Friday, October 30, 2009


I love that time of day (night), just after I've brushed my teeth, washed my face, etc., etc., and just before I fall asleep.  When everything feels all cozy and warm inside, and I have the promise of a fresh new day to look forward to.

It's so peaceful.

It makes me happy.

I like it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh Happy Weekend

I had an absolutely blissful weekend.

I went down to my favorite crazy single girl house in Provo and spent the whole entire weekend there.

We spent Friday evening digging up potatoes in the dark.

Doesn't sound very fun, but have you ever tried digging potatoes in the dark?  It's a very interesting activity.

 I agree with any little kid who tells you that there's something very rewarding about digging around in the soil with your bare hands.  (You should try it sometime). 

Plus, they were purple potatoes.  (How can you go wrong with purple potatoes?) 

We stayed up late and talked and told stories about random things, and ate delicious food (like we always do).  On Saturday, we went to the farmer's market (which is my favorite place in the whole wide world. No, not just the Provo one.  ANY farmer's market). I meandered with two of my favorite people and ate delicious authentic mexican food and purchased some fabulous treasures.

I found the perfect bag there.  The one that I've been hoping to find for months but thought was only available in a foreign country.   And it was cheaper than I thought it would be.  Jackpot.

And I bought a pumpkin.  A fresh, Utah farmer's market pumpkin.  From which I plan to extract every single seed, for washing and roasting and then... devouring.  Then I will save the rest of the pumpkin, from which I plan to make a fresh. pumpkin. pie.  Which I might share with YOU.  Because what thing isn't infinitely better when you share it with your favorite people?

Did I mention that I almost forgot to buy that pumpkin?  Well, I did almost forget.  The mexican food distracted me and I got all the way home before realizing I had forgotten my long-awaited farmer's market pumpkin.  Luckily, my friend (who also wanted a pumpkin) has a car.  And so we went, all the way back (all 5 blocks) to the farmer's market to get pumpkins.  A task at which we succeeded... only to find, once we returned home again, a large glob (mass? spillage?) of laundry detergent on the floor of this particular friend's car.  And so, we spent the next three hours or so trying to figure out a way to get all the horrible, concentrated, liquid soap out of the carpet of the car.  And I enjoyed it.

I love that I have free time.  So that I can spend whole afternoons helping out a friend, just because I feel like it.  And oh, nope, I don't have ANY homework to do, or anywhere specific to be, and I have all the time in the world to sit here and help you out.

Did I mention that I hung a clothesline in my room today?  Well, I did.

And that I hung clothes on it to dry just this very morning? (Yes, I'm saving energy).

And I planted flowers right outside my window.  The kind that are bulbs, and that you plant in the fall then they bloom in the spring.  You know, like tulips, and daffodils.  

And then when the first inkling of springtime comes, I will know it.  I will know it because bright red tulips will spring forth from the barren earth right. outside. my window.  JOY.

Later, on the farmer's market, soap spilling day, I went to out to dinner.  We (those who accompanied me to dinner) decided we wanted italian food, and so we went to Olive Garden.   The only problem was that we had wanted to walk to wherever we went, because the weather was so very fall like, and lovely, in a blustery, drizzly, gray, but beautiful kind of way. 

Olive Garden is kind of far away and so we had to drive.  To our dismay.

On the way there, we shouted dramatically out the car windows at the drizzly weather and everyone and no one all at the same time.

When we arrived, we were told that there would be a fifteen or twenty minute wait.  What a stroke of luck!!  Just enough time to make a couple of laps around the restaurant and satisfy our walking craving.

In the back of the restaurant we found a cluster of trees which had purple leaves.  This (the cluster) we named the maroon way of sparkling mystery, and we touched the pretty leaves and twirled under the treetops. 

When our beeper went off, we went inside, and gorged ourselves on breadsticks and salad and beautiful pasta.  For dessert? Chocolate lava cake torte thing.  Chocolate deliciousness. Whatever you want to call it.  All I know is that it had strawberries, and vanilla cream sauce, and it was gone in a matter of approximately thirty seconds between the three of us.  Need I say more?

And this was only the beginning of the evening.  I won't go into all the details, because I would probably never stop! but it was a great spontaneous, joyful evening.

And Sunday, was spent mostly lounging (except the three hour break when we went to church).  After we got home, we lounged some more.  Being lazy is great sometimes.

We also spent some time looking up info on the main characters of the movie we had seen the night before (Bright Star) What a terribly tragic story it was!  But oh how we wished gorgeous poet men would fall in love with us and write us passionate love letters. 

Like I said, it was a blissful weekend.

Monday, October 26, 2009

a missionary email

 Originally emailed home from Houston on April 6th 2009.

Dear Family,

Cool Stories from this week:

We've been teaching this less active member named Sandy. She was baptized when she was about 12, and hasn't really been active ever since. But she has a six year old son and decided she wants him to have a base, so when she saw the english elders on a corner she pulled the car over to talk to them. She doesn't speak english so she just barely was able to explain where her apartment complex is and the apartment number. When we went over to visit her she told us that she is a member, and so we've been teaching her the new member lessons basically, because she doesn't remember hardly anything of our doctrine... not even about Joseph Smith! Anyway, she's great and loves to give us things even though she doesn't have hardly enough money to pay her rent. About a week ago we went to an appointment we had with her and partway through the lesson we got off on how she had gotten into a fight with someone from work the night before. She said that she got really mad and didn't want to talk to anyone, and went off to take a breather. Then she noticed that she had a voicemail on her phone, and decided to listen to it. It was the voicemail that I had left on her phone reminding her of the appointment that we had the following day, and just calling to check on her. She said that as soon as she listened to the message she felt calm and peaceful, and she remembered to say a prayer to help her have patience with her co-worker. After that she was able to handle the situation. Man... it was so cool. The story was a witness not only to her, but to us too that we really are messengers of Christ. We all left feeling great and uplifted. Often the spirit can work through us and we don't even know it.

Yesterday, we taught a lesson to a new investigator named Monique. She lives in a trailer park in the northern part of our area, with her boyfriend's family. She looks to be about 18 and she just had a baby on March 13th. She's really sweet, and so we were excited to go over and teach her, although we weren't sure if she'd actually be there. When we got there, sure enough she was there, and almost the whole rest of the family as well! As we started the lesson with the song "I am a child of God", we had only Monique there, and she seemed a little uncomfortable singing in front of all the rest of her family. But as we sang, most of the little children in the house started to gather peering at us strange white people in their house singing in spanish. We then offered a prayer, and began the lesson. As we taught, the group grew larger. Soon the two twelve year old girls were on the couch as well. The women who was cooking in the kitchen was bashfully listening and watching... although every time we looked over at her she would pretend like she wasn't. Then the husband of the woman cooking in the kitchen came and sat on the couch as well. His children gathered around him. An older woman came out of a back bedroom and took a seat at the kitchen table, listening. Eventually, the woman that was cooking in the kitchen came in and took a seat on the couch as well. Eventually we had a group of about 10 people all squished into the tiny living room of this trailer, as we taught them about prophets, and the story of Joseph Smith. They gladly agreed to pray about our message and accepted the day and time we proposed to return. None of them were extremely educated in terms of the bible or religion in general, but they had such quiet simple faith. The spirit was very strong and I felt so blessed to be the vessel through which God could reveal his restored gospel to this humble, loving family.

Finally, I would ask that you keep our investigators in your prayers. We have such high hopes for all of them, but they struggle greatly with many of the worldly challenges that face them, and often face greater hardships as the adversary tries to prevent them from taking the steps they need to take to happiness. However we love them so much, and pray for them often. We know that your prayers make a difference as well.

I hope you all are doing fabulously, and I hope to hear from all of you soon!


Hermana Hollenbaugh

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Laptop Saga

So about a month and a half ago, I set out to purchase a laptop of my very own.

I knew I was going to need to get one eventually (only having 90 minutes a day at the local library and then having to mooch off my friends any other time I wanted to use a computer just wasn't working out for an independent blogger type, such as I), but it was my first time buying a computer... any kind of computer... and I wanted to make sure I got one which would last me a while, and would meet my needs without any problems.  I began researching, and eventually determined exactly what it was that I was going to need (I tend to take my time when making decisions regarding large amounts of money).

Eventually, I decided I wanted a Sony, because their products have a good reputation, they've been around forever, and their laptops are pretty dang sleek-looking (which, of course, is definitely the most important part).

Once I had decided on the Sony brand, I then set about trying to find a model I liked.  I tried their "customize to order" feature, which was pretty exciting, but turns out what I wanted was definitely completely out of my budget.  Most of you probably know that Sony laptops are generally pretty expensive.  After that, I started browsing the refurbished section, which was just my kind of thing.  Awesome deals, and environmentally friendly.  After spending minutes and hours and days pouring over the specifications of every laptop in my budget on their refurbished page, I finally picked out an almost perfect match to what I wanted.  It was beautiful.  ...And after I finally got up the courage to give them my credit card number, I placed the order, and was told I was only going to have to wait about five business days (actually less, they told me, because they are in San Diego, and I am here in Utah). 

I was okay with that.  I settled in, thinking of things that would keep my computer needs occupied until my very own laptop arrived on my doorstep sometime the following week.  "So soon it will be here!" I told myself, and I let myself be excited.  All my hard, head-achy, eye-popping work had paid off.

So I waited.  A couple days after placing the order, I was at the library checking my email and I came across an email from Sony, which said the following:
Good Evening Austin,

We regret to inform you that all or part of your Sony Style order ST09090900364 has been delayed.

In order to serve you better in the future, our warehouse system was shutdown tonight.  Regrettably, we encountered problems with your order that prevented your order from being fulfilled in time for the shutdown. Unfortunately, we will be unable to ship your order until 9/18/2009.

I got this email on September 11th, 2 business days after I had placed the order.  You can only imagine my anguish.

I called them a few days after that, just to double check that that was really what had happened, was there anyway it could be shipped out sooner, etc.  The man I spoke with said there was a possibility it could go out on the 16th.  So I banked on that.

When I didn't even get an email on the 18th saying that it had been shipped, I called again.  And they gave me some lame excuse and a new shipping date. 

It didn't get shipped then either.

Oh, but don't worry, they did manage to debit $75 from my bank account.

After multiple other calls, and much time spent listening to their ridiculously obnoxious hold music, they finally sent me an email saying that they had cancelled the order.  I guess they sold my chosen laptop to someone else at the same time I was placing my order for it, and so when I bought it it was already sold.  Or something stupid like that.

This was around the 23rd of September after having placed the order on the 9th of September.

Anyway, I was incredibly frustrated and it took me awhile to get my willpower up to being able to accept the idea of having to start my search all. over. again.  But I finally did, and I actually ended up with a new macbook which I am very very happy with.

However I'm still, to this day, trying to get my $75 refunded.

I'm generally pretty amiable, and willing to work with people, but these people were some of the most frustrating, and unreliable I have ever worked with.

I talked to some very well meaning people on the phone.  BUT... they NEVER let me speak with a manager (they kept referring to some kind of elite group of manager people, to whom I was apparently not allowed to speak), and every time they said they were going to do something, I had to double check to see if they had really done it (they usually hadn't), and then call the stupid customer service number AGAIN to remind them that they told me they were going to do something and they still hadn't done it. 

The moral of the story:  Don't buy anything from Sony.  Their customer service sucks hardcore.

Confession #2

I'm hypoglycemic.

That's not really the confession.

The confession is the part about how it sometimes almost leads me into panic attacks. Kind of.

I don't really know exactly where the problem originates, but below is a description of what happens.

I'm usually in the midst of some project, and I start feeling kind of hungry.  I don't want to walk away just yet from my project, and I can't think of anything that's ready in the fridge that sounds particularly good, so I hold off and continue with whatever it is that I'm working on for a little while longer.

"Just until I get to a good stopping point" I tell myself. 

The hunger increases, and I continue to ignore it, because I don't really have any ready solutions (yes, i know i'm lazy thank you)

Then I'll have to go to the bathroom, or I get up to get a drink, and when I stand up that semi-black out thing happens (you know, like when you stand up too fast?) and then I remember that I AM hypoglycemic and I need to eat something soon or I'll start feeling really crappy, and "why don't you take better care of yourself already dang it?".  So I finally go to the kitchen to try to figure something out.

The problem is, though, that usually once I get to that point, the thought and appearance of most foods makes me want to gag.  And that's when I start getting kind of panicky.

I rush around the kitchen looking in the fridge and each cupboard multiple times, hoping that something that looks and sounds delicious, will magically appear somewhere (nothing ever does).

After that fails, I realize that I'm going to have to think a little harder and make something up.  Like, I'll have to cook something.  But then the nausea strikes again at the thought of most kinds of food, and there's also the fact that my brain really isn't functioning at it's highest level due to lack of sugar and the panic that's beginning to set in.

And then my thought process usually goes like this: ...blahg! everything sounds gross and nothing that could be made would be any good but that doesn't matter anyway because i don't have time to spend making anything because i'm starting to feel clammy and my circulation isn't very good and i kind of feel like I'm going to pass out soon if I don't sit down but I can't sit down because I have to get some food in me and... and... and... sldkjgonwenflskjdo, aaahhaahha!!!

Like five minutes ago, for example.

note: I usually end up figuring something out (I'm not passing out on a daily basis, at least).  It's just the getting to the figuring it out moment that sucks.  

But still...

It's kind of embarrassing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Confession #1*

I love looking at all the beads hanging up together at the craft store.  Something about all the bright colors and glittery-ness and endless shapes and sizes just brings me inexplicable joy.

Definitely more than is probably normal.

Not to mention all the beautiful scrapbooking paper.  And I don't even scrapbook.

Oh. And. Did I tell you about the yarn? Or the embroidery thread?

Seriously, I am completely mesmerized every time.

*Ok, so it's not like a super juicy confession or anything, but I've been meaning to get around to doing a little bit of a confession thing on here.  So here's to being an elephant and never forgetting my ancient goals.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So Proud

I found this survey data on the American Red Cross website, and I am oh so proud to call myself a female between the ages of 18 and 24.

Read below to find out why.

The American Red Cross conducted a survey of about 1000 blood donors to find out more about those who donate and why. Whether you are a donor or not, there are a few things you may have in common.

You selected: Female (age 18-24)

Among 18-24 year old women who are blood donors:

* About 40% have been donating for 2 to 3 years
* More than half donated blood for the first time because they felt it was their civic duty and wanted to help others
* 45 percent would travel over 10 miles to donate blood — the most of any age or gender group
* More than half describe themselves as leaders and they are more likely to want to be recognized for their good deeds than other gender and age groups
* More are likely to be involved in social groups and athletic activities than older women
* Nearly all (~100%) believe that the American Red Cross contributes to the community!

Donors who are like you donated blood the first time because they felt it was their duty and to help others. They want to be known for their good deeds, and they will go out of their way to do what they think is right. We thank you and your peers both for the dedication and for the overwhleming support of the American Red Cross. You deserve to wear the badge of honor!

*Again, I found this info at

Go do it.  It's not nearly as scary as it seems like it would be, it's free, AND they give you as many free treats and drinks afterwards as you want!  I've donated several times with MountainStar Blood Services in Provo and I've had nothing but great experiences with them.  In fact, you can just show up there, anytime during their operating hours, and donate! If you get a group of 10 or more together and call ahead, they'll order pizza for everyone, in addition to the normal snacks and drinks you get.  Plus after you donate with them, they'll mail you a little card with all your information on it, so the next time you go, there's hardly any paperwork to fill out. 

This Saturday is my 8 week marker since the last time I donated, and I have an appointment to go do it again on that very day.  In fact, I'm bringing my little sister with me so she can donate too (I guess I figure, why not start 'em young? :)).  And yes, I'm proud of it.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I know, I know, I'm kind of on a blogging spree today, but I've been meaning to post these for awhile and just haven't gotten around to it.  And I've kind of been stuck inside today.  So it works.  

I found this in an old edition of National Geographic Magazine (March 2008), and just think it's SO.cute.  Almost too cute.

A patient little cat endures lessons in baboonery. According to notes accompanying the photograph—which arrived at the Geographic in 1956 but was never published by the magazine—"Baboon mother tries to make Fluffy sit up like a good monkey baby. But the kitten always falls back on her four legs. It seems like such a hopeless case." The baboon, named Helen, was an attraction at Ross Allen's Reptile Institute, a roadside zoo funded in 1929 in Silver Springs, Florida. She may have been a holdover from the days when Tarzan movies were filmed in the region and Allen provided animal actors for visiting Hollywood productions.

—Margaret G. Zackowitz

Even though the cat is obviously like, "dude... what are you trying to do", I still love the sense of community.  Why do we have to exclude people and be all elitist and racist all the time?  Let's just include everyone.  Even the cats amongst us baboons.

Fat Talk

This is SO sad, friends. 

Seriously.  Why do we do this to ourselves? 

Watch this.  It's for your own good.

Plain White T's & Snow Patrol

Some friends and I went to the Snow Patrol/Plain White T's concert Saturday night.

(from left to right: Evan, me, Robbie, Glade, and Katy.) 

(Another friend, Heather, showed up later after this picture was taken, and we didn't get any new ones... sorry!)

I'd never been a huge follower of either of those bands, but I knew that both had come out with songs that I really liked, and I'm just a huge concert fan in general, so we got a group together and went.

Plain White T's was supposed to open, but the poor lead singer had a cold.  So they came out and just did three songs:

1 2 3 4


Hey There Delilah (of course)

Sunlight was the only one they played that I hadn't yet heard, and I'm a big fan!  It was excellent, especially live.  In fact in preparation for the concert I listened to some of their stuff, and had decided that overall I liked Snow Patrol's stuff better.  But after hearing their little three song set, I checked out their latest album on iTunes (Big Bad World--Bonus Track Version), decided I really liked it, and bought it! :)

Cool note: When we were leaving, we walked right past the drummer from Plain White T's!  He was just standing around outside the bleachers!

After about a 30-45 minute interim between bands, Snow Patrol came out and put on a fantastic show.  Seriously after I left my appreciation for them as artists had jumped about 100 points.  Did you know they're from Ireland (I know, I'm pathetic... I didn't even know that)?  Their music and their show really showed off their abilities as musicians, and the true artists in them.  I was really pleasantly surprised.

I of course loved Chasing Cars, but some favorites I discovered at the concert were:

Crack the Shutters (oh man... I am in LOVE.)

The Planets Bend Between Us
The Golden Floor (especially awesome live, with the ethnic drums going on)
The Lightening Strike  (the linked video shows a little bit of the cool animation I write about below)

The Lightening Strike was their encore, and it was particularly excellent because of the 3-D animation they had going on on the screen behind them throughout the whole song.  Before they came out again for the encore, a little explanation of the song scrolled on the screen, explaining how one night during a thunder storm, they had "penned" three songs, and then they decided to put them together into one (it's like a 15 minute song) and call it The Lightening Strike (for obvious reasons).  If I had just heard the song, I'm not sure I would've particularly liked it, but with the animation going on in the background it was absolutely beautifulI just wish I had taken some video of it, because it's hard to describe.

There was another song that I liked, but I can't remember the name of it.  I particularly liked it though, because there was this cool video playing in the background of someone driving through the streets of Belfast. 

They also played Just Say Yes for the second time ever, live!  They said they had played it live for the first time just the night before, so we were only the second group to witness it live. (I know, cool right?)

After the concert I bought their album A Hundred Million Suns from iTunes.

Below are a few of the videos I captured from the event.
(I especially thought funny the one where the guitarist and lead singer of Snow Patrol are singing right in each other's faces... ha)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

 I'm so loving this song lately. Any cowboys around that feel like taking me away? :)

I said I wanna touch the earth
I wanna break it in my hands
I wanna grow something wild and unruly

I wanna sleep on the hard ground
In the comfort of your arms
On a pillow of bluebonnets
In a blanket made of stars

Oh it sounds good to me I said

Cowboy take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can
Into the wild blue
Set me free oh I pray
Closer to heaven above and
Closer to you closer to you

I wanna walk and not run
I wanna skip and not fall
I wanna look at the horizon
And not see a building standing tall

I wanna be the only one
For miles and miles
Except for maybe you
And your simple smile

Oh it sounds good to me
Yes it sounds so good to me

Cowboy take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can
Into the wild blue
Set me free oh I pray
Closer to heaven above and
Closer to you closer to you

I said I wanna touch the earth
I wanna break it in my hands
I wanna grow something wild and unruly
Oh it sounds so good to me

Cowboy take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can
Into the wild blue
Set me free oh I pray
Closer to heaven above and
Closer to you closer to you
Closer to you
Cowboy take me away.
Closer to you

"Cowboy Take Me Away" by The Dixie Chicks

The "D" Word (No, not that one...)


I'm a horrible eater.  Not necessarily meaning that I eat things that are unhealthy, rather I don't eat consistently.

And when I don't eat consistently, I really don't feel well.  Since, you know, I'm hypoglycemic.

Dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headaches, etc. etc. etc.

It really isn't much fun, and it keeps me in, when I could otherwise be out playing and enjoying the last little bit of reasonable weather.

So I've had a thought.  I've been thinking that maybe if I made myself a meal menu every week, it would be easier because I wouldn't have to think about what I was going to make, or if I had the ingredients... I'd just have to make sure I had time to make it.

I found this awesome link to a full months worth of vegetarian meals and shopping lists for fall which I'm planning on using (and you should use it too... it's just that awesome).

But what I really want to know is what all of you do.  Do you have a specific shopping day?  Do you do the menu thing?  Weekly? Monthly?  I need some tips people.  And y'all are my favorite kind of people, so I'm expecting some pretty cool tips.

Also, does anyone know of a good chiropractor or massage therapist (or both?) in the Provo/Orem area?  I've been having some upper back issues which have been causing headaches too, and I'm reluctant to go to just any old chiropractor.  Especially since they like, jostle your bones around and such.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Fun Theory

How can we get people to make better choices?  By making it fun.

Do you think we can get more people to throw their trash IN the trash can if we make it fun?
Watch the below video to find out.

What about getting people to take the stairs as opposed to the escalator?

What a great idea!  Seriously, can you imagine all the other amazing changes we could make in this world if we applied this theory to other world problems?

Any ideas anyone?

[Videos courtesy of, and  I originally found them on]

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Let It Rain

I remember a day.  A couple of years ago was this day.

I was walking home from BYU campus on this particularly blustery, rainy day.

The rain drops were fat, and fell from the sky like great watery bombs.  As they fell they were swirled and jolted by great gusts of wind.  I pulled my jacket tighter around me, scrunched my eyebrows, and tilted my head forward looking at the ground in hopes of keeping as much water off of me as possible.  I took great quick steps, trying to get to my warm dry apartment faster.  All I could think about was how my pants were getting all wet and I hope that my papers in my backpack aren't getting wet and ugh I just washed my hair this morning and now it's going to get all wet and gross and, man...

As I came to the south edge of campus and started down the steps, I saw something that would change my outlook on that day, and my attitude toward the outdoors for good.  Or rather remind me of what it used to be.

A girl that was about my age was climbing up the hill headed towards campus.  She had bare feet, and a long cream-colored flowy blouse.  Her hair was long and wavy and blowing unrestrained in the wind.  Her face looked forward, confidently, smiling to have the opportunity to experience Mother Nature in this up-close, intimate way.

My grip on my jacket loosened slightly, and a smile slowly grew across my face.

I suddenly wanted to feel the wet ground under my bare feet, and let the wind and rain tousle my hair. 

I wanted to feel the chubby water droplets on my arms, and watch the goosebumps rise on my skin from the chill of the cool wind.

Why do we shelter ourselves so?  Why do we keep our inner wildness from the elements?

The rest of my walk home was spent trying to get my body to open up and take it's original place as part of the natural world. 

Of course, it is a little hard when you live in Utah and it FREEZES hardcore in the winter.

But even then, there is still so much beauty to be enjoyed.  And we were made to enjoy it.


Let us embrace all that nature has to offer.  There is always something in it that can be enjoyed and appreciated.  Besides, the fresh air is good for your soul.

Monday, October 5, 2009


I'm sorry I'm lame guys.

I've been in and out of this weird illness for the past few days.  I felt pretty good all weekend watching conference and eating yummy food and hanging out with my friends, but last night I got this horrible migraine and it was back to feeling bad. 

So I've been holed up here in the house sleeping and bored out of my mind.  And I haven't been able to get myself to focus on writing long enough to get a blog post up.

Who knows, maybe after I get this post up, I will get on a roll and I'll post some of the other posts I have half done.  Or something random. 

But for now, I'm going to remember fun times at the beach with my family.