Thursday, December 17, 2009

Friendship

I had a beautiful dream last night about making new friends. I woke up, dying to write about my dream, but as I began to put it into words, it felt so mundane. How do you write about the simplicity of strong friendship in a way that shows that beauty I was feeling when I woke up?

Well, anyway, here's to friendship.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sissel

My friend had a link to a Sissel/Motab song and I started listening to a whole bunch of Sissel's stuff. Then I found this:



Wow!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Christmas Story



Yesterday, we got to go see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert. The first half of the concert was their Ghosts of Christmas Eve. I really enjoy the TSO, but the thing that really struck me yesterday was that they focused on the Christ part of Christmas rather than the commercial part. I really loved that and it helped me get even in more in the mood for this Christmas season.

I didn't know that the Church has a Christmas site, but I found it today. http://www.lds.org/topic/christmas/index.html

I found this video and I loved it, so I thought I would share.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thinking

Sometimes I wonder if it drives y'all crazy that I put so many You Tube videos on my blog. And then I remember. This is my blog. Then I experience a surge of power. And then I laugh at myself for trying to be funny when everybody else is looking at the computer screen with a "huh?" expression on their face. Then I erase this paragraph and move on with my post. But today I think I'll leave it. Surely one of you will chuckle with me. [chirp, chirp]

Okay, so here's the You Tube video. (And yes, you will have to watch it in order to fully appreciate my next remarks.)



The part that particularly struck me started about second 50, although the beginning in interesting enough. By the way, this is Richard Feynman, a physicist.

When it comes to counting and talking or reading, I'm like Feynman, I think. I can count and read at the same time, but not talk. I notice this on the phone. I can multi-task with a lot of things, but if I try to do something similar, I trip all over myself and can't talk and therefore sound like a bit of an idiot. :) Whatever...

Anyway, it has often struck me that even when we're all speaking English, we can't always be speaking the same language. For example, one day I was sitting in Relief Society and the teacher asked us to read a certain paragraph, answer a question and then talk it over in a small group. Well, we read the paragraph and thought of our answers and then began to discuss. The answer seemed very obvious to me. It was practically stated exactly as the question was asked in that particular paragraph. That led me to a particular train of thought and I learned something quite profound. As the women in my group began to discuss their thoughts about our paragraph and question, my first thought was that somehow I had read the wrong paragraph and thought about the wrong question. I quickly realized that no, we really had been looking at the same words, but somehow what was completely obvious to me was totally missed by everyone else and it seemed like other people were pulling their answers out of thin air. Incredible.

Another time, we were discussing something of a political nature with a friend who has different views from ours. He asked a question about one of our views. We gave a clear, concise answer. He accused us of changing the subject. We restated his question and matched our answer exactly to his question. He again accused us of changing the subject. I thought him impossibly dense. Hm...

I have many times considered whether we even see things the same way. For example, my husband and I have a vastly different opinion of beauty. Are we seeing the same things? Do colors look the same to you as they do to me? Do shapes look the same way? What about depth perception? How much of this has to do with the way our eyes function? Brains? Conditioning? Do we hear things the same way? Feel things the same way? People make fun of the way I can't stand touching flour or sand. But do you feel the same way when you walk across the beach? Taste the same orange juice I do?

I am now thinking to myself, "I wonder how clear this post is coming across. It all makes sense to me. Each thought logically leads to the next." Are any of you thinking, "Not only does this girl ramble, she's totally incomprehensible, too!"? But surely you have to admit this is such an interesting thought! No wonder we're counseled to not judge another before we've walked a mile in their shoes. Maybe it's that we shouldn't judge another before we've seen/felt/heard... like they do. And since that seems to be impossible, at least for now, that's why we really shouldn't judge?

Life

My aunt told me about MLIA.com for the first time last week. That's My Life is Average to those of you like me who are not in the know. I just got on the for the first time and found this story:

"Today in my Calculus class, someone asked the question "Are we ever going to use this in real life?" My teacher turned around and said "Believe it or not, this is real life. This moment is actually happening, right now" and then continued his lesson. MLIA."

I loved this. How many times do we ask, "What does this have to do with real life?" And this answer is perfect. This IS real life. Welcome to reality.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some thoughts

This will be a bit of a long post, but I ask you to forgive my bramblings. (And please remember if this sounds one-sided that my feelings are not one-sided. I couldn't possibly condense all my thoughts on this subject into a readable-length, so you'll have to bear with me and give me the benefit of the doubt, please. Arg. This is why I don't usually publish such personal subject matter.)

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
~~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931

In addition, let me add a link to my favorite Davy Crockett story. It takes a little reading to get to the crux of the matter, so keep reading.

I hope you take time to read the whole thing and think about it. I was going to sum it up, but thought some of y'all would take the lazy way out. :) I might have. Anyway, story says it so much better than I would.

I think this quote and that story sum up a lot of my feelings on the matter of the government today. I don't think of myself as a selfish person. (Although admittedly, who does?) :) We believe in giving of our substance to those in need. I often think about the scripture passage Mosiah 4:16 - 25.

16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.
24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.
25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.

I have seen these scriptures used to justify some big government. Government welfare and the like. But remember, King Benjamin just previously had said, "I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes..." In the verses I quoted before, he was not, I believe, saying to foist your giving on the government, but rather telling us to individually give of what we have.

I could go on and on with personal opinion and personal experience (take it from one who is self-employed, thus seeing all the money she earns and therefore seeing all the money the government gets just for plain taxes we pay every year, not to mention things like sales tax, etc...), but I think I'll just leave it at that with Dr. Adrian Rogers, Davy Crockett, and King Benjamin with a little me thrown in so you can see how it's tied together.


P.S. For a little additional reading, try this. A very interesting speech given at BYU by Arthur C. Brooks entitled "Why Giving Matters." He's Roman Catholic, just as a note of interest.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Since it's been forever...

I know it's been a few weeks since I've posted, but I've been so busy and tired... You know the drill. So to tide you over until I come up with something to say, enjoy some opera humor. (Really, this guy is so stinkin' funny. I could listen to anything he does.)



I figured after my opera post, some of you would really enjoy this. :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sleep

Being really tired right now, I thought it would be appropriate to post Eric Whitacre conducting his own piece "Sleep." The chorus is made up of the VocalEssence Chorus & Ensemble Singers, The St. Olaf Choir, and the 160-voice Minnesota High School Honors Choir.



Oh, wow!!! Aren't those chords beautiful? And the dynamics? How fun to sing for the man who wrote the music you're singing!! I think Eric Whitacre is becoming one of my favorite composers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just had to brag. I spelled "colloquialisms" right the first time without having to check while I was transcribing earlier. Call me easily impressed, but I was feeling pretty good about my spelling. Too bad I can never remember whether it's "recieve" or "receive." (Okay, when I look at them I can tell, but when I'm typing...) I have that on auto-correct for those times when I pick the wrong one...

Speaking of colloquialisms, did I ever tell about my study of them? I decided to pull a Grimm Brothers and I had a bunch of random people tell me the same bedtime story to see how differently it would be told. Too bad for TV, a lot of cool dialectal stuff has been lost, but there's still great colloquialisms out there. (Just trying to see how many times I can use "colloquialisms" in two paragraphs. Don't mind me.) I chose "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Two things. First, I was very surprised how many people claimed not to know the story or had very sketchy memories of it. Second, I have since recieved (dang it! RecEIved) ten teddy bears or so. What am I to do with them?!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Don't be scared...

I'm going to mention a scary word, but don't let it frighten you away. It's been awhile since I've mentioned... Okay I'm just going to say it. Opera. It's been awhile since I've mentioned any opera on my blog. Let me provide a little background. I know I've mentioned that I'm a fan of some opera. This was not always the case. As a youngster, I couldn't stand listening to opera. Their voices just seemed so fake and over-trained. I accompanied classical voice lessons for a number of years and then my husband took a class covering opera for which he had to listen to A LOT of pieces ranging from Handel to Wagner. From these experiences I learned to appreciate what my mom had always told me: the body can be used as an instrument just as an oboe or french horn or whatever can. When you can appreciate this, you can appreciate well-done opera or classical singing.

Before I introduce this piece, let me just tell you one other thing I've been thinking a lot about lately. Self-improvement. I've been reading several books and spending time doing things that I don't necessarily enjoy, but are good for exercising my brain and discipline since I'm not accountable for much structure these days. I do this in hopes of improving myself and my taste and talents, etc...

So in the interest of helping you with a little self-improvement (because I'm so helpful, I know), let me introduce you to one of my favorite sopranos. (Excuse her dress. Just listen and appreciate this beautiful voice!)



Now, you thought just because I said opera, the music was going to be scary. (I don't even know if this would strictly be called opera. Maybe just an art song sung in classical style? Whatever.) Wasn't it beautiful?!

(Now, you did listen to it, didn't you? If you didn't, shame on you. It's just a couple minutes. If you're in a place where you can't listen now, you'll just have to go back and listen to it later. Now report!)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Back to Intros

Introducing... [drumroll please] LEANNE! Leanne, I hope you don't mind if I tell our story from the beginning.

You know how some people are best friends from the moment they meet? That wasn't how it worked for Leanne and me. I believe it would be closer to the song from Wicked. Loathing. :) I couldn't stand her. She couldn't stand me. We were in all of first grade. Then summer came and my mom told me about a new family who had recently moved into the neighborhood. Would I like to go meet the little girl my age? Absolutely! On our walk to their house, I got a small nagging feeling that that little girl might be... Sure enough! It was Leanne. I glared at her. She glared at me. Her mom said, "Why don't you show her your room?" Leanne grudgingly invited, "Come on." And thus began a long and fruitful friendship.

We actually became a foursome with my brother Seth and friend Debbie (now cousin-in-law). The four of us would go on adventures, slaying evil monsters and coming off victors. Being the tired one of the group, I would often sit on the couch and read and send the rest off on quests. Whenever they finished a quest, they would come back to me and I would think up a new quest. (Usually with their help.)

Sometimes we would play with marbles. But not the ordinary way. Our marbles represented people and villages. So instead of us going on adventures, our marbles would. Sometimes they got lost... [ha, ha]

I remember when Leanne started to write books. I thought she was the best writer in the world. She wrote a book about my tiger Arsath. We just knew it would get published. I think Leanne was 11 at the time. She was also an artist and she and Seth would sometimes draw our characters.

Leanne is smart as smart can be. She was always a motivation to keep up with in schoolwork. She's creative and fun. But I remember her being very restful too. Some days we would just read books together. (My favorite activity.) Almost all of my childhood memories involve Leanne in some form or other. I think I can blame most of my creativity on her. I still dream of adventures we had. I still believe she'll write a great book someday.

Everyone should have a friend like Leanne. Too bad she's one of a kind. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Slipper and the Rose

So, who here has seen "The Slipper and the Rose?" It's a musical version of Cinderella and since the Sherman brothers wrote the music (also did things like Mary Poppins), it is DE-LIGHTFUL! My friend was quoting that movie a few days ago and I just had to post something about it. You can watch one of my favorite songs here:



Or if that one doesn't suit your fancy, try:



Favorite quotes anyone?

I love when Prince Edward says "Our policemen couldn't find a missing haystack let alone a needle."

Or the king says, "Kings never cheat! They adapt to circumstances, but they never cheat!"

Or the dowager Queen says, "There's someone in the room."

Or a very favorite - Prince Edward: "You mark my words, before you can count to ten, through that door, with the odious punctuality of our neighbors much vaunted recently invented hideously irritating cuckoo clock will come our dear and loyal subject, the ever unctuous Lord High Chamberlain."
John: "Five. Six. Seven!"
Prince Edward: "He's improving. One of these days, he's going to achieve the elusive ten minute mile."

I could go forever.

[sigh of contentment]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The moral of the story is...

So this story doesn't show me in the best light, but as you all know how imperfect I am, I suppose you won't be shocked.

Yesterday, my day didn't go as planned and when I couldn't find something I really needed for work, I got awfully irritated. (Or I irritated myself as I believe some other languages would put it.) I called Morgan because he had used said object last. He didn't know where it was and did not seem helpful to me on the phone. So I quickly ended our call and paced around the house, annoyed. But, then the Spirit started nudging. "Maybe you shouldn't be so rude to your nice husband who takes such good care of you and works so hard." Huh! [Notice I was still in a very bad mood here.] "Maybe you're in the wrong here and your attitude is not helping matters." Yeah, well... "Maybe you should call back and apologize for being so mean to your very patient husband who told you how sorry he was that he can't remember where it is." Fine. So I swallowed my pride and called. Amazingly, he graciously accepted my apology and right as we were getting off the phone, thought of one last place what I was missing might be. Guess what. There it was!

So the moral of the story is...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Swamp House Grill, huh?

Yessiree, Bob. Morgan and I went out with a friend for her birthday tonight. She introduced us to the Swamp House Grill on the St. John's River in Debary.


We sat at a table just above where the red strip says "House." The picture is facing east, so we looked out over the river to the west just as the sun was setting. We sat all through twilight until it was pitch black. When the sun was still up, the view looked a lot like this:


Except this picture above was taken a few miles north of the Swamp House Grill and was also taken during winter, so please picture everything to be a more beautiful green. And nothing in the water. (No, we didn't see any gators.)

We had such a great experience that I just wanted to throw this out for anybody looking for a new restaurant. Here's how it went for us.

As I said, we got there just as the sun was starting to set. We got to pick where we sat since things weren't very busy. Again, like I said, we sat right by the edge and since the sun was still up, there was nothing between us and our view. As the sun set, a screen went down so we weren't eaten alive by bugs.

While we looked at our menus, country music played in the background. We were impressed at the volume (something we notice) because while it was loud enough that we didn't hear others' conversations, we didn't have to even raise our voices to hear each other. Perfect.

The waitress, Jennifer, was very gracious while we looked at our menus. We kept changing our minds, so we must have driven her a little nuts, but if we did, she didn't show it. We ordered crab cakes for an appetizer. (Hey, it was a birthday party.) Jennifer warned us that they only came two at a time, but we said that was okay. We mentioned it was our friend's birthday. Jennifer came back out with three crab cakes! And let me tell you, those were the best crab cakes I've had. Now, I'm no connoisseur, but they were just perfect to me.

The rest of our meal went just as well despite other difficulties from us. Jennifer catered to our every need and we just had a wonderful time.

So you Florida people, if you're looking for a new place to try out, consider taking a drive on 17-92 in Debary, turning onto Highbanks Rd. and heading down to the river.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Our Phones 2

Just something funny I thought as I was responding to Serene's comment. I was thinking that no wonder my (Morgan's, really) phone pictures are almost better than our camera's. Our camera is about four years old. Our phones, only just over a year old. That got me thinking. We bought our first phones (sans camera) not too long after we got married. Mine died about two years later, so we went shopping for an ultra cheap phone. When we went into the phone store, they looked at my phone as if it were a dinasaur! "When did you get this?" they exclaimed as they motioned for everyone else in the store to come see the relic. "Um... Two years ago," I replied. "It was brand-new then." Wow, technology changes fast. I just can't keep up.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Our phones

When we went to get new phones last year, the person at the store asked, "What features are you looking for?" We said, "We want to be able to call people." She replied, "But what features do you want?" We said, "We want to be able to call people." She persisted, "But do you want to listen to music, take pictures, have internet access?" We said, "We want to be able to call people." So we got the cheapest phones. (Didn't have to pay much at all, really.) However, I am quite astounded by what our little phones can do. Let me give you an example. They can take pictures like this:













Not bad for our phones, no? It seems you can't find a phone these days without things like cameras, etc, etc, etc....

Our phones also act as our watches, alarm clocks, pedometers, timers, and address books. They have a nifty program that allows us to create out own ringtones. I realize this is hardly impressive to those of you with iPhones or whatever, but considering we only wanted to call people... Oh, and they also provide the ability to access the internet, but we cancelled that and text messaging because I find both rather annoying. If I want the internet, I'll just have to wait until I can find a computer. And if I want to send a text message... Oh, wait. I don't. :)

P.S. The last picture, I realize, is a little bit of a departure from the rest, but there were these gorgeous magnolias in bloom that day. We wanted to give a little perspective on how huge they were. Fun, no?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Becky, this is for you (and Heidi)

My great friend and cousin Becky tried desperately to expand my musical taste as a teenager. My taste was being stretched in other ways at the time and it was hard to appreciate it all. :) One of the fine singers she tried to help me appreciate was Sarah McLachlan. Becky told me that even if I didn't like Sarah now, I would eventually. I was stubbornly convinced that I never would appreciate her voice. Becky. I stand corrected. Here's my apology:



I can't say this is my favorite piece of music, but these two singers together... I never thought their voices would go together, but I very much enjoy their harmonies. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cute

I did a lot of driving today. I like to drive well enough, but today was a little much. However, there were a lot of things to appreciate on my drives today. My favorite one was when I was waiting at a stoplight. I looked over to the sidewalk and there was a small family (two little girls with their mom and grandparents) walking. I watched as they all turned around and started walking backwards up a hill. The younger girl was about the age of the girl in this picture. Obviously, I didn't see this on a beach, but this is roughly what she looked like. I wish you could have seen her. It made my day. That and the gorgeous sunrise this morning. Much I hate morning, I sure love sunrises...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Zombie Chickens


A very dear friend (Heidi) gave me this award, which I thought was very flattering albeit a bit weird. :) (Not you, Heidi. The award.)

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken-- excellence, grace, and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all."

So, fearing the wrath of the zombie chickens, here are my five awardees.

  • The Pioneer Woman [If you haven't read her, beware. You'll get hooked!]
  • Svedi Pie!
  • Holladay Home and Heart
  • Holladay Happenin's
  • The World According to Becky
I check all sorts of other blogs, too, but these people haven't been nominated yet (that I know of) and I love them zer mucho, as we say in our family.

Thanks, Heidi, for the award. Congratulations to all my winners! :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Juh9

Did you think I missed the fact that I had typed nonsense in the title? Nope. This post is about Jeanine. (nine, 9. Get it???) Okay, maybe I'm not so hilarious, but the creative juices aren't flowing very well right now. I don't think this has ever been Jeanine's problem.

Jeanine was one of my five first roommates. She's also the roommate I roomed with for the longest time. (Three and a half years altogether, wasn't it? Four?) Whatever. Jeanine is one of the most creative and fun people I know. Mom loved when I called with Jeanine stories because they were always interesting and usually funny. She got me out of my comfort zone to do things like watch couples make out outside of our window from our couch while eating popcorn. (Drove us crazy when they sat on our bench to do that. Ick!) Another thing we did was "synchronized swimming" with our feet draped over the back of the couch to beautiful, loud music.

As fun as Jeanine is, one of the things I appreciate most about her is her deep insights on topics ranging from politics to philosophy to the gospel and all sorts of other places. Jeanine is a deep thinker. I was always flattered when she chose me to pontificate with. That was one of my favorite activities.

I'm skipping telling you about all her accomplishments. Writer, artist (her drawing of the Provo Temple hung on our apartment wall and people were always surprised to know it wasn't a "professional who did it), mother, homemaker, game writer, etc... But to me, Jeanine is chips and salsa, brownies and deep conversation. A perfect combination.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Me and Charles Darwin



I read a book entitled "Charles and Emma: The Darwin's Leap of Faith" over the summer. I had lots of mixed thoughts about it, but ended up with a pretty healthy respect for both Charles and Emma Darwin. I came to really like them. They had a fantastic marriage.

Charles Darwin said: "I often bless all novelists. A surprising number [of novels] have been read aloud to me... and I like all if moderately good, and if they do not end unhappily--against which a law ought to be passed. A novel, according to my taste, does not come into the first class unless it contains some person whom one can thoroughly love, and if it be a pretty woman all the better."

I have to say I am in complete agreement with Charles Darwin on this point. I was having a discussion with a friend on her blog today. (Lots of back and forth comments until she finally wrote a whole entry to respond to me.) :) One of the things I kept mentioned was I hate when stories ended unhappily. I always felt like I wimp about that, but now I justify myself. Charles Darwin thought so too. :)

Amy not Aymie

Meet Amy. Not my little sister. (That's Bee.) This Amy and I met last year in Primary. She's a counselor in the presidency and I was the pianist. She had a baby last year, the cuddliest little thing. I steal that baby (as does everyone else) whenever possible.

One of the things I like most about Amy is how friendly she is in a quiet way. She always asks how I'm doing and chats with me for a little bit. One time, after being at an activity at her house, she walked me to my car and we chatted for 20 minutes until she realized maybe she shouldn't leave her other guests. :) When she was looking for a house, she invited me along to sit in the car with her kids. I was so flattered she would think of me! I had a great time chatting with her in the car and holding the baby when she got fussy while Amy was looking at a house.

I'm glad that Amy went out of her way to get to know me so I had the chance to get to know her. (You all know by now that I'm not a terribly outgoing person.) She's nice, fun, intelligent, interesting... Not to mention hardworking and sacrificing. She hosted a get together of women from the ward at her house late at night for many months in a row. Wow! That's love! Don't you wish she were in your ward?

[And if you're wondering what the obscure title is from, think Brian Regan.]

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I'm Back and Introducing Mrs. Tapa

Shara said she missed my posts, so here's to you, Shara. As an excuse, I suppose I might feel a little talked out after the last month. I'm used to spending most of my weeks holed up in my little room with no one to talk to. I spent five weeks in constant chatter. (Which those of you who know me at all, know I'm a talkative little thing and given the chance, will talk your ear off.) Not only that, but I got used to conversation again and it's hard to get back in the mode of... I don't know. Lecturing? :)

Anyways, here goes:

Honestly, I can't remember the first time I met Mandy. We lived in different wards, but on the same floor of our apartment complex in college. I don't remember if she approached me first or I approached her. (Mandy, do you remember any of this?) I just remember I really loved to talk to her. We had some great conversations. And watched the new Peter Pan together, which is, of course, a bonding experience. This is also the girl who was dating a good friend of mine and I told her one day, "Don't let him go! He's a good man." To my mortification, she told me that he had broken up with her the night before! Oi. I have since tried to be much less stupid in my questions and make sure people are still dating before saying something similar! Luckily, I had the pleasure of introducing Mandy to her husband, a boy I had known for years. (She'd obviously forgiven me for being so inept.) They now have two adorable children.

Why do I love admire Mandy? Why not? She is one of the most kind and generous of souls. She's talented and fun! She's very loyal. I love the way she talks about her family. Oh! That's another thing. We knew people in common because she grew up in a town with a bunch of family friends. How's that for cool? I'm having a hard time saying this, Mandy, because I feel like you're family and how do you introduce people so close? You know what I mean when I say you're a GREAT friend!

As a little postscript here, let me just apologize for being so bad at these. I really want y'all to meet each other, but I don't want to step on any toes and share too personal information on the internet. That leaves things very vague that I wasn't good at describing in the first place. Just take my word for it. Mandy's a winner!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Funny quote for the day


I just heard the funniest saying:

Whoever said nothing is impossible has never tried nailing Jello to a tree.

I thought that was hilarious, particularly as sometimes it feels like I'm trying to do just that. (I know. I know. It's obviously Photoshopped. It's still funny.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Small Break

Let me take a small break to introduce you to another amazing piece of music. Growing up, my dad had several pieces of music that he thought were amazing. One of them was a recording of the men from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Pilgrim's Chorus" from Wagner's (Vahg-nur) Tannhauser. (Imagine an umlaut over the second a, making that into an 'oy' sound.) It's a gorgeous piece of music and my only bone to pick with the recording was that after the acapella part, an organ joined them instead of an orchestra. Morgan and I really wanted to hear an updated version of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing it backed up by the Orchestra on Temple Square. (Or whatever the orchestra they often sing with is called.) Last night, my brother and I found a recording that fulfilled my dream! It's from last year. It's another one that I can't embed, but you simply MUST go listen to it RIGHT NOW. Here it is.

Now, if the speakers you're around aren't that great, you'll have to listen to it a second time on the best you can find. It's even better! (And you'll find it won't be a hardship to listen to it more than once. I hope you enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Alecia

Boring title, but this is not a boring girl. (I'm not picking on your name, Alecia. I'm having a profound lack of creativity these past couple of weeks.) Alecia moved into our ward just before we did. At the time, there were relatively few young couples in the ward, so we got to be friends. Lucky for us, Alecia is great at reaching out to friends. (Something I'm not great at.) Our friendship started innocently. Dinner and games. But then one day, we got to really talk.

I love talking to Alecia. She is interesting, funny, and smart. She's also a great listener. In our conversation, we talked about things that move people from acquaintances to good friends. I appreciate her trust in me and also appreciate that I can trust her.

Alecia is very creative. She can do really cool things like reupholster chairs. Wow! She's really good at putting pictures together. And she cooks like nobody's business. You haven't lived until you've tasted her BBQ chicken pizza. She told me it was easy. Can something that good be easy? I don't know. And she does lots of other really amazing things like put people at ease, play with children, love her dog...

I don't know if I've given you a good sense of Alecia, but you would all adore this wonderful girl!

Friday, July 17, 2009

No goats in this post

This post is about my friend Heidi. The title of this post is just to tease her based on a comment recently. :) The funny thing about Heidi is I lived near her two different times before I really got to know her. I lived in the same apartment complex forever and ever and she kept moving in and out. I think it was the second time that she was actually roommates with my cousin, but even then, we didn't see each other much. I knew she was nice and had good taste. After all, we agreed on Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery. What more do you need to base a friendship on? But it wasn't until the third time we lived near each other that we got to be good friends.

She worked at the library. As a frequent patron of the library, I would see her and say hi and we'd talk books and life. But the clincher was when I had to leave my new husband for two weeks on a trip. He was really busy with school, so while we talked a lot on the phone, he couldn't devote as much time as I wanted. (It wouldn't have been possible.) Heidi kept me up to date and smiling with goings-on at the library and happy thoughts and listened to me whine about being away from home. (Even though I was actually happy to be where I was.) She wrote me every day, long emails just like I love to receive, though I'm bad at writing them generally. :)

Heidi is yet another wonderfully talented friend. She sings and writes and boy, her grammar in impeccable when she wants it to be! She has another talent that I envy. She's really great at giving gifts. She got me and Morgan tickets to see "Wicked" here, four months after we moved. It was fantastic! We were so grateful to her!

I think the thing I like most about Heidi is we can talk about anything. I always learn from her and we keep each other from getting too depressed. :) At least, she keeps me from being too depressed. I'm not as great a friend. But I really appreciate Heidi and everything about her. What a GREAT girl!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Well... She's not my biological aunt.

I've already written this post and trashed it. It's very difficult to write about Aunt Mona and give a good picture. Let's just put it this way. I introduce her as my aunt, although to anyone who knows my family well, they might get a short explanation of not being biologically related to her.

I started getting to know Aunt Mona when I was a pre-teen and she taught sign language classes. She was Sister Z. then. A couple years later, our families started to hang out. Before long, we (our families) were inseparable. We spent Family Home Evenings together (Monday nights), went on trips together during school vacations, did lots and lots of talent shows, played games, all sorts.... ;)

Aunt Mona always treated me with the respect I didn't deserve. And I loved her for it. I knew I could express my opinions and thoughts to her because they mattered to her. (Even if she did get a good laugh out of them later, I would never know.) She gave me responsibilities that encouraged me to act more responsible for her trust. Other than my parents, she was one of the most formative adults in my youth.

Aunt Mona has all sorts of talents and attributes and skills... It would take hours to draw a portrait of her. She has a blog where you might start to get to know her, although she's on hiatus for the summer. Here it is.

I sure am lucky to call her friend.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Little Bro

Okay, for those of you who don't obsessively check my blog every day (I know there's probably one or two of you), sorry about all the reading. But I'm just so excited to introduce everyone. I know some of the finest people on this earth and you would all love each other. But I guess if you don't want to read every post, you really don't have to. (But you should.) :)

Okay, so now to my little brother David. [That's right punctuation, right? Because I have more than one little brother, there should be no comma? I hate commas.] One of my less sketchy memories as a child is of the day my little brother was born. Part of it was traumatic. (For a five year old. Give me a break.) The other part was really sweet. David was born on a Sunday. As we children lined up for Primary, Dad came to tell us he was taking Mom to the hospital to have the baby, so we were to go home with the Petersons. So we went home with the Petersons. Then the phone rang. I actually remember exactly what their house looked like when it came to where the phone was. Funny memory, huh? Mom specifically wanted to talk to me, which made me feel special. The reason was, though, that she had thought David would be a girl. (Only baby she was wrong on.) That was the traumatic part. I was so excited for my first sister! So Mom wanted to tell me that he was boy, but that he was very sweet, and I would absoluuutely adore him. (Can anyone name that movie?) I got to meet him I believe the next day. Grandma took us to the hospital. Mom was right. He was the sweetest baby. I got to hold him and fell in love right there.

Other memories of David... (Sorry, David. Hope this isn't too embarrassing.) He really loved his pacifier. His favorite way to suck on it was upside down. I remember many fun times twisting it in his mouth so it would be right side up. He would use his tongue to turn it back over the way he liked it.

Another strong memory of David is driving him places in the car. David had started to play on the drums and wanted to work on his beat. So in the car, we would turn on the radio and I would drill him. Find the beat. Where's the first beat of the measure? What time signature are we in? Where are the other strong beats? I also loved singing with him in the car. He had a knack for hearing harmonies I couldn't. I was impressed by that.

I could go on and on. About when he visited right before he went into the MTC. About the day he came home from his mission. Hanging out with him at college. David is now getting married. Is that possible? I can't wait to meet his fiance! But it will be slightly surreal that my baby brother is old enough for that.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sister Kaylynn

I met Kaylynn when I was in Young Women. I was a Laurel. She was a Leader. The bishop mandated that though we weren't terribly far apart in age, I had to call her Sister instead of by her name. She told me the day I graduated, I could call her Kaylynn. And I did. :)

I always enjoyed Kaylynn. She was a fun leader who always had nice things to say. My teenage memory being as sketchy as it is, I don't have many stories to tell about her specifically. But she got back in touch with me recently thanks to Facebook, I think. (Right?) Or my blog. Ooo. Now I'm thinking it was through blogs somehow. I've been having a blast getting to know her again through her blog. She has three darling kids and is getting her master's in teaching! Wow! Obviously a very smart woman.

Not only is she smart, but she has good taste in movies and books. She recently posted about one of my favorite movies, "Walk, Don't Run." She came up with a dream cast for a remake of it. I won't taint you with her choices--not because I don't like them, but I want to see what you'll come up with. Any ideas?

Anyway, meet Kaylynn. A power woman of talent, taste, education and breeding. (Do I sound like a Jane Austen novel or what?)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Nod to Greatness

Okay, I'm taking a little break from introducing you to each other just for this post. Don't worry. I haven't given up. (And have you seen our two new friends?) Last night, I discovered something and just had to post about it.

Last night, I was playing the piano and feeling my inadequacies. For someone so "talented," I sure do stink. :) (Not fishing for compliments here.) I was asking Morgan how in the world people play so lightly. Instead of saying, "But honey, you play lighter than a mosquito lands," he showed me this.



Did you see how lightly he played?! Wow! He is so incredible to watch. What a talented man. He collected folk music, wrote music, was a conductor and an obviously accomplished pianist.

So last night, after Morgan showed me that, I showed him one of my favorite clips of a pianist. Now, this one's a little bit longer, but in appreciation of greatness, take five minutes to watch this man play. (And yes, Morgan says he's probably really playing most of the other instruments you see him playing.)



I think my very favorite part is 2:15 into it. Just gorgeous playing. He has so much control! Doesn't he make that look so easy? I could watch him for hours.

Glad to have shared this amazingness with you.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Breezy

Today, I'm introducing Bri. She's a Z, so once in a message, identified herself as Bri Z, which I especially loved because I call one of my sisters Beezy. Okay. Now you know her name.

I'm not quite sure about this (maybe you remember, Bri) but I think I first met Bri when I was house-sitting for her future in-laws as they were out of the country. Her sister-in-law, Hannah (a different one), wanted to introduce me to some of her friends and I'm pretty sure Bri was in the mix. The next time I met Bri was when she was affianced to my little brother's best friend. They were getting married in less than a week, so we didn't spend too much time together, but I did spend enough time with her to know that she was one heck of a gal. She's fun, but also practical. Headstrong (which, in my book, is a positive word, so don't take that the wrong way). I really enjoy reading her blog when she updates. She and her new husband (not quite SO new anymore) are darling and I really admire her ability to show her love, commitment and admiration for her husband. Not only that, but I admire how she loves the gospel and isn't afraid to show it. Oh, and she has a very nice voice. :)

Thanks, BriZ, for your example. And pardon the incoherency of this particular entry. My brain seems to have left me for the day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Introducing...

Hannah R. As a teenager, Hannah was just the little sister of a best friend. But as her two older sisters left for college and I was lonely when I came home for the summer, I started to be friends with Hannah. Then she came out to college and we developed a good relationship. And she was vitally important to the budding relationship between me and Morgan. Morgan and I had been "hanging out" (gasp) for several weeks. About the time that Morgan was getting over Jannie's friend, Hannah met him for the first time. She asked candidly, "What are you intentions towards my cousin." I think Hannah is the reason he noticed I was a girl instead of just a friend. Thanks, Hannah!

One thing I really appreciate about Hannah is her inquisitiveness. She loves to know about not only people, but everything. I love her questions about the gospel. They're often very insightful. And she's delightful to be around because I sure know she cares. Hannah is one talented, beautiful, bright girl. I sure miss living near her.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

On a Happier Note...

(By the way, the way blogs are set up to show the newest post first always blows my novel-reading mind. Shouldn't this come after my previous post you you understand why we need a happier note? Anyway...)

Let me introduce you to my first follower. Her name is Jannie. If I had a picture of Jannie, I would post it, but I don't so you'll just have to deal with it. Jannie was my sanity one year at college. Well, really post college. She was my escape when I needed to get away from my apartment. She made me laugh when I was depressed. It is because of Jannie I wore a wedding dress. Not only did she talk me into the idea. (I thought it was a little crazy to spend $500 on a wedding dress when I would wear it for all of 4 hours in my life.) She also made my wedding dress. I would post a picture of said beautiful dress, but unfortunately those pictures are on my other computer and the track pad on that computer doesn't work. Sorry, y'all.

One other thing about Jannie and me (since, of course, this is my thoughts on Jannie and not a complete character sketch) that tickles me is she was really good friends with the girl my husband was interested in before he liked me. So when I would bemoan how he wasn't interested in me, she would tell me how nice the other girl was. Big fat lot of help. :) Actually, she was right. That girl really was nice. But somehow she missed his perfection and sent him my way.

Oh, did this post turn from Jannie to me? Well, it is my blog. (I hope you can hear humor in the voice here.) Back to Jannie. Jannie is one of those wonderful friends that you can not talk to for two years (yes, there really should be a space between can and not) and call her and talk as if it had been two weeks. She is the kind of person who would make a wedding dress is the week and a half she has between her huge trip and a friend's wedding. (While she's working a real job.) She is charitable, kind, thoughtful, true...

I really could go on, but what am I setting myself up for? :) Let me sum Jannie up. Jannie makes people happy.

Jannie, don't you want to move where it's green and beautiful? I miss you!

A Thought

I woke up this morning, feeling sick. This time not because of my crazy body but because thoughts kept running through my mind. You've probably had similar thoughts. "What if the cap and trade bill passes the Senate?" I couldn't go back to sleep, so I got up. All morning I keep thinking, "What if the cap and trade bill passes the Senate?" PLEASE call your senators and tell them to vote no.

Don't know what the cap and trade bill is? There's lots of places to read about it on the internet. Here's the simple version. Government increases taxes majorly on energy companies. Energy companies have to raise prices ridiculously. People in the House defeated any ability to stop the cap and trade bill if gas reaches $5 a gallon, unemployment goes up past 15% or any other such inconvenience. Right now, a ridiculous amount of our money goes to taxes. With this bill, much more will now disappear from our hands. People will start hoarding money and stop buying. Yes, good job. Way to stimulate the economy.

I realize that the bill is more complicated than that. But really, don't leave a comment trying to tell me it's a good thing. It really is not a good thing. It really is scary. It really is going to hurt our economy even more. So really. Don't bother.

PLEASE go to a TEA Party this Saturday and protest the outrageous spending of our government which cannot ultimately help our economy. It's insane.

Oh, for more fun reading, look up REEP cap and trade on Google. Read how in the bill it specifically says that any building with air conditioning (meaning your house) has to have a roof that reflects solar energy before it can be sold. So you want to sell your house? Better start saving for a new roof. If 300,000 houses get retrofitted every year for ten years, it will save us a whole ten days worth of oil in that decade. Wow. What help.

And before you tell me how important the environment is, let me say that I believe conservation is important. I don't think we should mindlessly use our resources until they're gone and just leave garbage behind. But crippling the economy is NOT the way to do it.

Okay, stepping off my soapbox.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two in One Day... Ridiculous

Okay, I know. Two posts in one day. But I just noticed something. I have 13 followers! My lucky number! I was also just thinking that I have very fond memories of all of my followers and was wondering if anyone would be uncomfortable if I did a small spotlight on each of you. (Nothing too personal. No addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, etc...) I just would like you all to meet each other since I don't think any of you is acquainted with everyone else. Comment on this blog if you're uncomfortable with that...

Now, read on, because my other post is much cooler today.

Perfect Lighting

Recently, as I was driving around town (I know, I sure drive a lot), I noticed the coolest lighting effect on the trees. Like this one:


And this one:


Then I noticed it wasn't a lighting effect. (Notice how it's raining and there's no particular lightning. I don't know what this is called.)


It's second Spring down here.


We're not sure why.


(This following one looks very cool if you click on it to make it bigger.)


But we've sure been enjoying the view.


It's fun to speculate about, but I don't know if any of our speculations have any scientific basis.


Isn't it pretty?


Just wanted to share.


Because I like you.


If you haven't already, I would suggest you click on each of these pictures to see them bigger. They are gorgeous!

Monday, June 29, 2009

A Surprise on the Road

This afternoon, I was on my way to babysit, driving down a two lane road. The car coming towards me in the other lane was holding his hand out the window, which I thought was a little strange seeing as it was raining slightly. I looked back into my lane just in time to see this:



Try to picture them in my lane, walking the other way. I slammed on the brakes and barely avoided hitting them. They finished crossing the road and I took several deep breaths before continuing my drive. Ducklings are so darling and I'm very, very glad I didn't hit them.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Good books

So I love to read. I think all of your know that. I regularly read from most genres. Fiction, non-fiction, mystery, biography, fantasy. While I love some very "deep" books (Les Miserables), some of my favorites are quite fluffy. (For instance, Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep, which I highly recommend for little girls. Quite a hilarious series of retold fairy tales, very short.) Many great leaders have talked about reading "good" books and having a library of them. People say to not waste your time on dumb books since there are so many good ones. Having picked up many a dumb book (and even finished a few), I want some recommendations. What do y'all think are good books? Now, any opinion counts, but let me list a few not to bother recommending even if you LOVE them (You can say you love them. Just don't try to get me to read them):

  • Anything Hemmingway (he can't write. Don't even try to convince me he can. I've read several of his books and I write better than he does.)
  • Anything Fitzgerald (blech)
  • Anything Holocaust-related (I've read too many. I recommend "And There Was Light." I'm done with that genre.)
  • "Gone With the Wind" (I just can't do it. The movie was torture enough.)
  • James Joyce (um... NO!)
  • Kate Chopin (Someone tried to justify one of her book endings to me. I'm not buying it.)
Okay, I'm sure you've picked up that I'm looking for positive, uplifting, GOOD reading. I'm not saying depressing doesn't have its place. (Let me refer back to Les Miserables.) I'm just saying that it should still be uplifting. (Did I mention Les Miserables?)

Suggestions? Favorite books? (Like I said, you're allowed to like books I don't like. You can even justify why you like them. I'll love you anyway.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Escape

I recently stepped out of my comfort zone and read this book. It was a very difficult book to read, yet I couldn't put it down! There was a quote from Jon Krakauer on the back of the particular book I read that said something to the effect of most people wouldn't believe this kind of thing possible, but it's truly accurate. Unfortunately, I believed pretty much every word she said.

This book was very disturbing to me for several reasons. First, Carolyn Jessop's horrific story. Poor girl! And she's not the only one whose gone through such an insane excuse for a life. What hell to have lived through. (Pardon my language.) I could go on and on about all the horrible things she had to go through, but if you want to know, pick up the book.

The second thing that disturbed was knowing that many people are going to misunderstand a lot about the FLDS church and will still associate it with "mainstream Mormonism." (A rather inaccurate way of saying this.) The FLDS church broke away from the Mormon church over 100 years ago and while they may still say some of the same things that members of the church do, they twist everything so much that essentially they believe nothing that we do. They claim to have the priesthood and men beat and rape their wives in the name of their "authority." They claim that only by having multiple wives can men get to heaven (and drag their wives with them). They tell women that they will understand their husbands if they will endure their life cheerfully. What ridiculous nonsense! What insanity! And unfortunately, I think that is what people think members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints think. I wish I knew a way to disabuse people of the notion. I think of how many conference talks we hear every year about men and women not abusing their spouses and children. I think of Doctrine and Covenants 121 where essentially it points out if a man exercises unrighteous dominion over anyone in his stewardship (another very misunderstood term), he loses his right to the priesthood. In other words, if a man beats his wife, he has no authority. Over anything. (And what authority he did have in the first place is not the right to boss his wife around.) And on and on and on.

This was all very disturbing to me. However, this quote comforts me. "The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent..." Misunderstandings also will not stop the work.

Thanks for letting me spew.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Some projects

So I think most of you know that I like to crochet. I decided to post some pictures of a couple of my blankets. I know I have better pictures of them elsewhere, but these are all I could find at the moment, so here goes. This is a yellow blanket I made. You work from corner to corner, so there's that nice diagonal feel.

Here's so you can see the texture a little better. (Click on it. It gets better and you can really see it.) Isn't that lovely? My mom's friend taught me how to do this particular blanket and it's the best. It's fast. It's easy. And look how nice it is.

I got a request to do some blue stripes, so here's my first attempt at stripes. I learned a lot from doing this blanket. So it's not my best blanket, but if I made another striped one, I think I could do a lot better. However, to distract from the shoddiness, I put a baby in the picture. Voila. The blanket looks pretty good too.


By the way, we're protecting the name of this baby, so don't even ask. He's a doll, though, no? Currently, this picture is the background on my desktop. Every time I notice it, I get distracted for a few minutes looking at the perfection of him.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Some nonsense

At our hos s, nin cans ee tha hving mult dif plf s genl impacts oen deptl. Our exu s tell eb tht integn is important bc wf mg s more funcl. Does this noj meet yur satis?

That is what I type. This is what would appear in Word:

At our hospitals, anyone can see that having multiple different platforms generally impacts everyone departmentally. Our executives tell everybody that integration is important because workflow management is more functional. Does this knowledge meet your satisfaction?


Those sentences are absolute nonsense, but my Word prog (I mean, program) can automatically correct any of them. I LOVE autocorrect! Typing sure does go a lot faster when you don't have to type out every word. I esp (especially) love sentences where more words are "shorts" than spelled-out. I'm always adding new words and looking at my sentences up top makes me think, "Why haven't I found a short for "important" yet?" Oh, well.

If anyone thinks of some great words to short, let me know.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lessons Learned

Not too long after we got married, we decided to be smart. We decided to get life insurance and start saving for retirement. Unfortunately, we got introduced to whole life insurance. We were excited about it. We thought, "Hey! We'll hit both goals in one shot." Now, we're kind of regretting that. So sorry to any of you that we advised to "Be smart, like us." I hope you didn't listen.

Now, under better advice, we're getting term life insurance and doing our own savings for retirement. Well... Okay. Never mind. It's a long story. But the short story is we're much more financially-wise now. The thing that kills me is when I told this to my mom, she said, "I could have told you not to do whole life insurance." Could have just asked mom and saved ourselves some money. Oh, well...

For some good advice, read Dave Ramsey's "The Total Money Makeover." And if, like us, you're a little wary of financial advice, read Elder Hales' talk from this past conference and see how much they agree!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Elgar Who?

Have you ever heard of Edward Elgar? Oh, come on. He's England's darling composer. He lived in the last half of the 19th century and the first while of the 20th. Have you seen Disney's Fantasia 2000? You know that one with Donald Duck? Oh, yes. Pomp and Circumstance. Very famous. Played at most of the graduations I've been to. (Not the Seminary ones, but whatever.) Okay, so you have heard of Elgar, or at least you've heard his music.

Morgan and I went to a concert a couple of years ago and on the program was Elgar's Enigma Theme and Variations. Morgan got very excited, but I was in the dark as to why this was going to be such an amazing concert. Before they started the piece, the conductor got up to introduce it. There followed an interesting introduction to one of the more fascinating pieces of music I've ever listened to. (Don't read fascinating to be "weird" here. Read beautiful and you want to know its history.)

The story goes that Elgar was playing a theme on the piano and his wife enjoyed it very much. She asked him to play it again and so he did. Then, messing around, he started playing variations on the theme, each variation representing a friend of his. ("I shall now play the theme in the style of so and so.") He came up with 14 variations, which was 13 friends and himself.

The conductor told us there were two puzzles when the music was played. First of all, which friends Elgar was playing in the style of. [Note: Again, we are speaking a Germanic language and it is absolutely okay for me to end a sentence with a preposition.] The second puzzle is where the theme for Enigma came from. Elgar supposedly took a popular piece of music from the day and wrote a countermelody or something to it, which was the theme for the piece. Again, supposedly he thought it was so easy to guess that he felt silly even saying which piece it was, so he never said.

One of my favorite pieces of music comes from Elgar's Enigma variations. It's number 9, which is called the "Nimrod" variation. It refers to his best friend, whose surname was Jaeger, which in German means "hunter." And Nimrod was a famous hunter from the Bible. Fun, huh? Anyway, here's a fantastic performance of the Nimrod variation from Elgar's Enigma. It's some of the most beautiful music you'll ever hear. I promise.



Remember my impeccable taste? You can't disagree with me on this one, can you?! Jaeger was Elgar's best friend. You can tell from the nobility of the music that he must have really respected and loved the man. Fantastic! (Boy, have I used all the same emphatic words? No. There's still stupendous left.)

In the interest of not boring some of you to death, I have not included the whole story behind the music. Look it up. You'll enjoy it. At least, I did. It's stupendous! ["Hyuck, hyuck." Can you name that book?]

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A good idea?


I have a friend who gets depressed from time. Really depressed. Bad depressed. Can't see the light depressed. I had an idea, but we need some help.

She is now starting to keep a "Happy Journal" to remind her of things she needs to remember when she doesn't believe them. For example: it will get better. She knows that now. She's been through several cycles. And they've all gotten better. But she won't be thinking that when she's depressed. (Maybe I should start one of these for myself. Anybody else?)

So what would you advise your depressed self from your non-depressed self?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I can't believe I did it again...

I started reading a book last night. It wasn't terribly interesting and I was just about to put it down (around page 20) when it started to feel awfully familiar. I read two more pages and realized that I had already started and rejected this book. (It just had nothing to capture my attention and I've gotten pretty good at putting down books I don't want to finish.)

The silliest thing is this is not the first time this has happened. At least I recognized it this time within 25 pages or so. Once, I didn't realize I had already read the book I was reading until the very end, when I started to remember what happened before I read it. Is this a sign of reading too many books? Am I the only one this happens to? Sigh...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Anthem

I read "Anthem" by Ayn Rand for the first time in 9th grade. It bored me to tears. Then we were made to watch the movie "THX 1138" and I thought I would die. (Having just read a summary of the plot to that movie, I'm kind of appalled I was shone it at school. Is it as bad as the summary makes it sound?) Anyway...

So I just reread "Anthem," having heard a lot about Ayn Rand recently. Wow, do I think more people need to read this book. Seeing as I don't want this blog to be a political blog (there's lots of things I don't want this blog to be--what I WANT it to be, I'm still not sure), I won't go into a lot of the things I liked about this book. But I do encourage all of you to read it and I would love to hear what you think individually. (Really. I would. It's really short. About 100 very small pages. Big type. Go ahead. Read it!)

My one big bone to pick with this book was how close it came to truth and then it lacked one very essential ingredient. I loved it until the last two chapters. And I even loved parts of the last two chapters. This is definitely one to add to your must-read-before-I-get-too-much-older list.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Frog Chorus


Last night, Morgan and I were in bed when Mom knocked on our door. "Come listen to this frog chorus!" said Mom.

Morgan was reluctant, but I jumped out of bed and went outside. Sure enough, the frogs were making a joyful noise. I called for Morgan and he stumbled outside. Listening for a second he said, "Martha? Where are you, Martha?" pretending to be a frog.

Mom and I started to laugh at the absurdity of all that noise just to look for one little missing frog. Morgan, Mom and I came up with more and more ludicrous situations.

When Morgan and I got back in bed, we continued the game. We talked about how dangerous it was for frogs with all this rain and the chance of getting run over in the road by accident.

"So I've got good news and bad news. Well, I found Martha..."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ghost Train

One thing I miss most about Utah is the amazing concerts we went to. I went to tons of concerts when I was single and almost as many after Morgan and I got married. We discovered some really neat pieces of music over the years.

One concert we attended had a piece named "Ghost Train." It's by Eric Whitacre, a really interesting contemporary composer. Whitacre wrote this piece as an undergraduate. Morgan and I were hooked from the first flute solo. In fact, everyone was so astounded by this piece that when the fire alarm went off in the middle, no one moved until the last note. :) (There was only about a minute left. And it was a false alarm, thank goodness.)

Now, of course, this recording isn't going to be nearly as amazing as hearing it in a live concert, but I hope you enjoy anyway. It's especially effective if you close your eyes and do a little visualization.



Did Whitacre get this title on the nose or what?!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Funny Coincidence?

So I was thinking yesterday. Don't ask me why, but I noticed that the women who married my brothers all come from predominately female families. My brothers come from a predominately male family. Therefore, I obviously come from a predominately male family. I married someone from a predominately female family. I told this observation to my mom and she said that she has an equal number of brothers and sisters and so does my dad. Funny, huh?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Really Want to Know


I didn't want this blog to become my complain-o-log, but bear with me for one post. I woke up at a ridiculous hour this morning with yet another massive headache. I detest taking painkillers, but they're the only thing that I've found that works to get rid of said headaches. Call me a wimp and that's okay, because when it comes to headaches, I really am. I can take nausea for months at a time (and frequently have). I can take extreme fatigue and still marginally function. I've lived through backaches, leg aches, sore muscles, sore throats--all sometimes for years at a time. But headaches? No way. Can't deal. I feel especially wimpy because I know some people who deal with headaches on a nearly daily basis. I have a few friends who deal with migraines on a regular basis.

So what I want to know is HOW do you deal with it? I'm a little worried about my stomach/kidneys/liver or whatever it is you ruin with painkillers. But I can't find anything else to make a headache go away. And please, the one piece of advice I don't want is to sleep it off. Sleeping makes my headaches worse. (Remember how I woke up with this massive headache? I went to sleep with a very minor one.) But other than that, how do you deal with headaches? I really want to know.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Favorite

So I think I've mentioned that I really do like opera. To a point anyway. I won't listen to just any opera, but there's a lot of stuff I love. Of course, with my impeccable taste, I don't just love opera. I love some modern stuff too. I gotta say, I love Bryan Adams. So when Morgan and I found this, we laughed our heads off. And enjoyed it very much.



Does not Pavarotti have the most beautiful voice?!!!! Sigh...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Lucky Us!

There was a fireside in Augusta, Georgia last night and they invited women from Memphis and Orlando to join in by satellite. Mary Cook and Julie Beck spoke. Mary Cook mostly spoke to the young women and challenged them to do three things. Smile, read their scriptures every day, and pray every morning and evening.

Julie Beck asked for questions from the audience. One women asked how to help other women struggling with depression. Sister Beck advised that they get the best professional and spiritual help they can. And then she quoted Joseph Smith saying that it takes faith to get out of bed in the morning. I really appreciated that. There are a lot of mornings where it just seems too hard to get out of bed, so the fact that I do... Wahoo! An act of faith! (Can someone help me find this quote? It sounds Lectures of Faith-ish.)

Of course, they said a lot more, but I don't want to go on forever and ever. We really enjoyed the fireside! Yay for the randomness of inviting us!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dear Spouse...

Dear Spouse,

I acknowledge that you are an individual and not just "My Spouse" and I will treat you accordingly. When you do something or say something, I will not be ashamed of you because it is not something I would have done or said. I will fall in love with you more and treasure all our differences as well as our similarities.

I love you always.


P.S. No, this was not written in response to something MY spouse said or did. A friend and I were talking about how our spouses have developed personal relationships with our families and don't just have relationships through us. I was thinking about how one (including myself) has to be very careful not to try to make their (yes, I know I just said one--this is called the singular they or something like that) spouse INTO something. I thought about past crushes and how I adored EVERYTHING about whatever they did. Can't we give our spouses the same level of acceptance? (Of course excepting things that should be excepted. You know what I mean. Really, y'all.) Thoughts anyone?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Spelling Bea

A fun little song, thanks to BYU's Vocal Point. Morgan and I still say they stole our idea.



We thought of a few more in addition to having some of the same as they did:

g is for gnat
k is for knight
p is for psychedelic

Can you think of any other fun ones?


Oh, and look below. There's a new post that showed up below this one.

Shylock

A great friend took me to see Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" on Friday night. I had never seen the play and didn't know anything about it, save for the infamous Shylock, that greedy, villainous Jew. Much to my surprise, I came away from the play feeling that Shylock had been much misused and abused. So, if you'll have patience, let's have a little discussion on this wonderful play.

The play begins with a young man, Bassanio, asking his rich friend, Antonio, for a loan. Bassanio is madly in love with the recently orphaned Portia and wants to go press his suit, but needs a lot of money to do so. Antonio wants to give Bassanio the money, but all his money is "at sea" and won't return for another couple months. Antonio thinks of the perfect solution. Bassanio can borrow money from a lender in Antonio's name and Antonio will pay off the debt.

Bassanio goes to Shylock and asks for the money in Antonio's name. Shylock, who hates Antonio for the abuse Antonio has dealt him in the name of Christianity, demands "a pound of flesh nearest his heart" from Antonio if the bond is not paid. Antonio accepts the terms, expecting his ships to come in long before the appointed time.

Bassanio now leaves to find Portia. Portia's father left a riddle-like problem for suitors to solve and Bassanio chooses the right answer. Hooray! Bassanio and Portia are now married. That very day, Bassanio hears that Antonio's ships were all lost at sea, therefore he could not pay the bond. Shylock demands his "pound of flesh" and Antonio wishes for Bassanio to come see him one last time. Portia gives Bassanio double the money that was lent (lended? :) and Bassanio and his friend leave for Venice.

In court, Shylock demands justice, that their contract be fulfilled. The Duke can do nothing for fear of setting a bad precedence. Portia, disguised as a doctor, shows up and lectures Shylock on mercy. Shylock refuses to budge, demanding his justice. As Shylock approaches Antonio with his knife, Portia finds a loophole and says that if Shylock spills a drop of blood while getting his pound of flesh, he will have justice meted to him and he will lose his own life. Shylock decides to accept the payment, but now Portia will not let him off the hook. She demands that he take his pound of flesh without spilling blood. When he continues to refuse, they tell him that he will now be tried for the attempted murder of a citizen of Venice. They tell him they will take everything away from him and then show him "mercy" by allowing him to live and letting him keep some of his stuff. (There's more to this part of the story, but I've left out Jessica and don't want to add her in now.) And then they demand that he give up his religion and become a Christian. I cried when Shylock took off his prayer shawl.

Portia returns to her house minutes before Bassanio, who brings Antonio and they live happily ever after. No one learns a thing or changes. Interesting.

I was going to post some thoughts on mercy, justice and tolerance, but since this post is already ridiculously long, I think you'll just have to stay tuned and see if I get around to it. :) Thoughts so far, anyone? (I really mean that. Comment!)