Friday, January 29, 2010


"Of all the diversions of life, there is none so proper to fill up its empty spaces as the reading of useful and entertaining authors."
~Joseph Addison

Today is Friday. Thank the heavens! I am so incredibly tired (or at least I was when I was at work... now I can't fall asleep and take that much needed and intended Friday evening nap). On my way home from work I stopped off at Costco. I kinda like that place. So much to look at and generally good prices. Although, when you buy at Costco, it may seem like they have good prices until you realize that you are buying fifty of whatever it is you need and therefore it's 50x more expensive. But anyway. I love it all the same. Today, I love Costco for its books and their discount prices. In a rare moment of true indulgence, I treated myself to four books. Yes. Count them. One. Two. Three. Four. Wanna see?

All came recommended. Which one should I start with?

I promise I'll read my school books, too.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm a Winner!

"Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is."
~Vince Lombardi

So if you've been around the block in the blogosphere, then you've certainly seen (and possibly entered) your fair share of giveaways. Yes, you know the type... jewelry giveaways, book giveaways, cupcake giveaways, ticket giveaways. Well, I've entered a few giveaways here and there, but have never won.

Well my friends, the tides have turned. That's right, I won my first blog giveaway. I was the first to "enter" this giveaway for Purity 12 Power Green Tea supplement from the beautiful Natalie Hill's blog. And then on Friday, she posted the winner. Sure enough, eclaires won!

I'm a winner! I'll be sure to let you know what I think of the product.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Random Photo: Once was home.

"There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again."
~Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
This was once my front door.

Good memories.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Make the most of each day.

Death eventually comes to all mankind. It comes to the aged as they walk on faltering feet. Its summons is heard by those who have scarcely reached midway in life's journey, and often it hushes the laughter of little children. Death is one fact that no one can escape or deny.

Frequently death comes as an intruder. It is an enemy that suddenly appears in the midst of life's feast, putting out its lights and gaiety. Death lays its heavy hand upon those dear to us and at times leaves us baffled and wondering. In certain situations, as in great suffering and illness, death comes as an angel of mercy. But for the most part, we think of it as the enemy of human happiness.

The darkness of death can ever be dispelled by the light of revealed truth. "I am the resurrection, and the life," spoke the Master. "He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

This reassurance—yes, even holy confirmation—of life beyond the grave could well provide the peace promised by the Savior when He assured His disciples: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

~Thomas S. Monson

Heaven's been a busy place this week, it seems. A lot of people have died.

Miep Gies, who sheltered and protected Anne Frank and family during WWII, died at age 100 on Monday.

My cousin's mother-in-law collapsed from a massive heart attack on Wednesday at only 63.

Tens of thousands died this week, as a result of the 7.0 earthquake in Haiti.

Death is sobering. Death uproots your sense of well-being. Even with a knowledge and belief that there is a life after this, death is still sad and hard to cope with. It's a change that is hard for us to comprehend. Especially, when it's unexpected or when you feel the person was so young and still had so much life to live.

But I guess with any tragedy or struggle in life, there is peace to be found. Hope to be had. With time. Comfort comes. It comes in many forms. From friends, family, and in the loving arms of God.

Life is fragile. These deaths have caused me to think about where I am in life and if I died tomorrow, what legacy I would leave, or what unfinished business. After reading this talk by President Thomas S. Monson, current President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I just keep thinking that life is too short to fill it with anything but positive thoughts, loving feelings, and charitable actions. Be kind. Enjoy life. Love each other. Be happy. Decide what's most important in life and then focus on achieving a balance that allows you to spend your thoughts, energy, and time with those important pursuits. This is my resolve.

As President Monson said, "May we resolve from this day forward to fill our hearts with love. May we go the extra mile to include in our lives any who are lonely or downhearted or who are suffering in any way. May we '[cheer] up the sad and [make] someone feel glad.' May we live so that when that final summons is heard, we may have no serious regrets, no unfinished business, but will be able to say with the Apostle Paul, 'I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.'"

May we all continue to cultivate Hope and allow this Hope to heal.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Red Alert!

"There's so much pollution in the air now that if it weren't for our lungs there'd be no place to put it all."
~Robert Orben

Do any of you know that Salt Lake is currently home to the most unhealthy air in the United States? I'm not kidding. This time Los Angeles is NOT the winner. The thick, stagnant smog covering the Salt Lake Valley has been here for weeks and is really beginning to out-stay its welcome.

Okay, so it's never really welcomed by me (or probably anyone who lives here), but we expect it a few times in mid-winter due to the strong areas of high pressure that often park themselves over the valley. Folks, this is what we call an inversion. I thought "inversion" was a made-up Utah word when I first moved here. Seriously, I did. But oh no, it's an actual meteorological term with a scientific explanation. But this particular inversion with its thick, heavy, dirty, dirty, stagnant smog has been around a long time. And it's not going away! We've had Red Air Alerts for weeks and my lungs can feel it. And the beautiful mountains in Utah? Yeah, CAN'T SEE THEM! No kidding. You can barely make the out, the air is so thick.

We hear this every day: "People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion."

Seriously, it is SO bad. I have had a constant sore throat the past week. I've been coughing feeling like I can't get enough oxygen and I'm getting winded much more easily. This last Wednesday at work, Kendra and I were taking the stairs to the fourth floor. By the time we got to the top, I was SO winded. I was confused because I didn't think I was that out of shape. Four flights of stairs usually doesn't affect me like that. I was kind of embarrassed and apologized for needing to stop and catch my breath. That's when I realized that she was out of breath too and blamed the air quality. All of a sudden it made so much sense. No, I'm not out of shape, but when you can't breathe, you can't function normally!

Speaking of not functioning normally because of polluted air... there is research that men's sperm counts in Salt Lake are lower because of pollution. Why do I know this? Because I googled pollution in Salt Lake City. Yes, this was one of the first things that came up. Random, I know. But the fact that this pollution is affecting your ability to procreate... Now, that's bad. Seriously people, we need to be a more green city. We can't mess with Nature and the high pressure areas she gifts us in winter, but we can certainly do better about not adding to the pollution.

This season's smog has really had me thinking about a move in the next few years. I love Salt Lake City and all it has to offer. It's beautiful in many ways. But the smog and lack of oxygen? I'm just not sure I can handle that for too many more years. I'm thinking:

1. Seattle "If you like damp, cool weather, an overcast sky, and a mild climate, Seattle is the place for you. If you like hot and sunny weather, you will not want to live in Seattle."  Beautiful Seattle article.

2. London "London has a temperate marine climate, like much of the British Isles, so the city rarely sees extremely high or low temperatures."  Wikipedia article on London.


Give me some other thoughts. :) Keep in mind that the temperate climate that doesn't get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter and preferably has some time of ocean breeze would be most pleasing. And fog is just fine! Just no smog. Thanks.

But for now, they say that by Monday, we have a storm coming in that should bring enough rain to clear out much of the unhealthy air. But they still show Monday with a Yellow Alert. We'll see about that. Pray. Just keep praying! I think I'm going to do a rain dance now.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

New Year's: My new favorite holiday.

"New Year's eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights."
~Hamilton Wright Mabie

So on New Year's Eve, while dancing to live music at The Gallivan Center, I looked around at all the other party-goers and had a moment. You know, one of those moments where you feel like your mind has taken a picture that will forever be imprinted in the album of your mind? It has a significant, meaningful, powerful, life altering caption attached to it? Yeah, one of those moments.

Live music on stage.

Snow on the ground.

Weird boy dancing in a way that made him look like a mix between Peewee Herman and a greasy child molester... oh wait, those are one in the same. Anyway. His beanie and skinny jeans made him look like Condom Man. Yeah, so he was gross. Let's forget about him.

Moving on...

Couples laughing, dancing, kissing.

Nerdy couple dancing nerdily. Yes, that's a word. In my book (blog), it is.

People sitting at their windows of the Marriott hotel looking down at us who braved the cold. One hotel room flipping their light on and off for a good two minutes. It wasn't even an SOS signal in Morse Code because it was just in one straight rhythmic on/off pattern. No variance.

2010 in lights on a downtown high-rise.

Sparkling lights.

Smiles everywhere.

So my moment? (Because that description was just my picture... now, on to the caption.)

People are happy on New Year's Eve. They're either happy because they've had a great year, and this day, before a new year dawns, gives them the opportunity to reflect on all that has been good that year OR they are happy because they've had a horrible year and this day, before the new year dawns, gives them a clean slate, a do-over, a fresh start. Either way there is a sense of freedom and of hope. Hope for the new year and what it will bring. And there is a genuine feeling that the new year will bring good things.

So I stood, swaying side to side, tapping my feet and looking out over this crowd of people and felt rejuvenated. Excited to be about what is yet to come. Everyone was wishing their friends and random strangers alike, a "Happy New Year." It was just delightful, really. And I took a picture. Just like that. In my mind.

The next morning, I awoke and lay in my bed, pondering what had occurred that night. Not the live music nor the lights tapping out Morse Code nor my swaying from side to side nor the condom man boy dancing in a greasy child molester fashion, ... but the change from one year to the next, from one decade to the next. I lay there and thought about how I like even numbers and I'm glad this year is even. I though about where I was 10 years ago, what I've done since then, and where I am today. I'm so happy to be where I am today. I've had so many fun, wonderful, meaningful, life-altering experiences. I'm happy to be 31 and not 21. It feels good. I've grown. I've traveled. I've made decisions. I've found myself. I have lived life the past 10 years! And I'm still living. More is yet to come. Good things.

So New Year's Day (and its Eve) were very thought-provoking for me this year. I spent time thinking about this sense of renewal and what I was going to do with that this year. For me, resolutions are simply decisions, decisions to make life better for you and those around you. So I thought about what improvements I want to make with this new fresh clean slate of 2010 and I just got excited. Life always has room for improvement and New Year's (and its Eve) are just built-in reminders to make decisions toward that improvement.

And so with that, I've decided... New Year's Day (including its Eve) is my favorite holiday. And though the calendar celebrates it but once a year, the feeling that it brings can be renewed whenever I decide.

Happy New Year!