Wednesday, October 7, 2009

3 Days and Going Strong...

Well, somewhat strong. I am finding myself checking my blackberry, talking to myself, and turning on my lamp while still laying in bed to avoid getting up for a few extra minutes in the morning. But I have not hit that little devilish button for the past 3 days. I do appreciate all the reminders that I'm not the only one who LOVES to snooze... it makes me feel like I'm not the only crazy person who can snooze for hours at a time. And you're right Kayla, at least the snooze button makes the noise stop... I probably should just enjoy it while I can.

But NO! I will conquer this, I will!

Is there such a thing as too much technology?

My dependence on technology technically started with the pager I inherited from my college bound sister shortly after I turned 17. By 21 I was enjoying the convenience of constant communication, but also getting tired of one-way communications. I upgraded to a cell phone and suddenly had constant access to the world at my fingertips all the time. That meant the world also had constant access to me, but when you're 21 that is actually a good thing.

My cell phone was very handy over the next several years as I moved in and out of apartments, in and out of my parents house, and in and out of the state. No matter where I went my friends and family still had one number to reach me at. How convenient that by the time I moved out of state, I didn't even have to change my area code! However, just before moving to New York, I also discovered the ipod, which bumped my technology dependence up to a slightly new level.

With my new ipod, I moved my entire music collection across the country with me in one little handful of metal and plastic. With my ipod in my pocket the Indigo Girls wandered city streets with me, Van Morrison accompanied me on the subway (which besides being a lovely way to pass the time also kept random strangers from trying to tell me their life stories. Seriously, there's a reason people don't talk to each other on the subway), the Black-eyed Peas went running with me, and Jack Johnson fell asleep with me. I actually carried around that 5Gb dinosaur of an ipod (I actually got it used and it was probably the first generation ipod) for three years along with my little sprint flip phone and was totally content with life and the "basic necessities" that kept me connected to the world, and musically satiated.

Tonight, however, as I turned on 3 different computers to find the password to my internet, I realized that my dependence, and attachment to technology might be a bit ridiculous. When I pack for vacation, my concern is not now based on whether or not I remembered my toothbrush and underwear, but whether I have: my blackberry and charger, my ipod and charger, my laptop and charger, and my camera and charger. Instead of a purse, I carry a backpack on the airplane to ensure I'm able to fit all of my electronics. I was super excited to leave my laptop behind (as well as my blackberry) when I left for Australia for two weeks, until I learned that my boss was more than happy to switch my phone plan to include international calls, and that he was also not more than happy that I would not even be checking email while I was gone. So... I packed along a mini-laptop and my phone, and dutifully checked in from time to time to make sure my employees were surviving, and all was well. It turns out, work managed just fine without me. But to be honest, in the end I was more than happy to have an excuse to have the internet available, and maybe even my phone from time to time. So in reality, am I more attached to technology than I like to think?

For the record, I have still managed to live for two years in an apartment with no TV. That does count for something, right?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Conquering the Snooze Addiction

As I thought about what I could change my blog title to, I first had to determine what I wanted my blog to be about. I couldn't very well carry on with 31 reasons for being 31 (it just doesn't have the same ring to it, right?), because aside from not sounding nearly as good, I either had to increase the number of posts this year (and 30 seemed pretty difficult last year) or I only had to add one more and call it good. So... what now?

I am actually fairly well known to have grand intentions for myself (so grand they are hard to follow through with), and also equally well known for being somewhat free-spirited. I wanted to put into writing for my own observation (and maybe for a little entertainment) some of my grand intentions, and the process I go through in trying to follow through with them. Yellow Flats, Red Stilletos seems to illustrate to me the fun-loving and spontaneous aspects of my personality, as well as the driven, powerful side of me that tries so hard to take charge, but can only hope to consistently temper my impulsive, curious nature. And shoes as metaphorical objects used to describe my personality couldn't be better a better fit (pun intended).

My most recent grand intention is to conquer my severe addiction to the snooze button. I realize that many people snooze at least once on any given morning. I think most would agree, that the feeling of snuggling back under warm cozy covers for 9 extra minutes is blissful, even if it is only temporary. I know I am not the only person who feels this way, because nearly every alarm clock available has a very large button on top labeled "snooze". However, I am one of few that can't seem to stop snoozing, regardless of the fact that I know I am not getting good sleep, and that I will be persistently startled by a "wha-wha-wha-wha" sound every 9 minutes. Still, I might go through this for up to two hours if I've given myself enough opportunities to do so in the morning.

Here are some of the dilemmas that keep me from overcoming this habit:

1. I always want to get so much accomplished in the morning, and therefore I set my alarm for earlier than I actually have to get out of bed.
2. I am expected to be at work by 9am. So, if I decide I want to go in early, it is purely up to me to get there early, and therefore, if I am tired and decide to hit snooze once, or 10 times, I know that it won't really matter because I am only adjusting my expectations and my schedule (I actually tried to change my schedule to an earlier one for awhile and then just gave up).
3. It is extremely difficult to explain to a semi-conscious mind that it is better to get up and face the cold immediately rather than in 9 more minutes, because all the semi-conscious mind really cares about is that it's warm and cozy in bed, and it's not so warm and cozy out of bed (I've tried leaving my heat up a bit at night, so far it hasn't really been that helpful).
4. The simple truth is that I was not good at waking up in the morning, even when I was a little tiny girl. (My mom had a little poem that she used to recite with me in the mornings. Somehow over the years I had the impression it was a happy little poem recited by a happy little girl. It turns out it was my mom's way of trying to help me be a happy little girl in the morning. Oops. Sorry, Mom.)

So, I have a new plan. Well, the start of a new plan. First, I've decided that if I can go an entire month without hitting the snooze button once, I will buy myself the pair of white sweater boots that I've been wanting (I know, here we go with shoes again). Now, I am not good at holding myself to this kind of commitment. Eventually I tend to buy myself what I want anyway. But if I am putting it in writing, then I have to admit, in writing, if I give in and buy the boots anyway. I also realize that I have to be realistic with the time I will actually get out of bed. That is still an issue I'm working out with myself.

In the grand scheme of things, aside from the worthless sleep I'm getting each morning that I continually hit snooze, is the snooze button such a deadly vice? Not so much... just a silly one. However, I know that making and keeping these small commitments to myself will help me make the bigger and more important commitments to myself and to others. And I have learned through many hard lessons, that if I can't keep a commitment to myself, it can be equally as hard to keep my commitments to others. And as my mother has said many times, life is all about sacrifice and commitment (Mom, are you feeling all your preaching has paid off a bit?? I love you.).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Could I actually like cold water sports??

I had a boyfriend once who said I pretty much shut off once I get cold. And he's not very far from being right on. I HATE being cold, and I get cold very easily. In fact, I feel like Mr. Rogers every day at work when I come in from the 90 degree weather and put on my sweater for my day in the office. With that in mind, I was a bit hesitant about booking a 5 hour black water rafting trip in New Zealand. The adventure itself sounded fun, but I gave up on river rafting when I realized I just plain don't like being trapped in a raft, freezing cold, for hours at a time. But I'm in New Zealand, right? How bad can it really be? Except that when we woke up this morning it was rainy and maybe the coldest it's been since we got here. The rain part didn't matter so much since we were going to be in a cave, but it did make it feel much colder.

We got to the caves and had to put on wetsuits (that were already cold and wet), helmets, boots, and the rest of our gear. Once we had the wetsuits on, I actually felt a little better because I felt somewhat protected. Then we headed off to learn how to rappel before we headed into the cave. So this was what our cave excursion consisted of:
  • Rappelling down about 150 feet into the cave
  • Riding a zip line about 500 feet into the cave after our initial descent
  • Jumping about 15 feet into freezing river water onto a tube
  • Tubing in the dark to see the glow worms
  • Walking/Swimming through caverns and jumping down waterfalls
  • Climbing up a few water falls to get back out of the cave

There were a few times things got slightly intense. However, the wetsuits saved me from getting too cold, and our cute guide Andrew was very helpful in making sure I didn't fall and hurt myself. Also, you can't really stand around hemming an hawing about jumping into cold water when there are 6 other people waiting for you and a guide right there counting to 3. Besides, I figured if everyone else could handle it, so could I. And it was AWESOME!!! I loved every mintue of it. Even if it was cold. Totally worth it. And totally worth coming to New Zealand for.

Still... my favorite extreme sports will continue to be the ones where I can hop out of the cold water straight onto a beach with 90 degree weather...

Friday, September 4, 2009

9 Paid Days of Freedom...sort of...

I have been released from work for 9 paid days to take a "holiday" in Australia and New Zealand. This actually worked out to be 15 days of travel for me, since one work day is a holiday and there are 3 weekends included. 15 beautiful days of being away from my life. Except that my blackberry and laptop are my trusty travel companions just in case someone from work needs my help. I guess it's nice to feel needed. And... it's also nice to have work pay for me to use my cell phone and the internet on vacation.

Just a few highlights of the trip so far:
  • Ben Folds in the Sydney Opera House
  • Hot Aussie (and Italian) boys taking care of us
  • Whale watching (which ended up being dolphin watching)
  • Bondi Beach
  • A hot new Sydney haircut
  • Much needed R&R

Thursday, August 13, 2009

People will always suprise you

Last night I was at Old Navy and a sweet little Asian girl was helping me find a particular shirt I was in search of. After I found the shirt on my own and continued on with my shopping, she eventually returned, shirt in hand, and asked if she'd found what I was looking for. Then she said, "I'm sorry it took me so long to find you. You all just look the same to me." My initial reaction was that I wanted to say to her, "That's okay, you all look the same to me too," because I figured if she was going to make a comment like that, then she shouldn't be offended if I returned the same remark. But I refrained. Still, it's amazing what people think it's okay to say...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Reason #30 - I put away childish things

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." (I Corinthians 13:11)
Today we spent my 31st birthday at Lagoon. As my parents, sister, and best friend sang happy birthday to me over our picnic in the terrace, I laughed at being 31 and holding my birthday party at Lagoon. I laugh at the idea that I still don't feel grown up despite the fact that I live in my own apartment, I have a grown up job, I own my own car (and scooter), I have a cosmetology license and almost a bachelor's degree, and because some of my own friends and family very near to my age are already the parents of 3 children. And I also laugh realizing that I am happy that I am still young in the ways that allow me to find joy in silly things.
As I thought about my final reason for loving 30, I have thought about the fact that 30 is a great age to be. And the reason that 30 is so great is that I finally know myself. I am comfortable in my own skin. I know that I hate river rafting and scary movies, and that's okay. I know that I love roller coasters, I love Lake Powell, I love wake boarding, and I love living in an apartment with no TV. At 30, I have grown enough in my career to provide an income that allows me to do things I've always wanted to do, and allows me to learn from holding a position of responsibility. And, I've also learned enough about love to know that I can love many people in many different ways, and sometimes that means my heart breaks. It's okay that I won't marry every man that I fall in love with, and the only way I can truly settle is to not trust that the Lord will provide me the opportunities that will bring me the most joy.
Most importantly, at 30 - and as of today, 31 - I have recognized that I am a woman, and I have put away childish things. My life, though silly and unrefined, is focused (as much as I know how to focus) on knowing who I want to become and striving to reach that potential. It is a process every day, and some days are better than others. But God has given me the opportunity to enjoy every step of my journey. I don't have to give up going to amusement parks, jumping in puddles, eating cookie dough, and having a slumber party every once in awhile just because I am grown up. I just have to keep remembering to live up to who I am so I can bring real joy into my journey, and to others.

Reason #29 - My Birthday

Yesterday was my last day at work before my birthday, and things have been so crazy I haven't even had time to think about what the day might bring. It was an amazing day. There were so many unexpected surprises. Some of them probably should have been expected, but since it wasn't technically my birthday yet, and I was a little preoccupied, they were all very fun, and made me feel very special. These were the best parts of my day yesterday:

1. Mystery flowers (I have some ideas, but there was no name)
2. My employees decorated my office
3. I got a sweet basket of goodies from my team full of things to take care of myself. :)
4. Ice cream cake with the managers
5. Dinner and cake and ice cream with Erika and Corinne
6. Cards, goodie baskets, and candy from other people in the center.
7. Happy birthday wishes from my dearest friends.

Does it get much better than that? It's so good to feel that you are loved. Now it's off to Lagoon with the family!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reason #28 - August

I think around age 11, I had my first week long birthday. Within a few years after that I started to realize that having a summer birthday wasn't a bad deal. In exchange for not being able to bring cupcakes to class on my birthday, I had a week long birthday party every year. It's not necessarily that anyone plans on throwing me a week long party, it just seems to work out that way.

Not only does my week long birthday fall in August, but August is just a month full of adventure for me. I think I have been out of town regularly in the month of August for the last few years consecutively. There are just so many fun things to do. This year, my August looks like this:

Week 1: LA
Week 2: My birthday
Week 3: Toronto
Week 4: I run a 10k (we'll see when it's over whether this weekend was fun)
Week 5: I leave for Australia and New Zealand

The down side to having so much fun is that there is of course still plenty of work to be done. So while I am super excited for all of my upcoming adventures, I think it might have been a good idea to spread the fun into the rest of the year a bit better. C'est la vie...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Reason #27 - Breanna

Breanna Elizabeth is the girl who changed my life and helped me become the person I am today. She gave me an opportunity to remember what life is all about, and what kind of person I need to be now, so that I can be the wife and mother I want to be when the time comes. And she taught me incredible lessons about the atonement, and about what it means to truly love.

I had a chance to go to Breanna's baptism this last weekend with my mom, and it was an incredible experience. It was so beautiful to watch her father-a wonderful righteous Priesthood holder-take her hand as she walked into the baptismal font and committed to follow Jesus Christ. It was equally amazing to listen to her sing about going to the temple.

It was so wonderful to see Breanna completely surrounded with an amazing family who loves her dearly and who provide for her a rich and Christ-centered life. And it was an incredible experience to feel the love they shared with me on her special day, as we all celebrated her life together. This is what the atonement provides: the ability to make weak things strong, to make wrong things right, and to give imperfect people the opportunity to make perfect decisions.

Reason #26 - Taking my Mom on Rollercoasters

This past weekend my mom and I flew to LA for a very special baptism. Since we were already going to be in the area, Mom thought it might be fun to go to Magic Mountain. Little did I know that she was truly being her most altruistic self in suggesting this, and maybe she was hoping I would actually turn her down. This is why the altruistic approach is not always the best approach. Because good intentions then have to include a follow-through. Mom did make one strategic move, and that was to avoid the flash-pass which might have meant many more rollercoasters.

When we got to the park early Saturday afternoon, our first rollercoaster was "Revolution", followed by the "Collosus". Both of these were around the last time Mom went (which was a LONG time ago), and she felt fairly certain she'd be able to master these two rides without a problem. They were also good starters for me, because I wasn't sure how much I still loved a good rollercoaster. There did happen to be one more rollercoaster I was sure Mom could handle. It was the "Goliath". As is clear from the picture below, it was pretty tall. You can't quite see the top. In fact, I don't think the top of the picture comes close to showing how high Goliath really was. It might be the best place to get a view of the valley.

After all the coercing, the pleading, the begging I could muster up, I could finally see the little gleam in the eye that comes when you know deep down you can't turn down a good challenge. Mom was in. We made our way through the line, and finally climbed into our seats. I'm not going to lie, I was feeling a bit nervous myself, especially since there was only one little lapbar to hold me in, and the ride was apparently crazy enough that we had to lock up our purses. But one of my favorite quotes of the entire weekend, was halfway through the ride when Mom said, "Ray! This is stinking fun!!!!!!! But I'm still not opening my eyes!"

We had to follow up our little adventure with a stop off at the oxygen bar, where I was treated to citrus-ginger flavored oxygen and a nice little massage. Mom decided we couldn't pass up the opportunity to try flavored oxygen, since we'd never done it before. Definitely an experience.
I have to say, being taken to Magic Mountain is a pretty good way to celebrate turning 31. Who says I have to grow up?? Thanks Mom!

Mom and I at the Oxygen Bar. Aren't we cute?

Goliath. Seriously, it was tall. I'm so proud of my mother!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reason #25 - Being an Aunt

So last week I went on a family vacation to Idaho, and while spending a week with a two year old and a 9 month old is not exactly restful, it was AWESOME! Sarah is finally old enough that she's stopped spitting up whenever I hold her, so we spent a lot more time hanging out with each other. And Libby was a non-stop treat the entire time, even when she was keeping me from my nap (it's really hard to ignore a little a little curly-haired toddler outside the door calling, "Ray Ray"). Some of my favorite Libby quotes were:
"Hiss, you've hissed your last!"
"Prince John the phony king of England!" (See Robinhood for both of the above quotes)
"Nice to meet you."
"You kill me!"
"Oh my gosh a penny!"
"Wanna dance Sarah?"
And of course my heart melts every time I hear her say, "Ray Ray".

Seriously, being an aunt is awesome. And I have to admit I was especially happy to be an aunt when Sarah and Libby did not want to sleep at night.

Libby's birthday blastoff party.

Me giving Libby the "Stinkeye".

Cute Sarah.

Trish and Mom doing "Pump" while Libby and I danced.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reason #24 - The Indigo Girls

I love music. And I love a lot of different kinds of music. However, the Indigo Girls became a favorite when I was about 18, and they are the only band that has consistently stayed a favorite since then. I can listen to them when I am happy, sad, and everything in between. Last week, I FINALLY got to see them in concert. I wish I would have captured pictures of some of the sweet mullets in the crowd, but here are at least some pictures of the show...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Reason #23 - Summertime

Here are some of the reasons I love summertime:

1. The Centerville Parade on the 4th of July
2. Barbeques
3. Laying on the grass
4. Running at the park
5. Breakfast at Ruth's Diner
6. Looking at the stars
7. Camping
8. Going to Salmon
9. Riding the Scooter, because I can use all my senses to experience the summer.
10. Outdoor concerts
11. Going on vacation
12. Sleeping with my windows open
13. Fireworks
14. Lagoon (for real, I think that's what I'm doing for my birthday).
15. Baseball games
16. Eating dinner on the patio
17. Lake Powell
18. Spending every possibly waking moment outside
19. Eating popsicles
20. Chirping crickets, babbling brooks, and thunderstorms

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Reason #22 - Mowing the Lawn

When I started mowing the lawn, I was small enough that it took the full weight of my body to get the mower turned around when I got to the edge of the yard. Those were the days when I was young enough to think mowing the lawn was a good time. At that age, anything Dad did seemed like it might be fun, even eating brussel sprouts. (Okay, I still eat brussel sprouts). Those darn parents are kind of tricky. Kind of like when my mom made a game out of putting the silverware away and that was SUPER FUN. Those games really only work for so long. But anyway, I'm getting off track...

So about two weeks ago, I was pretty sure there was a lion hiding in my grass. I didn't actually hear any roaring, but my lawn was probably about as tall as a typical African savanna. Downright embarrassing. Little by little I have tried to take on some yard work, but it's been hard to find the time. And mowing was the one thing I left up to my neighbors, since it is technically their job, and the only lawnmower here belongs to them. My neighbor's wife finally stepped up and got the job done, but it was still time to face facts... my house looks like the rental on the block.

Last Saturday I decided it was time to give my yard a little extra TLC. So, I borrowed the weed-whacker from my dad, and went to town early Saturday morning. I can't say my yard has the straightest or most beautiful edging job on the block, but at least now it looks like someone cares. And after all my work that day, I decided I was going to suck it up and mow the lawn too. And it turns out... I really enjoyed the whole experience.

I can't decide if this new love for yard work means I just love being outside now regardless of the activity, or that people who spend all their time gardening and working in the yard aren't really crazy. It's possible there is something great about making something beautiful. Or maybe... at 30... I'm just plain getting old. But regardless, I'm glad that once upon a time my dad led me to believe yard work was fun, because here I am 20 years later putting all my mad lawn mowing skills to work.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Reason #21 - The Rain

I have always liked the rain. Over the last month I have been reminded of a night years ago when my brother Nick called me and asked for a ride home.It was pouring rain outside. I told him to run through the rain. He, of course, declined my suggestion. Then I asked if I ran over to get him, if he would run home with me. He said yes, but I don't think he really expected me to follow through. The next thing he knew, there I was at the door, soaked to the bone, with mascara running down my face. For a moment there was a look of complete shock on his face, and then he grinned and we took off together toward home. It's a silly but sweet memory.

I fell in love with the rain while I was living in New York City. I didn't expect it to be such a rainy place, and there were a few days (such as the day my umbrella turned inside out two steps out of the subway and I stepped off the sidewalk into a knee-deep puddle on the way to work) that I wasn't so keen on the rain. However, a heavy east coast downpour to me, felt like God washing the dirt, the sweat, the pain, the grime, and the heaviness off of the city streets. It lifted my soul.

One night I walked out of a movie theatre on the upper east side just as it was starting to rain. I didn't have enough cash to take a cab home, and I couldn't handle the thought of spending the next hour in the subway. So, I decided to walk. I was walking across the bottom of Central Park in the pouring rain, listening to my music and enjoying the solace of the empty city streets when a man in a rickshaw pulled up alongside me. He asked me if I'd like a ride. I was perfectly content to walk so I said no, thanked him, and continued on my way. He told me he was heading in for the night, it wouldn't cost anything, and he could just take me to the other side of the park. How could I turn him down? Besides, I had never ridden in a rickshaw. So he drove me to the other side of the park and I hopped out to say goodbye and continue on home. I don't remember what we said to each other, and it wasn't significant. But I remember knowing we had shared a sweet moment of humanity.

Tonight I was intent on working on the yard. I knew it would probably rain, again, as it has almost every day for the past month, but I thought I would try to get something done anyway. As I finally accepted the storm's victory over my plans and ran in the house, I couldn't help opening my window and standing and watching the power of the storm take over the night. The lightening was beautiful, and the thunder so commanding. And now as I sit here I am remembering all of my memories of the rain. I am reminded I love to watch it, hear it, smell it, and sometimes even run through it. And I love the way the street becomes quiet as the storm ends, and the sun comes back out, and on some days, a perfect rainbow even appears in the sky.

Maybe part of why I love the rain is because life feels like a rainstorm sometimes. The weight of my troubles takes over and forces me to retreat inside myself to wait out the worst of it. But eventually, the sun comes out, and I am ready to bask in its light. And the storm has given me a whole new appreciation for the brightness of the sun.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Reason #20 - Rediscovering childhood in grown-up ways

So last summer I pulled out a mountain bike that has been hanging out at my parents house and decided I was going to start riding it around to help me get in shape. What I quickly discovered was riding a bike is a whole new adventure at 30, compared to what it was when I was 10. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that no matter which way I go when I leave my house, I'm heading uphill, or maybe it has something to do with the concept of riding for exercise versus riding to get where I want to go. Maybe it also has to do with the fact that my little 10 year old legs were used to being extremely active, while my 30 year old legs have to look for ways to be active.

Whatever the case may be, when I pulled the bike back out for the first time this year, I decided it was possibly also the last time I'd be riding it this summer. It was almost impossible to ride for half an hour. But finding something hard sometimes does nothing more than ignite a flame of determination in my little soul. And I've realized I can't let this silly two-wheeled contraption bring me down.

My opportunities for riding have come in spurts. It's been a busy couple of months. But I have found that there is nothing that pushes all of life into the background quite like an hour (or so) on my bike. Not because I love every minute of it. But because I am constantly trying to decide how hard I can push myself uphill before giving up and going across, or down. All of my energy is focused on peddling my legs and moving forward just a little bit more.

Sometimes I wonder how exercise can feel so good when it's just a condensed version of what we do in everyday life. Sometimes just getting out of bed feels a lot like cranking my pedals that last 4 times to get to the crest of the hill, and it doesn't seem worth it to get there because it's not very comfortable. And occasionally I feel like no matter how low I set my gears, it's just too hard to keep pushing forward. But then... I finally get to the end of a journey, and I get to coast down to the end, and look back up the hill and appreciate how high I climbed. And it's exhilarating to know I survived. I made it through one more ride.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reason #19 - Southern Utah, and being an indenpendent woman

Looking out of Partition Arch in Arches National Park

Double O Arch at Arches National Park

Me, Betty (aka Erika) and Eiko who did all the setting up by ourselves. Stephen was in our car too, but he wasn't allowed to help us set up the tent trailer. We did allow him to help us take it down... just to be nice.

I know that in my 17th reason I love being 30 I mentioned that boys can come in handy for things. This is still true. However, my girlfriends and I took my dad's truck and tent trailer down to Moab this weekend. And we hitched, unhitched, backed up, drove, and set up the tent trailer all by ourselves. I was a little nervous about this little adventure because I knew that my dad was going to be nervous, but he was an incredibly good sport, and trusted me to give it a shot. It was nice to feel independent enough to do all of those things without a male around to take the responsibility. Sometimes it's just nice to know you can do it on your own!

And along with feeling like an independent woman this weekend, I finally got to experience Moab for the first time. I had no idea what I had been missing all of these years. As we passed people speaking all different languages on the hike up Devil's Garden in the Arches I couldn't help but think about the fact that people were there from all over the world, and in comparison, all of this amazing landscape is in my backyard, and I haven't bothered to take advantage of it. So... there will be many more adventures to come this summer (hopefully with the tent trailer, but let's face it... and independent woman can probably handle roughing it in a tent with an air mattress as well).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Reason #18 - I'm a blonde again

It's true. I finally decided it was time to get back to my roots, literally. So, three bleachings and several toners later, I'm finally back to blonde. I've decided that at 30, maybe I'm done with platinum, but after all the bleach and color was washed out I realized that dumb or not, deep down I really am a blonde.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Reason #17 - Chloe R. Scooter, and nice boys that help a silly girl who buys a scooter because she is trying to drive away her breakup woes

I bought a new toy almost 3 months ago just after "the breakup". So, I have obviously bought a few new toys, but this is one I have been wanting for about 2 years now, and I was just waiting to pay off my car before I took the plunge (technically I paid my final car payment the day after said purchase, but that's close enough in my book. Besides, since when have I been one to not bend the rules, particularly my own?).

Her name is Choe R. Scooter. On a particularly forlorn Saturday afternoon, I was getting ready to head over to the parents house for the night. Mid blowdry I just decided I was going to go test drive a scooter I found on Craigslist, and if I liked it, I was going to buy it. I needed to do something impulsive, and I figured buying something expensive yet affordable was better than doing something self-destructive. (Maybe one day I will find out a way to avoid both of the above mentioned vices, but then again, maybe one day I will also be done with dating. And at least buying things is the least damaging of the two).

Obviously, I liked the scooter, since it is now mine. I had never driven a scooter before that day, and I am proud to say I only almost killed myself once driving it home. It turns out you have to lean into a turn, or the silly thing will continue to go straight. Luckily my brother Brian who was following me home was the only one to witness my brush with death and my awesome maneuvering (I'm not counting all the cars that almost hit me and wondered what in the world this menace to society was doing on the roads). I feel I should also mention that I promptly purchased a helmet and did some practicing before I headed back out on the road.

Sadly, just as the weather was getting warm, Chloe quit wanting to start. I'd only managed to get in 3 or 4 rides to work, and she quit cooperating. Imagine a girl whose never driven a scooter before having any idea on what to do next. But thanks to a few very nice boys, she made another trip to work today, and hopefully will make many more for the remainder of the summer. I have a feeling if she's anything like her owner, she really just quit cooperating so she didn't have to go out until the weather was nice and warm.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Reason #16 - A Pink Paisley Snowboard finally happened. I found out I really do love snowboarding. However Shelley you still might not want to hold out for me when it comes to lessons. After my last experience, I decided maybe it really was time to invest in a board that actually fits my body. I bought my first board from my brother Nick for $40 and a haircut, which was not a bad deal... but it had finally done all the good it could for me... and maybe a little damage as well.

Not only did my new board get me down the mountain in one piece (with very few falls), but it's pink paisley. I'm pretty sure it was meant to be. And... my mother will be happy to know that along with my board, I've also invested in a shiny new helmet.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Reason #15 - Snowboarding

Okay I can't say I LOVE snowboarding yet... but I can almost officially consider myself a snowboarder. I went two days in a row last weekend, sure that I was finally getting it down. I'm now dealing with pure stubborn determination. I will not let this sport beat me. I find myself a bit intimidated by the feeling of going 100 miles an hour straight down a mountain(let's face it, I probably go about 5 miles an hour at best)...and in one winter I have damaged my wrists, my thumb, my head, my knee, my neck, and let's not forget my poor tailbone. Nonetheless, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Last Friday I managed to get 90% of the way down the mountain without falling, not to mention I had officially ridden almost every lift at Brighton. So I decided I needed to get in one more good day on Saturday to solidify my mad snowboarding skills.

Saturday was pretty good most of the day. It was beautiful. Sunny, but a little cold, and the snow was pretty nice up at the Canyons. I got in a few good runs in the morning, and by the afternoon Josh took me up to the big lift and we got in 3 runs before the end of the day. I was pretty beat by the second one, but I was so close to making it all the way without falling, so I decided one more run couldn't hurt anything. Whoops. I at least need to learn when to say when. I did great in all my weak spots and was cruising down the bottom of the mountain, when all of a sudden I apparently thought it would be a good idea to attempt a backwards somersault while going 2o mph (this time it really felt like 20... it might have been 10). To be fair, I was at least smart enough not to try this ridiculous feat on purpose... I just wasn't quick enough to realize I was a bit out of control and slow myself down. Or maybe I was trying to slow down... who knows when you all of a sudden find multiple parts of your body making contact with the ground multiple times. You tend to lose track of the particulars.

Either way, the doctor said I was fine. I was smart enough... or I guess lucky enough to spread out the impact, so instead of a broken neck I have a slightly sore neck and a big ugly bruise on my tailbone.

I know this may sound like a good reason to stop. But this is how I see it... if I didn't do any major damage with that fall, I'm sure with a board that's a little more my size and a quality helmet, I'm good to go.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reason #14 - February

It's a little hard to know what to write about the man you love, when you don't get to spend every day telling him you love him. But February was full of beautiful moments with the man that means more to me than anything in the world, and Josh is one of the things I have loved most about being thirty. He has taught me so much about who I am and what I deserve in life. We have different views on life and religion, but I'm really grateful for every day I spent with him. So this is my tribute to one of the best months of my life. I can never hate Valentine's Day because of this one. I got to spend time with Josh, I watched one of my best friends get married to a wonderful man, and I got so spend a dismal week of winter in beautiful Puerto Rico standing on the beach and swimming in the ocean.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Reason #13 - Sunsets

I have always loved sunsets. But this past year I feel like I've gained a deeper appreciation for how beautiful a sunset can really be. There have been days driving home from work when I'm tempted to stop along the side of the freeway just so that I don't have to miss a moment of it. On those days, I'm sure I've caught a glimpse of the skies in Heaven. There is a feather dusting of clouds across the sky, and above me is a perfect kaleidoscope of golds, pinks, and here and there still hints of blue. And for just a moment, my world is exquisitely perfect.

Tonight I was heading home, late as usual for dinner which of course would make me late for the rest of the night. But I had to stop and snap a few shots of the fiery pink sky. I was a little late and didn't have the best view, but I caught just a bit of color before it dropped below the horizon.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Reason #12 - Cookie Dough

When I was a kid, I was always happy to help pour the cake batter into the baking dish, or put the cookie dough onto a tray, because then I could sneak a few spoonfuls without being caught, or at least make sure there was plenty left to be "scraped" from the bowl. The beautiful thing about being 30 is that now I'm officially "grown up." And while I may not quite act my age all the time, I am at least old enough to have my own apartment where I can make an entire batch of cookie dough just for me, and no one else will care if I don't actually get around to making cookies.

Although making cookie dough just for me sounds appealing, the other thing that comes with being 30 is a lowered metabolism, and higher concern for the places the dough might choose to settle in once eaten. So... it's become somewhat tradition that when I eat Sunday dinner at my parents house, someone has to make "cookies". This way, we might eat every last drop before pulling out a cookie sheet, but at least I've shared in the indulgence and the remorse.

I've never once regretted missing out on those warm gooey fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies. Usually I'm so sick from all the cookie dough that I only eat one (or two) out of obligation. And it just goes to show, some things are worth the wait... and some things definitely are not.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Reason #11 - Maybe I'm really getting settled

I have been quite transient when it comes to my work and living arrangements from 18 to 30, and there are a few things I've been hesitant to invest in. One is a couch, and the other is a piano. When I moved into my most recent apartment, I was convinced by an over eager boyfriend to buy a big expensive couch. (Well, expensive by Ikea's standards). I think the couch is now my constant reminder that I don't want to continue my transient lifestyle... since it will take at least 5 very kind, strong men just to get the silly thing back out of my apartment. I've also been convinced by my boss that I have it pretty good where I'm at, so I figure I might as well stay at one job at least long enough to finish school, and who knows, maybe even vest in my 401k...

So, now that I've accepted that it's time to settle down just a bit and I'm stuck with a great job and a good couch, why not go all the way, right? While my brother Dave was in town over Christmas, I decided it was time to buy a keyboard. A piano won't quite fit in my apartment, but I've been thinking about my need to enjoy my ability to play the piano before I lose it. So... I am the proud owner of a brand new Yamaha keyboard, and even though it was a bit painful to throw down the cash for it, I have been wondering every day why I didn't do it sooner. It makes me laugh a little at myself when I think about all the ways I justify spending money, and then how often I hold out the longest for the most important things.

I know that for some people settling in would include buying a house, or at least a dog. For me... a couch and a keyboard makes for a decent start...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Reason #10 - Christmas was a grand adventure

The Family all together at Chili's. That was definitely an adventure in an of itself. Although Libby even kept the waitress entertained with her "stink eye".

Nick graciously played "Two"(Libby's name for Sesame Street)on his iphone to keep Libby entertained. Dave showed her clips of "Two" on his iphone while he and Trish were stuck at the airport with the girls for 3 hours. So all weekend, anytime Libby saw a cell phone she assumed its existence was solely for meeting her Sesame Street needs. Obviously, Nick was deeply entertained.

This picture doesn't quite do it justice, but this is the "stink eye", the one thing Libby is willing to do on command at any given moment. She is quite the performer anyway, but she's not always as excited to do her animal sounds. However, she'll do the stink eye anytime, anywhere. It's awesome.

Me with my SSS girls at the Oasis Cafe the morning of Christmas Eve. We had to meet up for a quick breakfast so we could exchange gifts and have one last moment together before we went our separate ways for the remainder of the holiday. These girls will always be a special part of my life. We shared a great year together!

Christmas morning.