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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Younger Generation

You know it's election year when the 10 year olds at soccer practice are discussing, "Obama or McCain?"

They also took a vote, and FYI: Obama is winning by a landslide amongst the youngsters.

Back in my day, we played house. And MASH. And "Miss Mary Mack".

Goodness gracious.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Piano, on a dock, at dusk.

I love this song, but when I saw the video, the opening scene is really what struck me the most! I'll take a boy playing piano on a dock at the lake any day!

Crush by David Archuleta

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Love of My Life

This:
is my dog, Malcolm.
He's eight years old. Fifty-six in dog years. He ages well.

He likes to wear his bow.
He has a ticklish spot.

He actually smells good (most of the time)!

He used to walk on the back of the couch like a cat.
Sometimes he has asthma attacks.

He is very photogenic. Obviously.
He howls when he hears a siren.

He always leaves his back end out when he sleeps under the bed.

Malcolm loves:

Celebrating his birthday
Being wrapped in a blanket and held like a baby
or just being wrapped in a blanket, period.
When we leave our laundry piles out so he can sleep on them.

Getting his head, back, or tummy scratched, rubbed, or petted.

(He refuses to keep his legs closed when he lays on his back.)

And of course, snuggling.

He also loves:

Playing soccer
Chewing soccer balls
Cleaning up the floor after dinner
Barking at the neighbor's cat at all hours of the day or night
Barking at the squirrel that likes to hang out on our fence
Barking for no reason at all
Grapes (and any other fruit)
Playing ball until he can hardly breathe
Going for walks
Riding in the car with his head out the window

Malcolm hates:
Being left home alone
Fleas
Physical violence (such as hugging, piggy back rides, etc.)
Loud noises
Wearing his cone
Swimming. Because his legs are too short. He tends to flip over.
What would we do without our little Malcolm.

Saturday Soccer

Went to my little sister's soccer game on Saturday, and took a few pictures. They won, 4 to 3!





So i totally cut their heads off. And the lighting sucks. But if it weren't for those two things it'd be reasonable, yes?

I like this because the uniforms are in focus, then Mckenzie is blurry in the background. It was actually an accident, but artsy, right?

I've been thinking about learning more about photography for a long time, I just never actually do it. I have an eye for artsy prints that other people have taken, I just can't seem to produce them myself! Does anyone know of any good beginner's photography sites or info that might be helpful?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Here it is... the official footage of the opening of my mission call. Caitlin was on my cell phone (you can't really hear her), my grandma and step-grandpa were on our home phone, and Katie was videotaping. You may notice some slight (or not so slight) disappointment. Don't be alarmed. The contents were just slightly different from what I was expecting.

Lesson: Don't expect anything (good or bad) when opening your mission call. It's all about serving the Lord wherever he deems is necessary, or best, for you.

Also, after some research, thought, and prayer on the matter, I'm glad to say that I feel without a doubt, that this place (I'll let you find out in the video... if you don't already know) is where the Lord wants me to be for the upcoming 18 months. I'm beyond excited. I know there will be hard times, but the hard times are always worth it for better times in the future. I feel like I have SO much to look forward to... not only during my mission, but after as well! Life feels great, and I feel like I'm finally headed in the direction that is meant for me.

Enjoy.

video

Meet Virginia

Just recently rediscovered this song. The woman in it is so perfectly imperfect. I love it.

She doesn't own a dress
Her hair is always a mess,
You catch her stealin' she won't confess
She's Beautiful.

Smokes a pack a day, oh wait,
That's me, but anyway
She doesn't care a thing
About that, hey,
She thinks I'm beautiful
Meet Virginia

She never comprimises,
Loves babies and surprises,
wears high heels when
she exercises
Ain't it beautiful
Meet Virginia

Well she wants to be the Queen
Then she thinks about her scene
Pulls her hair back as she screams
"I don't really wanna be the Queen"

Daddy wrestles alligators
Mama works on carborators
Her brother is a fine mediator
For the president
And here she is again on the phone
just like me hates to be alone
we just like to sit home
and rip on the President
Meet Virginia, alright

Well she wants to live her life
Then she thinks about her life
Pulls her hair back, as she screams
"I don't really wanna live this life"

She only drinks coffee at midnight
When the moment is not right
Her timing is quite, unusual
You see her confidence is tragic,
but her intuitions magic,
and the shape of her body, Unusual
Meet Virginia

I can't wait to
Meet Virginia, yeah e yeah hey hey hey
Well she wants to be the queen
and then she thinks about her scene
Well she wants to live her lifethen she thinks about her life
Pulls her hair back as she screams
"I don't really wanna be the queen
I, I don't really wanna be the queen
I, I don't really wanna be the queen
I, I don't really wanna live this"

Meet Virginia by Train

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Find Your Spot

Since I'll be getting back from my mission in May (after application deadlines to apply for colleges) I'll have quite the block of time until I'll be able to apply and attend any one of the schools I mentioned in my previous post. Thus, I'm considering the idea of moving to a central point in the area of all the schools I mentioned. I was thinking Hartford or New Haven, Connecticut (and no, not just because I'm obsessed with Gilmore Girls). It's actually pretty central to five out of the ten schools. I was trying to think of a way to get insider information on some cities, and I remembered a quiz I've taken before at a site called FindYourSpot.com. It asks you various questions about the characteristics of your ideal city or town, and then pinpoints about 25 of the top places you should live according to your answers. On your results list, each town or city name is a link, which leads you to tons of very specific information about the city's culture, weather patterns, cost of living, etc. So I took the quiz again. Here is a list of my results:
  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Little Rock, Arkansas
  3. Brattleboro, Vermont
  4. Eugene, Oregon
  5. Baltimore, Maryland
  6. Fayetteville, Arkansas
  7. Alexandria, Louisiana
  8. Corvallis, Oregon
  9. Charleston, West Virginia
  10. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  11. Frederick, Maryland
  12. Providence, Rhode Island
  13. Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana
  14. Hartford, Connecticut
  15. Seattle, Washington
  16. Knoxville, Tennessee
  17. Salem, Oregon
  18. Charleston, South Carolina
  19. Norfolk, Virginia
  20. New Haven, Connecticut
  21. Jacksonville, Florida
  22. Boston, Massachusetts
  23. Greenville, South Carolina
  24. Chattanooga, Tennessee
I'm not sure if these come out in order of most-fitting to least-fitting, but I thought it was an interesting conglomeration. I also thought it was interesting that my hometown, and a few towns in Oregon came up. I guess I got lucky and was just born in the right place. Unfortunately you have to sign in to review your results (so I can't show you the fancy version they gave me) but you should take the quiz yourself! It's actually pretty fun to see where the site thinks you should end up, and it has tons of great info.

Based on this list, expect to be writing me letters in Rhode Island, because Providence sounds like the best thing since indoor plumbing! New Haven and Hartford were a couple of my favorites as well.

Post Mission Plans

I've been throwing around ideas for my after-mission plans, and I've considered several different options. I initially had the idea to go to grad school, but after a little more thought, I've settled on the idea of going to one of the awesome liberal arts schools in the New England (and surrounding) area and get a second bachelor's degree instead. I love the idea of spending some time in a smaller, more intellectual and open-minded environment to study something I'm more passionate about than my previous degree. Not many schools allow students to get second bachelor's degrees, but after some extensive research (thanks to Princeton Review's Best 368 Schools, and US News and World Reports National College Rankings) and numerous pro-con lists, I've narrowed it down to a loose ten schools:

If you've heard anything or know anything about any of these schools, I'd love your feedback. As of this moment, my favorites are Wellesley, Bennington, Mt. Holyoke, and Warren Wilson. Colby, College of the Atlantic, and Bates are close to falling off the bottom of the list (based on what I've read and what I'm looking for), but in the spirit of keeping my options open, I've decided not to cross them off just yet.

I even made a map using GoogleMaps, to mark each of these schools so I could get an overhead view of the locations of these schools! Click here to see it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Spending Some Time in Seattle

I mentioned at the bottom of one of my posts that I needed to blog about spending a couple of nights with my dad in Seattle... partly because I want to keep a record of these experiences, and partly because I want to practice my sequential writing. So, here it is. Another attempt to capture a couple of days of my life in writing (if anyone has any tips to make these posts a little more interesting... besides doing something more interesting... please share! These posts always make me feel like a lame writer).

Just before the kids went back to school (I think it was the weekend before labor day weekend), my dad called our house (this happens rarely. in fact Katie and I were surprised when he actually remembered our birthday's this year and called us on them :)). He is currently dating a girl who works for a major news station in Seattle, and thus they often get free tickets or coupons for new events taking place in the area. He had a couple of options, but after taking schedules, etc. into account, we decided that going to a showing of Shrek the Musical at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle would be our best option. The musical was written for Broadway, but ran a test run here in Seattle to see how it would go over. It was exciting to be able to witness the beginning!

I have to be honest. I was a little skeptical. I mean seriously... who watches Shrek, and immediately thinks "I'm going to make this into a musical!" It really doesn't seem to lend itself well to that sort of atmosphere. However, I was very pleasantly surprised. The costumes, sets, and music were very engaging and interesting, and the acting itself was also excellent. They were selling Shrek ears in the lobby (think bunny ears, but smaller and greener), and although we didn't buy any, it was quite entertaining watching the people who did choose to christen themselves with said ears.

The show took place on a Friday, and we arrived at dad's on Thursday afternoon (he's living about 10 minutes out of downtown Seattle currently). When I woke up Friday morning I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth, and Katie went downstairs. Dad promptly told Katie that he had some bad news (a comment that of course, I heard. I think ears are especially attuned to the words "bad news"). He said that work had called and he had to go in... thus he would not be able to make it to the play, and our time spent with dad on this visit was over. He said he would do what he could, but he might have to go in anyway, so we decided we'd take the bus into downtown and spend the day at the Pike Place Market (I've been several times, but it never loses it's charm) and all of the wonderfully artsy shops and bookstores that dot downtown.

We had to take the bus because my dad needed his car, so we looked up the bus schedules online and found out that there was a bus stop about 2 blocks from where we were. It was great! I found myself wishing I could live that close to all the bustle and wonder of Seattle all the time. Anyway, the four of us (Me, Emily, Katie, Kenzie) caught the bus and enjoyed the twenty minute ride to downtown (which is another thing you can do to go green). When we got there we took a stroll through the market admiring the beautiful flower arrangements and handmade jewelry and clothing, and enjoying the endless food samples! It was super busy when we first arrived, and we had to make a little train to make sure we didn't lose anyone (we didn't). Soon we decided we were hungry and we found a man who was selling roasted corn with all sorts of different seasonings. We helped ourselves, and then took a seat at one of the open benches near his stand (he just so happened to be parked at the end of the market, in a little park that has an amazing view of Elliot Bay, and the ferries and cruise ships that come in and out through that area). While we were eating we saw a man ride by with a basket on his bike. In his basket was a miniature dachshund who just happened to be wearing a top hat and cape, and who was standing with his feet on the front of the basket as if to be saying, "ONWARD!" We enjoyed the park so much that we stayed for awhile even after we were finished eating. Turns out Emily is crazy scared of pigeons. There are tons of pigeons in that area (think people, food, free bird snacks), and anytime one would start inching in our direction, or even walk past, Emily would scream and cry! It was worse if one happened to swoop in our direction at all. We knew she was afraid of birds, but we had no idea she was that afraid. For this reason, we left sooner than we really wanted to.

It was about this time when dad texted us and told us that he had managed to get out of having to go to work, and so we decided to head home and meet up with him (he did get to go to the play with us after all :))

Though the play was fun, Seattle was probably the most enjoyable thing (for me) that we did on this trip. Seriously, the more time I spend in Seattle, the more I love it. If you ever have the chance to go, do it.

Clarification

After posting the previous post regarding a forward that I received in my email a little while back, I received a couple of comments that clear things up considerably:

From a good friend named Gordon:

"In short, False.

You might check out these links:
http://www.factcheck.org/specialreports/that_chain_e-mail_your_friend_sent_to.html
and especially http://snopes.com/politics/obama/money.asp. These are both from non-partisan websites, which I think can probably be trusted."

From a very politically aware best friend Caitlin:

"Agreed with Gordon. Absolute rubbish :) Obama is not a Muslim, nor is he a terrorist or associated with them. And that money for his house came from the fact he had two best-selling books out at the time, I'm sure."

Both of these people have proven to be trustworthy (previous to this), and they offer great logic (which has always been my strongpoint). Thus, I trust them. And their information.

*Note: This blog does not endorse either presidential candidate as of yet. This author is still in the investigation stage of coming to a decision. Stay tuned for my formal decision. ;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

True or False?

I am slightly ashamed to say that I haven't been keeping up particularly well with the election this year. It's been so back and forth with everyone... I've kind of decided to step out of it and wait until I can get a clearer view on getting info that is as non-biased as I can find.

However I got this forward in my email a few days ago, and I'm not sure whether to believe it or not.

"Subject: Where is the money coming from?

This election has me very worried. So many things to consider. About a year ago I would have voted for Obama. I have changed my mind three times since than. I watch all the news channels, jumping from one to another. I must say this drives my husband crazy. But, I feel if you view MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, you might get some middle ground to work with. About six months ago, I started thinking 'where did the money come from for Obama'. I have four daughters who went to College, and we were middle class, and money was tight. We (including my girls) worked hard and there were lots of student loans.

I started looking into Obama's life.

Around 1979 Obama started college at Occidental in California He is very open about his two years at Occidental, he tried all kinds of drugs and was wasting his time but, even though he had a brilliant mind, did not apply himself to his studies. 'Barry' (that was the name he used all his life) during this time had two roommates, Muhammad Hasan Chandoo and Wahid Hamid, both from Pakistan . During the summer of 1981, after his second year in college, he made a 'round the world' trip. Stopping to see his mother in Indonesia , next Hyderabad in India , three weeks in Karachi , Pakistan where he stayed with his roommate's family, then off to Africa to visit his father's family. My question - Where did he get the money for this trip? Nether I, nor any one of my children would have had money for a trip like this when they where in college. When he came back he started school at Columbia University in New York . It is at this time he wants everyone to call him Barack - not Barry. Do you know what the tuition is at Columbia ? It's not cheap! to say the least. Where did he get money for tuition? Student Loans? Maybe. After Columbia , he went to Chicago to work as a Community Organizer for $12,000. a year. Why Chicago ? Why not New York ? He was already living in New York .

By 'chance' he met Antoin 'Tony' Rezko, born in Aleppo Syria , and a real estate developer in Chicago . Rezko has been convicted of fraud and bribery this year. Rezko, was named 'Entrepreneur of the Decade' by the Arab-American Business and Professional Association'. About two years later, Obama entered Harvard Law School . Do you have any idea what tuition is for Harvard Law School ? Where did he get the money for Law School ? More student loans? After Law school, he went back to Chicago . Rezko offered him a job, which he turned down. But, he did take a job with Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland. Guess what? They represented 'Rezar' which is Rezko's firm. Rezko was one of Obama's first major financial contributors when he ran for office in Chicago . In 2003, Rezko threw an early fundraiser for Obama which Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendelland claims was instrumental in providing Obama with 'seed money' for his U.S. Senate race. In 2005, Obama purchased a new home in the Kenwoood District of Chicago for $1.65 million (less than asking price). With ALL those Student Loans - Where did he get the money for the property? On the same day Rezko's wife, Rita, purchased the adjoining empty lot for full price. The London Times reported that Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi-born Billionaire loaned Rezko $3.5 million three weeks before Obama's new home was purchased. Obama met Nadhmi Auchi many times with Rezko.

Now, we have Obama running for President. Valerie Jarrett, was Michele Obama's boss. She is now Obama's chief advisor and he does not make any major decisions without talking to her first. Where was Jarrett born? Ready for this? Shiraz , Iran ! Do we see a pattern here? Or am I going crazy?

On May 10, 2008 The Times reported, Robert Malley advisor to Obama was 'sacked' after the press found out he was having regular contacts with 'Hamas', which controls Gaza and is connected with Iran . This past week, buried in the back part of the papers, Iraqi newspapers reported that during Obama's visit to Iraq , he asked their leaders to do nothing about the war until after he is elected, and he will 'Take care of things'.

Oh, and by the way, remember the college roommates that were born in Pakistan ? They are in charge of all those 'small' Internet campaign contributions for Obama. Where is that money coming from? The poor and middle class in this country? Or could it be from the Middle East ?

And the final bit of news. On September 7, 2008, The Washington Times posted a verbal slip that was made on 'This Week' with George Stephanapoulos. Obama on talking about his religion said, 'My Muslim faith'. When questioned, 'he make a mistake'. Some mistake!

All of the above information I got on line. If you would like to check it - Wikipedia, encyclopedia, Barack Obama; Tony Rezko; Valerie Jarrett: Daily Times - Obama visited Pakistan in 1981; The Washington Times - September 7, 2008; The Times May 10, 2008.

Now the BIG question - If I found out all this information on my own, Why haven't all of our 'intelligent' members of the press been reporting this?

A phrase that keeps ringing in my ear - 'Beware of the enemy from within'!!!"


I had been leaning in Obama's general direction, and I think it's ridiculous to get so caught up in the fact that he isn't white, but this message is making me think twice.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Going Green: Saving the Planet and Saving Ourselves

In the June/July issue of Travelgirl magazine there are some great tips for going green one step at a time. Most of the five steps below are quoted directly from the magazine.

1. Research green hotels and resorts. The Green Hotels Association is a good place to start. The International Ecotourism Society and Sustainable Travel International also have lists of eco-friendly accommodations. No matter where you're staying, ask questions. For example, find out if you can opt-out of having towels and sheets changed daily. If the hotel doesn't provide and eco-friendly card to leave on your bed regarding when to change the sheets and towels, download a travelgirl eco-card. Just print it out and carry it in your suitcase. Then put it on your hotel bed to alert the staff that you will reuse your sheets during your stay.

2. Offset your impact. Plenty of programs allow you to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions of your frequent flier miles and other travel-related actions. Make a donation for carbon-reducing projects, such as planting trees or installing solar panels. The Bonneville Environmental Foundation website is a great resource for offsetting, and green travel in general. Another option is http://www.carbonfund.org/.

3. Reduce unnecessary business trips. Teleconferencing is always a great option. IT saves money and often turns out to be a more effective use of time.

4. Investigate the natural world. Choose sailing, instead of cruises. Go snorkeling, instead of jet skiing. Thinking about your impact not only helps save the planet, but also can save you money.

5. Drop in on Green Drinks. Check the Green Drinks website and find out when the next meeting is where you live, or in the places you're visiting. Then, whenever possible, drop in for a cocktail. It's a great way to socialize and connect with like-minded people.

Also, if you own your own home, check out the Pegasus Cottage Chair-Height All-In-One Elongated Toilet. "Each 1.28 gallon water-efficient flush uses 63% less water then a 3.5 GPF toilet!" Cut your water bill and save the environment! And apparently some counties offer rebates for families who install these commodes :) Go to www.homedepot.com/ecooptions.com for more information.

Need a new waterbottle? The CamelBak Tritan Better Bottle with Classic Cap is only $9, dishwasher safe, no after-taste, and BPA free! It is very highly recommended by all users at REI.com. Use a reusable waterbottle instead of buying 24 packs and keep all that plastic from ending up in our landfills!

My friend Caitlin is an eco-pro! For more ideas check out this post.

I've been working on going green myself and have made some very worthwhile changes! I've been a vegetarian now for almost two months and I feel great! I've lost a few pounds and I have way more energy. According to Cait, going vegetarian or vegan is one of the best things you can do to help save the environment (and rid your body of yucky waste!). If you're not up to going completely vegetarian yet, just cut back on your meat consumption, and inform yourself! The Word of Wisdom Food Plan by Kenneth E. Johnson has tons of GREAT info (I got it at a used bookstore for cheap, or you can find it at amazon.com), or you can check out this website with 20 FAQ's about vegetarianism, or this article about vegetarianism and it's effect on the planet and our bodies.

I also consciously try to use fewer paper products and try not to waste water by running it while I'm brushing my teeth or continuously while I'm doing the dishes. I have found that not only is going green better for the environment, it also saves money, and is better for you and your body! I bought the book, The Naturally Clean Home, and it has TONS of useful tips for cutting back on the chemicals and toxins in your air and those that are created by what you use to clean your home. I have tried some of the recipes in it and I LOVE it (we made some together as a family home evening activity and my family thought it was great!).

In short, remember that everything we do has an impact on our physical bodies, and on the earth and the rest of the people inhabiting it. It's the least we can do to be mindful of our activities and what we're doing to make a difference!

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Finally!

Somebody who doesn't hate on our beliefs!

This article discusses baptism for the dead, and reasons why it might NOT be such a bad idea! Check it out!

For more information on baptism for the dead, visit lds.org, or click here.