Crepe Party

Lots of people in my area have gone home for Christmas. Lots, like me, are left behind. So I got the leftovers together for a little crepe-action.

I made the crepes ahead of time, separated each crepe with wax paper, and stuck them in the over until party -time.


We love fun people! We chatted it up and watched our fair share of youtube. We have some celebrities among us. Here's Rhiannon's dance and Tom's version of Survivor Man.

Our favorite toppings including the latin Dulce de Leche, Nutella, and berries. When everyone brings something we can get quite a spread. And when you invite some really enjoyable friends, you also get quite a spread.

Organizational Skills

I bought a shelf, hooks, and magazine rack all for under $10 at Ikea. My brother Ty came over to help me install. I learned how to drill. The process was exciting and the resulting very satisfying.



I love University Ave. They've really made it awesome. A few weeks ago Kathy and I took a long walk down the Ave to duck into a few favorite businesses. We discovered a new restaurant, the PennyRoyale Cafe. It was shabby chic serving mostly vegan food and hot chocolate. However just recently we had begun frequented a near by hangout, Spark, which is a "restaurant/longue" for mocktails and a sense of superiority and fun. Our thought, how could we support both places?
I began thinking about oversaturation of markets.
I remember hearing a story on NPR about how one contributor to the current financial situation was the oversaturation of the general markets. So many new businesses opened but the consumer could not adequately support everything and thus many went under -- really good businesses -- supported by loans (foreclosure anyone?) leaving folks unemployed and dreams dashed. Maybe you will say that this is life and get used to it. But I think a lot of really good ideas died because there was just too much of a good thing.
For instance, we have Starbucks, and Seattle's Best (which really is the best), and Brewers, and numerous mom and pop cafes. Does anyone need this much hot chocolate? Perhaps. However, it's true that it's great to be able to find your favorite, but if the "vote" is split, my favorite place might go under. 
There is oversaturation in other circumstances. And it leads to a decrease in value of the the product-- when supply exceeds demand. 
I'm not going to make any judgment of the Duggar Family (pictured),but I wonder how you support -- emotionally, mentally, physically, etc -- almost 18 children. Kudos and good luck. 
My ward is oversaturated with girls. The boys cannot possibly romantically support ever girl. And their small minds are overwhelmed by sheer mass of option which paralyzes them.  
Land Before Time -- not stopping at number one has decreased the value of the franchise and made it a joke (there are at least 11 by my count). 
Teens -- they drive me nuts and they're everywhere. :) 
With so many homes on the market, values drop (which is both good and bad). 
There are so many models of cars that we've lost a classic and individualistic styles and the companies are going out (oh wait - the government decided to absolve consequence of poor choices -- just kidding on the last comment). The companies should focus on perfecting a few good models. My parents can still name year and model of old 1960s-era cars. Let's go there again.   
The PennyRoyal Cafe ended up not meeting expectations upon closer inspection so Spark is safe. But had it been amazing, my "vote" would have been split and if that happened to enough people we could have ended up losing both businesses. Not cool.

Who am I?

I am Emma Woodhouse!

Take the Quiz here!


Good times were had by all

Aisy and I traveled to the LA area to run a Parent's Support Group. Once finished working we hit Disneyland, a first for Aisy. Sunday we attempted to enjoy Venice but it was too windy so we shopped in Santa Monica and ate at the most expensive restaurant we could find. Spending over forty-eight hours with one person (especially when she's Aisy) brings out a lot of hilarity. Here are some of the best lines from our conversations of the weekend. I am not including context so... good luck. 
"Please don't let that be my personal hell." 
"If you can't joke in the airport, where can you joke?" 
"If you make it all about virginity, it's funnier."
"I don't want to meet that guy. He's got big ears and thinks he knows everything."
"You know, my face kind hurts."
"Those optical illusions get me every time."
"I'm affectioning myself."
"And we did see Cordon Bleu." "Corbin!"



I bought a new curling iron and as I went through the packaging I was struck by this warning label: "CAUTION - THIS PRODUCT CAN BURN EYES." Who figured that out? Snap, talk about the school of hard knocks. And to whom would this not occur? Did the founder of this warning believe that iron can differentiate between hair and optical matter? Furthermore, does this warning imply that all other body parts are safe from the wrath of the iron?
Check out these other hilarious labels.
Shampoo for dogs -The contents of this bottle should not be fed to fish.
Shin guards - Pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover.
Electric rotary tool - This product not intended for use as a dental drill.
Battery - Battery may explore or leak. (It's a Dora battery apparently.)
Novelty rock garden - Eating rocks may lead to broken teeth.
Toilet bowl brush - Do not use orally.
Butcher knife - Please keep out of children. 
1 year-old's birthday card - Not suitable for children aged 36 months or less.
Deodorant - Do not use intimately. 
Rat poison - Has been fond to cause cancer in laboratory mice.
Manual for an SGI computer - Do not dangle the mouse by its cable or throw the mouse at coworkers.
On seal - Do not eat if seal is missing.
Wristwatch - Warning! This is not underwear! Do not attempt to put in pants.

It's a mad, mad world.



Welcome Thanksgiving season. Research really does show that those who live gratefully are healthier and happier. I'd like to draw your attention to my playlist, specifically the song Thankful by my homeboy (like we tight or something) Josh Groban, off his Noel album. Give it a listen, read the lyrics below, and see if you don't feel thankful. 

Somedays we forget To look around us
Somedays we can't see The joy that surrounds us
So caught up inside ourselves We take when we should give.

So for tonight we pray for What we know can be.
And on this day we hope for What we still can't see.
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There's so much to be thankful for.

Look beyond ourselves There's so much sorrow
It's way too late to say I'll cry tomorrow
Each of us must find out truth It's so long overdue

So for tonight we pray for What we know can be
And everyday we hope for What we still can't see
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There's so much to be thankful for.

Even with our difference
There is a place we're all connected
Each of us can find each other's light

So for tonight we pray for What we know can be
And on this day we hope for What we still can't see
It's up to us to be the change
And even though this world needs so much more

There's so much to be thankful for.


The Present

Last night I was enlightened by the deep and provocative philosophies of Kung Fu Panda. At one point Po is disheartened by his past and sees only an empty future. The wise Oogway explains that Po lives too much in the past and future. He repeats that cliche, "Today is a gift. That is why is it called the present." 
Lately I've been like Po -- very concerned about the goings-on of the past and especially the future. It's made me crazy/crazier. Prepare for the future. "Later, I'm going to... I hope to... I'm just getting ready for... " I'm so concerned about how I have lived and will live that I forget to live.
Souza said, " For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacles in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."
I lead a really busy life. I have a lot that needs to get done, but I wonder if I am like Martha, who is so worried about getting things ready that she gets left out of the now. She misses the fall colors. The can't remember what she just ate. And she couldn't respond to a friend because she was thinking of something else while her friend was bearing her soul. That's tragic because maybe the now is the really important, even vital thing. 
Even as I was writing this in my head I was doing lots of things. I was watching a movie I'd wanted to watch for a long time, but I needed to get some things done, so I was on the computer during the movie. How much more enjoyable would the movie have been, had I given all my attention to it?
In this last conference President Monson said, "This is our one chance at mortal life -- here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the great lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and non-existent future when you will have time to do all the you want to do. Instead, find you in the journey - now."
In DBT, yoga, and basically any philosophy based on eastern practices, mindfulness is crucial. The basic idea behind mindfulness is to be totally in the present. Taste your food. Enjoy your bed. Observe the sounds. Feel the pain, the joy, the hunger. Total awareness of right now.
That's my goal for the week. To be in the moment. Sure, I'll take time to reminisce and to get things in order for the future -- it would be irresponsible not to -- but I'm going to take time and enjoy my life today.  Join me?



It's been said that the best way to get rich is to take a dollar, fold it in half, and stick in back in one's pocket. I'm not quite that good, but in the recent weeks I've begun a financial retrenchment effort and discovered a small portion of benefits.
My brother helped me set up an Excel spread sheet to track loan repayments and my budget. I got a little notebook to use as a ledger (those from the banks are just too intense) then entered my expenses (condensed by category) into the spreadsheet. 
I'm trying to save a bit more and also build up some food storage. My brother, again, pointed out that -- if worse came to worse -- you could get a lot of meals out of Cream-of-Wheat and the boxes don't take up too much room. Also, it is something I enjoy anyway. 
Yesterday I went shopping and only bought the things on my list. I'd noticed, via my little ledger, that I normally purchase a lot of small, unnecessary items. But yesterday I felt very in-control when I only bought that which was needful and suppressed momentary satisfactions. 
I noticed more the free things of life. I went to the local public library and got a free copy (valued at $7.99) of To Kill a Mockingbird, in addition to the books I checked out. It's a public service called The Big Read. At the mall, we went to See's Candy, walked around a bit and eventually got a free sample. Then we walked out. Cost: $0. 
There are lot of ways to get free stuff.
I emailed a local theatre and got free tickets. 
The Silver Jewelry Club just wants people to try the stuff so they give it away (but you do have to pay shipping). Find it here.
Couponmom.com offers free coupons -- or coupons for the price of printing. 
I am a member of paperbackswap.com and get free books. I list books I don't want anymore and pay to ship them to someone who wants them. Then I get a credit for a book I want and someone else with pay to ship it to me. They also have a DVD swap. 
There are lots of ways get stuff for free or nearly free. My mom always told me to ask -- the worst that can happen is they say no. How have you retrenched?


Debunking a Myth

It has come to my attention that, like Sarah Palin, I have been subject to a number of rumors, spread via various vicious mediums, on a number of life and death topics. In this most accurate post I shall dispel these horrific and unfortunant rumors. 
1. I do not participate in mixed martial arts. Although I have catlike reflexes and amazing mental stamina, I cannot effectively hold a victim's cranium between my thighs while inflicting other forms of torture with my fingers and ankles on his or her weak body. Also, it is unladylike.
2. I have never been a foot model. Some may say that my foot has the perfect toe formation and hue for peddling such wares as very small CTR rings and special pedicure lotions of berry and citric varieties. However, my high arch put an end to an otherwise lucrative and successful career.
3. I can do algebra. Reports have been circulated by vindictive, dishonorable muckrakers that I cannot compute algebraic equations. I admit that I have said myself that I cannot come to know the true character of the illusive "x" nor his compadres, aptly named "y" or even "z." Alas, it has been revealed to me that I can, in fact, tell you that a train leaving Baltimore at 8 pm heading for Pittsburgh will never cross paths with the 6 pm commuter out of Mesa heading for Phoenix - no matter how fast or slow they go. It's mathematically impossible.
4. I have never claimed to be a Bush. I was never the Bush twins' triplet. I don't believe in Bushes. I mean, I believe they exist. I just don't believe they should.
5. I don't care, in fact, for long walks on the beach. If a person... take me for instance... if I were to, say, want to spend a lot of time with someone with whom I am, say, romantically interested - even involved -- I would get a beach cruiser and ride really fast. Riding really fast makes everyone happy. He'll equate me with happiness. 
6. My daughter is not pregnant. I don't even have a daughter. Or a son. I have no children. And I've never even tried moose stew. I think that sounds gross.
I want you all to understand and know, really know, that what I have written here is the absolute truth. So when naysayers and doubters tell you otherwise, say to them, "No, that's not how it is, man."


Soundtrack of my Life

Today was cooler than it has been and I loved it. Fall is my favorite season. I love the changing colors. Today I began listening to my fall soundtrack. The following is a list of what I listen to in various seasons. When I listen to something out-of-season I don't get the same pleasure out of it.
Teen stuff like Panic at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Natasha Bedingfield, Jason Mraz. It has to be peppy, fast tempo, and get me going.
Oldies like Beach Boys, Abba, and 80s music.
Disney music.
Sissel. She is just perfect. Put her on your Ipod and go for a walk. You will not regret.
Christmas Winter 
Rich music (meaning tonality) like Josh Groban, Il Divo, Charlotte Church, and more Sissel.
Christmas music, obviously, from the Messiah to Alvin and Chipmunks.
Ugly Winter and Spring
I haven't found anything that really screams "It's still snowing" and "The weather is bipolar; you can tell because the meds are making the clouds puffy." Suggestions
Saturday night driving in the car alone or with someone adventurous who you trust
Bubble Baths
John Mayer
Big band and jazz
Rainy Days
Josh Groban
Michael Buble

What music do you listen to and at which times?


Let the Good Times Roll

Today I saw a new Mormon movie, The Errand of Angels, with my friend Joni. The movie is about a sister missionary (who wears blue and pink tights) serving in Austria. Since I served in Germany (over two and a half years ago!) the movie made me especially sentimental and reflective. So I wanted to share a few of the funny stories from my mission.
First Street Preach
We met up with other missionaries from the Frankfurt area to hold a street preach on the corner of one of the shopping districts. I sang and preached on the Kiste (a box) but didn't really get a chance to contact. When I did, I tried to talk to an older Muslim lady whom I really couldn't understand, but she made a machine gun motion and sound, and I took the hint that she wasn't interested. 
The Poopy Leaf
My companion was walking in front of me talking to an elder. I noticed a leaf stuck to my shoe and bent down to remove it, coming up with brown, mushy stuff of my hand. Poop! So I attempted to get it off thanks to an obliging bush -- a thorn bush. So I was bleeding and poopy and my companion and the elder kept walking, oblivious. His companions noticed my dilemma and awkwardly offered me so water from his bottle. My companion never noticed.
I felt good that morning. The birds were singing, the weather was perfect, and I was in a good mood. As we left out apartment a short, Arab man in a suit was ringing doorbells, selling stuff for Deutsche Telecom (aka T-mobile). Being nice I said to him, "You look good." When we came home that evening and checked our mail we found two Deutsche Telecom brochures in our box. One read, "Interested in a date with a man who always looks good?" And the second read, "Oh, I almost forgot my number 555-5555 Ahmet." There are so many reasons why it wouldn't have worked.
I loved and hated my mission. I remember the stress, the frustration, the futility, the doubting. And I also remember the special times, the good times, the moments when things worked out, and the sweet friends I have because of it. 


Beijing Olympics

I looked forward to the Opening Ceremonies on 8/8/08 all day. I got some lettuce wraps and sat down to watch. They were amazing. I mean the ceremonies (although the wraps were great too.) Indescribable. Astounding. I freaked out. I was "trippin'." The drummers. The boxes. The boxes! And the people running in air literally all over the world. Then when the torch bearer flew up and ran around the length of the arena. For those of you who did not see it, you will be very confused by my words.
Most people find the march of countries boring. I enjoyed it. Especially watching the smaller countries. Some of those Olympians had no chance of winning, represented  thousands, if not millions of people at home per athlete (as compared to USA's nearly 700 athletes), or came from a country in turmoil. Like Iraq or like Georgia. That was the night that Russia invaded Georgia. 
The Olympics are such a positive experience. We can cheer for all countries. It is when the worlds puts aside economics and diplomacy and suits and missiles and oil. We concentrate on people who are trying to be their best, who are real role models, and who are accomplishing tasks we all dream of.
I've enjoyed watching swimming (who cannot enjoy watching Michael Phelps) and the women's gymnastics team. It's the one time I really enjoy sports because it's about hard core athletics and now about what the athletes do when they aren't sporting. Go Team USA!


Sausage comes from...

I was listening to Radio Disney, as I tend to do, as the DJ interviewed the Cheetah Girls, who just completed a movie India. Kids were calling in to ask questions. One question posed was, "What did you miss most when you were in India?" One of the Cheetahs said that she had really missed beef. She had eaten lots of chicken and pork, but no beef. She missed beef so much that as soon as she got of the plane in America she "headed right of McDonald's and ordered a sausage, egg, and cheese McGriddle."
I wish her all the best in her studies with meat.


John Mayer

Last night I attended an event that I wanted to attend. Because you should do things you want to do now -- you might not have a lot of time left.
I saw John Mayer at the Usana Amphitheater. John Mayer is a fantastic guitarist, which thing I should not have known from his albums. It was relaxed yet fun. We danced, we laid down, we judged the people around us. 
My favorite song of the evening was actually not one that John Mayer wrote. He did a cover of Tom Petty's Free Fallin'. Click here to see a music video of it. The one that made me smile most was Good Love is on the Way -- and it has a wicked guitar solo. As for the songs that are John's, he did a sweet version of Daughters. I also liked No Such Thing, Waiting on the World to Change, Belief, Gravity -- basically everything he played from the new album. Some songs had sweet guitar solos making the song, like, ten minutes long. He messed up the lyrics on Say (not in this link), which was an interesting thing to do on that particular song. 
I would recommend this concerts to friends and family.

Sting Rays and Monet

To celebrate our birthdays in July, Kathy and I took a Saturday in SLC. 
First we went to The Living Planet, our local aquarium, made from what seems to be an ex-grocery store. It costs $8 and provides about an hour's worth of entertainment. Mostly it was coral reefs, which were pretty cool, and the jelly fish were sweet, but the highlight was the sting rays. You can pet them!

It took me a little while to not trip out. (Their stingers are cut off and if you are nice, they'll be nice back.) Once I got the hang of it I couldn't get enough of it. 
Then we headed to Gourmandise, a delectable European cafe.  I had the julienne salad and the best mousse cake this side of the Great Salt Lake. 
With a change of shoes (high heels on hard wood -- awesome!) we attended UMFAs exhibition Monet to Picasso. The exhibit is on tour from the Cleveland Museum of Art. It costs $15 and you get a little cell phone looking thing explaining the artwork. The exhibit features not only impressionists, but post-impressionists, symbolists, Rodin's scarily real sculptures (including the Thinker), and cubists like Picasso, and then there were a couple by Matisse and lastly that trippy stuff from Dali. 
I adore the impressionists, especially Degas. I was disappointed that the exhibit only had a sculpture from him -- not a ballerina or bassoonist or women at her toilette in sight. However I really enjoyed two specific pieces -- one from Monet and one from Van Gogh. 

This painting, The Red Kerchief, is modeled by Monet's wife, Camille. Camille died at age 32 from complications of child birth. This piece was never for sale -- Monet kept it in his private collection. I love the color scheme, with the bright red as a focal point. (I originally thought it was from Manet, who usually does dark colors with one striking color.) I also love the subtly -- it's not a portrait, set up and perfectly staged. This is like something I've seen before. The old masters are harder to relate to. I aint never seen nothin' close to the holy family in Renaissance clothing.

This is The Poplars at Saint Remy. A Van Gogh up close is indescribable. The paint was so thick. I'm mean centimeters! You look at the piece from the front, then the side, then the front again. His style is uniquely his. The painting leapt off the page. I felt like I was right there, watching him paint. 
The exhibit is well worth the trip. It was a great day.



One of my boys told me that he had "literally manipulated" his probation officer. Gee, what must that have looked like? Pretzel-y, I'd guess.
I haven't been to Walmart in over a year. I don't like the store on principle and looks. But I had to go because it's the only place I knew of that made keys. Maybe Lowes would have had it too. The first disappointment was the I couldn't get a cool specialty key for a car. The second was that the didn't have the right type of key for my car. They recommended I go to Lowes.
I decided to make my "cardboard pizza" in the oven, the long way. I don't use my oven often so I had to get to know the buttons. I was most inspired by the button labeled, "Stop time." 


Swedish Meatballs

Enrichment's promise of "summer salads" ended up being more of a "taste experience" than dinner, which I expected. So I scrambled at home to keep myself from making tapioca pudding into dinner and ended up preparing my Lean Cuisine Swedish Meatball dish. This dish kept me alive last summer. But there was an accident. In moving the plastic container closer to my body, I lost about a fourth of the small meal... into my lap. it brings "On top of old Smokey" (the meatball version) a little closer to home. 


Suomi & Sverige (Finland and Sweden)

Here are my photos from my recent trip to Finland for my dear Anni's wedding and also our time in Sweden. I have tons of photos so the slide show goes quickly. Even still, to see them all you might want to pull up a chair 'cause it's gonna be a while. Or see them all quickly by clicking the thingy on the bottom of the screen. Enjoy!


Michelle Obama

I like the Obamas. And I really like Michelle Obama's style. It echoes Jackie Kennedy. The key is the dress (vs. the horrible pant suit). Check out these photos.


The Alfred Nobel Museum

I recently returned from Finland and Sweden traveling with Crolace. We went over for a mutual friend's wedding. Many things from our trip were fun, interesting, enlightening, and meaningful. One of those things was the Alfred Nobel Museum.
It is a small, modern looking museum in the heart of Gamla Stan, the old city. The building was formerly the stock exchange! Our tour guide told us the story of Alfred Nobel. He domesticated nitroglycerin, inventing dynamite. He built factories world wide and the invention was a major contributor to construction projects undertaken worldwide. He collected 
great wealth and sadly had no family of his own to share it with. However, Nobel is more famous for his will, establishing the Nobel prizes, than dynamite. His will instructed that the interest on his fortune (which has now been proportionally added to) be given yearly as five substantial monetary prizes which "shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind." The categories for the prizes are physics, chemistry, medicine or physiology, literature, and peace. (A sixth category for economics was established in 1969.) 
The museum celebrated prize winners, around 800 in all! We heard and saw some of the winners' stories. I was so impressed with them. They are passionate for their field. They are good. It is so refreshing and uplifting to hear about 800 people who have really, really made our world better. From Marie Curie to the inventor of x-ray to Jane Addams (the mother of social work) to Elie Wiesel. 

The winners are also great examples to me of taking time to meditate into creativity. Our guide told us of a scientist who was working on light or something who was observing the river in a quiet moment. He saw the water move in waves and it gave him the idea that perhaps light also might move in waves. Also, the cafe in the museum, is designed to replicate the cafes where the Nobel laureates gathered to discuss ideas and form ideas and become inspired. This is something that I sometimes feel is missing from my life -- using my time to be creative in anything. 
So when people have asked me about my trip, among the story about sauna and Drottningholm Palace, is the story of the very small Nobel museum, with it's inspiring message. There stands a neon sign in the museum which reads, "What is now proven, was once imagined."


Witty Title

Every once in a while we meet up with someone who just makes us feel awful. Or speak I just for myself? They aren't trying to be awesomer than us, they just are. (Note: I'm really not this down on myself. I have lots of really great talents too.) Artistic people! Oh, I covet! One of the people is the owner of The Black Apple. I don't know who the chick-a-dee is but let's just say she is freakin' awesome. Jealous, party of one. There isn't an artistic bone in my body. Herman Fox is another artsy-fartsy type who just sees the world in a different way from the rest of us. And their art is just genius. I guess that's why we (I) need these people. Because their art really does something for us (me), or at least for me, deep down that words can't explain and that I could not have come up with on my own. 

Nine in the Afternoon

It's the first song from Panic At the Disco that I actually like. Nine in the Afternoon. It's catchy, peppy, and rhyming noon and moon is neato. I looked up the lyrics to see if there was some deeper message. The band alleges there is not.
Now maybe I'm jaded being a therapist and all.
I looked up meanings of the song according to fans. I looked up what the band said about the song. All very innocent. It's a song about love (according to fans) that the band came up with one evening pretty quickly (according to Panic).
But I think it's about drugs.
The music video is a little trippy and kind of high on meth. "Eyes the size of the moon," "Back to the room where it all began," "Feeling so good, just the way that we should, when it's nine in the afternoon." These lines are suspect. I don't really see a love story. 
Dang it! Why does the universe toy with me this way!


1 Year

Someone once said that we should life each day as if it were the last day of our life.
In theory, gorgeous. In practice, impractical. 
Theory: We just don't know how much time we have. That's part of the thrill of living. So we should make the most of everyday, living a full life. I often say to myself, and others, you could be dead tomorrow, or next month, or next year, so do it now. It's not morbid; it's inspiring. I wanna go out in a blaze, on the path to doing what I really wanted to do, even if I didn't get to do all I wanted.
Practice: If you actually lived each day as the last, life would be an endless parade of goodbyes and running from debt because you know that student loans and credit cards (up to $10,000 with Mastercard!) are forgiven if you die.
Maybe instead of living each day as the last, you could live each year as the last. That way, you can keep your job. It has theory and practice.
If I knew that a year from now I would be dead, how would I live this year? I would travel any place I got the chance to go. I would wake up early and sleep in late (different days) and enjoy which ever one. I would practice guitar. I would finish my scrapbook. I would write more often in my journal. I would deliver baked goods to friends and neighbors. I would call my family more often. I'd give gifts with meaning behind them. I would chose to be alone less (sometimes, I'm just alone 'cause I'm lazy). I try harder to be spiritual. I probably wouldn't do some of the things I do. I wouldn't miss concerts I want to see or events I wanted to attend, saying that I'll do it some other time. I'd be nicer so I'd leave a good impression. 
The natural following to all I've said is, What's stopping me from doing these things now?
The cold, hard truth is, I really could be dead in a year and am I in a place (not heaven, but a nice beach so to speak) where I would feel proud of how I went out?
What about you?


Tick Warning

If someone comes to your front door saying they are checking for ticks due to the warm weather and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up, DO NOT DO IT!! THIS IS A SCAM!! They only want to see you naked. I wish I'd found out about this warning yesterday. I feel so stupid.


Guitar Hero

I did it. I bought a guitar. It's a Bullet Strat from Squier by Fender, if that means anything to you. It's really more of a seafoam than blue, like in this picture. I can play Ode to Joy and Yankee Doodle and the first two phrases of Fidelity. 


Venice Beach

Mixing work and pleasure Aisy and I had a blast in Venice Beach. (To hear her side of the story click here.) I learned a lot professionally and personally from Aisy. You should get to know her. We thought it was a good omen when Flo Rida finally came on the radio. The song, incredibly catchy and degrading, was the theme of the weekend. (Not that our weekend was catchy yet degrading but just that we sang the chorus of the song all weekend.) After driving around for a half hour, with Aisy stressin' and me just rockin' out, we finally found a parking space. Then we took a long walk to the beach. First stop: toilets. It was a laugh or cry situation. I laughed and Aisy got hit on. My stall had no toilet paper, something on the metal seat, and a used maxi pad on the floor mixed with toilet paper. We enjoyed the street performers and a little people-watching. Skaters, dancing roller-skaters, a drum jam session, and tumblers. One guy was hawking his rap CD by previewing it on a disc-man. It was pretty skillful and not holy. He was a little too touchy-feely but he had real PR. 
This is where Aisy introduced me to Mims "This is Why I'm Hot," with very intelligent lyrics (cough, cough). And I don't think bikinis should come in plus sizes.
The best part was the beach cruisers. We rode from Venice to Santa Monica with the beach on one side and a wonderful conglomeration of humans on the other. The air was warm and the wind was in our hair. Imagine a bike path over two miles long with that kind of atmosphere. Heaven on earth! We ain't got that where I am. 
I got asked where I would go for a weekend away. This may be the place. 


These are a few of my favorite things

If I were an authority on everything, then the following list would be valid. I expect disagreements, but what is a blog but for discussion? Also, I must point out that I made the list not after hours of thought, but in the moment; therefore, I reserve the right to change any part of the list without prior written or verbal notice. 
Best modern chick flick: You've Got Mail
Best classic film: Casa Blanca
Best P and P adaptation: BBC
Best Rogers and Hammerstein: The Sound of Music
Best actress: Emma Thompson
Best teen movie: She's the Man
Best book you are forced to read in high school: The Great Gatsby
Best dessert you don't know about: Arby's chocolate criossant
Best television show currently: Pushing Daisies
Best Disney character: Sleeping Beauty, Aurora, Briar Rose... it's all the same. Pink dress rocks.
Best color: pink
Best British movie you've probably never seen: Cold Comfort Farm 
Best television show of all time: Cosby Show
Best Judy Blume book(s): Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing, but I can read the Luckiest Girl over and over and over, and the same goes for Are You There God, It's Me Margaret. 
Best Harry Potter book: 5
Best looking movie (the way it's filmed): A Little Princess
Best college activity: anything at the Hari Krishna temple
Best hot chocolate: Seattle's Best Coffee, the cocoa trio
Best ride at Disneyland: Splash Mountain


Sugar, We're Going Down

The song just does something for me. I think it's his voice. And it's just a fantastic song to turn up loud. I resisted it for a long time because I thought it was violent but then somebody said it was all a metaphor. I decided to just "seminary style" the song, and accept it as is. But I have some other questions with the lyrics, moral and otherwise. And I'm not sure exactly what they are. Here are my confusions.
1. Which of the following is the correct lyric?
a. "Wishing to be the friction in your jeans"
b. "Wishing to be the friction in your dreams"
c. "Wishing to be the friction in your sheets"
I'm thinking "a" is correct. I'm not sure that's a great answer, but I think it's the right one... although sources disagree.
2. Which of the following is the correct lyric?
a. "A loaded gun complex, cock it and pull it"
b. "A loaded god complex, cock it and pull it"
I find more instances of "loaded god complex" but I think "loaded gun complex" makes more sense. 
What do you think of the song as a whole (check it out on the music player on the right) and what do you think the correct lyrics are?

The Perfect Outfit

Sunday was a rough day. I just didn't know what to wear. It took about an hour of trying on this and that. My bed was littered with rejected outfits. Finally I found something I felt good about. I had never worn that combination before but for that moment it was perfect.
Being the intellectual I am, I discussed the whole kerfuffle (sp?) with a friend and she explained a vital truth to me. The truth was this: For everyday there is just one outfit and we must find it.
I believe that. 



If I were the type to hang posters of famous men in my room, over whom I would swoon and fantasize about our lives together, and if those men had to be professional athletes, I would choose the following three:
Jaron Collins (right), because he is gorgeous and really doesn't have facial hair.
Kyle Korver (bottom photo on the left), because he is just cute. Also, I am told he resembles Ashton Kutcher or Zac Efron, which is interesting as those two do not resemble each other.
And Matt Harpring (top photo on the left), because he is hot and educated. He graduated college with a real degree in like business or something. So, if I were younger I would hang pictures on my wall. Being older, I hang them on my blog.


Saturday's Warrior

Saturday's Warrior is the story of the Flinders family -- a family of unspecified religious beliefs and their ups and downs with this darn life. It all starts in heaven. Heaven is a place where everyone wears colored spandex with silky, sheer flowy skirts or over-sized button-up shirts with stretch pants. It is also very foggy there. One lady runs the whole show- commanding people to climb to a platform where they evaporate. Here we meet the Flinder's children -- Jimmy, Pam, (like on The Office, but these are twins) Julie, Benji, the older sister, Ernie, the little red-headed girl, and Emily. We also meet Todd, Julie's one true love. And Wally and Elder Green -- endearing imbeciles who are going to save the world. Everyone sings and dances around in a way that is intense and yet, you just feel weird watching it.
Once we hit earth life, we discover that Jimmy is not as good as he was in heaven and that Pam is, gasp, in a wheelchair when her pre-earth live-long dream was to dance. Julie is in love with Wally! Ernie and the older sister despise each other. Emily is still in heaven, yet the little red-headed girl is the same age as she was in heaven so explain the age differential to me. And the dad is -- anything but this -- Marvin Payne! 
Jimmy has fallen in with the wrong crowd.  This inebriated, sports-car driving, workout-clothes wearing crew spends their time lounging about and talking about tough world topics like over-population. So deeply do they feel about the fact that there aren't enough resources to go around that the main macho guy sings a little ditty about it. It's pretty much the coolest scene in the whole movie. 
Pam tries to save Jimmy by being perpetually cheerful, also by being perfect, and by helping Jimmy understand that stars don't all shine at once. But Pam's got her own little set of troubles -- her wheelchair makes her terminal, apparently.
Julie sends Wally off to save the world (which he isn't very good at) and is so anxious to sew that she drops Wally and almost marries this other guy. Her mom's advice when Julie tells her parents that she can't through with the marriage? "But Julie, the wedding's in three days." At this point you wonder if Julie will turn around and say, "Oh, you're right, Mom. What was I thinking? I'll just marry someone who is so not Todd, my one true love, who I promised myself to in heaven!" You wonder if her mother was ever in love. 
On Jimmy's birthday everyone gives him gifts. His parent's gift? Another kid. What? You couldn't have gotten him a soccer ball? Jimmy's steamed (soccer ball!) about his parents eating up all the world's resources so his dad smacks him one and Mom goes, "Oh, oh." Jimmy storms off on some spring break adventure with the macho guy and his crew where they sing an environmental number about a summer of fair weather. Jimmy runs into Todd, Julie's one true love, and Todd knows that Jimmy's non-denominational belief system -- which Jimmy refuses to talk about -- is the answer to all his problems. In a really surreal scene, Todd appears in Julie's room and she in his park. Also, Julie's mirror, doesn't have any glass.
While on spring break Jimmy finds out that Pam died. The moment of reckoning. What's a guy to do. After four and half minutes of inner turmoil, Jimmy decides to go back to his family and drop the macho guy and his crew. 
Julie goes to meet Wally as he comes home from saving the world. Turns out he brought Todd home with him. Julie and Todd's eyes meet, and Wally's story of true love becomes a sequel about him getting a girl that he didn't really want in the first place. Todd whisks Julie away, somewhere.
Jimmy is there to welcome little Emily into the world in what has to be the fastest birthing in history. It's a family show, so you have to wonder if it was a ad-lib or in the script -- "Bob, you did this to me!" yells Mom. Jimmy holds little Emily in his hands and knows that everything is as it should be. 


Black Nail Polish

I wear black nail polish sometimes.
I ran into my childhood piano teacher. It took her a moment to recognize me. When she did I was greeted with this, "Black nail polish!"
One of my kids called me emo and wanted to check my wrists for cuts.
Black nail polish is high fashion, not a sign of a disturbed mind. To support my thesis, a brief history of black nail polish. In ancient China black and red polish were reserved for royals and was ultra hip in the sixties and seventies. In the mid and late nineties the beautiful black polish was usurped by scary creatures such as Marilyn Mansen, heaven help us. But then Gucci models sported it and Chanel came out with a version (running $100 a pop) and everything was ok again. And I've seen Stacey London wearing it. Granted, the black does give a rebellious air but I think regular, chic people can pull it off. So let's just own the black nail polish.



I’m able to feel emotions. I would even say that sometimes I am neurotic. But I struggle to feel the emotion behind art.
In college I took an art class which I hated. The book was ginormous and overwhelming and all I saw was church-approved porn. Although I did fall in love with impressionism, especially Degas. Later, talking with Crolace, I realized that there is so much in poetry that I do not see. There is so much that I miss in novels; though heaven knows I enjoy novels more that any poem. Architecture is art. Movies are art. Fashion design is art – and you know it must be ‘cause ain’t nobody wearing some of those creations for real (or at least they shouldn’t). Cuisine is art. Nature is art.
When I hear people, like Crolace, or Azir Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, or Julia Robert’s character in Mona Lisa Smile talk about art – in all forms-- I see the deficit that I have in relating to it emotionally. I think too concretely.
I think it is largely an issue of education. When the emotion behind something or the story behind something is explained to me, then I get it.
But what good is it if I always require commentary. I wish I could just feel it.


A thought

I was driving today and saw a white VW bug. It felt ... blank.


Dear Diary

Dear Diary,
I am in Idaho visiting my brother and his wonderful family. We visited Halle's grave. I'd never been there before. Halle is my niece who died at birth; I wasn't there for anything because I was on my mission in Germany. On the headstone, under her name and the date, it read, "The crown without the conflict." I can't even begin to describe the impact of the statement. It's kind of weird. I mean, I wasn't here for any of it -- pregnancy, the tests, the outcome, the funeral. And I'm the aunt, not the mom or sibling or anything. But I'm still really bummed about it. 
I also went for a bike ride with my eight year-old niece. I haven't ridden for at least two years. And I remembered how much I enjoy it. There is something earthy about riding. I'm not into mountain biking or cycling, but around-the-town stuff is idyllic and quaint and lovely. Resolved: repair bike; buy basket. Then we jumped on the tramp which is the only exhilaration my circulatory system has experienced for months. It was fall-like weather and we sat outside and watched my brother play football with my nephew and some cousins. Sitting outside is so enjoyable. And I was thinking how if everyone had a childhood like this then there wouldn't be so many problems in the world.
Later my thoughts went downward. I began thinking, I don't want this life. It seemed like nothing was getting done, we were just living. And although pleasant, it felt non productive (Save me any lectures on how being a mother is a great responsibility and job and you are saving souls because I believe you). I did the dishes while everyone got ready for bed before crashing for a movie. I told my nephew that the best way to work was with loud music. I turned on Natasha Bedingfield's Love Like This and went to work. And had the epiphany that while absolutely nothing was wrong in the way my brother and his wife are raising their kids, not everything about it was my style. And I can do family life in my own style - with loud music. And chintz. And more dancing that is probably good for my kids' social status.
Also, I reread a text message that made me happy. It was from a dear friend who wrote simply, "I love you so much angel face." Good times.


Valentine's Day

I was in Germany, near Frankfurt in a small city called Bad Homburg. It was February 2006, just before Valentine's Day. We were window shopping. We went into Butler's, which is basically a store dedicated to the dinner party. Clean whites, deep reds, soothing pinks. It was magical. My eyes had never before beheld anything so wonderful. Indescribable. At that moment I knew that Valentine's Day was my favorite holiday.
It's not just a celebration of romantic love, but of the day when pink met red, when friends celebrate knowing one another, when family members say that which matters most. 
I had a fantastic day.
First, my boys were really sweet today. There's one kid who asked if I would be his Valentine. "In a therapeutic way?" I asked. "Like friends." Ok. And in group we watched the Office ("Conflict Resolution") and I was laughing even before we chose the episode, which was -- in my opinion -- very therapeutic.
I met the Queen at Starbucks for hot chocolate. What could be better? I listen to some of my favorite music on the way over to her house (including this song). Being happy and listening to your favorite music is my idea of euphoria. Then we watched She's the Man -- quite possibly my favorite comedy: hilarious physical comedy and, two words, Channing Tatum. I was happy all day long. 
Additionally, the writer's strike is over. 



My life is really constant chaos. I kind of struggle when people ask me how my day was or if I enjoy my job. Well, I'm a therapist. I'm not dealing with pleasurable things all day. In fact, my job is probably really depressing (but I really do like it). Someone once asked me if I changed any lives that day. I thought to myself, "Well, I put one kid on suicide watch so I guess I changed his life." 
I get to work everyday with an agenda and then I do something other than what I planned because someone's in crisis or I have a bad session or I didn't get enough sleep so I'm crabby. Well, maybe just right now. My caseload is going through some hard times (as in worse than normal). I'm new at this but my supervisor says that it's just how things are: phases. 
I think that helping others clear away their psychological "stuff" really begins with having my "stuff" in order. So, in order to really be effective as a therapist I need to be doing ok myself. For me this means applying the principle of "centering."
Centering means coming back to your real essence. It means remembering who YOU really are. I'm me and I like to decorate and read. I like theatre and classical music (and other stuff too!). I'm more than someone's therapist. It means focusing on me for a little while. 
There are a few ways I become centered. I might bake something.
Another way is to do things I enjoy. Watch a movie, blog, be with friends.
Cleaning is always good. And organizing.
Tonight, I blew off Family Home Evening in the hopes of centering myself. I came home and got centered. Sometimes, FHE is a centering activity but not tonight.
I made myself a real dinner, listened to calming music, and read a book about bipolar disorder (which normally would not be centering but this book is a pleasure read and coincidentally helpful to my job). Then I did a closet organizing project involving baskets. And put together a night table I got from Ikea this weekend. I chatted with a friend on the phone. I found a movie clip for tomorrow's group therapy. And took a shower. I'm going to bed at a decent hour. And I feel centered. 
The thing is, I also feel closer to God. I mean, I blew off a "religious" activity and puttered around the house. It doesn't seem logical that I would actually feel more spiritual. Yet I feel closer to myself and closer to Him. I think that is what centering really is; it's calming all the unimportant daily issues and remembering that I am really a child of the Divine whose life has meaning, purpose, and direction. When we feel close to God we can hear His gentle voice, telling us how we can better live our lives and strengthening us to overcome this world's challenges.



I predict that the nominees for president will be (drum roll):
John McCain
Barack Obama.


What President Hinckley Means to Me

Gordon B. Hinckley died today, about three hours ago. He was the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint, of which I am a card-carrying member. I have sustained him as a prophet of God, believing that his words can directly from the Source. He's been the president of the church for 12 years, exactly half my life. I can't really remember any other church president's teachings as I can President Hinckley's, nor has any other president had quite the personal impact upon my life as President Hinckley. 
I was at the Conference Center and heard live President Hinckley give his famous "Six Bs" address. I was sitting on the right side and the echo was awful. I remember that in the talk he said something about not being a scrub, which was funny because TLC had just come out with the song "No Scrubs." 
It was during his administration that we had the rebuilding of the Nauvoo temple. My love for the prophet Joseph Smith is probably equal to the love I feel for President Hinckley. And here was President Hinckley rebuilding the temple in the City of Joseph. And it was to that temple that I went to received my own endowment in preparation for my missionary service in Germany. 
I remember a talk he gave just after the death of his wife, Marjorie, called The Women in Our Lives. He said, "She was the woman of my dreams then, and now she is still the woman of my dreams." My heart broke. I remember something she once said about him -- "You've have given me wings, and I have loved you for it." 
President Hinckley didn't take himself too seriously. He would wave that cane around and hit other old people (you know, like apostles) with it. He joked and his jokes were always at life's expense or his own --  he never made fun of anyone. Ok, I take that back. He once told a group of missionaries that "You're not much but you're all the Lord has." 
He was a pleasant person to be around. I didn't know him personally but whenever I heard him speak I felt more full of energy. Good karma. I could always trust him, trust what he was saying. He was a prophet after all. And I can take comfort in that. His voice was calming but firm. He was loving and kind. Listening to him talk, I felt love from my Heavenly Father. 
Things I'll always remember about him: his large lower lip, the cane, his hand gestures, his smile, his interviews on Larry King and with Mike Wallace, and the way he was with his wife.
President Hinckley wrote hymn 135, I Know That My Redeemer Lives. The lyrics follow:
I know that my Redeemer Live
Triumphant Savior, Son of God
Victorious over pain and death,
My King, my Leader, and My Lord
He lives, my one sure rock of faith,
The one bright hope of men on earth,
The beacon to a better way,
The light beyond the veil of death.
Oh, give me thy sweet Spirit still, 
The peace that comes alone from thee
The faith to walk the lonely road
That leads to thine eternity.

New Car!

It was a long Saturday filled with high prices and cars full of regrets. Then we spied this little jewel. A 2007 butter yellow P.T. Cruiser. Be still my heart. These are pictures of car like my car and that is not a picture of me. You see, I found these pictures on the internet, but they are exactly what I really have. The car is retro-style from the  door handles to the grill. I think my favorite part is the round-headed gear shift. Oh, and the yellow! dash board. 
It fits in perfectly with my new Pushing Daisies inspired life. A life full of chintz, stripes, and bright, contrasting colors. The car is the opposite of sleek. It is plump, unique, and very much me!