Sunday, December 25, 2011

Random Photo: Swordfish for Christmas Dinner 2011.

"Life goes faster on protein."
~Martin H. Fischer

It was absolutely delicious. And quite humorous when Dad unknowingly cut his into the shape of a fish.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Random Photo: As for me and my house, I like simple little white lights...

"Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark?
Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights."
~from Christmas Vacation

From our neighborhood to yours, Merry Christmas! :)

P.S. My camera lens is only so wide, so sorry that you're missing out on the entire picture (more blow-up characters are standing off to the left).
P.P.S. There is an entire trailer, which sits in the driveway year-round, to house these decorations.
P.P.P.S. The downhill economy has never caused this home to waver in its festive presentation year after year. I think I would have to save all year long in order to pay my electric bill.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Random Photos: Celebrity Look-alikes?

"I am odd-looking. I sometimes think I look like a funny Muppet."
~Angelina Jolie

Awhile back, a friend of mine commented on this picture of me on Facebook, saying, "Hello, Molly Ringwald! =)" I remember her making this comparison in high school, but honestly, I've never seen it in myself, except that we both have fair skin.

I've also been compared to Liv Tyler (probably in my younger, skinnier days). Again probably because of the fair skin, dark hair, and blue eyes.

Photo found here

Another one I've gotten? The mom from Home Alone... Really?

Photo found here

And Susan from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Maybe in my much younger days of childhood. I suppose I can see the resemblance. Funny...

Photo found here

Photo found here

But most recently, I've been thinking that I look much more like Lady Elaine Fairchilde. You do the comparison yourself...

Photo found here

Happy Thursday!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Oh Heaven, help me! I like him.

"It is a risk to love.
What if it doesn't work out?
Ah, but what if it does."

~Peter McWilliams

Photo found here

So I just got off the phone with the latte boy (TLB)*, and I'll be honest (because when am I not? when do I not spill my guts?)... Anyway, I just got off the phone with him and I'm just sitting here wishing I never had to get off the phone. I wish we could just keep talking. Forever. Ugh. Don't let me say such things. Stop me. Now. Before it's too late.

It might already be too late. I like this boy.

Starting about a week or two ago, this phone call thing has sort of become a week-nightly practice. And I'm not complaining. at. all. I'm meeting his family this weekend! I know, right!?! I haven't even thought about when he'll meet mine. He left me flowers a couple weeks ago. I'm a sap and my heart melted a little. He left them just in front of the garage door in front of my spot. I seriously died just a little when the garage door went up and the light revealed my surprise. Nice boy.

I'm afraid to talk about him. I'm afraid to talk about him on here. Why? Because I'm just not sure I can handle another "this one didn't work out" story. My heart is a just little tender sometimes; it's been stomped on and ripped up a few times. I'm just not eager to have that happen again. And when you talk about it, it becomes real. So, I suppose I'm a little hesitant.

Oh, and the fact that it's quite likely that he's found my blog at some point... hyeah, that makes me a little wary to write about him. I'm honest on here. I share on here. Dare I say, I over-share on here, sometimes. What if my words, my true thoughts and feelings about him, scare him off? I guess I should take heart that he hasn't been scared off yet... and it's been 9.5 weeks since our first date. (Not that I'm counting or anything...) And really, let's be honest. I'm not that much different in person than I am on here... so he already knows I talk a lot, I ask lots of questions, I share, I delve deep... and for today at least, he's still around.

*Explanation of what I think will become his blog nickname forthcoming.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My heart wants to sing every song it hears.

"I can't seem to stop singing wherever I am.
And what's worse, I can't seem to stop saying things - anything and everything I think and feel."

~Fraulein Maria, in The Sound of Music

I feel much like Maria lately, in the quote above...

"The hills are alive with the sound of music." Tonight, a spur of the moment decision was made and Katie and I went to see this at the Tower Theater:

Photo found here.
Only it was really this...

Yes, you read that right... it was a sing-along. SO, SO fun! Goofy, silly, nerdy Sound of Music fans. As we walked into the theater, we were each handed a cellophane bag with such items as a silk white flower (Edelweiss), an invitation to the ball, a piece of fabric like the drapes out of which Maria made the children's play clothes, a confetti pop thing (for when Maria and the Captain finally kiss!), etc. We were instructed to pull the items out at the appropriate times and use them/wave them for all to see. We also were given certain tell-tale calls for certain characters such as the Baroness (hisssssssssing like a snake), Gretl (awww--because she's so cute), Maria (cheering of course), the Nazis (booooooo), the Captain (cheering and hubba hubba), etc.

So silly, but so fun! Fun to sing along (words were projected on the screen like in karaoke). Fun to watch a musical I haven't seen in a long time. Fun to take part in a love story. I'm such a girl, but I love love stories. :) And so fun to pull the plug on my confetti popper when the kissing started! :)

I'm looking forward to February when they'll have the West Side Story sing-along!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Being Open.

"When your heart speaks, take good notes."
~Judith Campbell

In June of this year, so six months ago, I started attending the Singles Ward.
For some time, I had been toying with the idea, and in the previous one or two months,
I really felt compelled to go, that it was where I should be,
that I should be doing something about meeting men and opening myself up to opportunities if I wanted to get married (which I do) and if I wanted to have a happy fulfilling life (which I do).

I never really used to consider myself a social butterfly or extroverted.
But in the last two years, after leaving the Young Single Adult (YSA) Ward,
I just have really begun to feel lonely, like I have no friends and certainly no dating prospects.

In a way, it hasn't bothered me too much that I didn't go on a single date in 2010.
(Okay, it clearly bothered me enough that I know that I didn't go on a single date in the year 2010.)
But seriously looking back, I don't think it really has bothered me that much because in all reality,
how could I have fit anything more into my full-time work/full-time school schedule...
especially the last year? It just wasn't in the cards and that was okay.
I had my sights set on a different goal.
Finishing school.
And that was a good thing.

But as graduation approached, I began to think of all the things I wanted to do with my free time,
how I wanted my life to play out; you know, just envisioning the future.
And whaddya know, my thoughts and gut feelings kept returning to "attend the Mid-Singles Ward", "attend the Mid-Singles Ward." So I finally listened and on Sunday, June 5th, the first Sunday after returning from my trip East, I got home from my family ward (which occupies the 9am-12pm time slot)
and suddenly decided to go to the Singles Ward. I quickly looked up the time (crossing my fingers that it was the 1pm-4pm time slot, which it was) and the address and ran and jumped in the car.

I felt happy to be there, like this was the step I was supposed to take.
I talked to my very good friend Sarah (the S of DandS) about my decision later that week.
She always seems to have excellent insights for me and since I made such a split-second decision,
I hadn't really told anyone about it.
So one night mid-run, I stopped in to visit with Sarah, who spent some time in the Singles Ward before she married Dennis, so she understands. She knows the people.
She knows the drill.
She knows what it means to be single, in your 30s, and Mormon.
She knows what the decision meant.
And she knows me.

Honestly, I don't remember all the details of our conversation
but I do know that I was there long enough to cut my run short and make a straight shot for home when I left because it was getting dark. (Keep in mind this was summer, so that meant close to 10pm, probably.)
I remember the feeling of significance associated with the thoughts expressed that night and the spirit that was there. I remember that Sarah seemed very excited and almost proud of me for making the decision to go.
She said something that really stayed with me.
At the time, I don't think I really understood what she meant,
but it's like my heart knew that I needed to remember what she told me.

She said that she thought my decision to start attending was "the best and the hardest decision" I could make.
I asked her what she meant by hard, and the thoughts that followed were all about
being outside my comfort zone,  being open, allowing myself to be vulnerable,
proving to God that I am open and ready and willing to lead whatever life he has in store for me,
and being open, being open, being open...

It's funny because I remember at the time thinking that maybe this wasn't such a hard decision and that it wasn't going to be that outside of my comfort zone. I mean, I was ready for this. Really.
I was ready to make new friends, have an active social life,
and not be sad that I didn't have anyone to invite to go to a movie with me. Right?

But as it turns out, Sarah was right; it was a hard decision.
Okay, so the decision itself wasn't hard, but the results and consequences of the decision were/are hard.
Being single and putting yourself out there is hard, no matter how extroverted and social you are
(which I have learned I am very).
And the being open part is really the thought that stayed with me though
and blossomed in my heart and mind, and still continues to.

I thought I knew what being open meant. But over the course of the next few months, I became acutely aware that I still had a lot to learn about being open. What does being open mean? What have I learned?
Being open means letting go of what's comfortable
and diving into what may be uncomfortable at first, and then continuing to swim.
Being open means being vulnerable.
Being open means I take my sense of self cues from God.
Being open means not setting limitations for myself or others.
Being open means saying hello to everyone.
Being open, for me, means unknowingly taking up the habit of waving and smiling at everyone new I meet.
Being open means considering something (or someone) I may have never considered before.
Being open means doing things that aren't my first choice just because they help me toward my greater goal or because I just feel like it's the right thing to do.
Being open means doing things that I consider to be scary.
Being open means embracing the happy in my life, of which there is a lot.
Being open means praying a lot.
Being open means giving up my will to God or more clearly, aligning my will with His.
Being open means searching and seeking for the best path to take.
Being open means having faith, lots of it.

I've been thinking a lot about how open I am to life, but especially how open I am to relationships.
Man, learning about yourself is hard. Painful even, at times.
But being open feels good. It feels hopeful. It feels bright and sunshiny.
Okay, I'll be honest. Sometimes it feel dark and scary.
But most of all, it feels like the right way to be.

So yeah, relationships.
I don't know what it is about my self-esteem or my approach with men, but for an otherwise confident person, I'm just not always that way around men that I have potential of being interested in.
I just don't even want to approach them. Because I guess I feel like who am I to win their affection
when they could have some gorgeous, thin, leggy girl with big brown eyes, laughing and joking with them.
I immediately assume that he would not want anything to do with me, dismissing his ability to be attracted to me when he has so many other possibilities in front of him.
Who am I to think that I could be "the one," his "Miss Right?"

And I know,
with that thinking I'm sabotaging myself from the get-go, assuming that they would have no interest in me.
It's not a woe-is-me attitude, it just is what it is. Reality.
It's not even that I think I'm unattractive or unlovable.
No, it's just that men don't usually choose me. That's the reality.
Now, I know that I can't say they never do.
I've dated several men, but I'm not one who can say that I've dated a lot.
I think I've only been on a handful (maybe) of dates that didn't turn into a long-term relationship.
A long-term relationship that (obviously) subsequently ended.
And even then, there have only really been six or seven of those.

So what is this post really about?
I guess it's about learning who I am. Learning about myself and improving that self.
Learning to be open.
I get discouraged sometimes and I'm trying to get over that part of myself and not let my heart sink into despair when I feel ignored or less than, and just have a little more confidence, but it's a little hard when my past dating life has set a precedent* of unrequited love.
It's a little hard when you have to start over again... over and over and over again.

It's hard to wait around for something you know might never happen,
but it's harder to give up when you know it's everything you want.
To keep putting myself out there is hard. But life is hard.
When I put myself out there, allowing myself to fall into the required state of vulnerability,
I seem to get burned one way or another. That's been my experience.
And yet, I keep going back for more.**
Because I'm open.

*And just in case you had a momentary lapse of intelligence, like I did, here is the difference between the word precedent and precedence. I know you were wondering.

**So I'm thinking that it might be okay to talk about TLB sometime soon. Who or what is TLB you may ask? He is "man without a nickname," ... and he's still around.

Monday, December 05, 2011

A Gift to the World.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given..." 
~Isaiah 9:6, Old Testament

Last night, DandS came over along with our church buddy Jeremy for dinner and to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. I just love my friends. There are just some friends with whom I click and that clicking just continues to happen every time I'm with them. DandS are those kind of friends for me. Love love love them. So fun.

I made this yummy soup recipe for dinner, along with a green salad with pears, dried cranberries, and pecans. DandS brought a truly delicious baguette. And for dessert, we had vanilla Häagen-Dazs ice cream with berries. Sarah said it all seemed so springy with the salad and the berries. I guess I like my food like spring and less like heavy winter. Although, I do like me some winter-y soups and squashes and warm cozy goodness. And I wouldn't mind being snowed in. I mean, good and snowed in. Like in this sweet abode.

Anyway, the First Presidency Devotional was very Christmas-y. They showed the video above. Apparently, the LDS Church has been hard at work producing several short bible story films which they are going to post online for free. LDS films nowadays are not quite like the silly, cheesy (but fun) stuff we all remember from our youth like Johnny Lingo or the Who Broke My Window commercial. In fact, there are some very talented, legitimate artists who work in the film department, producing things like the film Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration or Finding Faith in Christ. So it looks like the new videos will be posted over the next year at this link on youtube.

I believe all the videos are all going to be New Testament stories. Why? Because the New Testament is all about Christ and the LDS Church is the church of the New Testament restored to the earth after the Dark Ages and Great Apostasy. We are Christians, as were those who followed Christ and joined his Church when he was on the earth. I'm really looking forward to seeing all the videos. Hope you enjoy the one above as much as I did.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm thankful for...

"The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for,
and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy,
and light drives darkness out of his life.
Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place.
How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul,
and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life,
a thankful attitude toward God and man!"
~Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 263

the opportunity to sleep in.
hugs, snuggling, and cuddling.

the smell and sweet taste of coconut. Delightful.
the knowledge that every detail of my life matters to God.
my mom and the fact that she loves me and knows how to express it in a way that I recognize.
fresh fruit and vegetables.

the warm spot on the carpet as the sun shines through an open window.
words of affirmation spoken to me in truth.
good hair and makeup days.
leaves rustling in the wind.

long talks with my brother. I love him more than I can express.
my Dad and when he calls me "love."
my stepmom who loves me and forgave my spilled milk so many years ago.
my job and the satisfaction it brings. (Oh, and the paycheck.)
the sound of the ocean.
the Fall colors in Utah.

my sweet and loving little sister who addresses me as "sister woman." Love that.
laughing with my best friends.
kissing. (Who's not thankful for that?!)
backrubs during warmups at SLCA rehearsal.
painted toenails. I believe in them. All. The. Time.

good conversation.
modern means of communication.
warm showers.
quiet door-closing.
the internet.
times when a perfectly-suited-to-my-thoughts song comes on the radio.
the way running can transform my mood and my life.

the Wasatch Mountains in all their beauty.
clouds. Oh, clouds. I don't think I could live without you.
my car.

my friends.
my family.
the gospel.
my Father in Heaven.
my Savior.
my life.

happy thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nerd Field Trip.

"You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity,
he will continue the learning process as long as he lives."

~Clay P. Bedford

Bingham Canyon Copper Mine

So, maybe I'm a little nerdy (I like to think of it as avidly curious, always wanting to learn more), but for some time I've really wanted to go see the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, which is owned and operated by Kennecott Copper (part of the greater RioTinto family). The mine is open to visitors from April through October. And this year, I finally did it, went on the very last weekend it was open, getting in just under the wire before they closed it to the public.

Can you see my car in the reflection with KDJ taking a picture out the window?!

After I (easily) convinced KDJ to come along for my nerd field trip (she's kind of a nerd, too), we met up at Zupas for lunch. You know, we needed sustenance for our journey out west to the mine. And Zupas is just the place to find delicious sustenance. Side note... I just love their soups and salads and somehow the thought of getting a chocolate covered strawberry with every meal makes it all the more desirable.

Anyway, back to our field trip. So fun. I have to admit, it was really beautiful out there. Being so far out west, we were able to get a view of the Wasatch Mountains that I normally don't see, from the vantage point of the Oquirrh Mountains. Utah really is a visually stunning place. I kind of felt like I was in another world.

And for some reason, I really felt like Erin Brockovich or something, not that Kennecott is knowingly polluting the area's water supply, but just the way we were driving out in the middle of what seemed like nowhere, and going to check out this mine. (And then yeah, there were some holding tanks of nasty murky looking water, which really made me want to pull out some test tubes, shimmy over on my belly and get some water samples... if you haven't seen Erin Brockovich, then this doesn't make any sense.)

KDJ was the primary photographer, you should be happy to learn, since I was the driver. I was pretty good this time and only took a couple shots while driving. :) But take a look at those clouds. Beautiful.

Kennecott was like it's own little city complete with tonka trucks driving all around and miles and miles of road. In fact, the brochure said if you stretched out all the roads within the open pit mine, you'd have enough roadway to get you from Salt Lake City to Denver (approximately 500 miles).

So apparently there is copper in nearly everything. Who knew? I mean obviously we think of pennies and copper electrical wiring. But did you know these facts:
  • The first known use of copper dates back 10,000 years.
  • To make all the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters in 1999, the U.S. Mint used about 36,000 tons of copper. That's about as much refined copper as Kennecott produces every 41 days.
  • Each American uses more than 40,000 pounds of new minerals every year.
  • It takes about 15 different minerals to make a car ... 35 different minerals to make a television ... 30 minerals to make a computer ... and as many as 42 different minerals to make a telephone.

I always find myself very curious about major operations like this that exist and daily produce things that I never think about. Does that make sense? I mean, I guess I'm just fascinated by these productive processes that I have nothing to do with and never will, but I rely on them on a daily basis.

See the standing water pit at the bottom... that's the one that made me want to be Erin Brockovich for a minute.

Have you ever wanted to have a job for a day? There are numerous things I can think of with which I'm intrigued enough to want to have the job for a day. Driving one of these trucks or operating the chomper shovel (that's my nickname for it) would be cool... for a day. I mean, just take a look at these facts about all their equipment:
  • The giant electric shovels in the mine can scoop up as much as 98 tons in a single bite -- about the weight of 50 cars.
  • The newest electric shovels each cost more than $20 million and weigh 3.2 million pounds.
  • The trucks that haul the ore are larger than many houses and weigh more than a jumbo jet. They stand over 23 feet tall and can carry from 255 to 360 tons of rock.
  • The truck driver rides about 18 feet above the ground -- nearly two stories high.
  • Each tire on these big trucks costs from $18,000 to $26,000 and lasts just 9 months.
  • The crusher in the pit takes in about 140,000 tons of ore every day and grinds it into chunks smaller than the size of a basketball.

The whole process seemed pretty labor intensive to me but very efficiently executed...

Very interesting, indeed. I suppose, in a way, visiting the mine made me really happy to have my desk job. Being outside all the time for work wouldn't be bad, but driving around in a truck round and round for days and weeks and years on end would get old for me. But I'm happy that there are people who work there and love their jobs enough to be committed to them because apparently I, along with every other American, cannot live a day without copper and all the other minerals they mine.

Love my nerdy partner in crime.
Just in case you were really wondering how big the tires are...

And to extend our nerd field trip, we drove by and toured the UP Home in Herriman, Utah. Now let me just say that I've driven out to Herriman before, but not for a long time. It is out there. Just out there. It's amazing that I live in the city, but so close to "out there" where there are random horses, trailers, fields, and water tanks next to people's homes.

Anyway, the UP Home is in a much more populated, residential area and doesn't feel "in the sticks" at all. It is a authentic replica of the home from the Disney•Pixar movie "UP." I'm not the biggest fan of animated movies, never have been I guess, but I still like them every once in awhile. And UP was one of those that I liked.

I see me.

Love the turquoise appliances, giving the kitchen its retro look.

Love the subway tiling and the black polka dot backdrop.

I love how true to the movie and the era they were when decorating the inside of the home. I've always loved walking through homes for sale or model homes since I was young. My mom and I used to taking Sunday afternoon walks around our neighborhood looking at homes. Examining the wood floors, the colors of the decor, the arrangement of the furniture. There is always something to observe and learn and then maybe implement in your own home one day. This home was no different for me.

I liked the curve of this sofa.

Do you see the double shower heads? :)
This hidden reading room or play room behind the built-in swinging bookshelves was really fun!

 Very fun. I don't think I would want to live in such a brightly colored home, but it might be fun and the inside decor could be entirely yours. I wonder if it will ever have a buyer or if it will always be a PR draw as a model home for the company. Disney•Pixar gave express permission to Bangerter Homes to construct this replica. Pretty smart of Bangerter Homes, I'd say, seeing as their new tag line is, "If you can Dream it 'UP' we can build it."

Overall, a very fun day and a successful nerd field trip with KDJ. We all need friends with whom we can just be ourselves, our nerdy, goofy, silly, wonderful selves.