Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A University of Utah Graduate, I Am.

"The lessons we learn from patience will cultivate our character, lift our lives, and heighten our happiness."
~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I've been meaning to write this post for over a month now, but at first I used the excuse of not having any photos (which was mostly true), but then I've just been sitting on it because I wasn't sure what to say. I guess I'm not sure it's entirely sunken in.

On May 6th, I graduated. I've been working (on and off, admittedly) on this degree for a very long time, and I'm finally done. I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am and I'll just come out and say it, I'm pretty proud of myself. Historically, I've never been someone who does well at accomplishing things little by little. I haven't had the patience for it. I'm the one who stays up until all hours of the night to finish a silly project or to finish cleaning all the rooms in my house or maybe to clean out my closet or to clean out my files (oh, the stacks of papers I have...) or to write that all-important blog post... you know, things that can definitely wait until tomorrow or that should be accomplished little by little.

Well, this degree has come little by little. I've done it little by little. To say it's been a steady road would be lying. It's been hard at times, but plugging away knowing that there is light somewhere at the end of the tunnel (however far off it seemed) and having a bit of perseverance and patience is what it took. I suppose you could say just putting one foot in front of the other and just walking is what it took.

Doing something little by little while dealing with the mayhem of life is hard. But I can do hard things. And I did. A friend at church was congratulating me a couple of weeks ago and when I said something to the effect of, "I've learned in my life that I can do hard things," he chuckled and said, "Anyone who can spend winter in the northern latitudes of eastern Europe and emerge successfully to meet spring with a smile can do hard things." Wow. Isn't that the truth?!

I am a learner, always searching for new things to study up on, but completing my degree was a lesson in finishing what I've started. A lesson in forgiving myself of my shortcomings. A lesson in you're never too old to accomplish that which you want in your heart and work for with all your mind and strength.

My favorite number has always been 4. As you know, I'm into even numbers. But as I think about the date on which I received my degree, 5/6/11, I'm somehow led to really take an affinity to the odd number of 11. Class of 2011. 5+6=11. I know, it may seem silly to you. But I like it. 11.

Shep, Emery, and Marina.
All the members of my immediate family took time out of their lives (and money out of their pockets) to make the effort to be with me. That made me happy. I love them and am so grateful they were all there. They all were happy to make the weekend all about me, and that was kind of fun. You don't get that too often. :)

Mom, Nancy, Shep, Emery, Marina, Dad, and Stephen
I'll admit that I was smiley all day long, and even a little bit emotional during the ceremony. I did it. I persevered. I made it through the hard parts. And I worked full-time on top of it. I'm pretty happy to be a recent graduate, who already has years of professional experience under her belt. Life is good and the future seems even brighter.

Salt Lake City
6 May 2011


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fortune Cookies.

Photo found here.

When I was 11, I told my mom that I was pretty certain that I could subsist off of Chinese food for the rest of my life. You know the game, "If you could only eat one kind of food for the rest of your life, what would it be?" Well at eleven, for me it was Chinese.

While today, I may have a different answer, Chinese still ranks rather high. High enough, that I have many, many, many fortunes that I've saved over the years. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to write some of them down (blog them), so I didn't have to keep the piece of paper anymore. Does that lack sentimentality? Maybe, but practicality often wins the prize in my mind.

So on that note, here you go. Some of my favorites. :)

*Star light, star bright, your wish will come true tonight.*
*Step by step you will ascend the staircase to success.*
*Love is a present that can be given every single day you live.*
*Cooperate with those who have both know-how and integrity.*
*Elegant surroundings will soon be yours.*
*The best teacher is also a student.*
*There is a prospect of a thrilling time ahead for you.*
*Among the lucky, you are the chosen one*
*Soon you will be sitting on top of the world*
*A fascinating project is in your future.*
*A surprise gift from another will leave a lasting impression.*
*A financial investment will yield returns beyond your hopes.*
*You will always be successful in your professional career.*
*Your hard work will soon pay off.*
*Keep up the good work. You will be rewarded.*

I like to believe they all are or will be true in my life.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

No Luck.

"Patience is the art of concealing your impatience."
~Guy Kawasaki

Dear Beth and everyone else who cares,

Remember how I spontaneously sent a message to a cute boy on FB asking him to ask me out? Well, I was trying to wait a few days to see if the man would message me back, so I could have something fun to share. No such luck. Seriously? Seriously. Wow. Is he really going to ignore me? It doesn't seem right to go around winking at a girl one night and then completely ignore and reject her the next. But I guess you can. And he did. And yes, I've checked and he has certainly been on FB. No doubt about that. Sad. He must hate me. haha :) Wow. Oh well, at least now I know.

I'll try to only be sad for a minute. (Long enough to take a self portrait in the mirror.)

Because really... what can you do?

As my mom always says, "It's all for the good." Meaning, I don't want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with me. So, like I said, at least I know now. No regrets, right?

Well, my friends, I love you and I know you love me (even if the man doesn't), and that's what counts right? I'm all about the love.

eclaires aka Emery

P.S. I reserve the right to change my mind about him if he does work up the guts (and maturity) to respond.
P.P.S. Should I say anything else to him? Should I retract the email? Or when I see him next, do I bring it up? I mean, I'd still like to have a friend in him, if not a date. What do you think?
P.P.P.S. Don't judge me for my self portrait sessions in the mirror or the funky coloring experiments with said self portraits. It's entertaining.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Letizia. Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Asturias.

"A beautiful dress may look beautiful on a hanger, but that means nothing. It must be seen on the shoulders, with the movement of the arms, the legs, and the waist."
~Coco Chanel

So, remember how much I loved the recent royal nuptials? Well, I did. And there's the link, in case you missed it. Let's face it, half of the fun was all about what everyone was wearing.

One of my favorite dresses of the day was worn by the beautiful Spanish princess, Letizia, Princess of Asturias. She is married to Felipe, the heir apparent to the Spanish throne. Yes, I've done my royal homework...

The dress is a lovely muted rose color with such beautiful details. I really loved it, so I had to share a few photos. Oh, and the hat. What a great choice! Love it.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nonsense One Word Quiz.

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope and that enables you to laugh at life's realities."
~Dr. Seuss

Tulip Festival at Thanksgiving Point. April 2011

This is harder than you might think! Here is what you are supposed to do (and please don't spoil the fun)... use one word, the first one that comes to mind

Where is your cell phone - sternum
Your boyfriend - non-existent
Your hair - straight
Your mother - sick
Your father - For-I-Am
Your favorite thing - massage
Your dream last night - disturbing
Your favorite drink - water
Your dream/goal - house
The room you are in - bedroom
Your fear - falling
Where do you want to be in 6 years - traveling
Where were you last night - walking
Muffins - blueberry
One of your wish list items - cruise
Where you grew up - fog
The last thing you did - cried
What are you wearing - underwear
Your TV - Katie's
Your pets - none
Your computer - laptop
Your life - good
Your mood - drained
Missing someone - yes
Your car - awesome
Favorite store - Smith's
Like someone - always
Your summer - preparing
You work - fine
Your favorite color - blue
When is the last time you laughed - tonight
Last time you cried - tonight

Good night and happy summer solstice! What a beautiful sunset. And to think, it was still light outside at around 10pm. Oh, how I miss living in more northern latitudes. The days were long and wonderful.

Here's to a wonderful summer!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Just for the record.

"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live."
~Flora Whittemore quotes

For the record, Blind Date and I haven't been out for quite awhile. I'm just not interested enough. Just thought I'd tell you, so you don't wait for an update. I wanted to be more interested. I tried. But, there's no point in trying if you're just not feeling it, right? So yeah, that's where things are.

On another note, I have such terrible allergies right now. Spring is hitting me with a vengeance. At least the weather is still nice. Not too hot yet.

Oh, and I just sent a message on FB to someone saying,

"So, {insert full name here}... I've been thinking that I'd like to go out with you sometime. Whaddya say, will you ask me? :)"

Who am I? :) I guess, I'm no different than I've ever been. I seem to go after that which I want.

Okay, gotta go pick up Katie from the airport. And for the record, I have violently sneezed 11 times since writing this post.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Hiking Ensign Peak.

"When you hike this peak tonight, I hope you will remember as you look out over this verdant valley and see the trees, see the communities stretching from here to the point of the mountain, that was not what Brigham Young saw, or the other men with him. They saw almost a barren land. . . . I'm so impressed with the vision that these men had. These great leaders were not stopped by any force from doing that which they knew the Lord wanted them to do."
~Robert L. Backman

Tonight, I hiked Ensign Peak with a large group of single adults from the Singles Ward that I have started visiting.

Lately, I've been having strong impressions that I should go to the Singles Ward, so yesterday was my first Sunday, and then I joined them for their hiking activity to Ensign Peak. Me, hiking. It's actually pretty amazing how many people are in this ward. I'm excited to get to know more people.

Ensign Peak is the summit of the hill just to the north of downtown Salt Lake. It's about a mile and a half north of the Salt Lake Temple. From the peak, you can see that the city was built directly south of that point, and you can see a beautiful 360º view of the city. Really, some spectacular views, don't you think?

The hike was really only about 15 or 20 minutes, but it was pretty steep. I was happy to have my camera to give me an excuse to stop and catch my breath. It was beautiful, the clouds were stunning, and the breeze was very welcome.

It is from this peak, that Brigham Young spoke the famous phrase, "This is the right place," identifying the valley as the place he had seen in a vision as the land on which the Mormon pioneers would build their settlement.

What a beautiful place. I'm happy to be living here, a place with such rich history... and spectacular views!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Journey East. First Stop: Washington, D.C.

"To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel
is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time,
to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted."
~Bill Bryson

As a graduation gift to myself, two weeks ago yesterday, I set off on a journey to the East. Washington, D.C. (northern Virginia) and New York City (Brooklyn) were my two stops. I know I haven't blogged about my graduation yet, but I'm still waiting for some pictures (hint hint to the maternal peeps --both of you-- in the family). But I'll post that soon, I hope. For now, I'm going to go ahead and let you in on the highlights of my trip.

First stop: D.C./Northern Virginia.

First off, can I just say that every single freeway we went on was under construction to some degree?!? Seriously.

KDJ told me that it's the result of President Obama giving funds to all of the states for some sort of something or other legislation thingy having to do with the recession. Can you tell I'm totally up on my politics and government affairs?

Apparently, the stipulation for receiving this government money was that the states have to use it by a certain deadline, like the end of this year or the end of the summer, to create more jobs and help jumpstart the economy, I think. (Wow... I totally hate that I'm completely opening myself up to scrutiny for not knowing anything about current government events... because I know I sound completely clueless... I guess, I am.) So that's why there is tons of construction going on simultaneously on all freeways.

The funny thing is, although I noticed the construction (I mean, how could you miss the orange cones everywhere??), it didn't bother me that traffic was slower due to it because I had no idea how long it should have taken to get from point A to point B without construction traffic. You know that blissful oblivion that sets in when you're on vacation and have no deadline or time constraints to work with? Yeah, it was nice. For me, anyway. KDJ may have thought differently...

While I was there, KDJ and I met up to eat lunch with Kelli in D.C., just down the street from the Washington National Cathedral.

I had never been to the National Cathedral before, so it was the first "tourist" stop on my trip. I have to admit, it reminded me of the photos and videos of Westminster Abbey that I've seen recently. (Yeah, remember how I loved everything about the royal wedding of Wills and Kate?)

It's seeing buildings like these that make me wish I were a better photographer! But at least you get the idea. I'm also so amazed at designers and architects who can make their visions come to life in such a magnificent edifice.

And the clouds were just perfect that day.

And just so you believe me... I was actually there. (Oh, KDJ likes to take candid shots, so that's why I look like I'm waving to you. haha)

After our walk around the Cathedral, we went to the Washington LDS Temple. You know, from one magnificent edifice to another.

If you have ever been to the D.C. Temple, you know what a striking sight it is, especially as you are winding your way through the beautiful green trees surround you and all of a sudden (seriously) this gigantic magnificent temple just pops up out of nowhere! It's really incredible. I know I sound dramatic, but it's true. It's really beautiful. We did a session in the temple and then walked around afterward.

P.S. I don't have any photos of KDJ because my camera battery died and all these photos were on her camera and she neglected to send me the ones of her. Reh.

P.P.S. She gave in. :) Oh, the power of persuasion.

On Sunday, we attended the fairly-newly-formed Potomac Ward, which is a mid-singles ward. This means it is specifically geared toward LDS singles aged 31-55. I really enjoyed the talks, being around other single people my age, and the spirit that was there. Seems like a great ward.

On a random side note, all throughout the trip to visit KDJ, we learned the 195 countries of the world and were able to master naming (and spelling) them all in less than 12 minutes.

This was quite a feat. I mean, come on, tell me that you knew there was a country named São Tomé and Príncipe. Or Timor-Leste (also known as East Timor)? Or how about Kiribati? Or do you remember that Vatican City is its own country? The countries of Africa, alone, will stump you. And you can't tell me it's not an accomplishment to learn how to spell all the -stan countries. You know: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Fun stuff. If you want to try your hand at becoming a geography master, just check out this quiz on Jet Punk.

I have to admit that it's really fun to know all of them and know where they are because now when I hear things on the news about people from these countries, I can somehow picture it. You know, like I have a connection to them now.

Now, that I'm a master (there's no being humble with this feat), I'm working on the capitals of all these countries. That's a bit harder... I'll keep you posted. :)

Anyway, back to my trip...

On Monday, I went to work with KDJ, and then ventured off on my own to Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate and gardens along the Potomac. Navigating Virginia roads was not as hard as I thought it might be until the way back when I missed my turn since the street on which I was supposed to turn was named something different on one side of the intersection than it was on the other. It was a really relaxing way to spend the day, just walking around the estate.

We were not allowed to take photographs inside the home itself, but all the outside buildings were pretty interesting, as well.

Green everywhere

George Washington's tomb
All in all, it was a great day. They rave about their Virginia Peanut and Chestnut soup, so I stopped into the restaurant. They were out of it. Really? How do you run out of the one food that you advertise as your specialty? I guess I'll just have to go back someday. The tour guides repeatedly mentioned that George Washington would always want for a guest to return again for a follow-up visit, so we should consider doing the same. Well, I guess I'll have to... so I can have some of that peanut soup!

We also stopped in to see my cousin Soren, Mandy, and little Emily. I'd never actually met Mandy, even though she and Soren have been married for three years. And it was a treat to meet Emily.

Our friend Jenn and her husband Randy live fairly closeby, as well, so we stopped in to have Family Home Evening, dessert, and a healthy dose of catching up. I love Jenn and am so glad we got to see her, her home, and her family. Sadly, no pictures were taken. Too much fun and talking ensued to remember the camera.

As you can see it was a great trip. I was sad to have it end, but I had a train ticket to my second stop... New York City. That will have to wait for another post.