friends; we like to hear you.

When it's dark, you're home and fed.
Curled up snug in your waterbed.
Moon is shining and the stars are out.
Good night, little whale, good night.

Baby beluga, oh, baby beluga. With tomorrow's sun,
another day's begun. You'll soon be waking.

Baby beluga in the deep blue sea,
Swim so wild and you swim so free.
Heaven above and the sea below,
And a little white whale on the go.
You're just a little white whale on the go.

So looking at the Sea World site, it looks like it's a mere $170 + park admission. SO worth it! Here's all the info. They offer all kinds of behind the scenes tours. So fun. That's it... I'm doing it next summer!

Beluga closeup photo found here.

Beluga trio photo found here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Solar Sneezing.

Have you ever experienced a "lost sneeze?" You know, when you feel a sneeze coming on and then before you know it, it's gone. I know you know the sensation of which I speak, and it's a terrible letdown. So, about seven or eight years ago, I was with friends at Lake Powell and that "I'm about to sneeze" feeling came. I was preparing to sneeze, but the tickle just sort of fizzled, leaving me very unstatisfied.

"I hate that!"

"Next time just look at the sun," my friend advised.


"When you feel like you're going to sneeze and it just doesn't seem to come out, quickly look at the sun and you'll sneeze in no time," he assured me.

"Really? Hmph. I guess I'll have to try that."

Well, try it, I did. And it COMPLETELY worked. In fact, it works EVERY time! Looking at the sun, or even a bright light will extract that sneeze like nobody's business.

I actually kind of enjoy sneezing. It's a love/hate releationship, but overall sneezing usually feels "good" in some bizarre way; it's oddly liberating. One time during my senior year of high school, I was in drama class and began to sneeze. Once. Twice. Thrice. Then I continued to sneeze until Ms. De, my teacher, asked me to step outside until I was done. Apparently, it was a little distracting. :) I remember counting something like 27 times. It may have been more, I can't recall, but it was so bizarre. I hadn't ever sneezed so many times consecutively, and never have since. It was strangely gratifying... until, of course, they wouldn't stop coming.

So this morning, I woke up and sat up in bed, when suddenly the urge to sneeze came. (Seriously, out of nowhere...I don't know why. Maybe it was the bright sunlight coming in my room...) But the tickle was beginning to fade, so I quickly looked toward my window, where the sun was coming in. Sure enough, I sneezed. It's like magic.

So naturally, wanting to figure out this phenomenon, assured that I MUST not be the only one who does this, I turned to my friend the internet. Turns out that this phenomenon has an actual scientific name, photic sneeze reflex, and occurs in an estimated 18-35% of the population. That means, at least a few of you experience this as well. The rest of will just think I've lost it because they have no idea what I'm talking about. But even Aristotle wondered about it in HisBook of Problems: "Why doth the heat of the sun provoke sneezing?" So I'm not going insane, thank you very much.

This apparent genetic disorder or tendency is also characterized by sneezing when suddenly going from a dark place (a matinee, a tunnel) and then emerging into the full sunlight. Not much is known about the causes, but that's no matter to me. As long as I can get a sneeze out just by glancing toward the sun, I'll call it good.

More info found here.

More info found here, too.

Photo found here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wish List: Hemnes 6-Drawer Chest.

What do I do when I don't have any money? I dream of all the ways I want to spend it when I do have it. So a wish list, I have. And my wish list, I'll begin to share. :)

For starters, I've been eyeing this for some time. Then I saw it at KDJ's house. I like it. I need more storage. And I like the look (and the price). So I want this:

You can find it here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rainy Days.

June has brought us so many rainy days this year. I must say that I love it! Overcast, foggy, rainy days are marvelous. The rain and the cool breeze have been welcome since this time of the year generally causes me to be hot, sweaty, and irritable. Being hot and sweaty is at the top of my list of "Things Not to Do If You Can Avoid It" list. So, Rain, you can stay as long as you want. I, for one, am happy to have you here.

Falling rain photo found here.
Rain clouds over SLC photo found here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday's Tasty Treat.

Dear Farmers Market,

I'm so excited that you opened yesterday. You have suddenly given me something extra to look forward to on Saturdays. I had so much fun wandering around taking in all your lustrous colors, smells, and tastes. The brilliant red of your tomatoes. The vibrant green of your cucumbers. Oh and the delicious smell of all the Mediterranean food booth. Ooh, and the Sudanese food booth looked simply mouth-watering. And let's not forget the creamy taste of all your cheese. And the honey. The breads. The salsa. FM, it's simply never-ending!

This Saturday, I'm going to buy some of your cucumbers. Maybe some salsa. And I'd love some cheese. Maybe even some bread. I might just have to visit you often. Afterall, you are going to be around until October.

See you Saturday!

Much love,

P.S. I loved walking through your Art & Craft Market too.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Courtroom Drama.

Last Monday, I took my friend up on an invitation to visit her courtroom. She's a criminal judge at the Matheson Courthouse and she's retiring at the end of the month, so I only had a couple more opportunities to see her in action. May I just say that it was absolutely fascinating to me?! I'm know it was just another day in court for her, but it was really quite riveting for me most of the time. She (we'll just call her Judge) had us (Katie and I) come on a day where she had a lot of hearings, mostly sentencing hearings. I'm a people watcher and this was people watching on steroids (!) because you could watch them, and then hear all their dirty laundry aired when it was their turn (or their family member's turn) to be seen before the Judge. And as you would suspect and as Katie remarked, "It wouldn't be a day in court without a man in a neckbrace!"

Judge went through nearly 60 cases that day. Theft. DUIs. Drug possession and intent to sell. I was taking notes (because I'm a nerd like that), but there got to be too many that I just stopped counting. Quite a few were no shows. Several were continued for a Monday in the near future. The number of defendants who were already in custody (cuffs, chains, and uniforms) was a little surprising to me. I'm not sure why. I guess it makes sense, but I just didn't expect it. All of them were cuffed at the ankles and hands, although some hands were cuffed in front and some were cuffed in back. I'm not sure what the difference was. I assume it just had something to do with the level of security they were under. Some were clothed in navy uniforms, some in mustard yellow, others in white, and a few in olive green. Again, no rhyme or reason with the color distribution.

Judge spoke to each defendant individually as she was sentencing them. By asking how much schooling they had had, she assured that they fully understood all the paperwork that they had read and signed, and that they fully understood that they were relinquishing their constitutional rights to a trial by pleading guilty. She spoke to them about their choices and the opportunity they now had to improve their lives. Judge is a no-nonsense, yet personable person, which definitely came across in her interactions with everyone. She was very fair with each person and case she saw, but wouldn't allow the lawyers or their clients to get out of line or walk all over her.

Watching the lawyers interact with one another and then with Judge was also quite a show to watch. Some of the lawyers seemed rather inept, while others seemed quite capable. Some came across as arrogant, while others appeared rather shy and timid. Later, in Judge's chambers, I asked her if there were lawyers that she just thought were complete idiots? She chuckled, and said, "The attorneys would be mistaken if they didn't they think that we rank them, just as they rank us."

The Scott M. Matheson Courthouse is a beautiful building both on the exterior and the interior. All the pictures in this post were taken by me the day we went. I just thought the ceiling in the dome was beautiful.

This last picture is of the City and County building, which was built in 1894, taken from the Matheson side of the street.

As I mentioned, after the court session ended, Judge invited us back into her chambers. We talked about her work, her retirement, and the relationship between compassion and justice for the next two hours. I think it's safe to say that Judge is one of my favorite people. I mean, here is a woman who went to college with my dad, but she considers ME a friend and treats me as an equal. She truly is no respector of persons. Watching her in action was a pleasure!

Photos a la moi.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Swine flu?

Saw the docta again today. Said my recovery is going normally, despite my complaints about not being able to breathe like a normal person. Apparently that happens when you have a month-long bout of bronchitis. I'm just impatient, I guess; I'm just tired of not having full lung capacity.

Dr. JK (those are his real initials... but you should still take him seriously) said that I definitely have had, wait for it... the flu on top of all this. I laughed and told him that my friends and I keep joking that I have swine flu. He didn't laugh. He said, in fact my symptoms were consistent with flu, but whether or not it was actually H1N1 would be nearly impossible to say at this point, although not out of the realm of possibility.

According to the CDC, like seasonal flu, symptoms of swine flu infections can include:

fever, which is usually high, but unlike seasonal flu, is sometimes absent (check)
cough (non-stop check)
runny nose or stuffy nose (check) and (check)
sore throat (check)
body aches (check)
headache (check), (check), and (check again)
chills (nope - mostly I've been hot, with my fever starting out at 101 for a few days and then remaining around 99-99.9 for the rest of the time)
fatigue or tiredness, which can be extreme (check)
diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes, but more commonly seen than with seasonal flu (um, check)

But then get this...
Serious swine flu symptoms include:

Fast breathing or trouble breathing (check)
Bluish or gray skin color (nope - at least people were kind and didn't tell me)
Not drinking enough fluids (nope)
Severe or persistent vomiting (nope)
Not waking up or not interacting (nope - except I always wanted to be sleeping)
Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held (nope - I like being held)
Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough (um, can I say CHECK!?!)

The last one is what really got me. I was SO getting better during Week 3, and then wham it returned with a fever and my cough got worse. Of course, I would have had to be tested in the thick of the illness. He said that since he first saw me, he's had several patients who have come in with the flu, and my symptoms were the same. Strange.

Who knows, but it was pretty bad for awhile there. I'm not claiming swine flu. No way. But I still have an on and off low-grade fever and am very easily fatigued. I don't think I've ever been consistently sick for this length of time. It's been about five weeks. Ugh. But I'm back to work, and overall, I feel I'm definitely on the upswing. Or at least that's why I'm telling myself. You get what you focus on, right?

So there you go. More than you wanted to know about my health. :)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Win a Bike in July!

I have seen this website's contest on a couple of people's blogs, so I thought I might as well enter. I mean, why not? Right? So I think you should enter too. Just click on the Madsen link on my sidebar and you just might win a super cool bike!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I'm a sick girl.

Looking for me? You'll find me sleeping.

Officially been sick for three weeks now. Bronchitis, apparently. But seems to have resurged with strength on Sunday. Second trip to the doctor. Chest x-ray. No pneumonia. Just sprays of "stuff" throughout my lungs. Hoarse, dry, barking cough. Another round of antibiotics and cough syrup. This time with codeine. Today, head congestion all over again. Ugh.

Do you think there is possibility of permanent damage from having a low-grade fever for three weeks? Temporarily, it makes me forgetful and causes me to do stupid things like putting my car key in the house door or forgetting to play my Knight before I roll (in online Settlers of Catan) or starting to put the milk away in the pantry.

And to think... I was getting better...

This photo is not of my lungs, but looks almost exactly like my chest x-rays (except mine had more "sprays of stuff").

Oh, and btw, this is my 150th post! Wahoo me.

Photo found here.